Day 30: Go Tiny or Go Home

We sure do like big things in this country, don’t we?

Big cars.

Big houses.

Big macs…

But, hidden among the bigness that spans our nation as far as the eye can see, there is a growing movement toward tinyTiny houses to be exact. They are multiplying like rabbits all across the nation. What could be the motivation behind this movement that seems to be so counter-intuitive in the land of Super Size Me?

This infographic, taken from, does a great job of explaining it.


From financial freedom to an escape from materialism, there are many draws to the tiny house lifestyle. Guess which city just happens to be the first in the nation to approve tiny homes on wheels as permanent residences?

Go on…take a guess. That’s right, FRESNO!

Well, folks, it looks like this movement is legit. And right here in our fair city is the leading west coast manufacturer of tiny homes, California Tiny House. Owned and operated by a father-son duo, Pat and Nick Mosely, California Tiny House custom builds your tiny dream house on wheels. You can park it in your own backyard and rent out your main house. You can buy some land on the outskirts and live in nature. You can travel across the country, staying in RV parks along your route. The road is your oyster in one of these babies. Like a turtle…wherever you go, your house goes with you.

I had the good fortune to tour the California Tiny House facility just this morning, and what a treat it was to actually walk around in tiny houses just like the ones you see on television shows such as FYI’s Tiny House Nation and HGTV’s Tiny House Builders. It was so cool! Pat and Nick gave a fact-filled presentation about all the awesome features of the tiny houses they build. They can pretty much do anything, as long as the design adheres to ANSI RV standards for safety. So, basically, you can contact these guys, tell them your dream tiny house features and they build it! Each build is entirely unique and customized to the customer’s wishes.

Photo Source: California Tiny House Build Photos


Hey! I know that guy



Photo Source:  Taken on-site by me at California Tiny House

Though tiny houses can vary in size, these mobile houses come in three size options:

8’6″ X 18′ (10,000lb trailer)  Starting price – $19.5 K  

8’6″ X 20’ (10,000lb trailer)  Starting price – $ 21.5 K 

¹8’6” X 24’ (12-14,000lb trailer with dropped axles)  Starting price – $ 28 K ¹

Pat and Nick said their most expensive build to date was just over $100k, but most average tiny houses cost $65k-$75k. There really is no upper limt to how incredible these houses can be. The price goes up from base on cost of materials and complexity of the build. The houses I saw today were two bedroom, one bathroom, with kitchenette and laundry. Every square inch is turned into usable space. Even the kitchen sink doubles as extra counter surface with the removable cutting board made to fit right over the basin! Isn’t it amazing to consider how much you can actually squeeze into ~300 sf when you put your mind to it? There are so many cool features to these houses that I could easily write another 1000 words on the topic. I will suggest, instead, visiting the California Tiny House website, Facebook, or Instagram to learn more.  I bet you could even get Nick or Pat on the phone to personally answer your questions as well!

I’d would love feedback. Talk to me about tiny houses. Could you live in one?






Day 29: A Tale of Two Condos

Every once in a while a great investment opportunity surfaces, and if you are looking at just the right time (or have a Realtor looking on your behalf), you might be able to grab one.  A couple of days ago, I received a lead about someone wanting to see a condo in South East Fresno.  I cringed a bit when I looked up the location, only because that part of town has a reputation for being a little rougher than most.  The condo complex is fairly close to Fresno Pacific University, though, so I figured it might be a nice mix of owners, long-term renters, and students in temporary housing while attending college.

Upon researching the listing, I discovered that there were actually a handful of units for sale in the complex. In anticipation of my client wanting to see a variety of investment options, I pulled detail sheets on all of them.  It never hurts to be over prepared! Since safety always comes first, I informed my husband and a couple of people in the office where I would be and headed out to meet my client.


I really did not have high expectations for this condo, given its price point. Much to my surprise, the nicely landscaped grounds and well-maintained common areas were a welcome sight. There were two large swimming pools with spa, tennis courts, and a large green park for children to play. The location of the condo was tucked away from the center on a private corner lot with the backyard along Lane Ave. The inside also did not disappoint. It had been recently renovated with new carpet, paint, appliances, and custom tile in the bathroom. It also featured a recently built rustic raw wood mantle framing the fireplace. As an added bonus, there was an indoor laundry room, which is a huge improvement over standard apartment units with centralized laundry.

