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Challenge Accepted

Where to begin… this year has been one for the records, for everyone. We went from the wide open world to no one can do anything in a matter of 3 months. Welcome 2020…I am certainly not here to dig into 2020 as for me and my household 2020 was amazing. This challenge is for a home that had been on the market for a year before I was asked to take on the listing. This home well situated in a mountain area needed the right price and a new family.

As January marched in the snow covered the ground. Laughter was heard throughout the mountain as children and their parents had snow days during winter break. Things would then get interesting.
February hits and the world had not yet fully shut down. To gather all those wonderful snow day families I was planning a Mega Open House. There were so many homes for sale and agents willing to do open houses to draw in the crowds! It was going to be great!

Then the world shut down. We were told no more Open Houses. Well there goes grabbing the attention of the snow day families. People listened and hunkered in their homes to be safe. How do you sell a home when no one wants to come out and no open houses? …challenge accepted

You turn to social media!

In light of most of my blog posts, you may have come to love the #realestateproblems I encounter. This home had those too. First up…as the Open Houses were cancelled my giant flag did not need to be up any more. I decide that it needed to come in and meanwhile what better way to explain the area then to go for an adventure. My son and his wife are with me, thankfully, and as we drove to the hiking spot called Big Horn Mine a rock hit my tire just right and popped it! There we sit on the side of the road, no spare, no cell service, no AAA and people not out to lend a helping hand. My son starts digging through my trunk and finds a weird “fix a flat” that neither of us has seen before. He figures out the crazy system and we limp all the way down the mountain to get a new tire. …challenge accepted

Showings happen with the home and have two buyers who want to purchase the home. One agent discovered a couple dead mice. #realestateproblems To that end a wonderful neighbor came to the rescue and dealt with the issue. I promptly bought pest deterrents to help field any other issues.

Finally, rounding the end of the year we have a buyer, we are in escrow and I go to visit and meet with the septic inspector and install pest deterrents. This home has artificial turf covering the septic tank. (Note: if you have septic and want to put in artificial turf, do your agent, the inspector and anyone else a solid and put the artificial turf AROUND the man holes to the tank, please.) Due to this and the lack of being able to locate it (even though we had a map of where the tank was) the appointment had to be rescheduled. While there I decide to do a few things such as take down the staging items, put away my flag that I had for Open House, etc. That’s when things got interesting. If you have read my nightmare house blog you know my true feelings about certain pests that can be found in a home. (Go read it!) Below is a list of things found in today’s adventure. …challenge accepted
Found:
1. Spider (ALIVE) on my giant flag
2. Spider (ALIVE) in hall closet
3. Dead mouse on front porch
4. Mouse nest
5. Large fluffy grey squirrel in tree
Good news, I didn’t scream with the spiders…or the mouse. It was dead after all. Also not a fan of rodents of any kind. Yes they can be cute, grey squirrels are cute, but I still prefer them alive and not near me. #realestateproblems #ididntscream #biggirlpanties

The last challenge of the day was my flag pole piece in the ground. Silly me, didn’t bring my normal tool bag in the car (although I thought it was there). …challenge accepted
As I tried to engineer my way into successfully removing my flag pole piece I kept coming up unsuccessful. It went a bit like this…

Flag pole stuck

Challenge A: get a piece of wood and a rock and see if I can get the pole out of the ground … FAIL
Challenge B: get a chain from the fence and use it to pull the pole out of the ground. Chain doesn’t reach and is padlocked to the fence with no key. …FAIL
Challenge C: this surely will work by stacking two wood boards together and leverage it over the paver at an angle … FAIL
Challenge D: when all else fails you…you dig! You dig in this wonderfully odd loose but not dirt. You dig until a foott of the post is exposed, you squat like you are doing dead lifts and you pull! …challenge accepted and WON!

Finds

Spider who loved my flag

Grey Squirrel

Winning and feeling like She-Ra

Real Estate

Showing Nightmare and more…

I bring you the next #realestateproblem to my blog! Grab the cup of coffee and a side of whiskey or vodka as you will discover that a good stiff drink was needed after this family’s story.

