Welcome to 2020!

The start of a new year is always an interesting time in real estate!

Will the market be the same or different from the Fall?

Will buyers be raring to go or sitting on the fence?

The first open houses of the year in Oakland and Berkeley indicate buyers are out looking…on a sunny day open homes have been busy!
Inventory at the close of 2019 was at record lows.

We have only had 1 year where our office had  less to sell at the end of the year!

Signs point to another active Spring.

Stagers and painters are booking up, several are booked out until March.…so do get ready and put a plan in action if you are considering a move in 2020!

For those of you wondering where we are in the historical cycle here is some
perspective going back  to the  80’s and 90’s ( yikes! ) hang in there if you’re afraid of buying at  the top as over time trend is always up!

As well as median prices and that ever important question of “overbids”!

Click on the Clouds of one of my favorite views for end of the year data!

As always I’m happy to be a sounding board and help you figure out what is best for your situation, buying or selling or both!


So you’re considering purchasing property in the Oakland-Berkeley area and maybe renting out rooms (house hacking) or buying a duplex or a place with an ADU?

Essentially becoming a landlord of some sort, and as a property owner you would get to do absolutely what you want with your property, right???

…. Well…. not so fast!

Owning property in the Bay Area is a wonderful privilege and invariably a good long term investment, but venture into rental income with your eyes open.

The housing market is tight, the laws are very specific, there are folks who may take advantage (sad but true), and the penalties for missteps can be Draconian!

Do yourself a HUGE favor if you have not purchased yet, and consult with a local qualified landlord tenant attorney so you know the lay of the land!

If you currently own property, join a LOCAL landlord advocacy group and consult with legal staff. These groups are an EXCELLENT resource for landlords.

Many homeowners become accidental landlords. A relocation enabled them to keep a property and rent it out, or they decided to rent out a room or convert part of their home to a rental.

And for the House Hackers…roommates? Can you raise the rent? Can you get them out?
This is current day California land of legislation… not the TV Wild West of my youth!
I’d suggest look into what you can and cannot do.

Whilst many Bay area cities including Berkeley and Oakland have had various levels of rent control and tenant eviction restrictions in place for years, the number and type of properties which fall under these restrictions has recently increased.

Many cities have “Just cause eviction” ordinances.

As a landlord in most cases you cannot blithely give your tenant notice  because you want to sell the property…. this is likely NOT a ” just cause” for eviction.

A local attorney who specializes in this area of the law can advise owners of options if they wish to sell. Several cities, including Oakland now have minimum mandatory buyout requirements for negotiating tenant move outs.

I regularly work with property owners who wish to sell and in conjunction with their landlord tenant attorney we figure out what works best for all involved.

Being a property owner is great, but know your rights and obligations… and stay safe!


As we’ve entered the Fall market many sellers still price low for competition, but some have set their expectations based on the frothier Spring market. Listing price strategy is all over the map! Some homes are priced too high, most are still priced too low and as Goldilocks might say …. some are priced just right!

Yoyo pricing is a phenomenon. Homes come on low to attract competition, the seller does not get offers as high as they expected, so they bump the price up to what they will accept, their “transparent price” If this is more than the market will bear…. and they want to sell, they then lower the price to somewhere in between.

“Buy it now pricing” may be used at the outset if sellers don’t like the idea of pricing low, they don’t wish to move out or stage or even come on the open market, and if they can get their “buy it now price” without doing so they will sell now.
The trick is for sellers to make sure they are not leaving money on the table by doing so.

Click image  for 3Q19 Market Update

 With pricing all over the map, buyers will do well to keep a close eye on days on the market and check in with their agent as to why a home is still available, and make sure to communicate their interest early on.

Transparent pricing and ” Buy it now” pricing may bring offers as written (no set date) and price adjustments often get other buyers off the fence and writing offers.

I’m always happy to discuss the market and your specific needs!




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

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.

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!