Oakland Real Estate News

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$285,000.00
999 61st Ave.

Oakland, CA 94608



Beds: 0 Rooms: 0
Full Baths: 0 Sq. Ft.: 0
Garage: 0 Built: 0
 

This is a new listing that
I thought you might be
interested in. Visit this
listing online to see more
photos of the property,
Google? Earth satellite
images, and much more.
 

If you have any questions
about this property or
require more information,
please feel free to call.

Harold Thomas Jr.
Thomas-Chambers Company
5103057789
www.thomas-chambersrealty.com



 
  Visit this listing here
Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on November 10th, 2018 9:05 PM
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Listings Photo
$775,000.00
1003 61st Street

Oakland, CA 94608



Beds: 3 Rooms: 9
Full Baths: 2 Sq. Ft.: 1787
Garage: 0 Built: 1912
 

This is a new listing that
I thought you might be
interested in. Visit this
listing online to see more
photos of the property,
Google? Earth satellite
images, and much more.
 

If you have any questions
about this property or
require more information,
please feel free to call.

Harold Thomas Jr.
Thomas-Chambers Company
5103057789
www.thomas-chambersrealty.com



 
  Visit this listing here
Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on November 10th, 2018 8:57 PM
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Header_2
Listings Photo
$599,000.00
2547 Ocala Street

Hayward, CA 94545



Beds: 3 Rooms: 5
Full Baths: 2 Sq. Ft.: 1527
Garage: 1 Built: 1957
 

This is a new listing that
I thought you might be
interested in. Visit this
listing online to see more
photos of the property,
Google? Earth satellite
images, and much more.
 

If you have any questions
about this property or
require more information,
please feel free to call.

Harold Thomas Jr.
Thomas-Chambers Company
5103057789
www.thomas-chambersrealty.com



 
  Visit this listing here
Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on October 9th, 2018 4:45 PM
Some Real Estate deals can end up being complete nightmares, with villains and all! That is why you should always be doing your homework and taking notes (not necessarily literally but maybe in some cases). Real estate transactions require the right kind of effort from all parties, and if one party drops the ball, all can suffer. If you are a party to one of these transactions consider some of the following preventative care.

Create a Transaction Model

Outlining/Summarizing the transaction from beginning to end on paper may seem unnecessary but can be helpful for any party wanting to better understand the transaction. By doing this you are able to see each party's involvement and responsibility, time/deadlines for completion, your personal responsibilities and more. With a model in place you are also able to be more thorough in noticing potential problems before they arise. This totally makes sense for the first time home buyer/seller. As a realtor I try to knock out as much paperwork/signing as possible on any given day from the beginning. This let's me complete my file quickly and helps me to easily run through my checklist.

Create a specific digital folder for your transaction

I don't need to tell anyone how much it sucks to have to search your email, desk drawer or other location for pertinent documents or files. Well it can be worse in a real estate transaction. With deadlines in place once an offer has been accepted and you are in contract it makes the most sense to have all emails,scans and other docs in a central location for easy access. Creating one place for your tangible paperwork should already be a norm but another for your digital files is almost a necessity. I have found that utilizing apps such as Dropbox, Office 365 and even Microsoft Outlook etc. to create transaction specific folders has been a huge help that most realtors now take advantage of. With these tools in place you can conduct most of your transaction directly from your smartphone or tablet. In addition to that your files are shared across different devices making it easy to utilize a printer or scanner that is only connected to a specific one for example. There are many advantages to these applications.

Keep People In The Loop

As professionals routine knowledge and information can sometimes seem minimal and/or a "given". But being reluctant to share it can sometimes result in problems in a transaction. It is very important to keep necessary parties in the loop of what is going on with the deal and any new occurrences or situations. The seemingly smallest left out detail can kill a deal or weaken a buyer/seller's position usually costing them money in the long run. Keeping lines of communication open is important. If you have a question don't be afraid to ask it because getting the answer may prevent headaches. Be sure to include all necessary parties in emails by putting their email addresses in the "To:" field as opposed to the "cc" or "bcc" fields. This prevents your recipients from accidentally getting emails in their spam or junk mail. You don't want to take chances. Email and even text messaging is good because it creates a time stamped trail which prevents confusion and disagreements. Buyers and sellers as well as realtors, lenders, appraisers, escrow officers, inspectors etc. all have a responsibility to share information with proper parties. It is best if these parties build lines of the best ways of communication at their introduction to prevent one from having to chase the other down for anything.  

