Below you will find Jeff’s newsletter which was originally posted on Saturday, 3//28/20. Jeff writes about 10 quality activities you can do with your kids to break up the monotony. He also reflects on a surreal week. Enjoy!
Volume 19: Issue 69 3/28/20
Your Weekly Dose of Real Estate News, Listings and More — by Jeff “City” Block
Ezra Block leaves a special chalk message for our UPS delivery person (with significant help from Mom). He said it made his day!
Wow. What a Surreal Week.
–a brief discussion of real estate, family life, and the future.
1. I am by nature not a work from home person. When I was a lawyer in the 1990s, I worked many long hours at the office, and I continued that work-style throughout my real estate career. Of course, I always talk on the phone and check emails from home (even when I shouldn’t be, #familytime), but the long workdays are typically from the office or in the field. Now I am only at home, of course.
A few thoughts on working from home (“WFH”)—thank you so much to my wife Kristen who hooked me up with an awesome desk in front of a lovely window overlooking beautiful Westview Street, one of the most desirable tree-lined streets in Philadelphia. (See what I did there? I am pining to list homes and write real estate descriptions so there you go). I am grateful that my family is safe at home, we are comfortable, and that I get to see Ezra, Ari, and Kristen all day, every day. And of course, Gordon our Labradoodle, who specifically requested that this stay-at-home order stays in effect forever.
OK. That being said, I can’t wait for things to get safe, jobs and business to return, people to get back to work, AND ME TO GET BACK TO THE OFFICE AND TO SHOWING AND SELLING HOMES! The key for us all, of course, is that things must get safe first. No rushing this.
2. Now let’s talk about real estate. Two things: what is happening right now and what can we expect whenever Philly can safely open back up and we can get out and about?
The short answer, not surprisingly, is that everything remains in flux regarding the present and the future. As of right now, Realtors are not permitted to show properties in Philly. That is clear-cut. No Realtor can take a buyer to see a home (without violating governmental mandates and REALTOR® ethics rules, that is). Are there some ways that a single person can enter a totally vacant property? Maybe, as that is not as clear cut. What we can definitely do at this time is examine the photos (or video tour) of a property and discuss that property, neighborhood, and pricing in detail. If anyone has particular questions or needs, please contact me and we can discuss.
Also, significantly, many title companies and mortgage companies have developed totally virtual workflows so that the mortgage process and closings can still take place, often without delay. And always with no physical contact and complete social distancing in place. At the same time, some things like building inspections and showings, contractor work to get a property ready, and even property photography and videography necessitate a person entering a property. What if they are alone and the home has been vacant for a significant period of time? As I said, things are in flux. I am always collaborating with some of the best minds in the business, and we are trying to institute state-of-the-art solutions to keep our community 100% safe, while also serving the needs of our clients. If you want to discuss any specifics or would like information on mortgage and title who can handle the entire process virtually, please reach out.
So, how will Philly residential real estate come out of this? No one knows, of course, and as this pandemic continues to develop, I will be writing about this extensively in the weeks and months (yikes!?!?!) ahead. While there are no answers yet, a straightforward paradigm is to look at the best and worst-case scenarios, while realizing that the answer will more likely fall somewhere in between.
The best-case scenario is that this ends on the quicker side and real estate buyers—chomping at the bit with a combination of deferred real estate needs and some serious cabin fever—are ready to look and buy in-force. At the same time, the entire spring market has been delayed, and all the sellers have been waiting. There is a relatively larger inventory of awesome homes on the market for buyers to see. Enhanced supply and demand. Perfect.
On the other end of the spectrum, with the safety of other human beings always being paramount, the pandemic does not abate for a longer period of time and the stay-at-home order remains in place; the economy worsens and we enter a severe and prolonged recession or depression. Ok. Enough of that thought! I am optimistic that with proper social distancing and responsible community behavior that we will be closer to the former scenario than the latter. I am an optimistic person, and I will do what I can to serve my clients and community.
One thing for sure, everyone with kids now knows that “homeschooling” is insane, frustrating, hard work—if even doable at all. Even experienced teachers I have spoken to are like, “with my kids at home, it is totally different.”
And while I am thankful for distance/virtual learning, I mean who has more Zoom meetings, me or my kids? It can be just crazy. I also understand that every school district or independent school has a different program, and we are all learning as we go along. Parents, teachers, schools, and kids!
Below are 10 ideas that the Blocks are finding really helpful with our kids at home. These were all vetted by Kristen Block and we found some really great stuff here. Our favorite among the many good options, No. 2, “Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems.” Please let me know what you think.
And of course, we all know the real No. 1 tip. The mother of all kids-at-home all day sanity panaceas. So simple, that it is what we all did when at home in the 1970s and ’80s. Except we only had like 7 channels, no remote, no pause, and it was the opposite of On Demand. Need I say more?
