As soon as you decide that you would like to begin to look for your new Piedmont or Oakland home, you should take steps to get your loan financing in place.  In many areas of the East Bay, the competition for homes and condominiums is very high. As a result, you need to be ready to make a offer immediately upon finding your ideal home to avoid losing out to other bidders.  What do you need to know about your financing options?

1. Being Pre-Qualified By A Lender-This is a first step in the mortgage process, but an important one.  You will be asked to provide your lender with your basic financial status.  You would inform them about your debt, your income, and your assets.  It allows the lender to review your situation, and give you a general…

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The traditional Summer selling season is now about to begin.   Homes will begin to appear for sale in every neighborhood in the area, and as such, furnish competition for you as you begin to make important decisions about putting your home on the market.  

One of the most important considerations for you to make, is the price that you will be asking for your home.  Many sellers, especially those who have invested a lot of time, and perhaps a great deal of money into their home, will have a tendency to overprice their home at the outset, and hope for the best when putting it on the market.  This is just not practical or realistic, and overpricing will fundamentally affect how quickly you are going to sell that home.

 My role as your…

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This elegant & Majestic European Chateau d'Aimee rests atop a sun-drenched knoll overlooking the Orinda Hills.


The 5,067 SF Tuscan villa reminiscent of classical Renaissance architecture. is situated on 0.78 acres surrounded by California Oaks: Total privacy and seclusion yet within walking distance to downtown and public transportation. Spectacular waterfall entry leads to a grand sweeping staircase and a dramatic living room with carved marble fireplace & maple/walnut inlaid floors, carved moldings.

Formal dining room showcases a magnificent Dresden chandelier & matching scones with built-in china cabinet.

The kitchen of Clive Christian design with kitchen showcases saga green cabinetry chalked in gold & marbling…

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While there are many elements that you must consider in deciding to buy or sell an Oakland or Piedmont home, there is one very important element that you will want to consider-the marketplace of  the home. The basic question to ask yourself is " What is the direction of current Bay Area real estate housing sales?" "What is the direction of Northern California housing sales?".

Right now, the direction is "up".  Here are some quick summaries courtesty of the National Association of Realtors' "Median Sales Price of Existing Single Family Homes For the Metropolitan Area" :

1. Median existing single family homes in the Western US rose 4.8% to $299,500 in the 4th quarter of 2014.

2. In the Sacramento/Arden/Roseville area, the median single family…

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Orinda homes have always been in demand for their atmosphere of gracious living.  Whether you are looking for classic Spanish hacienda style, or modern high ceilings and dramatic open floor plans, there is a home here to fit your lifestyle.                  Price, Low to High                Price, High to Low             

$2+m Price Reduction! Masterfully Designed To R...

Price:   $4,465,000 City:   Orinda Beds:   9 Baths:   9 Type:   Single Family MLS® #:   40627913 $2+m Price Reduction! Masterfully Designed To Replicate A Spanish Hacienda, This Old World Estate... Photo of Listing #40627913 View DetailsSave to FavoritesMap

Rare Opportunity To Buy A Newer Gated Estate (2...

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You are looking for that very special Oakland home for you and your family.  As with most buyers, you may be concerned whether you will qualify financially, so that when you find your perfect home, it can be yours.  While this is a very common concern, the more you know about "how much home" you can buy, the more comfortable you will be as you begin your search.  Below, is an overview of what lenders will be looking for when they consider your loan application.  While this is not the final list of things they look at, and there are many more issues involved, below is a general overview of what is looked at by lenders:

Overall, they are concerned about three things regarding future borrowers:

1. Your Credit Rating:  Your credit rating…

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One of the jobs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is to guarantee home loans to lenders who make them.  When loans are made through either of these entities, the lender can feel safe that through these agencies their funds will be insured and guaranteed against default by their borrowers.

These agencies do not insure these loans for free, however.  They, like any other insurer, charge the lenders a fee for this insurance.  The fees vary from year to year, and are called "guarantee fees" (g-fees). As announced last week by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (who regulates both agencies), a new increase is due to go into effect between November 1st and December 1st of this year.  It is estimated to be a 0.5 percent increase in the mortgage rates no matter…

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If you are a senior citizen, 55 years or older, and are considering selling your home in Alameda county, you may have surprising tax benefits waiting for you.

Normally, if seniors have been in their home for a long time, and are enjoying the tax benefits of Proposition 13, they have had their current home assessed at a very low yearly tax rate.  However, when considering selling their current home, and moving into another, perhaps smaller home, they may experience what could be called "sticker shock" when they see the property taxes on the homes in the marketplace today.  These taxes could be considerably higher than what they are used to, and often for less property in terms of size.  

A solution has been offered in the form of California…

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As the result of a recently published analysis of various housing markets, Zillow-a multi use real estate web site, has concluded that the San Francisco Metropolitan Area is the second best area in the United States for home sellers.  The first area is the San Jose Metropolitan Area-not too far away.

Since the San Francisco Metropolitan Area, by definition, includes Oakland homes, Piedmont homes and other East Bay cities, that is encouraging news for those making plans to sell a home in our area. 

The criteria, for defining a seller's market, according to Zillow, is "one where sellers are more likely to sell their home for close to asking price, and where listings spend less time on the market."

Obviously, this situation varies from city to city,…

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In Part 1, we discussed the history and development of the HAFA program, and talked about short sales.  As of June, 2012, a new version of this program has come online.  It may be of interest to Oakland and Piedmont residents whom I assist.

THE PROPOSED SOLUTION-NEWER VERSION-If the home involved is financed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the homeowner will benefit from some new guidelines:

a. Under the new rules, servicers (lenders) will have 30 days to review and respond to all short sale offers or requests.  If they find that they will need more than these 30 days, they must provide the borrower with weekly updates, and furnish a final response within 60 days.

b. During the above 60 days, the lender must tell the borrower whether a short sale will…

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