unnamed (2)2014 will be my most productive year in real estate. And so with Thanksgiving fast approaching here are some of the key things for which I give thanks not just this week, but throughout the year:

–My clients. Each of my buyers and sellers had many choices of agents to guide them through their purchase, or help them prepare and market their homes. They chose me, and I am truly grateful for that trust, and for the continuing referrals that are the primary source of my business.

–My brokerage, Red Oak Realty. It’s a progressive company with a  smart, caring and remarkably large management team for a relatively small, seriously local company. One of the ways they distinguish themselves is by providing a mentor program for new agents, and they chose me to be that mentor. My first group has graduated, and I am proud of their successes.

–My Colleagues. The quality of agents in the Bay Area is very high. I recently had occasion to present an offer to an agent who did not inspire confidence. I was reminded how much that is the exception, and I give thanks for a community that provides a very high standard of care to our clients.

–Living in Paradise. It’s turning a wee bit chilly, but really, we live in a gorgeous area with wonderful weather. And architecture! I just had the true pleasure of representing a Julie Morgan landmark, one of the most beautiful properties I’ve ever listed. As I looked out at sail boats on the bay during a Sunday open house there I remember thinking: “it doesn’t get much better than this!”  We are so fortunate to have housing stock that includes the best of Arts & Crafts, First Bay Tradition, numerous revival styles and mid-century modern homes.

Real estate is a profession that is pressured, time-critical and intense. The stakes are high for all involved.  I couldn’t be the best that I am without my dear husband David, who is my rock.  And thanks to all of you for being part of my extended real estate family. May you have a lovely Thanksgiving celebration with your family and friends!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Our Autumn real estate market is much like the fall foliage: it’s intense, and doesn’t last long. For the next several weeks we will see an increasing number of properties appear during this concentrated fall market between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Generally this is a good time for buyers, with the number of new properties mostly exceeding the number of new active buyers. Here is my prediction for the fall market: that list prices will be higher than we’ve seen recently, and that the difference between list and sales price will start to diminish. My guess is that we’ll see fewer cases of truly wild overbidding. But they won’t go away completely: I just heard of one on Marin, below the circle, that I hope will be a good sign for the new listing I’m working on above the circle, also on Marin. This one had lovely public rooms with original wood wainscotting, and a truly original kitchen (with a great Wedgewood stove on tall legs!). It was set somewhat back from the busy street, and had a flat back garden. Upstairs was less satisfying: mostly a sixties addition, a mix of finishes, and many aluminum windows. Listed for $1.050M, I hear it received 7+ offers and is in contract around $1.5M.

I’m delighted to have just gotten another buyer into contract with their first offer, and in competition. Even here in the East Bay, where many properties are receiving multiple offers substantially over the list price, it can be done! If buyers are clear about their goals and willing to follow my recommendations for conducting their due diligence while still making their offer attractive to the seller, they can succeed. And yes, lots of cash helps!

On my last listing, a three-bedroom home located near campus, downtown and Gourmet Ghetto but on a busy block of Oxford, six of the ten offers were all-cash. But interestingly, the successful offer was not one of the all-cash offers, nor was it the highest offer. I recommended that my sellers accept the winning offer based on my confidence in the local loan broker involved, someone I had used numerous times to represent my buyers. As it was, my clients accepted an offer $300K (35%) over the list price, and I was surprised that there was more than one offer in that range. But the high offer was written $200K higher still–but with risk.

The background story is an object lesson in the importance of “seriously local” – not just the tag line of my brokerage, but how real estate works here in the East Bay. Had the agent who wrote the highest offer been a member of our local real estate community, his clients might well now own that property. But he did not write the offer the way most Berkeley agents would write the offer, nor was it well-documented. It was written as all-cash, but in fact was contingent on the sale of another property. He expected that a very high price would rule the day, regardless of a very long inspection contingency (his was one of only two offers with ANY inspection contingency). He assumed we would counter out any unsatisfactory terms. But as I explained to him, I would never shorten a buyers’ inspection contingency. Denying a buyer a contingency that they have asked for in a contract has been the basis for numerous lawsuits. Buyers must be motivated themselves to either rely on the reports provided by the seller, or better still, do their inspections in advance of submitting their offer. That is what both of my last buyers did, and in each case they both were able to fully inspect the property, put inspection reports in context, and document to the seller that they had satisfied themselves as to the condition of the property. While it requires a commitment upfront on the part of the buyer, to me it’s a much more reasonable approach than simply waiving the inspection contingency. Better still: a more balanced market. Here’s hoping that’s what this fall market will bring!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The East Bay Summer Market: Dynamic or in the Doldrums?

August 2, 2014

The second half of this year started off for me with a bang, and not just from all the fireworks in the area!  On the first of July I got buyers who are moving over from San Francisco into contract with their first offer. They fell in love with a bungalow in Temescal with tremendous original Arts & Crafts details, some of […]

Read the full article →

The East Bay Spring Real Estate Market: As Gorgeous as the Gardens–for Sellers

April 27, 2014

Ah, spring! The gardens here in the east bay are looking so gorgeous, and the air is smelling so sweet with the fragrance of iris, roses and the late-blooming wisteria. Is it any surprise that so many people want to move here?! For the sellers the early spring market has also been gorgeous. On average, sellers in the […]

Read the full article →

Kitchens and Overbidding in this Early Spring East Bay Market

March 15, 2014

I’ve just been in the enviable position of representing sellers on a popular listing. We’re at the very satisfying finale: receiving multiple offers. I had two extremely busy open houses, and more than three dozen agents asked for the disclosures. By the end of the day we received 10 offers, all over list price. The […]

Read the full article →

Looking forward to an Early Spring East Bay Market

January 18, 2014

As we enjoy the guilty pleasures of a warm, extremely dry January, besides asking if it will ever rain again, I’m making my guesses about what the East Bay real estate market will bring in this new year. Usually January is a decidedly slow month. In the past I’ve told clients that the spring market will begin when […]

Read the full article →

Hot East Bay Market in the Midst of Cold Weather

December 11, 2013

As the weather turned cold our East Bay market heated up further as inventory shrunk. Lower inventory is normal given the season. What’s unusual is that buyer demand has increased, if anything, over the past couple of months. Right after Labor Day we saw a small deluge of listings, especially in the hills where I recently […]

Read the full article →

Keeping Out the Winter Cold

December 11, 2013

These past few days saw me wearing my down coat and gloves, and being very pleased to have heated seats in my car. How is the temperature in your home? If your PG&E bill just shot up like our real estate market, I encourage you to check out a cool FREE online tool for those of […]

Read the full article →

East Bay Real Estate Market Update: The Scary Story for October 2013

October 15, 2013

October brings thoughts of “ghoulies and ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties, and things that go bump in the night.” Real estate has its own array of creatures and crawlies. Some buyers are still frozen in enchantment by alluring spells: Waiting for lower interest rates: that spell was broken 6 months ago Prices will come down again: that […]

Read the full article →

Fall Events: Great Resources for Period Enthusiasts

September 26, 2013

Several Fall events provide great opportunities for owners of vintage homes, or for anyone who likes period details, to explore resources. BAHA’s Fall Lecture Series: Living with Arts & Crafts. A three-part series will be held at the Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley. Thursday,  September 26, at 7:30 pm: The Tiles of California Faience, Berkeley, Cal., 1913–1959 […]

Read the full article →