To help keep folks name’s private here you have their new names:

Buyer Agent: Sunny

Family A: Buyer

Family B: Seller

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It’s a warm day in SoCal, there is a gorgeous home for sale in a great neighborhood. This home has attracted a few folks including the “Buyer Family”. Sunny calls the agent and they set up a time for Sunny to meet with “Buyer Family”. The Buyers check out the home and take it upon themselves to touch things in the home and re-arrange things. This includes turning on game systems and rummaging through documents in the kitchen. Seller’s house sitter comes home to discover the mess that was made. The agent receives a call and has to give Sunny a call about the condition of the home. The agent is assured that Sunny will monitor the family more closely.

The Buyers decide this is the home of their dreams! In the coming weeks the Buyers would visit the home again, again and then at the end of the day leaving their child’s shoes behind. Sunny says leave shoes on porch and they will get them soon. Soon? Really…
shoes

Felony in progress…

Fast forward to a few months after the Buyers move in. The agent gets a call from the Seller family that some boxes erroneously have been delivered to the Buyer’s address. The agent calls Sunny. Sunny states that she will get in contact with the Buyers. The house sitter tries a few times on her own to see if anyone is home to get the boxes. A day goes by and the agent hasn’t heard back. Agent calls Sunny, and is asked how many boxes were delivered. The Seller states to agent that it could be 10 boxes. Sunny says the Buyers want to only put out what is necessary.

Excuse me? 7 or 10 boxes it doesn’t matter, if it has the Seller’s name on the box it belongs to them!

After a bunch of back in forth the Seller’s finally get their boxes. To their surprise the Buyers have been accepting their packages and opening them. This included Bark Boxes where they removed the dog toy stuffies and left the dog treats in the box. They opened a box of shirts and since they were specialized to the Seller’s they placed it back in the box and then there was a bunch of medical supplies! Those were left alone. The Seller’s now question whether or not other items mailed didn’t get forwarded appropriately and what the Buyers may be keeping to themselves.

Take aways…

Agents please walk with your families when showing homes with young children. I understand that you need to keep yourself safe while showing homes but allowing the family in the home to rummage through other’s things is unacceptable.

Seller’s things of value should be placed in safe places and out of reach of children.

Buyer’s this is not your home YET! Please be respectful of other’s things. Do not touch! Eyes only other than to peek into closets, pantries, etc. Otherwise, hands off!

Friendly Reminder…

If you receive packages or mail that doesn’t have your name on it, simply decline the package or write “Return to Sender”. It is not yours to keep, rummage through, take, sell….etc. It’s called a FELONY! (https://legalbeagle.com/6293417-federal-mail-not-addressed-you.html)

hotrod die cast model on board
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

 

Moreno Valley, CA, Real Estate

Moreno Valley is Unique: Part 4

The sound of thunder fills the air…

One of my favorite things about living in Moreno Valley is the March Air Reserve Base. It was formally March Air Force Base. Opened in 1917 and covers over 2000 acres of land. The base runs parallel to the freeway.
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Last year was March ARB 100th year of hosting the Thunder Over the Empire! The air show happens every other year. There are always very cool demonstrations. Personal favorites are the Thunderbirds, Stealth Bomber and the F-16s. Other cool demonstrations have been the reenactment of napalm being dropped! The fire wall with that demo is intense! (video of it found on their Facebook page)

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the past the airshow has been graced with warm, if not hot weather. The show being in March for 2020 may be less hot. With that in mind though the tarmac absorbs a lot of heat and it can still get very warm.

Tips for the airshow:

  • bring lots of water
  • wear sunscreen
  • bring a wagon with camp chairs or blankets
  • wear comfortable walking shoes
  • try the food
  • bring money for souvenirs

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Next airshow will be in March of 2020! You really should visit.

Facebook March Air Show

March ARB Wiki

Cannot wait for the air show? Go visit the air museum and learn more about the base, the planes and our wonderful service people here in town!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Moreno Valley, CA, Real Estate

Ready to sell? Part 2

Review from last post…

In the previous ready to sell we discussed the following: declutter, clean and painting. These three elements get you off to a great start in selling your home.

What’s next?

