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Archive for the ‘Berkeley’ Category

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!

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The question!  Are we in a seasonal or an adjusting market?
It’s a little early to say, but regardless it currently appears to be truly a tale of two markets.

The top end of the market may indeed have peaked mid 2015, but interest in houses currently varies from luke warm to red hot, with homes in the $1M-$2M range and in “latte factor” locations still exceeding the 2015 prices.

I’m not sure who tracks data for properties with ancilliary dwelling units, but the addition
of an “in-law” or “airbnb” potential in urban locations seems to increase the demand exponentially!

On the other hand, we are seeing ” still available!” ” an opportunity” ” no offers” in both the MLS and the agent publications many of us subscribe to.

Some of these homes are just priced too high to accommodate the still customary overbidding. Some are just priced too high.. full stop!

My recent listing at 1641 Josephine on a super desirable street in North Berkeley, appx half way between two Berkeley BART stations, the gourmet ghetto, Monterey Market and multiple restaurants and shops received 10 offers and will sell well over asking.
The expansion potential, potential for an in-law, great location, and good size yard all contributed to the popularity!

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Close to everything!

CLOSE TO BART

CLOSE TO BART

 

Sellers invested money, we invested time and expertize in making it shine!

website-screenshot

The market in general is likely to be settling, so sellers don’t dally too long, and buyers
it’s a good time to be out looking!

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For some uncanny reason the last 2 Oakland homes I lived in are on the market at the same time!

When we sold our home in 2006 we caught the market as it was starting to drop, not catching the highest price but happy we timed it when we did.

Below are charts showing the rise and fall of several east bay neighborhoods from 2005-2015!

If you’ve been waiting to sell the sellers market does not usually last for a very extended period of time!

 

Berkeley home prices have soared to new heights in the last couple of years. Always tight on inventory, prices never dropped as significantly as in some areas.

berkeley historic sales

 

Piedmont prices have risen astronomically, with quality homes, easy commutes and schools ranked top 10 in the nation.

Piedmont historic sales

 

Rockridge homes have increased significantly in value due to proximity to urban amenities and the desire for convenience.  Their fall was less precipitous than in many areas.
Rockrdige historic sales

 

Glenview homes are being sought by buyers priced out of Crocker Highlands.
glenview historic sales

 

Montclair homes rose a little more slowly with many buyers liking the good schools but preferring walkable locations with a more urban vibe.
Montclair historical prices

 

94602 includes The Oakmore, The Laurel and Dimond areas. Many of these homes are selling at record highs with the less pricey areas within 94602 still moving up in value.
Areas below MacArthur took a big hit when prices fell and had more ground to recover.

94602 historic prices

Redwood Heights has been slower to rise in value, despite the well regarded elementary school there is no central destination which drives other neighborhood prices.
redwood heights historic prices

 

Many homes in the 94605 zip code have not overtaken the height of the market but many have fully recovered values.
94605 historic sales

Expect to see the lower end of the market and condos continue to climb in 2015 as buyers are priced out of neighborhoods and compete for the more moderate end of the market.

 

 

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The Berkeley Hills has always been one of the East Bay’s most desirable places to live. Certainly up in the Berkeley hills the rain does not keep the serious buyers away! Despite the complete absence of ANY view, and the police blockade on Grizzly Peak there was a stellar turn out at the first open house. Don’t let the weather delay plans to sell, buyers are out looking and they will come back to visit if they like the house!

The glamorous life of a realtor involves dressing for the weather and all hands on deck!!  ( Thank you honey!)

shoes at open Sign of Rain

 

Visitors big and small and plenty of towels on hand… plastic covers all  round!

Beautiful views of the ever changing sky and bay from my listing at 30 Hill Road near Tilden Park in Berkeley

30 Hill slideshow start

CLICK FOR PHOTO TOUR

Our wonderful East Bay Parks, live in the hills and step outside to Tilden and beyond

Click here for info on Tilden Park

Click here for info on Tilden Park

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 A TWINKLE IN YOUR EYE!

There are many aspects of selling we can help with as realtors, but for some clients a potential sale or purchase does require advance planning and additional expertise. “I highly recommend you speak with your tax advisor and a real estate attorney!” at the “twinkle in your eye stage!”  is frequent advice I will give to prospective sellers…I’d love to help you sell your house as long as it makes sense for you!

