Home Sweet HomeSuite.com

homeaway3

But FIRST, a bit about STAGING:

Even in a hot real estate market, staging is important.  Of course, with all the demand, homes in the Berkeley area and beyond will sell, but if you want overbids and competitive offers, staging makes a difference.

Why? Because many of us don’t have the imagination to see beyond a seller’s personal decorating.  If they can’t find a place for their stuff, they can’t imagine themselves living there.

Staging also presents the dream life that we all want to live, with that clutter-free everything-in-its-place beauty staged homes exemplify. It looks turn-key and trouble free, all problems solved.

So, my advice to my sellers is “Move OUT and let the stagers move the dream in!”

“Where will we go?”, they ask me, if they haven’t found a home to move into yet. I’ve found the answer in a new website. HomeSuite finds short term, furnished rentals and pairs them with renters.  This is site whose time has come, and it just might be the answer to a listing agent’s prayer.

If you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris Neddersen,

Chris_sig

Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

 

Closing In Berkeley: Oscar’s & The Sellers Market?

Oscars.-Photo-Tracey-Taylor-720x484

Those of you who are long time Bear Backers will understand the pain I felt when I found out that Oscars–the funky hamburger place on Shattuck that was a hungry young (and older) person’s port in the storm–is to be closed in a couple of months. Never a gourmet dining experience, yet on the fringes of Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, Oscar’s was a burger and hot dog lover’s dream. For 65 years it served as after or pre game hangout, a cheap place to take a date, and a Berkeley tradition. I’m surprised, with it’s history and 50’s styling, it hasn’t been designated a historical attraction.

It’s being replaced by an outfit called “Sweetgreen”, which is more in alignment with current Berkeley dining: local fresh produce and a strong vegan, vegetarian menu. Still, I’ll miss the Oscars, an oasis in the politically correct dining that is the Gourmet Ghetto standard.

Now you might ask, “is it true that the Seller’s Market is closing as well?”

Well, if you’re looking to sell, my SENSE is that you may already have missed the crest. You’d have had a better chance a week ago at transacting at the peak.  Why? Well, I’ve observed and many of my colleagues are telling me that:

  • There’s more inventory on the market, thus more competition for fewer buyers
  • There are lots of inspection packets going out, but fewer actual offers coming in
  • More properties are lowering their price after spending a longer time on the market without a sale
  • Many buyers are giving up due to inflated prices and the (formerly) low inventory
  • If the Federal Reserve decides it needs to check inflation with a rate increase, the end-of-the-summer bump won’t be happening.

I should be very clear, if I haven’t already been: if you want to sell this year or even next, you’re unlikely to improve your results by waiting.  Now is the time, and the window is showing signs of closing.

If you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris Neddersen,

Chris_sig

Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

 

College vs Home Ownership? Really?

TheStudentLoanObstacle

In my day, we went to college to live the American dream.  We were told that a good education was the ticket. There were jobs to be had, so plenty of us worked our way through.  Some of us had student loans, but the interest rates didn’t trap us in debt.

We studied hard, graduated, and hit the streets to find an occupation where our skills and talents, even those of an English major, were put to use.  After working for a while we were able to save money, buy a home, raise a family, and help our kids through school. 

And help was needed, as college now is incredibly expensive.  Not only do our kids need loans to pursue their dreams,  many need parent plus loans to help them out.  

It’s a scary time, and even for kids who are able to find gainful, full time employment, they are often saddled with crippling debt from student loans.  These make getting a home loan difficult.

“Homes” and “middle class” used to go hand in hand, but now–especially in the Bay Area–homes are going to the more well-to-do. Lately, though, I’m noticing more inventory on the market.  this may indicate a shift to the buyer side of the equation, which means less competition and therefore, hopefully, more realistic home prices.

We’ll see how this particular worm turns, but here’s hoping for an administration that’s eager to help the middle class regain it’s footing. We need jobs, affordable housing and education, and to regain a balanced and equitable economy.

In short, we need a society that is willing to help those who want to live the American dream attain that goal.

If you’re one of those eager for a dream home, or ready to move on from the one you bought when you were younger, give me a call.

If you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

What’s Next: The Albany Bulb & Other Bay Area Free Fun

albanybulb-11sept2013-640

Many locals enjoy exploring the Albany Bulb.  There’s a beach at the foot, and trails leading around the landfill.  This area was once a campground for the homeless until they were moved out last year.

Many interesting art pieces were created by the former residents using recycled materials. From graffiti to highly decorated shelter structures to surprisingly sophisticated sculptures, it’s always an adventure finding a new trail leading to another cache of creativity.

Care of both the Bulb and the Neck are scheduled to be transferred to the East Bay Regional Park District and some groups and individuals want to curtail recreational use.  You can find out more information on the Albany Bulb Website.

Here’s this weeks one a day free fun in the Bay Area:

TUESDAY MAY 19
Make your organic scraps work for you: Free Compost Lessons

WEDNESDAY MAY 20
A peek into the homelife of birds: Nesting Tour in Oakland

THURSDAY MAY 21
Devo’s Freedom of Choice Book Release

FRIDAY MAY 22
Free comedy & beer night in Walnut Creek

SATURDAY MAY 23
Eastlake Music Festival in Oakland

SUNDAY MAY 24
Grand Carnival Parade in SF

Whether contemplative walking or ribald dancing is your thing, have a great week in the Bay Area.

If you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

Costs of Selling in Berkeley: RECO, PSL, and More

cost-to-sell-home

Many home sellers have no idea of the hidden costs of selling a home in the East Bay.  In Berkeley, for example, authorities are empowered with enforcement of the city’s Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance (“RECO”) and the Private Sewer Lateral ordinance (“PSL”).  Compliance with both is required by law at point of sale.

Right now, RECO work will have to be completed before a sale can close escrow.  RECO limits the expense it can require for compliance to ¾% of the selling price—for reference, that would be as much as, but no more than $3,000 for a sale at $400,000.  It may be possible to find a contractor who will complete the work and accept payment from escrow at closing, and a buyer who will agree to pay—this is of course dependent on finding a willing buyer, which is easier now since the housing market is so hot in Berkeley,

If a previous (recent) owner of your property obtained a PSL certification—no further action will be needful.  If not, then it’s on you.

A termite inspection will cost around $250; a general home inspection, $4-500.  These are excellent investments, very likely to result in a sale higher by ten times the inspection costs, or more. Professional cleaning and staging will cost $1,000 to $1,500—again, an excellent investment.

Highest-price sales are of homes with comprehensive pre-sale reports and disclosures, professionally cleaned and staged.  Because staging requires that the home be vacant, and you haven’t found a home to move into,  the cost of lodging for you and your family must be factored in.

I can help explain all these costs and organize a strategy for dealing with them.

With a week’s notice I can arrange all of the work to be completed and the property to be market-ready within 2-3 weeks of its becoming vacant.  A full market exposure takes 10-12 days, and (with RECO repairs during escrow) you would be liquid 30 days after you accept an offer.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that sub-prime preparation and presentation can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in potential sales proceeds.  To be specific: if you simply do not wish to make these investments I believe you can still get multiple competing offers, but only with a low listing price the expectation of a sale for less.

Call me.  I’m standing by and eager to help. 

If you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

First Time Seller? Here’s how it works. . .

SOLD

With the housing market as hot as it is, sellers might think they can buy a “For Sale” sign at the hardware store, put it in the window, place an ad on Craigslist and have it sold the next day.

In reality, if you want top dollar for your home,  The best strategy is to hire a LOCAL realtor.

Property sales are complicated and time-consuming. This is why the help of an experienced local real estate agent is invaluable.  They have the resources that make finding capable people like handymen, stagers and  inspectors easy.  They also know how to market effectively, from hard and online advertising to holding open houses.  Negotiating and finalizing the contract, including making sure local regulations and ordinances are accounted for, are no small part of the process.

Not every sale is identical, but these are the most usual steps.

  1. market appearance—listing agents publishes details on proprietary MLS® (syndicates to consumer sites)
  2. listing status is Active—Seller and their agents work to attract Buyers
  3. offer[s] submitted by would-be Buyer[s]—sometimes on a date
    announced in advance
  4. Sellers review and accept an offer, creating a Pending Sale and
    starting Escrow interval
  5. Buyers hire property inspection[s] and complete lender’s financing requirements
  6. Buyers may attempt to renegotiate terms or withdraw from Escrow, based on inspection findings
  7. agreed price and other terms remain confidential among Buyer, Seller and the agents throughout Escrow
  8. Close of Escrow—legal change of ownership, listing status Sold.

Both Sellers and Buyers might benefit from my Handbooks for both, which goes into more detail about the process, including a wonderful Glossary of the industry’s jargon.  Just email or give me a call and I’ll  send you the appropriate one.

If you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

What’s Next: In which we consider Mother’s Day, and more Free fun in the Bay Area

pink-and-baby-stollers-bay-to-breakers

I hope you who are, have, or will be mothers enjoyed your day.

There was much discussion about the holiday online.  One argument by author Anne Lamott pokes holes in the sentimentalizing of one of the hardest jobs in the world. Thought provoking reading, but a bit harsh.

I think there is something satisfying about honoring our family goddesses, but the “let’s-get-this-over-with” offerings of flowers/cards/candy/brunch combined with the stilted mandatory phone call or visit makes the holiday a little hard to take.

Another post on a friends tumbler site suggested a way of celebrating the day that felt satisfying and right.  I’ll quote the steps she suggests to help us internalize the act of mothering:

  • We all live considering what would be good for the next generation.
  • We give up fossil fuel consumption like many expectant mothers gives up drinking, drugs and other substances that don’t nourish the lives of those to come. 
  • We take real responsibility for others and balance the needs of others with our own.
  • We really love beyond self-interest.

Now,  that’s the kind of mindful care and kindness worth celebrating.  And speaking of celebrating, or having fun in general, let’s see what’s free and fun for the second week of May.

TUESDAY MAY 12TH
FREE admission to the SF Botanical Gardens

WEDNESDAY MAY 13TH
Adam Richman talk and book signing at the Ferry Building

THURSDAY MAY 14TH
Free Yoga Classes in Oakland

FRIDAY MAY 15TH
Bay to Breakers Expo

SATURDAY MAY 16TH
Visitacion Valley Rare Walking Tour

SUNDAY MAY 17TH
Bay To Breakers Run

Enjoy your week in the Bay Area, and if you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

Water Conservation Gets Serious in the Bay Area

EBMUD-720x470

From Berkeleyside I read this article about local water restrictions which, in small part, said this: 

There is going to be:

  • A rate increase for all customers
  • A drought surcharge of up to 25% for customers across the board on the water flow charge only (there’s also a service charge per bill)

If approved, these would also take effect July 1.

The increased dollars will go almost entirely toward buying more water, Figueroa said.

“That’s the reason behind naming it a uniform charge to everyone, no matter how much you use. No matter how much you use, we still need to bring in more water.”

The other day I drove by a local golf course.  Giant sprinklers were insuring that the greens stayed that way,  yet houses around my neighborhood have front yards that are either fashionably brown, or planted with drought tolerant plants.

The Marin Circle fountain was going full blast the last time I drove by.  Our family has been very water responsible when it comes to our  bathroom needs.  Perhaps we can take our showers there.

Then I discover that Almond groves and Beef ranches are responsible for 80% of California’s water use, so we figured we’ll do our bit by cutting way back on either of those purchases.

Knowing that we live in California, which is not known for prodigious rainfall, we and most of our friends have been very careful with this precious resource.  Further restrictions based on area, rather than personal use to date, will be hard to manage.

I don’t know how we’ll cut back more than we are.  We have a drought tolerant yard and save our gray water for when our plants really need a drink.  Our cars have a lovely patina of dust and so do we, but we’ll try.  Reading this article helped me understand why it’s necessary for the restrictions to tighten, but I do wonder how or if or what restrictions will affect statewide businesses and farms.

Have a terrific week in the Bay Area, and, if you get thirsty and are in the city, drink more wine.  Bottled water is banned in San Francisco.

If you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

What’s Next: Dancing with Cows & May Festivals

Hikers, bike riders and runners are still learning how to co-exist with grazing cattle along open space trails. There have been some reports of incidents between bovine and human which has resulted in the posting of new informational warning signs and the removal of problem cows or steers. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)
Hikers, bike riders and runners are still learning how to co-exist with grazing cattle along open space trails. There have been some reports of incidents between bovine and human which has resulted in the posting of new informational warning signs and the removal of problem cows or steers. (Dan Honda/Bay Area News Group)

May in the Bay Area is a perfect time to hit the hiking trails, and around here there’s lots of open space to explore.  If are hiking at the right time of day and you keep your eyes open, you might catch a glimpse of some of the myriad species of wild life that inhabit this beautiful region. Hawks and buzzards sail through the air, pack rat nests are abundant, coyotes howl in the hills, turkeys gobble, foxes hunt, opossums skuttle  and racoons, our close urban neighbors, rattle around in unsealed garbage cans.

In some locations we share the hills with grazing cattle.  Believe it or not, some members of the local herds can be unpredictable and often aggressive, especially moms with calves.  Luckily, my alma mater, UC Berkeley, has come up with a trail hikers guide to dealing with cattle.  It’s called “Sharing Open Space”, and we who walk with through pastures with dogs are strongly encouraged to read it.  Your average cow sees your beloved canine, even my small terrier, as a potential threat.

Stay safe on your rambles, and if you’re in a festive mood, here’s some options for you:

Have a terrific week enjoying the beauty and festivities that abound in our marvelous Bay Area!

If you want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market, check out my Super Site and discover properties on the market neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for all your other real estate needs.  Just phone 510-527-0174 .  I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make you glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook, linkedIn or see my other online presences. I have two sites made just for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.
If you’re interested in HIGH WALK SCORE HOMES click HERE.

Whatever your real estate need,  I’m happy to help!

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley