General Interest

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QLFPinsThere are lots of things I love about being a local Residential Realtor – mostly helping families realize their dreams in buying or selling the perfect home for now and into the future. But one of the things that lured me to residential from Corporate Real Estate ten years ago, was the chance to get a peek inside some of our Valley’s most spectacular homes.

Every Tuesday (LaMorinda & Walnut Creek), Thursday (Alamo south to San Ramon) and Friday (Dublin and Pleasanton), I take an hour or so to “preview” or tour the new homes that have come to market. Some Realtors will only “tour” when they have a specific buyer looking for a specific property. But I have always held that I should see every house on the market, so I can speak intelligently when inevitably, someone at Safeway asks “Did you see that house…”, or “What did you think of the one on…” Or “Did that house on _________ REALLY sell for that much?!?”. I need to be able to answer intelligently.

So I try to see them all (and, weirdly, remember them all), but where I was going with this is that a couple of times a year – Holiday Home Tours and Spring Garden Tours, regular folks get the chance to peek behind the fence and see the spectacular landscaping and Garden Designs of homes right in their own neighborhoods.

And what’s really cool is that these events usually benefit wonderful, local causes that we can all wrap our arms around.

On Saturday May 3rd, you’ll have the chance to view some very special gardens all designed by our local and wonderful John Montgomery and John Montgomery Landscape Architects – Lucky YOU!! The Garden Tour and Fundraiser will feature five local homes and their very special gardens and landscapes. While the Garden tour will benefit several very worthy causes, I am focusing today on one.
The Quincy Lee Foundation.

Quincy-LeeQuincy was born March 1998. In October 2001 she suffered mysterious and increasing pain in her back and right arm. Diagnosed with stage IV pediatric cancer, her prognosis was poor. Quincy and her family spent the next three years at their home away from home, UCSF Children’s Hospital. Quincy’s wish was “I wish that all kids with cancer could be all better”, spoken as only a five year old could.

So the Quincy Lee Foundation was established to help make little Quincy’s wish come true, embracing the old Chinese Proverb:

If you plant for a year, grow rice
If you plan for a decade, grow trees
If you plant for a century,
Grow educated men and woman

QLF-LogoThe Quincy Lee Foundation set out to “grow educated men and woman” by creating a fellowship chair at UCSF, so that forever, this position would support the best research possible for Pediatric Cancer.

So while Quincy’s family’s “home away from home” was UCSF, and our home is right here snuggled in our valley, please take time to participate in the Garden Tour Saturday, May 3rd from 11:00 – 4:00.

Buy your tickets here www.QuincyLee.org (scroll to the bottom of the page), or start the tour at 217 Fieldcrest Court in Danville. Each house will have a special raffle prize to win with purchase of raffle tickets – all benefiting the Quincy Lee Foundation.

So Lucky Me I get to see beautiful Homes and Gardens every week (ok, some not so lovely…but that is another article!), and Lucky YOU, you get to see five very special gardens on May 3rd, and help keep Quincy’s Quest that “I wish all kids with cancer could be all better”, alive!

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We’ve been talking a lot for the last several months about how housing inventory is crazy low. Because I live in Alamo, I check Alamo inventory every morning as I wake up to my morning coffee. Padding out to my home office in my jammies and slippers, I’ve seen the number of ACTIVE homes in Alamo shrink from a Spring Normal of about 180 Active properties to a pathetic 41. In early “Sprinter” (that time of year the rest of the country calls Winter, but I’ve always felt like it was Spring here, January, February and early March), inventory actually dropped into the 20s – an all time low of 28 homes for sale in Alamo. 28!! Of our approximately 4200 roof tops – that’s less than ½ of ½ a percent. YIKES!

And it was the same in Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Orinda and every other community in our Tri-Valley area. Inventory is BAD. I have many clients who are ready to sell, want to sell, know they will get a great price for their home…but, where will they go? If they got seven offers on their house, what’s going to keep them from being one of seven offers on their buy-up or buy-down house? Nothing, I have to tell them. It’s just that kind of market.

And rentals are scary crazy too – not only are there not very many of them, they have gotten VERY expensive because of the – you guessed it – lack of inventory. Economics 101 – supply and demand.

So when the Mom of a good friend of mine sold her home in Alamo a couple of years ago, I asked where she was planning to go? She wasn’t sure, but she wanted to sell and have her proceeds before she even began to look. Her home was spectacular, but very unique, and high end. So it could take a while to sell. And it did. She was fine moving to a rental for a year while she looked.

She was fortunate to have a quick close – and to accommodate the new buyers, she didn’t ask for rent back while she secured a rental. She just moved her things into storage and took up residence at the Hyatt House on San Ramon Valley Blvd. and Crow Canyon Road in San Ramon. It was just a temporary move until she found a rental.

I saw her out looking at homes with her Realtor recently. She said she was still looking – and going on almost TWO YEARS at the Hyatt House in San Ramon!!

This older woman has been living in a Hotel for almost two years while she looks for a house!! Now I don’t mean to scare you – as I think this is an exceptionally rare set of circumstances, but I thought it was so crazy, I had to write about it!!

Here’s the funny part – she is paying $2100 a month (way below market rents in our area!), she gets breakfast every morning, happy hour every night with a light dinner, a pool and cleaning service every day! She has laundry service once a week, and she was able to keep her beloved Golden Retriever with her!! She has decided this Hotel is better than anything else she’s found! She recently took a fall in her suite, and the breakfast staff thought it was odd that she hadn’t come down for breakfast – so they sent someone up to check, and sure enough, she needed an ambulance!!

We were howling with laughter when our friend was telling the story of his Mom, living in a Hotel for almost two years while she looks for a house to down size to. Now THAT’s a crazy Real Estate Story!!

House hunting really isn’t all that bad, and as inventory loosens up, it’s getting better. So rest assured that if you are considering selling, now is a great time to do it. You still need to price it right, and get it properly prepared – but you will sell, likely with multiple offers. Then we will find your go-to house and we’ll make sure you are the successful bidder!

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