Monthly Weather Report – October

No tricks this past month, only treats! While other teams might be haunted by the fall selling season, we’ve been spooktacularly successful! The main theme you’ll find this month (other than ghouls and gobblins) is that we’re working with multiple clients who are both sellers and buyers. Selling an existing home and then purchasing a new home can be a complicated process, but we’re smoothly guiding our clients to the finish line.

2508 Wilde Avenue, Pleasanton – Sold for $2,255,000

This wow house went pending after just 8 days and sold for $60,000 over list price! It was a record high sale for the neighborhood. Virtual Tour.


1517 Whispering Oaks Way, Pleasanton – Sold for $1,353,858

The buyers of 2508 Wilde Avenue were the sellers of this beautiful Walnut Hills home. This rarely available Carriage House model didn’t last long on the market. Virtual Tour.


3839 Antonini Way, Pleasanton – Sold for $2,740,000

Originally starting as a pocket listing, or off market listing, this gorgeous Ruby Hill Mediterranean inspired home now belongs to a happy family. Virtual Tour.


480 Montori Court, Pleasanton – Sold for $1,569,000

The sellers of this Ruby Hill home are the buyers of 3839 Antonini Way. In order to purchase Antonini, they needed to sell their home. We were able to not only sell their home, but have a 7 day close! Virtual Tour.

2425 Heritage Oaks Drive, Alamo – Pending

We’re representing the buyers of this home, who happen to be the sellers of 3839 Antonini Way. They had liked a few other properties, but this one has won them over. Offered at $2,395,000, the views go on for miles.

1121 Navalle Court, Pleasanton – Pending

Offered at $1,299,000, we’re representing the sellers of this Vintage Hills home. Located in a highly-sought-after neighborhood, it didn’t stay available on the market for long! Virtual Tour.

14 Arreba Street, Martinez – Pending

We’re representing the sellers of this adorable home. What started out as their starter home, turned into an updated charmer offered at $479,000. Virtual Tour.


1824 Ohlone Heights, Clayton – Pending

The sellers of 14 Arreba Street are purchasing this house, listed at $839,999. They wanted to make the upgrade from their cute single story to this completely updated Clayton home.

2245 Doccia Court – Pending

Offered at $1,800,000 we’re representing the sellers of this French Country inspired home. We worked hard to find the perfect buyers for this property. Now our clients will be able to rest easy in their new construction, Brentwood home. Virtual Tour.

We love being able to represent sellers and buyers, working to make their dreams come true!

Marketing and selling high-end Luxury Homes in the Tri Valley is what we do best, but on this real estate journey, it’s all about the people we meet on the way, connecting them to each other and the places they call HOME.

Luxe for less!

5 Ways to Design a Luxe Room for Less

Adding style to interiors doesn’t necessarily require wads of cash. Whether you prefer to keep money in the bank or desire to incorporate creative solutions, updating your home while saving money can be rewarding. From shopping your own space, to finding amazing lighting or re-purposing found items, consider these tips and tricks to create a luxe room — without breaking the bank.

Let there be light

kitchen lights

Does that dated, fluorescent light box in your kitchen have you feeling less than chic and savvy? Good news is that you have the electrical junction box already installed to connect a design-driven fixture instead. Whether you use a surface-mounted version or a sparkling chandelier, your kitchen will go from drab to fab in just a few minutes, and for not a ton of money.

Play out of the box

A black door is unexpected and chic. Source: ZIllow Digs

Acquaint yourself with other designer tricks, like painting interior doors black — instead of standard white — and adding architectural molding to less than lively spaces. You will soon be on your way to creating a rich-looking space without spending a lot of dough.

Pump up the details

Over-stuffed pillows are an easy luxe addition. Source: Kerrie Kelly

Is making dinner a dream in your kitchen? They are in these!

