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By Serena Russell | Agent in Hayward, CA
  • California Housing Market Is Expected to Be Up in 2014

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Fremont  |  November 27, 2013 1:27 PM  |  405 views  |  No comments

    Leading experts at C.A.R. (California Association of Realtors)  indicated that the
    The California housing market had a decent
    performance in 2013 so far. For the first nine months
    of 2013, sales of existing single-family detached
    homes were down 3.2 percent when compared to
    the same period of last year. This decline in sales
    was attributed partially to the hike in interest rates in
    recent months, as the average 30-year fixed rate
    increased more than 100 basis points since April
    2013 and was the highest since the mid of 2011.

    Looking forward, annual sales of detached homes
    are expected to decline slightly in 2014, which means that there will be less
    inventory of detached homes to choose from. 

     The year 2013 is a year when the housing market
    transition from “investor sales” to “primary home
    sales”. The share of investor sales is expected to
    decline as the number of bargain properties
    continues to decrease, while the share of primary
    home sales is expected to improve as the economy
    continues to grow.

     Next year will be a more “normal” year and the economy will
    presumably grow at a faster pace, which will provide
    support to the housing market.
    With inventory levels remaining lean through the rest
    of 2013, the California median price is projected to
    increase 28.0 percent from $319,310 in 2012 to
    $408,600 in 2013. The significant increase in price in
    2013 was due in part to the mix of sales. The sales
    share for higher end homes will continue to inch up
    or remain near the current level for the rest of the
    year. Thus, more homes in the upper price segments
    will be sold in 2013 when compared to 2012.

    Because of the change in the mix of sales from
    2012, the statewide median price is expected to
    increase significantly on a year-to-year basis.
       Since the sales share of distressed sales is
    already at a low level and is expected to remain at or
    near that level for the rest of the year, it is unlikely to
    see the sales share of distressed properties
    declining much lower next year.

     With the value of discounted properties continue to
    appreciate, investors are paring their purchases of
    distressed homes as their profit margin narrows. As
    investors take a step back, inventory will likely
    improve slightly in the upcoming year. Meanwhile,
    the increase in home prices will also encourage
    more homeowners to put their houses up for sale.
    The housing supply will grow and should gradually
    climb back from under three months in 2013 to about
    four months in 2014.

    Brought to you by:
    Serena Russell
    Century 21 M & M & Assoc.
    39180 Liberty St
    Fremont, CA 94538
    Office: 510-796-2100
    Cellular: 510-303-2549
    Email: c21serena@gmail.com
    BRE License: 01824057
  • Looking for investment property?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Francisco, Foreclosure in San Francisco, Investment Properties in San Francisco  |  November 22, 2013 4:47 PM  |  2,514 views  |  2 comments

    You may be a first time investor, or wanting to own a second home for investment. Do you have young adults graduating from college, getting married, starting out on their own? It's a great time to think about investing in real estate for the younger generation.  Or maybe you are just thinking of generting some extra income from a rental property?  Whatever method you decide to use, you will be investing in something for your future. 

    This blog post focuses on the advantages of owning & managing multi family rental property.  These properties can be  owner or  tenant occupied, or both owner & tenant occupied. They provide more versatility and offer  positive cash flow at the same time while  collecting steady rental income.

     Great investment at this price!!

     WOW!! I have some great news  If you cannot find a single family home that meets your needs, consider buyer a multi-family dwelling. It might work out just great for your family members. Whether for investment or for you to occupy, the duplex or triplex offers much greater versatility than a single family home.  Some even  come with tenants so you can continue to  receive rents until you decide you want to move in.  Good tenants are hard to find, so buying a property with tenants gives you even greater stability for   the long run.  Ask me how to purchase and manage one of these units, I would love to share my knowledge & experience with you.

    BLENDED/EXTENDED FAMILY:  Do you have this situation? There are more joint families today than ever before. Do your relatives visit? Grandchildren coming to stay for a few days? Maybe you also have in-laws or friends from out of town? Or some of all three. You may find  the multifamily home to be  larger and more flexible to accommodate extended family. These units will usually have larger rooms, more bedrooms and bathrooms.  Furthermore they also may have inside laundry, separate entrances to each unit and separate garages.  All these features can  prove to be more beneficial for the extended family to occupy.

    RETIRING? Maybe you are  retired or planning to retire soon?  The multi-family unit could be a cash cow for you in retirement. While it enable you to downsize to a much easier to manage and maintain property, it also gives you rental income. Kill two birds with one stone as they say. It's nice to have a  steady source of income all year long.  Should one unit become vacant, you would still receive income from other occupied units until such time the vacant unit could be occupied.