Custom tile and mantle
New kitchen appliances
“Lovely 2 BD. 1 BA. Ranchwood Condominium. Good investment whether to live in or to hold. This ground level home has been updated with fresh paint and newer appliances.Complex is gated at night and has many amenities to include 2 pools, club house, tennis, volleyball court, green area, covered parking and a lot of mature trees. 24 hour security. Central air & heat & washer and dryer. Walking distance to shopping, Fresno Pacific University, and public transportation. Why rent when you can own?”

Luckily for my client, the offer that had been made on the unit earlier in the day ended up falling through making it available to her, should she choose to make this her next investment property. I wish the tale ended there because she liked the condo a whole lot. So much so, that I got the impression we might submit an offer that night. Alas, the saga continued on to another unit in the complex. This is perfectly fine, of course, because it would be awful for a buyer to feel like she left something on the table. The other unit she wanted to see was occupied by a tenant and the listing indicated that a 24-hour notice was required before showing it. I figured it was worth a shot to see if we could see it that night since we were already there and all. Luckily again, we were able to get in!


The floor plans of each were very comparable.  Both have a living room, kitchen, laundry room, and two bedrooms.  The main difference between the two is the second bathroom in #2 and wood laminate flooring, which gave it a very modern and sleek look. Condo 2 was near the pool and very much central within the complex, making it less private. Overall, I was quite impressed by the complex and both units.  I think either would make a good choice for income producing rental property. No decisions were made after the showings, but I have high hopes of putting one of these condos into escrow soon!





Day 27: A Stark Comparison


A May 2016 survey¹ revealed that nearly 3/4 of Americans are in favor of land use regulations that increase access to public transportation and other non-vehicle transit options. The overwhelming majority of people in favor of these changes are younger than age 50. Given current efforts in and around Fresno to make such changes with high speed rail and bus rapid transit, it seems that Gen Xers and Millennials around here may soon be pleased.

One transportation option that often gets overlooked is bike commuting. Fresno claims to be a bicycle-friendly city, and it has certainly increased the presence of bike lanes on many city streets, but not nearly enough for bike commuting to be easy around here. Insufficient bike lanes makes bike commuting dangerous if you don’t take proper safety measures. This is particularly true in regions that don’t actively promote such activity because drivers are not accustomed to sharing the road with non-vehicles. I would love to see a major overhaul in Fresno and Clovis that would allow for an increase in the presence of bike and pedestrian trails and lanes to give residents another viable option for their daily commute. The owners of Sunnyside Bicycles in Fresno are also committed to increasing bike riding as sport, exercise, leisure, and commuting. They are so dedicated to the cause that they are hosting a clinic called Bike Commuting 101: Go By Bike later this month.

What are your thoughts on public transportation and non-vehicle commuting? I’d love to hear from you!

The house I toured today is on the same block and is the same model as one from a few days ago in Quail Lake. At first I was hesitant to profile a house so similar to one I already wrote about. However, my mind was changed when I walked in and realized just how different these two houses are, despite being exactly the same model. It’s incredible how much different design choices can change the aesthetics of a house. Take a look for yourself!

Fcompare1 Collagefcompare2Collage

“Minutes Away, World’s Apart! Quail Lake beauty!Located close to a private community park with Play Equipment,and just around the corner from the resort-like Clubhouse and swimming pool (with expansive Lake view).This well designed Single Story Centex features a formal entry with art niches.Tall windows and a volume ceiling add a light and airy feeling to the generous great Room .A gas only fireplace creates warmth on those cool winter days.The spacious kitchen with a center island is adjacent to the formal dining room.The master bedroom and bath are on one side, and three bedrooms and main bath on the other. the large laundry room is located next to the three car garage.Come and see all that the awesome Quail Lake community offers !”

The photographs on the left of each grid are from the first Fieldstone house, the ones on the right are from the second. They both have the exact same square footage, lot size, and number of rooms, but they look so very different just by adding a variety of finishing touches. Which one do you prefer?




Day 26: Where do I start?

I spent time today with a young family trying to purchase their first home. We visited a beautiful home in Sunnyside that would be the perfect starter home for them. It is 100% to be expected that first-time homebuyers have lots of questions about navigating such an enormous purchase. These folks, however, truly did not seem prepared for what to expect. Naturally, that is where a real estate professional steps in to fill in the gaps left by some lenders who may not fully educate their clients, which I did. After much debate, this couple and their eight-week-old baby left to consider whether or not to make an offer on the house. I left as well, but with consideration of a much larger issue on my mind.

It is such a shame that any potential buyer should leave their lender’s office without a crystal clear picture of what they can do and what comes next. There are myriad moving parts in the game of real estate and just as many critical players. The lender, agent, escrow officer, buyer, and seller, to name a few, all have important roles to play to complete the deal. When one of the players does not fulfill his or her respective obligation, everything comes to a screeching halt. The deal I highlighted above stalled out at the lender phase. My buyers thought they understood what they could do, but ended up realizing that some questions had not been answered during the loan pre-approval process.

In an effort to reduce problems of this nature, many agents like to refer clients to a local lender with whom they have a solid professional relationship. I would like to introduce one such lender, Susan Campise of California Home Loans-Fresno. Susan is a seasoned mortgage consultant who consistently goes above and beyond to help Central Valley home buyers reach their real estate goals. If you are about to embark on a house search or if you simply want a local lender who will be responsive to your needs, Susan will go the distance to educate you every step of the way. There are lots of choices in lenders out there, but a referral from your trusted Realtor can ensure you are on the right track from pre-approval through getting the keys to your new home. Tell her I sent you!

Loan Checklist

Loan Document checklist

So, on to the house!

mono Collage

“Clovis Schools!!! Perfect for first time home buyers recently remodeled and priced to sell, this house won’t last. Newer granite countertops and newer floor coverings throughout. This home is centered near shops and easily accessible to freeway. Spacious backyard with crystal clear pool ready for entertaining.”

This little gem is tucked away on a quiet street north-east of Kings Canyon Ave. and Fowler Ave. From the outside, it appears to be your average 1990’s tract home, but upon entering, I discovered that it has been completely remodeled and modernized. The kitchen has beautiful granite countertops and upgraded cabinetry. There currently isn’t a dishwasher or range/oven, but brand new ones will be installed prior to the close of escrow. The wood laminate flooring is a lovely knotty maple pattern that coordinates well with the freshly painted walls throughout and plush carpet in the bedrooms. The bathrooms were not forgotten during the upgrades with granite and cabinetry matching the kitchen. Despite being 25 years old, this house has a completely modern feel. The spacious backyard has a pergola patio cover and very clean in-ground swimming pool. There is still lots of yard remaining around the pool as well. Perfect for a family to play and lounge.

mono Collage2

I really hope my sweet little family from today decides to make an offer on this one.  It’s a great location and perfect size for a growing family.  With all of the updating, modern features, and an established backyard, it rivals new home construction in the area at a fraction of the price. I don’t expect this one to be available much longer at all.




Day 25: Wait, there’s more?

So , here’s a story.  Today just happens to be my husband’s and my 10th wedding anniversary.  We decided to spend the day with our kids and go on a light hike in Kings Canyon National Park.  We camp pretty regularly, and that is our park of choice so we are very at home there.  Since its a holiday weekend and also the anniversary of the park, we knew it would be uber crowded, so we planned to hike an area off the main tourist strip.  If you aren’t familiar with the awesomeness of KCNP, first of all…you are majorly missing out on one of the most beautiful areas of the country.  Secondly, you may not realize that the park’s history is filled with massive tree slaughter prior to its classification as a national park.  As a result, there are entire meadows of enormous tree stumps from the ghosts of Sequoias past. Our hike was going to be about 2 miles out and back from a trail head at Stump Meadow to the Boole Tree.  map

Probably 3/4 of a mile in, my eldest son suddenly started screaming. He was stung by what we thought was a bee. This was his first sting, so my mind started racing with thoughts of allergic reactions and anaphylaxis and OH MY GOODNESS WE ARE MILES FROM HELP! Ok, Erica, calm down. Odds are good that he would be fine. We looked around and realized there was a hive full of buzzing, busy bees at the edge of the trail. With the thought in mind that we may need to have photographic evidence of what exactly he was stung by, I leaned in to snap a photo of them. That’s when they attacked. I got stung once…twice…they followed me as we hightailed it out of there…THREE TIMES! More than half a mile away, there was still one following us. My hand, calf, and thigh were on fire with stinging pain. Luckily husband and youngest son did not get stung. When we finally made it home (no anaphylaxis for either of us!), we compared the photograph I took with pictures of insects in a field guide.

