Let’s Talk Tuesdays

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Let’s Talk Tuesdays

In the South Bay of Southern CA where I live and work, Tuesdays is the gem of the week. Many restaurants offer two for menu plans, Hennessey’s offers two for Tuesday burgers, buy one get one free! Hudson House has Tuesday Taco specials. And at the movies, well you guess it, they have a special too.

Routines are important. You would never skip brushing your teeth, along with other crucial hygiene rituals, staying hydrated on hot days, exercise or turning off the lights and locking the front door at night. I have a new routine, one that is almost as important as flossing.

I have a “Tuesday” friend who I’ve seen progress from independent woman to house- bound hostage. She doesn’t want this self induced captivity, but she can’t drive, has trouble walking- add those together and voila, she stays home.

One day I came to call on my lady friend (not on a Tuesday) and she told me how she longed to go out, out to the movies. Please take note that I’m a very busy (and successful J) Realtor, wife, mother of 3 huge dogs and a variety of adult children who seem to always need my attention. I don’t have an abundance of spare time, free time or even borrowed time. But now I make an exception and the rewards are huge.

My husband is not much of a movie go-er but my sweet British house bound honey and I escape life every Tuesday afternoon and head straight for the flicks. Rhona is her name and each Tuesday she eagerly awaits my arrival. She must be watching from the window, as my car is a stealth 100% electric so there is no way she could hear me pull up the drive. Rhona is always dressed up and cheerfully smiling from ear to ear. She told me an angel sent me to her. This melts my heart.

I have this mantra that if you don’t make a difference in someone’s life, then your own life is just a series of events. I find this to be ultimately true. Once you are gone, what mark have you left? What joy have you given? How has your time on earth made a difference, a dent in this often too cruel world?

I cannot explain the miraculous feeling of unbridled joy that bursts from my heart as I take her arm and guide her slowly and carefully to through the semi darkened theatre. Rhona gives me a squeeze as we settle into the seats that she has choosen and our routine begins. We first analyze the previews and determine which movies are worthy of our precious weekly date. Then we discuss the previous movie we saw in great detail and finally we giggle a little and settle down to watch the show.

So far we are three for three. Each movie has artistically enfolded us into its digital arms and transported us far away from our cares, fears and life’s worries. We are on a winning streak, no thumbs down yet. Each movie has been better than the previous one!

I’m not sure what will flash on the giant glowing screen and capture our attention, but I can tell you that I am addicted to that next hit of real Tuesday merriment.

 

TESSIE

Let’s Talk “La Vie, E.V.”

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A SENSE OF COMMUNITY ADDS MEANINGFUL, DEEP FULFILLMENT TO ONES LIFE, AND EVERYONE HAS A DIFFERENT  GENRE OF THE COMMUNITY THEY ENJOY AND TAKE PART IN. YOU HAVE THE WINE AND FOOD AFICIONADOS, OBSESSED DOG LOVERS, TRAVEL ENTHUSIASTS AND THE LIST GOES ON.

I’VE ADDED ONE TO MY LIST OF COMMUNITIES AND IT’S A BIGGIE. I’LL CALL MINE “LA VIE E.V.”.

I TOOK DELIVERY OF MY TESLA S ABOUT A MONTH AGO AND ITS BEEN A LOVE AFFAIR EVER SENSE WE FIRST STEPPED INTO THE FACTORY PARKING LOT IN FREEMONT.

WHAT I DIDN’T YET KNOW WAS THAT TESLA OWNERS ARE A ‘COMMUNITY’. TESLA OWNERS ARE PROUD ALL ELECTRIC VEHICLE ENTHUSIASTS, BUT ITS  DEEPER THAN THAT.

TESLA OWNERS HAVE AN ENTHUSIASM FOR THE CAR, FOR ELON, THAT IS TRULY PALPABLE. THERE IS A GIDDY EXCITEMENT AMONGST TESLA OWNERS, AND THIS FERVOR IS, WELL ELECTRIC!

ONE MIGHT THINK WITH SUCH A STELLAR PRICE TAG THAT TESLA S OWNERS MIGHT ERRON THE  SNOBBY SIDE? THIS HAS NOT BEEN MY OBSERVATION! TESLA OWNERS ARE LIKE LITTLE KIDS WITH THEIR FAVORITE TOY ON THEIR 5TH BIRTHDAY. THE SMILES, THE PURE ZERO OCTAINE JOY SMELLS LIKE A SUMMER BREEZE, NOT CHOKING EXHAUST.

SUPER CHARGING STATIONS ARE A NEW VENUE FOR CONVERSATION, STORY SWAPPING AND GENERAL TESLA COMMRADERIE. IN THE 40 MINUTES IT TAKES TO GET A FULL CHARGE AT A SUPER STATION, NEW FRIENDSHIPS ARE FORGED, TESLA ETIQUETTE PASSED DOWN TO THE NEWBIES AND PEOPLE ARE BEAMING. THIS IS A HAPPY CAR, A SMART, SEXY, DID I MENTION FAST AS HELL CAR!

THERE IS ALSO THE FUN MINI COMMUNITY OF “PLUGSHARE”. THE APP THAT SHOWS YOU WHERE THERE ARE APPROPRIATE CHARGING OUTLETS IN PEOPLE’S HOMES! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? THEY LIST THEIR NAMES, PHONE NUMBERS AND TYPE OF OUTLET AND CAR THEY HAVE. WE WERE TOLD AT OUR FIRST SUPER CHARGE EXPERIENCE, TO CARRY A BOTTLE OR TWO OF WINE AT ALL TIMES – JUST IN CASE THE “RANGE ANXIETY” GETS THE BETTER OF US AND WE MIGHT NEED A QUICK TOP OFF AT SOMEONES HOME. WHAT A CONCEPT! WHAT A COMMUNITY!

I DEFINITELY FEEL THAT EVERY TIME I STEP ON THE GAS FREE ACCELERATOR, THAT I’M A PART OF THE FUTURE.

 

THANK YOU ELON!

TESSIE

Let’s Talk First Love, First Kiss, First HOME

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Do you  remember the feeling of tingly excitement mixed with  anticipation and a dash of spicy fear of your first kiss, or falling in love for the first time?  There’s nothing quite like it, and once experienced, it can never be replicated.

Buying your first home can’t really be compared to your first kiss or your first love however buying your first home is usually equally emotional, exciting and dizzying.

It’s an extraordinary adventure and one that I never tire of sharing with my first time buyer clients.

There is something so poignant, sweet and endearing watching my first time buyers sit in my office with their notes, their lists of questions and their trepidation laced enthusiasm.

Upon my experienced shoulders  the first time buyer places a gigantic dose of trust. As I  guide them to the  right investment that matches their goals, both financial and lifestyle,  I must conjure the unique  and precise combination of  information and  handholding. It’s a gentle balance of being the hands-on involved advisor and a helicopter realtor!

 The home buying process should be a learning experience but first time buyer often feels intimidated but the sheer amount of information and steps involved in a Real Estate transaction. My job, my role is not only securing them the perfect property for their unique needs,  but also to quell these fears through education. The first time buyer should emerge feeling empowered, knowledgeable and triumphant by the close of escrow!

It’s my wish that this property buying odyssey be a road travelled they will never ever forget- with great joy and satisfaction!

I truly love representing First Time buyers. They only have “one” first home buying experience, but each new client’s dream of home ownership, is a first for me.

 IMG_5371

 

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?”

 

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