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.

2842 W Ruby Hill Drive, Pleasanton

Gorgeous Custom Estate Home in Ruby Hill!

Open House Friday 10-1, Saturday/Sunday 1-4

Built in 2001, this gorgeous custom estate home sits on one of the 15 original premium lots at the prestigious gated Ruby Hill golf course community, just steps from the 8th hole of the Jack Nicklaus designed course. Luxurious amenities and custom features throughout, with a well designed floor plan and highly upgraded entertainer’s backyard. Top rated Pleasanton schools and proximity to Historic Downtown, award winning Livermore Valley Wineries, San Francisco, and Silicon Valley. Monthly dues of $215 include resort style HOA amenities.

Highlights of this home include striking Formal Entry with custom hand crafted front doors and column accents. Elegant Formal Living and Dining Rooms with hardwood flooring and wine closet with hand crafted doors, complementing the main entry doors. Gourmet Kitchen and Breakfast Nook feature distressed Alder cabinetry, granite counter tops and travertine backsplash, top of the line appliances, built-in coffee bar, oversized island with bar seating, walk-in pantry, and travertine tile flooring. Adjacent Family Room with fireplace and granite topped wet bar, distressed Alder cabinetry with media niche, and 50 gallon salt water fish tank. Luxurious Main Level Master Bedroom with coffered ceiling, slider to backyard, and pass-through to Executive Office. Master Bathroom features his & hers vanities, Jacuzzi tub, oversized stall shower, and large walk-in closet. Sun Room with Half Bathroom and Laundry Room with sink and storage round out the main floor. Upstairs features oversized Bonus Room (easily converted to additional Bedroom or second Master Bedroom Suite) and 3 generously sized Upstairs Bedrooms with 2 Full Bathrooms. Smart Home System with built-in speakers, Pella dual pane windows, crown molding, recessed lighting, ceiling fans, stone accented doorways and alcoves, multi-zone HVAC, central vacuum, and so much more! Highly upgraded, private Entertainer’s Backyard with 30′ x 25′ Outdoor Cabana with Kitchen, fireplace, and commercial grade heaters. Custom designed lower level temperature controlled Wine Cellar with 2100 bottle storage, hand carved imported door, and spacious tasting area. Pool and Spa, Fire-Pit, Sports Court, and Fenced Yard with Gated Access to Golf Course. Country club amenities (with membership) including social club and golf club.

Contact us for more information.

For club membership information click here.

Pleasanton is a wonderful place to live!

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.

Pleasanton Real Estate Agents

Wanna Run A Ghost Town?

Did the Pleasanton Cattle Drive inspire you to move to a home on the range?

Have $925,000 to spend? Why settle for a measly home, when you could have an entire town! Cerro Gordo, or “fat hill”, is situated on 300+ acres of patented mining claims south of the Sierra Nevada with nearly 22 structures including a hotel, church, bunkhouse, and superintendent’s house.

Source: Nolan Nitschke

The history of the town is something out of a wild west film. Built after the discovery of silver in 1865, the average crime rate was a murder a week! According to the town’s website, they became the largest producer of silver and lead in California and contributed to Los Angeles’ growth and economic development.

Because of its unique history and having been in the family for decades, what happens to the property is important to the sellers. They’ve protected it from looters, diggers, and natural disasters.  Interested buyers have pitched an amusement park and a marijuana town, but the sellers are more interested in someone preserving its story.

If you know California real estate, $925,000 is low for a house, let alone a whole town! Don’t let the old mining ghosts spook you, get to bidding on this piece of California history!

Click here for listing information

More information on the history of Cerro Gordo here

To find it on a map click here

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.

The Year of the Condo?

Bay Area condos’ tight supply has buyers scrambling

Pete Carey | Mercury News | February 18, 2013 | link

(LiPo Ching / Mercury News)

The Bay Area’s market for condominiums and townhouses has seldom been hotter. Existing units are selling in record time with multiple offers, and new ones are being snapped up before there’s even a model home to see.

Just ask Niha Singh. Last month, Singh, a 27-year-old Silicon Valley computer engineer, and her husband tried to buy one of 12 units in a new townhouse development under construction in Milpitas. Even though they’d car-camped outside the developer’s office, they ended up on a waiting list.

“When we got there on Friday, there was already a line,” she said. “People were camping out, some of them for six days before the date of release.”

Across the Bay Area, buyers are fighting for a limited supply of new and existing condos. Investors have already snapped up many foreclosures and short sales and are renting them out, while owners who might sell in a typical market are either still on the sidelines watching prices rise or are underwater and can’t afford to sell. And demand has been growing.

