Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Cash for Caulkers

President Obama proposed a new program Tuesday that would reimburse home-owners for energy-efficient appliances and insulation. The legislation that is currently being crafted by the help of Steve Nadal, director of the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy, said the bill could contain up to $12,000 in rebates. The proposal is part of the President’s larger spending plan, which also includes money for small businesses, renewable energy manufacturing, and infrastructure.
Items like air conditioners, heating systems, washing machines, refrigerators, windows, and insulation would likely be covered, Nadal said. Consumers might be eligible for a 50% rebate on both the price of the equipment and the installation. And so far, there is no income restrictions attached to the bill.

It’s not clear as of yet how the home efficiency plan would be administered – the government may issue rebates, or through a tax credit, or through state companies. Currently, PG&E offers rebates for you as a homeowner. And, so far, this is unclear if this will change. The a few rebates offered by PG&E include adding attic and wall insulation, replacing your old furnace with a new energy-efficient furnace and changing your old water heater for a new one. Many more rebates our offered and it’s easy to fill out the application online for your rebate:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pros and Cons of a Condo Conversion

There is a new condo conversion in West Berkeley currently offering 2 units for sale:

•1 unit is remodeled and listed for $265,000 and just went pending

•1 unit is offered “as-is” and is listed for $245,000

Currently these units are the lowest priced 1 bedroom condominiums listed in the MLS in Berkeley. Several of my buyers in this price range have expressed interest in these units. Why? Because it’s the best bargain in Berkeley for first time home buyers.

Condo conversions often provide the perfect entry-level opportunity for renters to become homeowners. Why rent when you can own something, build equity and hopefully make a return on your investment? Condo conversions tend to be cheaper than other units on the market and definitely cheaper than new construction. From a developer prospective, it is cheaper to invest in a conversion than to buy vacant land and build something on it. Often times, once a developer acquires an apartment complex, they will offer a discount to the current tenants to buy a unit. The tenant feels like they are getting a better deal than other buyers and the developer gets the ball rolling by selling units quickly.

So what should a buyer think about when considering a condo conversion? A condo conversion is much different than buying a newly constructed unit. New construction is built from the ground up and is constructed with new building materials and stricter building codes than in the past. It’s a good idea to ask many important questions like:

•When was the apartment building built?

•Was it recently or in the 60’s?

•What exactly did the developer do during the conversion?

•What exactly was replaced in the building?

•What type of sound proofing was installed to maintain noise control between units?

•How old is the roof?

It’s also important to speak to your lender if you want to make an offer. FHA guidelines state that buildings of 4 units or less, newly converted or not, are not FHA approved. Therefore, a potential buyer must get approved for conventional financing and have a down payment of 20%. Also, in a four unit building like the one in West Berkeley, there must be three units sold or in escrow in order to close. This can be tricky and requires a certain amount of patience on both sides. However, with patience and little creativity, this could be a great opportunity for a first time home buyer.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Deadline for Tax Reassessment - September 15th

According to the Alameda Assessor's office, all reassessments of property values should have gone out by the end of July. If you have received your reassessment and agree with it, then you do nothing and this new amount will be reflected on your tax bill sent out in October. IF YOU DISAGREE OR DID NOT RECIEVE A REASSESSTMENT, then you have until September 15th to appeal or to request a reassessment. This is your one chance to make it happen before the 15th. If you are not sure you got one in the mail, go to this link and type in your address. It will show you the current assessment amount:

Here is a brief message copied from their web page:

After the review project is completed in June, all taxpayers will be notified of their 2009 assessed value during the latter part of July. Once notified, if you agree with the value no action on your part will be necessary and the annual tax bill sent out in October will reflect that assessment. If you disagree please call this office at (510) 272-3787 or come in person. The Assessor's office is located at 1221 Oak St., Rm. 145, and Oakland, CA 94612-4288. Knowledgeable staff is available to assist you with your concerns from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. If after contacting this office your value concerns are not resolved, you may file an Application for Changed Assessment with the Clerk, Assessments Appeals Board, P.O. Box 1499, Oakland, CA 94612-1499. For information on how to obtain and complete an application call (510) 272-6352 or visit the Clerk's website at The appeal application must be filed between July 2 and September 15, 2009.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Major Fixer in Piedmont!

