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This week I attended our quarterly Top Producers referral group meeting in San Jose. Agents from as far away as Sacramento, Carmel,Tahoe and Davis shared updates on their current market conditions and a variety of real estate related topics.

If you are looking to buy or sell outside of the Bay Area, I can usually provide referrals to great agents!

We have 30 year veterans and Millenials in the mix so it’s a nice cross section of different styles and approaches to real estate!

In general, the theme was one of “low inventory” with some markets slowing and others as competitive as ever, and “what is the next generation going to be able to afford?”
( Yes, we are only too aware of the down side to declining affordability)

The Oakland- Berkeley area seems to be one where buyers have become more selective this last quarter. Great houses are garnering the attention and high prices. Less than A+ or less strategically priced homes are sometimes only getting one offer or sitting. 

As we get into the holiday season it can be a good time for buyers who see potential in those “less than perfect” or less optimally marketed properties!

To check on the stats from the last quarter, Q3 -click below.

Pricing for competition is key….. sorry… no end in sight for those under market list prices at this time!!

 

 

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August’s Monthly report…

Buyers….Come on back!

Most local agents tell tales of buyers frustrated by their inability to get into contract and walking away from the market.
Inventory has been so low and there are not enough homes to meet the demand.
Trekking over from the city at the end of a long day or giving up chunks of each weekend, especially if you have a little one in tow is less fun after your 3rd or 4th rejected offer!
But wait………there’s good news! 
Inventory just did the annual post Labor Day pick up and we now have 2 consecutive weeks of more homes to choose from!
So buyers may do well to get back in the saddle and give it another shot!!

If you, or anyone you know, are thinking of getting into the market I’d love to hear from you! Now may be a good opportunity to get into contract!

Rules of the game!

How high is enough?

Like it or not being successful in many things requires playing by the rules. Knowing the current lines in the sand is helpful when navigating the dynamic real estate playing field!

Buyers (and agents) groan about the current Oakland/Berkeley/Piedmont real estate market norm driving the “list low” phenomenon. The “worst offender” agents take flak but it’s “Catch 22” if sellers list closer to market value and nobody writes an offer thinking the expectations are 20% higher!

As you wrap your mind around the current real estate math, it can help temper your emotional response ( why don’t they list at what they want??!! I have to offer how much over asking??!!!) to know that the seller listed under market value and you are not necessarily overpaying when you add another $200K+ onto the list price for your offer!

The listing agents job is to get the seller the best terms and price, not to keep the buyer happy!                           

How can I make sure I don’t overpay?

The simplest answer is to see enough homes you know why you are offering what you are, and buy enough house that you can stay there for at least the next 10 years enjoying the benefits of a historically low mortgage rate and most likely riding out any market fluctuations.

Offers on a $1M home can frequently come in with a LARGE spread between them. A $500K spread between offers with the top 3 stepping up in $100K increments is not uncommon.
It’s true there are buyers who “just want to be done” and out of area agents who use questionable comps or don’t know the local dynamics but that is still your competition.

The only way you are going to be moving in to that house is by either paying more than anyone else, or making an offer with such superior terms the seller is willing to leave some money on the table from a higher but less compelling offer.

What about contingencies?

Most agents and their clients will be more comfortable when the market shifts and buyers can again compete with their contingencies in place.
Can you get into contract with contingencies?  “It depends” The trade off for contingencies is that something else about the offer needs to make it more attractive than non-contingent offers.

If the house is overpriced and sitting, or the seller provides no upfront information or there is something questionable about the property or your financing you most likely will not give up your contingencies.

However, most of the offers we currently see in competitive situations are non-contingent with perhaps 20% having 1 contingency.

Successful buyers in this market know the rules and have chosen to play by them, ultimately it’s your money and you decide what a property is worth to you!

Good agents are able to help advise on strategy, realistic parameters and when you might be able to bend the rules!

San Francisco may have more cache but…. many say we have better views from the Oakland Hills and we get to look at San Francisco, Marin and the Golden Gate!
What could be better than a luxurious newer home, stunning views and the East Bay Park lands right outside your door?
All this and it’s less than 15 min drive ( Google it) to Orinda or downtown Oakland so you can enjoy life on both sides of the tunnel!

Luxury and comfort go hand in hand at 11 Observation Place.

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Take a walk through!

To view the Website click the image Below.

It may be a rainy start to the year but we’re in a fast moving early Spring market!
9 of our listings took offers last week and all but 1 are in contract with multiple offers.

My mid January Montclair listing at 1791arrowhead.com had its first open house on a very blustery rainy day. Serious buyers go shopping rain or shine.

Over 100 people came through the Sunday open house, drawn by the popular mid-century interior, online presentation and strategic pricing.
I would expect this activity in the Temescal or Rockridge but a traffic jam in the hills is less common!

With 35+ individual agent showings and 30+ requests for disclosures in the first few days the seller decided not to wait and took offers after the first Sunday and Broker tours.
Multiple offers came in from agents all over the Bay and 2 Oakland agents  prevailed with primary and back up offers accepted. ( buyers in this market usually benefit from a local agent and should NOT count on a second open house)


Explore the end of 2016 neighborhood data below!


q4-2016-click-image

Do contact me if you have questions about the local real estate market, there is always more to real estate than the data!

 

I seem to recall leaving corporate life and becoming a realtor for flexibility and to work less hours.  I love my work, but …. it’s 24/7 and not less hours!

“Sunday is your busy day” people will often say. Is the perception that we twiddle our thumbs the rest of the week?! Open house makes for a “busy” day in Bay Area real estate, but it’s  often not the busiest day of the week.

Selling real estate is a way of life, weaving in and out of personal commitments
with overlapping and variations.  It is not a 5 day a week  9-5 job!

Below are a couple of representative weeks for a full time established agent!
A busy week, and a less busy week.

For variety, a normal week is peppered with technology and coaching, meetings with out of area colleagues, fire drill offers with last minute buyers, broker consultation on tricky escrows,committee meetings, visiting former clients etc

Busier week………

realtor-calendar-busier-week

Not so busy week………

realtor-calendar-slower-week

As with most professions, there is the mythology and the reality!
Get ready for a busy 2017!

As agents we are constantly reviewing data and discussing market conditions, and at the end of the year we try to predict the future!

Let’s get as close as possible to that proverbial Crystal Ball!

Pacific Union CEO Mark A. McLaughlin and economists John Burns, Dean Wehrli, and Selma Hepp teamed up to present the third in a series of live economic forecasts.

economic-forecast-video

I’m happy to speak with you regarding your real estate goals in 2017!