The Value of Home Inspections


Presale Disclosures and YOU.

Presale disclosures are common in Eastbay sales transactions and are important to both Buyers and Sellers.  Here’s why

Our East Bay custom is to counsel Sellers to disclose as much as possible to prospective Buyers. It’s not uncommon for local Sellers to invest in a range of inspection reports including termite, general home and others as seem appropriate to the site and structure. These also help them set a realistic price point for their home.

Since overbidding is common hereabouts, Selling agents find it serves their clients’ interests to provide such information to potential buyers. After all, the more buyers know about a property the more intelligently they can frame their offer. Also, extensive reports mean fewer arguing points are likely to surface during price negotiations with Buyers. 

I’ve recently had some clients who have learned to appreciate home inspections and how they affect the price of a home.  I’d love to help you, too.  Whether you’re moving in or out of this amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help. 

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 
It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; which saves you wasted time and the disappointment when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold. This is a common occurance when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

They Call it Gourmet Ghetto, But it’s Not Just About the Food


Good Times in 94709 

The Berkeley Coldwell Banker office is located in one of my favorite zip codes, 94709. In fact, this office location is one of the reasons I became a Coldwell Banker Associate Broker. It’s about the FOOD.  Alice Waters inspired Gourmet Ghetto by creating her famous restaurant Chez Panisse as a reflection of of French Country life. 

All the other shops and restaurants in the ghetto have a reputation for choosing their quality goods as carefully as Alice does her produce. It’s a shopper’s paradise and close to some of the nicest homes in one of the most quintessential areas to live in Berkeley. 

I mention it today because this Saturday is the 18th annual Chocolate & Chalk Art Festival on Saturday, May 31, 2014. Anyone who has a hunk of chalk (or for $10 you can buy some) can make art on the sidewalks along North Shattuck Avenue and Vine Street.

There’s also music for your enjoyment including The Dylan Platt Band, Lee Waterman Trio, Kathryn Rayne, The Queue, The Elderberries Irish Band, Cathy Morris the Violin Lady, Sean Lee’s One Man Band, Adrian West Trio etc, etc.  For the kids there will be pony rides, inflatable bounce houses, jugglers, face painters and many more surprises.

Come enjoy one of my favorite zip codes at this really fun family event.

Whether you’re moving in or out of  94709, or any other great East Bay Area, I’d be honored to help you. 

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 

It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurance when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

Free Fun in the Bay Area


Have a Memorable Memorial Day

It’s amazing how quiet it is. Passing the local cematary you can see tiny flags as plentiful as flowers on many of the graves.
I like to think that there’s a feeling of reverence on this day that hushes noisy celebrations, but more likely it’s that this Monday is not a work day.
 
The traffic noise near my home in Kensington is almost non-existent, consisting mostly of bikers heading for Tilden Park, dog walkers, and parents with kids looking forward to an day playing at the playgrounds, picnic tables, and open spaces around the community center. 

It’s a day to remember, but it’s also a day to relax and enjoy being alive. I hope you’re enjoying this incredibly beautiful Memorial Day weekend. 

Let’s take a look at what FREE FUN is in store for the rest of the week in the Bay Area:

TUESDAY MAY 27TH
Pub Trivia Nerd Night at Alameda’s Churchward Pub

WEDNESDAY MAY 28TH
Free Lecture: Living with Mountain Lions in San Rafael

THURSDAY MAY 29TH
See great Theater on a budget (“Daylighting”) at Shotgun in Berkeley  

FRIDAY MAY 30TH
Friday Food Truck night at OMAC in Oakland

SATURDAY MAY 31ST

SUNDAY JUNE 1ST

I hope you enjoy your holiday!

For you Home Sellers or Buyers, whether you’re moving in or out of this amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help. 

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 

It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurrence when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

Financial Friday: Multifamily Multiuse


What Empty Nesters and First Time Home Buyers Have in Common


At first glance, you wouldn’t think that a group that want to sell their homes of long standing and a group that’s brand-new on the housing market have anything in common besides wanting to find a place to live. 

The TYPE of home they seek out, however, is where their interests converge. Both seem to be interested in multifamily units, although their reasons might differ.  Retiring baby boomers/empty nesters are looking for less home to maintain. Young people are wanting the flexible lifestyle a multifamily can provide.  Both, however, are attracted to the generally good walkscores multifamilies commonly have.

