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It may be a rainy start to the year but we’re in a fast moving early Spring market!
9 of our listings took offers last week and all but 1 are in contract with multiple offers.

My mid January Montclair listing at 1791arrowhead.com had its first open house on a very blustery rainy day. Serious buyers go shopping rain or shine.

Over 100 people came through the Sunday open house, drawn by the popular mid-century interior, online presentation and strategic pricing.
I would expect this activity in the Temescal or Rockridge but a traffic jam in the hills is less common!

With 35+ individual agent showings and 30+ requests for disclosures in the first few days the seller decided not to wait and took offers after the first Sunday and Broker tours.
Multiple offers came in from agents all over the Bay and 2 Oakland agents  prevailed with primary and back up offers accepted. ( buyers in this market usually benefit from a local agent and should NOT count on a second open house)


Explore the end of 2016 neighborhood data below!


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Do contact me if you have questions about the local real estate market, there is always more to real estate than the data!

 

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I seem to recall leaving corporate life and becoming a realtor for flexibility and to work less hours.  I love my work, but …. it’s 24/7 and not less hours!

“Sunday is your busy day” people will often say. Is the perception that we twiddle our thumbs the rest of the week?! Open house makes for a “busy” day in Bay Area real estate, but it’s  often not the busiest day of the week.

Selling real estate is a way of life, weaving in and out of personal commitments
with overlapping and variations.  It is not a 5 day a week  9-5 job!

Below are a couple of representative weeks for a full time established agent!
A busy week, and a less busy week.

For variety, a normal week is peppered with technology and coaching, meetings with out of area colleagues, fire drill offers with last minute buyers, broker consultation on tricky escrows,committee meetings, visiting former clients etc

Busier week………

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Not so busy week………

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As with most professions, there is the mythology and the reality!
Get ready for a busy 2017!

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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!

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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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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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The Pre-emptive offer!

A sign of this market is the  Pre-emptive offer!

My beautiful listing at 10 El Patio in Montclair did receive a pre-emptive despite the original plan to have 2 Sunday Opens!

Motivated and often desperate buyers wondering if they will ever get into contract will ask their agent if they can jump the gun and “pre-empt” any other offers by getting their offer in first, hoping to tie the property up before anyone else gets a chance

 

Level lot and expansive lawn

10 El Patio- in c0ntract pre-emptive!

The most common way of handling offers right now is for sellers to set a date and get all offers on the table  so they can compare, and see who will make the strongest buyer.

However.…despite what the sellers may have said to their agent, they certainly have the right to change their minds if they do get an early offer and feel they don’t want to wait!

MLS rules dictate giving notice to other agents when this happens, and professional etiquette and fiduciary obligations mean it becomes a FIRE DRILL to let other agents and buyers know about the change and try to allow them enough time to get their foot in the door ! ( The pre-emptive usually has less than 24 hr response time)

The potential downside of pre-emptives for the buyer is that sellers sometimes get mad and just won’t respond to that buyer, most of the time they figure the buyers will wait if they are serious and, they want to know what else may be coming in!!

In addition, some sellers feel its an unfair tactic and obnoxious.
It creates a large amount of stress for everyone involved, and that doesn’t always go over so well with sellers either.

In some cases, if you write a true pre-emptive, which means a really KILLER offer, then you may prevail…. and everybody else involved just has to deal with any fall out!!

And the moral of this story is…..  DO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR AGENT or you stand a VERY SLIM chance  of even hearing about the pre-emptive !!!!

Walk through 10 El Patio which received a pre-emptive offer so showings were limited!

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FANTASTIC 3D HOUSE TOUR!

 

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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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There are lots of older added onto remodeled and rambling floor plans in the Oakland Hills, and this house is a really nice exception!

This is the perfect ” grown ups” house for folks who have enjoyed spending time in their San Francisco loft but now need more room and more bucolic surroundings.

Not to mention the highly rated local elementary school run by one of my favorite principles!
( space subject to availability)

http://www.6357westoverdrive.com/

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And so many wonderful walks in the nearby Regional Parks!
Enjoy one of the nearby regional parks

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