Friday, May 2, 2008

Visit Me at My New Blog Address

(This blog is continued at Whine Country Chronicles.)

Now that I've conducted my virtual garage sale, it's time for a new beginning. This will be my last post on "Overcoming Real Estate Losses." It's practical to move at this time of year. You know, the time when, traditionally, real estate sales are up and inventory moves briskly. Here in Temecula, however, I may be the only person relocating--and there's plenty of real estate on hand.

It seems appropriate that this last post contain an accurate total of the real estate losses we incurred during the two years that we owned the apartment buildings . . . $814,000. That's an incredible amount of money. It's gone and there's nothing that I can do about it now--except learn from the past and not repeat it. That's a given. My husband said that we sold our rental houses at the peak of the market. I guess we did it halfway right. It was the second half that tanked.

Back to new beginnings--besides raising and educating my children, I'm focused on our growing promotional products business, with all the hopes and excitement that new opportunities bring. If we hadn't had such a crushing financial blow, we would have never been motivated to do what we do now. What a blessing!

So, if you want to continue to experience my perspective on business, real estate, kids, and everything else in life that interests me (and, hopefully, you), please visit my new digs.

You can bring an appetizer, and I'll supply the whine.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Virtual Garage Sale

Even in our most desperate of times during our financial struggles while owning the apartments, we never had to sell off any of our meager belongings. Now, I guess it's the thing to do. Since I'll be moving to a new blog address in a few days, I'd like to embark on this on-line odyssey. Here are some of the valuables that I have to offer:

A potted plant that was very attractive when we received it as a gift three years ago. I just recently put it outside to liven up the patio.

A bubble wand without the bubbles.

I have no idea what this screen-like device is or where it came from, but I'm sure it could prove useful to someone.

A fire pit that we bought five years ago. We used it at two events on the property, and someone got burned each time.

A sword that was hand-made (bet you couldn't tell) by one of the boys. Don't worry, he won't notice when it's gone because we have a dozen of them laying around.

An old play tool bench with a broken cover and missing parts.

A prized seashell collection that has been given back to the earth.

An sturdy paper weight.

A children's metal chair that we bought in 1989. Tetanus shot required.

A fresh stalk of broccoli from our garden. Even the kids will love it---raw, of course!

Let the bidding begin!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

No Post

No post today. I've been dealing with an appendicitis scare with my teenager for the past two days. We have some of the test results back, but not all. Right now, there's no emergency. It may be infected lymph nodes. Hope to be back here tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crime Rate in Temecula Increases to One

We like to rent our videos from Red Box. They have them all over, but we go to the one at the grocery store.

After I dropped my son off at soccer practice last night, I had to return our overnight movie rental ("Snow Buddies"). I called my husband and asked which store I should take it to. He said that it didn't matter. I was directly between two Albertson's--the one on 79 South (which has been renamed Temecula Parkway) and the one on Rancho California Road. I decided to drive down to the 79, as I wondered what my post for tomorrow would be about.

When I pulled into Home Depot and swung around to Albertson's, I noticed some people hanging around their cars and looking toward the Home Depot parking lot. I thought they had gotten in a fender bender and were just waiting around. As I neared the grocery store, there were people in front gazing in the same direction, so I peered over my shoulder looking for a fire or tow truck or something. I didn't see anything.

I pulled around to find a good spot when I noticed that there was a cop standing in the middle of the parking lot with his gun drawn. I turned to get out of there, but that only got me within 10 feet of the cop. Did I tell you that his gun was drawn?

It was pointing at a guy who was lying face up on the asphalt, legs spread, hands behind his head. The police officer was all by himself. All alone. Gun drawn. Guy on the ground. People staring. Where was all the back up?

I thought of calling 911 for this poor cop, who never took one eyeball off the perp. Then I figured that his radio had a direct connection. But where was everyone and how long was he supposed to stand there? I thought of offering to help, but I really didn't think it was a good idea to startle a guy holding a loaded weapon.

So I did the next best thing. I pulled passed them both, parked, ran out of range, and started shooting--my camera, that is. I thought my boys would get a real kick out of this!

Since the crime rate in Temecula is virtually zero, I figured that I'd better get pictures of what possibly may be the only police activity in this sleepy town all year.

"Mommy, why is he standing so far away from the bad guy?" my sons asked. Uh, because he's all by himself, dear.

Finally, reinforcements arrive to subdue the dangerous criminal--who never moved a muscle because there was a big guy pointing a loaded gun right at him.

The back up moves in to get a closer look. Yep, he's laying on his back doin' nothin'.

Time to put the gun away and get the handcuffs on.

I seem to remember something about this from the academy five years ago . . . .

. . . can you give us the low down later and help me close these dang cuffs?

Still struggling here.

Whew! Yes, I've got them on. Thanks for all of your help, guys.
("Yeah, man, I'm number one! I was a gun totin' statue right there! No one messes with me, baby!")

Here we have the entire Temecula force.

My watch broke in all the excitement. Do you happen to have the time?

Hey, budddy, what's the Laker's score?
I don't know, man, I was kissing asphalt for a while there.

Good talkin' with ya. Thanks for not having a buddy jump me from behind while I was concentrating on keeping my loaded gun aimed at you.

By the time they had the deadly suspect subdued, there were six or seven police cars in The Home Depot shopping center--but not a donut shop in sight.

Monday, April 28, 2008

No Coffee? Blame the Housing Market

Starbucks is blaming their lackluster sales on the rotting housing mess in California and Florida. No, it's not because there's a Starbucks on every street corner in the United States and abroad. It's because of housing.

Excuse me, but how many people do you know who would give up their first born before sacrificing their cup of coffee in order to save money? I mean, coffee is vital. You can't wake up without it. You can't work without it. You can't go to a meeting without it. You can't drive home without it. You can't unwind after a revved up day without decaf. Going broke is no reason to give up a $3 cup of coffee.

Sorry, but the ole' "let's blame housing values for yet another economic woe" will never fly when it comes to America's favorite addiction.

Have you ever seen losing gamblers at a roulette table? They don't stand up and walk away when they run out of the change in their pockets. They pull out the credit cards, equity lines, checkbooks from everyone they've pilfered, jewelry that's been handed down through the family for hundreds of years, and their cars. The lack of money doesn't stop a gambler from his mission.

Same with coffee. Believe me. If you're anything like my husband and I (and our friends), you'll be living in the street--literally, on the asphalt--before you would dream of giving up your morning fix (we patronize coffee houses other than Starbucks, though).

So, what could be the real reason that Starbucks is losing customers?

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Best Way to Market Your Unsalable Property

Driving the back way past Whine Country and Lake Skinner toward French Valley, I noticed many properties for sale. Unusual? Nah. Most of them had signs like this one:

A bit further down the road, however, this seller used a miniature billboard to attract potential buyers. It's clearly seen from the adjacent busy road (there was also a small sign that said "No Trespassing", but for you, dear readers, the law is merely a suggestion):

The competition is so severe, that, as I continued along, I almost ran into this sign:

I had to stop--risking life and limb--to snap a picture of this for you.

Finally, we have the answer of how to market to the most finicky of buyers---make sure that your sign is bigger than the house that you're trying to unload sell:

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Commercial Fire Sale

Don't say I never gave you anything. Here are some hot REO commercial property listings from my area. Notice the impressive 0% occupancy rate on the first one.

I really feel for the previous owners because we could have been in the same situation. But we didn't wait to sell off our albatrosses.

Don't you all put your offers in at the same time now.


Foreclosure - Bank Owned
25014 Las Brisas Road, UNIT A & UNIT B

Murrieta, CA 92562
County: Riverside

Property Description:
The property is a part of a four building, 16-unit condominium project known as the Los Alamos Business Park; located on a 1.62-acre site that contains 70,567 SF. The improvements were constructed in 2006 and collectively have an area of 2,585 square feet within a 5,110 square feet building..

Location Description:
The property is located on the booming I-215 Corridor with freeway frontage at the Los Alamos overpass in the city of Murrieta.

At the base of the Santa Ana Mountains, Murrieta is located in the midst of one of California' s fastest growing regions. Known for its natural be
auty, Murrieta offers an attractive quality of life for individuals and families, as well as businesses, seeking to relocate. A safe, family-oriented environment and a well-educated work force combine to make Murrieta an ideal place to live, work and play.


Distressed Apartment Complex
28736 Calle Del Lago
Murrieta, CA 92563
County: RiversideProperty Description:
*PRICE DROP OF $205,000! Property now listed at $595,000. This is pricing from 2004 and before. This is a distressed property. This is not a short sale, real estate owned property (REO), or foreclosure.

Location Description:
Murrieta's Apartment Row, conveniently located right off of Murrieta Hot Springs on Calle Del Lago.


INCOME PROPERTY::Great for First Time Investor
28919 Calle Del Lago
Murrieta, CA 92563
County: Riverside

Property Description:
*PRICE DROP OF $200,000! Property now listed at $550,000. This is pricing from 2004 and before. This is a distressed property. This is not a short sale, real estate owned property (REO), or foreclosure.

Location Description:
Murrieta's Apartment Row, conveniently located right off of Murrieta Hot Springs on Calle Del Lago.