INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For February 2018

SALE PENDING: 1090 Griffith Ln, Brentwood, CA 94513

1090 Griffith Ln, Brentwood, CA 94513


5 beds 4 baths 3,080 sqft

Charming, comfortable and spacious single story by Pulte in the Botanica development built in 2017! Large living, dining and family rooms with a pleasant decor. Neutral throughout with appealing tile flooring. Very open granite kitchen with farm style sink and goose neck faucet. Large island doubles as a breakfast bar and serving counter. Gas cooktop, stainless steel oven and microwave for the culinary enthusiast. Also included are deep, pull-out drawers and a large walk-in pantry. Enjoy morning coffee in the cheery breakfast nook overlooking the back yard. The lovely master suite is complemented with its luxurious bath. The four secondary bedrooms can also have multiple uses, serving as an office, media room or any other need to complete any other lifestyle. For your convenience, there is also an electric car charger. This a great find for a beautiful home!!


8 Tips to Maximize Your Chances of Profiting When Selling

Every home seller wants to get as much money as they can from their sale. If you’ve owned your home for a while and the real estate market in your area is healthy, odds are your home is worth a lot more than what you paid for it. But there are other ways for you to increase your profits even more.

Here are some ways to boost your profit margin when you sell your home.

1. Don’t Advertise Your Motivations

You could be in a position to want to sell quickly and unload your property for whatever reason, but don’t let buyers know that. Any indication that you’re in a bit of a rush to sell will do little for your pocketbook. Buyers are always sniffing out deals, and they may lowball you if they think you’re in a position to sell fast.

Revealing your motivation to sell could compromise your negotiating power with buyers. Instead, keeping your motivations to yourself and your agent will help you increase the odds of selling for a higher price.

2. Price it Right

One of the best determining factors to selling for a profit is the price point that you list at. It’s absolutely critical to list at an appropriate price that’s in line with the current market, regardless of where you stand as a seller.

This is one of the many times that having a real estate agent in your corner is extremely handy. Your agent will pull a report listing comparable homes in the area that recently sold so that you can get a better idea of how much you can realistically list at.

You might be tempted to list very high in an effort to sell high, but that tactic typically backfires. Prospective buyers will simply overlook your listing if you’ve priced well above what the current market dictates. You’ll wind up with a stale listing that will sit on the market longer than it needs to.

At this point, your listing will become vulnerable to lowball offers as buyers may assume you’re more desperate to sell. That’s the last thing you want to do as a seller looking to make a profit. If your home is priced too low, you might get a quick offer, but you could lose money because the offer is below what it should be.

In either scenario, you risk losing money. Make sure that your property is priced appropriately for the current market in order to get the best price.

3. Invest in Professional Home Staging

Buyers are drawn to homes that they are attracted to and are able to easily and quickly develop an emotional attachment to. The best way to make sure your home is aesthetically appealing to the buyers looking in your area is to stage it appropriately. That means giving it a thorough cleaning job, neutralizing the decor, depersonalizing, and furnishing according to what your target buyer is looking for in a home.

While you may be able to tackle this job on your own, you stand a much better chance of attracting buyers with the help of a professional home stager. These experts are skilled at identifying the type of buyers searching in a particular neighborhood and understanding exactly what they’re looking for in a new home.

By determining what these people want, stagers are able to decorate and furnish a home appropriately to attract as many buyers as possible. By doing so, the odds of selling faster and for more money are a lot higher.

While it’s true that you would have to pay a home stager up front for their services, it shouldn’t be looked at as another expense. Instead, home staging should be viewed as an investment. You can recoup all the money you spend on paying a home stager while still getting even more money back when you sell. If using these services helps your home sell for just 1% more, they’ll more than pay for themselves.

4. Take Beautiful Real Estate Photos

In addition to the right listing price, one of the most important factors when selling a home is the quality of the photos used for marketing. High-quality photos are absolutely crucial for presenting your home in the best light possible. Considering the fact that most buyers start their search for a home online, you’ve got to make sure the images you have posted are as good as they can possibly be.

Many buyers end up choosing homes based on how well they’re presented in photos. You’ve only got one chance to make a first impression, and good-quality photos are the way to capitalize on that.

