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Looking back at the first 6 months of 2019 the market continues to favor sellers in the Oakland/Berkeley area.
The volume of homes for sale is down overall from last year, and there are plenty of buyers in the under $1M price range and the upper end of the market is selling through.

Underpricing homes continues to be the trend, with several homes exceeding expectations and those where the seller is unrealistic sitting.

Interest rates are phenomenal for buyers, I have buyers closing with 30yr fixed rates under 3.5%. Long term this is almost a free loan!


I’m always happy to speak with potential sellers or buyers, text or call  510-390-8101 or email Jackie.care@Compass.com

SCENARIO A:
You’ve lived in your home for a number of years and like a lot of folks you live with all sorts of things “you’ll get to at some point!” 
The carpets are threadbare, you haven’t painted since the kids were in kindergarten, the wood floors are pretty scratched and the enamel has worn off the tub etc. etc.

SCENARIO B:
Everything is in good shape and you have lovely things but you’re a retiring downsizer and you’ve owned this home for maybe 25+ years.
Your buyers are likely to be closer to the age you were when you purchased and they tend to fall in love with and spend a premium on updated “millenial style” homes! 

Like many agents I’m frequently telling sellers they will get a higher price if they can invest some money in painting, redoing floors, updating light fixtures and staging.

And like many sellers… they would if they could but they can’t… but maybe they can!!

Compass has recently rolled out a great program which can help many sellers with equity in their homes (but with limited cash reserves) by giving short term financing to cover home prep costs.
It takes some advance planning, licensed contractors need to be approved and there are guidelines to follow.

 

I’m happy to answer questions if this is a good fit!

Looking back at the First Quarter of 2019 the overall market condition chart shows a strong reduction in the number of homes which sold under list price.
Yes….despite the prevailing trend to under price homes and generate multiple offers, there are homes which come on priced too high.
The slow down in the Fall which started around October seems a things of the past.
As long as sellers are realistic, interest rates and inventory continue low, the buyer demand will remain strong.

As always… the trends are market wide, but the values are house specific!

Neighborhood data you can access below will vary in giving an accurate picture of the market depending on how many homes have sold in the 1st quarter.

Single Family Home Sale Data

 

I’d be happy to speak with you about your specific market or property questions!
Jackie 510-390-8101

As a listing agent, receiving a well written offer is indicative of a serious buyer, a competent agent and usually reliable financing. These offers are clear, complete, and a pleasure to review and inspire confidence in the listing agent and the seller!

So how do you do this?

  • As a  buyer, you and your agent should see the property, Ideally together, to discuss pros and cons and for your agent to get a good idea of why this property works for you.

  • Preferably see the property early on… this way you have PLENTY of time to thoroughly review disclosures, do research.. like visit the city building department… and book any pre-inspections or pre book any post ratified contract inspections so you can make a VERY strong compelling offer!

  • Your agent will be checking in with the listing agent to get answers to questions on the disclosures, interest in the property and sellers expectations. 
    Buyers agents who check in demonstrate their buyers have paid attention to the disclosures and that is a plus to listing agents.

  • Review the disclosure package both on your own and with your agent. Allow time to go through all the documents , even the boilerplate ones,  on your first offer it helps to do this IN PERSON. Property disclosures often need further  discussion.

  • It often helps buyers to CALL the inspectors directly. The reports frequently have a laundry list of items .… if you speak with the inspectors they can put some  items in perspective, i.e,” Yes, address this ASAP” or “you can wait on this ”.

  • Your agent will pull recent sales (comps) that provide  insight into the potential value, not only for other buyers but data  an appraiser might take into consideration. It takes time for an agent to select the most appropriate comps.

  • Your agent may need time to call agents who listed some of the recently sold comparable properties to get additional insight. E.g Did it have high reports? Was there anything unusual that caused the property to sell exceptionally high or low.

  • Your agent may want to call other listing agents who have potential comps in contract . This is crucial information with many listings selling way over asking price. If the property closes soon it may be a comp.

