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Author Archives: Shelly Roberson

What California’s Water-Saving Plumbing Law Means to You

What California’s Water-Saving Plumbing Law Means to You

California Water-Saving Plumbing Law Effects Investment Property Owners, Sellers, Property Managers and Property Management Companies

A California law enacted in 2009 is finally taking effect and causing concerns among property owners, sellers, buyers, and realtors.  California Civil Code Section 1101.4 requires owners of single-family residences which were “built or available for use on or before January 1, 1994” which will be altered or improved on or after January 1, 2014 to install water-conserving plumbing fixtures only when the existing plumbing fixtures are “non-compliant” by certain dates specified below.

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Home Improvements Critical Now More Than Ever

Home Improvements Critical Now More Than Ever

Home Improvements Cost-Value Cash-On-Cash Returns Rise as the Overall Market Rises

I am often surprised when I see homeowners getting their homes ready to sell without anticipating doing any repairs or improvements.  I am even more surprised when I see realtors counseling their clients not to do repairs or improvements because “the market is hot, let’s just get it on.”  Notwithstanding the period of time during the Great Recession, where improvements did not give the cost-value returns we are used to seeing, properly thought-out home improvements will typically give homeowners very nice cash-on-cash returns when they list and sell their homes.

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Flood Insurance Relief for Palo Alto

Flood Insurance Relief for Palo Alto

New Flood Insurance Law Provides Relief for Palo Alto Property Owners

In March of this year President Obama signed into law the Federal Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 which amends previous law – now homeowners in flood plains and districts, like Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park will be provided relief.

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What the New Shared Fence Law Means to You

What the New Shared Fence Law Means to You

New Shared Fence Law As Of January 1, 2014

Have you ever heard “Good fences make good neighbors?”  Now, adjoining landowners are statutorily equally responsible for shared fences and boundary fences pursuant to California Civil Code Section 841 which took effect January 1, 2014.  Adjoining or contiguous landowners are now faced with a presumption that because they share an equal benefit of a shared or boundary fence that they are equally responsible for the reasonable costs of construction, maintenance, or necessary replacement of the fence.   Property managers or rental property management companies whose clients’ properties are affected by this new law must be mindful of the change and be aware of the procedural requirements dictated by the state legislature.

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Comfortable and Cost Effective, Energy Efficiency in Homes

Comfortable and Cost Effective, Energy Efficiency in Homes

High Energy Efficiency of Your Heating and Air Conditioning Systems Makes Your Home Comfortable and Cost Effective

With the rising costs of energy making your home more energy efficient is tantamount to a comfortable and cost effective living environment. Comfortable interior environments make for a more friendly and welcoming home.  Improving the efficiency of your mechanical systems helps with comfort, but more importantly will save you money over the long haul.

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Buying a Home?

Buying a Home?

Seven (7) Things to Consider and Research before Buying a Home

So you’ve made the decision to stop renting and buy a home.  Buying a home is very emotional, incredibly stressful, and requires diligence and strategy.  To make sure your pursuit is not fraught with pitfalls you should consider the following ideas:

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Palo Alto Main Library Gets a New Name

Palo Alto Main Library Gets a New Name

Palo Alto Main Library Name  is “Rinconada”

After a long drawn out process Palo Alto’s main library has been renamed to “Rinconada Library” by the Palo Alto City Council.  Supporters of the new name have consistently argued that the library is not the main library because it is not the biggest library in the system, nor is it the administrative center of the library system.

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Should El Camino be Pedestrian Friendly?

Should El Camino be Pedestrian Friendly?

El Camino Real Sidewalk Widening Plan Hears Opposition from Palo Alto

There is currently a wide-based effort to widen El Camino Real into a pedestrian friendly thoroughfare, however, those portions of real estate within the city limits of Palo Alto will not be widened without a fight. Palo Alto City Councilmembers have proposed an ordinance which will widen sections of El Camino from 12’ to 15-18’.

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Menlo Park to Revamp Downtown

Menlo Park to Revamp Downtown

Menlo Park Hiring Expert to Research Initiative to Revamp Downtown Plan

The Menlo Park City Council has actually authorized investing up to $150,000 on a consultant to examine the brand-new effort proposed by locals that would significantly change the city’s downtown/El Camino particular strategy. 

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The Importance of Landscape Design and Architecture

The Importance of Landscape Design and Architecture

Curb Appeal Adds Value to Your Home

An important but often overlooked component of a well-designed residential property is the landscaping surrounding a home.  Savvy homeowners know that 15-20% of a property’s value should be spent on well-thought out architectural design and installation of quality landscaping materials and elements.
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SF Peninsula Cities Sued by PG&E

SF Peninsula Cities Sued by PG&E

Menlo Park, Redwood City & Woodside Sued by PG&E to Replace 80 Year Old Gas Line

In an attempt to replace three miles of an old gas line and hopefully prevent another catastrophic explosion like the one in San Bruno PG&E has filed three separate lawsuits against the cities of Menlo Park, Redwood City and Woodside so that they would be able to access real estate owned by both public entities and private owners. The line at issue, “Line #109,” was installed in the 1930’s and has been ordered replaced by the California Public Utilities Commission.

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Because significant real estate development has occurred over sections of the old pipe line over the last eighty plus years the State of California statutorily has granted PG&E the right to exercise the power of eminent domain. PG&E states in its lawsuit that it has made fair-market value offers to the property owners but has received limited response and must proceed with expediency.
The locations of the proposed replacement are sections of real estate near Interstate I-280 north of Sand Hill Road, near Woodside Road to Farm Hill Boulevard, and near Eden Bower Lane to Wilmington Way. Sections of Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club are also affected by the easement PG&E is requesting.
The proposed replacement pipeline is a 24” high quality steel gas line with automated valves that can be operated remotely. This hi-tech gas line will also be equipped with internal monitoring and inspection tools/gauges.

Assuming PG&E is successful in their lawsuits seeking easements to install the new gas line the existing property owners will be able to use and access their property, but will not be allowed to construct and structures, plant trees, or do anything that would disrupt the operation of the gas line.

 

Feature image courtesy of www.portolaplanet.com

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Choosing the Right Realtor® for You

Choosing the Right Realtor® for You

Choosing the Right Realtor® Can Make a HUGE Difference in Your Home Buying or Selling Experience!

Almost everyone knows a real estate agent.  However, all agents are not created equally.  This is easy to tell when you compare an agent’s experience to others, compare how long they have been in the business, and most importantly how many closed real property transactions they have to their name.

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Brand New 82,000 Square Foot Facility Opened by Lockheed Martin in Palo Alto, CA

Brand New 82,000 Square Foot Facility Opened by Lockheed Martin in Palo Alto, CA

New Jobs and a New Palo Alto Facility

One hundred thirty new jobs and 82,000 square feet of new facilities opened March 25, 2014 in Palo Alto which will house the Advanced Materials and Thermal Sciences Center for Lockheed Martin. 

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Off Market Listings Only Reduce the Profits for Home Sellers

Off Market Listings Only Reduce the Profits for Home Sellers

Off-market, private, or pocket listings are becoming more and more commonplace as sellers are somehow being persuaded to keep their properties off of the Multiple Listing Service during this hot real estate. 

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Staging a Listing is a “MUST” in Any Market

Staging a Listing is a “MUST” in Any Market

Staging is Worth the Investment

Staging has entered into the ‘standard of practice’ in preparing a home to place on the real estate market.  Making a great first impression, whether via photos on the web, or as the purchaser walks into the front door, has never been much more essential when marketing a property.  In fact it is tantamount to having a listing look it’s best for the marketplace.

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How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You

How to Choose the Right Neighborhood for You

Things to Consider for Choosing Your Neighborhood

Finding a good neighborhood to live in is probably more important as choosing the actual physical home. The neighborhood needs to be secure, fit your budget and your ideal lifestyle.

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Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space Seeks Public Funds for Parks & Open Space

Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space Seeks Public Funds for Parks & Open Space

Votes in the MidPen jurisdiction, which includes many cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties will be presented with an opportunity to approve a bond measure to help fund a $300 million bond measure for park funding.  A two-thirds vote will be necessary for approval.

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Palo Alto Foothills Park to Expand?

Palo Alto Foothills Park to Expand?

Weigh in on the Palo Alto Foothills Park Expansion

The Palo Alto Resident-Only Foothills Park may be expanding under a current proposal in front of the Palo Alto City Council.  In a memo to council members 7.7 acres of city-owned land next to the exclusive Foothills Park preserve was described as an environmentally important riparian (next to water) corridor.

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Dual Agency Only Creates Conflicts & Increases Risks for All Parties

Dual Agency Only Creates Conflicts & Increases Risks for All Parties

Fiduciary Duty to Whom? Real Estate Teams Can’t Possibly Uphold Their Fiduciary Duties To Sellers

A dual agency real estate relationship exists when a real estate agent or a broker represents both sides of a real estate transaction.  A common theme in today’s marketplace is where a “Team” hosts an Open House and if a buyer walks in and wants to offer on the house the “Team” will provide a buyer’s agent.  Well, in this situation, the fiduciary duty owed to the seller goes right out the window because the “Team” has both “implied” and “actual” knowledge of the seller’s inside information.  It’s impossible for the “Team” to adequately and faithfully uphold their fiduciary duties to the seller in this fact pattern.  How can a “Team”  representing both the buyer and seller in the same transaction get the highest price for the seller and the lowest price for the buyer without communicating confidential information during this exchange?  It’s impossible.  By definition an agent is required to act as a fiduciary towards their clients, however, under a dual agency scenario it is impossible to be a fiduciary for both a buyer and a seller in the same transaction; and splitting up a buyer’s agent from the seller’s agent in a scenario where they are from the same “Team” such as this does not pass the smell test.

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New and Expanded Farmer’s Market in Palo Alto

New and Expanded Farmer’s Market in Palo Alto

Palo Alto’s California Avenue Farmers Market – Kick-Off This Sunday

The new and expanded California Avenue Farmer’s Market is kicking off this Sunday, March 23 from 9A to 1P.  This expanded market will help the city’s massive streetscape project which also began this week. 

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