Alameda, CA Real Estate News

By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
When I moved to the Bay area, I was literally jobless, homeless and friendless --- a trifecta of challenges. Having just been involuntarily retired (laid off) from a cushy corporate position, I was adrift in a sea of indecision. My love of architecture prompted me to be a realtor, at a time when it seemed that everyone wanted to be in real estate! Starting as a realtor with no experience was daunting. But there were folks who helped along the way, and this is how. Gallagher & Lindsey REALTORS based in Alameda CA, the company I joined at the height of the market, offered classes to would-be realtors, and brought us into the fold even before we took our test.  What they did for, and gave us Agent development team who managed our training program Guest speakers who held classes on a variet...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Now that it's been declared that we're officially in a recession, it is even more note-worthy to point out some positive things that are happening in our local market. Checking activity since October 1, 2008 in our little island of Alameda, CA SOLD - on the market an average of 50 days, have an average sold price of $648,717 for an average of $367/sq ft. 23 closed escrow PENDING  - on the market an average of 67 days before getting offers accepted, Average list price is $497,166, and average of $365/sq ft. Total: 23 pending 16 pending sales 1 pending court confirmation 9 pending, show for back-ups 6 pending subject to lender approval ACTIVE - on the market an average of 70 days, with an average list price of $646,077, and average of $389/sq ft. Total: 129 active as of this writing 5 act...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
I've been sighing quite a bit these past few days. Having two escrows close this week just before Thanksgiving were euphoric, but the "Oh No!" events brought me down, hard! There's this little cottage fixer. Before I activated it on the MLS, we received an offer from a contractor client. The owner, at her son's advice, said no. Two days after we listed, I received three offers. The owner, again at her son's advice, said they will wait until after one week to see if other offers come. When none did, they tried to accept the highest offer which had already expired. Two weeks later, an all cash offer came, and the owner countered. But the buyer balked, and walked. Last week, we received two offers. But the owner's son took his mother on the road from California to New York, and didn't tell...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Having information so available at your fingertips is liberating in the sense that you feel empowered to do so many things on your own. If that were the case, one can learn how to do a root canal, and do it yourself, right? Oh, you don't think so? But how do you explain people looking to buy a house without first speaking to a lender? During today's and previous open houses, I've spoken with several first time buyers. Some are more prepared than others. And there are those who start going to open houses, following signs, "just looking around." When asked if they have spoken with a lender to get pre-qualified, they say that they want to find a house first, and then they'll talk with a lender and with a realtor. Does that make sense? Shouldn't the buyer first talk with a lender, find out ...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
On the way home tonight, Gary and I decided to stop at Alameda's The Fireside Gastro Pub for a drink. A gastro pub is defined as a pub that also serves gourmet fare, a few notches above your regular pub grub. And Alameda is happy to see the rejuvenation of The Fireside into a fabulous gastro pub. "Gastropub (n). A new type of eating place bridging the gap between booze joints and upscale restaurants. These cuisine-conscious taverns started to appear about 15 years ago in England. Gasropubs have become the Anglo equivalent of the French braseerie, serving good food that's also a good value." ----www.FiresideGastropub.com This place, formerly known as The Fireside Lounge, has undergone quite a transformation from the "rowdy bar into a chic cocktail lounge." It is the project of the propri...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Today was a pleasant surprise. Because it's day after Thanksgiving, our real estate office was officially closed --- but there were some of us who were assigned to do floor time. It was fun to watch my colleagues entertain several walk-ins. Some agents came into the office with their clients. A couple of my clients also called asking for info on investment properties to buy (and another, to list). I even wrote an offer! Could it be that in addition to Black Friday being the "shoppingest" day of the year, that buyers are also arriving at a decision that now is a good time to buy? If so, hip, hip, hooray!
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
How could I complain that I'm so busy? When I'm busy that means I have clients. And even better, many of my clients also become my friends and source of leads. This final quarter of the year has been wonderfully busy with escrows in the hopper, and more possibilities in the pipeline. This week, I had two escrows close just before Thanksgiving. And for that I am deeply, deeply grateful. What closed this week: My listing of a waterfront condo. Source of lead? Active Rain and the Internet! My sellers found me on the internet when they were researching people in my area who have short sale experience. A starter bungalow for my first time buyers. Source of Lead? Buffini and Company Referral Network!     Thank you, oh, thank you!  
