Category Archives: East Bay Home Care

Improving your Home or Buying a Fixer? Some Thoughts. . .

RenovationRealities

As a homeowner and/or potential seller, investing in improving your East Bay home is not a bad idea. New kitchens and baths always add a touch of class to an older home. Refurbishing and renovating  what’s there, creating a “move right in” feel with shiny floors and new windows, is a terrific way to enchant buyers. That’s why there’s so many home flippers out there doing so well.

Of course, you should always factor in the cost of construction, whether you own the property or if you’re considering purchasing a fixer upper. That cost will depend upon the needs of the respective property, but there is another cost to consider if you live–or intend to live–in the home during remodeling: time and inconvenience. Be sure to factor in your needs as well.

Some buyers have this “It’s a Wonderful Life” vision of remodeling: one person slapping paint on the walls while the other heads off to work; returning in the evening to find a completely transformed home. Fiction, of course.

There is always a cost of time and energy in DIY, and no matter how easy the youtube instructions look there is always a learning curve if you’re new to, say, resurfacing a kitchen counter.

If you’re up for it, of course, and you’ve done some remodeling before, and you have tools and vision and excitement for the project ahead, by all means let the good times roll! There’s nothing like the satisfaction you feel when you see how amazing and beautiful your completed project turned out!

I relate. In our first home, my wife and I turned a funky garage into a wonderful studio space.  It was just the two of us, but we did have helpful friends with tools, time, willing hands, and expertise to guide us.

With our second home, older, wiser, and with two kids and one more on the way, we left the work we needed done to the professionals.

And remember, you can call me if you need any references for good home improvement professionals.

I’m easy to contact.  As so many of us do, I carry my office with me wherever I go, so phone 510-527-0174.  and you’ll probably reach me. I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make sure you’re glad you called.

Get to know me! Check me out on facebook or linkedIn.

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

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

Chris Neddersen
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

Weather, Water, Trees & Your Home

photo by Joye Ardyn Durt
photo by Joye Ardyn Durt

You’ve probably noticed that trees often provide a “second rain”. In foggy areas condensation on their leaves eventually ends up soaking the ground. Because of condensation, you’ll find that many plants living underneath trees are still green even during times of drought.

Once, while on a camping trip to Point Reyes, we pitched our tent under a grove of trees. We woke, we thought, to the sound of rain. Pitter patter, pitter patter, pitter patter; and it just didn’t let up.  When we finally decided to leave the tent, we discovered that it wasn’t raining after all. The night had been foggy, and what we were hearing was fog-condensed drops falling on our tent.

But many trees need lots of water, so how do we keep them hydrated and still honor the drought regulations? This website that has some answers. It deals with collecting water in rain barrels, and the costs can be subsidized.  I also found another website that specifically addresses tree care during the drought.

Trees need water, and we need trees.  If you have to keep something alive in your home’s landscape, I recommend choosing the trees.

That’s my gardening advice for yard care during the drought, but if you need advice about real estate, that’s my forte.  It ‘s easy to give me a call.  As so many of us do, I carry my office with me wherever I go, so phone 510-527-0174.  and you’ll probably reach me. I’m never too busy to take care of you– or your referrals–and I’ll make sure you’re 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 want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market

Check out my My New Site to discover homes on the market–neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.

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

Chris Neddersen
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

Solar Panels: Are They Right for You or Your Home? Google it!

solar-panels-3

Solar panels seem like the right thing to do in terms of energy efficiency.  I hear great things: stories of energy bills going down, down, down and people actually selling energy back to the power companies.  I can’t testify as to the truth or falsity of these claims, all I know is anecdotal.

I often wonder if, in the often foggy Bay Area, solar panels will work as they should. Will the cost of installing panels pay me back in the long run? Is my roof in the right configuration for maximum solar panel effectiveness?

Google to the rescue! That’s right, Google. It’s called Project Sunroof and if you click the link provided you’ll be taken to a page that will tell you how much money you will save if you install solar panels.  Just type the address of your home, or the home you’d like to buy, in the box provided, and they’ll do the calculations for you.

Give me a call if you’re thinking of  buying or selling a home, and for any and all of 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 sure you’re 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 want to get a feel for what’s going on in the East Bay Real Estate market

Check out my My New Site to discover homes on the market–neighborhood by neighborhood–almost as soon as they’re posted on the MLS!

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.

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

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

 

Weird Wednesday: The Trouble with (some) Contractors

WWChina-Skyscrapers

There’s a cliche when it comes to hiring contractors to work on your home: they will never finish when they say they will.  Maybe if we had prefab units, like they do in this building in China, the estimates would be closer to the mark.

Knowing home  improvements might take longer than you think is important information if you’re improving a home that you’re planning to sell.  (And speaking of which, here’s a link with some pretty creative ideas in that regard.)  Timing is important, and making sure the job is done right is essential.

I had a contractor–hired by the seller– on one of my listings.  He not only took way too long to get the job done, but made some pretty crucial mistakes.

The home was an elegant property in the Berkeley Hills.  There was a termite report that the contractor was supposed to address. Instead, he decided that the work done was unnecessary since he himself didn’t see any termites.

