Foodie Friday – One of my favorites! Plus “eating clean”

Formoli’s Bistro

This restaurant is near and dear to my heart, which is what usually makes or breaks an establishment for me.  I want to create memories and have experiences.  There are plenty of good and even outstanding food choices in Sacramento now, but not all of them deliver on the notion of aesthetic.  It’s the the mood and feel, passion and flavor of the ownership, soulfulness that is put into the menu, the staff, the wine selection, and ambiance.  This is what I dig about Aimal and Suzanne’s restaurant – they’ve always delivered.  I love how they start the meal with a complimentary amuse-bouchse – a single bite appetizer, literally, “mouth amuser.”  pexels-photo-803835.jpegMany times my wife and I have gone there and just said, “Serve us whatever you think is good.”  My mind has always been blown.  Always fresh from local farmers – needless to say, I recommend Formoli’s whole heartedly.

(Sorry, I did not take any pictures [stock steak photo] to post since it was my wife’s bday and I didn’t want to be “that guy” who’s doing work and whose mind is elsewhere… ,  rather I wanted to by “this guy” – present in the moment!]

You must stay for dessert at Formil’s, unless however, you buy a bunch of pastries at Paris Baguette.  It was my wife’s birthday, so upon the insistence and recommendation of another agent, with whom I am doing a transaction, I was in the area (Howe/Hurley) and grabbed a half-dozen.  She loved them… light and crispy were the croissants/cronut.

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We had a delicious fruit tart and a pastry-like tiramisu (I didn’t try it, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it!).  Honestly, I wanted to pick up a cake from Ettore’s, but there was no parking, so I jumped on plan B and it worked out fine.  Seems like a great place to get a cup of coffee and a pastry and made sense to get a big variety for the family to share on our occasion.

AT HOME

My wife and a few friends have started to eat “clean.”  Must be another hipster diet – ha ha ha.  I think it means cutting out sugar and limiting carbs?  I thought we were eating “clean” already… apparently not!  I love it… I don’t follow any diet religiously, but I tend to follow whatever my wife buys (whether she or I cooks).  Here’s one example of a clean dinner.

Cod, shrimp, asparagus, and salad.

Cheers,

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in Residential Sales & Property Management

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Effective Tenants Screening

Keith has a knack for effective screening of potential tenants. He has given recommendations for reasonably priced contractors when we need them. He is good at keeping our tenant and us calm and working together when issues arise. Thank you Keith!  

–Amy & Robert (Property Management Clients)

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Effective Tenant Screening

When engaged in a job role that required repetitive actions, it’s easy to think that some things are obvious, and forget that others have no understanding or bearing, in this case, when it comes to screening tenants.  I’ve had clients initially tell me that this is what they are most afraid of.  When I ask why… here are a list of reasons given to me:

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  1. Don’t we have to accept anyone who applies, due to non-discrimination laws?
  2. How do we know if they qualify? What if they can’t pay their rent?
  3. What if they are partiers? And the neighbors complain and then everyone will be mad at us!
  4. What if no one applies?
  5. How does the process work?

Many times people inherit a property, or make their old residence a rental and then fall into property management or become landlords (this is what happened to me).  When this is the case, it becomes extra scary for the new landlord.  This makes more sense, versus a savvy landlord who already owns or intends to buy a property with renting it out solely in mind.  Either way, to a property manager and someone seasoned in rental properties, these are easy questions to address.  Hopefully I can take some of the fear out of the process for people reading this.

#1 – You DO NOT have to accept any applicant that applies.  However, you CANNOT base your reasoning on any discriminatory factors, such as, race, religious, familial status, sexuality, age, etc.  A good property manager follows set practices and procedures that eliminate much of this concern and fear.  One practice that is helpful is to have a minimum requirements to rent sheet available to all applicants.  This then helps potential applicant figure out whether they meet the criteria or not, and takes it out of the category of subjective choosing.

#2 – All property management should use a filter, as stated above… a systematic approach to qualify an applicant.  Primary requirements: Income; credit score; rental history (evictions and what past landlords report).  There are other factors I’d be happy to share with you as a client, and which I develop for each client individually based on their preferences and the situation.