Major fixer with major potential. 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 2110 sqaure feet, 1/3 acre lot with expansion potential. Looking for a buyer with cash or private financing.  $775,000

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Beauty of Emeryville!

I just read this interesting article on the transformation of Emeryville. I moved to the area where Emeryville and Oakland meet also known as the Golden Gate Neighborhood. I bought here because I saw the value in this area and always regarded Emeryville as a very well planned town with incredible development potential. In the past three years that I have lived here, I have seen many changes. We have a new playground and picnic area at Hollis and 60th, a new and delicious pizza place called Rotten City Pizza. If you love New York style pizza, this is a place you will want to check out. The new Pulte Homes finally were built and now, even in this market, close to being sold out. Often times when I meet people in Emeryville, I feel a sense of an underground movement of artistry and uniqueness. I love my location and I enjoy the families on my street who have been there for many generations coupled with the young, hip crowd who have claimed stake on the richness of Emeryville. To read more about additional developments in Emeryville, go to:

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Carol Rodoni speaks...

Carol Rodoni, highly regarded speaker, author and analyst of the Bay Area real estate market spoke at McGuire and these are just a few thoughts that I want to share with you from Carol:

Within the foreclosure market, banks are holding onto these properties and releasing them slowly for two reasons – 1. To not flood the market and, 2. To control the market.

Numerous hedge funds are being created to buy distress properties. (Your competition is not only the single investor with cash but the “group” investors who have joined together to buy.)

Interest rates will begin to increase by the middle/end of 2010 they will increase to 7%-9%. Inflation will occur.

If you can buy real estate now and own it while the market stabilizes itself , you will make money off of your investment. (as I have said , hold onto it for at least 5 years)

Buyers in our market are reading about other markets and think that it pertains to our market – not true… get the facts and stop believing everything you read.

With that mentioned, I can email you any stats you want about what is selling and for how much in a particular market/zip code. Just let me know and I can send you an email. Be prepared, be educated, and be realistic in this market and you will succeed!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Why should you obtain a pest report?

When working with a first-time home buyer, I am often asked, what is a pest report and why should I get one? It is important to get all inspections completed during your inspection contingency period including a basic home inspection, a pest inspection, roof, foundation, heating and electrical inspection. In some cases, the Seller will have obtained some of these reports and this can save you some money and in other cases you may not need to get all inspections completed which can run you a total of $200-$900 depending on what inspections you will need to obtain. However, in all cases you definitely want to make sure that a current pest inspection has been obtained and that will cost you a total of $175-$400 depending on the type of report and who you use. So, what is a pest inspection and what does it tell you?

If there is evidence of a pest problem, then a qualified termite control specialist will let you know what treatments are available to control existing termite issues and give you recommendations to help control the spread of termites in the future. However, if there is structural damage to the home, then you must call a structural engineer to assess the damage and recommend how to fix the issue. The Engineer and the pest control specialist are different and they look differently at the issue. Engineers look at the impact of the damage and pest control specialists look at the need for treatment.

It is extremely important to get a pest report and make sure you do your due diligence before removing your inspection contingency. Trying to save a couple of hundred bucks by not obtaining a report could lead you down a very expensive path of homeownership.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cliff Bar establishing headquarters in Emeryville

After being in Berkeley for several years, Cliffbar is returning to where it all started - Emeryville. They will be leasing space at the Emeryville Tech Center at
65th and Hollis. They will occupy 110,000 square feet with 180 employees.

They plan to become LEED Gold Certified from the US Green building council. Improvements to the space will include a bike garage, hair salon, kitchen, full time day care facility, and theater for their employees and community events.

Go Emeryville!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

539 Zorah St, Oakland $599K Open Sunday 2-4pm

Updated craftsman in the Haddon Hill district of Oakland. This property offers a beautiful updated kitchen and two bathrooms, hardwood floors, remodeled kitchen with granite counters and new cabinets. The open floorplan leads to two bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms and kitchen on the main level and and a large, private master bedroom on the top floor.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A guard against inflation?

Depending on which economist you listen to or read you may be inclined to believe that the U.S. is headed towards inflation. The theory is that because the Fed and it's counterparts around the world have been printing money to combat the global recession, inflation is a natural consequence. If you agree with this argument, you may want to buy into real estate!

