Monday, June 11, 2018

Love and Loss, memories remain in my heart!

Maggie Forever in My Heart……That is what my new bracelet says. When I bought my first home on Ponce de Leon Avenue, it was the first time I had lived alone. I was not sure I was ready for a dog, with my chaotic work/life schedule, but Maggie found me, and I would never be the same. I was listing a pre-foreclosure home, and its occupants were having to get rid of her when they moved, and take her to the Humane Society.
Maggie had endless energy whenever I would visit this home, barking, jumping, wagging, smiling, showing me her toys, and her owners said she was already a good runner. I decided to take her home for a weekend to see how it was…….well, we all know how that goes….I now had a young, energetic dog. I was determined to “train” her, and not be one of “those people” who let their dogs rule the house……but within a day or two she was sleeping in my arms, having dinner with me on the couch, and basically being catered to in every way.
She was instantly my shadow, my best friend, and she was there for every up and down of life. Our running was awesome, even though she pulled for the first few miles. I was so amazed she would learn our routes through San Jose by heart. Maggie loved to play tag, hide and seek, keep away, catch (although she had horrible eye mouth coordination like her mom).
Also like her mom, she was hyper active, anxious at times, and expressive. I always knew what was on her mind…..if she was really sad or sick, or just “playing” me to get something she wanted.  She was a born networker, and quickly got to know all the neighborhood dogs, as well as my friends and running partners.
We often went on dates out to dinner, running errands, or play days at the dog park. Maggie consoled me with kisses and loving eyes when I had bad days. She was perfect in every way, and I never had a lonely day with her at my side. She patiently wore all the silly costumes I brought home for various holidays, posed next to real estate signs, and faithfully perched next to me while I worked.
Bella came into our lives much in the same way, and they became best friends. They squabbled over toys, treats, best spot on the bed, but they had each other’s back and mine. I learned to run with both of them, and I drove them like a sleigh on our favorite San Jose routes.
Both dogs started to age, and I knew that neither of them would live forever. They still displayed unparalleled enthusiasm when I arrived home, or before a car trip or walk. The runs and walks gradually became shorter and slower, but still so much fun. Bella has an endless stream of ailments, but Maggie was always perfectly healthy, smart, talented and above all, loving.
Maggie’s eye started to get worse, but so did mine. One of my favorite parts of every day, was settling down for sleep every night, with snuggles from both of them. Maggie was always at my feet, and Bella would wriggle up right between Bill and I.
Last Saturday, Maggie did not eat breakfast, but that was not unusual, as she had always been a little finicky about food. We settled down with a movie, and Maggie stayed on the floor. I brought her a treat, and she would not get off the floor. I tried to lift her up, but she just collapsed back down. The look in her eyes said it all…….something was very wrong.
We scooped her up in a blanket and rushed to the ER vet. Talk about sad places…..death and sickness were everywhere.  Maggie could not stand up, so they took her back immediately. After waiting for what seemed like forever, I saw the vet. I could not believe his words………..Maggie was bleeding internally from a mass on her spleen. We went over options, none of which sounded great. I visited with her, and she was so weak, barely showing any emotion other than tired.
I knew where we were headed, but I could not bear to make that decision just yet. I left her there to see if some miracle happened during the night, or for some clear direction of the best plan for my precious child. Was she in pain?  Was she scared?  Why didn’t I notice this sooner? Was I too focused on Bella’s health, so I neglected Maggie?
I slept fitfully and the vets called me twice during the night. They had to give Maggie blood, because she was still bleeding and very anemic. Then, they wanted to give her plasma, because she was not clotting. We rushed to the vet to see her, and I was about to make one of the toughest decisions of my life.
I knew countless friends who had lost dogs, and I always expressed my sympathies, but I never understood just how much it hurt, and how hard it was to go through that.  After all, it was only a pet, not a human being, so how could it compare with the loss of a friend or relative. Boy, was I wrong.
We were in a room with Maggie. She lay on the floor on a blanket, and I sat close, petting and talking to her. She acknowledged my presence, but barely showed any emotion or excitement. The look in her eyes was mostly tired, but also understanding, as if she was telling me it was ok to let her go. There was no fight there, no agenda to race ahead on a run, or steal Bella’s toys…..just acceptance.
I continued to caress her, telling her how much I loved her, and how she’s always be my first dog. I told her that Bella would miss her, and that we’d think of her every single day. The doctor came in to the room to ask us what we wanted to do.  I could barely get the words out, that I was ready to put her down, because it was a lie………I was not ready at all……..but I knew this was the best option for Maggie.
There were other tests and probes, and procedures we could do, on some outside chance, but really I would just be keeping her alive and causing her unnecessary pain and suffering…..just so I could take my time saying goodbye. It was time. I held Maggie in my arms, and the tears started to come. I started saying, “I love you Maggie, I will run with you again one day,” as I sobbed uncontrollably.
I was so scared when the vet came back in. I held her as he administered the two syringes of fluid. I thought it would be gruesome, but it was so peaceful. Maggie took a few more breaths, and smiled as she looked up at me in love. I repeated “I love you Maggie,” over and over again, as she went to sleep for the last time. I continued to hold her for what seemed to be forever, because I didn’t want to leave her. I finally gave her a final kiss on her sweet head, and told her I’d see her again one day.
I spent the rest of the next few days crying and reliving the weekend. I could not believe my grief, which is undoubtedly the most I have cried over any death ever, and more than I have cried in a long time.  My mind flooded with memories of Maggie, and our wonderful 11 years together. Every time I arrive home I expect to see Maggie in her familiar places.
We cannot control or avoid death. However, we can choose to make the most of every day with the people we love the most. My San Jose house is special to me, but my pets, husband, parents and friends who shared time with me there truly made it a home.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

New VA loan options for our military.

