Archive for the ‘For Buyers’ Category

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!




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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

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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!



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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!

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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

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The holiday season saw somewhat of a seasonal slowdown as buyers turned their attention to the holidays. A few deals were had, many sellers tried the off-market ” Buy it now” pricing and some were successful. Shadow inventory which did not sell in the Holiday season and new inventory will be coming on soon!
Click on the image below to see the last quarter’s report

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I am so grateful for the opportunities I had in 2018 to help so many wonderful clients!

A BIG THANK YOU! to friends and clients who sent many of these people my way.

If you have a move in mind for 2019 I’m always happy to meet prospective clients, discuss options and put together a plan before the early Spring market gets going!

You can call me, text or leave a message at:  510-390-8101


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