Condos — the affordable homes chosen by many first-time buyers — have made bigger annual gains in asking price than single-family homes in all parts of the Bay Area, according to real estate website Trulia. Sales are at their highest level since late 2008, according to DataQuick, a housing information company.

“There are huge numbers of people trying to buy what’s available,” said Quincy Virgilio, a specialist in the condo and



townhouse market and vice chairman of MLS Listings. “We’re seeing incredible overbids, and multiple offers on a regular basis. A lot of them are first-time buyers trying to get into this marketplace.”Adding to the pressure for many condo shoppers, apartment rents shot up nearly 10 percent in a year, encouraging even more people to join the hunt.

“We want to start a family, and a two-bedroom near our work is $2,600,” Singh said. “We thought, why not pay it as a mortgage?”

Some

From right, Bhavin Acharya, Sonali Acharya, Aashini Acharya, 3, and their real estate agent Danielle Contreras walk by the model homes at the William Lyon Homes Coyote Creek residential complex in Milpitas on Saturday, Feb. 16. (LiPo Ching / Mercury News)

builders are converting condos to apartments to take advantage of the rising rents, according to some real estate professionals. Also, lenders are still reluctant to finance condo projects, said Tony Sum of Silicon Valley Lofts and Condos.But new projects are under way, and condo prices are rising, too. In the last three months of 2012, median sale prices for condos were up 25 to 35 percent from the same quarter in 2011 in the East Bay, Peninsula and South Bay, according to DataQuick.

Buyers have to be nimble. The average time for a condo to sell dropped about 40 percent in December from a year earlier in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, according to MLS Listings. In San Jose, the time it took to sell a condo or townhouse dropped from 89 days in December 2011 to 31 days in December 2012.

Condos in Castro Valley sold in 11 days in December, compared with 82 days in 2011, the Bay East Association of Realtors reported. In Pleasanton, the average number of days on the market dropped from 52 days in December 2011 to 10 days last December.

In Fremont, the number of condos for sale dropped from 112 in December 2011 to 20 in December.

“It’s as nutty as the market for single-family homes now,” said Jennifer Branchini, president-elect of the Bay Area East Realtors Association.

In Contra Costa County, condos sold in January in less than half the time it took in January 2011, according to the Contra Costa Association of Realtors.

One condo in Concord sold last week for nearly twice the list price.

“We had it listed at $125,000 and we had 28 offers,” said Barbara Safran of Land of Gold Realty in Walnut Creek. “We ended up selling it for $205,000” in an all-cash deal to buyers who plan to move in, she said.

It was on the market for a week. “It could have sold in two days,” she said.

It’s even tough in the retirement condo market.

Units at retirement community Rossmoor in Walnut Creek are selling like hot cakes. Mary Beall-Neighbor, broker-manager at Prudential California Realty in Walnut Creek, said the 55-plus development typically has about 150 listings at a time. “Yesterday we had 16. That gives you an idea. And it’s not just Rossmoor. That’s kind of the way it is everywhere,” she said.

Nancy Blum, 61, of Chicago, is finding out that you have to be fast if you want to buy a one-bedroom unit in Rossmoor. Her agent called her with 10 listings recently. Blum picked out six and flew out three days later. By that time, all the condos she could afford were gone, and only four of the 10 were left. By the end of the week, all but one of the 10 were sold.

“Three days?” Blum said. “My home in the Chicago suburbs has been on the market for two years. It’s like, ‘Are you kidding me?'”

Rising prices should eventually bring more sellers off the fence, said Mark Wong of Alain Pinel Realtors in Saratoga. “Lots of people know the market hit the bottom, interest rates are historically low and not going up soon.” That makes lots of people jump into the market.

“I think this is the year of the condo,” Wong said.

Bay area looking to better times…

Bay Area leaves housing crash behind

Pete Carey | Mercury News | March 14, 2013 | link

The Bay Area’s single-family home market is leaving the darkest days of the housing crash behind, a report from housing information company DataQuick showed Thursday.

For six months or more, median single-family home prices have gained by double digits on a yearly basis in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, DataQuick said.

Foreclosures are edging closer to normal levels and sales of midpriced homes are increasing. While there are too few houses on sale to meet the demand, the market is looking up, real estate experts say.

“Everybody’s forgotten where we were,” said Jennifer Branchini, president-elect of the Bay East Association of Realtors. “It wasn’t a great place.”

In

Alameda County, the median price of $402,000 in February was up 15.5 percent from February 2012; Contra Costa County’s $305,000 was up 25.8 percent; San Mateo saw a 22.6 percent gain to $692,500, and Santa Clara County’s $625,000 was up 27.6 percent.Median sales prices for existing single-family homes in the Bay Area have climbed back 44.6 percent since they hit bottom in March 2009 during a wave of low-end foreclosure sales and a dormant mid- to high-end market.

