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17 11, 2015

November Musings

 

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

 

Wow! It’s mid-November already!
With the cooler weather and shorter days, it really does feel like a new season is upon us….the season of eating and baking and shopping and giving and family and friends, and holiday traffic and…

This is also the time of year when we think about all the many things for which we are grateful–big and small, profound and silly.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the best way to find happiness is to “cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously.”

Did you know there’s an app that will remind you to stop and be thankful every day? There’s also a Twitter feed for all your musings #IAmGrateful. Not sure this is what Emerson had in mind, but it’s a start.

Today I’m grateful for the Point Pinole Regional Shoreline, which I only recently discovered and which has amazing trails, off-leash walks for my doodle, ocean views, and stunning trees like this one, covered in bizarre golden fungi. I’m grateful for living in this amazing place called the East Bay!

Whatver medium or meme you choose, I hope you get to spend some time experiencing your own gratitude this month. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Best,

Corey

 

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

Point Pinole Regional Shoreline

22 10, 2015

Recent Sales Data–When will Buyers catch a break?!

Third Quarter Market Snapshot

This chart is a shapshot–a comparison of the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2014, and that’s just a small bit of data in a larger context. But it definitely expresses the feeling of this current market as my Buyer clients experience it. There is still a shortage of inventory, and prices continue to rise.

If you want to sell your home–it’s still a great time. If you want to buy a home it can be tough, so you have to be smart, tenacious and open-minded. And this market favors the brave–the risk takers, the flexible, the ones who are playing to win. And playing with the long view.

At a recent real estate market talk I attended, the presenter, Carol Rodoni, said that everyone asks her if we are at the peak of this market. She said, and I’m paraphrasing here…”knowing what you know now, don’t you all wish you had bought at the peak of the last market?!”

Of course I don’t have a crystal ball, and no one I know has ever been to the future–but I do know that we are part of a region that is experiencing tremendous growth and economic prosperity, and that the East Bay is one of the last few “affordable” places near the Bay. I also know that the vast majority of homes bought here are purchased with a minimum of 20% down, and many with all cash, so homebuyers have a serious stake in their own homes, and a lot of skin in the game.

While we are no doubt in a market cycle that will change over time, we don’t know what that change will look like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 04, 2014

The Hottest ‘Hoods in the East Bay Right Now

At my open houses lately people have been talking about which neighborhoods are “hot” right now.  NOBE? Piedmont Ave? South Berkeley? Point Richmond? Uptown? Rockridge?

I think folks mean to ask which neighborhoods are trendy and strangely magical — luring buyers with delectable urban treats like house-cured local meats and freshly roasted, cold-brewed oji coffee, or bike-sharing, art galleries and parklets. But hot is not just about hip — and savvy buyers and sellers know this.

There are certain neighborhoods that always claim high prices, are competitive for buyers, easy to sell, and increase in value over time. These are stable communities, often with good schools, access to amenities and easy commutes.

Trends come and go. Real estate moves in cycles, and sometimes by the time you catch the trend you’ve missed the flow of the cycle—when you can find great deals or sell before the market changes, or be at the front of the next “hot” neighborhood.

When I’m talking with a client about selling their home, being in a “hot” neighborhood could mean a lot of extra value to them if they play their cards right.

When a buyer is looking for the next hot area, they want to buy into a place while it’s trending up, so they can feel secure in their investment or get in before it becomes too spendy.

So what’s hot right now in the East Bay?

Let’s look at the neighborhoods with the highest median sales price, the greatest year over year increase in price, the homes selling the most over their asking price, and the ones selling in the shortest time*.

THE 5 HOTTEST NEIGHBORHOODS:

Highest median sale price: (otherwise knows as Always In Demand)
1. Piedmont: $1.635M
2. Claremont, Berkeley: $1.363M
3. Rockridge (Upper), Oakland: $1.325M
4. Berkeley Hills, Berkeley: $1.043M
5. Rockridge (Lower), Oakland: $913K

Greatest year-over-year increase in price:
1. Eastmont, Oakland: 97%
2. Belding Woods, Richmond: 65%
3. Iveywood, Oakland: 60%
4. Webster, Oakland: 59%
5. North & East Richmond: 59%

Furthest over asking:
1. Claremont, Berkeley: 26.5%
2. Rockridge (Lower), Oakland: 18.8%
3. Frick, Oakland: 17.4%
4. Brookfield Village, Oakland: 15.6%
5. Cox, Oakland: 14.7%

Shortest Number of Days on the Market:
1. Davis Tract, San Leandro: 7 days
2. Cox, Oakland: 8 Days
3. Brookfield Village, Oakland 8 Days
4.  Bay Farm Island, Alameda: 14 Days
5. Eastmont Hills, Oakland: 14 Days 

*At least 5 single family home sales in both quarters.

Are you looking in these neighborhoods? Are you finding them particularly competitive? What do you think?

Let me know at corey@orangedoorproperties.com

14 03, 2014

Sounding Off

 

The SF Chronicle has a weekly series called Sound Off where they ask 3 Bay Area Realtors a question about the marketplace and they each give an answer. Today was my turn–3/14/14

Q: Sound Off: What finishes or designs do you see in the homes you sell?

A: As a listing agent, I feel that my primary objective is to sell my clients’ home for the best price and on the best terms possible. That means understanding the demographics and mind-set of the most likely buyers for each property.

Most of properties I’ve been listing lately appeal to urban buyers who want great access to amenities, transit, schools, parks, etc. The aesthetic of their home is clean, modern and friendly – more casual than in other times, but chic.