Final thoughts. I have not yet had a chance to review and understand the $2 trillion stimulus package that passed Congress on Friday, but a short and informative piece on it from phillymag.com can be found here. Also, you may want to check out a very informative philly.mag piece by Sandy Smith here.
And as always, please reach out with any questions about real estate, the current crisis, buying or selling a home (nor or after), or anything else.
Warm regards and stay safe,
Ari & Ezra Block put finishing touches on thank you note to our mailwoman.
10 Quality Things to do with your Kids to Break the Monotony
With schools being closed and children now being homeschooled, it can be difficult to manage your daily routine (along with work) and still find time to ensure your kids are learning and staying active.
Ranging from science and language to music and math, here are 10 programs and classes that will make learning fun for your children.
1. Scholastic Learn at Home
Scholastic has started a Learn at Home series, which will keep children learning even though schools are closed. Each day, Scholastic will add four different learning experience videos to their website for different grade levels. Click here for the Scholastic Learn at Home Projects.
2. Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
Children’s author Mo Willems has been releasing “Lunch Doodle” videos on The Kennedy Center’s website, which encourages children of all ages to draw and write with him. Be sure to have crayons, paper, pens or pencils ready and join Mo Willems each weekday at 1 p.m. Click here for the link to Mo’s videos.
3. Cape May County Virtual Zoo School
The Cape May County Zoo will hold their own Virtual Zoo School on weekdays at 11:30 a.m. via their Facebook page. The videos will feature different animals each day along with a challenge to do at home. They encourage attendees to share photos or videos on social media showing how they completed their challenge along with #cmczooschool. Click here to watch Virtual Zoo School via Cape May County Zoo’s Facebook profile.
4. Live Children’s Book Reading by Josh Gad (Olaf)
Josh Gad, the voice of Olaf from the Frozen franchise, has been reading children’s books via his Twitter account. Since Frozen 2 was just released, this is the perfect way to wind down the day and get your kids ready for bed. Click here for Josh Gad’s Twitter profile.
5. Prodigies Music Online Classes
Prodigies Music offers online classes and activities for children to teach them musical skills through video lessons, worksheets, and sheet music. Children will learn how to sing in tune, understand music notes and how to play an instrument. Click here to sign up.
6. NGAkids Art Zone
The National Gallery of Art presents NGAkids Art Zone, an interactive and informative way to introduce art and art history to children. It features activities like creating animated portraits, decorating 17th-century dollhouses and making three-dimensional geometric shapes, which will entertain your children while they learn about art and art history. Click here to access NGAkids Art Zone.
7. Online Language Classes
Conjuguemos teaches students how to learn a new language through different types of interactive activities, quizzes and games. They offer these courses in Spanish, French, German and Italian, just to name a few. Click here to sign up and get started.
8. Daily At-Home Science Experiments
Club SciKidz has been posting daily science or cooking experiments that are safe for children to try at home. These experiments are interactive and will help viewers learn more about elements, matter, sound and more. Click here to access these at-home science experiments.
9. Bamboo Learning through Amazon’s Alexa
Bamboo Learning has integrated voice-based learning through Amazon’s Alexa, making it easy for kids to learn since almost everyone has this tool in their homes. They have a variety of different tools that will educate children on subjects ranging from math and reading to music and history. Click here to enable these tools to your Alexa.
10. Kid-Friendly Workouts
Sworkit, an at-home fitness program, and this app is now offering kid-friendly workouts to help your kids stay active while at home. Ranging from warm-ups and strength to agility and flexibility, these videos are sure to keep your child engaged and occupied. Click here to get started.
If you are interested in either one of these Coming Soon properties, please contact me to discuss. Thank you.
Lovely Semi-Detached, 2,400 SF Townhome in the red-hot Cedar Park neighborhood. Charm and character abound. Awesome front porch and backyard. Spacious and beautiful detail throughout.
Spotlight Property of the Week
NEW LISTING! 4025 Powelton Avenue
Quadplex Shell in West Powelton $550,000
Shell with RM1 zoning. Zoned for 4+ units by right. Large lot. Awesome block in one of Philly’s hottest neighborhoods. Newer roof and front facade. A great opportunity to completely renovate and create your own income-generating property. Superbly convenient location with a WalkScore of 94 Walk, TransitScore of 91, and a 98 BikeScore.
As always, please know that I’m humbled by and appreciative of your introductions and referrals. If you have a friend, colleague, or family member that is in need of Expert Real Estate Representation, please have them contact me.
Be assured, I will do my best to exceed their expectations! Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of Around the Block.
Compass RE is a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to the accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage.
Some imagery in this e-newsletter was sourced via Visit Philadelphia®. Pixabay, Canva.com, and pexels.com