Let’s Talk About WHY It Has To End This Way

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Yesterday I went to visit a colleague in a Nursing Home.
He is not old, even if you consider 70 to be old.
He has his mind, it’s his body that’s evading him.
I found him alone in the hallway, in his wheelchair,
shaking, eyes open, legs dangling in the dingy light of
the facility. This image, not new to me, hit me like a
brick wall of hard emotions that I could taste in the back
of my mouth.
I gathered my best happy air of “alisonness” and strode
forward waving. He greeted me, not by name, but in
full recognition asking where my dogs were.
His head was hanging low and it was difficult to get in
his eye line of sight. There were no chairs and I didn’t
expect him to play Host and offer me a seat. No one
came by, no one seemed to exist. I crouched down to
his eye level with a large degree of silent discomfort.
We chatted, or rather I blathered on and made happy
conversation about the state of the Real Estate world at
our office. He like I, loves his profession. His eyes grew
wide when as I shared a recent victory over multiple
counter offers.
I wanted to stay longer, but it was challenging. No place
to sit, my legs and back not allowing me to sprawl out
on the cold floor.
His voice got weaker, his hands trembled in all
directions, so I took his painfully thin hand in mine and
held it there. I wanted him to know that I was there, I
was ALL there with him. He gently pulled my hand to
his lips and placed a sweet, soft kiss, reminding me not
to tell his wife.
I told him, or rather bold face lied directly to him, that
I’d see him out in the field soon. I don’t know why that
slipped out. I guess I wanted it to be true. I wanted to
see him in his famous red tennis shoes.
As I left, I was heartbroken, but sage. I knew it was
his time soon, whatever the hell that means. But what
pierced me to the core was the state of the facility; not
that it was dirty, not that the people were unkind, but
because it is the proverbial institution where most of
us go to say goodbye to this life, this world, and it is
UNACCEPTABLE to me.
These places are lonely, depressing. Why does it have
to be that way? Why are there not more volunteers
brightening up the hallways with smiles, laughs, and
the crucial physical touch — other than that of a needle
or pill dispenser.
What can we do as a country, as a united world to
respect our elders, our people in the final transition of
their earthly lives?
I feel somewhat guilty writing this as this particular
facility in Torrance is probably one of the nicer ones.
I know much worse exists out there; I’ve seen them
during my mom’s voyage. And yet end of life should
not be like this. Many of these souls are not ready to
pass on. Many of these souls don’t have family visiting
them, holding their hands while they wait… silently
terrified of what comes next.
Please, please with all my heart and core of my being,
I beg you to visit, visit ANYONE in a nursing facility. Once
a month, once a week. Make a difference in someone’s
life. They need you. They need a hand to hold. It may
hurt but it will make a difference in someone’s heart.
Many love you.
Make a difference in someone’s life…
Alison

Let’s Talk 4 (FOUR) MILLION DOLLARS!!!!

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BUT WHY

Stunning Home

In full disclosure, there is a history here. If you are in the know about Manhattan Beach Real Estate, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Once upon a Broker’s Open I toured a home; a home that sits pretty as a Napa field of lavender. A home situated on an enviable  corner, double lot in the Tree Section of Manhattan Beach.

As I walked from room to room,  dazzled by the charm, the light, the textures, designs, furnishings and the fabulous spread for lunch, complete with “adult beverages” I stopped dead in my tracks. I circled about like a dog covering her…tracks. I retoured the downstairs, ran upstairs. I was puzzled. Perplexed and a strange feeling was mounting in my throat.  Was it outrage? Incredibility? Was it me? Was I nuts?

Let me paint the image with my best most erudite words. “What the Flip happened to the Master Bathroom?”, Did the architect forget it? Did he run out of space in this semi large 3800′ home?

Don’t get me wrong, the home is beautiful. Different. But would the average buyer with a $4M budget be satisfied with a single sink in a tiny master bathroom?

This blog post begs for feedback. I’m truly anxious to hear what you have to say.

I understand that if you haven’t seen the property it is difficult to judge. But I have and I stand in judgment! This master bath left me scratching my head at the world and all it’s marvels.