These two groups have contributed to the whopping 13.2% Housing Starts in in April, the fastest pace in five months, to a 1.072 million unit annual rate. Those who doubt the housing recovery were quick to point out the very mild 0.8% increase in single family starts, ignoring their 9.8% gain over the past year. Multifamily starts are up much more. 

Whether you’re thinking of selling your now-too-big-for-you home or are looking for your first home purchase in the amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help. 

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 

It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurance when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

Quake Clusters, Real Estate, and YOU


It’s YOUR Fault: What’s Shakin’
in Bay Area Real Estate


Home inspections are a fact of life in East Bay real estate, and earthquake inspections factor large in the Berkeley area, but I discovered that they’re not insisted upon over the hills in LaMorinda.  

I’m not sure why. I was raised in Orinda, and we had our share of earthquakes large and small, just as we do in my hometown of Kensington. In fact, we live just a few blocks above a major fault line.

Everyone in the Bay Area worries about “The Big One”, but this morning I discovered some interesting news. The threat of a big distructive earthquake has turned into concern about “quake clusters”
Quoting from the local paper we read that:

“CBS SF) — Earthquake research into scenarios for the next ‘big one’ to hit the Bay Area suggests that the region may by hit by more than one large earthquake within a handful of years instead of a single great earthquake which happens once in a century.

The study to be published in the Bulletin of The Seismological Society of America indicates a cluster of closely-timed major earthquakes in the Bay Area in the 17th and 18th centuries released as much stress accumulated on the region’s major faults as the 1906 San Francisco great earthquake.

The authors of the study say at least two modes of energy release – a great earthquake and a cluster of large quakes closely-spaced together are both possible, and a cluster of large earthquakes is more likely than a single great earthquake.” 

Long story short, no matter where you live in the East Bay, an Earthquake inspection is an important and intelligent part of home ownership.

Whether you’re moving in or out of this amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help. 

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 

It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurance when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

1-A-Day Free Fun in the Bay Area


Super Sunday in the East Bay

Sunday was a pretty amazing day. The views from the Berkeley Hills home I was holding open were sparkling clear, and the home itself is lovely.  There were so many eager buyers I wasn’t lonesome at all or lacking in good conversation.  The place was packed. I felt like I was hosting a party, and all this despite, and possibly because of, the wonderful Himalayan Faire that was also taking place at nearby Live Oak Park in Berkeley. 

Let’s see what free activities the coming week has in store:

TUESDAY MAY 20TH
Yoga at the Grace Cathedral Labyrinth

WEDNESDAY MAY 21ST
Free Circus Class at Circus Center in SF

THURSDAY MAY 22ND
$5 Night at the Asian Art Museum

FRIDAY MAY 23RD
Bites Off Broadway: Food Truck Block Party in Oakland

SATURDAY MAY 24TH
Free comedy showcase in Pappy’s Bar in Berkeley

SUNDAY MAY 25TH
Carnival Grand Parade in SF

Whether you’re moving in or out of this amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help.

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker!

It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurrence when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

Financial Friday: Should You Overprice Your Home?


Maybe, but Instant Karma
Just Might Get You.


Here’s some news from C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors) on this very topic.

“FORTY-PERCENT OF HOME SELLERS PLAN TO PRICE HIGHER THAN MARKET VALUE
Home sellers are kicking off the spring real estate season with what might be considered a risky pricing strategy: 40.3 percent say they plan to price their homes above market value, despite warnings from their agents, according to the latest Real-Time Seller Survey from Redfin. 
More than half (51.3 percent) of home sellers surveyed said they plan to price their home in the middle of the range based on local comparable sales. An analysis by Redfin found that a home listing gets nearly four times more visits on real estate websites during the first week on the market than it does a month later.

In the second quarter, 52.4 percent of sellers were confident that now is a good time to sell their home, compared with 37.5 percent in the first quarter. Nevertheless, home sellers are not free from worry. In the second quarter, 40.9 percent of sellers said they are worried about being able to afford their next home.”

Here are the risks: 
  • Home Buyers go into sticker shock and decide to wait until the market cools off.
  • Buyer’s agents consider your home overpriced and suggest that their buyers make their offers below your asking price.
  • Your home languishes on the market because buyers think there is “something wrong” with it when it doesn’t sell.
  • What goes around does come around. The home you want to buy after you sell your own might be overpriced too.

