Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Adding Fur to Make a House a Home

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2014 SantaCon group photo croppedIn December of 2012, 2013 and 2014, a group of animal-loving volunteers organized SantaCon Hayward events to raise money for sponsored adoptions at the Hayward Animal Shelter. Realty World Neighbors sponsored the event, and we as the owners of the business have taken part in organizing the events due to our passion for animal rescue and highlighting the best of what our downtown has to offer. In my personal experience having animal companions, I’m less of a slob at home due to the need to keep things picked up off the floor so the dogs don’t get to them. I also keep food put away and refrain from letting the dishes pile up in the sink that would entice the dogs to counter-surf. The Hayward Animal Shelter has nearly $4,000 put aside for sponsored adoptions. What does this mean? This means that adoptions fees are waived for qualified homes! Please keep in mind that the animal shelter staff is very careful about who adopts the animals. They make every effort to ensure the animals will be in a safe, secure home with an adopter who will take proper care of the pet. What does THIS mean? This mean that if you’re a whack-job, no adoption for you! CLICK HERE for the SantaCon Hayward Facebook page where you’ll see our favorite featured animals… P.S. That’s me with the long blonde hair in the middle of the photo.

Lunar New Year Dinner in Fremont!

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In honor of the Year of the Goat, this fundraiser will feature a “Best Goatee Contest” for the gentlemen and a “Best Dragon Lady Contest” for the ladies! The proceeds of this fun event will support the Rotary Club of F.U.N. Sunset’s charitable efforts, including my favorite, the Hayward Animal Shelter. CLICK HERE to buy tickets!
LNY 2015

Why Infrastructure is Important

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infrastructure 

[in-fruh-struhk-cher]

the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area, as

transportation and communication systems, power plants and schools

Nothing in life is free. In the United States, we enjoy clean, running water, toilets that flush, trash removed from our waste bins, lights that turn on instantly, fire that ignites for our stoves and heaters instantly. We enjoy roads without potholes, freeways that are paved, bridges that take us over the water and schools that educate the nation’s children. Did I also mention toilets that flush? In many of the newer communities in the United States, we enjoy a scene devoid of utility wires like the ones you see in this photo.

On a recent trip to Southeast Asia, the scenes were much the same in every poor country we visited; utility wires haphazardly curled around strangling the air surrounding them. Along with bringing my own toilet paper into public restrooms, I felt so thankful for living in the United States that I lost track of which country’s funky infrastructure this photo captured. Next time we complain about how much things cost, let’s remember that we are in a much better place than most of the world.

CLICK HERE for information on home prices in Cambodia.

CLICK HERE for information on home prices in Vietnam.

The two links above are slightly outdated but you get the idea…

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Vietnam or Cambodia?

Don’t Make Yourself a Victim!

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safetyfirst

I always marvel at folks who get mad when their cars gets broken into and their laptop or other valuable item is stolen from it. My first question’s always, “Why on earth would you leave  a valuable item in your vehicle?”

Of course, it’s easy to be critical of others. I had my iPhone stolen in Singapore while going through customs last month. I KNOW it was stolen! It had to be! There’s no way that I could be such a bozo that I’d leave my iPhone out in plain view for someone to lift it! Or, was I indeed a bozo?

Over the weekend, I proclaimed my supposed security superiority to my good friends over dinner. They reminded me that when we all traveled together to Mexico recently, I left my iPhone on the airplane and had to jump through hoops to get it back.

The illustration here will guide you to how best you can keep your home safer when it’s time to put it on the market. This is a guideline only. The bottom line is that we should always use our best judgement possible when it comes to the safety and security of our home, belongings and loved ones…

We Negotiated for First-Time Buyers…

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… nearly $40,000 below the list price with a $3,500 credit toward theirrowena photo closing costs!

This home needed a bit of work that the City mandated. Since we understand the bureaucratic process, we were able to negotiate for our buyers to enjoy a price break on the home.

Funny tidbit: The purchase contract called for ALL appliances to be included, and when we did a final walk-through, the refrigerator and stove were gone!

Not to worry. We made sure the problem was taken care of in such a way that made everyone happy.

A good way to start the year!

The Bane of My Existence: A Short Sale

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"He Said, She Said"

“He Said, She Said”

The “What”, the “How” and the “Why” of a Short Sale

The “What”

A short sale simply means that the homeowner will come up short when they sell their home compared to what they owe their lender. The property won’t sell for enough money to pay off the lender in full after all the closing costs are taken into consideration. “Short sale”  does not necessarily mean that it will be a short and easy process. There are also tax and legal ramifications of a short sale, so read this post with several grains of salt as you seek proper legal and tax counsel.