For those who have owned a property for a long time, for those with a home office, and for those with little or negative equity it can pay off to thoroughly research your options. Frequently, advance planning is helpful to come up with the best strategy and avoid surprises.

Are you eligible for proposition 60 or 90?
Of particular interest to sellers who are downsizing, this can be great opportunity for some sellers to keep cost down.

http://www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/faqs/propositions60_90.htm#1

If you are selling income property, are you familiar with 1031 exchanges? You may want to sell – but you may be better off doing an exchange.
If you have a home office and have been taking deductions, you may want to plan in advance to avoid tax surprises

An accountant and attorney are great resources and, together with your Realtor, can help you figure out what’s best for you!


A TWINKLE IN YOUR EYE….CHANDELIERS!

I’m always able to find a theme for the brokers tours, and in line with advance planning here is my “twinkle in your eye!” slide show of some chandeliers in local homes!

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I’m always happy to answer real estate related questions and appreciate your support through referrals!

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1591 La Vereda is a custom built 5 bedroom 2 bath home enjoying a premium position in one of Berkeley’s most prestigious neighborhoods. On the market for the 1st time since it was built in the 60’s this home combines many artistic elements with an unusually practical floorplan and thoughtfully laid out space. The custom mosaic detail above the fireplace and the stained glass in the entry are by Ray Rice, a founding member of the Mendocino art center. Situated on one of Berkeley’s most coveted tree lined streets, steps away from UC and the gourmet ghetto this is a rare opportunity to own a piece of architectural history!

The grand redwood paneled living room has a vaulted ceiling and French doors with Clerestory window detail. The dining area which flows off the living room will accommodate a large table, and the space is ideally suited for entertaining or relaxing. Almost every room on every level has access to the outside with glazed doors to balconies or decks; ideal for our California lifestyle!
Upstairs is a spacious master bedroom with multiple built in stained wood closets and open beamed ceiling. There are two additional bedrooms, one with a delightful balcony and peek of the Golden gate bridge view through the treetops.
A bonus room on the ground floor offers additional space.

MORE DETAILS AT 1591LAVEREDA.COM

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BERKELEY CLASSICS

Although geographically connected, Berkeley and Oakland differ in both culture and housing stock.

The darker wood paneling and earthy touches which were so popular in the 60s-70s are very much a part of the Berkeley Hills vernacular and still appeal to the artistic and erudite!

The Oakland counterpart is the wooded Tahoe style home in the Montclair hills…often shrouded in trees and on a winters day a true stay at home vacation!

Newer construction in the Oakland hills offers a  larger selection of newer, light and bright homes, often with stellar views of the bay.

Like plants in my garden, many buyers tend to be sun lovers or shade lovers…!

An adaptable transplant myself ! … I appreciate the sun and the shade …. unlike one of my touring buddies…a true sun lover  positively wilting  after a serious dose of Berkeley Hills wood exposure!

With almost no new listings on tour in the Oakland Hills, the majority of the homes we visited were in the Berkeley Hills.

From the wood paneled Maybeck to the Julia Morgan fixer it was a day for true Berkeley classics!

Classic wood paneling

MY BROKER TOUR PICKS!

Winding our way along Panoramic we came to a dramatic Redwood and Oak paneled early ‘70s home with a dead-on Golden Gateview at  690 Panoramic WayCustom built for the current owners, we peered through the heavy fog…
the 4 bridge view is there… and waking on a sunny morning is viewable as you lie in bed with your cup of tea!

 Then along Grizzly Peak and to and fro we traversed down the Berkeley Hills to a Fabulous home on Shasta, mid-century with 1970s artisan pottery tile work, textured grass wallpaper, vintage cork flooring and more redwood paneling. A quirky layout but fantastic indoor-outdoor access with a garden to die for at 2750 Shasta Rd listed by Susie Schevill of Grubb &Co and I will be shocked and amazed if this doesn’t attract a lot of attention at the list price.

Textured Wallpaper and cork floor

I’m always happy to answer real estate related questions and appreciate your support through referrals!

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