Whether you’re moving in or out of this amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help. 
For SELLERS, I’ll help you make a shrewd and realistic decision regarding the price for your home, then we’ll talk about how to prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.
For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 
It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurance when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.
If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective
Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

Discovering Berkeley Area Neighborhoods


The Unique, Multi-cultural & Beautiful East Bay 


If you live in the Bay Area, you know why it’s a tourist Mecca. It’s an astoundingly beautiful and incredibly interesting place. It’s not one of those places of which it’s said “It’s a nice place to live, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” 

EVERYONE wants to live here

At least that’s the way it seems. Many of my buyer clients are from out of the area, and I mean way out of the area, like India and China (or Southern California, which is on a whole other planet as far as I’m concerned.) 

Most want to know what it’s like to live in and around Berkeley, so I’ve provided some details about life insome of my favorite East Bay neighborhoods on my website.  In each area, which I’ve defined by zip code, you’ll find photos of high walk score homes currently on the market and short descriptions and/or links to a variety of shops and restaurants located there. 

If you or a friend want to know more about some of my favorite East Bay neighborhoods, take a look at my website or keep reading this blog. As a life long resident of the Bay Area, having lived in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Orinda, now in Kensington, I know the East Bay and would love to share my knowledge with you! 

Whether you’re moving in or out of this amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help. 

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 

It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurance when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

1-A-Day free fun in the Bay Area


Post Mother’s Day Let Down

Yeah, it’s a thing.  Don’t let it happen to you or a mom you love. Mother’s day is only once a year, but their and your need for fun is an ever-present thing. Special occasions often throw a harsh light on the ordinary day, which seem dull and boring in comparison. 

I  believe that we, and our moms, should live rich, full lives everyday, especially in the glorious Bay Area. That’s why I provide you with this verbal perscription of one-a-day fun. 

Tell your friends.

Now let’s see what’s up this week in the Fun, Free Events catagory

TUESDAY MAY 13TH
Stage 3 of the Amgen Tour winds up on Mt Diablo

WEDNESDAY MAY 14TH
Summer walking tour of Victorian-era Oakland

THURSDAY MAY 15TH
Berkeley Broker’s Open Homes: Call or Email me for sneak peek at new homes for sale

FRIDAY MAY 16TH
Bay to Breakers Expo 2014

SATURDAY MAY 17TH

SUNDAY MAY 18TH
Tour a Million Dollar Berkeley Hills Home! I’ll be there to take you through. 2:00 to 4:30.

Whether you’re moving in or out of this amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help. 

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale that will give it the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 

It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurance when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

Financial Friday: New VS Existing Homes–


The Winner? Existing Homes!


In a recent survey by the California Department of Realtors, we learn that 3 out of 5 Americans prefer purchasing existing homes. I believe that most home buyers love the unique features and truly lovely finishes and period touches that older homes tend to have, but I’m sure budget also plays a part. New homes tend to be more costly by a factor of 20%.

This is good news for the Bay Area, since most of the housing inventory here consists of charming bungalows, Berkeley Brown Shingles, Victorians, Queen Annes, and Mid Century Moderns. These homes are highly prized because of their unique design quality. 

Tastefully updating and adding modern features to older homes is a good idea. When home sellers update kitchens and bathrooms, install energy efficient windows and other “green” improvements, they make their homes even more attractive because 59% of buyers want the ease of turn-key properties with modern features

I’d be happy to consult with you on how to make your home ready for the market in the most economical way. Just give me a call at 510-527-0174.

Whether you’re moving in or out of this amazing Bay Area, I’d be honored to help. 

For SELLERS, I’ll help you prepare and market your home for sale so that it will have the widest appeal and best exposure; thus attracting a bevy of buyers and the best chance for multiple offers and competitive bidding. I can help you with your Next Move as well. To learn more, go to go to What’s Next Homes.

For BUYERS I’ll set up an REAlert account that will search the MLS real estate site–using requirements that you provide–for properties that meet your needs.  Once found, pictures and details will be delivered directly to your email courtesy of Coldwell Banker! 

It’s the best way for you to get a look at first-time-on-the-market properties; and this saves you wasted time and disappointment that happens when you find the perfect home but discover it’s already been sold, a common occurance when using the usual home finding sites like Trulio, Zillow, etc.  They are fun to search, but their information is often out of date. Not so with REAlert.

If you’re specifically interested in high walk score homes, click here to find those that are currently on the market in great East Bay neighborhoods. To learn more, go to go to That House Detective

Or, just give me a call at 510-527-0174.