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Archive for the ‘Financing’ Category

The First Quarter round up!
Q1 2016 click image

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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!!!

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VIEWS, VIEWS, VIEWS!

Twice a week my colleagues and I confer to see who needs to tour which homes based on the sellers and buyers we are working with. (This is one of the BEST reasons for sellers and buyers to decide early on which agent to work with.) As agents we can’t see everything on the market, so we do prioritize and keep our eyes open particularly for clients who are thinking of making a move.

The best agents, in my opinion, devote a good chunk of every week to touring and keeping up with the newest additions to our inventory. How else can we advise sellers and buyers on the competition and possible value??!

A light hearted game we play when we go out on tour… you have to have fun on the job! …is to come up with the day’s theme. There nearly always is one…. crown molding, fabulous roses, smelly basements, interesting fireplaces, weird floor plans, only cookies to eat (!)…….. and this week we were lucky to have  First Class Views!!

And surely, this is one of the reasons we pay the price to live where we do, and a premium for a house with a view!

When we lived in Hong Kong, I’m pictured here with my oldest son, we felt that view was worth it too!


MARKET UPDATE

Our low listing inventory continues,  appx 30% down from this time last year… Sellers, there are buyers out there!

Click to enlarge image


BROKERS TOUR PICKS!

A super stylish ‘90s home with the absolute best view, (even for doing the dishes!) at 160 Gravatt Drive  The owners added a mini panoramic window to great effect, listed by Kelly Deal of Grubb & Co… who also had real food for us, much appreciated after a marathon tour!

21 Stephens Way, up in the same Claremont Hills area is a one owner home with lots of potential and a super floor plan and some easy garden access. All level living which is a desirable feature in the hills!  Listed by Patricia Swift of Grubb & Co.

And for those who would like to be a wee bit more central and stumble out of bed into a latte…. finally, we have a few new listings in Rockridge and Elmwood!  Some seriously priced semi fixers, a nicely redone couple and a little gem for under $500,000 at 2508 Woolsey, Listed by Daniel Stea of PBG. Now that is a tempting little number for this location…

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

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There is always something inspiring about those who have the courage of their convictions! Years ago I recall sticking some money into a “contrarian” fund… I don’t recall how my investment did, but I liked the idea of investing (a little!) with someone who saw the possibilities in a down market!
With little inventory on the market, the jewels in the crown are selling quickly, in competition, and yes… for cash. As appraisals are often coming in more conservatively the cash offer has really come into it’s own; you would be amazed how many cash buyers are in the market in all price ranges… though with those  piddly interest rates at the bank -maybe not!

Of note to cash buyers, there is cost saving refinancing available to a buyer who wants the competitive advantage of a cash offer, and to subsequently leverage their investment with a mortgage within the first 90 days of ownership.
(Let me know if you want more details)

MARKET UPDATE!

Two exceptional Berkeley homes, including my favorite mid-century with to die for garden which just closed in 10 days for cash and significantly over the list price…. we do seem to be moving out of the market stall at the end of 2011.

See the list versus sales price……wow!

Click on image to enlarge


MY BROKERS TOUR PICKS!

So where in Oakland can you find a level home on almost a half acre, with a Bay view and some Hollywood style for under $450K? OK so some of them need some updates but the space is amazing…. so if theBerkeley hills and Rockridge leave you feeling cramped try looking a little further afield! We had a lovely drive through the hills to see 4200 Aberfoil  listed by Donna Conroy of Pacific Union

And if your budget allows for a higher price and you want the latte factor…which you will pay more for…try this classic Oakland home on the Piedmont border close to the GrandLake area. Super access to the garden and plenty of curb appeal at 1027 Winsor Listed by Karen Lum of GrubbCo

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

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Several buyers who have visited my recent open houses have told me they hope to take advantage of the market and buy a higher priced home.
The low mortgage rates and price discounts have created an excellent opportunity for home owners who have equity or the financial ability to trade up to a more expensive home.
The graphic below illustrates how trading up can actually be a better deal now, even if the value of your current home is down.
If you wait for the prices to go up, the proportional cost of trading up will be higher.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

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Our brokers meeting today included a discussion on the current situation with short sale transactions and loan modifications.

In 2010 we anticipate there will be an increase in the number of homeowners who will be trying to modify their loans, and the number of sellers who will be under water if they sell.

The good news is that more of the banks are starting to do loan modifications.

If you know anyone struggling with their loan payments, it is REALLY worth talking with the lender. If they were approached months ago with no success, it is worth another call!!

Some lenders are lowering the rates and, yes, they are doing this even if the home is worth less than it sold for. This may not work for everyone, but if you plan to stay in your home it may make sense.

We heard better feedback today particularly for homeowners with Wachovia, World Savings, Wells Fargo and Chase.

For many homeowners, the short sale route can still be preferable to foreclosure. An attorney can advise if this makes sense.

Yes, banks can still take a long time on the short sales; however, it is good to hear there is progress being made.

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There are loans available!

Real estate is such a dynamic market, and we are all wondering how 2010 will play out!
Will there be more cases of “house arrest” ( sellers and buyers not quite able to make a move,) or will the level of confidence continue to build with lower prices and low rates.

One holiday question has been “Is it possible to get a jumbo loan these days?”

Yes, most banks are back in this market.
There are larger loans available for homeowners who are in a position to refinance or buyers looking to purchase more expensive homes.
You do need to provide more documentation than you would have in the past, and probably have a larger down payment or equity.
Also, you may need to find the right lender match for your situation as these loans can be more relationship driven, or dependent on your assets.

Another option for buyers, one we haven’t seen in decades, is seller financing. It’s a useful option in some cases when additional financing is needed.

A large portion of the market right now continues to be driven by first time buyers using FHA loans. (more…)

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