About athomeinsanjose

I'm a Realtor and also a singer, and a lover of cities that have a thriving cultural community.

Music, music everywhere

Outdoor concerts are so much fun!  On Sundays, you can go to Music In The Park, in Los Gatos….lots of families sitting on the huge green space in front of Los Gatos City Hall, picnics, warm sunshine, Joe Sharino and the gang rocking out on the stage, wine tasting…the summer music scene is underway!  One of my favorite things to do is to listen to music outdoors, so I plan on going to as many FREE outdoor events as possible this summer!  Just a few others to consider:  Music in the Glen, in Willow Glen; Jazz on the Plazz in Los Gatos, and the many summer street festivals coming up.  The Campbell Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings is going to start featuring music, too!

The biggest disappointment has to be that San Jose’s traditional Thursday evening free concerts, Downtown Music In The Park, aren’t going forward this summer.  I think that’s a serious error, because it really drew a big attendance downtown and provided a centerpiece of activity for the entire summer.  BUT…the tickets for the San Jose Jazz Festival will be on sale soon, and if you get your tickets early, it’s not too expensive and you get three whole days of incredible music.  www.sanjosejazz.org .

If you have any suggestions to pass along for free outdoor concerts, please reply to this post and share.  Thanks!

Which country calls to your heart?

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Nick is of Greek descent, and we have relatives living in Greece with whom he talks each week….in Greek!  So when we found out that there would be a Greek Flag Raising Ceremony in the plaza of San Jose City Hall, organized by Councilman Pete Constant, we made a beeline for it on Friday, March 23.  A good crowd showed up, and many dignitaries including Mayor Reed and the Metropolitan from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco.  There were young Greek dancers, the singing of both the USA and the Greek national anthems, some speeches, and lots of heartfelt comraderie.  It was easy to see how important it was to everyone that they share a common heritage and work hard to keep it alive in San Jose.

We have so many interesting cultures here, with so many kinds of festivals, food, and fun to tap into.  I’m so happy to live in a city filled with diversity…and I’d love to know what your heritage is…where did you come from, who do you still know there, when was the last time you visited?  Let’s make our homeland heartstrings sing!

Now I’m waiting for a Lithuanian Flag Raising Ceremony :-).  

Stats…what do they mean to you??

An example of a regular equity sale in San Jose - 2284 Glenkirk Drive

Everyone is always talking about “the stats” in the real estate market…yes, there are a certain number of homes that have sold in the past month, at particular price points, or with a general median or average sale price…but what does that really mean to you?

The fact is, homes for sale inventory in the greater San Jose and peninsula areas is very low.  We’ve had some very frustrating experiences with buying clients recently…it seems that even in particular townhome complexes, when a property comes on the market there is a “feeding frenzy” of buyers and their agents who show up, hoping theirs will be the accepted offer, and since only one offer “wins”, the next time a home comes up in that complex, we all rush over to that one and repeat the process, ad infinitum.  We see the same faces over and over again, and mulitple offers are driving prices upward!  Demand is far outstripping supply, a perfect market for sellers to once again regain the upper hand.

The key word in this market is speed.  For you buyers, the only way to win is to be out there checking out any home that seems to meet your criteria, as soon as it goes on the market.  That goes double for a sale that is a regular, equity sale…not a short sale or foreclosure property.  If it meets even 3/4 of your needs, go ahead and make the offer…you can’t win if you don’t play.  And offer time periods are getting cut off more and more quickly, because after so many offers are received, sellers just don’t want to review any more and will instruct their agent to issue instructions on the MLS that all offers are being reviewed and further offers are discouraged.

For sellers, this feeding frenzy can’t last forever…buyers will get tired of the frustration and will start to pull back from the market.  That should hold true even for investors, because at this point all-cash offers are not necessarily going to win if they aren’t the highest offer.  So if you have been “thinking” about putting your home on the market, and you are truly serious about selling, don’t wait…you want to catch this mini wave, believe me.  A rising tide lifts all boats, and the market is pretty buoyant at this minute.

Having ridden out this economic downturn and having kept a watchful eye on the housing market throughout, my prediction is that things will continue to be in flux during 2012.  You’ll see more sales or less sales each month, with no real consistent trend up or down, and no continuous rise upward in sales prices.  BUT…if you see even a small trend, act on it.  When the market is good for you, strike quickly!

Beautiful 2284 Glenkirk Drive in Willow Glen

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Beautiful 2284 Glenkirk Drive in Willow Glen

We live in Willow Glen.  We represent clients in Willow Glen.  We LOVE Willow Glen.  This Glenkirk/Maykirk neighborhood is quiet, safe, and features regular block parties by very friendly neighbors.  And award-winning schools.  Just a sample of the lifestyles San Jose has to offer.  You should be living here!!

Billions of Dollars….Who Will Really Benefit?

I’m always happy to see headlines that seem to signal help for the struggling homeowners across the country.  As a Realtor, I feel my mandate is to not only help in the purchase or sale of a home, but also to protect private property rights and the homeowner…and keeping families in their homes is a top priority.

There will certainly be homeowners who benefit from the recent $26 Billion settlement reached between the banks and the federal government.  BUT read a little more closely…if you are an FHA borrower, or if your loan has been sold to an investment group, or if your mortgage loan is held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you will receive NO FUNDS OR ASSISTANCE from this settlement whatsoever.  Kind of makes you wonder…are we just one square away from Square One?  Be sure to check out the New York Times article today….  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/business/states-negotiate-26-billion-agreement-for-homeowners.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha25.

When the family foundation shifts

So many of us are reaching that age when we start to wonder how long our parents will be with us, and how we can help them continue to enjoy life, laughter and love to the fullest for the longest.  It’s such a daunting transitional point to realize that you just might be the decision-maker from now on, even if you have no idea what the decisions will be.

My 84-year old Dad lives alone in the stunningly beautiful city of Vancouver, BC.  His 16th floor aerie of an apartment provides a 270-degree view of English Bay, the West End, Stanley Park, and the city, along with the minimal creature comforts he wishes to have.  His decorations include loads of books, beautiful pictures of nature and multi-cultural images, and calendars lovingly notated by  his grandaughter my niece, and his sound system operates from morning to night to fill the air with all kinds of music.  He walks regularly and eats sparingly, but feasts regularly on plays, symphony concerts, and musicals.  It’s a full, rich life.

My biggest decision has been to accept his choice to live alone and independently, far away, without worrying what might happen to him or when, and to be sure to visit at least once a year when we can spend quality time, just the two of us usually, when I fit myself into his interesting lifestyle and enjoy his company and the love we share.

I have so many friends, though, who are thrust unprepared into the position of dealing with parents who are ill or just experiencing the inevitable march of time and the changes it brings.  The most difficult topic, the one that seems to frighten parents the most, is always the loss of independence.  How do you know when, or even how, to bring it up?  Or assess the right moment to assess?  Is there ever really a “right” time to become a caregiver?  We all want to be in charge of our own destiny…we feel that is our one inalienable right as a human being.

Well, we’ve been thinking for a very long time how we could offer a little help, and have found a terrific national “community” resource we want to share…the Caregivers Library.  You can find our “seniors specialist” profile there by visiting http://www.directory.caregiverslibrary.org/listing/the-lymberis-team.html, or by visiting www.nickandbarbara.com/theeldercaregroup but there are many incredibly helpful forms, checklists, and articles available to you on the site as well. We find it to be the most comprehensive and reliable source for any and all information about caregiving, whether it is for a parent, a child, or any other family member or friend you have become responsible for.

Life, and living, are great gifts that none of us should ever take for granted.  A caregiver situation is stressful for both the care giver and the cared for.  If this site becomes a good resource for you in the decisions you may be called on to make at some point, we’re happy to have helped!

We’re Back!!

Well, it certainly feels great to be back in our office on Lincoln Avenue. The merger with Keller Williams Realty went very smoothly, and the place is still the most comfortable place to sit and chat about the real estate market, have a coffee or a glass of wine, and watch as the residents of Willow Glen parade past the big picture window. When you walk in, you will feel kind of like Perfect Harmony Properties is here too…same art, same furniture,same classical music in the air, same welcoming smiles.

