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Archive for the ‘Oakland’ Category

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!

 

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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!

Jackie.Care@Compass.com 
510-390-8101

 

 

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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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Let’s run the numbers…..but take the neighborhood breakdowns with a pinch of salt or twoOverall inventory was down a smidge in 3rd quarter. (It certainly seems to have picked up in October… after this report) as sellers scrambled to get their homes on the market, particularly those in the higher end.

One particular neighborhood shows sales prices are down by 25% from last year……. I don’t think so! A function of few homes for sale and not enough data to be meaningful…
Yes, it can now take MORE than 2 weeks on the market before sellers get an offer!
Agents have to gauge the interest and the response to pricing.

If the property is anything but a perfect “10” Buyers are a bit more cautious.
The news is distracting, so is the stock market..the weather is still great… buyers and agents are circling a little longer, is the property priced low, priced near value, priced a bit too high?
The market is less predictable, so it’s important to do your research!

Are we finally moving towards a more balanced market, where list prices are close to sale prices?? Maybe!
Are prices dropping? The high outliers from the Spring should probably be considered as such…. unless of course the property is a perfect “10”!


3rd Quarter market report

 

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On one of my favorite Oakland streets are the 70 ” modest mansions” of Picardy Drive, known locally as ” Christmas Tree Lane”. Newcomers and long time residents enjoy a wonderful sense of community in this special neighborhood!

The good thing about getting a listing with plenty of advance notice is you have more time to work on some additional great PR for those really unique homes!

Snagging the cover of the Sunday Open Homes guide and an article in Curbed took some planning and finesse!

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A good paint job, sparkling wood floors and first rate staging + all the appropriate inspections and taking advantage of the best marketing resulted in the highest priced sale on this street.

Not everyone wants a completely “redone” home and this one lends itself beautifully to  buyers updating to suit as time goes by!

Like my lovely seller may they enjoy another 40 years here!

Click images below for articles on Christmas tree Lane!

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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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Many of us who have lived in Oakland for a long time continue to be amazed at this special place on earth!

If you’re seeking a unique spot in a spectacular setting , my new listing is a  magical 3+bed /2 bath home is situated on over half an acre of terraced gardens, and includes an exceptional detached artist studio with half bath above a 2 car garage.

There was no way we were going to neutralize this home into a sea of grey for sale!
Instead the owner and stager “curated” the  wonderful selection of tasteful and artistic treasures to showcase the home and possibilities for the detached studio!

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Both the indoor and outdoor spaces have been lovingly and meticulously updated and maintained.  A perfect spot for the creative and contemplative soul, this true gardener’s and artists delight has planted terraces , hidden patios and a slice of the golden hills.

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Come  enjoy a few minutes of contemplation, the scrunch of car wheels on a gravel driveway , birdsong and wind in the trees!

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I’ve listed several properties in the Oakland Temescal neighborhood over the last couple of years and delightful as they have all been this one is the grand dame!

The house feels more like a Rockridge or Elmwood home with it’s gracious entryway and large front porch, and my sellers believe it is older than the county records indicate and was likely built prior to 1910.

Painted and staged, a few light fixtures replaced, old window sash cords replaced, charity donations and  dump runs completed,toxic waste removed and we are ready to roll!

Visit : www.4415webster.com

Take a walk through with my fabulous  3D virtual tour !

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There are so many magical spots in Oakland and Christmas Tree lane on the border of the Maxwell Park area is one of them!
My latest listing used to be a run down sad story of a bank owned house.
7 years on and it’s been lovingly updated and given a new lease on life by my wonderful creative, talented and resourceful buyers!
Two fabulous Sunday opens, 25 offers (yikes, all that hard work paid off!) and it’s in contract!
The Website  www.5739picardy.com

Check out the super deluxe walk through 3D tour, below, which is not quite the same as visiting in person but very fun… and especially good on the phone!

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Super close to Mills College with its wonderful grounds and superb collection of specimen trees. Also one of my favorite hole in the wall restaurants Weang Ping which serves great Thai food … the wine may have just gone up from $2.00 a glass! Phuket style beach decor, ancient leather booths and a wonderful kitsch grotto entry. Plus you are close to 2 gas stations with diesel if you’re ever running on fumes as you head South on 580!

And for some more formal info on Maxwell Park visit:

localwiki.org/oakland/Maxwell_Park.

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Thank you to my clients who sent pictures of the Amaryllis I gave to many on my holiday visits! It is SO nice to see clients old and new during the holidays and SO amazing and inspiring to see those beautiful blooms emerging in the Spring!

And now the Amaryllis are fading and inventory is picking up and it’s time to buy a house!

Amaryllis2

Step 1. Consider how long you plan on staying?

In this type of market try to buy enough house that you don’t have to move for a while.
Historically we are in 8-10yr cycles between low and high points.
Every time you sell it costs you 8-10% of the sale price. Transfer taxes, broker fees, house prep.

Amaryllis

Step 2.  Find a good local real estate agent and choose a local lender.

I know…. many buyers out there wonder what agents do since there is so much information on line???!..…..it’s a bit like finding a lump and going to the doctor….…You go for their expertise and advice based on knowledge gained from the gazillion hours they spent training and years of experience in the field doing the same thing many many times and learning from each one. 

Amaryllis3

Step 3. Narrow down neighborhoods.

In this fast moving market you want to be absolutely committed and very focused when you are ready to write offers. Don’t just fall for the house!

Do research communities, crime, transport and imagine your lifestyle in different types of locations. Visit neighborhoods at night and weekends, talk to neighbors.

Are you so averse to driving you are willing to pay a lot of money to live in a shoe box near BART? Do you want some tranquility which comes with access to Park lands and an extra room for visitors to come and stay? How about schools?

Amaryllis4

Step 4. See as many homes as possible in your price range. ( currently most sell over list price!)

You want to know how many homes out there don’t work for you…….so you know why you pay to get what you want! Do weekend open homes if possible, see the “NOs” then. Visit the more likely candidates with your agent.

Step 5. Steel yourself for competition and market conditions!!

Try to ignore list prices and not be upset thinking “Oh my god ….I have to bid $100K over to even stand a chance??!” Check SOLD data with your agent.

DO NOT BE FOOLED BY ONLINE REAL ESTATE VALUATIONS !!!!!!!!!!

Of the two dozen plus listings we recently analyzed less than a handful performed as indicated by the online real estate site. Many sold for way more money, some sold for way less money.

 

Hang in there!!  Inventory is picking up and there is a house for every realistic prepared and committed buyer!

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