Supporting the Neighborhood High School

group reunion shot 2015Schools are an important part of what makes communities thrive and reputable schools enhance property values. A couple weeks ago in Hayward, the newly formed Mt. Eden High School Alumni Association & Educational Foundation had its first ever all-class reunion!

Represented were the classes of 1973 through 1999, with one from the graduating class of 1974 wearing her cheerleader dress. Let’s just say she was a big hit and everyone loved her! Needless to say, her husband and high school sweetheart from the class of 1973 didn’t get as much attention as she did.

Although the event wasn’t meant to be a fundraiser but rather to foster pride in our alma mater, we ended up raising enough money for as many as TWO scholarships for the Leadership Hayward program! I have the pleasure and privilege of serving as the organization’s President/Founder and look forward to spreading the word about how this alumni association is supporting the students who are currently enrolled at Mt. Eden High School.

Our mission is to enhance the experience of the students’ educational experiences while they are still attending high school.

For more information, visit www.MtEdenAlumni.org.

The Guilt of a Bathroom Remodel

IMG_1709Recently, we remodeled the upstairs bathroom in our home. It wasn’t cheap. We installed heated floors, heated towel bar, heated (and neon-lit) toilet seat and a ceiling heater. I doubt there’ll be any complaints about the temperature come winter-time.

Here’s the rub: I feel guilty about it!

The bathroom was perfectly functional before the remodel. It met all of our needs, even though it wasn’t “sexy”. A part of me wishes we could have used that money to put toward animal rescue efforts. Imagine how many dogs we could have saved had we just put the money toward that effort instead!

Another part of me is thankful for the remodel. There is such a pristine feeling being in the remodeled bathroom now. It feels like I’m in a spa. My husband loves being surrounded by beautiful things, beautiful places, beautiful music and beautiful creatures (i.e. Piglet & Rufus and a few select humans). So, if the husband is happy, I know I will be too. Happiness leads to more productive people who are in turn able to earn more money to do even more amazing things, for charity or otherwise.

So, my advice to you is this: Cherish your surroundings! Make your space pleasant and inviting. Let go of things that serve no purpose in your life to allow space for what offers you enjoyment…

RICKSHAW Express 20-Year Anniversary

photo from 2005
Photo from 2005. It’s been nearly 10 years since we sold it.

Yesterday marked 20 years since we opened the Rickshaw Express on Jackson Street! It’s been nearly 10 years since we sold it but I still have fond memories of the friendships that came out of the experience of owning that restaurant.

On Friday, I stopped by to buy lunch and the food was good. Later that evening, I heard from one of the owners who informed me that her restaurant partner Hon passed away last year. He was a nice man and very supportive of community endeavors.

I had hoped to offer some help with a 20-year anniversary celebration, which is quite a milestone in the restaurant business. Instead, I’ll send out a blurb in my Hayward-Centric e-newsletter recognizing the longevity of the business. Visit here later this week for that e-newsletter: www.365ThingsToDoInHayward.com

Changing Lifestyle and the Fence

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2589 Hidden Lane, Hayward Hills: “The Perfect House for Someone My Age”

Recently, I turned 40. Applause please! I won’t say how recent it was (and shame on you for asking)! Over the years, my choice of home has changed from living at home (no privacy) to living in a big city for short spurts (tiny portions of flats or hostels overseas) to my first “house-home” while married (San Francisco) to the little condo near mom (for her cooking) when I was single again. After the condo, I needed more incentive to work harder and bought a silly house way too big for me and threw lots of fun parties. I’m now comfortable with my husband and our dogs.

The kind of home one chooses depends on family situations and marital status, yes?

A lovely young couple (yes, YOUNG!) recently retained our services to list and sell their home. They are hip and stylish and savvy and quite impressive people. They are also PARENTS of young children and even the kids are impressive. One of the kids is still in pre-school, the other is in grade school.

Speaking from my narrow perspective of someone who only has two stinky boy-dogs, here are a few questions and miscellaneous thoughts I have about being young and having young children:

  • Wouldn’t I miss going out on weekends with my friends? (Solution: Get a baby-sitter.)
  • Would I still want to invite friends over, knowing that the kinds of friends I’d have nowadays if I had young kids would bring their bratty young smelly kids? (Solution: Have a play-area or an entertainment room off yonder where I can’t see, hear or smell them.)
  • Would my life be boring? (Solution: A disco ball along with a stellar sound system.)
  • Would my spouse’s friends from his single days (or even some of my friends) irritate me in my Newly Enlightened Stage of Life After 40? (Solution: Have a house big enough with a separate area for the Cavemen to hang. Can you say “ooga-booga”?