The “How”

There’s a reason my business partner/husband won’t work on our company’s short sale transactions. He HATES unpredictability and irrationality when it comes to a short sale lender’s need to request documents time after time after time, even after we’ve already sent the requested items multiple times. The start of whether or not a short sale will work depends on the true financial hardship of the sellers. We’ve known many folks who were fully employed with plenty of money in the bank who’ve desired and pursued a short sale. However, short sale lenders, for the most part, won’t necessarily automatically grant a short sale to borrowers who aren’t enduring a documented financial hardship.

In our experience, if a homeowner isn’t experiencing what the lender considers a legitimate hardship, the borrowers will have to be willing to ruin their credit by stopping their mortgage payments in order for the lender to pay attention to the fact that they’re no longer getting a dime out of the homeowners. (The analogy I’ll refer to here is  the neglected teenager who strives for attention by “acting up”.)

The “Why”

We’ve turned down plenty of short sale listing opportunities in recent years. Why do we NOT take on certain short sale transactions? First of all, we need to feel good about what we’re doing in our lives and in our work. It gives us great pleasure to assist a struggling homeowner if we see there to be a legitimate need. We’ve turned down plenty of short sale transactions over the years because the homeowners simply “didn’t want to keep paying their mortgage” on a house that dipped dramatically in value.

My own home dipped in value dramatically for a period of time, and I could have pursued a short sale, no doubt. However, I made a commitment when I secured the loan and was too proud to stop making payments or even pay later. Pride comes before a fall, it has been said. Now, the home has increased in value again almost to what is was when purchased 10 years ago, and I’m glad we hung in there.

The Bottom Line

Short sale lenders look at their bottom line and weigh the benefits of granting a short sale vs. foreclosing on a home. The best of the best short sale lender we’ve worked with are the smaller, community banks/lenders. Fremont Bank and Bank of the West have been among the best and most responsive, in our opinion. Well, in my opinion. Greg won’t touch short sales…

Feng Shui: “Wealth and Prosperity”

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fengshuichart

Ba-gua courtesy of Ruthchaya of Cherry Creek Mortgage

During the rainy weather is the best time to just stay home and take care of the house. This is what I did over the last several days. The cleaning and de-cluttering resulted in a box for the Salvation Army of kitchen wares and clothes, a full trash bin, a full recycling bin in addition to a half-full green bin full of dying orchid plants with leaves and roots and soggy bark that I know I’ll never be able to revive.

The focus on all three levels of our home was on the “Wealth & Prosperity” (W&P) section of the feng shui “ba-gua”, which is what we call the layout shown here. What I did was make room for W&P by getting rid of stuff that serves no purpose in our lives but can be used in someone else’s life. So, in a sense, we “shared the wealth” to make room for more.

On the top level of our house, the W&P section is where our bathroom shower is located. I took the time to deep clean the tile walls and tile ceiling of the shower enclosure and will replace the fading clear shower curtain with a new one soon. Also, I found some areas between the tiles that need to be re-grouted, so I put that on the Wish List for the bathroom, which I know my Caveman will handle.

  • Intended Result: Re-grout to keep the W&P “in” the home rather than allow it to leak through. The clean/cleared space will allow W&P in!

On the main level, the kitchen is located in the W&P section. What I did there has me floating on air, mentally! I organized the spice rack, cleared out and organized the baking cabinet,  recycled yukky plastic bowls, etc. and also went through multiple cabinets in that kitchen and said bye-bye to a bunch of pot and pans we don’t need. I also replaced the “junk food” cabinet with cereal to subconsciously train myself out of wanting the junk and preferring healthy cereals instead. (Gotta try!) Also, I replaced the soap dispenser and put a cover over the resulting hole. The hot water dispenser is leaking, so we’ll work on having that removed or repaired.

  • Intended Result: Stop the leak from the hot water dispenser, which is indicative of allowing W&P to slip through. The broken soap dispenser was removed to allow space for W&P.

On the bottom level is where what we call the “kids room” is located. This is the room where the bunk bed, chest of drawers and desk that I had since I was a kid is located. It’s also where we store “extra stuff”, like bedding, extra bows and wrapping paper, etc. I took the time to de-clutter this room and donated the wrapping and packaging material, some of which was brand new/never been opened!

  • Intended Result: Allow more W&P into the home as a result of donating the additional items we don’t use.

We had our home feng shui’d in December of 2010, a few months after we were married. The feng shui consultant said we’d experience a shift immediately. Indeed we did! I look back and laugh about this now, but the hubby and I fought for three full days after the feng shui was completed. Let’s see what happens in these next few days due to the changes in the “wealth” section of our home…

 

VA Buyers Ready NOW!

