Welcome to our blog!

The smart side & heart side of real estate

Silicon Valley Real Estate News, Market Trends...having an investor mindset & a look at what makes a house a home.

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics, property investing, and home values to community happenings. In Silicon Valley many people are concerned about making it financially - our focus is to encourage an investor mindset, even for residential real estate, at the same time we cover what truly makes a house a home.

That’s because we care about the community, your Silicon Valley experience, and want to help you find your place in it.

We also have a little bit of fun here! Our team lead Kelsey Lane has been in real estate 17 years, and this is a forum not only for new clients, yet also for friends, family and the many clients and vendors who have become like friends and family.

Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Aug. 23, 2020

When Home is the Only Option

when home is the only option

When Home is the Only Option

by Kelsey Lane

I'm reflecting on this year to date, and it's reminding me about home and gratitude. In March, we received stay-at-home orders. Shortly after that, riots broke out nationwide. And what seems like shortly after that as our problem du jour, wildfires drowned out what little air we thought we had.

For those of us who are not ill or in critical condition, and those of us who are able to remain in our homes and not be evacuated, we are intensely grateful. We can help our brothers and sisters in need, who are in those situations.

And meanwhile, we remember yet again how important "home" is. Our team started the Heart of the Home category on our blog nearly a year ago. Our intention was to explore what makes a house a home, and that it is usually the people in it. Whether we like our physical homes or not, we carry "Home" in our heart and noone can take that away from us.

And yet there is the matter of the physical home. After a couple months of staying at home, some of us ventured out to outdoor dining and allowable activities with protocols. But now with smoky air quality, our newly formed options of freedom are once again limited. So, we're indoors, inside, some with AC and some not coming out of a week of 100 degree weather.

I'm feeling like we need to band together during this crazy timeframe. I keep looking at what I like about my home, what I don't, and ways to make it better. And I also have been dreaming up new ways to enjoy my time when I'm at home and not showing houses. What ways have you come up with to not go stir crazy, and enjoy your time indoors? And what are you grateful for in your home? I'd love to hear from you. Let's stick together even though we're 6 feet apart.

 

PS...And if you have any homes you'd like to see let me know. If you're looking for a different indoors to be in, we follow safety protocols and are able to put together home tours for you.

Posted in Heart of the home
Aug. 21, 2020

5 Ways to Boost Productivity This Fall

 

5 Ways to Boost Your Productivity This Fall

by Manuela Pauer 

 

This year has brought so many unexpected circumstances and many of our usual routines and habits have been disrupted. Parents had to figure out new plans for their kids who are now learning from home, employees had to adjust to working remotely, business owners had to rework their strategies. Plus, with many unknowns, things can seem even more overwhelming than usual. How can we stay focused and productive during these tumultuous times?

 

Most people think that we just need to spend more time to get everything done. 

 

It’s a common belief.  Early in my career, I figured the only solution was to work more hours. So I worked late, sometimes until the wee hours in the morning, to get projects done. I was young and I had no notion of the long-term effects this would have. 

 

Working longer hours can work in the short-term, but it takes a big toll on us in the long-term. 

 

Rather than thinking about working more hours to manage our time, what if we focused on managing our energy instead? 

 

Here are 5 ways you can effectively manage your energy to boost your productivity:

 

1. Tackle your number one priority first.
We often spend lots of time managing our to-do lists. To ensure you stay focused and have energy for what's most important, choose your most important priority each day and tackle it first. Otherwise lots of other little, less important things might get in the way and you never get to the thing that can really move the needle for you.

2. Take advantage of your high-energy time

You might have noticed that during certain times you are much more productive than during others. Take advantage of your high-energy time and use it for your most important work or to get things done you don’t enjoy as much.



3. Break down your tasks
We often get overwhelmed by big projects. Break down your tasks until they are so small that they seem completely doable. For example: Rather than listing your task as “Create a presentation”, the first task could be “Brainstorm for 5 minutes what to include in the presentation.”

4. Recharge several times a day

When you are busy, it can feel like you cannot afford to spend time on taking breaks. But as counterintuitive as it may seem, taking short breaks can actually recharge you and help you be more productive, getting done even more.

