I hate the term real estate. It's cold and business-y, everything that tends to make me hide under the bed. What I write about is space: homes, cafes, places where you can do work, pet the cat, and Google your next-door-neighbor from 10 years ago. I write about places. And I like to do it from a personal perspective.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Would you stay at the M-31?

Sounds a little too military for me, but check it for yourself.

The jist of the article is actually that hotels are getting more upscale to fit boom times. Seems one thing they're really upping is the internet access. But if San Francisco goes with city-wide WiFi, that may put a dent in that idea.

When I was traveling in Europe earlier this month, I rarely had trouble getting a wireless connection. And never once did I actually have to use the hotel's own connection point.

Of course, if you want to talk American luxury hotels versus European luxury hotels, you're talking apples and baguettes. But that's a whole other post.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Million-dollar manure?

$1 million to live in Norco, CA? At this point, you truly could sell a pile of horse dung in California and have it hit the $500K mark.

Where to from here? Housing prices are outrageous; the point's been beat to death. So what are the options?

- Renting. Often vastly proven to be a better value in the more heated housing markets such as the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Manhattan.

- Tenancies in common. An intriguing, and growing, movement toward jointly shared ownership. However, politics between co-property owners could defeat some deals, so make sure you can do business with the people who are also signing on your dotted line.

- Buying out of state. I speak with investors on a regular basis, many of whom are telling me they're putting down cash in states other than California. Hot areas include Florida and Texas -- Nevada and Arizona are getting to the point of being tapped out, they say.

- Nomadism. Pull up roots and travel around. Not recommended for everyone, but for some, living out of a backpack is far healthier than socking away all your cash into one specific place.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I'm branching out beyond real estate (looks like I'm doing that more often these days) to comment on something I found a little offputting at this early (or late, depending on how you look at it) hour: SitePal.

"Characters like me can make money for your business!" burbles a spacey, vacant cartoon character who supposedly can liven up a website. Uh, no. She (and her companions on the site) are way too close to the retards I grew up with in San Diego County. I'll pass.

Pseudo-disclaimer: No harm, no foul to either SitePal or especially San Diego.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Two-Buck Chuck on Broadway?

Looks like Trader Joe's is blooming in the Big Apple.

This is more of a personal post than a real-estate-related one, but my contrary nature makes me less of a TJ's devotee than most people.

My boyfriend loves it. He flocks there with the rest of the good folk of the Bay Area, seekking cheap snackies and wine and yuppie goods that not only fill your tummy but save the endangered folk of the world.

Personally, I'll stick with my own little yuppie grocery store. Even if I'm not going to be living across the street from it for much longer.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"Fewer opportunities to be an adult"

This Chronicle article treads some interesting ground.

I've been one of those 20- (and now 30-) somethings questioned by my parents. Though my freelance career feels more stable than in the past, and I can see my graduate-level work starting to pay off even before I've received my degree, Draut's work is a sobering look at why our generation is feeling hard-pressed for catchup.

How does this reflect on the real estate market? I'll leave you to wonder about that.