A Life Time of Fourth of July BBQ Celebrations

When a friend asked the other day, what are your best memories of the Fourth of July? My reply came very easy as I drifted back over the decades to my early childhood.


The celebrations were at a local park called Blackberry Farm in Cupertino. We would spend hours in the pool, playing games where I would always win a free Italian Salami. Then came the best part when families would just sit for hours on the picnic tables talking and enjoying each other while a few would BBQ. At the end of the day we went home and then the neighbors would all meet in the streets with fireworks and sparklers.


As the years passed the traditions stayed the same and sometimes the location would change. From Cupertino we went to Palo Alto and the years passed and soon we were old enough to enjoy our own celebrations.


The fireworks were always great on Clear Lake, California and after boating and skiing we would stay at Konocti Harbor Inn and have BBQ’s once again.


Traditions of fire works and BBQ’s always stayed the most important traditions. As the children grew up we made a new family tradition to go to Reno, Nevada and just watch the downtown hotels send off the beautiful display of fireworks from their rooftops. All celebrating another year of our country’s traditions.


Our venue once again changed with the event of sports and All Star Tournaments that always were played on the Fourth of July. So once again as the generation before us had had their special BBQ’s with family and friends, we too now celebrated with our baseball families. The kids played in the pool, shot hoops and had fun while the adults cooked a great BBQ for them.


I think that traditions make our country special and I’m sure everyone has their own special memories.


Have a fun Fourth of July Weekend.


Empty Nesters Become Multi-Family Investors

There are various stages in people’s lives. For many it is reflecting back on their first home purchase and their business career starting and then building a life for their family.

As the year’s pass and the empty nester have children that either go off to college or have graduated from college and have moved out on their own,

Now this generation of Baby Boomers is now apart of a new sub-group called “Empty Nesters.” Their new life will often include a shift of life style and priorities. This often will affect their real estate properties.

Many of my clients have decided to retire and begin traveling and therefore a large home is no longer required or wanted and they choose other alternatives for their real estate holdings. They often sell their personal residence and many have purchased investment properties that provide an income stream.

Another scenario is that they would like to help out their children and believe investments in multi-family apartment buildings provides a good niche. They can rent one of the units to their children while renting the others to help pay the mortgage or property taxes.

For others they might be on a fixed income and want to sell their personal home and decide to buy a duplex that offers them a home with little up keep in a great area and they can rent the other unit for added income. Often when clients retire they might want to sell their business and possibly their commercial office or warehouse property. Leasing is also a great option if they do not want to sell their commercial property and they can get a favorable lease.

There are so many alternatives for the empty nesters shift of life style that will impact their need to purchase, sell, or lease their personal, investment and commercial properties.

As a professional Real Estate Broker it is extremely rewarding when clients ask for my assistance in finding them alternative properties so they can embark on this new journey in their life.

City Utility Companies & City Requirements Are Creating Havoc In Our Daily Business Lives

It appears that in every city we are currently doing business in we are seeing real life domino effects when a city changes and enforces new policies.


One example recently was a client requesting me to find him commercial space in another city due to a very hefty water usage surcharge that was having a negative financial impact on his daily business. The result was to move out of that city and change the location he conducted his daily business and thus having to lay off several employees.


Another city is thinking of adding a business license tax and although most cities already have this requirement it will bring added cost to business owners who are currently feeling the economic crunch. If approved the tax will be a fee-based type of tax with surcharges according to the number of employees, units if an apartment building and square footage if a commercial business. Even the large non-profit organizations will be charged per employee if this business license tax is approved.


The other day I observed the closure of a government office two-days a month due to budget cuts thus slowing the process and ease of doing business in that city.


Another city has imposed extra costs associated with garbage pick up A local apartment owner had to incur added charges as a surcharge was being placed per garbage can to come on the property to remove. This was in addition to the regular garbage bill that the residents are paying. The resident would have to pay the surcharge or remove the cans to the curb each week. The owner did not want to impose this surcharge on the residents and then have to police whose garbage can was assigned to what unit and then expect them to bring the cans curbside.