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By Michael Greenslade
(Better Homes & Gardens | Mason-McDuffie Real Estate)
 Hello Blog readers, I though that I would share this with you.  It's a listing of duplexes for sale in Oakland. Have you ever considered a duplex?  It's a great time to pick up an income property.  If you are not sure you would be able to make all the payment on your property buy yourself and don't want to have a roommate, consider a duplex. Duplexes are only slightly more expensive than single family detached homes.  A duplex is like having that roommate, but only having a wall between you and them.....cool huh.  Here is a list of available duplexs in Oakland above $300,000.00 from the MLS, I thought that I would give this a try for the blog.   This list will I am sure expire as the properties go on and off the market. If you would like an updated list, call. http://MAXEBRDI.fnismls.c...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Your REALTOR: Pacita C. Dimacali November 2008 Call me for exceptional real estate service and results. Copyright © 2008 Realty TimesAll Rights Reserved. Smaller Homeowner Relief Already In Place   Don't wait for home owner bailout provisions to trickle down from the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008," (H.R. 1424) recently rushed through Congress.       When it comes to help from new federal legislation for distressed home owners, the $300 billion "Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008" (H.R. 3221), signed earlier this year, can provide more immediate relief.       The $300 billion recovery act has both a mandated mortgage modifying provision and a voluntary "Hope For Homeowners" (H4H) refinance program, for home owners who qualify. Mortgage Rates U.S. avera...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
It's a nightmare. A few Alameda listings have gone on and off the MLS while buyers and sellers try to figure out how to get the sale to go through. The glitch? The city has flagged the properties as having unpermitted work. And unless the work is done according to code --- and this could involve removing the offending work -- the property undergoes intense scrutiny, and in many cases, huge fines, to resolve. NOSY NEIGHBORS OR VIGILANTE CITY INSPECTORS? The realtors are hearing horror stories of people who go to open houses or get flyers about properties, or vigilante neighbors who go to city to look up permit histories and records of expansion, etc. I once received a call from a City Representative who asked me if my Sellers had a second stove in the expansion they did in the lower floo...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
This house is listed at $525,000. The sellers agreed to install an automatic gas valve cut off, test the sewer lateral, leave their fairly new washer, dryer, refrigerator with the house, and reimburse the buyer up to $500 towards inspections if the escrow is cancelled. When the first time buyer wrote an offer on the property, we provided a copy of the termite inspection, along with the estimated cost for Section 1 repairs. Upon acceptance, she hired a home inspector, got three Heating contractors to examine the furnace, had window contractors to estimate costs to fix broken glass on a couple of windows. All inspections were done at separate times. By the time she was through, she submitted an extensive request for for replacing the water heater, replacing the furnace, repairing the deck...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
First, let's put things in perspective. The small island of Alameda has a population of approximately 72,000 people. Yes, it's that small. Two months ago, I reported that out of the active homes for sale in Alameda, 14% were bank-owned (REO) and short sales. FOR SALE     As of this writing, there are 146 homes offered for sale. 32 are either REOs or short sales, or 22% compared to 14% in September. 16 are $500K and above, or 11% of total homes for sale 16 are below $500K SHORT SALES 18 are short sales, or 12% of total homes for sale 2 homes, barely two years old, are in Bayport development of Warmington Homes 9 of the short sales are listed above $500K REO (Real estate owned, or bank-owned) 14 are bank owned, or 9.5% of total homes for sale 8 are listed above $500K HOMES ARE SELLING!   ...
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By Jean Powers, CRS,e-PRO,HAFA,SFR Broker, Northern California
(Kane & Associates call 510.908.9002)
Living in Alameda, California all my life is quite an experience. I grew up on Bay Farm Island. We all took a school bus to school on the Main Island over a shabby wooden bridge which is now a nice modern draw bridge. A few years ago a bike bridge was built with much controversy.  Public transportation did not run out there on the weekends. There were four streets of residences in those days. The rest was farmland, a golf course and water. Actually Bay Farm Island is not an island at all and is located next to the Oakland Airport. In the 80's  a new development was built on landfill called Harbor Bay Isle. There is now a division of Bay Farm Island and Harbor Bay Isle. To arrive on the Main Island people must drive over one of four bridges or go through the Posey Tube. Our community is ...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
SO CLOSE! On November 4, 2008, Alameda CA voted to increase its city transfer taxes from $5.40/$1000 of sales price to $12.00, or an unbelievable increase of 122%. It passed by a narrow margin: 15,256 (50.70%) in favor, to 14,836 (49.30%) against, or a difference of only 420 votes. This measure was presented as a question: To maintain essential City services such as keeping existing fire stations open; maintaining neighborhood policing programs;improving traffic flow and pedestrian and bicycle safety; preventing recreation program cutbacks; and restoring previously reduced library hours; shall the City of Alameda increase the City real property transfer tax, charged when a property is sold, from $5.40 to $12.00 per $1,000.00 of value, limited to 20 years and subject to audits? This puts...