yellowjackets Collage

Not bees. Yellowjackets. Which just happen to be in the top ten of insects with the most painful stings. I’m telling you, it’s no joke how bad it hurts. I do not recommend crossing paths with these suckers, ever. The boy is pretty traumatized and I am still in pain, but we will survive this.  Happy anniversary to us.

Luckily, I saw two houses yesterday with one of my clients and her family. This house is in an incredible location near Clovis West High School. Tucked in a cul-de-sac, it has an enormous lot with a pool and basketball court, and has one of the most unique floor plans I’ve seen yet. My client has an affinity for red front doors. This house did not disappoint with its charming, red, double door front entry that opens into a house filled with character.

Prescott Collage 2
Prescott Ave.

“A MUST SEE! STUNNING 5 bedroom, 4 bath custom home in Northeast Fresno! This beautiful and spacious two story home offers it all. This unique and one of a kind property features 2 kitchens, a formal living room, family room, 2 fireplaces, 2 car garage and so much more. The first kitchen features granite counter tops with stainless steel appliances. The floors consist of custom tile and hardwood floors. LED recessed lighting throughout. The spacious master bedroom has a large walk-in closet, with a separate tub and shower. Enjoy your evenings in a relaxing back yard that is resort-like with mature landscape, fruit trees and a pool. Located within the highly acclaimed Clovis Unified School District. This home is a must see to appreciate! Awaiting for its new owners to call it home. See it today!”

Prescott Collage

The second level is rather standard with two smaller bedrooms and a master suite, but the ground floor has a truly unique footprint. It seems, upon entering the home, to be similar to other houses circa 1970-1980, but as you walk down the hallway from the main living area, things get interesting. It just keeps going! There is essentially a guest house attached to the main house, complete with a full kitchen, two bedrooms, a living room with fireplace, and an office. My clients fell in love with the idea of turning this space into a game and entertainment room.

Prescott Collage3

This is no cookie cutter house. It is perfect for a large family or a multigenerational household. You really have to see it in person to fully experience the layout. While additional updating would definitely be needed, this house has some features you most likely won’t find in newer homes.



Day 24: Oh, What a Yard

Fresno makes national news every once in a while. It’s true! No really…

Fine, I’ll prove it.

America’s 20 Hottest Markets for Real Estate in August 2016 ¹


Hottest Markets

Well, how do you like them apples? Fresno is the 15th hottest real estate market IN THE NATION! And, it’s really true.  Moderately priced homes are flying off the market right now.  What does that mean for you?  Well, if you are considering upgrading or upsizing, now may be the perfect time to get started.  Selling your current home will be a snap in the current market and with gorgeous houses out there like the one you’ll see below, it’s inevitable you will find your perfect space with ease.

The clients I met with today are considering just such a move.  Their family has simply outgrown the cozy house they purchased before the little ones entered their lives and now it’s time for more space to nurture their spirits and spread their wings.  I took them to an adorable house near Woodward Park that has exactly that. Don’t you just love those red, double front doors? And the yard…the YARD! Love at first sight.

10th Collage

“The gorgeous 2 story house is on sale now! Move in Ready! With 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, and 10400 plus big estimated lots located in North Fresno at a walking distance to Clovis West! Wood floor throughout in all bedrooms, and an upgraded fireplace in living room. New ceiling fans and fixtures. Kitchen features an electric cooktop, built-in oven and microwave, dishwasher, double sink, walk-in pantry, dining area and lots of counter space. The laundry room comes with utility sink, tile counter and storage cabinets. Exterior brand new stucco painting! The patio in the yard allows a place to sit relax and enjoy! Practice your short game on the putting green, or green thumb it in the raised garden in the spacious side yard. Enjoy the pool with your family during Summer. With Clovis schools nearby and the community of Woodpark make this house an unbelievable find!”

I’d love to hear your feedback on this house.  Does it look like it could be your next home?