Consequently, as we prepare these listings for sale, I am recommending clean white paint with pops of color, stagers who use modern, simple design elements and furniture that isn’t fussy. We update kitchen counters with quartz and butcher-block, use white subway tiles for back-splashes, and clean, stainless appliances. The days of insisting on cherry wood and granite are over. Such examples of this style are visible with a recent listing of mine. Visit www.261mather.com to see.

Corey Weinstein,

(510) 708-0789, corey@orangedoorproperties.com

 

 

 

 

13 03, 2014

250 Trinity Avenue in Kensington

Stop by 250 Trinity Ave. this weekend to check out the stunning view from the new redwood deck. We’ll be open from 2-4 on Sundays 3/16 and 3/23 You won’t get to see this kind of sunset in daylight hours–so we’re posting it here!

sunset small

Full gallery of photos and details about the property can be found at www.250Trinity.com or contact me directly at 510.708.0789 or corey@orangedoorproperties.com with any questions

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6 03, 2014

In which East Bay neighborhoods are homes selling for more than they did in ’05?

261 Mather 08 small

We all know that the real estate market has cycles–and it certainly feels like we are in the heart of a big upswing again. Most would-be buyers out there looking for a home, as well as recent home purchasers, can attest to the craziness of the over-bidding, the huge amount of competition, and the general melee of the market this past year.

We also know that this current boom is coming on the heels of a major downturn and recession following the banking crisis of 2008. It’s true that the market was still strong through 2007, but sales in the East Bay and elsewhere had started to dip before that big fall. For most neighborhoods, the last boom really peaked in 2005.

While it may feel like the market is hot and crazy again, believe it or not, in many neighborhoods, homes are still selling well below their 2005/06 peaks.

But by the end of 2013, many neighborhoods had surpassed even those 2005 peak prices. Can you guess which ones?

EAST BAY NEIGHBORHOODS-Q2 of 2013 VS Q2 of 2005   

Greatest Appreciation in Median Sales Prices of Single Family Homes

Corey Comparison Revised (2)

So far in 2014 the market has remained strong, but it does seem like inventory is starting to outpace demand, at least in some areas.  Are we looking toward a more balanced market, or even (dare we ask) a buyers’ market anytime soon? What are your predictions?

If you are interested in learning what your home is worth, and/or in receiving quarterly updates about home values in your neighborhood, send me an email at corey@orangedoorproperties.com.

 

28 01, 2014

We Put You There


When you think about owning a house–what is it that you crave? A sense of home? A place to raise your family? A sound financial investment? Belonging to a neighborhood? A space to garden, a place to retreat… All these factors and many more play into Buyers’ decisions about when and where to purchase a home.

As Realtors, a big part of our job is to help clients clarify their ideas and feelings about home ownership so we can be your best advocate and help you find the best place for you.

It’s our work to help you prioritize from among the many items on your wish-lists, strategize neighborhoods, types of homes, and resources for your search. It’s our job to listen to what you are saying and help you navigate the sometimes labyrinthian process that is Buying a Home. It’s our promise to keep your needs at the center of our work–to find properties, to ask tough questions and provide real advice.

It’s our job to get you to the finish line–where the keys are yours and you are ready to move in and begin the next chapter…We put you there.

18 12, 2013

Five Tips for Shopping For a Home with Your Kids

IMG_0635-smallI work with a lot of families to buy and sell real estate in the East Bay, and it can be a lot to juggle – looking at houses, entertaining small children, and thinking about how your family would fit in the home, where the kids would go to school, and would you feel comfortable in the neighborhood. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind when you are house shopping with your kids:

 

1. Be strategic
Don’t plan to see 12 properties in one afternoon. Plan to see only the top prospects, and let’s schedule another visit for the others. As your Realtor, it’s my job to be your personal shopper and preview properties for you.

2. Distract them
Bring some toys, an art project and/or an electronic device. Bring a sketchpad and crayons or stickers, some toys or a puzzle so your older child can stay occupied (in case we’re there for awhile). Lots of parents feel guilty about letting their kids play on their mobile devices, but shopping for a home takes focus and you need to be able to breathe and take in the space around you. Don’t beat yourself up if what works for your child is an episode of Blues Clues or some time in the world of Minecraft. You can also plan to take turns looking at properties if there are two of you, so your children can feel connected to you during the process, and everyone will feel more relaxed.

3. The value of a school is more than just test scores
When you are looking at a home for your family, school is almost always a factor. There are great resources for parents like Berkeley Parents Network, Education.com GreatSchools, EBISA (East Bay Independent Schools Assn) and individual school websites. Of course, you should also plan on visiting the local schools themselves and speaking with teachers, parents and principals to help you assess if it’s the right choice for your family.

4. Check out kid/family-friendly amenities
Look near the homes you are considering. Is a park or playground in walking distance? How close is the library and how is there children’s section? Is there a farmer’s market, bakery or café nearby? Who delivers pizza? Where will you get groceries or a last-minute gallon of milk?

For some families, outdoor space and land is more important than proximity to amenities. As long as you are clear on your priorities for your family, I can help you narrow your search to find properties that suit you. If walkability or nearby transit for your commute is important, websites like walkscore.com can help you determine how pedestrian, bike and transit-friendly an area is.

5. Talk to the neighbors
Buyers can glean a lot of information from talking with the neighbors, and I highly recommend it to all my clients, especially families. You want to feel comfortable in your home and in your neighborhood – whether that’s your block, your building, or the wider community – ask questions. Most neighbors want to tell you what they think. Is it important to you if there are other kids on the block? Is there a neighborhood group or email list you could join? Are there any safety issues you want to explore? Will you feel at home in your new home?

I’ve got lots of experience working with families and am happy to talk with you about yours. Want to share some of your tips? Email me at corey@orangedoorproperties.com.