Cliff and I have been up in Tahoe this week enjoying a little R&R in Sarah's sweet little cabin in Homewood (If you can't afford your own vacation property, having friends who are willing to lend you theirs is the next best thing.) It's been a week of hiking, reading, and barbecuing while we do our best to avoid the crowds (and it's crowded in Tahoe). On the heels of a Spring Market that unexpectedly turned the volume way, WAY UP (!!!), I was ready for some down time; in fact, I was overdue (just ask Jill.)
Last week, Jill and I turned 60. This wouldn't have been so bad except that we were supposed to be in Portugal celebrating this milestone together at a beautiful seaside town in a charming Airbnb. (Non-refundable.) While it's no fun having to sideline our highly-anticipated plans, we're hardly alone; almost everyone in the U.S. is in the same boat. We're ALL stuck at home and not going anywhere anytime too soon. (Bummer.)
It's happened to every Agent I know. You show up to your newest listing expecting to be awed and amazed, only to walk in to find that the stager your Seller insisted on hiring (because they were less expensive) has done an absolutely terrible job of "setting the stage." Instead of elevating the property, the design looks cheap. (Think of these staging missteps as the Real Estate equivalent of "Botched.")
Speaking to a well-respected colleague on this topic, he said "I'd rather sell a house empty, than sell it with bad staging. If staging is meant to tell the story, what does 'tacky' say?"
Yesterday, YELP sent me an email advertising the "10 best donut shops in San Francisco." That's all fine and dandy, but as I live in the East Bay, the only stop I make for these delicious treats is Colonial Donuts in Montclair or on Lakeshore Blvd. It's a guilty and fattening pleasure to be sure (no judgement), but it's also a nostalgic one for me as well.
Growing up in Sacramento, our house was just a short walk to Marie's Donuts on Freeport Blvd. "Home of the 6-cent Donut!" their signs proudly proclaimed and as my father could never resist a good bargain, he would often hand us a crisp dollar bill on Sunday mornings and Jill and I would race to the stand for a dozen mouth-watering glazed donuts and dutifully bring back 28 cents in change. (Maple bars were 15 cents and if you wanted to splurge on one of those, you had to spend your own dimes. Harry counted the change.) The trick was trying not to open the sweet-smelling bag before we got home.
Happy Fourth of July. This will certainly be one for the history books: no parade, no picnics, no block parties, no barbecues, no music in the park, no fun! The chairs are noticeably absent along Highland Avenue, but there are still decorations to be found around town in red, white, and blue. (Thank you; your homes look great and they're a reminder that we're sacrificing for the American ideal, aren't we?!?)
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.