Cliff and I are both on health kicks, what with the advent of a new year and a potential bicycle trip in Italy in June. (I refuse to wear spandex shorts without dropping some serious lbs.!)
As such, bread, pasta and rice have regretfully, been eliminated from our diets, replaced by healthier habits we should have adopted long ago (like fruits and vegetables). Honestly, my system doesn't know what to make of it.
What? No cookies? No ice cream? No Sugar!?! (Sorry. No.)
Cliff has taken his commitment a step further and is back to running the steps at Joaquin Miller Park at the crack of dawn with our dog, Riley. Riley, as dopey as he is, has better sense than to run those gnarly, uneven stairs in the dark; Cliff, not so much.
Instead, Riley joyfully bounces through the underbrush, beneath the redwood trees, looking for squirrels, oblivious to Cliff's daily huffing and puffing challenge. It's a partnership that works well, with each seeking their own form of exercise and fun - UNTIL LAST MONDAY!
On Monday, before dawn, Riley met another kind of challenge - a SKUNK(!) and lost the battle rather quickly (his curiosity got the best of him), which meant that even after enduring the hydrogen-peroxide/baking soda bath we researched online, I've been washing towels and bedspreads ever since. (Correction, his curiosity got the best of ME.) Even my college-age son was forced to run his sheets and blankets through the washer. (There's hope for him yet.) Pee Yew!
It's a good thing we really love our pup. Otherwise, Riley might have been shipped off to a new home, but one look at that smiling face and what was I to do? Life is constantly full of hiccups. On the scale of what's truly a "challenge" and what's really an "inconvenience," I'll gratefully put this smelly confrontation in the latter category.
Which is to say that while the stock market rises and falls, while the federal government remains at an unreasonable impasse, while people all over the world are seeking safe harbors (and being criminalized for doing so) there are those closer to home, who are without paychecks and wondering how to pay for groceries, let alone their mortgage. Not to mention the daily barrage of doom and gloom broadcast 24/7 with respect to the world at large, and more than a fair share of speculation that the real estate market may have softened and will now correct. In short, it all feels rather "uncertain." (Has there ever been a time when the future WAS "certain?" )
Amid all this stink, came a ray of light with the announcement that interest rates took a dip earlier this week and are at their lowest point in nine months, which makes NOW an opportune time to buy OR to refinance your home. (I'm filling out the paperwork as we speak). Moreover, the early listings that have already hit the marketplace have had Buyers lining up in droves to compete for these opportunities (in the pouring rain no less).
Whatever is going on at the macro-level, the "uncertainty" hasn't yet affected the East Bay marketplace to a definitive degree. Nor does it negate the fact that the East Bay has too little supply to meet current demand, that our residents are among the highest-paid and best-educated employees in the world, that several well known IPO's are looming large, that our year-round weather is unbeatable (uh, maybe not this week), that homeownership remains the ultimate dream for many Americans, and that interest rates are still historically low by comparison. (Which isn't to say that it won't change, but that it hasn't yet.)
So what's the moral of the story?
Despite our desire to keep things always smelling sweet, life happens: babies are born, people change jobs, kids go off to college, our loved ones pass on, (dogs run into skunks!), and so it goes . . . .
So with that in mind, when is the best time to buy or sell a home?
Simply put, the best time to buy is when it makes sense for you to do so, irrespective of what else is taking place. Conversely, the best time to sell is when the sale of your property produces a solution that allows you to move on to the next chapter of whatever your remarkable life story is - or is about - to become! (Now how's that for sweet?)
Whenever you decide to make a shift, I'm here to be of service.
How can I help you?
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.