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Put Your (Square) Feet to Work: How to Turn Your Space Into a Short-Term Rental

Posted on June 06, 2019 by Jennifer Chan

De-cluttering your home and giving it a fresh coat of paint will make your short-term rental more inviting. Photo: Stroke and Kote Painting ©2019

Ever since the introduction of Airbnb a decade ago, homeowners don’t have to be serial landlords or own second homes to earn rental income. If you have an in-law apartment or a spare bedroom, you can put those extra square feet to work. Preparing your home to rent will require effort on your part, but the extra income may well be worth it. If you’re considering turning your home or another property into a short-term rental, here are a few steps you can take to jumpstart the process:

Know the Rules

Around the Bay Area, cities such as San Francisco and Berkeley have passed regulations on short-term rentals, bringing them more in line with hotel taxation plans. Read more

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Posted in: Painting, House Cleaning, Home Security, Home Maintenance, Uncategorized, Home Tips
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A Perfect 10!

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I bet a lot of you have stayed in Airbnbs in the past, so you know how the quality of the accommodations can vary widely. Even when you carefully read the reviews and compare properties, you can still end up renting a real stinker. One time our apartment was in the attic of an old Virginian mansion that smelled like mothballs. Another place looked inviting in the pictures but really needed a deep cleaning. And the worst one was located right next to a fire station! We didn’t sleep too well in Savannah, Georgia.

Mostly though, I’ve had great experiences with Airbnb properties, and my recent stay in San Antonio, Texas was the best one ever. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Spring Garden Maintenance in 5 Steps

Posted on April 02, 2019 by James Florence

Everyone knows about spring cleaning, but some forget this annual ritual pertains to the yard as well as the home. After sitting dormant all winter, your lawn and plant beds need some freshening up to help them thrive throughout the spring and summer. Here are five maintenance steps to set your garden up for success: Read more

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Posted in: Seasonal, Landscaping Tips
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Lesser-Known Freebies From Your Public Library

Posted on March 26, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I was at my public library picking up a book for my book club when I noticed that the woman ahead of me was checking out a pass to the Exploratorium for her family. I asked the librarian for more information and found out that San Francisco libraries and others in the Bay Area have a “Discover & Go” pass, which offers free and discounted tickets to attractions such as the California Academy of Sciences, the Legion of Honor, the Oakland Zoo, the Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Pacific Pinball Museum. You log in with your library card and the listings include details about the conditions and how to make online reservations. The passes can be printed at home. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Please Give Us More Icing on the Cake!

Posted on February 26, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

It often surprises me how little it takes to brighten someone’s day. I wish more businesses understood that sometimes even a tiny thing can perk you up or just make you smile.

For example, I was window-shopping at an outdoor mall when I came across free organic lemons outside of a storefront. The owner had more bowls of fruit at the sales counter. This small gesture wasn’t just a conversation starter—I was lured inside to see the merchandise and left with a positive feeling about the place. I didn’t buy anything that day, but I will return. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Robocalling: It’s Truly an Epidemic

Posted on January 30, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

Robocalls are out of control at my house. First, the landline rings. I don’t answer because I have Caller ID and don’t recognize the number. Then my cellphone rings with a similar number, and within a few minutes, my cable telephone line also rings. Did I mention my husband often gets a call on his cellphone around the same time? Calls to my landline sometimes start before 7am and continue as late as 10pm. We’ve had as many as 15 calls in a day. I’m not surprised by one estimate that says about one-third of all phone calls are now robocalls and scams.

I’ve done everything that’s recommended. I use the call-blocking feature on my iPhone after getting a spam call. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Personal Stories
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Expressing Gratitude All Year Long

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

During the month of November and the Thanksgiving season, most of us are more focused than usual on the gift of gratitude. But given the positive impact of gratitude on others, perhaps we should think about ways to express our gratitude throughout the year.

I started reflecting on that the other day after listening to my voicemail. A local framing store manager called to let me know that my two paintings were ready to be picked up. Then, he added something extra—he said he sincerely appreciated my continued business, which meant a lot to him. Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Seasonal, Consumers, Customer Service, Savvy Tips
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