I'm confused

I’m confused

Let’s Talk Year To Date Real Estate

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Avenues IMG_5227 IMG_5228 IMG_5232 IMG_5353 IMG_5371I’ve been harping on for years that the media takes it’s good sweet time to catch up to what is really happening in Real Estate at base camp where the top producing Realtors are in the trenches battling it out to get the best for their clients.

The prediction VS the reality of the “bottom” and the subsequent strong recovery of our housing market here in beautiful Southern California was happening much sooner than the media reported.

All that notwithstanding, the market is caressed by the faint chill of a pre-autumnal breeze. We track that data with hard numbers of sales, pending sales etc. But we the realtors, we just ‘feel it’ – The market has cooled.

So with rates up, inventory increasing and nothing too dramatic to report I thought I’d give you a personal view of what people are buying and selling so far this year as we cruise towards the back to school, back to fall, pre holiday fever.

My buyer’s new homes and my sellers newly sold homes represent quite a cornucopia of styles and legal descriptions.  Let’s start with Redondo Beach where my buyers are settling in nicely in a variety of Digs.

One happy family is thrilled with their newly renovated (down to the studs) Cape Cod single family on one of the best streets in South Redondo; Irena. Big smiles all around. Took some creative negotiating but that’s what I’m here for!

A newly transplanted South Bay resident and her precious puppy coming from up North near the Facebook HQ are happy on the Esplanade in a spacious single level condominium with a wrap around deck, small complex –  its perfect. I brought this to her off market and I knew it was the perfect fit. We dealt with multiple counters but we were the successful bidders!

A rare situation came up with my Air Force family. They were moving from back East and couldn’t see a property before inking the contract. Pressure!! Sight unseen, now that requires a large amount of trust in your Realtor.  I found them a great townhome in North Redondo and the large family of 5 and two dogs are joyously ensconced in their new Southern Californian life.

My dear client’s S. Historic Redondo Duplex I sold a couple years ago when they moved East, are back! I had to find them a rental without them setting their eyes upon it! Again, trust. They are happy so I’m happy.

My Doctor clients were being transferred to San Diego. I had sold them their townhome in a very challenging location on PCH a few years back. Flash forward and now I was selling it for them. Selling it this time required some teamwork as I was dealing with contract negotiations from Bora Bora! The deal got done and they relocated to San Diego.

My retiring Aerospace clients are almost ready for the Andy’s Fumigation Tent to go on their stunning front unit townhome on Broadway. It’s a big and emotional move for them. So far so good.  We were supposed to close escrow on Friday the 13th but the buyers are uneasy with that date, so an amendment is easily enough drawn up! Buyers and sellers are in agreement. September 12th is fine. I guess I’m the only one with 13 as my lucky number.

Hermosa Beach clients have also kept me busy these first 8 month of the year.

My sweetest little family of 3 from NYC  take possession of their cottage cute Hermosa Hills single family home on Friday. It’s been a long wait but this off market property I found them is just perfect; you know it is when the wife and mother to be breaks out into tears of joy when I opened the front door for the first time!

I sold my young Anesthesiologist client a Duplex in Hermosa Beach last year. I’ve put tenants into both units. But the last tenants surprised me. They gave notice and bought my listing on Ocean View Avenue (around the corner). It is a small world.  That property was a huge ocean view townhome with a roof top deck, and tons of windows, showing off the stunning coast line of Hermosa Beach and onto Palos Verdes.

I brought a buyer from the West Side an amazing Kim Komick new construction single family home. They finally moved in and it is a masterpiece. It sure is helpful to buyers that I have one of the South Bay’s preeminent builders in my speed dial and who takes my call, drops her surfboard on a Labor Day weekend and runs to walk the property still in the “framing” stage to a potential buyer. Thanks Kim!

My other favorite family of 3 took possession of their Hermosa Hills single family home on the dad’s 40th Birthday. What a gift.  The only person in the family who had a place to sit for dinner on their first night in their new home was their young son, who curtsey of Alison, had a spanking new, fire engine red plantation chair.