Year-over-year prices have been increasing for months through a combination of market forces, including too few homes for sale and a gaggle of free-spending investors, many of them paying premium prices in cash. Investors include hedge funds, foreign buyers drawn to


what are relatively low prices compared with real estate in their home countries, and mom-and-pop buyers of one or two homes for retirement income.”There is quite a bit of excitement out there,” said Carl San Miguel, president of the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors. “But there’s a new battle because of the limited inventory, with frustration from buyers making offers and coming back empty-handed.”

Sales in Santa Clara County dropped 15.1 percent from a year earlier; San Mateo County was down 23.8 percent; Contra Costa County fell 6.1 percent and Alameda County was down 2 percent.

Many move-up buyers are still on the fence, said Jennifer Hatter of Empire Realty in Danville.

“Move-up buyers are afraid to put their houses on the market without knowing where they’re going to go,” she said. “They’re afraid. What if they can’t get another house?”

Steve Wilner, a sales executive and client of Hatter’s, just sold a Pleasanton home with six offers, five of which were above asking price. “I wouldn’t want to be a buyer in this market,” he said. “As a seller, we held all the cards.”

“Everything that gets listed is going into contract very quickly,” said Bob Barrie of Keller Williams in Campbell. Barrie said the number of Santa Clara County homes and condos put up for sale has been growing this month, however.

“In a month or two, I think you’ll see sales explode,” he said.

The drying up of foreclosures was evident in a shift from sales of low-priced homes to more expensive homes in Contra Costa County. Total sales of all types of houses there that were priced under $300,000 fell 28.8 percent from the previous year, while sales between $300,000 and $800,000 were up 34.7 percent, according to DataQuick.

Across the nine-county Bay Area, condo prices were almost unchanged from January but up 35.4 percent from February 2012 to a median of $325,000.

Buyers paying all cash accounted for a record 31.9 percent of all sales in the nine-county Bay Area in February, compared with a monthly average of 12.9 percent going back to 1988.

Absentee buyers, which the company said are “mostly investors,” purchased 28.2 percent of all Bay Area homes, also an all-time high in data going back to 2000.

Sales of distressed property — mostly foreclosures and short sales — made up 35 percent of the market for existing homes. Short sales predominated, as foreclosures, which peaked at 52 percent of the market in February 2009, have dropped to 13.6 percent of sales, closer to average levels. The average over the past 17 years is about 10 percent, DataQuick said.

Spring Into Design: Neutrals Are In

The New Neutrals: Infusing Bold Color Into the Home

Erika Riggs | Zillow Blogs | March 12, 2013 | link

Neutral shades such as white and beige will always work in a home, but sometimes a space calls for bolder colors.

orange room

Orange punches up a guest bedroom, pictured above, by San Francisco designer Kimball Starr.

In fact, couches, walls and even appliances are showing up in hues of orange, emerald green, lavender and peacock blue. Named the “it colors” for spring by Pantone, these shades are surprisingly easy to work with and, when used as a base or accent, are nearly a neutral, says designer David Scott.

“I love orange,” he said. “I’m always constantly trying to work it into every interior. Persian blue, peacock blue [too]. I love mixing them and the warm and cool together.”

People, overall, are becoming more comfortable with using color in the home, says designer Chris Barrett.

“People are becoming more aware how color can be used. Where a lot of people felt beiges and taupes were easier to live with, now people can see color. Even strong color can be almost a neutral if you use it right,” she said.

chris barrett

Barrett added a coat of orange-red paint to liven up the vanity in the bathroom of a modern boutique hotel she designed in California.

Here are a few tips from designers on how to add these new neutrals to your home.

Start with shades and swatches

If you’re set on adding peacock blue to a space, how do you find other colors to pair with it? Barrett says the easiest way is to layer various shades of that color in the space. If you want a bolder, yet cohesive look, search for the color’s complement on the color wheel. Blue, for example, pairs well with orange, and purple pairs well with touches of yellow.

Still lost? Start with a swatch of fabric you love.

“Often we find just one fabric or one rug that has all the colors we like and build off of that,” Barrett said.

chris barrett 2

Cheerful printed pillows provide the palette for a sunny room designed by Barrett.

Add colorful furniture

Non-traditional colors, such as lavender, can become neutrals if you use them where you may have used beige in the past, explains Barrett.

“You use it as a background, say a sofa, and you can accent it with other colors,” she said. “If you do use it as a neutral, it isn’t trendy — it’s just very chic because you are using it in balance with other colors.”