If you have a low-rate, 30-year, fixed mortgage, your note will appreciate as prices rise:

- Your property value will rise
- Your rental income will rise
- Your mortgage payment will remain fixed
- You will repay the loan with cheaper dollars

Among the top economists there is plenty of disagreement regarding inflation. Some argue that with unemployment figures at a 26 year peak and plenty of idle factory space, rising prices in the near term is not a concern.

Real estate investors need to remember however, that a hedge against inflation is just one of the many benefits of investing in real estate. And remember the tax advatanges to owning a home:

- Ability to depreciate real estate hence reducing (or eliminating) your
reportable taxable income from the property
- Ability to write off expenses
- The mortgage interest deduction
- The ability to sell real estate and either avoid and/or defer the payment
of capital gains taxes

Remember there is great value in today's market.

Monday, June 29, 2009

What is a lease to own?

What Is a Lease-to-Own Purchase?

A lease-to-own house purchase (also "rent-to-own purchase" or "lease purchase") is a lease combined with an option to purchase the property within a specified period, usually 1-2 years, at an agreed-upon price. Upfront, the borrower will pay an option fee, 1% to 5% of the price, which is credited to the purchase price. The borrower pays rent and an additional rent premium that is also credited to the purchase price. If the buyer decides not to purchase, then the buyer loses both the option fee and the rent premium.

Contract Features of a Lease-Purchase:

The sale price of the house and the rent are market-determined, yet subject to negotiation just as in a straight purchase or rental transaction.

To the buyer, the option and rent premium are part of the equity in the house they will soon own. If they buy, the only cost is the interest they would have earned. To the seller, these payments are the best guarantee that the buyer will exercise their option to buy after the lease agreement is completed. If they do not go forward with the purchase, these payments are retained as income. In the lease interim, the seller still gets the tax benefits of home ownership.

A lease purchase also may give the renter/buyer the right to assign the option to buy. This will usually have considerable value to the buyer, because it means that the option can be sold in the event that it has value but the buyer is not able to exercise it. It is a cost to the seller for the same reason.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New construction tax credit running out!!

I read this morning an interesting article (link below) from CNNMoney.Com. The state set aside $100 million to help home buyers purchasing newly built homes and about 20%of the pot is left. According to the State Franchise Tax Board, the program launched in March and by June 3 nearly $24 million in tax credit certificates had already been issued. That leaves nearly $76 million in credit available - but there are already numerous claims on that money. In fact, if all the submitted applications are approved, only $17.5 million will be left in the fund. And it has a run rate of about $10 million per week. And here is the kicker - in order to get the $10K credit, you have to close the deal BEFORE the money runs out. Most people believe it's just getting the offer accepted - not the case!

Here is the link to the story:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

June is here and farmer's markets are back!

I love June because I know that most farmer's markets in the East Bay are starting back up! Shop at a farmer's market - support your community and local farmers!!


Grand Lake farmer's market(FM):
Every Saturday 9am-2pm; Located across from Grand Lake Theater

Montclair Village FM:
Every Sunday 9am-1pm; Located at La Salle Ave/Moraga Ave

Laurel District FM:
Every Saturday 10am-2pm; Located at 4173 Macarthur Blvd

Old Oakland FM:
Every Friday 8am-2pm; Located at 9th/Washington

West Oakland FM:
Every Saturday 10am-4pm; Located at 5th/Mandela Pkwy


Saturday 10am-3pm; Located at Center/Martin Luther King Jr.
Tuesday 2pm-7pm; Located at Derby St/Martin Luther King Jr.
Thursday 3pm-7pm; Located at Shattuck Ave/Rose St (All Organic)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

House Flipping is Back!

What does it take to flip a house? Flipping a house requires a level of knowledge, expertise, and savvy project management skills. It requires access to cash, and lots of it. It demands time, energy, vision, attention to detail, and the right team to make a profit on flipping a house. Besides flipping a house, you will also see houses, especially REOs, being bought at ridiculously low prices and then being put back on with minimal work at $30-$40K higher.
In this market, I have seen a house go on the market for under $130,000 and then be put back on the market, with minimal effort, for $215,000. I have also seen a house by Mills College purchased three months ago for $70,000. They upgraded everything including plumbing & electrical, painted inside and out, landscaped and remodeled the kitchen and bathroom. They did a great job and it’s now on the market for $298,000. The listing agent told me today that she has had a ton of phone calls. Will it sell? Yes and probably at asking or close to it.
My client asked me if I thought it was worth it to by a flipped house? I think yes, if, it’s done correctly. Often times, people get into the flipping game and think they have a good eye for style and unfortunately, they don’t and the remodel ends up looking like crap. So, when is it worth it? There are three factors in deciding if a flipped house is a good purchase - If the work on the house is done by a quality contractor, the location is good and the comparables in the neighborhood justify the price.
Believe me, it’s nice to move into a place that needs minimal work!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Just to be clear, here are the basics for the 2009 First time home buyer tax credit:

Who Qualifies?
First-time home buyers who purchase homes between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.

Which Properties Are Eligible?
The 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.

How Much Will the Credit Be?
The maximum allowable credit for home buyers is $8,000. Each home buyer’s tax credit is determined by two factors:

The price of the home—the credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000.

The buyer's income—single buyers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000—may receive the maximum tax credit.

If the Buyer(s)’ Income Exceeds These Limits, Can He/She Still Get a Credit?
Yes, some buyers may still be eligible for the credit.

The credit decreases for buyers who earn between $75,000 and $95,000 for single buyers and between $150,000 and $170,000 for home buyers filing jointly. The amount of the tax credit decreases as his/her income approaches the maximum limit. Home buyers earning more than the maximum qualifying income—over $95,000 for singles and over $170,000 for couples are not eligible for the credit.

Will the Tax Credit Need to Be Repaid?
No. The buyer does not need to repay the tax credit, if he/she occupies the home for three years or more. However, if the property is sold during the three-year period, the credit will be recouped on the sale.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Got wet basement?

Well, you probably don't have a wet basement now being that it's been about 90 degrees the last two days however, while the basement is dry, it is time to make the necessary fixes to eliminate a flooding basement on the next rainy day. I bought a house a few years back in a part of Oakland that is below the water line which means that most of the basements in the neighborhood flood. But the good news is, that their are steps one can take to help with the flooding. Here are few:

Start outside. If you notice recurring dampness or puddles in a particular part of your basement, head outdoors. Walk along your house to the spot closest to where the leak is occurring. Look up. Chances are the problem is one of three things: a bent, clogged or missing gutter that's dropping roof runoff near the foundation; a down-spout that's releasing its load too close to the house; or an underground collection pipe that has become clogged or broken. A handyman can fix any of these problems for as little as $200 by, for example, replacing the gutter or adding an aboveground discharge pipe that extends at least three feet from the house.

Cover the windows Is your leak under a basement window? Blame the "well" - the exterior dugout that permits the window to sit below grade. It's funneling rainwater against the foundation, where the water is finding a crack or seam to get in. The easiest fix is a clear plastic well cover (cost: $35 to $45 at home centers) that keeps the water out but lets the sun shine through. If you can't find the right size or shape at the store, go to

Plug cracks and holes. Watch for water entering through seams between concrete blocks, cracks in old concrete or holes where pipes penetrate the foundation. If you find such gaps, fill them with hydraulic cement (cost: $10 for a 10-pound container -probably more than enough - at any hardware store). Just mix water with this powder to get the consistency of toothpaste and press as much of it as you can into the opening after you brush out any loose debris. It will harden into a watertight seam.

For additional fixes go to:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cities leading the way to sustainability!

I was reading this article at about cities that are leading the way to sustainability and are very own San Francisco made the list.

Did you know, that San Francisco has helped pave the way in sustainability and environmental progress. For example, SF was the first city to ban single-use plastic bags, a move that many other cities are following.

And, SF has also jumped into solar energy production with both feet. Turns out, solar panels work just fine in the fog…who knew? After a successful installation at Moscone Convention Center generated enough electricity to fully power it during events, the City started installations at many different municipal facilities. Awesome!! Now, we can only hope that Oakland will be the next city to join the list. To read more about other cities that have made the list go to:

Monday, March 23, 2009

How will the simulus package benefit Oakland?

Given the budget woes on the local and state level and the weak economy, the new Federal Stimulus package signed into law on Feb.14th has generated some interest in regards to what each city will get and when.

The Stimulus primarily addresses capital projects: streets, roads, energy efficiency upgrades, etc... There is also funding for investment in education and health care but the Stimulus will not provide funds to fix the holes in the budget nor will it solve the majority of financial issues facing Oakland. However, it will help in some areas and we have Mayor Dellums to thank for this (believe it or not).