My career has many rewards.  It’s always fun to sell a home to a young newly married couple. The happiness, the expectations for the future. I am privileged to have shared in this newlywed’s joy. Several years later this Hermosa Beach family grew their family to bursting point. Kids, dogs they needed  Alison to the rescue. Mission: sell their contemporary view townhome and find them a big single family with a yard. Done! Success, happiness all around.

Now let’s head up the hill to Palos Verdes.

This client was a challenge. A young lad, a professional on the cutting edge with vision didn’t quite know what he wanted. Do I like/thrive on a challenge? You bet I do. I sold his single family home in North Redondo and after a year of looking I brought him the perfect off market property: A historic home in Palos Verdes Estates near Malaga Cove. This home would require quite a lot of renovation, but for an old bird, she was in pretty good shape. It was a long and troublesome escrow but with a good solid team behind me, we prevailed and renovations are in the works. He’s keeping the home Historic; stay tuned for a before and after piece.

Then there was my favorite kind of client, the illustrious referral. As it turned out I was in Bora Bora for 80% of the transaction but that’s why the internet was created, right? She settled in a cute little single family house in a great part of Torrance, very close to the Hollywood Riviera. Congrats!

The transactions may blur over time but the sense of satisfaction in bringing happiness or relief to my clients is the take away for me.

I’ve got two listings that are hoping for new owners to make them their own:

  • A townhome on the Golf Course in Manhattan Village. A stunning luminescent property that is unique in every way. The current owner used his talents with stone work to transform this home into an ethereal and elegant entertaining home.
  • Sitting high and pretty on the Avenues in South Redondo is the custom built single family home with views of Palos Verdes from almost every room and the roof top deck. The guest cottage is ready to welcome the guests of the new owners.

That’s a snapshot of my first 8 months of 2013. A great deal of love for my profession, patience, negotiating, psychological counseling, marriage counseling, countless hours of paperwork  and much more goes into each deal.

Happy September!

 

 

Let’s Talk Hygiene and Water Bottles

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Let’s Talk Hygiene and Water Bottles

Sip with Caution

Sip with Caution

Sani wipes, sani rinse, sani life is the norm today. Allergies and pathogens are taking over and the populous is on a crusade to stop their advancement into our immune systems.

How many times have you seen someone take their used water bottle and fill up at the communal water cooler? Has everyone overlooked the contagious contact? Am I the only paranoid poisoned, bacteria filled phobic to stop and ponder about the proximity of where that persons lips were on their bottle which is now pushed up against the communal spigot?

I’ve lived and travelled all over the world and have seen many a unhygienic sight, like the time I was in Cairo funnily enough at a water cooler in a museum. There was a mini tower of paper cups attached to the unit. A well disheveled traveler (or local maybe) sauntered up to the cooler, took a cup, filled it with water, drank and then put the cup back in the same spot where he pulled it from; a kind gesture for the next thirsty tourist. Waste not want not! Share and recycle, even your germs.

Or my personal favorite, the time in Riyadh at the Intercontinental (it still gives me nightmares) when during brunch a very large man who was sweating profusely all over the buffet table, served himself a dish of ice cream. His teeth were the color of dead leaves and I’m not sure when the last time he bathed was. Being next in the dessert line and keeping a safe and hygienic distance, I waited my turn for some ice cream, hoping we didn’t share the same taste in ice cream flavors, and to my distinct and probably loud horror, the portly fellow served himself a generous mountain of vanilla and then gave the serving spoon a robust and complete licking and put it back in the ice cream! I stood there mouth agape and walked away trying to retain my lunch.

So let’s go back to the office, medical building or wherever the locale and let’s contemplate the communal water cooler. Am I being way to Howard Hughes like by being repelled by the thought of multiple saliva drenched water bottles rubbing against the shared molecular space with the water faucet?

Hey, I guess maybe I am just simply weird and alone in my distress. I hate newspaper print. I can’t stand grass on my bare feet. My dogs are even hypo allergenic. I sneeze into my elbow, I have baby wipes at the ready yet I lived quite happily out in the world. I’ve not yet succumbed to white cotton gloves (though I used to have a pair for the paper, thank GOD for the internet), I happily enjoy sitting at the communal tables at Manhattan Beach Post Restaurant, will taste my friends food off of their plates when so invited and kiss and hug my friends, family and some clients with abandon.

So next time when you serve yourself a cup of water ask yourself, “self, do I really want to do that?”

 

Let’s Talk European / Global Real Estate I’m Moderating!

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Global Panel Featuring Europe

Tuesday, June 25th 
2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 Hosted by the South Bay Association of REALTORS® Global Real Estate Committee

Join us for a global event featuring Europe and educate yourself by listening to a panel of seasoned professionals speak on their experiences with the different countries of Europe.

Panelists:

Griselda Mendoza Cadman – REALTOR®
All you need to know about inbound and outbound real estate between USA and Spain and Greece.

James Jang – Premium Mortgage Consultant – HSBC
All you need to know about loans to foreign nationals with HSBC.

Nick Zigic – REALTOR® – American Business & Real Estate Center, CIPS, TRC, President of the Real Estate Association of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chair of the AAR Global RE Committee, NAR Ambassador  Association liaison to Austria
All you need to know about inbound and outbound real estate transactions between the USA and Bosnia, Herzegovina and Austria.

Nasrin Anvaripour – Escrow Manager – Brighton Escrow
All you need to know about escrows with foreign nationals with Brighton Escrow.

Cost: Free to SBAOR Members and $10 for Non Members

Afternoon snacks will be provided and a chance to win fabulous door prizes.

Sponsored By:
Andy’s Termite & Pest Control
New American Funding
Lulu State Farm
South Bay Home Inspections
Staged by:
South Bay Showhomes

Let’s Talk Culinary Camradarie

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Let’s Talk Culinary Camaraderie

Good friends are always one of life’s precious commodities, and when you share common interests it’s the icing on the proverbial cupcake.

We are a pack of 6 good friends that share one of life major’s commonalities – we love to eat, drink and cook.

This culinary camaraderie is not your typical hang with the pals while tossing back tacos and tequila shots. We are four couples, an international blend of French, Italian, Belgian and American.

We rotate dinner parties; one night in Manhattan Beach, then two in Redondo. We share a passion that’s unparalleled in most foodie circles. We can’t wait to cook for one another. We spend hours, days, planning, creating menus, shopping, dreaming.

Would it fair to say there is a little competitiveness going on? Do we try to outdo one another with our home made Boudin Blanc, creative concoctions, exquisitely plated dish after dish, or do we simply love to share the glow of tactile taste bud exaltation?

Friday night was Chef Claude’s turn to delight our olfactory sensations. His style of culinary art is more on the refined and light side; delicate nuances of flavors and always the most spectacular presentations and wine, oh the wine. His cellar is stellar!

The most recent dining event was made ever more special because our four legged children were invited. Uncle Claude and Aunt Arlette have a special place for our Bouviers in their hearts as they used to have two of their own.  It actually is because of Argus and Luna that our culinary paths crossed, thanks to my ad in the Beach Reporter! (No I wasn’t advertising the dogs for sale, it was Real Estate piece in which Argus and Luna feature prominently.)

I digress. Back to the food.

We were greeted with champagne, always a wonderful way to commence a gastronomic gathering such as ours. There was some very special Wild Boar sausage, sliced very thinly thanks to a local Italian restaurant that has the machinery needed for the job. The sausage whose name I forget is penultimately special, unique and very expensive. The beasts that unwillingly gave their lives for our adorning consumption graze only on acorns, thus giving the meat a very specific flavor that resonated very well with the other diners (Armelle and Claudio, Ken and I).

The table was as refined as the palate present. Areltte’s table is the haute couture of dining. She creates her own floral expressions that are majestic. The table cloth and the silver are objects d’arts. Her table is a standalone vision of loveliness. It’s intimate, warm hues, groovy art work, the chandelier fascinates….

fleur napkin

The first dish was a roasted compilation of peppers in a reduction with an accent of pomegranate seeds. It was topped off with a light cloud of mozzarella.