Create a transaction savings

Most people feel as if they are financially prepared for a real estate transaction when they decide to get into one. Many times buyers save just enough (they feel) to be able to close, and follow their lenders orders for how much (the lender said)  to have at least come that desired day. The truth is most times the amount a buyer will need is more than what was quoted initially. Keep in mind that as a buyer you don't normally pay any commissions to your realtor. But when you factor in costs along the yellow brick road to the closing table it can make you scratch your head. In Oakland, to make things worse, a home must have an inspected and cleared Sewer Lateral with clearance certification upon transfer which usually starts at around $4200 to complete. In a Seller's Market such as this one this cost is almost always transferred to the buyer unless negotiated otherwise.  With this, the appraisal, inspections, closing costs and other miscellaneous expenses that can come up it's better to be prepared (and it's never too late to start). Consider putting away some of your disposable income each pay period before and throughout your transaction to help with these costs. It's always better to have been prepared for some of these expenses as opposed to being hit with them right away with a deadline. Even if you are getting down payment assistance it is best to be prepared for out of pocket costs before and at closing. 

Sellers can consider doing this too. The sewer lateral issue needs to be negotiated early and is most times done prior to closing. With that in mind sellers should have its completion as a possible playing card for negotiation, keeping in mind that they don't get paid until closing. It can sweeten the deal a little to put your home on the market with an already completed sewer lateral or getting that sod job by the back porch. Sellers are getting more for their homes when there is less to do for the buyer. Smart sellers start the savings process early and get repairs and possible upgrades over time and then decide to sell after enjoying their updated home some. 

Basically with all of that being said it is best to be very well prepared and organized in your transaction which usually means taking it to the next level and maintaining professionalism whether you are the client or the professional at work. None of us are able to predict what will happen in the future. But we can choose to learn from others mistakes before making them ourselves. Stay aware, prepared and organized. 








Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on May 4th, 2016 2:42 PM
Buying a home in a Seller's Market can generally be challenging. Buying a home in a Seller's Market in closer proximity to tech boom cities in which your desired city is in top demand can...... well let's just say you must stay confident, creative, and willing to sacrifice. Selling a home in a Seller's Market should be easy, but can be complicated as well if the proper expectations aren't set and greed sets in. 

The Oakland real estate market has always had desired pockets scattered between undesirable areas. This has evolved, and now some comparable homes in the same neighborhoods are selling at up to $200k differences in price (approximately the highest I've seen). In measuring the differences most times, the edge of the higher priced "sold" home may just be nice upgrades/originals and a spectacular stage job. These "sold" price differences can make it frustrating for realtors when looking for comparable homes for a client's Comparable Market Analysis. Some buyers are so frustrated with writing offers just to get out bid that they want to go for it with a very high offer over asking price. The problem that can stem from writing an offer too high however is the appraisal will come back short of the offer price, which will require the buyer to make up the difference. The same frustration sets in for the seller most times when they are excited by the high offer only to get a call from their agent about the buyer wanting to renegotiate down to the actual appraised value. In those cases sometimes seller greed sets in and the property sits on the market only for the listing to expire.

The truth is, some homes (sold price) probably just shouldn't be used as comparables when it comes to creating a CMA (at least in the Bay Area). There are exceptions to this, some that I use each time I create an analysis. For instance, when I create these reports I most times always do two:

One of them being an analysis that includes homes on a top tier (well staged and very nicely upgraded with close comparables such as rooms, baths, and square footage), a mid tier (not so upgraded but originals and comparable features), and a lower tier (tenants, fixer-ish, older looking, and not great condition). If I am unable to find these within a close radius I spread out a bit and sometimes increase room amounts and square footage until I get what I need. The most important thing in this case is letting your clients know not to use the value of the analysis given by the software. Using the method above will have your final numbers somewhat inaccurate but to a certain advantage. This allows your client to see an analysis of a few kinds of properties (condition varying) with similar features. Seems elementary, especially to experienced realtors, but in Oakland this is almost a must.

For the buyer this will help them strategize their buying in being able to be creative with directional ideas to stay in budget with a mid tier or fixer-ish purchase, or consider spending a little extra for a finely renovated home that already shines.