The funds are being distributed through many different channels, some through Federal and State agencies and some through grant programs. There has been a City inter-departmental team to follow stimulus funds closely and make sure the City can compete for funds and can implement projects when we do receive funding.

Stay tuned for more stimulus funding results as they unravel.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Q & A about the California Tax Budget

The Mercury News posted an article online breaking down the California budget - what it all means - tax increases - spending, etc..

Q When will the "temporary" sales tax increase take effect, and when will it end?

A The 1-cent-on-the-dollar increase begins April 1, but when it ends depends on the outcome of a ballot measure calling for a cap on state spending. If the spending cap fails, the tax hike ends June 30, 2011. If the cap passes, the tax ends June 30, 2012

Q What's a spending cap?

A It's a way to force state government to limit how much money the state can spend. In this case, by using a formula that links spending to inflation and population growth, the increase in annual expenditures would be capped at about 5 percent each year.

Q What are all these ballot measures related to the budget, and when are the elections?

A There are six measures that require voter approval at a special election May 19. They seek to: implement the spending cap; require the state to increase annual education funding by $9.3 billion in future years; shift Proposition 63 mental health services money; redirect how Proposition 10 cigarette tax money is allocated; clarify education appropriations from the state lottery; and deny pay increases to lawmakers during budget deficits. A seventh measure, on the June 2010 ballot, would do away with partisan primaries, which would allow candidates for statewide and congressional seats to run for office without listing their party affiliation.

Q How much more will it cost to register my vehicle?

A Beginning May 19, the vehicle license fee rises from the current level of 0.65 percent of the value of the car to 1.15 percent of the value. The tax increase goes away by June 30, 2013.

Q And there's a tax on income tax, too?

A Yep. A 0.25 percent surcharge on personal income tax, though the increase would be cut in half if the state receives more federal stimulus funding than expected. The surcharge, for the 2009 tax year, lasts through tax year 2012 at the latest.

Q What does the budget mean for education funding?

A The Legislature slashed $8.4 billion in funding for schools and community colleges. As a result, the California Teachers Association predicts class sizes will increase, thousands of teachers could be laid off and programs will be eliminated. Funding was maintained to continue smaller class sizes in grades K-3, and school districts will have more flexibility in how they spend money geared for specific programs.

Q What about other colleges and universities?

A The University of California and California State
University systems will each suffer a 10 percent cut. Annual fees for CSU students will rise to $3,354 from the current $3,048.

Q What happens to those on welfare programs?

A CalWORKS, the welfare-to-work program, will not provide cost-of-living increases. Those who receive state and federal supplemental income, such as certain seniors or disabled recipients, also will not get an increase.

Q Will the Department of Motor Vehicles and other state offices remain closed due to state worker furloughs every two weeks?

A Yes, for now, until labor unions and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's negotiators find a way to trim $1.4 billion in payroll expenses. The next state office closing is today.

Q Is there any good news in the budget?

A Well, yes. The budget includes tax credits for businesses that invest in California, and it ensures that previously approved public works projects can continue.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The "Green-Pod" Revolution is about to begin....

Check out these eco-friendly, eco-smart dwellings! The company, GreenPod Development, is based out of Washington and is designing and constructing affordable modular homes. The pods vary in size from 300-800 sq.ft. and if you need additional square footage you can stack them together. Kinda of like legos...Brilliant!

For additional information:

$8,000 credit for first-time home buyers!!

First-time buyers can claim a credit worth $8,000 - or 10% of the home's value, whichever is less - on their 2008 or 2009 taxes.

A big plus is that the credit is refundable, meaning tax filers see a refund of the full $8,000 even if their total tax bill - the amount of witholding they paid during the year plus anything extra they had to pony up when they filed their returns - was less than that amount.

To qualify for the credit, the purchase must be made between Jan. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2009. Buyers may not have owned a home for the past three years to qualify as "first time" buyer. They must also live in the house for at least three years, or they will be obligated to pay back the credit.

Additionally, there are income restrictions: To qualify, buyers must make less than $75,000 for singles or $150,000 for couples. (Higher-income buyers may receive a partial credit.)

Applying for the credit will be easy - or at least as easy as doing your income taxes. Just claim it on your return. No other forms or papers have to be filed. Taxpayers who have already completed their returns can file amended returns for 2008 to claim the credit.

