Saturday, July 30, 2005

Property Profile: 851 Dwight Crescent (4 Units)

Keller Williams Golden Gate presents:
851 Dwight Crescent in Berkeley.

This well maintained four-plex was built in 1956. All 4 units have 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. All the units have an identical layout with the exception of an extra closet in each of the two ground floor units. There's a total of 5 parking spaces along with a backyard and play area. MLS#40097027

For more info, or if you'd like to schedule a private showing, call me at 510.847.4145

I'll be holding it open today from 2-4pm. Come out and say hi.

If this property isn't exactly what you're looking for. Use to Search the MLS. You can save searches and have properties which meet your criteria e-mailed directly to you as soon as they hit the market.

East Bay Activities: The Oakland A's

Looking for something to do in the East Bay? Why not head down to the Coliseum and check out the A's. The A's have really been playing some great baseball recently and it's been really exciting to see the team turn it around after a bad start.

I'm a huge Oakland A's fan. When I moved out here in 2002 I wasn't too into baseball. So here I was, in a new land and I had no local sports teams to root for yet. Since I was living in the East Bay, I was inclined to pay a little more attention to the A's. The games were nearby, cheap and usually exciting. What probably sealed it was when my girlfriend Barry and I were at win #20 during the winning streak. They blew a 11 run lead and ended up winning it in extra innings on a Scott Hatteberg walk off homer.

That game part of the BART Double Play Wednesday promotion ($1 tickets & $1 hot dogs at the time) and knowing the significance of the game, had ordered tickets ahead of time. When we got there, we found ourselves with an extra ticket to the sold out game. We ended up giving it to a guy from Redding who was in town for business. He ended up sitting by us and bought us beer all night. A great time was had by all!

There's a great online community at die hard fans at the Athletics Nation blog. Besides the great posts by Blez, the blog's creator; the diaries section showcases a thriving online community of rabid A's fans.

You can buy tickets at A's official site.

I'd love to see you at the game tomorrow, but duty calls. I'll be holding open 851 Dwight crescent in Berkeley from 2-4pm. The details will be in the next post.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Robert Kiyosaki has Gone Bearish

SF Chronicle columnist Carol Lloyd wrote an interesting article that appeared in last Sunday's Real Estate section. She tracked down Rich Dad, Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki for his thoughts on the current market. It looks like he's turned bearish on real estate and is shedding properties that don't cash flow.

You can read the article here.

A few snippets:

"Don't get me wrong, I'm still buying real estate," he told me, adding that he
was in the process of buying seven new properties but that he wasn't buying
anything in expectation of appreciation. "I'm an investor, not a speculator. ...
I want it to cash flow."

The real culprit behind the real estate bubble, he contends, is the federal
government. "They're printing too much money," he says. "It's Gresham's Law:
When bad money enters the system, good money goes into hiding."

Kiyosaki believes the U.S. government has devalued the dollar, weakened
the economy and created such distrust of the stock market that people have
sought more secure ways to invest their money. And that has driven up real
estate values.

"Please crash, so I can buy some more," he says with a hardy laugh. "I want it
to bust anyway. There's more opportunities in a down market."

Kiyosaki has a great website with a very active discussion forum. I spent a lot of time there when I was first getting my feet wet in the industry and always picked up some great info.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Property Profile: 3820 Delmont Ave in Oakland

Keller Williams Golden Gate presents:
3820 Delmont Ave. in Oakland

Tastefully renovated in 2002 with permits; this 3 bedroom, 2bath home features a flexible floorplan. The main floor features an arched transition from living room to dining room. Enjoy the views of the front hill and side yard that take advantage of the beautiful natural setting and light. The fully finished legal height downstairs area could be a master suite, seperate living quarters or a home office. The downstairs also has a full kitchen, its own bathroom and internal and external entrances. Put your hammock up anywhere on this nearly 7500 sq. ft. lot and enjoy the beauty of your own urban retreat.

For more info, or if you'd like to schedule a private showing, contact Andy Kaufman at 510.847.4145

If this property isn't exactly what you're looking for. Use to Search the MLS. You can save searches and have properties which meet your criteria e-mailed directly to you as soon as they hit the market.

Way to Go Rob!

It looks like Rob Black has changed the format of his website to a blog format. Great move Rob! Already packed with great posts, it's a great way to interact with your audience in a way that a static website couldn't offer. That's why I'm about to do the same thing.

In case you're in the dark on Rob. Rob is the Chief Investment Officer and a founding member of GLB Group and appears on Bay Area radio and TV. I started listening to his radio show a few months ago and quickly got hooked. His approach is refreshing, informative, and has great crossover appeal. If he can get my girlfriend to listen to business talk radio, you know he's onto something.

His raido show is on from 5-6pm on AM 1550 in the Bay Area. I recommend checking it out.

Prices are Rising...and So Is Inventory

The June sales report from CAR (California Association of REALTORS®) came out on Monday. It basically said that continued low interest rates along with an increase in invontory is fueling the market.

Some snippets

The median price of an existing home in California in June increased 16 percent
and sales increased 3.6 percent compared with the same period a year ago

“Inventory levels in recent months were nearly double that of a year ago,” said
C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.
“This has contributed to the increased pace of home sales in the presence of
continued strong demand for housing in California.”

C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in
June 2005 was 2.7 months, compared with 1.7 months (revised) for the same period
a year ago.