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photo (10)

Meet Kassie and Michel, a U.S. Veteran! They’re on the hunt for their first home using Michel’s VA loan benefit. The ideal home would be as follows:

  • 3 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • enough space and privacy for the in-laws to move in
  • easy access to 880 / 238
  • under $400,000
  • dog-friendly home a plus

Contact us at 510-886-ANNA (2662) or 510-886-GREG (4734) if you or someone you know would like to sell to this nice family!

Their loan is being handled by Trinna Sycip of Wells Fargo. Trinna has successfully assisted our VA Buyer Clients in the past.

Realty World Neighbors is a proud supporter of AMVets Post 911, a local organization open for membership to all U.S. Veterans.

 

Open House Recognizing Animal Rescue Efforts

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Rochelle Ball pennysmall (2)Join us on Thursday December 4th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. for an Open House reception at our downtown office!

Artists Rochelle Ball, Bev Lindsay and Evelyn Call have their furry masterpieces on display through 2014 along with poetry by Bruce Roberts.

This is a joint effort between Realty World Neighbors‘ Art Gallery and the Hayward Arts Council. The artwork on display recognizes the efforts of the Rotary Club of F.U.N. Sunset‘s organization of SantaCon Hayward in support of the Hayward Animal Shelter.

Our new office is located at 22392 Foothill Blvd. in the Center for History & Culture building, Downtown Hayward.

(Also on display: Handmade hats, scarves, jewelry and accessories by our Seller Client Donna Jeffrey!)

SantaCon Hayward sponsored in part by Realty World Neighbors!

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SantaCon flier 2014

Investment Property: 7 Condo Units for $ 1,599,000

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blossom

Pumpkin Patch at G & M Farms in Livermore!

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What a blast we had yesterday! This place had alpaca/llama-type animals, sheep, corn, squash and PUMPKINS!

Greg felt right at home when we arrived because this place is reminiscent of the small town where he grew up in central Washington. They’re open through Halloween and have haunted house displays for Halloween, Corn Box, hay Bale Maze, etc. Fun!

Directions: I-580 to Livermore, exit Isabel Ave. South, left on East Airway Blvd. Ask for Maureen and Donna! image

New Listing! Open Sunday 10/19, 2:30-4 p.m.

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Mann_Ave._flier

Black & White Photography on Display through November 3rd!

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jimfonsecaresizedVisit the Hayward Arts Council and Realty World Neighbors’ Gallery! Photographer Jim Fonseca with his sense of humor shows just what HAD to be captured in each of his pieces on display.

Jim’s black & white photography is on display through November 3rd in recognition of the upcoming Hallow Fest 2014 event hosted by the Hayward Area Historical Society and the Rotary Club of F.U.N. Sunset.

CLICK HERE to see a few photos of the Meet the Artist event that took place at Realty World Neighbors.

 

Storybook Home Wedding Reception

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storybook wedding

Wow, this was a heck of a party! Allison and Michael got married and celebrated their reception at our home. The space was TRANSFORMED. I couldn’t believe it was the same house! CLICK HERE for more photos of this incredibly heart-warming event. Might you have ideas on how versatile YOUR home can be?

Oh Baby!

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Caitlin Adi resized My wife Caitlin and I learned of Anna May when I searched for an agent who might help us buy a HUD home. Although, I don’t member the website address, I think it’s a government site for finding HUD agents and recall her bio was the most complete.

Our choice of agent was good. Anna was very professional and responsive to our needs. We were expecting a baby and needed to move to a larger property and wanted to become homeowners. She was always there whenever we needed her, so much so that we were worried that she seldom slept.

Anna was always on our side as the buyer’s agent. When we found our home and decided to make an offer, we trusted her judgment and took her advice. We purchased the house for $10, 000 below the list price, no mean feat in a seller’s market where it is common for buyers to bid many tens of thousands of dollars above list price.

As first-time buyers, we knew nothing about buying a house but Anna and her husband, Greg, were really helpful and treated us like their family.

We would recommend Anna to our friends and look forward to working with her in the future. We have already given her business card to co-workers.

Caitlin & Adi S.

Hayward Neighborhood Alert on September 24th!

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HNAcommunityMeeting

Ask the Lender this Friday!

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Ruthchaya

Staying Close!

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HomeIsNear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Thing at a Time, Caveman!

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The wenchy wife of our “He Said, She Said” duo is constantly getting on the Caveman’s case about finishing one project before starting another.NoProjectLeftUndone