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2123 Hidden Pond Rd, Lafayette CA

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Posted in Real Estate and Happiness, Real Estate Tips, Tips on Real Estate.

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Don’t Buy A Home Until You Read This


Buyers, do you feel pushed around by the crashing waves of multiple offers? Are you tired of getting emotionally attached to a home, only to find out that the competition has won again? Have you felt like throwing in the towel or ‘just taking a break’ from the home buying process?

YOU are not alone. Since the low point of the Bay Area housing market in February of 2012, the Real Estate Market has escalated with the wrath and fury of a seething Pele or Krakatoa.

Here are 6 ways to keep your chin up and prevail:

1) BEGIN WITH END IN MIND – Stay focused on the prize. It’s messy in the middle, so you may as well look at it as an ‘adventure’. Byron & Danielle, who with the proper guidance and a capable agent, were able to secure their dream home as they rolled the dice and made an offer on a home ‘sight unseen’. The home inspection was interesting to say they least as this was the first time they had viewed the home in person instead of just photos. With modern video and photography, it is easier to virtually ‘get inside’ the home. They closed the escrow and were happy for many years until they sold for a profit.

2) NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP – After 17 years as a top producing Real Estate Broker, I have found that the folks who are committed to the process always find the best home and can look back knowing they tried their best. Tim & Leslie offered on 13 different properties, once coming in 2nd place while writing $100K over the asking price. When they finally got an acceptance, they told me that they were ‘so happy none of the previous properties worked out’.

3) WORK AS HARD AS YOUR AGENT DOES
– You’ll need to be receiving daily updates on homes that land in your criteria. Scour open houses, look online, ask friends if they are thinking or know of anyone thinking of selling. Bill & Leila worked like crazy alongside me for a solid month. We were in touch morning, noon and night. I didn’t mind as we gave each other the continued impetus to push on. It paid off – They now live in a spectacular home with unparalleled views.

4) KNOW THY ENEMY
– Their are really no enemies in the business as everything works out for a good reason. Many conversations happen between agents that most buyers never know about. This is not to say that agents are hiding anything, on the contrary, they are working in your favor to build rapport, probe the Listing Agent with questions and find out what the Seller is ‘looking for in an offer’.

5) ALWAYS GET INTO A BACK UP POSITION – I have seen it over, over and over again – Buyer #1 wins the property. They may feel they paid too much and turn cold on the home, so they are emotional. At the inspection some items turn up and they cancel. Instead of scrambling, Seller opts for Buyer #2. Todd & Laura lost out on a great home that was purchased by a cash investor. A week later, the investor found that the flip margins were too low and promptly cancelled. Todd & Laura live there now and are loving life!

6) GET A PRE-INSPECTION
– For the cost of $500, you can feel good about coming in non-contingent and your chances will increase two/three fold in getting the winning bid as long as your offer is on point with competing offers. Larry just won a condo over 6 other offers. Why? We sat at a full home inspection the Friday before the Tuesday offer date. At crunch time, the Seller knew we were ‘serious’ about the home and the work put in in advance. Larry moves in this weekend.

Posted in Real Estate and Happiness, Real Estate Tips, Tips on Real Estate.

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What’s Ahead for Housing in 2015?

With Sellers continuing to dominate many East Bay markets, there may be some relief for weary buyers. National predictions show a 3% increase in 2015 while tapering to 2% in 2016. Although these are only predictions, housing still remains a strong sector of the economy. Like a box of chocolates, Real Estate is ‘valuable and in demand’.

68% of Americans say that it is a good time to buy. Additionally, 66% of Americans say that if they were going to move today, they would definitely buy instead of lease. 51% of Americans plan to buy in the next five years: 61% Millennials, 28% Gen X, 10% Baby Boomers. The Bay Area continues to lead the nation in Real Estate and with rents climbing astronomically, we are seeing an exodus to the East Bay. Leading Real Estate pundit, Carole Rodoni, says, “2015 will be The Year of the East Bay”. Good schools, reasonable values compared to pricier Bay Area markets and access to Silicon Valley and San Francisco are all contributing factors.

Recently, I had a buyer visit one of my Glashaus Loop Emeryville listings only to tell me they “were priced out of the $1000-1200 square foot locations like San Francisco. Paying $500 a square foot and driving 3 exits into San Francisco just makes sense”.

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6167 Contra Costa Rd, Oakland CA – $1,395,000

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2 Easton CT, Orinda CA – $995,000 Cal BRE#01245584

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6 Cindy CT, Pleasant Hill CA – $695,000

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1319 65th St, Emeryville CA – $599,000

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11 Home Security Tips

1) Lock up your home, even if you go out only for a short time. Many times Burglars just walk in through an unlocked door or window.

2) Your house should appear occupied at all times. Use timers to switch lights & leave radios on when you’re not home.

3) If you lose your keys, change your locks immediately.

4) Instead of keeping a spare key in the mailbox or under a doormat, wrap the key in foil or place in a small tin & bury it in a secret place.

5) Before turning your key over to housekeepers or service providers, check all references.

6) When moving into a new home, have locks re-keyed immediately.

7) Don’t leave notes for service people or family members on the door. These act as an open invitation for burglars.

8) Dogs are good deterrents for burglars. Even a small, noisy dog can be effective – burglars do not like to have attention drawn to their presence. Be aware that trained guard dogs generally do not make good pets.

9) It’s easy for a burglar to pry through rot. Replace rotted door frames with solid wood.

10) Keep your garage door closed & locked at all times, even when your car is not in the garage.

11) Avoid leaving garage door openers in cars parked in your driveway.

Posted in Home Maintenance, Real Estate and Happiness, Tips on Real Estate.

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Stradivarius “Francesca” Plays Kreisler

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2014 Year of the Horse & Year of the Repeat Buyer

While 2013 was the year of the investor, 2014 is expected to usher in several pivotal shifts in the housing market, including the dominance of the repeat homebuyer, Jed Kolko, chief economist with Trulia (TRLA) said in his latest housing predictions for 2014.

“As prices rise, buying homes will become less attractive to investors as well as first-time home buyers, but repeat buyers will be able to offset the higher price of the home they buy with the higher price from the home they sell,” Kolko said.

In addition to the prominence of the repeat buyers, Kolko believes next year will also see housing affordability worsen, the homebuying frenzy die down and a slowdown in rising home prices.

Furthermore, rental action will swing back toward urban apartments.

“Single-family rentals are peaking, and we are already seeing investor purchases declining,” Kolko noted.

“There will likely by a decline in the homeownership rate next year since 18-34 year olds will be moving into rentals. The homeownership rate will decline or at least be stagnant, even though what is beneath that should be a healthy moment of young people moving out of their parents’ houses into places they rent themselves,” Kolko said.

However, he did advise caution on several areas that may prove to be wild cards in 2014, including job and income growth, the effect of new mortgage rules and the constant changes in Washington, D.C..

“Already we are starting to see some policy moves that are reducing the government role in the market,” Kolko said. “They could be trial balloons or the first steps on a long path towards moving the government out of the mortgage. But I do not think this will get resolved or even more clarified in the next year.”


Looking back over 2013, Trulia launched its new housing barometer, which tracks existing home sales, new construction starts, delinquency and foreclosure rates, prices from a bubble watch and young adult employment.

“Throughout 2013, the housing recovery has progressed on most fronts but remains unbalanced. Of the five key indicators that Trulia’s Housing Barometer now follows, three are on track towards a full recovery,” Kolko said.

The two lagging in terms of entering a recovery are new construction starts and the employment rate, which are only 36% and 23% of the way back to normal, respectively.

But the good news: non-distressed sales, price levels and the delinquency and foreclosure rates are on track toward a full recovery with those indicators 79%, 71% and 59% of the way back to normal, respectively.

Source -California Association of Realtors

Posted in Real Estate and Happiness, Real Estate Tips.