"Hey Julie," my client said giving me a big smile and a hug while whipping out his phone and showing me the photos of his gorgeous, new master bathroom while simultaneously admiring the house I was hosting, "This house looks great; you should have no problem selling it. Where do you think it's going to go? (Higher, hopefully.)
And then came the question he really wanted to ask . . . "So what's my house worth now?" (The correct answer is "MORE!")
Aside from showing off a home to its best advantage, Weekend Open Houses provide the opportunity to meet the neighbors, to introduce myself to potential new Buyers and Sellers, to pass out cookies, and to entertain those who are just curious. (Everyone is welcome.) All in all, it's not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Reconnecting with past clients who are happy in their homes is the cherry-on-top of the Sundae (or should I say Sunday?). Honestly, besides witnessing my own children take flight, what could be more rewarding than watching these families thrive in houses I helped them successfully purchase? (Almost nothing.)
"So what's my house worth?"
My neighbor has a pot problem. I’m not talking about marijuana (what you do with your free time is your business), I’m talking about the small terra-cotta clay pots that seem to multiply and line his pathways, nose up against the fence line, and creep down the sidewalk as if they were reproducing on their own . . . like hermaphrodites. (They’re not.) I'm no therapist, but this man is clearly addicted to pots. ’(I'm wondering if there's a 12-step program for that?) I'm guessing he’s the guy that can’t pass up the “FREE” sign when neatniks (as opposed to beatniks) set these often-neglected plants on the curb.
Don’t get me wrong, pots have a place in this world, although I’m not sure it’s on the city sidewalks where every manner of pathetic geranium and common weed has taken root. I'll be the first to admit that placed strategically on a deck or patio, a kitchen counter or a front porch, potted plants can fill in the missing landscape, provide a pleasing place for the eye to land, and add a living element to the scenery quite beautifully. In fact, all things considered, I'm decidedly pro-pot! (That's not a political statement; it's a pragmatic one.)
After weeks of lukewarm drinks, the repairman finally showed up last week and replaced the ice maker in our freezer. The iceman cometh! I can't begin to say how happy that makes me (but VERY!) and I'm so grateful for this small, but significant improvement (ice is my thing). Since I'm a gal that drinks ice tea throughout the day, obviously, that requires ICE and LOTS OF IT!
Now that this long-overdue repair is off of my "To Do" list, I can begin to tackle the other things that tend to pop up every fall. I'm guessing that for many of you these tasks will ring a bell as well.
I spent last Wednesday afternoon at the Oakland DMV applying for a REAL ID card and California Driver's License - the WHOLE AFTERNOON! (DMV is the great equalizer; no matter who you are, it's gonna be a s**t show.) Even with an appointment, I waited in line behind a slew of others who, not surprisingly, had also booked their appointments weeks in advance. As my license had officially expired on my birthday in July, I spent the past six weeks hoping I wouldn't be pulled over, driving on borrowed time. (That's never a good thing.)
Luckily, I wasn't stopped (although I was denied a rental vehicle) and I've now got a "temporary license" in my glove compartment until the new ID arrives. BTW, getting a "REAL ID" requires you to jump through more hoops than securing a home loan (well, almost) but at least now I should qualify for the "TSA PRE" line at the airport, right?
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.