Today we will talk about the rest of the list.

  1. Staging
  2. Landscaping
  3. Photography

First Impressions Make a World of Difference!

I was talking with friends not too long ago about their house hunt a few years ago. During the conversation a statement was made that really does speak volumes here. To paraphrase the husband, he said that as they looked through photos online of the homes if the front yard was not maintained well he did not give the home a second thought. He further explained that if the yard had deferred maintenance then likely the home on the inside would too.

Eye opening isn’t it! You want to make sure that you are putting your homes “best foot forward”.

Staging your home!

Staging can be done in various ways. You can ask your agent to help you stage your home using your own furniture and depersonalized items. You or your agent could hire a staging company to come in and stage using your own items. Lastly, if you have moved all of your belongings out, then you or your agent can hire a staging company to furnish some or all of the home. For the most part this last piece it’s not critical to stage every room of the house. It is super important to stage the primary spaces where people want to see how furniture will fit in to the space.  (example: master bedroom, living rooms, etc.)
A great article on staging can be found here! (Side note: At the bottom of this article is a “Find an Agent”. If you are local to me, please consider letting me help you find your next home. I will do my very best for you!)

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(picture above: staged kitchen)

Landscaping both the front and back yard…

As my dear friend stated if the home had a deferred maintenance yard he wasn’t going to give it the time of day.

Start by fertilizing your grass so that it looks fresh and green. Make sure that it is tended to and that flower beds and edging is weed free. Add some curb appeal by adding colorful flowers.  In the backyard freshen up flowers, trim up hedges and shrubs and then add patio furniture and potted plants to make the backyard feel fresh and welcoming. While we are in the backyard, if you have pets, try to maintain the yard to be pet waste free. No one wants to be greeted by “land mines” and the “lord of the flies”!

badlandscape

(picture above needs landscaping TLC)

Water wise landscaping and artificial turf are easy low maintenance landscape ideas that are very popular in California now. If you would rather hire a landscaper I can give you a great recommendation too!

A coat of fresh paint on the door is always a plus! If you have a security door/screen also see that it gets some TLC. This could be a fresh coat of paint or include it in the items to power wash. Giving your home, windows and solar panels a spray down with a power washer is also a great idea to help give a fresh look to the home.

The largest door in your home that should also be spruced up is your garage door. Make sure that it is in good working condition. Give it a power wash too! If you need a garage door person I can recommend one that has serviced our doors. Keep in mind that during the home inspection that they will be checking the working order of the door and much more.

Another landscaping article can be found here as well!

Say Cheese!!! Photography

Have you done a house search lately? Have you noticed the photos that are blurry, sideways or too dark? Think about that moment. Did you, like my friend, pass over that home because it didn’t show well? Would you go look at it in person? Would you give it a second thought if the photographs were redone professionally?

With your home clean, decluttered, freshly painted and staged wouldn’t you want the photos to make your home shine? Hiring a professional photographer can make or break whether someone wants to see your home. Hiring a professional photographer isn’t mandatory and some realtors are great photographers. Just insure that your realtor can show you work they have done and that you are happy with what they show you.

One of my favorite photos of homes is called “twilight” photography. In photography there is a “golden hour” where the light and shadows are in perfect balance before the sun goes down. What is fun about these photos from the exterior of the home is that all the lights are turned on in the home and any outside lights. Then the photographer waits for the sun to set just perfectly and snaps amazing photos of your home!

twilight_example

Some real estate photographers will also provide photos with touch ups. Keep in mind that this can be deceptive to the buyers and can make them unhappy. Honesty is the best policy. However if you put in the sweat equity to touch  up, correct, beautify your home before getting to this point you shouldn’t need touch ups. Your agent will have to also disclose that the photos have been touched up (i.e. grass is dead but photographer colors the grass green using their masking tools in the photography software).

Lastly, some real estate photographers provide the following services at additional costs.

  • drone/aerial
  • virtual 3D imaging/doll  house

These are very cool and allow the buyer to really understand where your home is in the neighborhood and get a feel for “walking” through the home.

Sweat equity…

Getting your home ready to sell is not an overnight thing. Plan this out and execute the critical items so that the home inspector and appraiser do not have anything negative to report.