 

Schedule short 10 minute breaks throughout the day, and get up from your workspace. Do something that energizes you: go for a quick walk, listen to music, take a dance break, meditate, play with a pet or go outside and breathe.

 

5. Celebrate your progress

Acknowledge yourself for the progress you are making and celebrate small milestones. Don’t wait until the whole project is done. Our fulfillment and happiness comes from enjoying the journey and giving ourselves credit along the way - not from completing our goals.

 

What small change do you want to make to manage your energy better and be more productive?

 

Wishing you a productive and happy fall season! 

 

Manuela is a Career and Life Happiness Coach and enjoys helping professionals create a career and life they love. For more practical tips on boosting your productivity, check out her Productivity course: https://www.pauercoaching.com/productivity-training/

Posted in Heart of the home
April 25, 2020

Moving Your Body at Home

Moving Your Body at Home

About a week before shelter-in-place started, I had popped into a couple exercise classes with Sue Butzow in Willow Glen. I was intrigued because they were specifically for relieving posture pain and getting your body back into alignment. Since I highly enjoyed them, and felt great afterwards, I was pleased to find her zoom classes online shortly after the sheltering began. 

Right around the same time, our online community for this "Heart of the Home" blog category had a guest speaker who also lives locally. Coach Constance Kaltenbach from 7 Healthy Days spoke to us about how we can easily move our bodies at home. I thought I'd share some highlights from each of these helpful resources:

Constance's main concern is that most of us are doing too much sitting - we need to break up with sitting! Actually, she said to break it up, but sometimes I need to make it more dramatic in order to remember. Two of the most doable suggestions she made were to 1) Do push ups against your countertop (or lunges if you prefer) while you're waiting on your tea or coffee and 2) do chair squats on the hour. She also of course advocates getting out for a walk or hike, and encouraged us to find some of the inexpensive online workouts such as Orange Theory and Beach Body. For more self-workouts, she recommended low impact jumping jacks, knee lifts, and simply walking in place, which could all be done in short spurts on the hour. When we can, she said to pepper in types of exercise that bring the heart rate up to a sweat - one little-known way of doing this are Tabata songs (Spotify or YouTube) which have 20 seconds of faster beat (for dancing or any high intensity activity, and then 10 more mellow seconds for a lower intensity activity. Her talk also encouraged me to create a standing desk so that at least for part of my work day, I'm not sitting.

Sue's helpful exercises are inspired by Pete Egoscue, as she's certified to teach his methods for posture pain relief. Each one is low intensity and isolates muscles mostly near the shoulders and the hips - some are resistance-based and some are stretches. Yoga poses such as cats and dogs & bird dog round out the repertoire. One of the posture exercises is as simple as laying on your back with your knees bent, and squeezing a pillow between your knees. I was happy to have some confirmation on this when I saw that my chiropractors (Rozenhart Chiropractic in San Jose) showed videos with similar exercises for overcoming all this time we are spending on our devices. You can search "Egoscue" on You Tube and find demonstrations of the types of exercises (each is done for one minute) and if you'd like more information on Sue Butzow's classes, please let me know.

 

If you're interested in our online community for Heart of the Home, connect with me on Facebook and send a message!

Posted in Heart of the home
April 24, 2020

What We're Up To - The New Focus of Real Estate

You may have read on my Market Mondays on Linked In that price trends are still steady in the Santa Clara County real estate market. That said, the number of sales or "units sold" is way down, about half - when you compare the first few weeks of April to the first few weeks of March. 

Real estate is still being sold though, and other activities are happening during this interesting season, as well. 

As a team, we're able to show vacant properties, with precautions - minimal people can enter the home at a time and we are recommending masks, gloves, booties, and hand sanitizer which we provide. We can also list vacant properties, mostly like normal minus open houses - though we do virtual open houses and virtual walkthroughs as well. Sign companies are still operating, as are photographers and title companies for doing closings.

We're also finding that many of our clients who are wanting to list in late spring or early summer are starting with us now in order to get ready. We're helping with virtual organizing services to declutter, and virtual staging assistance to know what items and furniture to keep out and what to store away. Two of our clients have already had multiple sessions with a stager virtually and the end results were fantastic. It enabled them to be market-ready and we were able to start pre-marketing. We also help prioritize a budget for planning what repairs would need to be done prior to listing. Our marketing plan includes many virtual platforms for viewing as many angles of the homes as possible, and we're able to do coming soon advertising in order to build momentum. The MLS has suspended days on market, so even going on the MLS is an option to find out which buyers are out there for any given home.

 

If you're interested in getting started, even if in the preliminary phase, please let us know and we can help with any questions you have. What real estate questions have been on your mind?

April 2, 2020

How to Ground Yourself in Times of Ambiguity

How to Ground Yourself in Times of Ambiguity

With offices asking their employees to work from home, universities switching to online classes, events cancelled, and the many people “stranded” at home at the moment, I hear from my clients and feel myself a sense of disconnection, loss, and increased anxiety. This time is so ambiguous, nobody really knows what is right or wrong, what to do, or how to protect ourselves without losing our sense of normal, our daily routines.

Personally, my plans to travel to Europe are now challenged, which definitely makes me feel all kinds of things, and calm is not really one of them.

Though what I also see is, this time actually is an interesting opportunity to understand how important such routines (and travel plans) are for us to feel stable, grounded, and connected (many of my friends and family are in Europe). And I do believe it is an opportunity to evaluate which of the routines we absolutely love, which ones we actually can do without, and what we might want to do instead.

So to ground yourself and create meaningful connection through virtual meetings there are actually many things we can do. And as I know from my coaching experience many different ways of doing that, I thought I’d share them with you.

 

Move your Body

Let’s start with movement to ground yourself and create the space your mind and body needs to make informed decisions, to respond instead of habitually react.

1. Breathe: Most important is take a deep breath - in and out - repeat, and if you want to learn more about that google / youtube: “breathing techniques”, “pranayama” etc.

2. Walk: best de-stressor ever for those of us who are able. Yes, ideally in nature, at a park, etc. I know that this might be a bit more difficult at the moment, but I guarantee you, going out into whatever amount of nature you can find will clear your mind, and creates space for you.

3. Exercise: There are actually several yoga poses (google/youtube: “grounding yoga poses”, “restorative yoga” etc.), and if you have lower back issues, some of the practices you have learned can be very helpful too. Just do what feels good to you. Do not pile on extra stress, just relax into the postures, breathe and ground yourself.

4. Dance: It’s easy, it’s fun, and you can do it in your kitchen. And if you have any of those dance game consoles, dust them off and use them again. In fact I am a huge fan of dancing in the kitchen.

5. Meditate: There are so many different ways of doing this, that I bet you can find one you like. If silent meditation is not for you, try a visualization meditation / yoga nidra (a beautiful way of escaping to the beach in your mind), or a body-scan (Jon Kabat-Zinn has several), as has Dr. Kristin Neff (self-compassion expert). Tara Mohr has a beautiful Inner Mentor Visualization and one on Fear from her book Playing Big (you’ll need to sign-up for her newsletter - it’s worthwhile, I love reading it myself).

Creating Meaningful Connection

1. A few years ago I watched a video by Shiloh Sophia, “How to have Red Thread Cafe”. This is a beautiful practice to do virtually with your friends and family to have a coffee over. For me coffee has a special place in my life, so it is an easy ritual to adapt. But you can easily make it your own: Pick your favorite beverage, decide on the time of day, chose an activity or topic to connect over with your friends and set up a zoom/Google Hangout/Skype or any other kind of video chat.

2. Talk to your partner and play with your kids. It is the time to make the most of those hours that you used to spend commuting – focusing on relationships is rewarding all the way around.

3. Cosy-up in front of a great movie - don’t forget the popcorn, hot chocolate or whatever your family’s favorites are.

4. Or pick a book that you read to your whole family. (e.g. Harry Potter, etc.)

5. If you sing or play instruments in your family, do that together. If you have a backyard, go out and play. Yes, get the silly kid’s games out - this is all about fun and playfulness.

Get Creative

To get crafty or creative you actually do not need much – I highly recommend YouTube if you need inspiration and tutorials for the type of arts or crafts you’d like to do. Use the pens, papers, pencils you have at home to start doodling.