Thanks to the Housing Bubble 2 blog for the link to the article. If you're interested in the subject, I'd recommend adding this one to your blogroll.

Friday, July 22, 2005

385 51st Street in Oakland

Here's the next featured property. Listed by my colleague Thelma Austin from the Oakland Keller Williams office.

This spacious, sun filled 2 bedroom/ 1 bath bungalow is perfect for someone looking for a little extra income. In addition to normal living area, there is also a non-conforming in-law unit with a separate entrance.

The house features hardwood floors, a fireplace in the living room, built-ins in the dining room, and a sun room in back. In the backyard there's a detached structure that would make a perfect studio space for an artist along with a storage shed and multiple fruit trees.

The house is listed at $559,000 and is going to be open on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. The seller is going to look at offers on Tuesday Aug. 2nd.

If you want more info, or would like to set up a private showing, e-mail me .

If this isn't exactly what you're looking for, you can search the MLS here.

Google Maps continues to surprise me. I used to use Yahoo Maps, but once Google introduced the satellite images; I started playing with it and using Google more and more. Now they've added a hybrid maps feature which shows the satellite view of an area, but superimposes major roads onto it. Cool!

While were on the subject...I've also been playing around with a bit recently. If you haven't tried it yet, I recommend checking it out. Harnessing the power of Craigslist along with Google Maps, this is a great way to search the current Real Estate listings geographically. While it only shows the properties that were posted on Craigslist and not the whole MLS, it's a great idea and hopefully it will be a sign of whats to come.

You can search the for sale, for rent, rooms, and sublet listings in a certain price range for each area and they site will plot them on Google Maps. When you click on each marker, the headline (which links to the Craigslist post), address, photos, and contact information are displayed.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Searching the East Bay MLS

Eventually I want to find a place to permanently place this is a visible location, but for now I'll just post the link in this post. I have a feature on my website at which allows people to search the East Bay MLS whenever they want to.

Known in the Real Estate industry as an IDX solution, this feature allows you to also save searches and have new listings sent to you as soon as they hit the market. It will also alert you if there are any price changes to these listings.

This is a great tool if you're in the initial phases of your home search and want to gather some general information. When you decide to move to the next step, its a good idea to contact a Real Estate professional. I'm in the trenches everyday and I have lots of information and resources to share with home buyers who are ready to buy. Buyers agents are paid out of the proceeds that the seller receives for their property, so there's no reason not to have a good agent represent you when buying property.

I used to allow people to use the feature without registering, but I found it to be very impersonal. People still register with fake information, which is cool with me, but I want to build relationships and this approach seems to be working out better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

June Bay Area Lowdown

Although volume is down 7.7% from last year's record pace, the Bay Area housing market is still looking solid. The June figures from Dataquick show that the median house price for the entire Bay Area has cracked the $600,000 mark.

In Alameda County, the new median price is $581,000, 18.8% higher than last June.

In Contra Costa County, the new median price is $558,000, 21.8% higher than last June.

From the article:

Robust demand, unchanging mortgage interest rates and a few more homes on the market are the likely factors behind the strong June numbers. We expect the rest of the summer to be like this," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

Indicators of market distress are still largely absent. Foreclosure rates are low, down payment sizes are stable and there have been no significant shifts in market mix, DataQuick reported.

The talk around the office is that although the market is still strong, we're definitely seeing a bit of a slowdown; especially in the higher price ranges. While many properties are still receiving multiple offers, it's not that uncommon for an offer date to come and go without getting one.

It's definitely a better climate for buyers than just a couple months ago when inventory was low and potential buyers often found their offers to be 1 of the 20 received. Talk about frustrating!

Monday, July 18, 2005

School Resources

Here are a few websites that you might find helpful if you're thinking about buying a home in Oakland.

If you find a great property and want to know which school districts it lies in, this website will tell you. Just plug in the street address and select either elementary, middle, or high school and voila!

Then once you know which school districts the property lies in, you can use this website to search for their Academic Performance Index (API) Growth Report.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Shopping for Mortgages

I came across a good primer for getting started with shopping for mortgages and thought I'd share.

I'm a financial news junkie. I think I picked it up during the dotcom days when I'd rush home from classes at the University of Wisconsin to watch the closing bell on CNBC. This thirst for the latest and greatest in current events led me to Holden Lewis's blog at, which I check frequently. It's a great resource for mortgage news.

Something from the article that I've found to be true.
Even if the mortgage broker can only match the best offer you've seen, it may be worthwhile to go this route, simply because a good mortgage broker will make the paperwork a lot less of a hassle.
While a great mortgage broker is a good asset to have on your side, I'd still recommend talking to a few different lenders. Talk to some banks, your credit union, and talk to some mortgage brokers. Ask your REALTOR for a referral. Agents deal with all sorts of lenders and most would be more than happy to recommend a few good lenders to contact.

Happy househunting!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Frustrated Investors in California

Came across this interesting post on creonline concerning the frustrations on California investors.

I just wish I could drive a few miles like any other freakin state and find rentals to buy and hold long term that make sense, but this has finally become impossible anywhere in the state of CA w/ 10% down. It SUCKS to try and get started in investing in this state!
I agree with much of what was said in the responses. It is tough to find long term deals in the Bay Area that make sense. That's why I've been focusing on expanding my network in order to give local Bay Area clients access to out of the area investment vehicles. If you're a Bay Area investor looking for these types of opportunities, email me, I want to hear from you. Same goes for those outside the area who have opportunites for California investors.