This Article from Realtor Magazine explains the options now available to Military personnel applying for a VA loan.

New Loan Option Could be Boon for Veterans

Purchase-rehab loans, recently unveiled by the Department of Veterans Affairs, would cover renovation costs and provide another avenue for military vets to take advantage of no-down VA loans.

About a month ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs released long-awaited guidelines for 100 percent financed purchase-rehabilitation loans for military veterans, a move that real estate professionals hailed as a much-needed option during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., on May 16.
Carol Mitchell, an executive at Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group—one of the first lenders to offer the loan—told members of the National Association of REALTORS’ Federal Finance Committee that it’s a way for veterans to get the benefits of a no-down VA-backed loan for a home that could meet the agency’s property standards after rehabilitation. “You can get the rehab done with part of the purchase loan,” Mitchell said.
Greg Nelms, chief of loan policy for the VA Loan Guaranty Service, said the agency made its guidelines broad and flexible so lenders can add overlays that make sense for them. Atlantic Bay Mortgage, which is licensed to originate VA loans in 40 states, caps the rehab component of the loan at $31,100 and permits an additional $3,900 to cover fees, inspection costs, and construction contingencies of up to 15 percent of the loan amount.
The rehab work, which is limited to repairs and upgrades, must be completed within 90 days of receiving a loan. The money cannot be used for structural additions, although a buyer could add a room if it doesn’t involve removing a load-bearing wall. The appraisal must support the purchase price plus the improvements, a termite certificate has to be issued before the loan can be approved, and the buyer can’t act as the general contractor.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day...
Is a day set aside to remember with gratitude and pride all those who served and died for our country and our freedom. A day to Thank those who still serve to protect us. May your day be filled with Memories, Honor, Blessings and Peace.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Real Estate is People, not houses.

Real Estate is People, not Houses…….I bought my very first house on Ponce de Leon Ave. in 2005. I was a fairly new Realtor, & new at taking care of a home. I had also never lived alone before, so I was very nervous about many aspects of that. Well, my neighbors welcomed me with open arms right away, & my first warm greeting came from Mary Milam across the street.
Miss Mary had lived there for nearly 50 years, raised her kids in that house, & she knew everybody in our neighborhood. I immediately felt safe & sound, & like I had family around me. I soon after met many of the other neighbors, & we were a mix of new, young homeowners like me, & families who had been there for generations.
I soon created a few regular running routes, & I loved seeing all the familiar friendly faces every day as I ran a beautiful 4 miles down around San Jose Forest to Nathan Krestul Park & back home. Everyone said hello, some would stop me & ask me where I lived & how far I was running. Soon after I got Maggie, my first rescue dog, & we would run & walk all over the neighborhood every day. Now we got to know all the dog people & would see the same dogs every day.
Miss Mary had Casey, next door Samantha had Buck, & Mrs. Coffman had three little Min Pins, one who she’d walk in a stroller. Sometimes Miss Mary’s daughter Kim would come over with little Maggie & we’d all just have a ball visiting & enjoying the beautiful day.
Miss Mary always looked out for me, calling or stop by to give me neighborhood news, or if a suspicious person had been seen. She collected my mail when I went out of town, brought my trash cans up to the house when I got home late, gave me advice on my yard & a million other things.
In 2010 I moved to Springfield, but I missed my San Jose community dearly. When my home turned in to a rental, Miss Mary still looked out for my house and its occupants. One day, I got the horrible news that Mary had passed away suddenly, & I was so saddened, but relieved to know that she had not suffered from a long term illness.
With a proud, but heavy heart I was happy to help Mary’s son & daughter prepare her home for sale, & quickly get a solid offer from a wonderful new family who will move into this home around the end of April. When I told people about this home, tears would fill my eyes remembering my first house, first dog, & Miss Mary, my first real neighbor in my adult life.
Our neighborhood may be old, & to some people it is a collection of houses that could use a little updating………..but to me San Jose is a community full of families, neighbors, friends & memories. I am always excited to introduce new buyers to San Jose, a hidden gem, full of solid homes, trees, parks, mom & pop retail. 
Most of all I am proud to introduce people to a community full of fantastic people.
I will always be proud to be your neighborhood real estate expert.  Thank you for trusting me to work with your family, friends and neighbors.

3830 Ponce De Leon Ave.
3 bed, 1 bath
Under Contract in 4 days
Listed for $175,000

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