Basically, there is so much to understand and digest about the market in the Valley, that we just want to be an excellent, professional source of information…the real truth about prices, preparation, and possibilities. Your very local agents. We know how confusing things are right now…will prices go down again? By how much? What about interest rates? Is this the right time to buy income property as an investment for your future? (That answer is yes, if your circumstances allow.) Can you get a loan, and what kind is the best? Should you consider selling short? Or buying a short sale property? What about a bank-owned one?

No wonder everyone is postponing making decisions about buying or selling property…everyone is worried about not having enough information. We understand…we are also constantly looking for answers, taking classes on new technology and on the various types of sales we are dealing with, and trying to stay ahead of the curve.

Remember, though…there is ALWAYS time for a bite to eat, a glass of wine, and a laugh with friends. And our little office on The Avenue is friendly and waiting. Drop by, sink into a comfortable couch, and take a break. We’ll even walk down to your favorite restaurant and bring you a snack. Make it your home away from home. Hope to see you soon.

Downtown Doings

A preview of things now and to come

The San Pedro Square Market is one step closer to being a vibrant part of the downtown scene! If you drive downtown at night and head down to San Pedro Square, you will see the giant red letters lit up and beckoning all to drop in for what will certainly be a great time eating, drinking, and “hangin’ out”. You’ll have to wait a little for the dust to clear, but our downtown is definitely progressing.

When I first arrived in San Jose in 1978, the downtown was NOT a place I wanted to go…run down, dirty, filled with “colorful” characters, pretty scary during the day and even more so at night. But even then, while I was getting my Masters in Music degree at San Jose State University, we all used to frequent San Pedro Square, especially the Olde Spaghetti Factory, which thankfully is still there and still feeding all of us with inexpensive, tried-and-true tasty pasta dishes and eclectic surroundings.

With Tom McEnery’s vision, the downtown eventually transformed into a real destination again, and all of the current restaurants, hotels, cultural activities and events make it a “place to be” that will never decline again. We’ve even considered living at one of the high rise towers, such as The 88 or 360 Residences, but our kitties – featured prominently from time to time in this blog – would never forgive us :-).

And speaking of cultural activities…according to Richard Scheinin, SJ Mercury music critic, the new Opera San Jose production of “Idomeneo” is a smash hit and you should go to see it…running until Sept. 25 at the California Theatre on First St. Information at http://www.operasj.org.

Get yourself downtown…and I’ll see you there!

Season’s Turning

We lost our sweet little Jasmine a few days ago…or rather, we released her to whatever her next life will be. A sweeheart to the end, she was just too tired to soldier on in a body that had become so light it was almost just air. Her loss is a devastating one, coming so soon on the heels of Luvey’s passing in April, and our home on Creek Drive is filled with empty spaces where they used to smile up at us and rumble with purrs.

The two most recent family members, Domina and Smokey, have some very big paws to fill….they haven’t yet relaxed into the pleasures of warm laps and the constant weight of loving hands, but they have certainly taken to the companionship and snuggle opportunities of our comforter-topped bed at night, so perhaps there is hope. We are grateful for the way they came into our lives, almost as if they were meant to help us in this difficult transition and grieving time.

As Summer winds down and the chilly nights of Fall arrive, they sit on the fence and watch the leaves swirl down. We are acutely reminded that the rhythms of life and death surround us always, constant as the Seasons.

A red fox along the creek

We had a very interesting visitor yesterday…a young, thin red fox, all alone, who stopped outside the back gate and then decided to stay most of the afternoon, taking in the sun and the attention of our cats, who lay just on this side of the gate and kept watch on the newcomer. Blending into the dry grass just at the brink of the creek bank, he would raise his head at any approach and gaze warily in my direction, but never became afraid enough to dash away. The red fox usually travels in groups, or at least in pairs…has he lost his way? Or his mate? Will he come back? Guess we’ll all have to wait and see!