5. Make the Right Improvements

If your home could stand a little bit of improvement, making the necessary upgrades can help add more value to it come sale time. Of course, this work will cost you some money, but if you focus on the right types of improvements, you can realize a better ROI.

Upgrading your home can eat into your profits, but certain jobs can actually help you to sell your house for more money. For instance, painting has been shown to be one of the best improvements to make to a home when it comes to the cost versus the perceived increase in value. For just a couple of hundred dollars and a weekend worth of work, you can make your home appear much more attractive to buyers and even command more money at the negotiating table.

Other smart improvements that bring in a healthy ROI include refacing kitchen and bathroom cabinets, painting the front door, and boosting curb appeal. Just make sure to choose your upgrades wisely in order to recoup as much money as possible at the negotiating table.

6. Know Your Buyer

It’s helpful to understand your buyer’s motivations when you’re at the negotiating table. You want to be in the driver’s seat when wheeling and dealing in order to get the price up as much as possible.

Does the buyer have to buy quickly because they’ve already closed on their current home? Are they financially capable of paying what you’re asking? Knowing the answers to questions like these can help you control the negotiating process and sell for top dollar.

7. Maximize Your Tax Benefits

While selling your home for a high price is your main objective, you can keep more money in your pockets when it comes time to pay taxes. Any profit you make on the sale of your home could be slashed because of the big tax cut you’ll have to make if you simply take those proceeds and put them in the bank.

The good news is that there are some ways to minimize your tax payments. You can deduct some of your taxes on things such as your closing costs, marketing costs, and realtor commissions. Make sure you get a tax professional on board to help you take advantage of all the tax breaks possible.

8. Work With an Experienced Real Estate Agent

While real estate agents are paid by commission, their fee is well worth it. Not only can these professionals help you make the most money on the sale of your home, they can also help you save as much money as you can in several other areas of the sale process.

The Bottom Line

Selling for top dollar is obviously one of your top priorities. By implementing any one – or all – of the above tips, you can realistically increase your profits when you finally close on a real estate deal.

How Sellers Can Attract Multiple Offers on Their Homes

Depending on where you live and the temperature of the market in your area, attracting several offers on your home at once might already be easy enough. California’s hot real estate market as of late has seen markets where bidding wars are a regular occurrence. With a squeeze on inventory and high demand, drawing in multiple offers might not require much effort at all.

But in other cases, there are things that sellers can do to position their listings in such a way that the odds of a multiple offer situation are higher. With several different offers to entertain at once, sellers may be able to drive up the price of their home as buyers compete against each other.

As long as the location of your home is highly sought-after and your home has the goods buyers are looking for, you’re in a pretty good position to spark a bidding war on your home when you take the approach.

Price it Appropriately

Before you establish a listing price, consider the market you’re in right now. One tactic that has become quite popular is pricing just slightly under market value to attract buyers. Listing at a seemingly low price can attract multiple offers when the market is hot.

It’s no secret that a perceived discount on a home – or any other type of commodity – will attract buyers, and that’s exactly what you want as a seller if you’re looking to spark a bidding war. People will get excited about the possibility of landing a great deal on a home, which is precisely what will draw them to your listing.

However, setting a low price in a softer market might not work as well. While it may help you sell quickly, you may find it more challenging to get the final price you’re looking for. That’s why it’s so important to gauge the market first before coming up with an appropriate listing price.

Work with your real estate agent to scope out the comparable sales in your area before coming up with a listing price. Use that information to determine a price that accurately reflects the current market, then list your home just slightly under that number. That will surely grab buyers’ attention.

Have Your Home Professionally Staged

Buyers are certainly attracted to a good price on a home, but they’re also drawn to properties that are esthetically pleasing. If you want people to pay a premium for your home, you’re going to have do what you can to make your home as attractive as possible. That’s where professional home staging comes into the picture.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), sellers stand to gain a return of $400 for every $100 spent on staging. Not only that, the average professionally-staged home tends to sell for 17% more than a home that has not been staged. Further, the majority of staged properties sell 87% faster than homes that are not staged.

Staging typically involves decluttering, depersonalizing, and neutralizing a space. It also involves understanding what buyers in a particular market are looking for in a home, and designing and decorating in such a way that it taps into those desires.

Homes that generate multiple offers tend to be those that look as if they could be featured in a magazine. The goal is to make buyers develop an instant attraction to the property and an emotional attachment to it. You want buyers to fall in love with your home, which will help spur the desire to put in an offer. 

Be Flexible With Your Showings

In order to draw in multiple offers, you need to be flexible in terms of showings. Buyers who are on the prowl for a home and are willing to pay top dollar for the right property don’t want to provide 24 hours’ notice before a showing.

Many times buyer agents book a slew of showings for their buyers in one day, often requesting same-day showings. Sometimes showings are booked at the last minute, and you need to be open to that and prepared for it. If a buyer’s agent isn’t able to get into your home today because of your inflexible schedule, you could potentially miss out on a qualified buyer.

In order to increase the odds of getting multiple offers, you need to be very flexible with your showing schedule. Imposing too many restrictions will make it harder for prospective buyers to see your home. Sure, it may be a nuisance to always have your home in show-ready condition and allow complete strangers meander throughout your home at all hours of the day. But if multiple offers are what you’re after, you need to make it as easy as possible for many buyers to see your home.

Give All Buyers a Chance to Visit

It’s not uncommon for sellers to get an offer the day their listings go live. If they’ve got the goods, they’ll likely get a ton of attention and easily attract an offer within hours.

While this might sound great, you probably won’t get multiple offers right out of the gates. Ideally, you’ll want to give as many buyers a chance to see your home in order to generate as much interest as possible. The more eyes on your home, the higher the odds of multiple offers flooding in.

Your listing should be on the market long enough for your targeted pool of buyers to visit and submit their offers. Agents will often set a date and time for offer reviews, which will be clearly stipulated in the listing description. Usually, this will be about a week or so after the listing goes live.

After having had a chance to check out the home, all the buyers who have visited will then be given the opportunity to present their offers, knowing that other buyers are vying for the same property. This strategy creates a sense of excitement and urgency while still allowing buyers enough time to consider their offers.

Hold a Broker Open House

It’s standard practice for sellers to have open houses to allow prospective buyers to visit without having to book a showing. But in addition to these typical open houses, it’s good practice to hold a broker open house to allow local real estate professionals to scope out the home.

The more agents know about your home, the higher the odds of drawing in multiple offers. Many times buyer brokers will have a client in mind that they believe would be a perfect fit for the home. By holding a broker open house, you can spread the word about your listing and get other agents to bring their clients in to see your property.

The Bottom Line

If you’re already in a sizzling market and have the goods, you probably don’t have to try too hard to generate multiple offers. In all other situations, you might need to be strategic in your approach in order to spur a potential bidding war on your home. Follow the above tips – on the advice of your real estate agent – to help generate more interest in your listing and drive in several offers at once for you to choose from.

Just Sold: Record Breaking Sale! Highest Neighborhood Sale Ever!

A single story stunner beyond compare! Remodeled and redesigned with elegance and class. Every detail has been carefully crafted to please those of discriminating taste. Not your typical remodel!! Located in a desirable San Ramon neighborhood overlooking the tenth fairway of the San Ramon Golf Club with pleasant and peaceful vistas in a wooded setting. This “dream home” features heightened ceilings, an abundance of natural light and gleaming Brazilian cherry wood floors. The living and dining rooms are adjacent to the open kitchen, providing a great room concept. The granite kitchen includes a complementing glass tile backsplash, cherry wood cabinets with several glass inset doors and top-of-the-line appliances. The large master suite includes a 2-way fireplace, walk-in closet with built-ins and luxurious bath with a steam shower and heated floors. In addition, there is a guest suite, media room, an office, an exercise room and a laundry room. Beautiful grounds with a pergola and stamped concrete.


4 Beds | 4 Baths | 2,871 SqFt


Sale Pending in Less than 1 week!

27 Weatherly Dr, Clayton, CA 94517


4 beds 2 baths 1,895 sqft

Welcoming and inviting home in a great location, situated on a large corner lot. Wonderful open floor plan with a good size living room and dining area. The kitchen, breakfast nook and family room overlook the pleasant back yard with a patio, deck & sparkling pool! Also, there is a wood burning fireplace in the family room for those cold winter nights. The spacious master suite includes a ceiling fan with a light & a sliding glass door that leads out to the back yard. Each of the secondary bedrooms plus the family room have ceiling fans with lights. There is ample storage & many special features that enhance this special home as well. The large back yard features mature trees, shrubs & blooming plants that even still allow for low maintenance. RV access, with the potential of being on both sides of the property. If so desired, updating this home provides additional potential!! Shopping & many other amenities are nearby, yet the quaint atmosphere of “Old” downtown Clayton is close by.


8 Renting Myths, Debunked

Whether you’re currently on the prowl for a rental unit or are just casually considering renting, there’s a lot to think about. The thing is, there’s a lot of information about renting floating around out there, much of which is true, and a lot that isn’t.

Here are a few myths about renting that should be quashed.

1. Rent prices can’t be negotiated.

Not only is the location of a rental a predominant factor in your search for your next home, so is the rental price. You likely will only look at listings that fall within a certain price range. But the posted rental price isn’t written in stone. Many landlords are open to negotiating on the price.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t try to wheel and deal with a landlord to see if the price can be lowered. Even if there’s no wiggle room with the price, you may be able to get the landlord to throw in other incentives, such as waiving the security deposit or offering an additional parking spot. 

2. Your rental application won’t be approved with a poor credit score.

Yes, your credit score weighs heavily on your landlord’s decision to approve your rental application. In fact, your credit score plays a key role in many of life’s financial situations, which is why it’s always advised to take measures to ensure it stays healthy.

That being said, a sub-par credit score doesn’t always automatically mean a rental rejection. Sure, it will make it a lot tougher to snag a rental unit, but you won’t be immediately disqualified as a result in all case. Other positive factors may help your position, such as raving reviews from previous landlords or paystubs showing a substantial income.

3. You’re stuck with the lease until it expires.

Generally speaking, you’re tied to your lease when you sign it. This binds you to all the terms of the lease, including the expiry date (assuming all terms are legal). But that doesn’t mean there is no way for you to get out of your lease legally. If there is a lease break contingency somewhere in the lease, you might be able to use that as a way out.

For instance, some lease termination policies might require a penalty fee to be paid if you break the lease before the expiry date. Or, the policy could require you to surrender the security deposit.

In addition, there may be certain circumstances whereby you may be legally allowed to break your lease:

  • You’re starting a tour with the military;
  • Your landlord or neighbors are harassing you;
  • The unit is deemed unsafe or uninhabitable;
  • You suffer a significant medical situation.

Speak with a real estate agent to find out all of your rights as a tenant to break your lease.

4. Your landlord can enter your property anytime.

As a tenant, you have the right to quiet enjoyment of your rental. Your landlord needs to respect your privacy while you’re living there, which means they typically have to provide you with notice before they enter your unit and have good reason to. Typical reasons for landlords to want to enter a rental property include making repairs and showing the unit to a prospective buyer.

However, there may be times when a landlord can enter a tenant’s property with no notice or warning, but only during times of emergency.

5. Your landlord can end your lease at any time.

Your landlord needs to abide by the terms of the lease, and that includes adhering to the lease end date. Under normal circumstances, a landlord cannot evict you for no valid reason. There must be adequate proof that you’ve violated your lease terms and evidence that an eviction is justified.

Your landlord can’t just kick you out on a whim, especially if you’ve been following the terms of your lease. If your landlord wants you out, the situation will likely have to go through the courts.

Having said that, a month-to-month lease makes it easier for landlords to evict their tenants. In this case, you will need to be provided with between 30 to 60 days’ written notice from your landlord informing you that you are required to move out, and your landlord doesn’t really need to offer a reason for ending the lease.

6. Your landlord is responsible for all maintenance and repairs.

Landlords are definitely obligated to perform certain repairs and maintenance duties, but tenants shouldn’t assume that they’ll take care of everything. According to California law, landlords are responsible for repairing significant issues in order to adhere to local and state laws regarding suitable habitation. However, landlords do not have to make any repairs for damages that the tenant is responsible for.

As far as minor repairs are concerned, these stipulations should be detailed in the lease agreement.

7. Anything the landlord includes in the lease is enforceable.

Usually, anything that has been detailed in a lease agreement is considered legally binding. That is, however, unless the items are considered unlawful according to local, state, and federal law. Anything that is not legal under the law is not enforceable.

8. Renting is only for those who can’t afford to buy a home.

While there are certainly a large proportion of renters who continue to rent because they are unable to afford a home purchase, there are others who do it as a lifestyle choice.

Some may enjoy the flexibility that comes with renting and the ability to move without having to sell first. Others prefer to gauge what it would be like to plant roots in a specific area and choose to rent for a while first before buying.

Not all renters are those who can’t afford to buy; instead, it’s a choice for many.

The Bottom Line

Not everything you hear about renting is necessarily true. Whether you’re just contemplating renting or are already actively looking for a place, be sure to sort out truth from fiction, and the best way to do that is to team up with an experienced real estate agent.

INFOGRAPHIC: California Sales Report For January 2018

JUST LISTED: 27 Weatherly Dr, Clayton, CA 94517

27 Weatherly Dr, Clayton, CA 94517


4 beds 2 baths 1,895 sqft

Welcoming and inviting home in a great location, situated on a large corner lot. Wonderful open floor plan with a good size living room and dining area. The kitchen, breakfast nook and family room overlook the pleasant back yard with a patio, deck & sparkling pool! Also, there is a wood burning fireplace in the family room for those cold winter nights. The spacious master suite includes a ceiling fan with a light & a sliding glass door that leads out to the back yard. Each of the secondary bedrooms plus the family room have ceiling fans with lights. There is ample storage & many special features that enhance this special home as well. The large back yard features mature trees, shrubs & blooming plants that even still allow for low maintenance. RV access, with the potential of being on both sides of the property. If so desired, updating this home provides additional potential!! Shopping & many other amenities are nearby, yet the quaint atmosphere of “Old” downtown Clayton is close by.


7 Things Mortgage Brokers Want Borrowers to Know

Just the thought of having to go through the mortgage process after deciding to buy a home can seem daunting for the average buyer. It can seem like a complicated process with all of the numbers and calculations involved.

However, with a seasoned mortgage broker in your corner, the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming or even confusing, These professionals will guide you every step of the way to make sure you take the right steps and find the best mortgage suitable for your financial position.

But there are things borrowers can do that will not only make the job of a broker easier, but will help ensure the process benefits buyers in the end. Here are some things that mortgage brokers wish all borrowers knew.

1. Borrowers Should Call Brokers Before They Start Their Home Search

Of course, you should have a real estate agent by your side before you ever start pounding the pavement in search of your new home. But your agent shouldn’t be the only member to add to your team right off the bat: your mortgage broker should also be one of the first people you call.

Your mortgage broker will be able to work with you to find out all the ins and outs of your financial situation so that you can better focus on the properties that fit within your budget. They will also be able to get the ball rolling to get you closer to final mortgage approval so that there’s no unnecessary delay once you finally find a home you love and submit an offer on.

Buying a home is a big deal, and your mortgage broker will be able to help you through the process by offering you personalized advice based on your particular situation. You want to make sure your hard-earned money is being spent wisely, and your broker can help you do just that.

2. Pre-Approval Isn’t the Same as Final Mortgage Approval

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a logical first step in the home buying process. While not mandatory, a pre-approval gives the lender the chance to check your credit and assess your finances. Once this is done, the lender will tell you how much you would be able to borrow.

A pre-approval is very helpful when you are searching for a home. Not only will it help you stay focused on a specific price range, it will help sellers look more favorably on you. After all, sellers tend to want to work exclusively with buyers who are serious about buying and are financially capable of affording the purchase.

But as helpful as a mortgage pre-approval is, it’s not the same as a mortgage approval. The actual mortgage approval process begins after your offer on a home has been accepted by the seller and is submitted to the lender. Borrowers should know that not only does their financial situation impact final approval, so does the home itself.

Lenders will send out an appointed appraiser to appraise the value of the home you agreed to purchase. They will want to know if the accepted offer price closely matches the actual current market value of the home.

Only after the lender is satisfied with all factors involved will a final mortgage approval be granted. It’s possible to be denied a mortgage even after you’ve been pre-approved if the appraisal comes in too low or if there’s been a significant change in your finances.

3. A Broker Isn’t a Lender

A lender is the actual entity or institution that loans out the funds approved for. On the other hand, a mortgage broker is a professional who acts as a middleman between borrowers and lenders. Brokers shop around with various lenders to find the best rates and terms for their borrower clients that they work with, and should not be confused with the people who actually loan out the money.

Mortgage lenders are direct lenders who are able to loan money, while a mortgage broker obtains several quotes from different lenders for comparison purposes. At the end of the day, it’s the lender who has the power to approve or reject mortgage applications.

4. You Need Money For More Than Just Your Down Payment

If you’re applying for a mortgage, you’ll need to come up with a certain amount of money for a down payment. Different mortgage types come with their own down payment requirements, but you can generally expect to require at least 5% for a conventional mortgage or 3.5% for an FHA-backed mortgage.

That said, a down payment isn’t the only upfront cost you’ll need to consider. As much as a down payment will be, the closing costs associated with buying a home and obtaining a mortgage can be pretty significant as well. It’s important that you understand what these closing costs are and budget accordingly before agreeing to make a home purchase.

Generally speaking, buyers pay anywhere between 2% to 5% of the purchase price the home in closing fees. That means you’d be paying between $10,000 to $25,000 in closing costs on a $500,000 home purchase, which can include anything from appraisal fees, to home inspections, to private mortgage insurance. Your Closing Disclosure will detail all of the closing costs you’re responsible for before you sign on the dotted line.

5. Borrowers Should Never Make Any Major Financial Changes During the Mortgage Process

Your lender is making a decision about whether or not to approve your home loan application based on the financial information given at that time. If you make any changes to your financial situation, that could throw a wrench in the process and potentially even sabotage your mortgage approval, or delay it at the very least.

Mortgage brokers work hard at collecting all the necessary financial information from you and communicating it to the lenders they work with. They’ll usually tell their clients not to make any major financial decisions until after final mortgage approval.

Generally speaking, brokers advise against borrowers making any large purchases on credit, such as taking out a loan to buy furniture, applying for an auto loan, or taking out a new credit card. These can all alter your debt-to-income ratio which is a critical factor used when assessing your ability to get approved for a mortgage. In addition, you shouldn’t change jobs during the mortgage approval process either, as this can also delay closing.

6. Borrowers Usually Don’t Get a Bill From Their Brokers

Borrowers often wonder how much a mortgage broker will charge for their services, which is a valid inquiry. While buyers may sometimes pay their mortgage broker’s bill in the form of a percentage of the loan amount, brokers typically get paid a commission from the lender who ultimately provides the mortgage.

Depending on the type of home loan provided and what the lender offers, this amount can range anywhere from 0.50% to 1.50%. Based on a mortgage amount of $400,000 and a commission of 1.0%, for instance, the broker would be paid a one-time commission of $4,000 from the lender. Since this comes directly from the lender, borrowers never actually get a bill.

7. The More Documentation, the Better

Brokers require very detailed information about your finances before they’re able to get an accurate quote from the lenders they deal with. Any missing information or documentation will just make the broker’s job more difficult and will take longer to get any answers from lenders.

The more documentation you can provide your broker, the higher the odds that the process can move along quicker. Ideally, all of the required documents should be provided upfront all at once rather than sporadically submitted. Your broker will give you a checklist of documents you’ll need to provide so there’s no guesswork involved.

The Bottom Line

Everyone involved in the home buying and mortgage process should have a full understanding of what their duties are to ensure a smooth process, including borrowers. As a buyer and a borrower, knowing what you’re responsibilities are will not only help your mortgage broker get you the best home loan product for you, it will also help you be more informed from start to finish. Make sure to get up to speed on what you can do to help your mortgage broker help you with your home loan approval process.