Real Estate Matchmaking - On Both Sides of the Rainbow Tunnel

Do you talk to Strangers? Can you afford not to?

Do you talk to Strangers? Can you afford not to?

Do you talk to Strangers? Can you afford not to? When I was a kid, I was painfully shy and not the terrified of public speaking or asking questions in class but the level of shyness where I couldn’t call information and ask for a phone number (and that other stuff too).  I’m talking extreme debilitating shyness. The thought of talking to strangers made me want to throw up or hide or both. I eventually grew out of it with the help of team sports and a series of jobs that boosted my confidence and forced me to break out of my comfort bubble. I thought everyone else understood the world and how it worked but soon realized that “Fake it till you make it” was the norm. Life is a process not a destination. What fun would it be to start at the end with all the answers? With my improved confidence I also found my voice and was able to speak up and speak out and for those who know me don’t believe I was ever unable to speak my mind. Opportunities are everywhere if you are open to finding them. Life is short and consists of a series of moments and every moment we have to make decisions. In a blink, a hesitation you can watch an opportunity walk away. Speak Up! Take chances! Talking to strangers has become less creepy, more acceptable with the injection of Social Media. Social media has given us a truly global world and allows us to interact with strangers all over the globe which in turn creates a dialogue and...

San Francisco Schools – Navigating the Enrollment Maze

San Francisco Schools – Navigating the Enrollment Maze It may not be a four letter word but it may as well be – Enrollment! Every couple in every tax bracket in San Francisco from the day of conception (possibly before) stresses about schools. Every parent just wants their child to be in an environment where they can flourish and be happy. Your pregnant? Congratulations,  “Have you started touring pre-schools”? “Do you know where you want your child to go”? Really? I am still getting use to the fact that there is a person in my stomach! Relax, turns out there is a pre-school for every child and while it is a nerve racking experience we all figure it out. Now that your child is happily learning how to paint, interact with other kids and poop in the potty the second phase of fear kicks in – Kindergarten! Public or Private? Immersion program or alternative? K-5 or K-8? Research, tours, financial aid, and the application process. You may find yourself wondering, is this kindergarten or college? The process is very similar except your child doesn’t have to write an essay. The reality is that the public school system in San Francisco is challenging and in my opinion broken. Many families that can swing it opt for private school and avoid the enrollment process. The rest of us do the tours and fill out the applications and hope for the best and if we don’t get the best, fight for those coveted spots in the “good schools” The process Research public and private school options Tour the campuses of schools you...

First Time Home Buyers – Experts Agree! The Time to Buy is NOW!

First Time Home Buyers – Experts Agree! The Time to Buy is NOW! Rent or own? An ongoing debate in our ever-changing Real Estate Market. During the recent boom that ended in a devastating explosion, more people opted for owning vs renting without crunching the numbers or looking at the bigger long term picture. If you were thinking to yourself after you were pre-approved for that no-down-payment-interest only-adjustable rate loan, “This seems to good to be true”, I am sure by know you have discovered that it was. Times have changed. Buyers actually have to qualify for a loan and prove silly things like income, savings, credit stability. What a concept! Shame on you, loan institutions. So when considering a rent vs own scenario each prospective buyer needs to evaluate their own individual situation and decide what makes the most sense for them. While loans may be more difficult to obtain, prices have adjusted to a more reasonable level and interest rates remain crazy low. In this article from the KCM Blog “Even-the naysayers-are-saying-to-buy-now” After studying the rent vs buy debate, analyzing the numbers, benefits and challenges they agree, NOW is a great time to buy! In a recent survey focused on  Echo Boomers by the Urban Land Institute, they discovered home ownership remains a priority in this new generation  “more than 70 percent expect to own a home by the time they reach their early thirties. Sixty-seven percent of all the respondents expect to own homes by 2015. Seventy-three percent of those at least 25 years of age and 78 percent of those aged 30 to 32 anticipate...

Buying a Home In Marin – Broker’s on Tour

Buying a Home In Marin – Broker’s on Tour Thursday in central Marin County between 10:30-2 the streets are filled with Realtor cars rushing around to see all the new listed homes for sale. The concept of Broker’s Tour is brilliant.  I have seen agents tour a home in 30 seconds and fit in 20+ homes in 7 cities in the 3 hour window. Buyers approach the home viewing process completely different.  They need to spend time in the home. Will I be comfortable here? Will my couch fit? Where will I put my big screen TV and wonder, Will my clothes will fit in the closet. Brokers tour on the other hand is a whirlwind. With only 3-31/2 hours we try to see as many homes as possible. Fly through as the checklist of our clients needs get ticked off in our heads and grabbing plates of Comforts Chinese Chicken Salad and bottles of water as we run out the door. Today in San Rafael alone there were 53 homes on tour. We saw 3 in San Rafael – 135 H Street, San Rafael CA 94901; 109 Trellis, San Rafael, CA 94901 and a super secret not-yet-on-the-market listing. Looking for a remodeled home with old world charm and character? H Street,  previously on the market and sold in November of 2010 for $620,000, is a great find. The buyer took a Spanish style 1937 home in pretty original condition and brilliantly updated it without completing ruining the character of the home.             Above, the before kitchen. Closed off from the rest of the...

Why Should I use a Realtor to Buy My First Home?

Should I use a Realtor to Buy My First Home? It’s true, any idiot can get a Real Estate license in California.  It may just be the easiest license to get. If you can pay for the classes and pass the test you are golden. There are a few more steps but bottom line is it’s not brain surgery! It doesn’t even require a college degree. So why are Realtors crucial and necessary for the home buying and selling process? Honestly, Realtors in the current market don’t just look at pretty houses and write simple offers anymore. A buyers agent acts as the liaison and expediter between the client, clients lender, the seller, sellers agent, inspectors and contractors. They sift through and pre-qualify properties for their clients and view the history, check sellers tax and loan info and have access to confidential comments only available on the subscription level of the MLS (multiple listing service). Realtors have to keep up on all the new laws and disclosure requirements instituted by the government bodies, changes in Short sale and REO transactions and have a basic understanding of the lending environment Realtors spend a huge chunk of their time keeping up on their market by previewing homes at brokers tours, studying market statistics, networking with colleagues and vendors and tracking news and industry updates and changes. All so they can best serve the needs of their clients.   An effective Realtor in today’s market is more than just someone to drive you around to view homes and write offers. They are your go-to expert for information, referrals for service providers, and...