1. Join my online workshop: Tree of Life - a fun, creative and grounding experience on March 29, at 10am PST. All you need are the aforementioned pen, paper, pencils or markers - no experience needed. Limited to 12 people.

2. The School of Visual Philosophy here in San Jose, CA, actually just published a few online classes called $10 Tasters, they teach various creative techniques.

3. A Work of Heart - another great art workshop and shop in San Jose also has some neat Youtube videos out for inspiration on various mediums and is going to release a series of 7-min videos for art in 7 steps. Make sure to check out her webpage. She is also offering discounted online classes during shelter-in-place.

4. There are so many tutorials on YouTube that you can spend months learning everything. Try something new! And do not forget to make it fun or a virtual event with your friends. How about crochet, trying a new recipe, doing macrame, creating a dreamcatcher, scrapbook, collage, a vision board. Or pick up your camera and create macros from things around your house, doodle, zentangle, paint rocks with nailpolish,... The Frugal Crafter and many others have beautiful ideas for you. It’s your choice!

5. Journal! Reflecting this way can be more than words. You can create an art journal where you doodle, draw, paint etc. You might need to get one with thicker paper or watercolor/mixed media paper, so the paper doesn’t warp.

More for your senses

1. Consider essential oils, and learning about which might be helpful during this time.

2. Bubble Bath / Long shower - This can be totally relaxing if you do it not just for cleaning your body. Consider allowing yourself this treat from time to time.

3. Get out and smell the roses. After all, Spring has started!

4. Get your hands dirty: Get muddy, gardening, potting plants, molding something from clay, finger painting, etc. Or bake some bread or make some cookies!

 

All these I things I do myself and/or engage my clients in - as much or as little as they like. And everybody loves when they find their own unique way of expressing and grounding themselves.

 

Nicole is a Leadership Empowerment Coach. She can be reached at https://www.nicolekleemann.com/ -- and the resources in this blog post can be found there also.

Posted in Heart of the home
April 1, 2020

The New Rules of Real Estate

 

For two weeks since Shelter-in-Place began in Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley, no set rules had emerged for how to handle the buying and selling of homes. Finally the county, the state, and both Association of Realtors groups have synthesized a plan. Recently, real estate became an "essential service" yet only with certain guidelines and protocols.

Here are the tenets of the new rules of real estate for the forseeable future:

  • Showings must be done virtually if possible
  • All meetings and activities must be completed digitally if possible
  • If virtual showings are not possible, a private showing can occur (only in vacant homes) with caveats: Only one Realtor and 2 buyers are allowed. The 2 buyers must be from the same household. The property must be vacant. And the Realtor is not to take buyers in their own car.
  • For in person showings, the 6-feet-apart rule applies and other safety measures such as hand sanitizer apply. After viewing the vacant house brieftly, those involved are recommended to talk outside from a distance.
  • Absolutely no open houses

What this means for sellers:

  • If you have a vacant home that needs to be sold, the new rules seem to allow for you to be able to do so.
  • If you are occupying a home that needs to be sold, there are still several activities that are allowed to be conducted: exterior video, drone footage, online marketing, owner's photos of the interior, and posting to MLS.
  • It's a great time to get your house ready to go on the market, with virtual decluttering and virtual staging services.
  • The MLS has relaxed "Days on Market" counters so any homes listed now will not show as having been on the market for a long time later.

What this means for buyers:

  • Homes will still be on the market, and you can do as much research as possible online and with your agent virtually.
  • If you are about ready to place an offer, you may be able to view a vacant home if you follow safety protocols.
  • You may be able to place an offer on an occupied home with the proper contingencies in place.

What we're currently doing in on our team is working remotely & helping sellers to get their homes ready for the market. We are also preparing online marketing for getting the word out about our listings, as well as helping our buyers do necessary research on available homes. Weekly we are doing a market recap as there are many changes happening quickly. Please let us know what questions you have or what services you need.

Written by Kelsey Lane, Kelsey Lane & Team Real Estate DRE #01390557

Feb. 13, 2020

First Time Home Buyer Qualifications

First Time Home Buyers Class

What qualifies as a first time home buyer?