Friday, February 06, 2009

2007 & 2008 Sold properties - Oakland/Emeryville

Sold comparison of 2008(column on left) and 2007 (column on right) for Oakland & Emeryville. All stats taken from MLS.

Zip Code 94603: E. Oakland
2008: 249 SOLD - 2007: 96 SOLD
Avg LP: $168,932 - Avg LP: $394,689
Avg SP: $163,010 - Avg SP: $393,760
Avg DOM: 48 - Avg DOM: 51

*DOM = days on Market *Avg LP = Average List Price
*Avg SP= Average Sold Price

Zip Code 94619: Oak. Hills, Redwood Heights,
Ridgemont, Cresmont, Skyline.
2008: 207 Sold - 2007: 204 Sold
Avg LP: $524,673 - Avg LP: 651, 094
Avg SP: $509,688 - Avg SP: 648, 056
Avg DOM: 44 - Avg DOM: 34

Zip Code 94611: Piedmont Ave, Montclair, Westlake
2008: 281 Sold - 2007: 342 Sold
Avg LP: $777,498 - Avg LP: $802,609
Avg Sp: $761,410 - Avg SP: $808,602
Avg DOM: 48 - Avg DOM: 34

Zip Code 94606: China Hill, Ridgemont, San Antonio Park
2008: 96 Sold - 2007: 76 Sold
Avg LP: $337,833 - Avg LP: $445, 916
Avg SP: $326, 428 - Avg SP: $433, 276
Avg DOM: 54 - Avg DOM: 45

Zip Code 94605: E. Oakland, Chabot Estates, King Estates,
Sequoyah Highlands
2008: 384 Sold - 2007: 283 Sold
Avg LP: $302,951 - Avg LP: $528,302
Avg SP: $295,734 - Avg SP: $521,853
Avg DOM: 56 - Avg DOM: 45

Zip Code 94608: Emeryville
2008: 82 Sold - 2007: 117 Sold
Avg LP: $397,461 - Avg LP: $459,428
Avg Sp: $386,931 - Avg SP: $448,507
Avg DOM: 57 - Avg Dom: 48

Zip Code 94608: N.Oakland (Temescal), W. Oakland
2008: 140 Sold - 2007: 139 Sold
Avg LP: $294,738 - Avg LP: $459,428
Avg SP: $286,045 - Avg SP: $448,507
Avg DOM: 50 - Avg DOM: 48

Zip Code 94705: Claremont Hills, Hiller Highlands
2008: 17 Sold - 2007: 20 Sold
Avg LP: $1,419,288 - Avg LP: $1,372,315
Avg SP; $1,379,012 - Avg SP: $1,350,865
Avg DOM: 79 - Avg DOM: 47

Zip Code 94607: Downtown, W. Oakland
2008: 103 Sold - 2007: 127 Sold
Avg LP: $322,917 - Avg LP: $434,340
Avg SP: $310,209 - Avg SP: $424,746
Avg DOM: 42 - Avg DOM: 40

Zip Code 94609: W. Oakland, N. Oakland, Temescal
2008: 27 Sold - 2007: 36 Sold
Avg LP: $436,911 - Avg LP: $534,388
Avg SP: $437,107 - Avg SP: $542,535
Avg DOM: 49 - Avg DOM: 41

Zip Code 94612: Lake Merritt, Downtown, W. Oakland
2008: 116 Sold - 2007: 36 Sold
Avg LP: $424,620 - Avg LP: $448,965
Avg SP: $406,217 - Avg SP: $440,550
Avg DOM: 51 - Avg DOM: 43

Zip Code 94618: Rockridge, Hiller Highlands, Hillcrest
2008: 176 Sold - 2007: 248 Sold
Avg LP: $921,427 - Avg LP: $914,114
Avg SP: $917,663 - Avg SP: $937,640
Avg DOM: 39 - Avg DOM: 25

Zip Code 94621: E. Oakland, Eastmont, Frutivale
2008: 200 Sold - 2007: 100 Sold
Avg LP: $135,953 - Avg LP: $362,721
Avg SP: $130,292 - Avg SP: $353,707
Avg DOM: 51 - Avg DOM: 51

Zip Code 94601: Fruitvale, E. Oakland, Allendale
2008: 191 Sold - 2007: 112 Sold
Avg LP: $238,000 - Avg LP: $447,298
Avg SP: $234,810 - Avg SP: $439,880
Avg DOM: 44 - Avg DOM: 42

Zip Code 94602: Redwood Heights, Dimond, Glenview,
Joaquin Miller, Oakmore, Laurel
2008: 258 Sold - 2007: 268 Sold
Avg LP: $543,433 - Avg LP: $602,935
Avg SP: $540,834 - Avg SP: $611,637
Avg DOM: 40 - Avg DOM: 32

Friday, January 23, 2009

Be careful with what you are using in your garden!

