Well that was a downer. To watch Cal lose their lead, then ultimately lose the game was heart-breaking. Ugh.
Before I get entrenched with work this week, I wanted to quickly post that we definitively sold my condo. I mentioned previously that selling a home has to be one of the most stressful life events, ranking up there with losing a job, moving to another city, and getting married. Funny, I should probably count myself lucky since, comparatively, the process was actually really smooth since we took offers 10 days after it went on the market.
I had to give my tenants notice. They weren’t too happy.
We staged it ourselves, painting the whole place and moving furniture from Dean’s apartment into my condo. I bought a bed from Mancini’s Sleepworld for $200 which included delivery, then turned around and sold it for $100 on Craigslist. We also bought a head board (that we returned), bedding (that I carefully repackaged and returned), and San Francisco prints that I framed and hope to sell. So total we spent about $1,000 to get my place ready, primarily to cover the cost and labor for painting.
I paid $455,000 for my condo at the height of the market in 2005.
We listed it for $499,000.
Sold it for $525,000.
Frankly, I just wanted to break even. I’m very happy to have made a profit because I know other people who lost money, including the other original owners of the two other units in the building. They sold during the downturn while I held on.
I learned a couple lessons during this whole experience:
Do not buy during a frenzy. I feel like we’re currently experiencing an unsustainably hot real estate market.
Buy when others aren’t.
Next time you buy something (i.e., clothes, books, picture frames, toys, antiques), ask yourself if you really need it. It’s incredible how much unnecessary crap we accumulate.
With a guest: staff ratio of 2:1, a cruise on a Celebrity liner is like no other. Boasting incredible service, attractive decor and some top quality itineraries to choose from, when you book Celebrity cruises, the world will be your oyster.
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Take your pick from these fantastic itinerary options or browse any of the other trips that Celebrity offers to ensure you choose the one that perfectly suits your individual taste and desires.
Australia onboard the Solstice
This year, the award winning Solstice is making her debut Down Under, offering the choice of numerous 12/13 night trips, including ones that take you between Sydney in New South Wales and Auckland in New Zealand.
Alternatively you could enjoy a 12 night cruise of the South Pacific, including Australia, Fiji and various stunningly beautiful islands of paradise in-between. If there’s one amazing way to visit the southern hemisphere, this is it.
Transpacific aboard the Millennium
Perfect if you know you want to visit as much of the world as possible within your 3 week time slot, a Transpacific cruise on the Millennium will take you between China, South Korea, Japan, Alaska and Vancouver in Canada as part of a 17 night cruise, giving you plenty of opportunity to tread on the soils of two huge continents.
Alternatively, a transpacific cruise on the Solstice can provide you with a cruise of your dreams between the South Pacific and Hawaii, stopping at some island paradises along the way.
The Celebrity fleet has introduced many new itineraries this year, giving a broader scope of destinations and ensuring that whatever your dreams, they will fulfill them.
Is anyone watching Cal dominate Louisville? Yowsers. The Bears are looking real good. Such an exciting game. GO BEARS!
I have been working all weekend so this is a very nice break. Yeehah. Have to be in the office at 7am tomorrow so all I’ve been doing is work, sleep, work. That’ll continue throughout this week so don’t expect much from me on the blog.
That said, next post is a sponsored post. So exciting, please have a read and consider patronizing my advertisers. Web site hosting and blog maintenance isn’t free, hence I’m very grateful for their financial support and their belief in my readership reach.
No, I’m not a hoarder. I’ve either had roommates or lived in a studio or 1-bedroom apartment ever since I left for college. So how much of a hoarder can I be? Well a lot. A lot for me.
Now that my condo is sold, it makes me nauseous looking at all the crap I amassed in the four years that I lived there. Like hundreds of books and thousands of pieces of paper in files and binders. Lightbulbs, picture frames, a heat dish, a panini maker, pillows, candles, suitcases, a tent, a sleeping bag, mugs, shot glasses, magnets, swiffers, fake flowers, bowls, a scanner, lamps, clothes, mirrors. I mean, it’s total crap. Last night I told Dean, “Seriously, let’s just put all this shit on the sidewalk.”
And fer realz, I may be one of the most minimalist people I know! That’s the irony of the situation. I am not a pack rat. I’m constantly purging. All my prized possessions (mainly jewelry and clothes) are neatly contained in a small walk-in closet at our apartment. And I still have plenty of room that I tell Dean he can put stuff in my closet anytime.
Are you possessed by material things?
Do you have a room in your home where the main purpose is to store junk? Or are you someone who has a Costco storage room?
Do you rent a storage space? A space you barely visit, a place you spend money on to store stuff you don’t even need.
Do your kids have a gazillion toys? Do they have rooms full of crap that they played with once, but don’t even care about anymore?
Dean and I are always joking with each other, “Well of course we need a big house. We need a bigger house so we can buy more shit!”
I’ve been inspired by this article I read in San Francisco magazine about a family that limits their possessions, challenging themselves to truly waste not. They spent a year itemizing their trash output (anything they could not recycle) which amounted to 2 grocery bags of stuff. Un-freaking-believable! The kids don’t have a lot of toys. The mom says, “People feel pressure that you need all this stuff with a new baby, but you really, really don’t.”
I’m always floored when I go to family homes and there’s a special trash for the diapers, night lights, swing sets, rocking chairs. They don’t have all this stuff in third world countries and kids born outside of the U.S. turn out just fine!
You may think having all this stuff is irrelevant, but dealing with extra crap actually occupies your mind. Let’s think about Obama who says that in order to be an efficient problem solver, he needs to minimize the number of decisions he makes. So he pretty much has a uniform that he wears every day, a black or blue suit. Easy. Think of your closet. Does your morning routine consist of an easy uniform-making decision? Or are you scouring through your clothes, pushing some shirts aside in favor of others, pulling out an outfit then deciding it doesn’t feel right. That’s a waste of time. Having unnecessary items in your life occupies precious brain activity and wastes your time.
It’s never too early to start your spring cleaning. Purge. It’ll make you feel good.
An article in the WSJ yesterday projected that, while rents continue to increase, the overall rental market may be cooling as the housing market continues to rebound.
Exactly! Now is the time to put the brakes on the home search and start scouring Craiglist for rental deals. Markets are cyclical. Buy low, sell high. Did we all forget the golden rule of investing?
A quick update on this 2-unit property I was pining for in Rockridge, Oakland. If my condo sale had closed in time, I would have pounced on this.
It was listed for $825,000 and closed at $910,000. Pretty insane, but worth it considering the guaranteed rental income.
Hey people, if you haven’t noticed, we are experiencing a housing bubble: skyrocketing rents, zero inventory, and astronomical offers in terms of both volume and price. This is not the time to buy. Back away, people. Back away! I’m completely flabbergasted at how many people have decided that THIS is the time to buy. Very odd. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in the hunt myself, but I’m not paying up for a shack. I’d rather stick to our 1-bedroom, thank you very much. I have zero pressure to buy.
A coworker said that NOW is the time to buy into a new condo development because the price just keeps going up and up. And I’m like, dude, that is not sustainable. Use your brain! I asked him what the monthly HOAs are and he said $450. What a joke. Seriously, these people deserve to go into foreclosure for making such dumb mistakes.
Let’s do the math with an example.
37 years old – because that’s how old I am
$700,000 purchase price for a nice 2-bedroom condo in San Francisco
25% down – because these days that’s how much you have to put down to compete
30 year loan at a 3.5% interest rate – which is generous for rates right now
Mortgage + 1.14% property taxes + $450 HOAs = $3,425 housing expense per month – that doesn’t even include electricity, water, garbage, cable
Imagine still paying $3,425 at 65 years old? Because I’d still have another 2 more years to go. I don’t want to be coughing up that much money in my twilight years. I want to be on the beach in Central America drinking raw coconut water and eating shrimp.
I have this ongoing debate with my mom because she is a firm believer in owning a home. She’s one of those old school types. I questioned why should we be shackled to such a high mortgage 30 years from now when we can easily rent a 2-bedroom in a podunk suburb for peanuts. She countered that once your home’s paid off, the only expenses left are utilities and property taxes (which I should add are insane if you live in San Francisco). I don’t know. I’m still not sold on this home ownership dream. But since my parents are, it’s good to know we can always move in with mom and dad!
I am under so much pressure right now, I feel my heart is going to burst out of my chest. Work is insane. I’m in escrow with the sale of my condo closing any day now. And we still have a bunch of crap at my place which needs to be vacated any day now. Best thing to do would be to toss all our stuff on the sidewalk. We don’t have time to deal!
Over the weekend, we did manage to go to the Treasure Island Flea Market which was so much fun. I’m really trying to stay away from being such a consumer, but the weather was fantastic (albeit a bit chilly right by the water) and you can’t beat the Chairman food truck which was there on Saturday. I’m a downer when it comes to food trucks (overpriced with no seating), but the Chairman is orgasmically delish. OMG! The pork belly is TO-DIE-FOR! Follow this truck! I swear they’re catering my next party. I can’t get enough of their buns.
Dean and I both ‘splurged’ on $10 hats at the popular hat booth. Then proceeded to play skeeball, which proves once again, how bad my hand-eye coordination is! I think my total score was 10. I promised the owner I’d blog about his business. Check it out. JoeytheCat.com for skeeball rental. Tons of fun. He’s the one who took pictures of me and Dean having a jolly good time.
Here are the two babies we ‘adopted’ over the weekend. Hyper Timmy is in the foreground. Timmy loves to cuddle and gets super jealous if we start petting the other dog.
Laddy is the big fat Cavalier King Charles in the background. Now I know why people love these dogs. They are so good natured. I learned that Laddy is “big-boned” because the owner’s youngest daughter loves him so much she can’t stop feeding him! When we took the dogs for a walk Friday night, someone called out, “That is the fattest Cavalier King Charles I’ve ever seen.” So offensive!
Both dogs snore (and have foul breath) so I insisted we close the bedroom door at night. I reasoned we wouldn’t be able to sleep with them wheezing all night, but they cried and whimpered non-stop right outside the door. Dean glared at me. I put my foot down as the disciplinarian and covered my ears. But even I came around. They kept howling and crying so Dean opened the door and each dog fell asleep beside us.
Not only was it a holiday weekend, but this is the last weekend before the close of escrow on my home. I’ve kept mum on the sale because I didn’t want to jinx it, but we’re all set to close in a couple days. So we spent part of today (Easter Sunday) moving stuff out of my condo. Not fun! S-T-R-E-S-S!
I wanted to post this on Friday, but got caught up with other things.
Not sure why the pencil-thin Asian eyebrow look has been trendy for so long. They need to go away! I used to have thick brows, but after years of waxing and plucking, they’ve lost their lustre.
I love this look. Thick, defined, and classic.
My previous post ended on a whimper, and I don’t ever want to be viewed as someone who isn’t tremendously grateful for everything in her life, so let’s start today–Good Friday–off with a bang.
First, I want to thank all of you for supporting me. I am so grateful for every comment and email. Thank you, thank you!
All these years of hard work moonlighting as a blogger are starting to pay off. I signed with the Clever Girls ad network which opens my blog up to brand name sponsors and is a major milestone in blogging. I freaked out when I read their email.
I’ll soon be a featured blogger on the SITS Girls website, which is a phenomenal community of bloggers. SITS is simply amazing. I love, love, love the community I’ve become a part of through SITS. I’ve been patiently waiting since November and I’ll get my turn in April or May. Stay tuned on that.
Our world is full of beautiful people, from my husband who cooks me a gourmet dinner every night (yes every night!), to this lovely couple who has entrusted their home and animals to us for the past 10 days, to the coworker who brought in bagels for the whole floor today because it’s her 1-year anniversary.
Lastly, I need to comment on my environment because I am a San Francisco-based blogger, and this is one of the facets that makes my blog unique. After I lived in Chicago for two years, I returned home, thinking that SF wasn’t as illustrious as I had previously thought. I felt I had grown up in a bubble with every Bay Area person believing that we lived in a coastal paradise, not realizing there was another world of beauty outside of the sunny state of California. In cocktail conversations, everyone seems to be surprised that I’m native. They say that most of the people living around here are transplants. I think that’s so wrong because 98% of the people I grew up with still live in the Bay Area. They never left!
But particularly now, having experienced a multitude of locales, I can objectively say that San Francisco is one of the best places to live in the world. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, it’s often bone chilling cold. But where else in the world can you travel easily to enjoy wine country, snow, and Burning Man! The food, arts & innovation, the funding & intellectual capital. It’s here. It’s all here!