Green couch
This dark green couch becomes a neutral against the brighter pink wall and gray rug.

light green couch
Another green couch, this time in a lighter spring green, works as a neutral when it’s paired with white, brown and black in this contemporary living room, designed by John Willey.

Paint

Whether you coat your walls or cabinets, paint is an easy way to add bold color to a space.

blue cabinets
Painting the cabinets below the counters is a subtle way to infuse color into an otherwise all-white kitchen.

green lacquer
If you’re bold, says Barrett, add a lot of color to a space by painting the walls. Make a statement with a shiny, lacquered green on the walls, as seen above.

blue white bath
Or, use a coat of blue paint to make a bathroom cottage-chic and kid-friendly.

Accessorize

“If you want to add color slowly, slowly use it in small touches such as accent pillows,” advises Barrett.

orange and white bath
Touches of color — such as an orange towel and piece of art — add interest to an all-white space.

purple pillows
Taupe couches get an update with green and purple pillows in this design by Scarsdale interior designer Claire Paquin.

orange lamp
Red-orange lamps are unexpected additions in a green entryway.

Luxury Abroad Comes Home

Global luxury real estate market showing ‘strong momentum’

Inman News | Monday, March 11, 2013 | link

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=107189060" target="_blank">Australian mansion</a> image via Shutterstock.Australian mansion image via Shutterstock.

The international luxury real estate market remains relatively immune to the economic and political trends that drive the general housing market and is off to strong start in 2013, according to a report from high-end real estate affiliate network Christie’s International Real Estate.

The report compared 10 top property markets around the world: London, New York, Hong Kong, Paris, San Francisco, France’s Cote d’Azur, Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Miami. The company, a subsidiary of Christie’s auction house, also rolled out a new index, the Christie’s International Real Estate Index, which ranks markets across metrics such as record sales price, prices per square foot, percentage of non-local and international purchasers, and the number of luxury listings relative to population.

The 10 markets were also chosen for the network’s strong market share locally. Christie’s International Real Estate has 125 affiliated brokerages in 41 countries.

London, which topped the index, achieved a record sales price of more than $121 million for a residential property in 2012, followed by an $88 million sale in New York. In all of the cities studied except Dallas and Toronto, the highest sales price for the year exceeded $35 million, the report said.

Economist Robert Shiller has predicted U.S. home prices will rise only one or two percent a year in inflation-adjusted terms for the next half decade due to “lingering uncertainties” in world economies, the report said. By contrast, a study by the The Boston Consulting Group expects global sales of personal luxury goods, such as fine art, to grow about 7 percent annually through 2014, assuming there are no new major economic crises, the report added.

“Except where there is government intervention luxury residential real estate values will likely follow luxury goods and not the general housing market, and are therefore poised to increase in many of the cities studied in 2013,”  the report said. “This is particularly true as (high-net-worth individuals) turn their luxury investments toward nonconsumables and experiential luxury products that have lasting value.”

Bonnie Stone Sellers, CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate, said in a statement that “strong momentum” in the luxury property market “is also being driven by scarcity of quality inventory and demand from international buyers in many of the world’s top destinations.”

There are more billionaires worldwide now than before the 2008 financial crisis and 55 percent more millionaires than in 2000, the report said.

“This is a large part of the reason the cities surveyed have done so well: the international crossborder purchaser has continued to buy the trophy properties at top dollar,” the report said.

This is particularly true for buyers from countries where local economic uncertainty encourages the rich to park their cash in international cities least affected by the global downturn. In seven of the 10 cities studied, more than 30 percent of the luxury homebuyers were from other countries.

High-net-worth individuals “find the world to be a small place, and geographical distances between cities are not relevant to purchasing patterns, which are more similar to each other in the 10 cities surveyed than other cities within the same country,” the report said. “Globalization, economic development, wealth deposits, and technology attract HNWIs to the key global urban centers, where knowledge, capital, and culture intersect.”

In the most of the cities studied, the share of all-cash deals rose with the sales price. Nearly 100 percent of Los Angeles transactions above $5 million were in cash, followed by 90 percent in New York and 70 percent each in San Francisco and Miami.

Recent tax law changes in many of these markets will likely have a negative effect on 2013 high-end market activity, the report said. For instance, in Toronto, new restrictions on mortgage financing intended to cool the housing market, are expected to lengthen days on market for luxury properties, which have hovered at 46 days for the past two years.

“Government actions relating to taxation and lending standards can significantly influence buyers worldwide, including luxury home buyers. In nearly all of the cities examined, recent changes to capital gains taxes, wealth taxes, transfer taxes, mortgage restrictions, and secondary residence taxes have created notable catalysts in the market,” the report said.