As some of you know, I am a huge pet lover and I also love to garden. I just read this article about how your pets are sometimes more vulnerable to pesticide poisoning than us humans. My dogs love to go out to the front lawn and eat grass, nose around the yard sniffing and sometimes eating things they find and then they lick themselves clean afterward. All of that means they may be at risk of chemical poisoning and some other health problems.

Below is an excerpt from the story regarding pesticides:

Numerous studies have documented the risk of pesticides to pets over the years. A 1991 National Cancer Institute study found that dogs whose owners' lawns were treated with 2,4-D four or more times per year are twice as likely to contract canine malignant lymphoma than dogs whose owners do not use the herbicide. Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer by four to seven times in Scottish Terriers, according to a study by Purdue University veterinary researchers published in the April 15, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Research published in the December 1988 issue of Preventive Veterinary Medicine links hyperthyroidism in cats to flea powders and sprays, lawn pesticides and canned cat food. Allethrin, a common ingredient in home mosquito products (coils, mats, oils and sprays) and other bug sprays, has been linked to liver problems in dogs, according to a 1989 study by the World Health Organization. The 1989 edition W.C. Campbell Toxicology textbook reports that chronic exposure to abamectin, an insecticide often used by homeowners on fire ants, can affect the nervous system of dogs and cause symptoms such as pupil dilation, lethargy and tremors. According to 2004 statistics compiled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Animal Poison Control Center, 22 percent of approximately 880 cases of pet birds being exposed to common household toxins involved pesticides (including rat bait and insecticides).

For more information about harmful pesticides go to:

And if you suspect your animal has been poisoned, take him/her to the vet immediately.

Fannie and Freddie extend foreclosure Suspensions

Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reported this week that they have extended a moratorium on foreclosure suspensions for another three weeks, directing the mortgage servicers they work with to postpone any foreclosure or eviction proceedings through January 31.

Under the original moratorium, which began Nov. 26 and was scheduled to lapse on Jan. 9, 6,000 homeowners would avoid bank repossession and eventually qualify for mortgage modifications.

Hopefully, the extension should give servicers more time to help these at-risk homeowners enroll in the companies' Streamlined Modification Program.

That program is aimed at helping borrowers who are 90 days or more late on payments, who own and occupy their primary residences and who have not filed for bankruptcy to reduce mortgage payments to no more than 38% of their income. I am sure other lender will be following shortly if they already haven't flexed their rules a bit.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

California Tops the List!

Yahoo has reported the top 10 foreclosure cities and California takes the prize:

1. Merced, CA
2. Modesto, CA
3. Stockton, CA
4. Riverside, CA
5. Detroit, MI
6. Fort Lauderdale, FL
7. Cape Coral, FL
8. Vallejo, CA
9. Las Vegas, NV
10. Sacramento, CA

Oh no California... What next?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

White House for Sale! $9.88 million dollars and it's yours!

Ok, so it's not the actual white house but it's a replica designed by a developer in Atlanta. Yes, that is right... an exact replica. It's hard for me to imagine who would buy it but I guess someone will even in this economy. Ugh.

Check out the story:

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Vival La Mexico!

My boyfriend and I just got back from a weeks vacation from San Pancho, Mexico. A small town North of Puerto Vallarta. It was fabulous! The food was wonderful, the town was very cute, and our house was a five minute walk to the beach. We decided to stay there because I didn't want to be in the hussle and bustle of PV, but I also wanted to be close to Sayulita because of the great surf break. For some reason, I thought the real estate would be cheaper than PV but I was wrong. Check out the prices below.
Now, this is brand new construction but a 3 bedroom/ 3 bath, 3000 sq.ft. home is going for a whopping $700,000 US (not pesos). WOW. They are still building like mad there and I am sure the US economy has taken a toll on their economy but the prices in real estate seemed to be increasing fast. Below is a link: