A rollercoaster closing on 2600 Jones Rd.

I recently represented buyers and helped navigate them through a difficult process to land a great home at 2600 Jones Rd. in Walnut Creek. What started as an ordinary home-buying process for John, ended up being a bit of a nightmare as the loan kicked out of underwriting without telling us and loan contingency removal was due on Monday. We got a conference call with them on Saturday and Monday, had a “solutions consultant” calling my client. Nobody mentioned this would happen. We got the details worked out, but when I asked how long before we know if it is approved, he said 6 days and I had no confidence that Quicken would still be able to make it work as their communication and getting all the documentation they needed upfront was not optimal.

We got a notice to perform, I recommended John get approved with JVM, the listing agent had spoke to this lender and they confirmed what I was telling her, so they gave us until Friday. JVM was able to fully approve him, so we removed the last remaining contingency “the loan” and asked for an extension to close. The sellers agreed. John is a newspaper guy from Minnesota and retired from the Chronicle, who was looking for a home where his 11-year-old son and mom, would be in a better school district. The one he would have been going into was ranked a 1. John Jr. will now be going into 6th grade at WCI albeit virtually for now.

John’s son is the joy of his life, a smart kid who now gets to attend a great school in Walnut Creek! We had our own troubles getting a loan and getting everything finalized (especially with the pandemic throwing things off), but eventually, we closed thanks to the help of JVM Lending.

Now, John has got his son into a get a 2-bedroom home in Walnut Creek with a pool. I also gave a bike that I wasn’t using, so now John’s son can walk to school, ride his bike, and swim in his new home. JVM was able to underwrite them quickly during this process, and that allowed us to get everything closed on the deadline day. So many crazy things went on during this process, but I’m happy to say that John landed his son and mother a great home!

Inspiration Saturday: Words of Wisdom?

We have been given the gift of having our voices heard by voting, which has been hard-earned by women, people of color, and those at 18 who went of to war and originally did not have a say. Please exercise your right to vote in the elections!

Watching Neowise in style!

I went up to Castle Rock Park in the Open Space the other day to try and catch an evening sighting of the Neowise comet! I decided I had to do it in style, rather than just hike up there to stand around!

So, I brought my dog, Bodie, a picnic, some wine (shh!), and a friend! The views were spectacular as usual with the twilight colors and a dim orange sun reflecting off Mt. Diablo. It was absolutely beautiful. We eventually found Neowise, but needed binoculars to see it, as the light pollution from Martinez refineries didn’t lend the naked eye a view. Though I was hoping for some spectacular images like those posted on Jackson Hole’s Twitter account, it was not meant to be in highly populated Contra Costa County.

Days earlier, I also took a hike in a different direction at Castle Hill Park to Pine Canyon where there is a rock formation where the Peregrine Falcon makes it nest (once an endangered species) and a bench that you can sit on and just take in the scenery and maybe see a falcon flying high above. It is a short walk in, but nice to take it all in and just be outside.

The changing face of downtown Walnut Creek

COVID-19 has proved a tough hurdle for all of us, but businesses have been hit especially hard. With California’s phases changing, going backwards, we’ve seen businesses shutter and the economy as a whole begin to dip.

Fuego

It’s no different for us in the real estate industry – home sales and the buying/selling process are looking different than they were even back in January due to the pandemic. Anyway, I was wandering around downtown Walnut Creek the other day after work (yes, with my mask on!) and noticed the innovative ways it is changing.

With indoor seating banned, the city streamlined permitting for outdoor dining by getting parking spaces blocked off to allow for more seating. It’s sad to see how this is all affecting the downtown that thrives on human traffic. There is a bunch of outdoor seating on Locust from Brodericks to Limon. A few spots already have outdoor seating (Sauced, Torsop but got more out front

Among the other casualties of the pandemic economy, PRIMA Ristorante has decided to close its doors – a Walnut Creek staple that had been around nearly half a century. I’m sad to see it go. Salons were open for a month and as the state recently pushed back opening, caused the salons to re-close. Some such as Ashley Flowers Hair found they have some outdoor space where they can still legally operate. Hopefully as a country, we can get a grasp on the spread of this virus as other countries have done before winter. I really need a mani/pedi. Continue to be careful, wear a mask in public and follow the local health guidelines so we can get back to some semblance of our previous lives!