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But what if they cannot pay rent?  The employment/income check gives way to the prospect’s capacity to pay rent, however, without the ability to forecast the future and fully predict human behavior, there is always this risk of not getting rent from tenants.  However, the best predictor of the future is past behavior, yet there are still unseen variables and life events that are never foreseen.

#3 – This answer is similar to the last, regarding predicting the future.  I like to try to have a conversation with the last landlord or property manager, oppose to just emailing a questionnaire.  By taking a relational approach to all of property management (tenants, landlords, vendors, etc.), you can build a bridge with a fellow property manager and, you’d be surprised how much information I can glean from a conversation by just appealing to one’s humanity.  Yet, sometimes it’s very difficult to know if a potential tenant like to play music late night, or work odd hours, or rev their motorcycle at midnight.  I say this because I had a great tenant once, whose adult son moved back in with him mid-lease.  The original, single guy was quiet, helpful, and always paid on time.  Once his son moved in, the entire neighborhood was up in arms about the smoking, rude behavior, revving of motorcycles late night, etc.  You never know what will transpire.  This is the risk an owner/landlord takes when owning income property.  This is another reason why many owners opt to have a property manager, even if they live two doors down.   Good tenant screening and selection will always make the management aspect easier.  If things go sideways, a good property manager can objectively take the next procedural steps, communicating with the owner along the way, a many times sooth a tumultuous situation better than an owner.

#4 – If no one applies, then most of the time (if the property has been marketed correctly) the rent is too high.  Most of the time it’s better to ratchet the rent down a little rather than hold out for a unicorn tenant.  The loss of the lower rent is usually less than the monthly vacancy expenses.   If these does not make sense to you , I can elaborate on this more if you want to message me directly.

#5 – How does the process of finding and renting a property out work?  I’m happy to sit down with you or have a conference call to lead you through each step.  Feel free to email or text.

Keep your tenants happy!

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in Residential Sales & Property Management

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Foodie Friday – Augmented Reality Meets Wine

This weeks was all quiet on the food front.  Not many exciting places on which to report.  We did go to a friend’s house for her birthday and had an interesting wine experience, with an interactive app that goes with it… Have you heard of 19 Crimes?  I saw an ad for it and thought, “What a gimmick!”  But two people brought this wine to the party and it was pretty cool to see everyone ooh and ah over the marketing novelty.  If you have not seen it, there’s an app that can be downloaded and used to view the label of the wine through your phone, creating an augmented reality of sorts.  The criminal on the label begins to tell his story, etc.  This article explains it as, what Pokemon did for kids, this brands does for adults.  Check it out, and the wine was not bad at all. Go Aussies!

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Oh and we brought prosciutto wrapped asparagus to the party – healthy hit!

BBQ IN SACRAMENTO

Our tradition continues for this season, of dropping our oldest at Jiu Jitsu and then going somewhere for a snack/drink.  We decided to go to Fahrenheit 250, a BBQ joint a few blocks away – right outside of one of entrances to Sac. State’s campus.  It’s changed hands many times in the past – I think it was a comedy club, or dance club at one time, then a dive bar, then another failed restaurant… kinda has that reputation of, “Hmmm, I wonder when that place will go out of business?”  I’ve driven past it many times and honestly didn’t even know it was a BBQ haunt (even though it says, “BBQ” right on the sign!).  I can’t comment too much on this place since we only had an appetizer and some drinks.  Another couple we were with got nachos with pulled pork on top, which I tasted and I was smoky good.  We had potato skins… rather 4 potato halves.  Needless to say we took a potato home and the boys devoured it!  We need to go back and eat their BBQ, then I’ll comment more.  They do have $1 rib happy hour… sounds right up my alley.  Has anyone gone there?  If so, did you like it? And what did you order.

AT HOME

Beer Can Burger

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Confessions

#1 – I made this last summer

#2… I use to binged watch the cooking channel for about a year straight… almost every show… even the lame ones!  Every now and again, a good idea came up where I say, “I am going to make that tonight! [or very soon]”  Like the eating/traveling show where the guy goes to a wrestling match in Mexico City, where they serve tortas… back home/on the show he recreated the sandwich – refried beans, sour cream, hot dogs, and so much more – check out these articles (HERE & HERE)to read a cool stores about this street food  phenomenon.    Someday I will chronicle that adventure – it ended with a torta feast with about 10 friends given a 2 hours’ notice.

