Search found 277 matches

by Balance
Sat Jul 25, 2020 2:01 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV
Replies: 69
Views: 4119

Re: Family expanding - Time for a 3 row SUV

We were in a similar situation during our last purchase a couple of years ago. My sons were age 5 and 1 at the time and we tried out the Highlander and Pilot. My 5-year-old still had a hard time getting in and out of the SUV by himself. The biggest issue for us was the third row was not easily acces...
by Balance
Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Vitamix Worth It?
Replies: 167
Views: 22975

Re: Vitamix Worth It?

I have used my Vitamix almost everyday over the last 12 years. I make green smoothies religiously for lunch. I haven't had any issues and haven't had to replace the blades. For me it was a great buy. I had a Nutribullet as well but it was more of a pain to clean and it didn't have the same blending ...
by Balance
Thu May 28, 2020 3:37 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: HBO Max
Replies: 38
Views: 3083

Re: HBO Max

Signed up for the $12 deal but discovered that HBO Max will not work on Roku devices yet--perhaps soon. A lot of irate Roku users out there as I see from some of the comments on news stories. DD streams it on her Macbook and to a TV via Apple TV so we will keep this for now but I can't access it on...
by Balance
Wed May 13, 2020 7:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Appraiser is asking for more money in the middle of refinance process, legal?
Replies: 36
Views: 3419

Re: Appraiser is asking for more money in the middle of refinance process, legal?

I am an appraiser and a realtor in the Bay Area. I belong to both a local and national association and I hear commentary both in my market area and for the rest of the country. First of all, most lenders use a middle man called an AMC (Appraisal Management Company) who acts as the firewall between ...
by Balance
Wed May 13, 2020 3:52 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Appraiser is asking for more money in the middle of refinance process, legal?
Replies: 36
Views: 3419

Re: Appraiser is asking for more money in the middle of refinance process, legal?

I am an appraiser and a realtor in the Bay Area. I belong to both a local and national association and I hear commentary both in my market area and for the rest of the country. First of all, most lenders use a middle man called an AMC (Appraisal Management Company) who acts as the firewall between t...
by Balance
Mon May 04, 2020 11:18 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: terro ant treatment
Replies: 34
Views: 1971

Re: terro ant treatment

We have done pretty well with Terro. The ants tend to come back once every year or other year. I know this is pretty obvious but the most crucial step that we have learned is to never clean up the ant trails that are leading to the traps. It is important that you let those ants go back to their lair...
by Balance
Tue Apr 28, 2020 11:41 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What’s the lowest you can comfortably live on?
Replies: 26
Views: 1640

Re: What’s the lowest you can comfortably live on?

$60k is pretty light. If you are in a HCOL area on the west coast rent can easily be $3000-5000 per month depending on where you live. In the Bay Area you would be on the upper end of that range or even higher. That doesn't leave a lot for food, utilities, and emergency reserves. What do you pay in...
by Balance
Tue Apr 28, 2020 11:28 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: What’s the lowest you can comfortably live on?
Replies: 26
Views: 1640

Re: What’s the lowest you can comfortably live on?

$60k is pretty light. If you are in a HCOL area on the west coast rent can easily be $3000-5000 per month depending on where you live. In the Bay Area you would be on the upper end of that range or even higher. That doesn't leave a lot for food, utilities, and emergency reserves. What do you pay in ...
by Balance
Sun Apr 26, 2020 6:47 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area
Replies: 69
Views: 8418

Re: Where to buy a home in the Bay Area

I'm both an appraiser and Realtor in the Bay Area. My wife and I sold our house in Redwood Shores (between Foster City and San Carlos) 5 years ago and moved to Dublin to raise our kids. We haven't regretted it at all. Dublin has it all in terms of housing (big/small, new/old, SFR/TH/Condo), has rest...
by Balance
Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:59 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Eating out after lock-down is lifted
Replies: 112
Views: 10606