For the seller this will enable them to equally strategize their sale with a possible 203k/similar renovation loan or out of pocket spending to deliver a polished/upgraded home to the market that would sell for more, or sell as is at an acceptable price still with a usually quick turn around.

The other analysis is what I refer to as my Quick and Dirty Comps. With this analysis I basically search out homes with the closest comparison to the subject property condition wise, square footage and sold for square footage, bedrooms and baths etc. Without the use of condition tiers like above this one gives a better perspective of value and should give the buyer/seller a more precise idea of what the subject property is worth. 

Individually, most everyone has their own ways of comparing homes as realtors, appraisers and even sellers and buyers. There can be good and bad comparisons sometimes done by realtors and even appraisers, some traveling from a surrounding city that are not familiar with the local real estate market. If they bring their area specific method from the real estate market in their city 20 miles away, you might get an inaccurate valuation. This can drive any side in the transaction CRAZY if it is from the appraiser, so don't be afraid to dispute an appraisal with your own information. 

The truth still lies in the fact that the fair market value is usually determined by what the market is willing to pay. In the case of the Bay Area there are many residents with higher and growing incomes willing to pay amounts way over appraised value. With that being said evolution of different areas is occurring and we are experiencing extensive change. If you will be buying or selling in today's Bay Area market be sure to do your homework on the trends. 

TRENDING NOW!


THE NEW CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH
"UPGRADE! UPGRADE! UPGRADE! and create a jewel among others!"





Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on April 9th, 2016 1:54 PM
Inexperienced and even some seasoned buyers have anxiously asked "How long does it actually take to buy a house?". In truth there is no perfectly right answer. Being that everyone (both on the agent and client side) is different, the experience varies. Funny enough it is not always people's buying power or pre-approval amount either. Different responsibilities come in to play when making a purchase and everything doesn't necessarily fall on the realtor. Buyers are encouraged to be as involved as possible to ensure they get what they want. And that doesn't mean taking over as the realtor buyer and bombarding your realtor with Zillow Zestimates and Trulia  homes either.

Be Prepared to Buy

As an interested buyer, if you don't already know that getting pre-approved by a lender is one of the first things you must do, even just to write an offer to purchase in most cases, you do now. But that is not all if you really want to be prepared. To have a few extra bases covered consider:

A few months to at least a year prior to getting pre-qualified start taking steps to raise your credit score. There are a number of things one can do to strengthen their credit score in a short amount of time. I won't go into much detail in this post but to name a few; make sure you have checking and savings accounts with average daily balances and not $0.00 routinely; if you don't have any, get a credit card or two being sure to continuously pay down your balance to 30% at most of your max credit limit each month; start a department store credit line at Macy's or a like store and keep the credit balance at most 30% of the max, DO NOT GO OVER 30 DAYS WITHOUT PAYING ANY CREDITOR INVOICE.

Start a savings plan in which you are putting extra money aside to assist in your buying expenses such as down payment, inspections, closing costs, appraisal, title and escrow fees etc. It's not cheap buying a house and the more money the better. When you start your savings plan don't be frugal. Without a down payment assistance program you normally need to have at least 3% of the purchase price, and that is only the down payment.

Figure out a good schedule with your realtor to routinely go and look at homes.

Go and Look!

Aside from paperwork and qualification, a buyer needs to realize the emphasis that needs to be put on the basics, which include footwork and actually going to look at homes. We are all very busy and that is to be understood from all angles. But when it comes to the decision to buy a home in today's extremely HOT market one needs to realize that regardless of how busy people are, the smart ones go after one of their most prized possessions aggressively. If you don't go and see homes then you won't get a home (unless you are an absentee investor buyer or have some other situation going on). This means that whenever your schedule permits and your realtor has shared homes that interest you, you should go and check them out. If you are working nights go during the day and vice versa or even try going at lunch. Now in many cases offers will not be accepted until a specified date. If this is the case then fine, you have an excuse. Otherwise do not hesitate to get out there. These days homes go fast, and sometimes even sell below a price that you would have offered.