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This one day during the summer we were having friends over and I exclaimed, while watching a cooking show, “THAT’S WHAT WE ARE GOING TO MAKE TONIGHT!  BEER CAN BURGERS!

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Vegans… I’m sorry… you may want to stop reading now… this may offend you greatly! [actually too late, after the BBQ mention and tortas – my bad].  This burger starts with using a beer can to make a cup outta the patty, which you proceed to fill with anything you want.  We put mushrooms, bacon, onions, bell peppers, BBQ sauce, cheese, and an egg!   Oh man, this was on point!  Look it up!  Here’s one of many websites with recipes and instructions – get to it!

Cheers,

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in residential sales and property management

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Buying an Older Home in Sacramento? Things you may want to consider.

I’ve owned three primary residences and they were all built before 1940.  The first home I bought in East Sac. was built in 1937; the second was in Midtown/Boulevard Park, built in 1905; the third in Curtis Park, built in 1924.  Most people who seek out an older home may love the neighborhoods, or the charm, detail and craftsmanship an older home has to offer.  However, when it comes to buying an older home there are certain things you may want to consider ahead of time.

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Many love the idea of owning a home, but no one loves the maintenance.  An older home may require a bit more maintenance, or as my current neighbor says, “You’ve gotta keep tuning them up!”   Roofs, water heaters, and windows all need maintenance and potential replace, however, older homes can have larger structural issues in addition to all the normal items.  Many home inspectors carry a marble in their tool kit to check if floors are level.  Many older homes have settling foundations, giving way to wonky floors.  I’ve been in some houses that make you dizzy.  Some floors crown in the middle as a result of settling foundations, while others have a slope to the corners.

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The marble trick works well to determine the level of a home.  Also look for cracking tiles and sloping stair cases and door jambs.  Many times it’s just part of the home’s charm, while other times it can mean major renovations are needed ( = $$$$).  My Midtown home has a brick foundation which made me a bit nervous when I bought it.  My father, who was a contractor said, “Well, it’s been here over 100 years… I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”  While there have been no issues, advise:  Find a contractor who specializes in foundations.  I now know a few – call me if you need a recommendation.

Victorian Homes

There’s nothing quite like a “painted lady” or Queen Anne Victorian.  While many would say these homes are worth every penny due to their beauty, beware of the costs to

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maintain this charm.  The exterior especially on this homes commands attention and tune up.  Due to the intricate details, spindles, railing, gingerbread shingles, etc., regular painting in order to protect is a must.  Without fresh paint, these homes just look tired and sad, many times costing tens of thousands of dollars in dry rot repair alone.  Also, sometimes these require an artist’s touch to paint right – no spray job will do!

Recommendation:  Get a paint bid ahead of time, so you know what you will be in for later.  Also, always get a pest/termite inspection to determine the amount of dry rot and if there are pest that like to eat old wood.

Brick Homes

These older homes have a unique look and quality that make them stand out.  I personally love brick homes and almost bought one in McKinley Park, but backed out

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when I found out that one of the archways was failing and would have cost upwards of $50K to fix.  One upside of a brick home, only the trim needs painting and bricks don’t get termites!

Recommendation:  Have a mason/brick specialist inspect the brick work before buying.

Old Home Plumbing

Over the decades plumbing has changed quite a bit.  Fresh water pipes can be a concern, especially if you are seeing rust in the water – have the water tested or bank on replacing the pipes.  Also a major concern is the sewer line – the larger pipe which all of the homes waste drains into.  My oldest house originally had a cistern and a leach field (waste just flowing into the yard, percolating through the soil, and eventually composting) – the City of Sacramento didn’t have public plumbing in this suburbs back in the early 1900’s.  How do I know this you ask?  I had to replace this sewer line can saw that it ran through an old brick well-looking thing (uphill) for a few feet!  This pipe was the classic clay, with bell connectors every 3-4 feet.  This piping is notorious for root invasion through the joints, which is what happened to mine.  These days most the sewer line pipes are ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene – I had to look it up) or PVC – strong, sturdy and hard to break.  I believe that cast iron is still used  at time, mainly in commercial applications.  One of the worst pipes, used until the 1970’s,is called Orangeburg (fiber conduit), known for collapsing and letting in tree roots.

