oakland real estate and oakland ca homes for sale


“Doing your homework” has a special meaning when buying a house. There is a tendency to focus on the home itself—it's size, it's backyard, the kitchen and family room, etc.. The buyers will concentrate on the number of bedrooms, and baths, and how they can negotiate the best price for the home once they have found the ideal place.

While that is normal, and eminently practical, there is another consideration that often is not fully included in the consideration. That element is the neighborhood. This may seem obvious, and most parents have already checked into the school district and looked up and down their street for any obvious issues for discussion with their agent.

But there is more—the extended neighborhood. That extended neighborhood…

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Actually, the question should be "Why not choose Oakland?". It's central location on the coast makes an ideal departure site for nearby San Francisco or busy San Jose.  It is short distance from scenic coastal towns like Monterey or Mendocino, or the nearby wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties.  
Looking for your own personal scenic views?  feb_2009_044_400The hills above Oakland gives you a panoramic view in every direction.  The Oakland estuary offers everything from small kayaks to sailboat racing on weeknights, to the bright white Coast Guard cutters making ready for long offshore trips.
Enjoy mountain views?  The Claremont and Montclair neighborhoods have streets lined with ecalyptus, pine, manzanita and fir trees, causing you to mistake the area for Lake Tahoe.  

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In just a few years Oakland, San Leandro and other East Bay homes have become affordable to many first time home buyers. The median price of Bay Area homes has continued to drop from $720,000 in the spring of 2007 to the current $295,000 median price of homes sold in Feb 2008.  The majority of these homes have been REOs(bank owned) and short sale (pre- foreclosure) listings but these have also brought down the price of surrounding owner occupied homes as well. Additional changes in lending practices and the $8000 federal tax credit have also stimulated buying in many neighborhoods. Maxwell Park, Laurel, and Dimond neighborhoods have seen plenty of buyers looking to get into these areas.  Some houses are selling for over $200,000 less than they were just…

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Oakland has always a diverse city but never more so than now. There are now three different homes in Oakland listed for $45,000 and less and 3 homes listed for more than $3.5 million. One of the Million dollar listings has breathtaking views of Oakland, San Francisco as well as the $33,000 home in the flat lands, though you might need a telescope to see it.

1504 92nd is a cute 2 bedroom 1 bath bungalow that is listed at $33,000. This same home would sell for 10 times this amount and more in many Oakland neighborhoods but as they say, ' location, location, location". In reading the MLS further, the $33,000 listing price is actually the opening bid at auction later in the month but I will keep you posted for what it actually sells for.

 

Another house on…

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I have received two different, very official looking letters wanting to "help me" with adjusting my county property taxes on my home. One is from the Homeowners Tax Review (HTR) and another from Property Tax Reassessment Co. Both letters try to resemble an official document from the county or state and come in envelopes that mislead.


Because of falling home prices in the last few years, Alameda county and others counties are willing to reassess the assessed value of your home. This can result is a significant savings on the property taxes you pay on your home.


The problem arises when these letters start appearing in my mailbox with headlines like ESTIMATED SAVINGS $438.74 or $1812.50!! That seems great, but the fine print says that they are going to…

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I read an interesting article about former Golden State Warrior Latrell Sprewell suing his old real estate agent in regards to disclosure of water damage at a home he sold in Hayward CA back in 2002.

We all remember Latrell and the talented but troubled Warrior guard who choked his coach P.J. Carlesimo at practice back in 1997. While this was a black eye for both the team and the city, it seems that the Warriors have moved on to field another entertaining team, albeit on out of the playoffs.

Latrell is suing his agent for not disclosing a water damage problem costing Latrell $540,000 in repairs bills when an arbitrator decided in favor of the new owners. He is suing his agent to recover the $540,000. Wow. 

 

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Ok, sometimes showing homes to clients can be unexpectedly fun. Today, I had a great set of clients visiting from out of town, touring some nicer homes in Oakland. At the third house on our tour, I used my lock box to open the front door (after calling ahead to conform) and the alarm begins counting down. I look at my MLS sheet and realize there is no alarm code to turn it off. 

Great!

Then, as I'm standing there wondering how loud the alarm will be when it goes off, the dog runs out the door and takes off up the street. Panicked, my clients and I chase the dog up the street into a neighbor's yard when the dog decides to hide in the bushes. After 5 mins. of coaxing him out of the bushes with some steak supplied by the neighbor, the dog then runs back…

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One of the undiscovered gems of Oakland is the Union Point park near the Park St. bridge leading to Alameda. Formally a vacant, weed covered lot the area has been transformed into a waterfront park including a Children's play area with a Sailing ship climbing structure, a Bridge to nowhere, a semi-circular pier / art installation and its centerpiece, a bougainvillea covered spiral hill in the middle. On weekends the park is a great place for picnics and gatherings right next to the water. There are BBQ grills and plenty of open space for throwing a Frisbee or football. From the top of the hill you are treated to a beautiful view down the Oakland estuary, with the barges, fishing boats and ships of the adjacent Coast Guard Island. Studded with artwork,…

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I just read an interesting article on the state of home sales in parts of Oakland.  Low priced ($200,000 and less) homes are becoming very attractive to investors. They can buy a home, rent it out, and still have positive cash flow because of the strong rental market. Many investors are coming in with all-cash offers for a smooth transaction with the bank.

The median price of a home in Oakland is now $330,000 which is roughly half of what it was only 18 months ago. What is driving homes sales up and prices down is the amount of REOs (bank-owned) and short-sales being sold. 50% of homes sales last month involved foreclosed homes, but foreclosures only represented 14% in Dec. 2007.

Banks are also starting to list their homes low and let the market…

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It's that time of year again, Tax time! One of the first things I do for the new year is send my clients a copy of their Settlement Statement (or HUD-1) . If you bought or sold a home last year it is time to get all your paperwork together and send it to your tax preparer (or just do it yourself!) The HUD-1 sheet is a breakdown of all the costs incurred in your recent home sale /purchase. The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requires that the form be issued in all real estate transactions in the United States which involve federally related mortgage loans. I always give my clients a CD copy of all the disclosures and Escrow paperwork but sometimes a hard copy in the mail saves a lot of frustration and time. Trust me, whoever does your taxes…

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