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Many of us who have lived in Oakland for a long time continue to be amazed at this special place on earth!

If you’re seeking a unique spot in a spectacular setting , my new listing is a  magical 3+bed /2 bath home is situated on over half an acre of terraced gardens, and includes an exceptional detached artist studio with half bath above a 2 car garage.

There was no way we were going to neutralize this home into a sea of grey for sale!
Instead the owner and stager “curated” the  wonderful selection of tasteful and artistic treasures to showcase the home and possibilities for the detached studio!

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Both the indoor and outdoor spaces have been lovingly and meticulously updated and maintained.  A perfect spot for the creative and contemplative soul, this true gardener’s and artists delight has planted terraces , hidden patios and a slice of the golden hills.

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Come  enjoy a few minutes of contemplation, the scrunch of car wheels on a gravel driveway , birdsong and wind in the trees!

The First Quarter round up!
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I’ve listed several properties in the Oakland Temescal neighborhood over the last couple of years and delightful as they have all been this one is the grand dame!

The house feels more like a Rockridge or Elmwood home with it’s gracious entryway and large front porch, and my sellers believe it is older than the county records indicate and was likely built prior to 1910.

Painted and staged, a few light fixtures replaced, old window sash cords replaced, charity donations and  dump runs completed,toxic waste removed and we are ready to roll!

Visit : www.4415webster.com

Take a walk through with my fabulous  3D virtual tour !

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There are so many magical spots in Oakland and Christmas Tree lane on the border of the Maxwell Park area is one of them!
My latest listing used to be a run down sad story of a bank owned house.
7 years on and it’s been lovingly updated and given a new lease on life by my wonderful creative, talented and resourceful buyers!
Two fabulous Sunday opens, 25 offers (yikes, all that hard work paid off!) and it’s in contract!
The Website  www.5739picardy.com

Check out the super deluxe walk through 3D tour, below, which is not quite the same as visiting in person but very fun… and especially good on the phone!

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Super close to Mills College with its wonderful grounds and superb collection of specimen trees. Also one of my favorite hole in the wall restaurants Weang Ping which serves great Thai food … the wine may have just gone up from $2.00 a glass! Phuket style beach decor, ancient leather booths and a wonderful kitsch grotto entry. Plus you are close to 2 gas stations with diesel if you’re ever running on fumes as you head South on 580!

And for some more formal info on Maxwell Park visit:

localwiki.org/oakland/Maxwell_Park.

A sign of this market is the  Pre-emptive offer!

My beautiful listing at 10 El Patio in Montclair did receive a pre-emptive despite the original plan to have 2 Sunday Opens!

Motivated and often desperate buyers wondering if they will ever get into contract will ask their agent if they can jump the gun and “pre-empt” any other offers by getting their offer in first, hoping to tie the property up before anyone else gets a chance

 

Level lot and expansive lawn

10 El Patio- in c0ntract pre-emptive!

The most common way of handling offers right now is for sellers to set a date and get all offers on the table  so they can compare, and see who will make the strongest buyer.

However.…despite what the sellers may have said to their agent, they certainly have the right to change their minds if they do get an early offer and feel they don’t want to wait!

MLS rules dictate giving notice to other agents when this happens, and professional etiquette and fiduciary obligations mean it becomes a FIRE DRILL to let other agents and buyers know about the change and try to allow them enough time to get their foot in the door ! ( The pre-emptive usually has less than 24 hr response time)

The potential downside of pre-emptives for the buyer is that sellers sometimes get mad and just won’t respond to that buyer, most of the time they figure the buyers will wait if they are serious and, they want to know what else may be coming in!!

In addition, some sellers feel its an unfair tactic and obnoxious.
It creates a large amount of stress for everyone involved, and that doesn’t always go over so well with sellers either.

In some cases, if you write a true pre-emptive, which means a really KILLER offer, then you may prevail…. and everybody else involved just has to deal with any fall out!!

And the moral of this story is…..  DO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR AGENT or you stand a VERY SLIM chance  of even hearing about the pre-emptive !!!!

Walk through 10 El Patio which received a pre-emptive offer so showings were limited!

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FANTASTIC 3D HOUSE TOUR!

 

Thank you to my clients who sent pictures of the Amaryllis I gave to many on my holiday visits! It is SO nice to see clients old and new during the holidays and SO amazing and inspiring to see those beautiful blooms emerging in the Spring!

And now the Amaryllis are fading and inventory is picking up and it’s time to buy a house!

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Step 1. Consider how long you plan on staying?

In this type of market try to buy enough house that you don’t have to move for a while.
Historically we are in 8-10yr cycles between low and high points.
Every time you sell it costs you 8-10% of the sale price. Transfer taxes, broker fees, house prep.

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Step 2.  Find a good local real estate agent and choose a local lender.

I know…. many buyers out there wonder what agents do since there is so much information on line???!..…..it’s a bit like finding a lump and going to the doctor….…You go for their expertise and advice based on knowledge gained from the gazillion hours they spent training and years of experience in the field doing the same thing many many times and learning from each one. 

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Step 3. Narrow down neighborhoods.

In this fast moving market you want to be absolutely committed and very focused when you are ready to write offers. Don’t just fall for the house!

Do research communities, crime, transport and imagine your lifestyle in different types of locations. Visit neighborhoods at night and weekends, talk to neighbors.

Are you so averse to driving you are willing to pay a lot of money to live in a shoe box near BART? Do you want some tranquility which comes with access to Park lands and an extra room for visitors to come and stay? How about schools?

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Step 4. See as many homes as possible in your price range. ( currently most sell over list price!)

You want to know how many homes out there don’t work for you…….so you know why you pay to get what you want! Do weekend open homes if possible, see the “NOs” then. Visit the more likely candidates with your agent.

Step 5. Steel yourself for competition and market conditions!!

Try to ignore list prices and not be upset thinking “Oh my god ….I have to bid $100K over to even stand a chance??!” Check SOLD data with your agent.

DO NOT BE FOOLED BY ONLINE REAL ESTATE VALUATIONS !!!!!!!!!!

Of the two dozen plus listings we recently analyzed less than a handful performed as indicated by the online real estate site. Many sold for way more money, some sold for way less money.

 

Hang in there!!  Inventory is picking up and there is a house for every realistic prepared and committed buyer!

The fourth quarter in Oakland and Berkeley and neighboring cities continued with a serious shortage of inventory.

There was a slight increase in listings after labor day, and a momentary slow down. In part attributed to the sheer exhaustion of the buyers (and their agents)! How many way over asking clean and often contingency free offers can you write and still not get the house??!

Of note in the 4th quarter, the Oakland neighborhoods of Redwood Heights and Lincoln Heights saw a big jump in average sale price.
For some time they have been significantly below the Glenview prices and the difference is now closer to a recent historical norm.

For perspective on inventory in the Berkeley/Oakland areas we cover ……

On 12/31/2013 there were 222 active listings
On 12/31/2014 there were 131 active listings
On 12/31/2015 there were 64 active listings

Sellers… if you are ready… do not wait! This is our Spring market and the last Jan-Feb sellers have done very well.

In March and April you will have competition!!!