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By Jean Powers, CRS,e-PRO,HAFA,SFR Broker, Northern California
(Kane & Associates call 510.908.9002)
I live in Alameda, California. Our city government wanted to double our city transfer tax. Our city is hurting financially just like most cities. The property owners are always getting dinged everytime an entity of some sort needs money. Propery owners now pay for a parcel tax for out library, hospital and schools. Proposition P was placed on the ballot and passed! Now everytime someone buys or sells they will have to pay twice as much for the transfer tax. It was $5.40 per thousand and now it will doubled. I understand the need to help our government but it is always the property owners that have to pay!  Our city owns it own electric company. I keep suggetsing that we add a tax on our electricity so that everyone pays equally. I guess they do not want to take the time to implement tha...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Lately, it's been puzzling and stressful in getting loans processed, especially for properties that are considered fixers. Here's what's confusing to me: supposedly, both loans are approved, but there are conditions per the underwriters. "HOLD BACK "ON Property 1 is in bad shape, with cracked plaster, peeling paint and wallpaper, and a part of the house that slopes slightly. The appraiser valued it at $10K less than accepted offer price, but we managed to get the seller to agree to the price reduction. Then the underwriter wanted to hold back $50k in escrow while some repairs are done that include getting the foundation repaired to cure the slope. Fortunately, we have a buyer and a seller who are cooperative. The buyer even offered to pay interest on the monies held back until the repai...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
How often does it happen, and how true is it that the first offer is almost always the best offer? Last week  I activated on the MLS a fixer. The family and I have been talking since June about listing it. In August, I mentioned the fixer to one of my contractor clients who offered a decent price for it. The family didn't want to even look at the offer. The next couple of months, I tried to explain that we are losing ground in terms of how much we can get for the house. So they agreed to let me list it last week. I proposed a lower price since prices of homes in general are trending downwards, but they wanted to list it at a higher price. It was all I could do to get approval to put up a yard sign and a lockbox. Then 2 days after I activated it on the MLS, we received three offers, and ...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Today, I posted my newest listings, and can't help but be amazed at the wide disparity between these properties. Nearly the same size house and lot, they can't be any more different than they are today. And their prices reflect that. Both located in the beautiful and picturesque city of  Alameda. Encinal house  The owners have upgraded and remodeled this home that they bought 4 years ago. They painstakingly developed a xeriscape-inspired landscape for their beautiful gardens, added three fountains and a medititation nook as a tribute to feng shui principles of harmony with the elements. Along the way, they put a new wood shingle roof to conform with the Cape Cod architecture, remodeled and upgraded the kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, put in motorized an...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
Five Key Areas to Pay Attention to When Buying a Home   Looking for a new home can be exciting and frustrating. You can help alleviate the frustration by paying close attention to five key areas of the homes you're considering buying; it may save you money in the long run.       Don Walker is an inspector and owner of Ace Home Inspections. He says there are five areas in homes that he frequently reports problems with. They are electrical, foundation, plumbing, the attic, and landscaping.       Electrical. Walker says sometimes homeowners assume with newer homes that all will work just fine but that's often Mortgage Rates U.S. averages as of September 25, 2008:30 yr. fixed:   6.09%15 yr. fixed:   5.77%1 yr. adj:        5.16%View current rates not the c...
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By Pacita Dimacali, Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
(Alain Pinel)
I am thrilled to have as many buyers as sellers. And I am doubly thrilled that the buyers I am working with are serious buyers. Where do I find buyers? How do they find me? Craigslist Calls on my listings     Today, I received a call from someone who found my post on craigslist for a waterfront and largest model 3 bedrooms/2.5 baths condo at the Alameda/Oakland Estuary. So I showed the condo to him and his friends --- and in the course of fact-finding, I found out that all three of them are interested in buying homes in Alameda. That one call turned into viewings of other properties. We are scheduling more viewings next week. Oh...and they need help marketing their current condos for lease-purchase. This is a good time to mention the 10 things you can do when posting on craigslist A few...
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