Ace is the place!

We didn’t have a hardware store for a long time in Walnut Creek. I think the closest thing to that that we had was a Simon’s, which was a sort of all-encompassing space that did sell hardware. But, now, we have a local branch of Ace, and I love it!

Ace has a little something for everyone, but also hits on all your hardware needs. They have really cute ideas for gifts. They do an especially wonderful job with cute gift ideas, from candles to dish towels, but they also offer everything from bird seeders to barbecues. Like any good hardware store, they are tools, cleaning supplies, key-making, patio/garden, paint, grills and accessories, and plants/soil.

My favorite aspect, though, is probably at winter time. They do an awesome job of providing holiday lights, decorations and of course Christmas trees, and will even have a tree delivered to your house for you!

It is just really nice to have a local hardware store that has so much more and isn’t part of Lowe’s or Home Depot. I recently had to run over and replace a bird feeder that my favorite yard squirrel knocked down and broke as he was swinging on the wire trying to get to the bird food (he might not be my favorite anymore) I used my Ace rewards and got $5.00 off! They are pet friendly and when I take Bodie with me he is always facinated by the train with a golden gate replica, blowing it’s whistle as goes along the tracks on the tracks above the store! How cool is that! Remember, especially in these times, SHOP LOCAL, if possible.

Morucci’s: A History

During shelter-in-place, I did some giveaways supporting local businesses. One of them was a gift card to Morucci’s on Boulevard. I had an opportunity to speak with the owner, Robert Fambrini (a very Italian name for the owner of an Italian deli!), and ask a few questions.

He told me he spent 25 years in the Petrini’s market chain, a family-owned business until 1989. It was founded as a butcher shop in San Francisco in 1935 by Italian immigrant Frank Petrini and later expanded to specialize in gourmet foods. At the start of the 20th century, grocery stores were a lot like department stores, with different partners owning and operating their departments.

Robert was in six of the Petrini locations from San Francisco, Novato, and Moraga, to Walnut Creek. When asked what words of wisdom he would give his 18-year-old self, Robert replied, “Go slow. When you are young, you want to conquer the world, however financial issues will arise and you don’t want to extend yourself too far!”

He found trying to manage six locations at once was too much, and in 1989 Petrini’s ultimately sold to a Canadian company. Now he has been happy to focus on just one deli for the last 20 years – Morucci’s, in Walnut Creek. He says it is more profitable and much easier to manage. “It’s been a wild ride,” says Robert.

He said having one bigger deli is always better and that he’s happy it is in Walnut Creek. In hindsight, I wished I’d asked him how the name “Morucci’s” came about, but it was crowded and busy (no surprise to those who have been there!), so I’m grateful for his time.

A quick visit to John Muir

A couple of weeks ago, I went to take a run in my neighborhood. I got about 10 yards from my house running with my sunglasses on, before I stepped into a small hole I hadn’t seen, caught the edge with my toe, and fell flat on my face. Not my proudest moment!

Anyway, after a zoom video with my doctor, she recommended an X-Ray, so off to John Muir I went. It wasn’t really a pleasant reason for meandering around the John Muir Hospital campus, but I ended up catching some pretty cool art.

I love this blue, meandering line of glass depicting a river that starts at the waterfall rock. When I first started writing this blog, I did a quick picture to ask if people could guess where it is, but decided it was better to go more in-depth. It really is a peaceful place to sit and take a lunch or a reprieve from a sick or dying family member’s situation.

The hospital’s namesake, John Muir, also has a statue in the roundabout of the campus. I took a few shots of that as well! Visits to the hospital aren’t really something people look forward to, but props to John Muir for decking out the area with some serene artwork to make it a better experience!