Thoroughly Study Your CMA and the SOLD Trends in the Area Before Determining Your Offer Price

I know it sounds elementary but I've noticed where a thorough market evaluation isn't being done prior to submitting offers for many buyers. It has become common practice to write offers over asking price in the Bay Area market and people have been under bidding for high priced fixer uppers for as long as I've known. However, research of the present market is still pertinent to coming up with the best and most competitive offer price. Our market is definitely very tricky right now, especially in the East Bay as sold prices are going well above the appraised value in many instances. With just that in mind buyers do not want to bite off more than they can chew and should have knowledge via their Comparative Market Analysis and any other reports that may be provided, of what has recently sold and what can likely be expected when the appraisal comes back. Good realtors should be able to guide buyers and decipher between a situation where there was a buyer with deep pockets on a SOLD home that was able to afford to make up the difference in appraised value and offer amount or not. Definitely do your homework as time is precious. 

Not much in decent areas is being sold for less than $400,000. And anything above $417,000 would be considered a jumbo loan which is a little more strict on terms and for some harder to qualify for. This means that many people buying these homes are getting loans for up to $417k and financing the rest with their own cash reserves or other assets. The harsh creeping reality of our market, at least in the East Bay, now is that you MUST have some considerable extra cash to put down or else you are almost certain to be outbid. The good thing is that the new wave of buyers in our market more and more have higher incomes. The bad thing is current long-time residents are being displaced.


Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on February 21st, 2016 6:09 PM
When it comes to the desires of home buyers I've been hearing more of lately; "something with a Granny Unit", "must have an in law suite", "need an additional room or garage conversion" and so on. Even when going to the weekly marketing meetings Realtors more and more are asking if anyone has listings with these features. In reality these home features have been around for years and are common in the Bay Area. Now that rent has risen the extra living space is definitely desirable to those looking to supplement their mortgage expenditure, but one must also consider our senior and elderly population. The need for senior housing has always been around. But with the extreme rise in rents in the bay area (and everywhere else for that matter) the need is even greater due to affordability.

So what are some options for these homeowners or buyers? A few come to mind, but would depend on the situation.   

The FHA 203k loan may be a good option for those looking to purchase there first home and perform upgrades/repairs prior to moving in. This program can also be used by homeowners for deferred maintenance and/or upgrades. These loan types offer one consolidated loan which combines a principle loan amount (money for the purchase of the home) with the amount the borrower will need for repairs. This allows the borrower to repair what they want right away as well as only have one payment for everything. This is an FHA loan, so the qualifications may be more strict than other programs but as far as credit, all you need from what I know is a 620. NO CREDIT? NO PROBLEM! They can use what they refer to as alternative credit or non-traditional credit in which a person is able to qualify with proof of on-time rent payments for the prior twelve months in addition to 3 other accounts that have been paid on time within the same time frame. 

Buying a home below market value may sound easier said then done but they're out there. Normally if a home is being sold for less than market value it needs a considerable amount of work done. This is where buying real estate gets risky, but this may be an opportunity to add an in-law unit feature in addition to getting other necessary repairs done and furthermore possibly getting a deal! It can be a daunting task trying to get financing for fixer homes. And if it is an investment property the whole twenty percent down requirement is not working in the buyers favor either. In some cases if there is a conventional loan being used certain repair needs can slip through the cracks. If the home is bought for a below market rate through great negotiations for needed work by their Realtor, the buyer may have the opportunity to get a Home Equity Line of Credit or a HELOC. This allows the homeowner to draw funds on the equity of the home usually up to a stated market value. So let's say the home was purchased for $325k, but if it were repaired it would be worth $360k. The HELOC would allow the homeowner to draw up to $35k ($360k-$325k=$35k) for whatever repairs (or anything else) the owner needs. This can be a great way to finance an in-law unit.

Fannie Mae now offers a conventional fixer upper loan referred to as the Fannie Mae Homestyle Renovation Loan. This option allows homeowners flexible down payment options and is available for owner occupied or second home purchase/refinance for 1-4 units and investment purchase/refinance for 1 unit. Very similar to the FHA 203k loan the borrower will still have a consolidated payment. This loan will allow the borrower up to 50% of the after-repair value for their renovations! It even allows for certain renovation related costs to be wrapped into the loan as well. Some of these costs include inspections, architectural costs, permit fees, reports, appraisals and engineering to name a few. You can even do some of the work yourself and be reimbursed for the materials! This is definitely one to consider if doing a big job. 

Hard Money Loans aren't for amateurs and I honestly wouldn't recommend them for most. They can be a means to an end however for those with no equity in their home or dings on their credit. Usually the terms are not the best so if this route is to be taken it is strongly recommended to have a good plan. In the case of building an in-law unit there may be reason to move forward with hard money. A good one in my opinion would be if there was a particular long-term tenant in mind that were desiring to rent the completed unit at a considerable return. If the monthly return on the unit in addition to the amount of value added to the property with the addition is worth it to the owner (everyone's circumstances are different) then hard money just may work. But it would be best to ALWAYS use caution when getting a loan like this as the word loan shark goes hand in hand with them.

Whatever your repair needs or renovation desires it is best to always consult a licensed professional no matter how small the job. Use your best judgement when using handymen and unlicensed service providers. They are not always a bad option and can usually save money. Just know the risks and get as many guarantees and warranties as possible. Also don't be afraid to get creative and consider trying something new. 

Good Luck!
Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on January 28th, 2016 10:26 PM
In today's real estate market selling a home can happen pretty quickly and produce pleasant results for sellers. The term "a Seller's Market" illustrates the success of many that have chosen to sell their homes and have not only gotten all of their terms without negotiation but also well over the asking price. This is something happening all too often in the Bay Area market as homes are listed and selling within a few weeks, many times even sooner. It seems easy, and it actually is in a Seller's Market for the experienced and even the not so experienced realtor. Regardless of the experience level of your realtor it is very important to establish a good strategy for the sale and to be sure that you are both (or all) on the same page. If the right game plan is established in the beginning normally a sale can not only move quickly and smoothly, but can heavily trump the results of a sale not properly strategized. The difference is the amount of time and effort spent by both parties and if really done right the increase above the asking price. 

Disorganized realtors may still produce positive results in a Seller's Market, but may annoy the seller and end up doing things repetitively. Most realtors try to get as much of the necessary paperwork out of the way in the beginning so they can easily send out  disclosure packets and other information to interested parties right away. This seemingly small act goes a long way and opens the door for time and developing a warm marketing strategy prior to the property even hitting the market. I've been in deals where some realtors would send me different disclosures every other day, and still end up not sending them all until the day of close, or even after sometimes. This can be frustrating, not only to the other agent but also to the clients involved, escrow officers etc., who many times have to go back and sign docs that could have been executed weeks ago. If most of the paperwork is completed initially all one has to think about is the marketing aspect. With less responsibility clouding your mind it is easier to come up with ideas for staging, increasing property value and curb appeal and even going about your regular life.

A good team can produce fantastic results without extreme amounts of effort. It's one thing to have a great realtor with knowledge of the market and ties to professional associations and networks. But when you combine a great realtor with an enthusiastic client willing to participate the sky is the limit. Most times realtors have relationships built with local contractors, landscapers, designers and more. With much of the paperwork out of the way at least a week to two weeks prior to the listing going active one may consider getting things done that weren't initially thought of. When it comes to selling a home a little can go a long way. Always be willing to get quotes and/or estimates for items needed for the home. You'll never know what some professionals would be willing to do for you and what kind of deals and discounts might be out there. The obvious isn't always the case, and we don't know what we don't know. Never guess when it comes to selling your home. Some people find out that they could have gotten work done they thought they couldn't afford, and end up missing out on thousands of dollars in return on investment. 

If your home is not a fixer in a sellers market it would normally make sense to stage it, even if it is a fixer sometimes. A nicely staged home usually produces positive results. Staging can get expensive however. But with a good team and a little creativity I've seen some sellers do a terrific job on their own with the use of their realtors' resources. Definitely something to think about which will sometimes give buyers a more comfortable feeling as opposed to viewing an empty house and having to use their imagination. If it is affordable most definitely use a professional. A better looking anything normally sells for more.

The strategy for the sale would normally be a realtor thing in most people's opinion, and if done right can surely get a realtor more clients. But again with other requirements, like paperwork, out of the way a good team will brainstorm about the pros and cons of the property and focus their strategy on the pros. While the agent is advertising the property through their professional affiliations, social media and other channels, the seller(s) is(are) speaking up as well in their day to day life in addition to distributing marketing material when convenient. Who would want the property and where those people could be found should be thought about and integrated into the strategy. 

All of these things are definitely not a requirement to sell in today's Seller's Market. Nevertheless with so many homes selling for over appraised value, which normally means the buyer has to make up the difference in the offer amount, one may want to consider a blueprint that attracts buyers that really want the home as opposed to window shopper buyers without as much desire. 
Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on January 7th, 2016 12:06 AM
I can remember when I was younger and used to ask my mother for some information about something, and if she didn't have an answer she would direct me to the Yellow Pages to find a phone number for someone that may. Bless her heart, but in all honesty I used to kick myself for even asking her and would always find an easier way through friends and/or networking. 

There is no difference in the minds of people today, and big businesses know it, and in many cases are able to capitalize on the easy way out by charging a luxury fee of some kind that the majority of people would not pay.

I have come to believe that in real estate it is almost the exact opposite. There is technology today, that doesn't cost extra money, that buyers and sellers both can take advantage of and save tons of time. Most good real estate brokerages offer it right on their websites. There is so much information out there, and it can be overwhelming. But combined with experience good realtors are able to position the tools and information necessary on their site so it flows for the average reader and doesn't put the cart before the horse. Realtors are happy to offer information online and are honored when it is seen and read by others. Now with smart phones and social media people are able to share their own plethora's of knowledge. When I used to watch my father work as a realtor when I was younger I remember my first introductions to a computer, floppy disks, DOS and some of the first mobile phones. I thought all of it was cool, but would have never imagined it would have come as far as it has. You can literally handle just about every aspect of your real estate transaction from your cell phone or tablet today. From searching for your home to signing your contract and even more, clients with the cutting edge in technology are able to simplify their lives in ways that can actually make home buying easy. Ironically it's not just millennials that are taking advantage. With the universal input methods of iProducts and Android devices as well as there evolving ease of use, people are doing much of what we thought could only be done on the home computer or even in person, right from their iPhones or Galaxys. 

Social media plays right into the equation and is a true producer of answers, tips and tricks, how to videos etc. all while enjoying yourself at the same time. Revolutionary sites like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Craigslist and Pinterest just to name a few have literally changed the world. You can get step by step instructions on just about anything these days right online, without having to read a complete college textbook. Instant gratification with a laugh or two along the way. Social media used to be something that businessmen and the more sophisticated would look down upon as a waste of time and a dead end to a productive work day. I must admit I was even a skeptic at one point. But now it is used in such a fashion that work isn't as dull as it used to be and in some cases more productive. The old way of sending mailers in hopes of reaching a couple thousand people (who many times trash them anyway) has become obsolete when you can now spend way less and reach double or even triple that online with rich content such as video and other presentation methods way more captivating to your fine tuned audience. With the use of back links to your website, free adwords accounts and other SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you can even get your ads on the first page of Google and other search engine searches. The possibilities are almost endless and can get expensive. But there are so many free ways of getting the word out now that you can literally cut your marketing budget in half or more. 

Online marketing and social media should be a Realtors, let alone a prospective buyer or seller's playground. Play around with Facebook or Linked In. Start a YouTube and Google+ page. You will be surprised at some of the things you can do if you are not already aware. Back to my mom. She got her first iPhone (something she absolutely refused initially like text messaging) 2 years ago and she can text with her eyes closed. She's a pro now and is already up to an iPad.

Check out some of our links here:

https://www.facebook.com/Thomas-Chambers-Company-Inc-149545198556036/
https://www.pinterest.com/hcthomasjr/
https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=251762287&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
https://twitter.com/TCCORealty

Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on December 9th, 2015 10:50 AM
"We didn't get it", "We were out bid", "The sellers accepted another offer".  If you are on the buyers side of a transaction in Northern California's Bay Area then you have likely had to tell your buyer one of the prior responses after submitting your clients' highest and best offer.  The market in this area is so on fire that some homes are going for more than $200k over asking price in some areas. A little longer ago than recently, these areas have been less desirable. The temptation to sell, to some homeowners is getting the best of them as they feel that they can get a marginal return on what they invested in their homes many years back and move to a location where there is a less expensive cost of living, and buy a home that they can retire in. The truth is they are actually right in many cases.

But what about the popular discussion of gentrification which is affecting so many across the U.S.?  It all seems to go hand in hand from the looks of things in the bay area. San Francisco is so expensive that even well paid renters and some homeowners (due to taxes and other expense hikes) have to move out to locations with longer commutes to work. Many of those people are moving to Oakland, which now, is not as less expensive as it used to be than San Fran, but definitely still less. What is this doing? Well, now many of those displaced due to rent hikes in Oakland and the surrounding cities are moving to those locations discussed earlier, where some were hoping to move to in hopes of retiring. Rent is very high and those diamonds in the rough in nice pockets in the further cities are being found. People have been forced to settle for and adjust to the nicer place but longer commute and like situations. The reality (not on a biased or racial level) is that some of those locations are now overridden by the displaced, which unfortunately in many cases isn't the crowd that those mentioned earlier (homeowners looking to get the marginal return and move) want to retire around due to increased criminal and other undesirable activity on the rise.

Now don't get me wrong, there are many retirement communities for those in there mid 50's and up where people can move to such as Dale Webb, Rossmoor etc. But one used to consider places such as Antioch, Brentwood (a little more pricey), Mountain House, Tracy and even Stockton etc. While good neighborhoods anywhere can get expensive, now that all of this is happening the alternatives to the pricier neighborhoods in those further cities are less and less desirable. This makes the gentrification discussion a lot more heated now, because many people aren't as willing to move out to those areas anymore. What is that effect? HOLDOVER TENANTS. There are so many properties for sale on the MLS with holdover tenants it's ridiculous! Oakland has rent control laws but rent is still too expensive for many. I personally just went through a situation with a holdover tenant that almost got out of control. What is unfortunate is that the tenant, a sweet young single mother with a serious medical condition requiring her to get several procedures done in southern California, had absolutely nowhere to go. And she wasn't in a situation to even move to one of the less desirable neighborhoods in the further cities due to her job. It was a sad situation for a while but luckily she was able to almost miraculously find something.

With the discussions above taken into consideration how does all of this effect one buying a home in the Bay Area? To keep it simple, it's not as easy as it used to be to get the victorious email/call saying that your clients' offer was accepted. So how does one score without being able to pay huge amounts over asking price? Though I still have buyers that I have been working with for a while that are yet to get an accepted offer, I have found that there are loopholes for the less picky buyer in this market. The even less desirable areas are now more desirable in the East Bay area and neighborhoods are changing considerably. It may be a good time to purchase a fixer in a pre-up and coming neighborhood. I can remember growing up in Oakland when the 20's avenues (20th Ave. through 29th Ave.) between MacArthur and E. 14th (now International) used to be areas that you may not want to take an evening stroll. Now days this area is extremely sought after with 2 bedroom/1 bathroom homes going for over $550k! Or how about West Oakland where those old victorian homes are now selling close to $900k! Creative sellers are dividing the likes of those large 4 bedroom 2 bathroom homes into two 2 bedroom 1 bathroom condos. Yes, even with all of the homeless, drug trafficking, and undesirable behavior. Slowly but surely Oakland and the surrounding east bay cities are turning into baby San Francisco's with less and less affordability when it comes to housing. All of this to say that the "up and coming" bug is moving to areas no one expected. It may make sense to strategically map out a good pre-up and coming area before everyone else does, and purchase a home with a holdover tenant (could be risky and/or costly, but cheaper and less desirable to everyone else), a fixer, non-staged, just an old home that needs upgrades or even a home in a pre-up and coming area with none of these issues. Sooner or later the shift will be to these neighborhoods. It's normally not the best idea to get into a holdover tenant situation as it can possibly be very complicated. However I have seen buyers come out on top with the right direction and a knowledgeable realtor. 203k or fixer and/or hard money loans are also still available and may be just what a buyer needs. After all, these are homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. If things don't work out, with all of the housing price hikes in the Bay Area one can always sell or rent, though easier said than done. The good thing is rented property benefits the owner when qualifying for a new home (75% of the rent in the area of their home is counted towards the owners income if the property is rented). So if the scenario of things not working out was to take place at least there are still options.

With our evolving market in the bay area realtors, buyers, investors etc. must also evolve and embrace the challenge to be more successful. Thinking outside of the box goes without saying. Investing in real estate has always been in a cyclical market. Let's try to stay on top of the curve.
Posted by Harold Thomas Jr. on November 30th, 2015 9:53 AM

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