Recommendation:  Have your sewer pipes inspected by a plumbing company, who will run a camera down the pipe and determine the health of your sewer line before you purchase a home.  This small expense could save you thousands of dollars down the road.  It’s an easy negotiation when you can show the seller a video of their pipes with tree roots and all.

On the up side, many older homes were built by artisans and master carpenters, who took their time, fit things together, and were proud of their trade.  Much of the materials stand the test of time – we still have the original windows and hardwood floors!  Also, the wood used in construction many times was old growth redwood – it’s so hard that termite don’t even bother.  Many new homes today are built on the fly, using the cheapest materials, and slapped together by “schlocky butchers” (as my dad would say) – May be defined by the saying, “A little caulk and a little paint, makes a carpenter what he ain’t!”

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I have a great home inspector that knows old homes – this is what you want, in addition to a great agent that can guide you through the pitfall and lead you to the promise land.

As I said, I love older homes and would love to assist/represent you on your next home purchase or sale.

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker – 916.595-7900

Specializing in Residential Sales and Property Management

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Foodie Friday – One place that’ll make you sweat (in a good way)

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CURRY CORNER

White wine and spicy foods makes my mount water just thinking about it.  Thai and Indian are some of our favorites.  We have some friends in Natomas.  They told us they had a go-to spot around the corner, so they grabbed the food, and we brought the wine.  The wine was nothing to brag about, but that’s the thing, it can be a mediocre wine, but with Tikka Masala, you will want to find a Bollywood playlist and start dancing.  I must admit, I love spicy food, but my body is also well calibrated because I now start sweating when the spice hits–a natural air conditioner of sorts.  Oh, and we ordered the medium spice!

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Curry Corner is the place, filled with locals from Natomas and perhaps India?  This tends to be a good sign.  Kinda like when going to Chinese food and the restaurant is filled with white people… not a good sign.  The smells and tastes of Indian cuisine take me back a few years, when I had the privilege of traveling to North East India with my father.  If you have a hankering for Indian food and are in or near Natomas… hit it!  And don’t forget the white wine.

ZINFANDEL GRILLE

I have some older clients looking for a home in Arden Park, so I took them to lunch at “Z Grill.” – That’s what call it and leave off the “e” because that’s how I spell “grill!”  It was perfect, as there is a mix of business and older folks here during the lunch rush.  I wanted to them to get a taste of the nearby flavor.  Z Grill is a mainstay, close to my office, client lunch and happy hour are a frequent occurrence.  They have a great selection of appetizers and small plates.  For lunch they are known for their steak sandwich, which is what I order most of the time, unless I’m feeling like being healthy and grabbing a salad (which are also delicious – beet salad, mmmmm!).  This time they had an interesting mushroom and cheese salad as a side – sounded funky, but turned out to be unique to me and something I might order again.  If you want a solid meal with classic American flare, this is the place for lunch or dinner.  You might even dress up a bit in the evening or for a special occasion – they have an extensive wine list too.

AT HOME

I may have mentioned that I cook at least twice a week when my wife takes my son to his parkour class (shout out to The Haven / The Way PK!).  I try to have dinner ready when they get home.  I can’t take all the credit since my wife does most all of the shopping and planning of meals.  In fact, I am so thankful and appreciative that she does these tasks and takes care of the family so well and keeps us heathy (and I also know she may read this, which will make her smile!).

Tuesday I make a seared yellow fin tuna with asparagus and sourdough toast for the boys.  Trying to continue to cut back on the carbs.

Thursday I BBQ’d chicken that had already been marinating in an Asian sauce – maybe more like Teriyaki.  I roasted a bunch of brusell sprouts with bacon and whipped up some Batsmati rice.  Tip – sometimes following the recipe and suggestions on the package is the best way to go.  This rice pack had a few ways to prepare it.  I sauteed it first with some garlic and then simmered it in vegetable broth, finishing the rice with a lemon zest.   Everyone seemed to love it.

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[looks like slop, but the family was licking the plate! Oh and my wife put some Kim chi on her plate too].

What are some of your favorites you’ve prepared at home lately?