Re: Eating out after lock-down is lifted

If you say reduce seating by 50%, I don't see the business surviving by increasing prices by 50%. People enjoy going out but prices do matter and if that $15, 20, 30 meal becomes $22, 30, 45 that would make eating home much more likely. If seating is reduced by 50%, prices would have to go up 100% ...
by Balance
Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Buying a new-construction home
Replies: 28
Views: 3285

Re: Buying a new-construction home

I am a Realtor and Appraiser in California and I have represented many clients on new construction homes. Most of the big builders in California will no longer allow for rebates on the commission (They call it a "referral fee"). There are a select few that will allow for rebates but not ma...
by Balance
Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:40 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: $10,000 Commission check
Replies: 8
Views: 930

Re: $10,000 Commission check

I get commission checks quite frequently over the last decade. At first, I didn't have the best plan on what to do with them. I always put away 30% of my check for tax purposes, I also conservatively add money every check to my solo 401k, then I save another 25% (Always save a good chunk for the tim...
by Balance
Tue Oct 15, 2019 5:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Home appraisal 8% less sq ft than listing
Replies: 42
Views: 4932

Re: Home appraisal square ft less than Seller Listing

Couple things I wanted to add to the discussion as I am both an appraiser and Realtor. The appraiser measures the house from the outside (unless its a condo). This is how the builder measures as well. When you measure from the interior, you may miss a foot or so on each side of the house due to fram...
by Balance
Sun Jun 17, 2018 10:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best stroller+infant seat for gravel roads?
Replies: 18
Views: 1902

Re: Best stroller+infant seat for gravel roads?

We run/walk a lot on paved and gravel trails. We bought a BoB Revolution for our first son and now that we have two, we have a BoB Duallie Revolution. They work great for running and hold their value really well for re-sale. Depending on the accessories you buy, they can get pricey. We bought our fi...
by Balance
Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:04 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Fitting three young kids in the car...
Replies: 76
Views: 6614

Re: Fitting three young kids in the car...

We have two kids, both still rear-facing, with a third due in the fall like you. Our Prius worked fine with two, but started getting extremely cramped when our youngest moved up to a toddler carseat. I've seen people say that they have three carseats across the back row of a Prius, but my experimen...
by Balance
Tue May 22, 2018 11:01 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: SF Bay Area Credit Unions or Banks Questions
Replies: 8
Views: 1038

Re: SF Bay Area Credit Unions or Banks Questions

We use Provident CU (based on the Peninsula) and we love it. When we sold our house a few years back we used our credit union and Ally bank for the proceeds. Many CU's that we researched will only give you their high yield with a cap of $25k. Ally doesn't have a cap so it made more sense for us to p...
by Balance
Sat May 05, 2018 3:00 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What do you pay baby sitters?
Replies: 53
Views: 6688

Re: What do you pay baby sitters?

We live in a HCOL area (Bay Area).

Our babysitter charges $20/hr for two children. But my kids are small, 4 and 1.5 years old and are a lot of work. If my kids were older and more self-sufficient I would probably be paying around $15/hr.
by Balance
Sat Apr 28, 2018 4:12 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: When would you replace a car?
Replies: 34
Views: 4391

Re: When would you replace a car?

Get a new, or nearly new, safe car. New baby deserves it! Totally agree with this. A newer car will have a lot better safety and technology upgrades which are important for driving especially when you are tired and distracted because of your child who will at times be temperamental in the car. Plus...
by Balance
Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:33 pm
Forum: US Chapters
Topic: San Francisco Mid Peninsula, California Chapter
Replies: 80
Views: 20452

Re: San Francisco Mid Peninsula, California Chapter Interest?