I worked under the assumption that he had done what he was supposed to have done, so was floored when the buyer’s inspection revealed that the work required was unfinished.   The buyer’s backed out of the deal. They decided that, because of this omission, they couldn’t trust the work the contractor had done in other areas of the home either.

Needless to say, he went on my “never hire” list.

I’ve since formed relationships with contractors that I find reliable and honest.  I’m happy to share if you need one.

If  you’d love to buy an East Bay home–or if you’re thinking about selling–and are interested in hiring an agent like me please give me a call at 510-527-0174 ,  I’m never too busy to take care of you or your referrals. 

You’ll be 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

Some Answers to Sellers & Buyers about BUILDING CODES

Here’s a Handy Q & A to help you get a handle on building codes when you’re buying or selling a home.

Q  Some of the work on this house was done without building permits.  Does it matter?

A  Building codes exist to protect residents from loss and injury; the first thing to find out is, has the unpermitted work been performed to building code standards?  Is it safe?

Q  If I do any other work will I have to “fix” the unpermitted things?

A  Building permit practices vary from city to city; most municipalities have not so far made it a policy to investigate an entire structure when new permits are taken out  (although some cities do).  Any inspector will flag dangerous or egregiously defective conditions.

Q  Shouldn’t I set the record straight?

A  Always contact a qualified real estate attorney for definitive answers concerning your legal obligations and liabilities.  Remark that, if the living area is smaller than shown in the public record, a correction may result in a re-assessment and increased property tax.

Q  Won’t work without permits affect the house’s value?

A  Left unaddressed, unpermitted work will put current Buyers on the receiving end of this question when they go to sell.  If they sell in a sellers’ market this is less likely to cost them much.

I hope this  helps.

For up to the minute information about local real state including  high walk score homes,  information about home sales and values, AND  free and cheap activites in the Berkeley Area, keep reading this blog.

If you’re interested in specific information about buying or selling a home in the Berkeley Area, you can give me a call at 510-527-0174. Or check me out online. I have two sites made 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 WALK SCORE HOMES go Berkeley Area Neighborhoods

Whatever you need, I’m happy to help!

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

Realtor for LIFE? What does that mean?

Chris Neddersen
Chris Neddersen

I’m sure you’ve heard it said.  “I want to be your Realtor for Life.” You’ve probably wondered how that works.  After all, you only expect to buy or sell a home a few times in your life.  Why, then, do you need to keep a real estate agent up front and center in your contact records?

Here’s why:

Realtors are a very good resource for anything that has to do with your home. Need a carpenter, handyman, electrician, interior decorator, plumber, landscaper, general gardener, pest controller, fence builder, deck designed, appraiser, lender, etc. etc.? Good agents have lists of dependable people who they’ve used and trusted in their business.

Agents like me are like Yelp, except better. I refer services from my own list or the list maintained in my brokerage. There’s no one on either list who hasn’t done a great job for at least one homeowner we know personally–usually many more than one–and suppliers are dropped from our lists if they don’t keep delivering satisfied customers.

In short, if you need anything done for or to your home, give me a call at 510-517-0174. I’m happy to help.

For up to the minute information about local happenings, real estate, free and cheap events, high walk score homes, and information about home sales and values in the Berkeley Area, keep reading this blog.

If you’re interested in specific information about buying or selling a home in the Berkeley Area, you can give me a call at 510-527-0174. Or check me out online. I have two sites made for you.

If you’re a BUYER go to That House Detective
If you’re a SELLER go to What’s Next Homes.

Chris_sig

Chris Neddersen,
Broker Associate
CalBRE R01143189
Coldwell Banker in Berkeley

 

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.

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.

Financial Friday: Protect Your Investment


About Home Inspections

When you’re buying a home, it’s smart to make sure your investment is solid. That’s why, In California at least, real estate agents advise home inspections for their buyer clients.
 
Often both buyers and sellers are surprised by the results. Pristine-looking homes might hide mold, dry rot, or a number of other problems.

Reading the results is an art in itself. Different home inspectors have different styles. Some are fairly casual in their evaluation, but some can make a metaphorical hangnail seem like a life threatening disease.
 
Experienced agents usually know the trusted local inspectors and they’re also well versed in how to read inspection reports. They can look it over with the buyer and offer a more nuanced look of the home’s condition. 

For example, a fellow agent told me that one inspector worried his buyer by pointing out a cracked window, which might indicate earth movements. 

The agent’s response to the buyer? “How many million years are you planning to live in this home?”

The agent realized that the earth did indeed move in that area, but the rate of movement was really the issue.

Understand that California home inspectors are not licensed, nor are they licensed in many states. However, a home inspector’s standard practice typically does not include the following, for which a specific license to inspect and identify may be required to evaluate:
  • Asbestos
  • Radon, Methane, Radiation and Formaldehyde
  • Wood-Destroying Organisms
  • Mold, Mildew and Fungi
  • Rodents
  • Lead
Here’s a checklist–brought to you by Coldwell Banker–that will let you potential sellers see if your house could pass a home inspection.

I’ve recently had some clients who have done just that, and 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; 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.