These 14 Incredible Kitchens Are What Dreams Are Made Of

Great meals can be made in a kitchen of any size — it’s really all in how you organize your space. While our microscopic apartment kitchens won’t be undergoing any renovations anytime soon, we’re dreaming about these fantastic “gourmet” kitchens from our friends at Maybe one day…

  • Now THIS is what a classic white kitchen should look like.
    W. Lake Sammamish Parkway by Lavallee Construction
  • Silver and gold are nice — but copper is so now.
    Lake House Renovation by Walker Woodworking
  • Stone isn’t just for islands and countertops.
    Refined Lonestar by Sojo Design

Read more…

For 20 years, $1M+ homes have made up 1% of sales. What do these 1%ers mean?

A Look at Housing’s One-Percenters

Jann Swanson | Mortgage News Daily | April 25, 2014 | link

CoreLogic Chief Economist Mark Fleming suggests that an examination of housing’s one-percenters might be as valuable an analysis as a glance at that segment’s income and/or wealth distribution.  Historically, at least for the last two decades, homes that have sold for over $1 million have made up 1 percent of sales, a useful proxy.

The share remained below 1 percent through most of 2003 than began to move, reaching as high as 1.8 percent when prices peaked in mid-2006.  But even as prices began to deflate, the share of upper-priced homes continued to rise, reaching 2.2 percent at the peak in June 2007 – more than twice the share 5 years earlier.  And even as prices suffered in general, the market share of million dollar homes held at an average of 2 percent through August 2008; twice the traditional share.

The collapse in high-end real estate market share coincided with the collapse of the financial markets themselves starting in September 2008.  By February 2009 high end sales had retreated back to 1 percent, the same as in December 2003.  Then financial markets stabilized and sales came back, accounting for 1.5 percent in the last part of 2009.   Fleming says that “over the next three years as the S&P 500 steadily rose and eventually hit all-time highs, the million dollar sales share also rose, reaching 2 percent by mid-2913 and remaining at that level since then”.

This tie between housing prices and the stock market was clearly no coincidence.  Fleming says several studies document the wealth effects of financial and real estate markets on consumption and they typically conclude that housing-wealth affects are much larger than financial wealth-effects, primarily because more people own houses than own stocks.  “But for real estate’s 1 percent,” he says, “the stock market is the barometer of the wealthy’s consumer confidence.” This is clear in that sales share and the S&P are so tightly correlated and the S&P 500 index serves as an excellent two-month leading indicator of sales.

Read more…

Luxury rates now on par with conventional ones…

Jumbo Loans Loom Large in Luxury Housing Market


small house and piggy bank with ...

The view of the Pacific Ocean from the San Joaquin Hills in the California community of Newport Coast is extraordinary. So, when Mohammad Taghavian started looking for a new home four years ago, he knew exactly where he wanted to be. The housing market, however, wasn’t so cooperative.

Taghavian, a 47-year-old engineer, jumped at any property that came on the market, only to find that whatever he bid, he was “edged out by a cash offer,” he says. He did what a keen home buyer would do. Taghavian kept raising his offer, from $600,000 to over a million. That placed him in jumbo mortgage territory — above $625,500 in his part of the country, and above $417,000 in lower-priced areas.

His real estate agent, Michael Salas of Coldwell Banker, honed in on one development and went on a letter-writing spree to about 60 homeowners with ocean views. When a $1.4 million townhouse finally came on the market last year, Taghavian snagged it. He moved into his dream home just before the new year.

For buyers like Taghavian who are looking at luxury properties that require jumbo mortgages, 2014 is already a banner year, industry experts say. Interest rates on jumbo mortgages used to tower over conventional mortgages because they are considered riskier. But the rates for jumbos have dropped because of economic conditions, and are now almost on par with conventional mortgages — or sometimes even lower. In addition, new federal regulations that went into effect in January don’t apply to jumbos, making them more flexible for buyers who want things like interest-only loans or who have a high net worth but complicated finances.

Read more…

Luxury sales are back! Do you have what buyers want?® Survey: 13% of Consumers Ready to Buy a Luxury Home

Sellers: Get your chef’s kitchens and outdoor fire pits ready –– they’re the kinds of amenities that buyers seek when shopping for a luxury home. 101788601

In a new survey,® uncovered the priorities, buying motivations and expectations of transaction-ready luxury homebuyers. According to the survey, 13% of respondents said they’re ready to buy a luxury home and another 26% are considering a high-end home purchase.  

Percentages of surveyed consumers currently considering a luxury home purchase:

  • 13% of respondents stated that they are looking to purchase a high-end luxury home;
  • 26% said they might be considering a high-end luxury home;
  • 61% revealed they are not looking for a high-end luxury home.

Most popular price points at which surveyed consumers stated that luxury housing begins, by U.S. region:

  • Northeast (ME, VT, NH, NY, NJ, MA, CT, RI, MD, DE, PA)                           $1 million +
  • Pacific (CA, OR, WA, AK, HI)                                                                        $1 million +
  • Mountain (MT, ID, WY, CO, UT, NV, AZ, NM)                                               $1 million +
  • South Central (AL, MS, TN, AR, LA, TX, OK)                                               $500,000 +
  • North Central (KY, OH, IN, IL, MI, WI, MN, IA, NE, KS, ND, SD)                  $500,000 +
  • South Atlantic (VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, FL)                                                     $500,000 +

Read more…

Specs return to luxury homes…

With Inventory Tight, Speculative Luxury Homebuilding Heats Up

Erin Carlyle | | April 2, 2014 | link

Three years ago, Alessandro Cajrati Crivelli, an Italian who founded commercial developer Est4te Four, purchased a 1.3-acre parcel in Holmby Hills, one of Los Angeles’ most exclusive neighborhoods. The lot was right next door to the Singleton Estate (listed at $75 million and currently in escrow) in the heart of L.A.’s prestigious Platinum Triangle—the perfect location, Crivelli decided, to build his first single-family home. This week the result, a 16,000-square-foot Modernist mansion, is being quietly offered off the MLS for $48 million–making it the most expensive speculative home for sale in Los Angeles.

Crivelli says the wealth flooding from places like Russia and China into the U.S. attracted him to the gamble of building homes on speculation, without a buyer lined up. “It was not exactly a strong interest in doing single houses, it was just an opportunity that we decided to embrace,” he says. “With the configuration of Los Angeles, in the nicest areas, you can only build single family–so the supply is extremely, extremely limited.”


Crivelli is part of a comeback in speculative building of luxury homes in centers of wealth across the country. While speculative building helped create the housing bubble, it ground to a halt after the housing crash. As the market recovers, more high-end speculative properties are coming to the market. “The appearance of spec homes in the upper price range is an indication of the maturation of the housing cycle,” says Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. “It’s an indication of increasing levels of confidence on the part of home builders.” The latest evidence underscoring the demand for high-end properties: Fleur de Lys, an estate on and off the market for seven years (always at $125 million), recently closed after a sudden bidding war that resulted in a $102 million sale, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It’s not just Los Angeles. Three thousand miles away on Long Island, East Hampton-based spec builder Jeffrey Collé recently sold his first spec home since the housing crash, and is currently working on three others. Bridgehampton-based Farrell Building Company has some 40 spec homes in the pipeline, priced from just under $2 million to $10 million. The company is also building six speculative houses homes in Florida, priced from $4.3 million to $32.5 million. “We’re busier than ever at the moment. It’s a little bit of a wow factor, even for us,” says Travis Tinker, assistant operations manger. “This year is an all-time high.”

In Aspen, developers Austin Lawrence Partners completed renovation of an historic cottage in February and are reportedly asking nearly $18 million for the property, which includes a new modern wing. In Vail, a handful of spec properties are being developed at the higher end of the market, where buyers reportedly want something “new” or “refreshed.”. In Chicago, too, real estate reporters are noting a similar trend.

Read more…