College Summer Jobs Are Hard To Find- But Be Careful of Scams

College students need to work during the summer and like many millennial this generation utilizes the Internet and often they search online to find that job

opportunity for summer work. Many of us from the baby boomer generation found work in our local neighborhood. This generation of students is faced will different challenges they are competing for jobs with many who have experience and have lost their regular jobs in a rough economy. The other issue is that many are just home for three months and will return to colleges outside the area. They are faced with a difficult time to find summer employment.


So we need to educate these trusting students many of whom have just began working to help pay for their education. My friend’s daughter was about to reply to e-mail for a nanny position that she thought sounded interesting and she was very excited to respond and take the job.


She did say she thought the way the payment would take place sounded unusual from other jobs she has had in the past few summers.


With experience in posting our rental properties on the Internet, I too had a similar response to one of our rental ads in regards to how payment would occur.


The person sounds very sincere in their e-mail and in her case a father wanted a qualified nanny to watch his son every afternoon while the mom was recuperating from an illness. It sounded interesting and she loves watching children, but he specified how payment would be sent. The cashier’s check would be $500 over the agreed compensation and she would in return need to mail the extra money in a form of a cashiers check and mail it to a specific location.


I explained that this was not the correct way to be paid and from others getting this type of e-mail as well as myself I knew this was a scam. We try to protect our children by always stressing safety but how do we educate them against people who can take advantage of them financially. My friend instructed her daughter to never give home addresses, social security information and try to find work from a company that we can verify is legitimate. In the case of the nanny position she should only take a position if she meets the people and checks references from the people who have worked for them in the past.


She decided not to respond to the e-mail and realized that this was a scam. She will continue to look for a summer job.



Property Management Success Story In A Challenging Market

Real Estate will always be a great investment here in the Bay Area.


When you have an “A”, location with a well-maintained apartment building you can rent in these difficult times.


People are very educated and know what they want and often it is the reason they come here to California and especially to the Bay Area.


With a building just a few miles from Stanford University we see very intelligent people from all over the world who come to learn and work here locally.


Flexibility and good common sense says that when the market you are in demands creativity because of the individuals in your market having creative work schedules you to must meet their demand.


Our conventional leases have always been One year with an option to renew for another year if both parties are happy with the lease.


We now find a very interesting situation that worked out extremely well at one of the properties.


The unit was beautifully remodeled and we had multiple offers for people who wanted to begin renting in early July. Instead of remaining vacant and without income for two months we decided to approve the tenants for a shorter time period.


The applications were taken and everything checked out house according to our house rules and we rented the apartment.


Our success story is that going out of the box and meeting the requirements of your target market you to can be very successful in a challenging economy and rental market.


Silicon Valley has for decades attracted businesses and with the beginning and growth from the “dot com mania”, our population has grown.


The weather and climate along with excellent healthcare facilities has also allowed our aging population to live longer to enjoy living here in Silicon Valley.


It is an international magnet for professionals all over the world to come and work and raise their families.


What has changed over the years is the dynamics and geography of the area. Our local cities all began to prosper by being towns of orchards and ranches with, horses and buggies traveling along the dirt roads.


Businesses began in the late 1880’s and continue to flourish as specialty stores from lumber stores, canneries and factories to modern day businesses today.


But with the new chain stores many of these mom and pop businesses are struggling against the big box stores today.


These old time businesses are in ideal locations and therefore we see in many of our cities like Los Altos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale just to mention a few locations that large real estate developers are purchasing these businesses.


Many of these developers have and will continue to build new apartments and homes as well as commercial shopping locations all in close proximately to the downtown shopping area and locations close to VTA light rail, caltrains and bus transportation.


With opposition from neighbors and many asking why would they build more units in this economy?


The answer is simple, our economy will recover and as in the past Silicon Valley will thrive for the same reasons it has over the past century.


The key factors are location with an excellent climate. Excellent healthcare and education attracting people from all over the world.


With limited land to build new housing our cities must focus on these issues to assure adequate housing within the cities and transportation to work for our growing population.


My only hope is that when we lose one of these mom and pop businesses that a sign or some relic of the past allows us all to drive by and say to our next generation here once stood “XYZ” Company.

Will Our Millennial Generation be Off to College or Facing Off to Work?