  • Your agent may also be consulting with a) the previous listing agent on this property for additional information, b) trusted colleagues either within or outside their brokerage who might have insight ( and NOT competing buyers!) which could help these buyers prevail. There is frequently a lot of detective work to be done!

  • Buyer and agent should both contact the buyers lender if there is to be a loan. Some banks need 1-2hrs to get a preapproval letter, others take a few days… principles and agents want to be 100% clear on what financing terms will work and where the risks are in order to structure a solid offer.

  • As a buyer you will ideally have also answered any questions regarding insurance, spoken with neighbors and done significant due diligence prior to writing. If the offer is Non-contingent… the norm in many markets.. you do want to have NO deal breaker QUESTIONS UNANSWERED prior to writing your offer!

  • Buyers often do best writing a love letter! I know… this sounds corny …but anything that conveys CONFIDENCE in your willingness and motivation to complete the sale is a PLUS in your favor. It costs you NOTHING to do this!!

  • Your agent will probably write the offer and  send you a draft to review the terms with you. The electronic signing programs move quickly… you want to make sure to have READ the contract before signing and have helped catch any revisions!

Try to avoid a FIREDRILL!!  It will make your life as a buyer less stressful and probably more successful!

A FAVORITE POST OFFER WRITING WALK!

IMG_8874

Back when we bought our last house around 1998 we were considering schools and test scores and the Montclair hills seemed like the spot which best met our needs.

Although we were also very tempted by a couple of super charming homes -one in Adams Point with a gorgeous stained glass transom window and the other a craftsman style home near a wonderful pocket park in what is now more acceptably known as NOBE!

Fast forward about 20 years and the conversation I often have with homeowners in the Berkeley and Oakland hills frequently turns to
How is it possible homes in the hills are not worth more ?”

So here is a little chart giving some idea of relative appreciation over the last 20 years in the hills and the flats.
Yes, the hills were more expensive to start with, but a generational shift
is placing value on urban locations and Lakeshore is very tempting!

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!”

Spring is on its way …..and this may not be the potentially dying market we saw in the 4th Quarter of 2018! Everything is beautifully green and serious buyers go shopping in the rain!

Market jitters at the end of 2018 led many sellers to just put their homes on the market using the “come as you are” + “transparent pricing” approach, and many of them sat and did not sell.

For every buyer who says “I don’t like staged homes” it is rare for one to see beyond older décor and get a discounted purchase. Many of these homes do not sell the first time around.

Fast forward to 2019!! ..… A new level of buyer enthusiasm has greeted many listings on the market. Including a number of the “shadow inventory” listings which were pulled at the end of last year, refreshed, repriced and repositioned for 2019 with stellar results. 

The chart below shows sales absorption rates for the last 6 months in Oakland. Some slow down in the 4th Quarter and early pick up starting late January with highest in 6 months in mid February. We’ll see what more inventory brings us!

SALES ABSORPTION OAKLAND – FEB 2018

Recent brokers tour theme…… lovely and green after the rain!

 

That Magic Feeling!

That Magic feeling!

Every so often a home with that magic feeling comes on the market!

On Brokers tour the agents are “oohing” and “aahing” and say “I could live here!” and you realize you are not alone in responding to the home as you do!

The magical house does not have to be exceptionally fancy.

More likely it is unostentatious, more likely it has a wonderful interface with the outdoors… a place where you can imagine spending today’s precious down-time relaxing in comfort and looking out onto a beautiful garden or view!

How do you value a home like this?

You pull the comps, analyze the data and say…. However… this home is magical!
Data and logic invariably go out the window!

The winning recipe will undoubtedly be whatever the sales data indicates plus whipped cream and a very large $$ cherry on the top!

Will it appraise?
Quite possibly not. Is there going to be a buyer who doesn’t care, probably.

Like the world’s most valuable jewels and artworks a home with “ that magic feeling” is a rare commodity and gets valued accordingly!

closeup photo of pink petaled flower tree

Photo by zhang kaiyv on Pexels.com