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 nothing to show them! As an example, right now in Berkeley, Albany and Kensington combined there are only five active properties listed between $700K and $1M. In all of Oakland there are only 31 active properties in that range, and most of those have been sitting for some time. But by the time you read next month’s post I will expect the market to have come out of hibernation.

Interest rates are back to nearly historic lows

Interest rates are back to nearly historic lows

I’m predicting that this will be another active year, with a new wave of buyers urged on by very low interest rates. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell below 3.75% last week. That’s the lowest level since May 2013. For the same week a year ago the average was 4.63%. Rates on 15-year fixed mortgages have slipped below 3%. So if you’ve been thinking about refinancing, this would be an excellent time to take action!

January is the month when so many people vow to take on major projects and this is a great time to get prepared. If you’re thinking about buying or selling this year, or know someone who is considering such a move, of course I hope you’ll give me a call so that I can help you achieve your goals. A couple of important steps to consider:

  • Talking with a lender: Getting your credit and financial affairs in order can take a few weeks or a few months depending on your situation. Meeting with a lender far in advance is a great first step to help determine what you can spend.
  • Investigating tax implications: While as a Realtor I can walk you through the details of a purchase or sale transaction, tax ramifications should be referred to your accountant. Selling or buying a home can have significant tax implications so it’s a great idea to get answers early in the process.

I’m starting off the year with a new group of agents to mentor. Red Oak Realty has hired six brand new agents, the first time in many years that has happened. They all are sharp, motivated folks with previous careers, and a passion for real estate.  I serve as their guide to the industry, teaching them best practices.  It’s exciting to influence a group that has no bad habits to undo! And I know that I will learn from their questions. It is a good challenge to be forced to explain how every aspect of real estate works. Wish me patience! And I send you my best wishes for much happiness and good health in 2015!

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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!

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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