The Zalamea Family

Zalamea family photoDo you know of anyone who might have a home to sell to this lovely family? Meet the Zalameas!

They’d love a 4-bedroom home with at least one bedroom and full bathroom on the main level.

Contact us if you or someone you know has a home that might be of interest to Ed and Mary Ann for their family!

Artist Reception at Realty World Neighbors

IMG_2606[1]Hosted by the May & Jones Group

YOU’RE INVITED! Castro Valley resident Tracy Vinzant’s Artist Reception with her beach-scapes and luau-inspired artwork! Join us on Saturday March 12th from 1-3 p.m. at:

Realty World Neighbors Art Gallery at 22392 Foothill Blvd.

Downtown Hayward

The chosen theme is in recognition of the Rotary Club of F.U.N. Sunset’s Luau Fundraiser with the proceeds benefiting several of our favorite charities, including the Hayward Animal Shelter, Magnolia Women’s Recovery Inc. and Timelist.

Out of the Closet

Greg Jones during our remodel
Greg Jones during our own remodel

Here’s a real dialog that took place last month:

Homeowner’s question:

Good Afternoon;

So, I have a question on a remodel we are finalizing the plans for. We are working with an architect. Just to refresh your memories; our home is approx. 1200 sq.ft. with 3 small bedrooms and one remodeled bathroom and a remodeled kitchen we finished last year.
We are doing two things; enlarging our bedroom by adding a bathroom that will use the current closet plus a few feet into the bedroom, and add  8 ft. on the side that faces the front yard. That side will have a door that opens to a walled patio.
The second project is an addition; a 16 x 11 dining room off the back of the house.
We are currently submitting our plans to a structural engineer. We have shown our preliminary ideas to the planning dept. and (were given) the go a head to proceed to the next steps.
We have a couple of questions. The expanded bedroom will need closets, since the current one will become the new bathroom, and our contractor says that for a bedroom to be called a bedroom it has to have built-in closets. Is this true? We are trying to figure out how best to add closet space and are wondering if modular free standing closets are a reasonable idea, or if we should build in closets as part of the wall. Do either choice effect the value of our home?
We are also wondering if investing $80-100K in these two projects makes financial sense, given the fact that so far, our neighborhood is still looking like a blue collar area, though most of the Cal Trans rental properties have been purchased, rehabbed and put back on the market in the $500K plus price range over this last year.
Our own cash investment in our home has been very small; we paid $185k two years ago, and the down payment was paid by the CalTrans Stipend. We re-financed a year after purchase and pulled some of the new equity out to remodel the kitchen.
Our thinking is, since we paid so little for the house (really below market at the time) we have a lot of “head room” in which to invest for improvements, without exceeding our equity.
So… in your opinion, does it make sense to invest $100k plus (needs major hardscaping and landscaping when the building is complete) if we plan on being here at least 5 years?

We love the land our house is on;  a huge backyard that borders Hayward regional park trails in the canyon below, and that feels very private and almost rural.

So, those are our questions.

Thanks,
L.

My answer:

Yes, you should have a built-in closet so that the room is considered a “bedroom”. This does affect the home’s marketability should you decide to eventually sell. When we remodeled our house in San Francisco years ago, we knocked out a bedroom closet to enlarge the bathroom. The market was so hot that we got a chunk of money for the home in addition to enjoying a gorgeous remodeled bathroom, but we could no longer tout that room without a closet as a “bedroom” anymore but instead, a “den”.
It does make sense to invest $100,000 if your enjoyment of the home over that five year period of time is worth the $20,000 per year or roughly $1,666 per month. Only you can decide this. There really is no price one can put on enjoying one’s home.
In any case, nobody knows what the market will be like in 5 years should you decide to sell or refinance, so it is impossible to say definitively whether or not it’s “worth it” financially.
I’m being careful with my answers so as not to mislead you while still being honest.
Hope this helps!
Anna May

Available Soon! Target Date: Jan. 26, 2016

lindenwood exterior photoALREADY IN CONTRACT: All cash contract with no contingencies scheduled to close in 6 days.
3-bedroom, 2-bathroom single-level home in the sought-after and well-established Southgate neighborhood on Lindenwood Way!
This home’s neighborhood popularity is due to its tree-lined streets, easy access to shopping, the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge, a neighborhood swim club, the mall and Chabot College a few blocks away, which is where A-list actor Tom Hanks attended.
 
Stay tuned for more information!

Light Up the Season event!

LUTS 2015The evening of Thursday December 3rd, our office Realty World Neighbors will be open from 5-7 p.m. for Light Up the Season festivities. RSVP HERE for our own “The Painter, the Poet, the Artisan” reception!

That evening, here’s what you can look forward to:

-local artist Jackie Arellano painting live in action animal portraits in our office’s “Art Gallery” where animal rescue-related artwork is on display

-local artisan Donna Jeffrey with her fuzzy handmade winter hats and scarves on display

-Dr. Marlena Uhrik’s book-signing for her Mom’s Choice Award winner, In Grandpa’s Hands along with “Take a Little Time—A  Keepsake Coloring Book”

-the Hayward Arts Council will be open across the hall

-the Hayward Area Historical Society will be open next door

-next door, Cannery Cafe will also be open for some goodies!

-pick up your “Passport to Downtown” and enter to win prizes!

At 7 p.m. sharp, we’ll close up and head to City Hall for the 7:30 p.m. tree-lighting ceremony!

While Their Peers Play, Allen & Rachel will INVEST

UPDATE AS OF DECEMBER 23rd: IN CONTRACT!

I love meeting young people who focus on “building” rather than “playing”. Allen & Rachel are 20-somethings who’ve made the decision to buy a home which is NOT in alignment with what their peers are doing. I’ve said this many times before:

We LOVE WORKING WITH SMART PEOPLE!

Rachel & Allen seek a home in the Hayward-San Leandro-Oakland areas under $600,000. Might you know of a home coming available that their little dog Rupert would like?

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Why Doing Business Locally MATTERS

Amazon_Infographic_1200px_headerAmazon is rapidly expanding its online empire, but behind the conveniences that the company offers are a lot of hidden costs. We put together an infographic to see how shopping at Amazon compares with shopping at local businesses in its impact on jobs, taxes, the local economy, and community. Before you click, here’s why your choice matters:

Jobs: Amazon creates less than half as many jobs as local brick-and-mortar stores do. This means the more Amazon grows and crowds out other businesses, the fewer jobs available.

Taxes: In most communities, Amazon has no facilities and therefore pays no property taxes.  In about half the states, it does not collect state and local sales taxes. Property and sales taxes are the main source of funds for our schools and public services.  If local businesses are squeezed out by Amazon, households will have to shoulder a higher tax burden.

Local Economy:  While local retailers are engines of economic activity, spending their revenue at a wide variety of other businesses in the community, Amazon merely extracts money, leaving little behind.

Click here to check out the full infographic. Please feel free to re-post and distribute this widely!

 

 

Want to live next to this? (Home Available Soon!)

Monika flier in JPG

UPDATE: This home is now available. CLICK HERE for property details.

We just listed a classy 3-bedroom home right next to Lake Don Castro. It will be available soon.

Would you like to live near outdoor recreation?

Don Castro Regional Park is a 101-acre urban oasis on the boundary between Hayward and Castro Valley. The clear waters of the swim lagoon are a favorite with central Alameda County residents.

The lake, San Lorenzo Creek Reservoir, is where fishing is available year round and hikers along the shore will discover a surprising wilderness in miniature, where turtles and frogs splash in the water, ducks rest in the reeds and raccoons and deer come down to drink at sunset. There is access to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, the Chabot to Garin trail and over five miles of trails in the Five Canyons Open Space. The adjacent lagoon is supplied with water and a large shallow area is roped off especially for children.

CLICK HERE for more information about Lake Don Castro.

Animal Lovers’ Artist Reception

Artist Jackie Arellano painting “Clover”, an adoptable dog at the Hayward Animal Shelter

“Animal Rescue; A True Humanitarian Endeavor”

When we save an animal’s life, we never quite realize how it salvages our own souls. Join Hayward Arts Council members Jackie Arellano and Ann Maloney-Mason as they show the beauty of their own souls through the eyes of their furry artwork.

This artist reception kicks off a season of charity events supporting animal rescue efforts leading up to Carnaval with the Hayward Arts Council (November 13th) and SantaCon Hayward 2015 (December 5th).

CLICK HERE to RSVP for the event held on Saturday November 7th from 1-3 p.m. at Realty World Neighbors’ Art Gallery in Downtown Hayward

A Family Affair in the Upper B Street Neighborhood

Beautiful family!

Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement signed: August 7th, 2015

In Contract: August 16th, 2015

CLOSED ESCROW under list price by $20,000: October 9, 2015 (closed in 59 days after we negotiated for the sewer lateral to be paid/repaired by the Seller)

Meet Mary & Hayes and their little one “S”, along with Mary’s parents.

This purchase happened because both Mary’s parents and Hayes’ parents helped them buy the home. Mom and Dad have their own place so the plan isn’t for them to crash the new pad any time soon.

This was a fun purchase for me to work, personally. It sure wasn’t the run-of-the-mill sale. There wasn’t a legal sewer connection and the sewer lateral had to be replaced. Plus, the property was purchased along with an adjacent lot and there were some easements to take into consideration, so it certainly wasn’t boring.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mary & Hayes and their positive attitude throughout the process. They are smart people and I always enjoy working with smarties! The sale took a bit longer than if there weren’t issues with the sewer connection, but with patience, everything turned out fine in the end.

Cheers to kids who make their parents proud enough to invest in them!

Client Testimonial:

“Anna is amazing. We were fortunate to find a house we liked pretty quickly, but then it took some doing to solve some problems with the house before it could close. She helped us through the whole process and helped us stay calm and be patient. She worked with the seller’s agent to let them know what needed to be fixed and kept us up to date on all the paper work we needed to do. I highly recommend Anna May. She’s efficient, thorough and friendly.”
-Hayes Morehouse

 

Meet Mary & Hayes, our Exclusive Buyer Clients!

We absolutely love working with smart Clients! We are pleased to announce that our Exclusive Buyer Clients Mary & Hayes are in contract to buy a home in the City of Hayward!  We are going through the due diligence part of the purchase contract now and are on the way to Mary & Hayes owning a home in the coveted Upper B Street neighborhood if all goes well with their inspections.

Stay tuned for updates!Hayes and Mary with Sylvan photo

4th Annual SantaCon Hayward 2015!

2014 SantaCon group photo croppedPlanning for SantaCon Hayward scheduled for Saturday December 5th, 2015 is well underway! So far the following sponsors have committed to participating with their generous donations to the Hayward Animal Shelter:

The World Famous Turf Club

The Bistro

Chalk It Up

Brews & Brats

Bijou Restaurant & Bar

Sponsorship opportunities are available NOW so don’t delay! Visit www.SantaConHayward.com for more information.

 

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.

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!