“Nancy is hands-down the best agent I’ve ever worked with —and I’ve worked with over a dozen!”
- Bonnie Gemmell, Woodside, CA.
Five Fresh Ideas for September
Here we are on the verge of bidding a fond farewell to summer’s abundant fresh fruits and veggies and welcoming back fall’s own cornucopia. September is a great month to grab a few summer items at their glorious peak while adding squash and apples back to your recipes. So, next time you visit the farmer’s market or your grocer’s produce aisle, here are some suggestions for what’s best and fresh.
1. Apples - Yes, you can get tasty apples all year. But September is their peak tastiness. Add them to salads and pot roasts; drizzle them with honey and yogurt; crunch them with a dry artisan cheese. 
2. Pumpkins - As you see them start to make an appearance for Jack-O-Lantern duty, look to the smaller ones for cooking. A pumpkin soup or baked pumpkin served with pasta might be just what you need for a fall state-of-mind. Ditto for butternut squash!
3. Peppers - Sweet bell peppers jazz up a salad and taste delicious roasted. They don’t need much - a little olive oil before throwing on the grill and you’re ready to go.
4. Blackberries - Keep it simple and serve them on a pillow of whipped cream, or try something baked like a cobbler or pie.
5. Tomatoes - After a summer of soaking up the sun, tomatoes are at their sweet peak right about now. You can slice and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, make them the centerpiece of salads, chop them into homemade salsa, or add them to your eggs in the morning. So many uses and it’s a super food!


Image courtesy of Claudette Gallant / publicdomainpictures.net.

Five Fresh Ideas for September

Here we are on the verge of bidding a fond farewell to summer’s abundant fresh fruits and veggies and welcoming back fall’s own cornucopia. September is a great month to grab a few summer items at their glorious peak while adding squash and apples back to your recipes. So, next time you visit the farmer’s market or your grocer’s produce aisle, here are some suggestions for what’s best and fresh.

1. Apples - Yes, you can get tasty apples all year. But September is their peak tastiness. Add them to salads and pot roasts; drizzle them with honey and yogurt; crunch them with a dry artisan cheese. 

2. Pumpkins - As you see them start to make an appearance for Jack-O-Lantern duty, look to the smaller ones for cooking. A pumpkin soup or baked pumpkin served with pasta might be just what you need for a fall state-of-mind. Ditto for butternut squash!

3. Peppers - Sweet bell peppers jazz up a salad and taste delicious roasted. They don’t need much - a little olive oil before throwing on the grill and you’re ready to go.

4. Blackberries - Keep it simple and serve them on a pillow of whipped cream, or try something baked like a cobbler or pie.

5. Tomatoes - After a summer of soaking up the sun, tomatoes are at their sweet peak right about now. You can slice and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, make them the centerpiece of salads, chop them into homemade salsa, or add them to your eggs in the morning. So many uses and it’s a super food!

Image courtesy of Claudette Gallant / publicdomainpictures.net.

Tried and Approved
When renters decide to make the move to homeownership, it turns out that they usually don’t want to move too far. Most renters, in fact, prefer to find a house in the same area where they rent - an area that they already know and approve of. Sellers take note of this data too - the family who buys your house probably lives close by and already knows what a fantastic neighborhood you have!

August Sales
*  Atherton - 6 sales, 105% to list price, 49 average DOM
*  Belmont - 24 sales, 109% to list price, 18 average DOM
*  Burlingame - 20 sales, 108% to list price, 32 average DOM
*  Foster City - 7 sales, 114% to list price, 17 average DOM
*  Hillsborough - 13 sales, 99% to list price, 83 average DOM
*  Menlo Park - 34 sales, 106% to list price, 33 average DOM
*  Palo Alto - 33 sales, 112% to list price, 26 average DOM
*  Redwood City - 47 sales, 107% to list price, 31 average DOM
*  San Carlos - 18 sales, 106% to list price, 27 average DOM
*  San Mateo - 58 sales, 104% to list price, 24 average DOM
*  Woodside - 10 sales, 93% to list price, 72 average DOM
IMHO*:   I’ve learned in the past 25 plus years of selling houses to take each bit of news as it comes.  August brought signs that it is still a strong seller’s market along the SF Peninsula.  Give me a call and let me help you with a strategy that is right for you.  (*In My Humble Opinion – which I’m always happy to share.)

Tried and Approved

When renters decide to make the move to homeownership, it turns out that they usually don’t want to move too far. Most renters, in fact, prefer to find a house in the same area where they rent - an area that they already know and approve of. Sellers take note of this data too - the family who buys your house probably lives close by and already knows what a fantastic neighborhood you have!

August Sales

*  Atherton - 6 sales, 105% to list price, 49 average DOM

*  Belmont - 24 sales, 109% to list price, 18 average DOM

*  Burlingame - 20 sales, 108% to list price, 32 average DOM

*  Foster City - 7 sales, 114% to list price, 17 average DOM

*  Hillsborough - 13 sales, 99% to list price, 83 average DOM

*  Menlo Park - 34 sales, 106% to list price, 33 average DOM

*  Palo Alto - 33 sales, 112% to list price, 26 average DOM

*  Redwood City - 47 sales, 107% to list price, 31 average DOM

*  San Carlos - 18 sales, 106% to list price, 27 average DOM

*  San Mateo - 58 sales, 104% to list price, 24 average DOM

*  Woodside - 10 sales, 93% to list price, 72 average DOM

IMHO*:   I’ve learned in the past 25 plus years of selling houses to take each bit of news as it comes.  August brought signs that it is still a strong seller’s market along the SF Peninsula.  Give me a call and let me help you with a strategy that is right for you.  (*In My Humble Opinion – which I’m always happy to share.)

Hug Your Bear Today!
Happy National Teddy Bear day! You may not have even known what an important day it is when you woke up this morning, but there is always time to find your favorite stuffed bear and give it a hug. And if you are looking to impress friends and co-workers today, here is some Teddy Bear miscellany that is sure to do just that!
* The Theodore Roosevelt Association will mark the day by donating 400 teddy bears to hospitalized children. Since 1986, Teddy Bears for Kids has given away more than 80,000 bears in hospitals across the United States.
* Teddy bears are, of course, named after US President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. The name came about after a 1902 hunting expedition. 
* The Teddy Bears will not be going on a picnic today, though, because National Teddy Bear Picnic Day already occurred on July 10th. Picnics have been a tradition of Teddy Bears since “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” was written by John W. Bratton in 1907.
* In 2008 National Geographic set a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of over 2,304 stuffed animals sent in by kids. I bet a few stuffed Snoopys and Beanie Babies snuck in with the Teddy Bears.
* In 1995, a Steiff bear named Teddy Girl was sold at auction in London for $171,600. However, the most expensive teddy bear ever is surely the Steiff Louis Vuitton Teddy Bear which sold at auction in 2000 for $2,100,000. She now lives in a museum in Korea with her monogrammed luggage.
Enjoy today, but fear ye not Matey because the count down is on for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th!

Image courtesy of Jackie Edwards / publicdomainpictures.net.

Hug Your Bear Today!

Happy National Teddy Bear day! You may not have even known what an important day it is when you woke up this morning, but there is always time to find your favorite stuffed bear and give it a hug. And if you are looking to impress friends and co-workers today, here is some Teddy Bear miscellany that is sure to do just that!

* The Theodore Roosevelt Association will mark the day by donating 400 teddy bears to hospitalized children. Since 1986, Teddy Bears for Kids has given away more than 80,000 bears in hospitals across the United States.

* Teddy bears are, of course, named after US President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. The name came about after a 1902 hunting expedition. 

* The Teddy Bears will not be going on a picnic today, though, because National Teddy Bear Picnic Day already occurred on July 10th. Picnics have been a tradition of Teddy Bears since “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic” was written by John W. Bratton in 1907.

* In 2008 National Geographic set a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of over 2,304 stuffed animals sent in by kids. I bet a few stuffed Snoopys and Beanie Babies snuck in with the Teddy Bears.

* In 1995, a Steiff bear named Teddy Girl was sold at auction in London for $171,600. However, the most expensive teddy bear ever is surely the Steiff Louis Vuitton Teddy Bear which sold at auction in 2000 for $2,100,000. She now lives in a museum in Korea with her monogrammed luggage.

Enjoy today, but fear ye not Matey because the count down is on for International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th!

Image courtesy of Jackie Edwards / publicdomainpictures.net.

All Decked Out!
A deck is a beautiful way to combine indoor and outdoor living. Today, there is a strong trend among designers and homeowners alike to create outdoor spaces with all the comforts of being inside. This could mean a grill with sink and mini-fridge, plush seating with deep cushions, lots of functional and sparkly lights, a fire pit, and outdoor speakers. Add up all the pieces and you have a private retreat with a relaxing ambiance. 
One of the biggest trends in decks this year is larger sizes. Decks are also becoming year-round, which in the Bay Area means a covered portion where you can enjoy a rainy night. 
One more trend in decks: make them green. There are lots of options for the materials that you use which have varying longevity and environmental impact. Options include composite materials that combine wood fiber and recycled plastics (today’s composites frankly look quite fantastic!), reclaimed wood, or sustainably sourced woods. In fact, if you go the low-maintenance composite route you can skip the winter tips below!
Winter Prep for Wood Decks
In the weeks ahead, homeowners with wood decks should consider some routine maintenance that can extend the life of their decks. Recommended annual deck care includes a visual inspection for damage and replacement of boards as needed; a thorough power wash to remove dirt and soapy cleanse to remove mildew; and a re-sealing or re-staining of wood. Wet Bay Area winters can be hard on wood, so a few preventative steps can be very impactful to the condition of your outdoor retreat.
And check out this hot tip: I recently came across a resurfacer for old wood which is available at Home Depot. Restore Deck Liquid Armor, which comes in different colors, goes on like paint but is a much sturdier coating. Might be worth a try!

Image courtesy of Peter Griffin / publicdomainpictures.net.

All Decked Out!

A deck is a beautiful way to combine indoor and outdoor living. Today, there is a strong trend among designers and homeowners alike to create outdoor spaces with all the comforts of being inside. This could mean a grill with sink and mini-fridge, plush seating with deep cushions, lots of functional and sparkly lights, a fire pit, and outdoor speakers. Add up all the pieces and you have a private retreat with a relaxing ambiance. 

One of the biggest trends in decks this year is larger sizes. Decks are also becoming year-round, which in the Bay Area means a covered portion where you can enjoy a rainy night. 

One more trend in decks: make them green. There are lots of options for the materials that you use which have varying longevity and environmental impact. Options include composite materials that combine wood fiber and recycled plastics (today’s composites frankly look quite fantastic!), reclaimed wood, or sustainably sourced woods. In fact, if you go the low-maintenance composite route you can skip the winter tips below!

Winter Prep for Wood Decks

In the weeks ahead, homeowners with wood decks should consider some routine maintenance that can extend the life of their decks. Recommended annual deck care includes a visual inspection for damage and replacement of boards as needed; a thorough power wash to remove dirt and soapy cleanse to remove mildew; and a re-sealing or re-staining of wood. Wet Bay Area winters can be hard on wood, so a few preventative steps can be very impactful to the condition of your outdoor retreat.

And check out this hot tip: I recently came across a resurfacer for old wood which is available at Home Depot. Restore Deck Liquid Armor, which comes in different colors, goes on like paint but is a much sturdier coating. Might be worth a try!

Image courtesy of Peter Griffin / publicdomainpictures.net.

I want that! Front Door Edition
The entrance to your house can speak volumes about what and who can be found inside. A front door does not have to be plain, neutral, or simple. In fact, no matter the architecture and color of your house, your front door can be its own thing and steal the show in a way that says, “Welcome, visitor! Come on in!”
Here are a few ideas to give you a sense of where you can go with the design of your front door. This can even be an easy weekend project that will give your curb appeal an instant upgrade. 
Door as Art - A front door can be a piece of art in itself. A red door with industrial hardware? A carved door with windows? A steal door with copper-framed windows? A mural? 
Unique Shapes - Oversized, arched, square, double and Dutch are all unexpected takes on the traditional, single door. Hardware can be unique too, such as decorative metal hinges, rustic barn straps, or an oversized door knob.
Mixed Media - Some of the most interesting doors used mixed media, combining wood, glass, stainless steel, tile, and stone. Windows can be large and inviting or small and abundant. Glass can be clear or frosted. Getting some ideas?
Reclaimed Material - Architectural salvage is a great source of interesting old doors or materials for a custom door. Combine that with a “smart lock” that uses blue tooth technology to unlock and you have a very interesting “past meets future” door!
To see some examples of some fantastic front doors, take a peak at 12 Seriously Cool Front Door Designs That Will Boost Your Curb Appeal.

Image courtesy of Karen Arnold / publicdomainpictures.net.

I want that! Front Door Edition

The entrance to your house can speak volumes about what and who can be found inside. A front door does not have to be plain, neutral, or simple. In fact, no matter the architecture and color of your house, your front door can be its own thing and steal the show in a way that says, “Welcome, visitor! Come on in!”

Here are a few ideas to give you a sense of where you can go with the design of your front door. This can even be an easy weekend project that will give your curb appeal an instant upgrade. 

Door as Art - A front door can be a piece of art in itself. A red door with industrial hardware? A carved door with windows? A steal door with copper-framed windows? A mural? 

Unique Shapes - Oversized, arched, square, double and Dutch are all unexpected takes on the traditional, single door. Hardware can be unique too, such as decorative metal hinges, rustic barn straps, or an oversized door knob.

Mixed Media - Some of the most interesting doors used mixed media, combining wood, glass, stainless steel, tile, and stone. Windows can be large and inviting or small and abundant. Glass can be clear or frosted. Getting some ideas?

Reclaimed Material - Architectural salvage is a great source of interesting old doors or materials for a custom door. Combine that with a “smart lock” that uses blue tooth technology to unlock and you have a very interesting “past meets future” door!

To see some examples of some fantastic front doors, take a peak at 12 Seriously Cool Front Door Designs That Will Boost Your Curb Appeal.

Image courtesy of Karen Arnold / publicdomainpictures.net.

Before You Lose Your Phone….
A friend of mine lost her iPhone this week and is devastated. She said it feels like losing a best friend. Unfortunately, sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life we lose something along the way, including a small but very important electronic device. Here are some tips she shared with me to help protect your iPhone and its contents before and (hopefully not ever) after it gets lost.
* Find My iPhone is a great feature that can locate your phone when you login using your apple ID. Once you login, you can make your phone let off a loud noise, display a banner telling a finder who to call, or erase all data. The feature has to be turned on, so check your phone’s settings now to make sure it is. Also, the phone needs to be connected to the internet, so try not to lose it in a dead zone.
* A cover with some grip and bulk can be very helpful in preventing your phone from slipping into tight places. It’s such a shame to cover such a beautiful phone, I know, but covers do come in a huge variety of fashionable designs.
* Use a passcode, use a passcode, use a passcode. You can also enable an option to erase all your data after a certain amount of unsuccessful attempts to enter the passcode. This might not work if you have a small child who likes to play with your phone, but is not as scary as it sounds if your data is backed up with iCloud.
* Be consistent about where you place your phone (I always leave it by the toaster in the kitchen…) and try to keep it in your purse or pocket when you are away from home and office. If you have to set it down, though, try a memory trick. For example, if you set it down on a counter next to a salt shaker, imagine the salt snowing down on your phone to create a memory of where you have placed it.
I hope this never happens to you! Fortunately, a few proactive steps can help protect the little device that many of us can’t imagine being separated from.



Image courtesy of Steve Linster / publicdomainpictures.net.

Before You Lose Your Phone….

A friend of mine lost her iPhone this week and is devastated. She said it feels like losing a best friend. Unfortunately, sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life we lose something along the way, including a small but very important electronic device. Here are some tips she shared with me to help protect your iPhone and its contents before and (hopefully not ever) after it gets lost.

* Find My iPhone is a great feature that can locate your phone when you login using your apple ID. Once you login, you can make your phone let off a loud noise, display a banner telling a finder who to call, or erase all data. The feature has to be turned on, so check your phone’s settings now to make sure it is. Also, the phone needs to be connected to the internet, so try not to lose it in a dead zone.

* A cover with some grip and bulk can be very helpful in preventing your phone from slipping into tight places. It’s such a shame to cover such a beautiful phone, I know, but covers do come in a huge variety of fashionable designs.

* Use a passcode, use a passcode, use a passcode. You can also enable an option to erase all your data after a certain amount of unsuccessful attempts to enter the passcode. This might not work if you have a small child who likes to play with your phone, but is not as scary as it sounds if your data is backed up with iCloud.

* Be consistent about where you place your phone (I always leave it by the toaster in the kitchen…) and try to keep it in your purse or pocket when you are away from home and office. If you have to set it down, though, try a memory trick. For example, if you set it down on a counter next to a salt shaker, imagine the salt snowing down on your phone to create a memory of where you have placed it.

I hope this never happens to you! Fortunately, a few proactive steps can help protect the little device that many of us can’t imagine being separated from.

Image courtesy of Steve Linster / publicdomainpictures.net.

Time to Get Ready?
Wow! What a powerful reminder we got last weekend that California sits on some active fault lines that could make their presence known at any time. I am thankful that no life was lost during Napa’s earthquake, and heartbroken about some of the damage to buildings in Napa. And, of course, I am reminded of the importance of preparing for an earthquake and knowing how to respond. 
It can be overwhelming to create an entire emergency kit for your home, so here are some baby steps that can get you started. I’ve shared some of these tips before but updated them with thoughts from the most recent quake in Napa.
1. Nearby Essentials - To start your earthquake kit, put a few essentials in a backpack in a convenient place by your bed. When an earthquake hits at night, you will find it helpful to have shoes, a flashlight, and a hammer or crow bar ready to go. Many injuries last weekend involved cuts from walking on broken glass. All other supplies can be kept in the garage or a shed, but should be close to an exterior door for easy access in case of damage to the structure.
2. Head Protection - Pictures or clocks hung above beds and couches should be carefully secured. The last thing you want is grandma’s photo bonking you on the head in the middle of the night! You can also secure vases and other knick knacks on shelves with putty.
3. Unexpected Items - There are some items you have lying around your house that could become super helpful after a quake. If you can find these, add them to your backpack or your kit/shelf/closet: whistle (I am here!), gloves (so much broken glass!), utility knife, duct tape (so. many. uses.), some masks and a deck of cards. 
4. Map It Out - Could not be easier: go to Google maps, print a satellite shot of your house, and start marking it up with evacuation spots, gas shut-off, water main, important document storage spot, etc. Note where the nearest neighborhood fire hydrant is located - this is where emergency crews could be found. Done!
5. Prepare Pets - Don’t forget to plan for your pets with some food, leashes, and kennels ready to go. And don’t forget the can opener!
Neighborhood teenagers are a great resource if you are looking for someone to help out with some of these tasks. And if you find yourself in need of a new neighborhood, let me be your expert resource and help you find the right house for you!

Image courtesy of Junior Libby / publicdomainpictures.net.

Time to Get Ready?

Wow! What a powerful reminder we got last weekend that California sits on some active fault lines that could make their presence known at any time. I am thankful that no life was lost during Napa’s earthquake, and heartbroken about some of the damage to buildings in Napa. And, of course, I am reminded of the importance of preparing for an earthquake and knowing how to respond. 

It can be overwhelming to create an entire emergency kit for your home, so here are some baby steps that can get you started. I’ve shared some of these tips before but updated them with thoughts from the most recent quake in Napa.

1. Nearby Essentials - To start your earthquake kit, put a few essentials in a backpack in a convenient place by your bed. When an earthquake hits at night, you will find it helpful to have shoes, a flashlight, and a hammer or crow bar ready to go. Many injuries last weekend involved cuts from walking on broken glass. All other supplies can be kept in the garage or a shed, but should be close to an exterior door for easy access in case of damage to the structure.

2. Head Protection - Pictures or clocks hung above beds and couches should be carefully secured. The last thing you want is grandma’s photo bonking you on the head in the middle of the night! You can also secure vases and other knick knacks on shelves with putty.

3. Unexpected Items - There are some items you have lying around your house that could become super helpful after a quake. If you can find these, add them to your backpack or your kit/shelf/closet: whistle (I am here!), gloves (so much broken glass!), utility knife, duct tape (so. many. uses.), some masks and a deck of cards. 

4. Map It Out - Could not be easier: go to Google maps, print a satellite shot of your house, and start marking it up with evacuation spots, gas shut-off, water main, important document storage spot, etc. Note where the nearest neighborhood fire hydrant is located - this is where emergency crews could be found. Done!

5. Prepare Pets - Don’t forget to plan for your pets with some food, leashes, and kennels ready to go. And don’t forget the can opener!

Neighborhood teenagers are a great resource if you are looking for someone to help out with some of these tasks. And if you find yourself in need of a new neighborhood, let me be your expert resource and help you find the right house for you!

Image courtesy of Junior Libby / publicdomainpictures.net.

Inside the Buyer’s Mind: Hidden Concerns

Seller’s take note. I recently read an interesting Trulia.com blogger discuss some of the hidden reasons why a buyer might reject a home (the neighbor has too many cars in the driveway! the windows are too small! too many other buyers will be trying to buy this house!). Even when seemingly unrelated to the nuts and bolts of the house itself, certain emotional factors can be very persuasive to potential buyers. 

When I work with buyers, I have learned through my 25 plus years of experience to listen, listen, and listen some more. When I really understand their feelings about a particular house I can help them address those concerns and find just what they want and need.

When I work with sellers, part of my job is to develop a marketing strategy that considers some of these hidden potential concerns and addresses them up front. Here are the top 3  hidden issues I have worked with sellers to address:

1) Neighbors. Is your fantastically renovated and lovingly maintained house sharing a block with some unloved homes that need a little yard TLC or have a visible backyard junk heap? This can be a tough one! I can’t change the neighborhood! What I can do is focus on some of the fantastic qualities your neighborhood offers - the new park only 2 blocks away, the fantastic school ratings, the stores you can walk to, and the recently repaved roads.

2) Changes. Potential buyers with their ears to the ground may be full of information about rumored new developments, businesses, or school changes. These are easy for me to address - information about neighborhood changes can generally be obtained from public records and online sources. Change is not a bad thing, but unsubstantiated rumors can be powerful unless they are address with facts.

3) Tomorrow. Smart buyers look for a house that will realistically work for them today and tomorrow. It is reasonable to understand you might need a downstairs master in the future or a nursery and play room. And a buyer may reasonably want to accommodate parents or grandparents when they visit while unreasonably not considering short-term solutions that will work for occasional visits. Talking through what future features a buyer might need and when allows me to address how a house can easily provide for those while marketing the house.




Image courtesy of Ben Van Broekhoven / publicdomainpictures.net.

Inside the Buyer’s Mind: Hidden Concerns

Seller’s take note. I recently read an interesting Trulia.com blogger discuss some of the hidden reasons why a buyer might reject a home (the neighbor has too many cars in the driveway! the windows are too small! too many other buyers will be trying to buy this house!). Even when seemingly unrelated to the nuts and bolts of the house itself, certain emotional factors can be very persuasive to potential buyers. 

When I work with buyers, I have learned through my 25 plus years of experience to listen, listen, and listen some more. When I really understand their feelings about a particular house I can help them address those concerns and find just what they want and need.

When I work with sellers, part of my job is to develop a marketing strategy that considers some of these hidden potential concerns and addresses them up front. Here are the top 3  hidden issues I have worked with sellers to address:

1) Neighbors. Is your fantastically renovated and lovingly maintained house sharing a block with some unloved homes that need a little yard TLC or have a visible backyard junk heap? This can be a tough one! I can’t change the neighborhood! What I can do is focus on some of the fantastic qualities your neighborhood offers - the new park only 2 blocks away, the fantastic school ratings, the stores you can walk to, and the recently repaved roads.

2) Changes. Potential buyers with their ears to the ground may be full of information about rumored new developments, businesses, or school changes. These are easy for me to address - information about neighborhood changes can generally be obtained from public records and online sources. Change is not a bad thing, but unsubstantiated rumors can be powerful unless they are address with facts.

3) Tomorrow. Smart buyers look for a house that will realistically work for them today and tomorrow. It is reasonable to understand you might need a downstairs master in the future or a nursery and play room. And a buyer may reasonably want to accommodate parents or grandparents when they visit while unreasonably not considering short-term solutions that will work for occasional visits. Talking through what future features a buyer might need and when allows me to address how a house can easily provide for those while marketing the house.

Image courtesy of Ben Van Broekhoven / publicdomainpictures.net.

Take 5: Outdoor Maintenance
The long days of summer are gradually shortening, making now a perfect time to do some end-of-season checks and maintenance in your yard before what we all hope and hope and hope will be a wet winter. Wondering where to start? Here are 5 ideas that can get you started!
1. Downspouts: First check that they are clear of obstructions. Use some recycled water next time you wash dishes to test water flow through the drains. Check that downspouts direct water 5 feet away from your house and that the water does not pool up.
2. Mosquito Control: Visually inspect that sprinklers are not creating pools of standing water where mosquitos can breed. Change the water in birdbaths often. Inspect window screen for small holes and make any needed repairs.
3. Outdoor Lights: They provide ambiance and assist with security around your house. Take a few minutes to inspect for burned-out bulbs and clean glass surfaces to keep them bright.
4. Outdoor Mats: If they have served their purpose well, then you can expect you’ll need to clean them off from time to time. Use some dish soap and a soft-bristled brush before gently spraying with a garden hose. Allow it to dry fully in a sunny spot before returning it to its home.
5. House Numbers: When was the last time you glanced at your house numbers, either on the front of the house or the curb? A little TLC can help visitors and delivery folk. And by the way, do you love your numbers or was they just there when you bought the house? Replacing them is a fun and easy mini-makeover!
And here’s my last piece of advice - if you are looking for some help with landscaping or outdoor maintenance, I have many terrific resources I can share with you!



Image courtesy of Lynn Greyling / publicdomainpictures.net.

Take 5: Outdoor Maintenance

The long days of summer are gradually shortening, making now a perfect time to do some end-of-season checks and maintenance in your yard before what we all hope and hope and hope will be a wet winter. Wondering where to start? Here are 5 ideas that can get you started!

1. Downspouts: First check that they are clear of obstructions. Use some recycled water next time you wash dishes to test water flow through the drains. Check that downspouts direct water 5 feet away from your house and that the water does not pool up.

2. Mosquito Control: Visually inspect that sprinklers are not creating pools of standing water where mosquitos can breed. Change the water in birdbaths often. Inspect window screen for small holes and make any needed repairs.

3. Outdoor Lights: They provide ambiance and assist with security around your house. Take a few minutes to inspect for burned-out bulbs and clean glass surfaces to keep them bright.

4. Outdoor Mats: If they have served their purpose well, then you can expect you’ll need to clean them off from time to time. Use some dish soap and a soft-bristled brush before gently spraying with a garden hose. Allow it to dry fully in a sunny spot before returning it to its home.

5. House Numbers: When was the last time you glanced at your house numbers, either on the front of the house or the curb? A little TLC can help visitors and delivery folk. And by the way, do you love your numbers or was they just there when you bought the house? Replacing them is a fun and easy mini-makeover!

And here’s my last piece of advice - if you are looking for some help with landscaping or outdoor maintenance, I have many terrific resources I can share with you!

Image courtesy of Lynn Greyling / publicdomainpictures.net.

Dreams For Sale
One thing I love about being a real estate agent along the SF Peninsula is the amazing variety of houses, from cottages to mega mansions, that I get to view every week. I’ve seen my share of “Greek Revivals” and “Italianate” mansions, all beautifully replicating an old-world style from a past era. So, it was interesting to see the real estate website Curbed.com report on a genuine 18th-century chateau for sale in France (not pictured - but not all that different!).  Je n’en crois pas mes yeux!
So if you have a cool $6.7 million, here are some of the features you could acquire, with a few of my own interpretations.
* A romantically long, tree-lined, dirt and pebble drive leading up to the classic facade. Perfect for a horse and carriage, although they are not included.
* A breathtaking entry with two dramatic stairs loaded with marble details. The listing does not specify, but I’m certain these stairs are best descended in a long dress that can dramatically cascade behind you.
* A dining room with gilded ceiling and walls that scream for vast tapestries to be hung on them. However, in my opinion, the chandelier will need to be replaced with something much larger and I don’t see any sign of the large serving platters covered with domed silver lids that I’m sure all meals must be presented in (even leftovers warmed in the microwave).
* A ballroom with coffered ceilings and dense, elegant drapes. You will need to supply your own Marquis and Duke as well as glass slippers, if so desired.
* Acreage - almost 100! - but sadly as far as I can tell there is no name for this chateau.  Oh, and there is no moat. Chateau’s with moats in France can be found in the $25-30 million range and likely come with some suits of armor.
Ready to search out a chateau (mini or mega) along the SF Peninsula? Let’s talk!




Image courtesy of Monika S. / publicdomainpictures.net.

Dreams For Sale

One thing I love about being a real estate agent along the SF Peninsula is the amazing variety of houses, from cottages to mega mansions, that I get to view every week. I’ve seen my share of “Greek Revivals” and “Italianate” mansions, all beautifully replicating an old-world style from a past era. So, it was interesting to see the real estate website Curbed.com report on a genuine 18th-century chateau for sale in France (not pictured - but not all that different!).  Je n’en crois pas mes yeux!

So if you have a cool $6.7 million, here are some of the features you could acquire, with a few of my own interpretations.

* A romantically long, tree-lined, dirt and pebble drive leading up to the classic facade. Perfect for a horse and carriage, although they are not included.

* A breathtaking entry with two dramatic stairs loaded with marble details. The listing does not specify, but I’m certain these stairs are best descended in a long dress that can dramatically cascade behind you.

* A dining room with gilded ceiling and walls that scream for vast tapestries to be hung on them. However, in my opinion, the chandelier will need to be replaced with something much larger and I don’t see any sign of the large serving platters covered with domed silver lids that I’m sure all meals must be presented in (even leftovers warmed in the microwave).

* A ballroom with coffered ceilings and dense, elegant drapes. You will need to supply your own Marquis and Duke as well as glass slippers, if so desired.

* Acreage - almost 100! - but sadly as far as I can tell there is no name for this chateau.  Oh, and there is no moat. Chateau’s with moats in France can be found in the $25-30 million range and likely come with some suits of armor.

Ready to search out a chateau (mini or mega) along the SF Peninsula? Let’s talk!

Image courtesy of Monika S. / publicdomainpictures.net.