So you're thinking about taking the leap from renter to homeowner... And you may be wondering who qualifies for first time home buyer programs in California? And what is a first time home buyer exactly? It may not be what you think. First off, the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) defines it as those who haven't owned and occupied a property in the last 3 years. So it may not be your first time. Also, it might be your first time, but you may have too high of an income in order to qualify for first time home buyer incentives and benefits (more on that in a minute).

For answers to more of your first time home buyer questions, contact us anytime. We also will be having a free first time home buyer class this summer so let us know if you'd like to get on the list for notification.

So what are other first time home buyer qualifications?

CalHFA also backs (insures) special first time home buyer loan programs that are available through a variety of lenders. In order to be eligible for these, first time home buyers must meet certain criteria. Some examples:

  • 660-680 credit score
  • Debt to income ratio of no higher than 43 to 45 percent
  • First time home buyer income limits must be under $221,300-$228,300 (depending on what local county Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, or Alameda; these are the max)
  • Subject properties must be in California, used as primary residence, and under $765,000 (single family/some condos qualify)

First time home buyers also often ask "how much do I need for a downpayment?" The average downpayment for first time home buyers nationwide is 3-6% partially because this is what certain first time home buyer loan programs require as a minimum. The average age of first time home buyers has risen from 31 to 33 over the last 10 years. Nationwide the average income for first time home buyers is about $75,000. Buying a house in the Bay Area is of course going to likely require a higher-than-the-national average income.

In addition to First Time Home Buyer Qualifications, many other questions arise. Our team will be hosting a free First Time Home Buyer Class in conjunction with Wells Fargo on March 12, 2020. This free First Time Home Buyer Class will explore:

  • Resources for first time home buyers and benefits
  • First time home buyer questions
  • First time home buyer assistance programs
  • First time home buyer grants in California
  • And How to Buy Your First Home / First time home buyer tips

Click here to learn more: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/free-first-time-home-buyer-class-tickets-94730885629

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Written by Kelsey Lane, Kelsey Lane & Team Real Estate DRE 01390557

 

Posted in Home buying
Feb. 13, 2020

3 Steps to Improve Your Most Important Relationship

How to love yourself

As Valentine’s Day is approaching, many of us are thinking about love. You may be planning to do something for your significant other, or expressing your love to someone else in your life – your children, parents, friends, etc.

But while we focus on these relationships, many of us neglect to pay attention to the most important relationship we have in our life – the relationship we have with ourselves. 

Have you ever asked yourself what kind of relationship you have with yourself? I didn’t really ask myself this question growing up and once I did, I was surprised to find that I wasn’t very nice to myself.

What I was saying to myself was full of criticism and judgment. It didn’t matter where I was, my inner critic was with me all the time. I would come out of a meeting telling myself: “Why did I say that? I am so stupid!”

When I needed rest, I continued to drive myself, ignoring my own needs. 

I constantly put other people’s wants ahead of my own, sacrificing my own in the process.

We spend a lot of time with ourselves - in fact, there is no escaping - we are with ourselves 24/7. Ok, so maybe part of that time is spent sleeping, but that still leaves most of the day.

If you were to choose to be with one person for that many hours every single day, what type of person would you choose? And how would you want them to treat you? Would you pick someone who admonishes and nags you or someone who is supportive and encouraging? Would you like to be with someone who is like a strict teacher or a best friend?  

What kind of relationship do you want to have with yourself?

 

Here is a way you can create the relationship you want right now:

1.    To start with, imagine your perfect relationship with a partner. How would s/he treat you and talk to you? Be as specific as you can.

 

My ideal partner will… (for example: listen to me, be supportive, encourage me, etc.)

2.    Then take the description you came up with and apply it to your ideal relationship with yourself. How would you want to treat yourself and talk to yourself?

 

I will …. (for example: listen to myself, support myself, encourage myself etc.)

3.    Every evening, write a paragraph to yourself, talking to yourself in the way you just described. What would you say to yourself?

 

When you love yourself and take good care of yourself, you feel happier, healthier, more patient, more compassionate, more forgiving, and have more energy. 

