Alameda, CA Real Estate News

By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Last Sunday was going to be a busy open house day. My listing is on a corner lot. So put up colorful flags on one side, and another set of coloful flags on the other side to form a "V" to lead people straight to the front door. THE NERVE! Imagine my consternation when another agent whom I will not identify (but I will if she pulls this stunt again) who has a listing a few doors from me, planted her sign DIRECTLY IN FRONT of my listing, and in the middle of the flags. There are four corners on that street -- my listing is one corner, I had my sign and flags on that corner. Couldn't she have placed her sign on any one of the three that don't have signs? My seller was outraged when she saw that...and told me again how much she disliked that agent's brokerage. She is going to tell her clien...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
I Every time I have a broker's tour in my island city, I always (ALWAYS!) serve Chinese dim sum appetizers and bottled water. It's become sort of a "signature" refreshment, and people who know me, know I will always serve dim sum. Today, I held a broker's tour for my newest listing at a very desirable part of Alameda called Marina/Fernside. Here's the VISUAL TOUR.  Over 50 agents toured the place, and many chatted for a spell. I was expecting a good turnout, but I can't believe just how many came.We even had agents from neighboring cities ---- and that's a rarity in itself. Did I do anything different?No, nothing new. But I did: Post it on craigslist (some agents said they or their clients saw the ad, and wanted to check it out Create a visual tour Posted it on VFlyer Advertised in the ...
Comments 8
By Chuck & Nancy Bianchi, CRS, ABR & E-PRO
(Harbor Bay Realty)
The title of the post refers to the weather in the area over the last week. Spring may be in the air but its feeling a lot like summer. Last Wednesday afternoon I spent a few hours volunteering at the Alameda Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo and monthly mixer which was very well attended. Those who participated or attended will surely vouch for its success. Although a long day, a second wind is never far behind a Chamber of Commerce event. Friday was road trip day. Early this year we sold a home in the Clipper Cove development of Harbor Bay for a very nice retired couple. Although their home was on the market for some time, they realized that to get their up leg property they needed to get in tune with the market at that given time and forget about their expectations of the market. T...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Dear Homeowner If it appears that the only available option to you is to sell your property as a short sale, here are things you should know: Short sale is a type of pre-foreclosure sale in which the lender allows the property securing a mortgage or deed of trust loan to be sold for less than the full amount due, and accepts the proceeds from the sale as payment in full. Short Sale Approval Most lenders will approve a short sale only as a last resort to foreclosure because of the following: The borrower is insolvent The proposed purchase price is more than the lender can sell the property after foreclosing on the loan The market value of the property is below the loan balance due to local and national economic conditions The property was refinanced at a higher value based on an inflated...
Comments 8
By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
This woman called me, clearly in distress. She's losing her house that she felt she shouldn't have bought in the first place. She saw me on HGTV's "What's my house worth" and was reminded that she wanted to talk to me. NEGATIVE AMORTIZATION (Mistake #1) When she was looking to buy a house, using money from her 401K as a downpayment, she fell in love with a house. Three times she was turned down by lenders who told her that with her income, she couldn't qualify for a loan. But a third lender told her that she can: with a negative amortization loan. That was three years ago. When her monthly payments started rising, she couldn't afford to make the payments and stopped altogether. OWNER TRIED TO HANDLE NEGOTIATION by herself (Mistake #2) She said she talked with the lender numerous times, ...
Comments 5
By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Multiple offers on REOS. Multiple offers on Short Sales. Multiple offers on Regular Sales. This is a buyer's market? Yes, we tell buyers it's a good time to buy. Many of them agree. After all, prices are lower. Interest rates are lower. there are many choices. But there are also MANY buyers. Not that there's anything wrong with that (if you're the listing agent). But it's mind-boggling how many times my buyers and I have had to compete to buy property. Anything under $200-300K for a detached property (not condo or townhouse) will generate a lot of attention and offers. In Alameda CA, if we find a house under or in the low $500K, that will get people's pulses racing. "A deal!" People say. So they rush and write an offer. Then we find out there are others who are thinking the same thing. ...
Comments 14
By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
It's interesting to see/hear about the disdain some folks have of people in our profession. So it makes me wonder when and why people decided to become Realtors. As kids, we wanted to be teachers, nurses, doctors, firemen, police officers. But as Realtors? I was reading a local blogger's post and her readers' comments, and was dismayed to read where they thought it doesn't take much to be a realtor. (Viewing realtors as honest is another blog). So I looked for information about Realtor profiles, etc. And from the 2008 Member Profile of the National Association of Realtors, here are some gems: Real estate industry accounts for about 20% of the nation's gross domestic product, making it one of the largest sectors of the economy. EDUCATION 34% are college educated (compared to 26% of the l...
Comments 12
By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
What an exciting time for real estate buyers and sellers! We truly are living in interesting times. Here are some recent tax breaks to help stimulate the economy, give home buyers and sellers a break: California’s Mortgage Protection. On April 2, 2009, the California Association of Realtors announced, through the Housing Affordability Fund Mortgage Protection Program, that first-time home buyers who lose their jobs due to layoffs may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 per month, for six months, to help make their mortgage payments.    First Time Home Buyer Credit. A tax credit of up to $8,000 is available for eligible first-time home buyers purchasing a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. Unlike the tax credit enacted in 2008, the new credit doe...
Comments 2
By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Several prospective buyers and investors have contacted me about properties they have seen---and thought ---- were foreclosures because of info they found online in sites like RealtyTrac, and recently in ForeclosureRadar (California) However, it is important to tell prospective buyers and investors that not all properties in distress are for sale. The property owners may have received a Notice of Default, or even a Notice of Trustee Sale. But not all is lost. This may be a good time to review what a property owner can do to keep her property: Forbearance. the lender may allow the property owner to pay less than the full amount of the mortgage payment during the forbearance period. Mortgage companies may consider forbearance when the owner can show that funds from a bonus, tax refund, or...
Comments 2
By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Having been in multiple offers and counter offers situations lately for residential property listings, it is evident that something is happening. Buyers are stirring! What's happening in Alameda? SOLD Homes sold since January 1, 2009 to date: 70 Highest price sold during this time: $1,995,00 Lowest price sold: $150,000 Average sold price according to the comparative market analysis: $553,973 Average days on market: 60 PENDING TO DATE: Pending sales: 68 Highest list price: $1,298,000 Lowest list price: $168,000 Average list price: $556,632 Average days on market: 65 ACTIVE LISTINGS TO DATE: Homes actively offered for sale: 127 Highest list price: $1,728,000 Lowest list price: $199,900 Average list price: $642,200 Average days on market: 68 REOs AND SHORT SALES SOLD since January 1, 2009:...
Comments 2
By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
It's a bidding war. True or false? According to HeraldTimesOnline.com, "Buyers' market seems imminent". And Washington Post says, "In a Buyer's Market, the message is: fix it, or else."  Didn't we say this is a "buyer's market" and "prices have come down". NOT! At least, not in this case. A really nice cottage came on the market in Alameda CA last Friday. I was the first to show it. And no sooner were we getting out of the house, there was a line of agents and their buyers outside the door. During the open house Saturday and Sunday, the place was mobbed. It's a bidding war! By Monday, there were several offers. More people said they would write, but passed when they were told they shouldn't write for less than list price which is what some buyers hoped to do. So why are we bidding up? T...
Comments 13
By Garrick Werdmuller
(Caliber Home Loans)
Fannie and Freddie rolled out their DU Refi Plus this week.  In a nut shell, these Limited Cash Out refi's allow a greater level of flexibility for Fannie & Freddie serviced homes.  To clarify, if the loan was original sold to Fannie or Freddie for servicing then they may be elegibile.  To determine whether they are presently serviced by Fannie or Freddie you must access their site. The links are attached and the steps are pretty self explanatory.Fannie:    http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/Freddie:   http://www.freddiemac.com/   As long as one has good credit the rates and terms are phenomenal!  One can refinance their home at 105% loan to value and get a rate in the mid 4's! The guidelines would turn this into a very long blog so contact me for details and I can pre qual you quickly...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Waiting for the bottom of the market before buying. Newsflash: There won't be an announcement! There are so many buyers who are still waiting, waiting, waiting for the bottom of the market. Just when is that bottom? Who's going to say when we've reached that point? Is the media going to trumpet that occasion and post that headline for everyone to know?Here's a newsflash: There's not going to be an announcement. You'll know when the bottom WAS and AFTER we're already on the upswing.So, what are people waiting for?Interest Rates.  How much lower do they want it to be? Mortgage Rates U.S. averages as of March 26, 2009:30 yr. fixed:   4.85%15 yr. fixed:   4.58%1 yr. adj:        4.85% View current rates Here's a great summary, as provided by one of my title reps.  This is only through Februa...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Not too long ago, I had an online exchange with a local blogger who asked: "Do you specialize in the sob story listings?" Well, it looks like I have TWO new sob story listings.  There's a possibility of a third coming up. In the interest of brevity, I'll only mention this story. SOB STORY #1 Yesterday, I received a call from a nurse who was ready to surrender to foreclosure and let the bank take over the condo that she bought for her seriously ill brother and sister. Sadly both siblings died shortly after moving in. Since her resources are limited and without additional income, she couldn't keep up with the payments. She tried to get her realtor (who sold her the condo) to help sell it as a short sale, but she said that realtor seemed disinterested. Even after she called him a few times...
Comments 20
By Garrick Werdmuller
(Caliber Home Loans)
I have had several requests for reverse mortgage all over the Bay Area recently.  The scenario today was a gentleman aged 70 had a retirement of 400K in 2005 which is now worth 120K. He told me he was "practicing jumping from his kitchen chair". He said it jokingly but it made me wonder.   For him, the reverse mortgage is the perfect solution!  New guidelines value reverse mortgages up to $625,500 and NO HIGHER (up fro $417,000).  So despite his house appraising at over 1 million the property value is $625, 500 for our purposes. He wanted to get an extra $500 a month or an extra $100K credit line which he won't have to pay back unless he moves or sells the property.   When I ran the numbers I found I could get him a $95K credit line or an additional $574 a month! Nothing has to be paid ...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Yesterday, I showed a truly adorable cottage to my client. The seller is not (yet) underwater on her mortgage, but could be if she receives an offer less than what she owes at which point, it could be a short sale. The property's current market value isn't worth what the seller is asking for. It's already gone through two agents, has had the price adjusted more than once. And it's still over-priced. I talked with the listing agent to get the full story. And she told me the seller is applying for a loan modification, and that she should get an answer by April. So...what if her loan is modified? The agent said the seller will keep the house. But what if there's an offer and it's accepted before the seller gets an answer to her loan modification aplication? The agent said it will have to b...
Comments 16
By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
We in the picturesque and lovely island of Alameda were probably lulled into thinking we are not going to be as adversely affected by the economic downturn. After all, this is a desirable place to live. It may not be in the same league as posh neighborhoods like Piedmont, but it certainly has its fans among people looking for a good place to live in the East Bay and within a fairly short commute to San Francisco. FOR SALE As of this writing, Alameda has 143 residential properties, actively listed as for sale on our local MLS. Of these, 21.6% are distressed sales. Last year, it was at 11%. And the year ago was less than that. 24 are short sales 8 are bank owned ....AND NOW, FOR THE REST OF THE STORY... But upon checking with ForeclosureRadar.com ---check out the link on our company websi...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Tonight, on my way home, I decided to stop by the Alameda Wine Company to pick up a bottle of 'wine to drop off at my clients' home where they just moved in last weekend. Yes, I know...it was unannounced, but I was comfortable enough to stop by with what Brian Buffini calls a "pop by". HUGS! Am I glad I did. Tony opened the door...and he was genuinely delighted to see me. Hugs! Carla who just finished her class (she's teaching her students how to speak Italian) came out. More hugs. What was intended to be a very short visit, turned into an hour, as we shared a bottle of wine, some cheese and truffles, and many stories. They told me over and over again how happy they are to be in their home. THEIR CASTLE Carla hooked up with her family in Italy via Skype, and using her computer's web cam...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
My heart truly bleeds for people who     ....truly believed and hoped they can achieve the American dream of home ownership ....reached out for the brass ring ....saved and saved and saved to put a decent down payment on a home ....loved living in a home they call their own ....paid their taxes. ....kept up with their monthly payments ....supported the local economy by buying goods and services relating to maintenance and enhancement of their home and lifestyle ....when the economy started going south, did what they could to stay afloat as long as they could keep their home. And when the job market dealt them a powerful blow, they lost their jobs.  And in spite of their efforts to be responsible homeowners and still feed their families, they lost their homes. How could I not grieve wit...
Comments 6
By Jean Powers, CRS,e-PRO,HAFA,SFR Broker, Northern California
(Kane & Associates call 510.908.9002)
  Our California Statewide MLS is moving along very fast! Aside from the fact that we will be able to search properties through out the state, I am very exited about the vendor! Concentric is the vendor of choice. The agents will be able to go on directly through Concentrics or if you MLS chooses, they can still use the front end of their existing MLS and the agents will not have a learning curve. Of course your MLS will have to opt-in and join calREDD or the agents will not have statewide access. Concentric is a new company and  it is a fantastic program! They are making presentations to Associations and real estate companies right now. You might want to sit in on a presentation. Go to the calREDD for more info. It is worth it! The public needs to be aware of this new Multiple Listing...
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