The path in the next few years from high school to college may be very different than the previous generation.

 The nest eggs set aside by the Baby Boomer generation for their children’s education is gone with the recent crisis in the economy with the stock market and stock options for many households being negatively affected.
The increase in job layoffs of many top executives in large corporations has forced many parents to change their philosophy of paying high tuitions for private universities.
In addition, many cannot mortgage their homes as in the past to help finance the monies needed for college tuitions. Many banks are not eager to refinance and even the threat for thousands is the possibility of losing their homes.
The new slogan should read, Do I Need It, or Do I Want It?
What does this mean? In the past when high school seniors applied to college and the larger envelope arrived in the mail everyone had smiles. The reality of today is the look of fear and anxiety, as parents have to tell their children you cannot go away to college right now.
The students of 2009 will thus be attending Junior Colleges and working to help their families as they did prior to the Baby Boomer generation. The reality is many students may be working while their parents are unemployed.
The budget cuts that have hit our California State, University of California and Junior College campuses are causing all to be over crowded. In addition with people out of work they too are returning to college.
We will all have to watch the trends and reports across the nation as the graduating high school classes of 2009 will be making their decisions over the next few months.

Be Creative In Negotiating Your Leased Commercial Properties

A new phenomenon has recently occurred in our current market that is changing the commercial leasing market for Lessor and Lessee.

The current owner who has flexibility and creativity will be successful in leasing their properties.
The stringent rules regarding monies required for three to six month of rent as a security deposit upon signing of leases are now being negotiated in order to lease space in a very competitive market. This strategy allows for a win-win for both the lessor and lessee.
The lessee moves into the property and the lessor does not sit with a vacant commercial property.
I have found this to be true when often working with new start up companies who have strong financial backing but do not want to put several months of working capital monies into a security deposit in order to sign a lease.
Thus, the owners who have the financial flexibility are being successful in leasing when their competition is not as fortunate in these unpredictable times in our economy.

Ten Important Practices To Follow For The New Property Owner

#1. Join the California Apartment Association or Your Local Apartment Association in your state. Order CAA’s Managing Rental Housing Encyclopedia Book.

#2. Sign up for an Education Course in your area.
#3. Have available all the up to date required forms for prospective tenants who will be leasing your property and new housing laws as they are updated. Understand the instruction sheets and be well informed of your rights and the tenant’s rights.
#4. Have a contact person at the Apartment Association that you can call with any questions and concerns, networking is very important.
#5. Have your business polices in place and have them documented in writing when you provide an applicant with an application. Be specific to your income requirements etc.
#6. Advertise in various mediums that you will be comfortable in managing and always be consistent. Successful ideas have been Craigslist, Rental Portals such as Apartments.com. Renters.com, local newspapers and College Community Housing Sites.
#7. It is very important to understand the local housing requirements in the city that your property is located. For example, in the city of Palo Alto owners are required to offer good residents the option for renewal of their leases.
#8. Have an updated lease with a complete move-in move out form so both you and the tenant has a complete understanding and agrees to the condition of the property.
#9. Be advised of the correct items such as a copy of a driver’s license and birth dates in order to run a credit check.
#10. It is important to remember that the first month’s rent and security deposit upon move-in should be in the form of a cashiers check or money order. Always be accessible by giving tenants your contact office and cell numbers.

To Renovate or Not To Renovate Is The Question In A Challenging Market


Yes your rents in 2008 were higher and prospective tenants were lining up with their applications and their money in hand. But, here we are in 2009 and you are faced with a vacancy and what to do to with your unit.
You have a proposal to renovate and it is several thousand dollars so your question is what to do? The answer is YES, YES, Renovate ASAP, because prospective tenants in 2009 are very successful in negotiating on their terms with their rental amounts because of the simple economics we all learned in ECON 101, which is Supply And Demand…
My personal experience in down markets is that I recommend that all owners should invest wisely in their renovations. To compete your apartment needs to be extremely clean, freshly painted and updated with appliances or you will sit at an empty screen with no e-mail responses.
Location, Location, Location once was the only major requirement for prospective tenants but remember if you renovate and market your property well you will be successful in renting your apartment, condominium, house or townhouse.