I’m always fascinated to hear what people assume it’s like to be a Realtor. These past couple of weeks I’ve had several “back story” situations that I think would surprise most consumers about what are our most key duties, and how much difference an agent makes in the outcome of a deal. And so gentle readers, I hope you’ll allow me to indulge in a bit of pride in my work.

My most recent listing was a beautiful contemporary in a park-like garden. After proudly marketing it with handsome photos, a professionally produced video, and very active open houses, we received three lovely offers. But it’s never a matter of just recommending that my clients accept the highest offer. Can I negotiate the offers to be even more lovely than originally presented? In this case two offers had identicle terms, and both were significantly over list. One buyers’ agent presented to me in person, and made it clear that her clients might be willing to go higher if necessary. Another agent shared with me that her buyers wanted her to present to me…but she was awfully busy, she told me. So she presented her offer over the phone, and at the end of the conversation asked if her clients were in the running. At that point I could share with her that there was already a higher offer. She pressed for details. And here is where I enjoy the art of finessing. How you respond, and how much information you share by inference, can make a huge difference to the outcome of the transaction. By giving each of the two agents an opportunity to improve their offers, and making it clear that there truly was competition, both parties came back with improved offers. In the course of those phone conversations the sales price increased by $70K, a dramatically improved result for my seller. I know that without my standing among my colleagues, and years of experience with negotiating, I could not have achieved that price.

800 Shattuck Avenue

800 Shattuck Avenue–The Pratt-Thomas House

Some of you visited my previous listing, the 1911 Pratt-Thomas House, a John Hudson Thomas masterpiece.After working on it for so many months it feels odd to no longer have that home as part of my work life. With gorgeous original details, but also original systems, I priced it at $1.325M. It also received three offers, and in that case as well, the final price was not just the result of an exuberant market. Strategic marketing, and lots of negotiating with other agents behind the scenes produced not just a high sales price, but a truly extraordinary one: $1.8M! I’m of course delighted for my sellers, and also hope that the buyers over time will be able to restore that wonderful property.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing lots of new inventory, and a bit of softening in the high end of the market. Tech news has not all be positive. So I watch carefully for other signs of a slight change in the market.

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800 Shattuck — The Pratt-Thomas House

by arlene on April 3, 2016

The Pratt-Thomas House at 800 Shattuck Avenue is available for the first time in almost 50 years. The first of three neighboring homes designed by John Hudson Thomas for John Pratt in 1911, this is where Thomas himself lived for several years after its completion. This may be one of the most photographed homes in Berkeley, with its striking geometric patterns in the stucco finish, echoed in the interior in glass, tile and wood. It has a commanding presence on its corner lot across from Indian Rock Park; a globe-topped rhyolite pillar marks this as a prominent corner. Described variously as Secessionist, Arts & Crafts or First Bay Tradition, by any name this home is distinctly John Hudson Thomas, and a local treasure.

For more details on the Pratt-Thomas House, please visit the website at 800shattuck.com. The home will be open April 3rd and 10th, from 2:00-4:30. I would enjoy welcoming you to this John Hudson Thomas masterpiece.

 

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Sometime just asking the question can hurt you–Changes in the Insurance Industry

April 1, 2016

After the spring rains came additional things falling: trees. This is a good time to re-evaluate your insurance, and be sure that you know what would be your coverage in case a tree fell either on your property, or one of your trees fell on your neighbor.  Do you have a deductible that is so high […]

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The 2016 East Bay Real Estate Market Opens with Few Options, Lots of Cash

February 15, 2016

  It feels like spring, and daffodils, those harbingers of our new real estate market, are in bloom all around the East Bay. I know lots of properties are being prepared to come on the market, but right now the available homes are very scarce indeed. In all of Berkeley, in a $400K range of prices […]

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Autumn Market Starts with Record High Prices

September 28, 2015

The Autumn market has just begun amidst the highest median home prices ever in the East Bay. Berkeley has crested over $1M, Albany and Alameda both around $900K, and El Cerrito, is now $775K. My colleagues at Red Oak got some good air time on KPIX last week, showing the summary of our market: –1/3 […]

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One Day in the Sun: A day in the life of an East Bay listing agent

March 13, 2015

I was recently asked what is one of the favorite parts of my job as a Realtor? Certainly there are several very satisfying aspects, including providing tips about the home-buying process to new buyers, and sharing my knowledge about local architecture with people considering moving here from another area. But in this market, where inventory […]

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The 2015 East Bay Real Estate Market Opens–Low inventory, high over-bidding again?

February 3, 2015

Common wisdom among male agents is that the market starts after the Super Bowl. I’ve always described the market opening when the daffodils bloom. That major commercial event just occurred — and my first daffodil just bloomed! So if this year is like most, we should start to see more inventory appearing very soon. As […]

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Low interest rates plus low inventory ring in 2015

January 13, 2015

Happy New Year! I hope you had time since my last post to spend time with family and friends. Last week saw the first real tour of the year, but inventory is likely to remain quite low for the next few weeks. I met with new potential buyers between Christmas and New Year, and there was truly […]

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Giving Thanks for a Great Year in East Bay Real Estate!

November 26, 2014

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 […]

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The Autumn East Bay Real Estate Market: Intense and Brief

September 28, 2014

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 […]

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