If you need more tips or suggestions please do not hesitate to call me.

Show me what you learned!

There is one thing that should have been done in the feature picture (picture at the top of the blog), can you spot it? Let me know in the comments what you think they missed!

Moreno Valley, CA, Real Estate

Moreno Valley Unique Part 3: Wild Burros

(Photographed here is Liberty as a baby)IMG_20180715_194430081

One of my favorite things…

is the wild burros we have in Moreno Valley! As you travel to the north side of Moreno Valley the population of wild burros grows. As you enter Reche Canyon you will be greeted with these beautiful creatures. They will stand along side of the road and all too often they will get spooked and run into the road. This sadly results in the loss of life to the burro and sometimes the driver of the car that struck them.

Pros and Cons

As with most wild animals there are positives and negatives. The positives is that Bob Barker (That’s right the Price is Right guy from ages ago!) had a very big heart for these creatures! He donated a huge amount of land to the preservation and rehabilitation of these burros in Reche Canyon! The place is called Donkeyland (link below). I got the opportunity to go and meet the orphaned babies and the burros that can not be released back into the wild. Amber, her father and a wonderful group of volunteers are the ones that oversee the rescue (with support from Riverside County Animal Control) and operation of the burros in their time of need. Even the wild burros who have never needed a helping hand from Donkeyland come and hang out at the fence line and watch the events of the day.

These wild burros are such a wonderful treasure to Moreno Valley. We need to work together to make sure they are treasured and not roadkill. Things you can do to help is to stay aware of your surroundings, drive the posted speed limit while driving in the following areas:

  • Reche Canyon
  • San Timeatao Canyon/Live Oak
  • Pigeon Pass
  • Hidden Springs
  • Box Springs Mountain Parks

Slow down in these areas. Keep in mind that there are dogs, mountain lions and other creatures that will chase these burros. They will run and they can run right in front of a car with no warning. Flight is all they know as they are preyed on. They are not going to give your car or your cell phone distracted self a second thought as they run for their lives. Save yours and theirs by paying attention and drive cautiously in these areas.

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(Photo of Liberty taking selfies with my phone)

The cons to these adorable faces is that they have a large “following”. People absolutely adore them. The burros have become very social with people and a large part of the burro and human deaths is because people have spent years feeding them treats (carrots, apples, sugar cubes, etc.) from their cars. Over time and through imprinting they are no longer afraid of the big metal things rolling down the road at high rates of speed. It is in fact illegal to feed these adorable faces!

From NBC article (link below): “Ordinance No. 934, the Prohibiting the Harassment and Feeding of Undomesticated Burros Act, makes it an infraction to interact with untamed donkeys, herds of which are now spread throughout the Pigeon Pass and Reche Canyon areas, north of Moreno Valley, going into neighboring San Bernardino County.”

Another con is that during times of drought these beauties will travel down into the neighborhoods in search of something fresh and green to eat. That often times is your front grass but they are not exclusive in their diets. They try palm trees, flowers, you name it all for the sake of not starving. If you see a herd in your neighborhood it is best to leave them be but call Animal Control since they are partnered with Donkeyland and they will help escort them back to safety. If you see a sick or injured burro you have two choices. You can call Animal Control and report the animal or call Donkeyland at 951-234-0393. Click here for a list of numbers to call in case of an emergency for these lovely animals.

Giving a helping hand…

Be a sponsor of the burros in need. Donkeyland often need extra funds for vet care for the injured burros, food, tack, and other supplies for the burros. You can adopt a specific burro and donate solely to that one. You can find more information on burros currently in need on their Facebook page, Donkeyland. How I give back to Donkeyland is that if you buy a home with me, if you want a portion of my commission to go to Donkeyland I will donate up to $500. You can pick the burro you want to support or I can simply donate that amount to the rescue.

Articles on the burrows:
https://www.kcet.org/redefine/the-wild-donkeys-of-the-inland-empire

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Dont-Feed-the-Wild-Donkeys-in-Riverside-County-or-Youll-Be-Fined-429757953.html

Support Donkeyland

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