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Archive for the ‘Piedmont’ 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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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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If you’re interested in some of the more urban spots in Oakland I’ve recently helped buyers purchase in these central locations. They all fulfill what I call “The latte factor” requirement!
Many buyers moving to the East Bay are hoping to maintain easy access to San Francisco and at least some of the urban buzz! They want  to purchase at a decent discount compared to the city prices, but they don’t want complete suburbia and a car drive to pick up milk and a few groceries!

181 Glen Ave.

Glen Ave is one of the little streets just off Piedmont Ave, the homes are mostly older and many are very charming craftsman style buildings. Parking can be limited depending on the street, certainly better than many areas in San Francisco… I remember driving around!
You can click on the photo of Piedmont Ave below to access neighborhood resources all over Oakland including the Piedmont Ave district.

And by the way, Piedmont Ave is not in Piedmont!

525 Mandana Blvd. #329

Mandana Boulevard is superbly located between the thriving Grand and Lakeshore avenues. Super close to Lake Merritt, and does any other location have anything quite like the Grand Lake theater? They frequently post some neon political commentary, and the bus to SF stops outside.

Click on the link below to catch a show!

1936 Market

One  neighborhood that helped put Oakland 5th on the “Time’s” list of places to visit in the world is the appropriately named “Uptown district”. Amazing restaurants and nightlife, WholeFoods and on the first Friday of every month the unique ambiance of Art Murmur. All close to one of our few districts with Victorians, including this roomy Queen Anne. Click on the link below to explore some art!

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