To follow we all had a tartar like (but I don’t think it was raw) ensemble of scallops and I have no idea what was in it but it was so good. And like every good chef, Claude took close consideration of my husbands’ allergy to shellfish and served him an almost identical looking dish of curried chicken salad. Pure genius! Luckily Chef had had too much wine and gave Ken the correct dish. I forgot to mention the steamed asparagus in the shape of a peace sign…or a Mercedes Benz symbol, take your pick.

Scallops

En suite we had a selection of white and black boudin. I won’t even go into that now….Basically the black is a blood sausage and the white is pork meat and it was yummy!

We gorged and drank a lovely Châteauneuf-du-Pape that was indeed glorious. There was white wine too but after the bubbles and the red, I just don’t remember the white, sorry!

A homemade (bien sur) plum tart with divine crust and pistachio ice-cream put the final patina on a most memorable dinner.

I think it’s our turn on the rotation. I’m thinking of a summer ‘freshness’ as a theme….spring peas….is it too late? Chilled Peach soup, langouste in a vanilla sprinkle? I can’t wait.

Let’s Talk Kaboooom “Fishing With Dynamite”

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Lucky US!

Lucky US!

Let’s Talk KABOOOOM

It’s a gift to have good friends and a landslide to have even better contacts.

Last night my hubby and I were treated to the soft opening of “Fishing With Dynamite”, David LeFevre’s new Shell Fish restaurant right next door to the enormously successful and popular “Manhattan Beach Post Restaurant”.

The energy in this small place (35 seats I think) was not only palpable but also electric and explosively fun.

The selected few guests were high on anticipation, hunger and all things new and fresh from the great partnership of David and Jerry Garbus.

The staff was ready, armed with a phosphorescent positivity that illuminated the tiny space with an incandescent happiness. This was a trial run and success permeated the evening.

Rockin the crowd

Rockin the crowd

It’s not always JUST about the food; yes food is what drives the culinary bus but atmosphere is King.
This little place has MOXIE and the invited guests were lapping it up and damn, that moxie tasted delicious.

Shall I start with the Oyster selection? My munching orders were to slurp and slurp I did; satiny, lustrous salty brine made my taste buds smile. Wellfleet’s from MA, Forbiddens from VA, Wildfires from NY and more. You didn’t think Taste buds can smile? Well where have you been hiding, it‘s a known fact that they do.

Bring on the Brine

Bring on the Brine

The Shrimp. I could write a whole essay on the ‘flava’ of the Shrimp alone! They were buttery, dilly and I actually had to arm wrestle my husband for the last one. I won… A true Gastronome will not be denied.

We sampled the Grilled Asparagus with a tarragon bearnaise; the bearnaise was a cloud of rich, opulent goodness (my cholesterol my not agree). I tried to lick the serving dish when no one was looking.

oh my so good

oh my so good

The Albacore Tuna Tartare was a startling mouthful of gusto. The kimchi furikake warmed me up; I was glowing neon. The crunch of the hidden bed of diced cucumber cooled the shock and awe my palate was enjoying.

The worrisome part of the night was Mom’s Cape Cod Squash Rolls. These tasty balls of pure comfort food (with accompanying butter) present some serious competition to the Bacon Buttermilk Cheddar Cheese Biscuits next door.

Pure heaven

Pure heaven

Rounding off the night was the Maple Pudding with Rosemary Sandies. Gentle in the sensory overload department which was exactly what the tongue wanted. Sweet, smooth, a bit of salt and crunch. It was not lady like to attempt to lick the remnants out of the chalice, though I did consider it.

The take home treat was the sleeve on our coffee/tea paper cups. The logo, so beautifully designed, has some simple language, “MAKE IT BLOOM”. At first I wasn’t quite sure what the deeper message was, but Chef Dave to the rescue to point out the small print. AMAZING. The sleeve is embedded with seeds that once planted (after a good moisten) will bloom a well-established little basil, chive and parley mini herb garden! GENIUS!!!

Genius

Genius

Thank you Chef and Jerry for your endearing love of your craft by sharing love through food. You both are genuine to the core, and I’m honored to be a part of your culinary community.

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