BEER SHOUT OUT

I love one of our new routines… take son to Jiu Jitsu, wife and I got get a beer and talk (mini date!).  This week we dropped into Sactown Union Brewery. I knew where it is because I’ve been before, but if you haven’t, it’s kind of a funky location.  Beyond that, I do enjoy a few of their beers.  Since IPA’s have gone over the top, in my opinion… What I mean is, the just keep going up, up ,up in the bitterness department and sometime booziness too.  Now people are brewing hoppy pale ales and ambers and even pilsners, and it comes as refreshment [to us all, except for those who just can’t get enough hops and IBUs).  Kolsh too has made a comeback as a light, thirst quenching beer, and Sactown Union has a decent one.  I also like their Centennial Falcon (Pale Ale with Centennial hops).

Cheers,

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in residential sales and property management

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Listen Up! You Cannot Go Wrong with this Skill Improvement

Client Review:

We loved working with Keith to buy our home in Sacramento. He asked us really good questions that we didn’t even know to think about to help select homes that would be a good fit. Everything about the process felt low-stress and positive. He even helped us write a letter to a seller that got us our home! He has a lot of knowledge and is just a kind, friendly, fun person – we highly recommend him as a realtor. Also, he has a truck, so he can totally help you move. Tell your friends!

Christine Fischer

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Agents, listen up… Hot tip… people like to be listened to.  We all know this, but it’s easy to get caught up in the, let-me-tell-you-how-much-I-know role.  You learn so much by listening.  And, studies show that people think you are smarter when you listen attentively.  You will help your clients by doing more listening that talking.  Be careful not to assert you opinions when unsolicited.  Believe me, I’ve learn through my own failings.  You are representing them and their desires after all, not yours.

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Me:  Can you believe the color they painted this house!?!  Isn’t it horrid!

Buyer:  Well… Um… pink is our favorite color.

OOOPS!

Better approach:  What do you think of the color of the house?

Buyer:  Oh man, it’s horrid – that’s the first change we will make!

Me:  Well, I guess there’s a color for everyone.

This is an easy one, but there many more examples of how I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth with assumptions and just blurting out opinions and said dumb when NOT listening.

Beyond colors and preferences, like my clients, the Fischers and most all others, don’t do this every day and need someone to foresee the potential pitfalls , or point out blind spots.  For instance, “I noticed this house doesn’t have a dining area and I know you love to entertain… does that bother you or affect your opinion of this house?”  Client:  Oh wow, we didn’t even see that, we were too busy staring at the shiny counter tops and the period light fixtures.”

Since I have a pretty high view of my family, one secret I employ is to view my clients like family.  I ask myself questions along the way too, for instance, “Would I want my mom living in this neighborhood?”  Or, I remember a young, investor client of mine wanted to purchase a duplex across from a very dangerous apartment complex, known for gang violence.  I had to ask him, “Are you okay with your tenants calling to complain about gun shots in the middle of the night and constant drug dealing in front of this property?  As your advocate,  I don’t feel comfortable with you buying this property.”  This in particular client said, “Thanks for your concern… I really appreciate it, but I don’t care about that stuff – It’s a great deal!”  Good reminder – you are your client’s advocate and have a fiduciary duty to them, but what you’d do, isn’t always what your client wants.  So don’t assume!   It might be a good thing to review the definition of “fiduciary duty” from time to time to put things into perspective.    It’s simply, “The highest standard of care,” putting their wants and desire ahead of your own.

By the way, I have found my wife loves it when I listen and so do my kids!  We cannot go wrong by growing and improving in this area of our lives.

Keeping growing!

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in Residential Real Estate Sales & Property Management

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Haunted by the Alhambra

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Ever since I moved to Sacramento in 1999 and learned that there use to be a grand theater where Safeway stands on Alhambra Blvd, I’ve been fascinated by its history and so wished it were still around.  Maybe this is why I also love going to the Crest and Tower theaters (even though the new XD theaters are so dang comfy!).  Here’s an article about two guys who put together a documentary about what made the Alhambra so special.  Go check it out.  I wish them the very best and am thankful they embarked on this journey!

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Cheers,

Keith Klassen, Real Estate Broker – 916.595.7900

Specializing in Residential Real Estate Sales & Property Management

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