A Walk in the Park?
I'd be lying if I told you that every transaction we undertake is a walk in the park (it's not), especially in light of last week's startling events regarding Silicon Valley Bank, followed closely by the run on Credit Suisse on Tuesday.
While we wait to see if these institutional failures are just the tip of the iceberg OR if there are more dominoes to fall, there's no denying the sense of shock and concern many of us are feeling.
Here Comes MORE Rain
Looks like MORE rain is on the horizon; get ready for the next atmospheric river. It's officially the Spring market and surprisingly, it's both more robust and soggier than we'd anticipated. As of today, 12 properties in Piedmont have either closed or are pending sale, which is down from the same period last year when 19 properties had traded ownership as of mid-March.
It's 6:15 am and I'll admit I'm more than a little nervous. I've tossed and turned throughout the night and I'm definitely suffering from high anxiety, followed closely by fear.
This morning, I head into the second surgery of a multi-part dental saga. Three months ago, Dr. MacDonald, a gifted oral surgeon in Oakland, extracted a molar that had suffered a failed root canal and was beyond saving, and now that the tissue has healed, phase two involves inserting a titanium screw into the bone. Once that fuses, there's a third procedure and, finally, I'll return to my primary dentist for an implant which will be secured by the aforementioned screw. (Who knew such hardware could cost a small fortune?) Once done, my smile will supposedly be restored to its former glory (be that as it may).
If You Give a Moose a Muffin
"The boys and I are having a great time in Patagonia," Cliff's text message said. "Everything we've seen has been incredible."
I wish I could say the same.
Closer to home, our kitchen "tweak" has mushroomed into a much larger project than I originally anticipated . . . .
"We're relocating from New York," the gentleman said. "Our friend suggested we look in Piedmont. Can you tell us anything about it?"
Uhhhh, yeah I can . . .
At which point I proceeded to recite a fair number of facts and figures about Piedmont: the number of residences in town, how many properties are typically for sale at any given time, and the current market activity. We spoke about the public schools and the excellent after-school programs, about the social services here in town, about Piedmont's police and fire departments, about the new aquatic center currently under construction, about movie nights in the park; about the Harvest Festival, and about Camp Augusta (just to name a few . . . ).
Would you Mind?
"I'm sorry," I said in my nicest Realtor voice, "but would you mind tying your dog up outside?"
At which point, the offended gentleman picked up his wet dog, ignored my request, stepped inside, and proceeded to march through the house holding his animal like a newborn baby. (Really?)
Positive Headwinds in the Air
I don't often plagiarize other people's points of view, but this week we received such positive news from our COMPASS founder (and Berkeley native) Robert Refkin, that I thought it worth passing along . . . .
Take it away Robert:
"Last week I was on CNBC’s "Closing Bell" to share my outlook on the real estate market and the initial positive signs we are seeing in 2023 (click here to watch the full segment). For the first time in 10 months, all of the statistics I looked at are trending positively and I wanted to share them with you here . . .
You Reap What You Sow
"Your column this morning resonated with me," a colleague said. "My daughter gave me her lovely Restoration Hardware sofa, which then made everything else in the room look old and worn . . . so now I've had to update the den, paint the walls, and buy a new rug." (You're preaching to the choir.)
Hey, I'm just glad to know I'm not alone. (Turns out, there are lots of us home-centric addicts in need of a 12-step program.)
"You're doing WHAT?" my husband, Cliff, asked, his patience clearly tested.
"My clients have offered me their 60" double oven Wolfe Range at a bargain rate," I said, pleased with my "find." "Our kitchen has always NEEDED a second oven," I added, "and now we have the opportunity to finally "get it right.'"
Of course, "getting it right" isn't quite as easy as I make it sound.
Accommodating a much larger range means removing a bank of drawers and relocating the microwave. Additionally, I'll be eliminating overhead cabinets for the 60" hood (included in the sale), and retiling the backsplash as well (a slight miss from the get-go). And I've added pantry-depth cabinets on the opposite wall to house the items that will need a new home. But why stop there? I've had a custom butcher block extension built for the island, AND because the island has grown considerably, I've had to replace the current lighting with three large pendants to anchor the room. (They look AMAZING.)
Yes, Alice, I've fallen down the rabbit hole . . .
Tuesday marked the first COMPASS meeting of the new year, so in spite of the torrential rain, hail storms, and frightening thunder, a friendly and familiar group of Realtors® came together at the Berkley office to discuss the market and the coming year . . . (Spoiler alert: none of us knows what's going to happen.)
As it'd been several weeks since we saw one another, we also talked about the holidays and how we'd spent the time off??? As many of my colleagues read "The Perspective," I was greeted with inquiries of "How was Egypt?" (Egypt was fascinating, thank you very much.)
But if I'm being completely honest, after the third or fourth ruin, I'd come to the conclusion that the pharaohs must all have worked with the same designer . . . turns out the pyramids were the track homes of the Ptolemaic Period. (Who knew?)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.