Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you find time to celebrate the occasion with someone you love, OR use the opportunity to reach out to a long-lost friend, OR perform a good deed, OR decorate your home with a cheerful bunch of tulips (skip the hot-house roses), OR walk the dog, OR just take a moment to be kind to yourself. From where I sit, Valentine's isn't just for lovers, it's for all of us . . . so embrace the day and celebrate the love!
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, today's topic is ALL about love; specifically, how to get MORE LOVE when it comes to Real Estate.
It's official; the daffodils are in bloom, the days are beginning to warm, and the Buyers have arrived en masse as was abundantly clear with our super-charming listing at 68 Oakmont Avenue in Piedmont we successfully traded earlier this week. If this Storybook home created the template for what lies ahead (25 disclosure requests, seven highly-competitive offers, and a RECORD-SETTING RESULT !!!), then the Spring Market promises to be VERY robust indeed.
With respect to our local market, Sarah and I invited several Compass colleagues to join us for coffee and cake at my home (because who doesn't love cake?) with the intention of sharing upcoming listings and inside information. Because my co-Agents agree that we work best in tandem, the gathering was well attended and I am pleased to report that there are more than two dozen terrific COMPASS Piedmont listings coming to the market in March, April, and May, at every price point! Our competitors will no doubt have their own listings, but if I were you, I wouldn't list my house without seriously considering a Compass Agent first.
Sunday marks the 54th Annual Super Bowl and this year's epic battle is between our own San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Like many of you, I'll be plopping down in front of the television come Sunday afternoon to watch not only the game, but the Super Bowl commercials as well. As an added bonus, Jennifer Lopez and Shikira are slated to be among the half-time performers so it's sure to be a dynamic and entertaining afternoon.
(Please note that most Open Houses will START AND END EARLY to accommodate Sunday's Super Bowl game.)
Meanwhile, Jill, Sarah and I are in the midst of our own Super "Bull" which consists of prepping several properties for market simultaneously. Because we are juggling several listings, we need every available minute. As soon as the Sellers move out and give us the green light, we move in . . . AND like the proverbial BULL in the China shop, we're not exactly delicate.
There's no doubt that moving creates incredible stress. And let's just be frank, the longer we've been in our homes, the tougher it becomes to make a move, not just physically, but emotionally as well. That's probably why I choose to move so frequently; I don't want to be overly attached to my home, OR to the things in it. (People, yes. Possessions, no.)
I should preface this story by explaining that I'm the girl who didn't keep her wedding dress, who didn't save my children's soccer trophies, and who, when these same boys were heading off to college, handed them a single, solitary storage box and said, "If it's important to you, keep it. If not, I'm giving it to Good Will!" But that's just me . . . granted, you're likely to feel differently and no doubt, you are probably far more sentimental . . . and a much kinder person.
On Tuesday morning I took BART over to San Francisco with a couple of girlfriends for the Edible Excursion's Ferry Building Tour. This isn't my first food tour with this smart, dynamic company, nor will it be my last. The opportunity to walk, talk and eat, while learning a little bit about SF history (and meeting others from other countries) is a combination that makes for a near-perfect outing. What's more, few companies do it better than Edible Excursions. (Thank you, Tori, you were a wealth of knowledge!)
Our jaunt through the Ferry Building - once San Francisco's tallest landmark - provided ample opportunities for sampling the delectable fares that put each vendor on the map (quite literally), and as we progressed from storefront to storefront, I couldn't help but think about the characteristics each of these highly successful businesses share:
1) They are local.
2) They strive for excellence.
3) They focus on what they know.
During the holidays, I met my friend at Timeless Coffee on Piedmont Avenue to discuss whether or not he should buy a property in the Bay Area.
"I've got $70,000 in savings, but I don't want to spend it all in case I need it for an emergency," he said. "I know that's not a lot. Can I buy a house?"
"That depends," I said. "Where do you want to live?"
In other words, how far down highway 80 will you go? How far out-of-state?
This hopeful Buyer is not alone. Two days later his inquiry was followed up by a random phone call from a young man with a thick southern accent: "My fiancee and I qualify for a $125,000 loan and are having trouble finding a Realtor. Can you help us?" (No, I can't.)
It's a new day, a new month and a new year and from where I sit, it's going to be an incredibly active 2020. Even though I managed to take a few days off to be with family during the holidays (I hope you did as well.) Jill, Sarah, and I also met with several Sellers to sign listing agreements and set marketing calendars for the weeks and months ahead.
As an aside, Agents usually need 3-4 weeks to bring a house to market, so NOW is not too soon to reach out if you are thinking of selling this Spring, or even further down the road. In fact, savvy Sellers contacted us last Fall, providing a running start, which in turn, allowed them additional time to begin the process of purging and packing (no easy feat). In short, the sooner, the better for everyone involved.
Even so, if this wasn't you, and you ARE interested in selling your home this calendar year, we're here to help you manage the process and achieve your goal.
We're counting down to December 25, and as the eight days of Chanukah happily coincide with Christmas this year, my family will likely pair fried latkes with prime rib in celebration. (It may not be kosher, but it's tasty.)
Because I didn't join my husband's tribe until my mid-thirties (a decade after our sons had been born) our holidays are a blend of Cliff's Chanukah traditions and my secular ones. (Santa Claus loomed large in my parent's household.) These blended traditions include good food, holiday lights, and calorie-laden sweets; the kind you only make and look forward to once a year. In a household filled with both menorahs and stockings (hung by the chimney with care), the holidays, for us, have primarily evolved into an opportunity to spend time together, irrespective of what else is going on.
It’s the holiday season so visions of sugar plum fairies are dancing across the TV announcing the Nutcracker as one of the season’s brightest traditions. With all due respect, that depends on your traditions . . . .
Years ago I took my son, Case, to see the Nutcracker Ballet in San Francisco. As I'd had a short-lived career onstage, I was certain that when I became a mother, my kids were going to speak a foreign language, play a musical instrument, and love theater! So when complimentary tickets for front-row seats fell into my lap for the highly-respected SF Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker, I eagerly jumped at the chance to take Case to his first live show; one that didn't involve a creepy 6-foot-tall, purple dinosaur or a 3-ring circus.
Last week, before retiring to the bedroom to binge watch The Crown, Netflix required me to reset my password prior to signing in. (I hate the world of passwords.) No sooner had I typed in the new code, then my cell phone rang. Shock and dismay . . . it was my son, Tristan, on the line.
"Hey Ma, Netflix just locked me out. Did you change the password by any chance?
(Wow. Hello to you too.)
I should preface this story by saying that a live chat (remote or otherwise) with either of my sons is rare. Unlike my twin sister's daughters, who phone their mother almost daily to regale her with stories of their colorful lives (or to talk about shoes???), my boys call so infrequently, I begin to wonder if they ARE still alive. (They are, they're just not phoning to let me know.) And while I hate to admit it, about half the time they're not responding to my text messages either. Buehler? Buehler? Buehler?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.