I'm in the Dublin/Pleasanton Area, we just moved from Redwood Shores. Most of my network is still on the Peninsula and I would be happy to do a meetup.
by Balance
Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:30 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Costco gas
Replies: 67
Views: 9253

Re: Costco gas

We have a Chevron right down the street from us and a Costco one exit away (5 minute drive). We are in the Bay Area, CA and our gas prices are very high. Yesterday I got gas on both of our cars. The Chevron was at $3.89/gallon while the Costco was at $3.19/gallon. It was a pretty big spread while ty...
by Balance
Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:34 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Disneay Aulani (Hawaii) vacation planning
Replies: 14
Views: 1735

Re: Disneay Aulani (Hawaii) vacation planning

Have stayed there several times and it's worth the money. Renting DVC points is the cheapest way to get in. We always rent car from Hawaii Discount Car Rental. Rent unit with kitchen. Go to Safeway, or Costco, in Kapolei to stock up on food. You might not save a ton of money overall but nice to hav...
by Balance
Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:32 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Disneay Aulani (Hawaii) vacation planning
Replies: 14
Views: 1735

Re: Disneay Aulani (Hawaii) vacation planning

Childcare is included at Aulani which is worth a ton of money compared to the other resorts. Note, it's first come, first served. Their pools and lazy river are great for the entire family. Aulani is located on one of the lagoons in Kapolei --- the perfect place for tranquil ocean swimming and rela...
by Balance
Thu Apr 12, 2018 4:13 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Disneay Aulani (Hawaii) vacation planning
Replies: 14
Views: 1735

Disneay Aulani (Hawaii) vacation planning

Hello forumites! My family and I are taking a vacation for the first time with our kids in tow. We are planning on going to Disney Aulani in Hawaii. Before having our children, my wife and I would vacation to the Hawaiian islands at least twice a year. We have stayed at various hotels/resorts but th...
by Balance
Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:12 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Replies: 146
Views: 17035

Re: Is Amazon Prime worth it?

If you are a Whole Foods shopper, like we are, there will be some significant benefits for Prime members. Looks like this coming Monday Whole Foods will be lowering prices to capture more shoppers. Prime members will be able to get two-hour shipping from Whole Foods in select locations with addition...
by Balance
Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:41 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?
Replies: 198
Views: 23776

Re: Life at crossroads. What would you do ?

If you currently live 30-40 miles from SV and you have "terrible" public schools you should consider moving out to the Tri Valley Area (Dublin/San Ramon/Pleasanton) which is also 30 miles from SV. Your drive will be comparable but all the public schools are 9's and 10's. The rent will cost...
by Balance
Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:44 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any stay at home parents regret the decision?
Replies: 100
Views: 15467

Re: Any stay at home parents regret the decision?

I was a stay at home Dad for 18 years. I can't place a dollar amount on the time I was able to spend with my Son. All the money in the world could not have made me any happier. :happy I feel the same way. I am a stay at home dad but I still operate a small business from home about 20-25 hours per w...
by Balance
Tue Feb 02, 2016 3:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Where to Stay in San Francisco?
Replies: 38
Views: 5249

Re: Where to Stay in San Francisco?

Skip the city and stay in Marin Co. Hide out in Point Reyes Station or Inverness Although I don't recommend staying in Marin County your whole time, I would recommend staying at Sausalito for a night. It's the perfect place to go for couples and has good bed and breakfast type lodging as well as gr...
by Balance
Thu Aug 20, 2015 4:47 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2008 Honda Accord with only 10K miles. Any major service needed?
Replies: 56
Views: 12239

Re: 2008 Honda Accord with only 10K miles. Any major service needed?

I have an 2007 Honda Accord manual transmission. I didn't read through each and every reply so please forgive me if I missed something. - I would change out the tires immediately. Because there is some cracking and it is several years old I would change them out. It is just something I wouldn't risk...
by Balance
Mon Aug 17, 2015 6:27 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Should I buy a new car or hold
Replies: 19
Views: 2446

Re: Should I buy a new car or hold

I would say go for it. We did the same thing and sold our 2007 Honda Accord and just bought the Prius V just last week. The V is a bit more expensive but it suits our needs as a family car. We paid $21k for it after all of the incredible rebates that you mentioned. The only difference is that we fin...
by Balance
Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:24 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?
Replies: 201
Views: 22634

Re: What's Your Monthly Food/Groceries Spending? My is through the roof?

2 Adults 1 2 year old child We spend anywhere between $1200-1500/month We eat organic, grass fed, free range, wild caught, fresh fruit and veggies etc. We utilize Costco, Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Safeway and try to buy in bulk/deals. We take our lunch to work and eat out only a couple times a we...
by Balance
Sun May 31, 2015 12:59 am
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Help getting started growing my nest egg
Replies: 8
Views: 2451

Re: Help getting started growing my nest egg

400-500K house in Silicon valley sounds optimistic. That stuck out to me as well. I work as an appraiser in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. The last two condos I appraised in Sunnyvale and Mountain View were both over $1 million and they were 2 and 3 bedroom floor plans respectively. Both in th...
by Balance
Fri May 29, 2015 1:23 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Selling home - unexpected competition
Replies: 113
Views: 20488

Re: Selling home - unexpected competition

Congrats Thomas! I live and work in the Bay Area as a real estate appraiser and realtor. It is indeed a crazy market. We just sold our property on the Peninsula. We initially listed for $1.249 and we received 18 offers. We also had a few preemptive offers at 1.35 and 1.4 respectively. The buyers' ag...
by Balance
Thu May 21, 2015 11:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: Might sell house to a friend. What is fair?
Replies: 30
Views: 3797

Re: Might sell house to a friend. What is fair?

I would get an appraisal. I like one of the previous replies which stated that both parties should get their own appraisal or at least both agree on one appraiser to do it. Appraisers should abide by USPAP and be completely unbiased in their valuation. Find an appraiser who specializes in residentia...
by Balance
Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:00 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: [What UN-frugal thing do you do? What do you splurge on?]
Replies: 590
Views: 52652

Re: What do you splurge on?

Food and Coffee
by Balance
Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:29 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Would you move/stay for better school district?
Replies: 55
Views: 9852

Re: Would you move/stay for better school district?

Cupertino? DW and I have a small child and are in one of the "best" public school districts n the country. Unfortunately it is a very expensive area to live and to move to a better cost of living (housing) area, we would be moving to a public school system that is not rated as highly by m...
by Balance
Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Best Coffee Maker? What do you have?
Replies: 75
Views: 10655

Re: Best Coffee Maker? What do you have?

French press for hot coffee

Toddy cold brew during the summer for ice coffee
by Balance
Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:43 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: 2 days in San Francisco
Replies: 25
Views: 2832

Re: 2 days in San Francisco

For Pho we have tried countless places in the city. We really like this place called Ben Tre. It is in South San Francisco close to SFO and not in the city. But it's very good and you won't need to pay for parking like you will downtown. For dim sum you can't beat Koi Palace. It is in Daly City just...
by Balance
Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:12 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Any [iPhone] "Apps" you like?
Replies: 69
Views: 10905

Re: Any "Apps" you like?

I use:
Mint
Vanguard
Pandora and iHeart radio for music
Yelp
Yahoo Sports
Netflix
by Balance
Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:49 am
Forum: Investing - Theory, News & General
Topic: [Poll] What was your 2013 return?
Replies: 209
Views: 15993

Re: What was your 2013 return?

22% with an 80/20 split
by Balance
Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:23 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How many square feet is your home?
Replies: 162
Views: 16178

Re: How many square feet is your home?

We have a 1,560 SF 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home. It is me, my wife and a newborn baby. We added a 500 sf addition about 5 years ago. Even if we had another kid I think we have way too much room. We don't even use the living room or the dining room. We like small spaces and we are pretty minimal so we d...
by Balance
Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:48 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A house appraisal
Replies: 13
Views: 2019

Re: A house appraisal

I'm thinking of selling my house next year. Word has it that I cannot get a realtor's estimate of my house's value unless I am ready to list it (which I am not). Aside from Zillow, Trulia, etc. are there ways to get a house's reasonably accurate value estimate? Thanks. Not to throw cold water on th...
by Balance
Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:35 pm
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: A house appraisal
Replies: 13
Views: 2019

Re: A house appraisal

I work as a real estate appraiser and you can definitely get an appraisal done even if you are not putting it on the market for sale or doing a refinance. You can look up an appraiser who is certified and in good standing in your market area and then ask him or her to do an appraisal for an estimate...
by Balance
Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:45 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How to remove 'Snap.do' computer virus?
Replies: 7
Views: 1127

Re: How to remove 'Snap.do' computer virus?

If you have another computer with internet access that is not infected I would search for a way to remove the specific virus. Then you can download a free virus removal software like AVG or Malwarebytes and load it onto a USB. Start the infected computer in Safe Mode without networking and install y...
by Balance
Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:20 pm
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: IPhone 4s vs. 5 vs 5c
Replies: 53
Views: 6714

Re: IPhone 4s vs. 5 vs 5c

I've learned a lot about smart phones via this thread. Thanks to all. After much thought, I've decided to get the iPhone 5s. Too bad they're not available in my 30 mile radius. :oops: My wife and I just upgraded our iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5c tonight. We were looking for one 5c and one 5s but just l...
by Balance
Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:03 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Weight Loss Plans?
Replies: 178
Views: 19970

Re: Weight Loss Plans?

I read the Taubes book "Why we get Fat" and "Good Calories bad Calories" which are both very good and will help with weight loss. I would also like the add "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan. His mantra is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants". I am all ...
by Balance
Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:22 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: How Much Did You Spend on Your Engagement Ring??
Replies: 289
Views: 38481

Re: How Much Did You Spend on Your Engagement Ring??

We were just married a couple weeks ago in Hawaii but we have been engaged for a few years. My wife is pretty frugal but very sentimental. When her mom passed away she was given her old wedding ring. My wife used the diamond from her mom's ring and we ended up buying a new band since she wanted whit...
by Balance
Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:57 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Sole proprietor--Logistics of contributing to SEP IRA?
Replies: 11
Views: 1720

Re: Sole proprietor--Logistics of contributing to SEP IRA?

I felt the same way and I tried to figure out a way to contribute on a monthly basis instead of once a year. Since my monthly income fluctuates drastically which also has a huge impact on expenses it is different for me. It sounds like you are in a better situation where you could estimate a monthly...
by Balance
Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:18 pm
Forum: Personal Investments
Topic: Sole proprietor--Logistics of contributing to SEP IRA?
Replies: 11
Views: 1720

Re: Sole proprietor--Logistics of contributing to SEP IRA?

My yearly income fluctuates as with my overhead. I normally wait until the end of the year and give my CPA all the relevant information about what I made and what can be deducted. She then gives me the maximum number allowable to contribute to my SEP IRA. I found it to be very tedious to try to figu...
by Balance
Fri May 31, 2013 10:31 am
Forum: Personal Finance (Not Investing)
Topic: "As is" clause in real estate
Replies: 41
Views: 2913

Re: "As is" clause in real estate

Dear House Buyers: Some of you clearly do not understand why a seller might choose to list a house "as is" and not want to agree to fix issues found during an inspection. Happily, we have a real, current example to share! We built our house 12 years ago and have lived in it continuously u...
by Balance
Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:17 am
Forum: Personal Consumer Issues
Topic: Had a flat car tire, changed it, what now?
Replies: 49
Views: 5883

Re: Had a flat car tire, changed it, what now?

I go to America's Tire Company here in the Bay Area, CA. They have other locations throughout the country as well. They fix any flat for free if possible or tell you if it is not possible to repair it. They will also recommend a new tire for you if your tire is beyond repair. They will price match a...