Taking care of yourself and loving yourself is also one of the most loving things you can do for others. When you take care of yourself, you are increasing your capacity to take care of people you care about. By taking the time to really nurture yourself and fulfill your needs and follow your passions, you are better able to motivate, inspire, spread joy, and share happiness.   

You are not just doing this for yourself. You are doing this for your loved ones, for the people you care about, for everyone you touch with your life.  It benefits everyone, and greatly impacts your surrounding environment.

So this Valentine’s Day, remember to express love in the most important relationship in your life. Speak to yourself kindly and take care of yourself by taking time to rest and doing things you enjoy.

Wishing you a kind, loving, inspiring, and positive month!        

 

Manuela is a Career Happiness Coach and loves helping professionals create a career and life they love. She can be reached at http://pauercoaching.com

Posted in Heart of the home
Feb. 11, 2020

Recap: Vision Board Fest

So many visions created for 2020 at the first annual Vision Board Fest for Kelsey Lane & Team Real Estate. We had about 50 attendees, and Lunar New Year appetizers and snacks. Twelve coaches in different areas of life helped attendees with their visions and lots of magazines got cut up! Thank you to all who attended and made it a great event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us next year!

Jan. 24, 2020

Why make a vision board?

One of my vision boards...

 

For everything theres a season, and this time of year for me is Vision Board Season. People often ask me what I mean by that. Im always so happy to share about my passion for vision-boarding. Every November through February, I work on creating my vision for the coming months and year, and even for years into the future.

 

Vision Board season starts for me in November where I contemplate who I want to become, my goals, and what I want for my life. I begin clipping images out of magazines and finding non-copyright images online that resonate with me. In my network, there are several life coaches who host vision board parties and workshops this time of year, where we gather to chat and glue our images onto poster board. Also, my book club always does a fun day of vision board work on New Years Day. I attend as many of these as I can fit into my action-packed schedule. I also spend a few sessions working on my own to think, dream, clip, and paste. I started doing vision boards every year about 14 years ago, just three years after I started in real estate. (Also called dream boards)

 

Then, about 6 years ago, I decided to do a book format instead. This allowed me to keep adding to my book at every vision board workshop that I went to. I have discovered many friends who make boards or books each year, and sometimes I take photos of their boards to give me even more inspiration.

 

Over the years, I notice things coming true that Ive put on my boards and books - sometimes not in the same year. It often takes a few years or more to come to fruition. Once I put a cut-out phrase Room to Spare as I hoped for more living space. Shortly after that I was offered a large condo for the same amount I was paying, and I was later able to buy it. I also had a relationship wish come true, a partner who had been out of my life for 4 years who reconnected with me. Another fun one was putting a photo of a cute small dog into my book, and about two years later not having thought much about it, ended up with 7-pound Bear who looks exactly like the photo. Others seem to have similar experiences. My friend Anita wanted to move to Miami and put an image of a chair on a balcony overlooking the water. A couple years later she was happily living in Miami, in a high rise overlooking the water and oddly, again without premeditation, the chair on her balcony bears a spooky resemblance.

 

Out of this passion, our upcoming 2020s Vision Board Fest that my team is hosting, was born. Our goal is to provide a fun atmosphere where event attendees can start working on their vision boards, having all materials provided for them. Plus, coaches in various goal areas of life on hand to help or offer direction if desired.

 

Some people add things they want like houses, investment real estate, or cars to their dream board. Of course we like this because we can be part of helping you find your dream home! (Even if that means incorporating some small elements of it into the next house you buy.) Some also add a representation of their goals, both short term or long term, highlighted by meaningful images or phrases. When I started doing a book each year, I also decided to add character qualities of who I want to be. Whatever brings the most inspiration, motivation, and meaning for you is a great place to start.

 

When you're clear on your goals and where you're heading, it brings tremendous peace of mind. This carries into your surrounding environment and into the ease of your relationships. Wherever you live, we hope this helps it become more "home" to you.

 

We hope you join us for February 4th 5:30 for your vision for the new year! Lunar New Year appetizers and soft drinks provided too. Register today, and let us know if you have any questions.

 

 

Written by Kelsey Lane, Kelsey Lane & Team Real Estate DRE #01390557