Tag Archive | house

Wake-up Call For That ‘Buy Low’ Opportunity?

If you are new to what appears here, please forgive me if I seem to be nagging a bit. Sorry if this sounds like your mother’s sterner voice coming at you (that one from years ago – the one she used when you were especially absent-minded, often accompanied by a scowl). If you’re not guilty, please know this is not directed at you.

For everyone else who’s been checking in to find out about the Northern California home prices or about Walnut Creek real estate in general, you know I’ve been beating the drum about the unusual combination of great real estate buys and low mortgage rates. Ever since the housing crisis created a large overhang of distressed properties, there was a general reluctance to take advantage of the situation – even though in real estate, as in other investments, the adage buy low, sell high is as true today as ever before. I haven’t been shy about pointing out that it couldn’t last forever.

Given the public perception that residential real estate (including NorCal home prices) were more or less stuck at a low point, there may not have seemed to be much reason to get going.  But opportunities don’last forever, and markets always change

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Last week the inevitable apparent sea change seemed to hit the front pages in a big way. One really significant front page in particular: The Wall Street Journal’s. Their news flash was subsequently picked up and amplified on national, then local TV news shows. In other words, the pot truly began to boil.

The front page, above-the-fold headline was unusually unambiguous: “Home Prices Climb As Supplies Dwindle.” The article elaborated that during the last quarter, home prices rose by the largest percentage in at least seven years. The climb was 2½ % over June — and a full 6% above the previous quarter!

Demand, the WSJ reported, is up, while supplies are down “sharply.” Main reason: The distressed sales numbers (foreclosures, short sales, etc.) show “better and better prices.” Another reason: investors have been ‘scooping up’ homes.

Now, of course this mega-blip on the home price radar screen is almost certain to be followed by more ups and downs. Anything is possible; trends don’t move up in a straight line; etc. etc. etc. But if you are one of many who have been waiting for Contra Costra or Alameda County home prices to drop further, the Journal finding may come as a louder than expected wake-up call. It might also give Walnut Creek, Lafayette, San Ramon, Danville and Alamo home sellers reason to begin getting a bit more stubborn about their own bottom lines.

If you are beginning to think that the time is ripe for your own family’s move to homeownership, or are a Vallejo, Benecia, Concord, Pleasant Hill or Lafayette homeowner who has been patiently waiting for the right time to make a move, I would welcome your call to discuss the current market. If we are to believe The Journal, it looks like some major moves are already underway!

You’ve Got 5 Seconds To Sell Your Home

Your Walnut Creek or Lafayette Home Deserves a Hero Shot!
Contra Costa County Realty Listings: Curb Appeal Will “Git ‘er Done!”

As a whole, we Americans are an interesting group. We are smart, educated, involved in our community…and, not unlike the rest of America, our attention span about 5 or 10 seconds. It follows that when you put your home on the market and your agent places it among the Norcal realty listings, your home has about that long to grab potential buyers’ attention.

Time and time again, studies show that realty listings with superior curb appeal get markedly more attention than those with run-of-the-mill photos. First impressions count. It’s how advertising agencies can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars to get just the right angle with just the right lighting on their perfectly-designed product packages. In ad-speak, that photo with the perfect angle and lighting is called the ‘hero shot’.

Your home can have its own ‘hero shot’. Its landscaping, color, the condition of its driveway, walkway, garage and backyard, along with the overall neatness combine to make a true ‘hero shot’ that will stand out from the other Contra Costa County realty listings. That same look (over and above the one in the photographer’s viewfinder) can also be counted upon to draw the attention of potential buyers who happen to be just driving by.

It’s not surprising, either, that curb appeal also affects the value and salability of realty listings. A study by the University of Washington found that “mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7% – 19%.” On the other hand, overgrown trees that obscure the view of the home can delay its sale.

The curb appeal of homes almost defines a neighborhood’s appeal, and vice versa. Any home that is well kept improves the image of the rest of the houses on any street. In the same way, a home with a neglected look can bring down the general appeal of the entire neighborhood. You already know what it’s like to drive by a street lined with houses that are all beautifully maintained. Now that’s the kind of place where you would definitely want to live!

If you are giving serious consideration to selling your Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Concord, San Ramon, Pleasant Hill or Danville home, call me anytime for a “curb appeal” consultation. Usually, just a few easy steps are all it takes to improve that vital first impression!