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!

Why we MUST do business locally!

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 found 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 for the full infographic. Please feel free to re-post and distribute this widely!

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!

 

 

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

Dating, Engagement, Marriage: The Stages of Home-Buying

What’s Next?

  • The Home Search is the same as “Dating”. We know what we want in a home/partner and we know we must “have the goods” to get what we want.
  •  “The Engagement” happens after we make an offer on a home and the offer is accepted. Tread carefully during this period of time. This is when you look for flaws and deal-breakers so you’ll have time to bail out without penalty.
  • “The Marriage”: You’ve closed the purchase and are the official owner of the property. (Here’s where I start snickering.) If you try to get rid of it now, everyone will be wondering “What’s wrong with it?”

Many of us know what happens after marriage.

Weight-gain, lax grooming, fading colors, neglect. After buying a home, the same stages of post-courtship decline can happen before we know it.

We trim less and become visibly unruly. The leaves fade and are missing the luster and color applied before. The landscaping fits a bit tighter as the fabric of neglected greenery expands. We become fat and lazy!

You start coming home later…

You know how it goes within a marriage. You think what’s-her-name isn’t going anywhere so you become sloppy. You leave the toilet seat up. You buy Lucky Charms instead of bran cereal. You fail to be her hero by killing spiders. You fail to allow her to pluck your eyebrows when you start looking like Fu Manchu. You wait until he gets back into the room and point out that the dog barfed so he’s stuck cleaning it up.

(NOTE: I’m guilty of the last sentence above as of just this morning.)

The lights are on but no one is home…

This is why it’s important to generate reasons to spruce up. If you’re concerned about whether or not people think you’re a slob, invite them over for a party! This will give you incentive to shed a few lbs. of that fluffiness, plant tulips, etc. Make everyone want to be on the arm of the best-looking, best-maintained house on the block, even after being “married to it” for many years!

Finally, know if you’re ready for a commitment in the first place!
This photo was taken when I visited my family in Iowa last year.

 

What’s the difference between eggs and bacon?

The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.

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…

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 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…

Tired of Hearing It…

baby boomers reality

I’m married to an old fart.

Not just any old fart. A real, live, vibrant, ambitious old fart.

So when he talks about retirement and moving to a quieter place, I get irritated.

Why? It’s because I’m nowhere near retirement. In fact, I sense that as I get closer to what’s considered “retirement age”, I will likely be bored with the typical things I believe “retired” people do.

I’m sure my readers will correct me, but when I think of retired people, I think of my grandparents.

Grandmothers, in particular. Both grandmothers, as they aged, “entertained” me with stories of woe and all the ailments they bragged about. When it got to the point of another retired person also joining in on the conversation, it became a competition for who had the worse ailment and who stuck it out in the hospital the longest.

Naturally, the only way I could endure the conversation was if it put myself in a meditative state, where my mind was calm and at rest,  when I forced myself to be thankful for my health and youth.

Then I think again. I can’t stand the traffic or the lack of manners of people these days. I love staying at home, avoiding crowds and stinky, rude people.

Maybe there’s something to retirement, or at the very least, being married to a retired person. (As long as he doesn’t pester me to also retire.) We can golf, travel, take up hobbies…

… wait a minute. I’m getting annoyed again, this time with myself.

I love my work. I love the real estate business and our Clients. I love the community in which I live and work and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I love our home and our dogs and I also, surprisingly, love the fact that my husband won’t really “retire”.

I’d miss him.

 

Don’t Make Yourself a Victim!

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…

Feng Shui: “Wealth and Prosperity”

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…

 

Storybook Home Wedding Reception

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?

The Inspiration Behind Home Improvement: FRIENDSHIP

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

Nearly four years ago, the caveman part of this duo and I got married in a simple private ceremony in our front courtyard right at home. We had a great local Beatles cover band Fab Fever on our lower back deck, where the hot tub once was. Today, that area is landscaped with pea gravel and stepping stones with water-saving shrubbery and a new fence surrounding the entire lower level deck. A perfect place for a DJ set-up!

Fast-forwarding several years to this week, we find ourselves excitedly fixing up the house for our friends Allison and Michael. They will be celebrating their wedding reception at our home with a Batman theme laced with pink. So, as I type this, the landscapers are at our home planting pink flowers in the courtyard. I hope Allison likes them.

It is friends like Allison and Michael that make living worthwhile. Because of them being our inspiration, our butts are in gear this past year to make the house as beautiful as possible. New paint, new driveway, new landscaping, freshly stained deck, new fence, new roof, new ambiance! Now to make that call to the house cleaners, window washers and pressure washers at Guss Service Agency…

We look forward to Batman and Cat-woman’s wedding reception this weekend!

You “Art” Where You “Live”

There’s that old saying that we “are what we eat”, and our homes also say a lot about us as individuals. The owners of this home are warm, creative and have quite a “zen” energy around them. There is an immediate feeling of peace when you walk inside their home. Stop by our OPEN HOUSE this Wednesday August 20th from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and see for yourself! CLICK HERE for more photos and property details.

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21629 Foothill Blvd., near Downtown Hayward

Home Wedding Spurs Home Improvement

Allison and michaelMeet Allison McManus and Michael Coleman! Later this month, this wonderful couple will enter into wedded bliss before tromping off to their honeymoon.

As a result of our friendship with Allison and Michael, we offered to have their wedding reception at our home, where we got married 4 years ago.

As a way to push us to make improvements and beautify our home, we used Allison and Michael’s wedding date as a deadline for doing a whole litany of home improvements so as not to embarrass ourselves with a deteriorating yet charming old 1926 house. What we’ve done so far includes:

new tile floor

-new roof

-exterior paint

-interior paint

new driveway with paver bricks

-replacement of board on the back deck

-landscaping

In the next 2 weeks, we’ll be putting the pedal to the metal by having window washers, landscapers and pressure washers come out and put on the final touches to be ready for Allison and Michael’s Batman-themed wedding. It will be FUN!

 

“Pre-Hab” is a Growing Fad: You Heard it Here First?

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

For savvy and very busy sellers, hiring a “pre-hab” consultant or architect is wise. In recent months, two of our sellers’ listings enjoyed the services of a “pre-hab consultant”. The pre-hab consultant offered services ranging from simply providing a list of recommended items to fix, replace, or restore all the way to the full service option of managing contractors for a full top-to-bottom home “pre-hab”.

Yes! It IS a made-up term! The concept of “pre-habbing” is similar to getting dressed up for a party. We clean up, put on our best clothing, accessorize, accentuate our best attributes and GO. Sometimes we do it ourselves; others of us have an entourage helping us look our best and attract attention and suitors.

Our current Rolling Ridge listing is an example of a home that was “pre-habbed” at the behest of a savvy seller. We had other such sellers in recent months who hired the same “pre-hab architect”, as I like to call her. Between her, our photographer and our own “Art Director” skills, we put on a show when we list properties for sale.

I have to say, we thoroughly enjoy working with folks who take their craft seriously. Our photographer Lory Hawley and pre-hab architect Musette Profant make us and our listings look good in the eyes of our seller clients. We are lucky to surround ourselves with wonderful team members. They are kind, they are diligent, they are trus artists and they are FUN.

After all, if it isn’t fun, why bother?

 

 

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