What would be the perfect house for me, given all I wrote above? CLICK HERE for the best option I can think of at this very moment!

I love life, I love my husband, I love our dogs (not necessarily in that order) and I love my work, where I can be creative and have fun and work with people I truly respect and admire…

NOTE: This home is certainly by no means age-specific. I’m simply speaking about a few of the home’s virtues, as I see it from my own perspective. If you can afford it, you can buy it, no matter what your age, family status, or whether or not you have a stinky dog!

No Excuses!

Parker & Susan in Massachusetts
Parker & Susan in Massachusetts. Their home will be completed soon.

 

I don’t know about you but I can’t stand when people make excuses for not accomplishing a goal. Whining and complaining is not attractive. To me, the “goal” really isn’t a goal if a solution isn’t found to make it happen.

Here is an example I’m delighted to talk about. My husband’s youngest son and daughter-in-law just bought their first home. They’re in their mid-20’s. Susan is a school teacher and Parker has his own web design business and works from home, taking care of their newborn baby while Susan is at work. Susan and Parker also work on a side business selling lesson plans to teachers for use in the classroom.

The sacrifice that Susan and Parker made as a young couple included living downstairs with Susan’s parents after they were married. No, not in the basement! But certainly living with the in-laws is something most of us would consider a REAL challenge. Heck, I couldn’t even live with my own family. I’d likely end up wanting to strangle someone if I went through that.

Personally, I’ve also made sacrifices to buy and keep a home and my husband lives as simply as I do. We don’t own extra fancy cars that require car loans, we are not constantly buying silly gadgets (well, at least I don’t) and we live within our means.

I spoke with a potential buyer today who asked me if he needs to heed the advice someone gave him about getting rid of his convertible and therefore shedding himself of the $400 monthly debt. I told him that was probably sound advice, especially since you can’t live in a convertible, or at least not comfortably! He told my I sound like his father.

Many of our first-time buyers have made sacrifices to their lifestyles in order to become homeowners. Cheers to all the folks out there who do what it takes to “make it happen”!

Realty World Neighbors’ Team Members

A handful of Realty World Neighbors’ associates attended a recent Rotary event, AKA “Dragontini Mixer”. Rotarians and members of the community mingled over dangerous Dragontini cocktails and delicious appetizers catered by Cannery Cafe.

Greg and I are members of the Rotary Club of F.U.N. Sunset which meets Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Union City. Through our club, we support such endeavors as SantaCon Hayward for the Hayward Animal Shelter, Magnolia Women’s Recovery, Inc., local youth programs as well as international projects.

Brokers/Owners Anna May & Greg Jones, Simon Wong, Richard Navarro
Brokers/Owners Anna May & Greg Jones, Simon Wong, Richard Navarro

No Money, No Honey and the Ideal Suitor

"He Said, She Said"
“He Said, She Said”

In the aftermath of Valentine’s Day, when you love someone, you’ve got to have the goods!

Let’s be honest, folks. He or she who has the means to secure what he or she wants is most likely to succeed. So goes life. We see this starting on the playground, then in grade school, then in our adolescence and most notably, in life now, every single solitary day.

When in search of a home to buy, supply and demand come heavily into play. The strongest buyer will almost always beat out the contenders. How does this work?

First, the buyer has to be able to afford the property much the same way a suitor has to be able to afford pursuit of the “desirable one”. Stamina is sometimes necessary to keep up the chase, or in other words, to continue the search of the right home to buy.

Second, show the goods! The buyer must be able to prove that he or she can “seal the deal”. This means not just the engagement of getting into contract to purchase, but ultimately the sealing of the deal, the “marriage” and commitment of securing the property, so-to-speak.

Third, be willing to compromise and reach common ground. Negotiate fairly. (Come on, all married couples do this! Same concept applies in a courtship of securing property.)

Finally, don’t be a jerk during the contract AKA “engagement” period unless you want to get dumped! Warnings are to be expected among the betrothed, but it can get to the point that a buyer or a seller doesn’t perform according to the terms of the contract. If the offenses are serious enough, look forward to that proverbial Dear John letter and prepare to go separate ways.

Note: Have a stellar agent representing you! They are an extension of you, so make sure to choose wisely…