     Extra cottage in back:  Could you find a use for an extra cottage or room addition on the property? Many of these homes come with cottages or room adds ons. Typically you would not find this kind of extra space in a single family home.


    Here are just a few examples to give you an idea of what is available today. Ask me to schedule a showing for any of these properties.

    1.  Sunny and bright side by side units with parking in the back! 1 bd/1 bath ea unit w/ all sep meters and bonus room in 1411. New roof & ext paint. Both units occupied by long-term tenants & like to stay. Perfect for investor.

    2. Detached, Four unit apartment building. Bungalow style. All units are Junior 1-Bedroom, 1-Bath. 3-Car parking. New roof (2012). Small fenced in yard. Unit#B and #D are updated. Low maintenance. Separate meters. Ideally located, west of UC Berkeley

    3. Warm & cozy. Nice opportunity. You can live here & get income from rent at the same time. This adorable house is a 3 bd 1 ba all redone warm & cozy. Updated Kitchen & baths. Hardwood floors, a must see! Cottage in the back is 1 bd 1 ba family room and kitchen.

    4. This Heart of the Bay duplex is located by Hayward Hills and features (2) 2 bedroom, 1 bath units, and covered parking. Stone's throw from Cal State East Bay & Hayward High School. Minutes to downtown Hayward. Close to shopping, public transportation, easy access to fwys. 

    5. Wow, well maintained duplex income property at walking distance to the New Costco  Hayward, School, and Park. Easy Access FWY 580, 880 & 92. Both Units have garage, driveway, Washer & Dryer . Rear Unit has big size backyard with newer remodeling Plus Roof and Paint are under good condition. Both Units are occupied.

    6. Nice property in the Hayward Hills. Live in one unit and rent the other two. Large lot that could possibly be subdivided. 

    7.     Move in condition. New polished hardwood floor. New stove. New paint. Two parcels/units in one lot.  Nice view over the city. Two separate electrical meters. A lot of potential.

    So  I encourage you not to wait much longer to make your move.  Contact me for a showing.  I assure you it will also prove to be an educational experience!

    Serena Russell
    Phone or text: 510-303-2549

  • Why go to Open Houses?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in California  |  June 29, 2011 2:11 PM  |  1,932 views  |  No comments

    Someone once said that open houses were a waste of time. This was perhaps someone who did not see the value of comparing various properties and getting educated for free.

    Open houses exist for the benefit of buyers and sellers. The seller benefits from having interested buyers come through and the possibility of multiple offers. Buyers benefit by visiting the property at their leisure during the 3 or 4 hour window, and being able to compare homes on their tour. This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the benefits of open houses go.

    Having a realtor along with you when you visit an open house, can be a huge benefit for you. Your experienced realtor can point out the key features of the home, and other important facts that you might not have thought of. After seeing several homes on one day, you may be thoroughly confused and could benefit from ane expert to keep things in perspective.

    For the experienced house hunter, open houses are a way of making a personal decision and taking some time. Most serious buyers are able to find a home much faster than those who are starting from scratch. It takes most buyers a couple of months to find a home once they start looking.

    I highly recommend open houses as a way of getting some education about the home buying process and to get your questions answered for free. Once you are more knowledgeable about home buying, you may be ready to make a committment about owning versus renting..............always a better strategy in furthering your wealth building plan.


  • Protect Your Mortgage

    Posted Under: Home Insurance in Fremont  |  March 7, 2011 3:28 PM  |  1,732 views  |  No comments


    A job loss, pay cut or health crisis can make it difficult to keep up with your mortgage payments. Shore up your home-finance defenses by planning ahead. Here are three tips for ways to safeguard your most valuable asset.

    Pay ahead
    Whether you're anxious about your financial future or feel confident you're secure, paying extra on your mortgage can be a good financial move.

    Create a fund
    A rainy day fund comes in handy when you've got unexpected emergencies or difficulty meeting a financial obligation. Of course, saving the money for the fund can be a challenge. One good way to save more: Set up an automatic deduction from your checking to a savings account. Try to time the deductions to happen the same day you get paid, so you're in essence paying yourself—or your savings account—first. You won't end up missing the money as much, and you'll build up your savings balance without ever thinking about it.

    Talk to your lender
    "Working with a lender is tough these days because so many banks have sold mortgages in the secondary market," says Logue. This means many investors and funds have a stake in whether you make your payment each month. Still it's well worth talking to your lender to find out what programs you could qualify for—some may allow you to lower or even defer monthly payments until you're back on your feet.

    Consider insurance
    Mortgage disability income insurance purchased now can provide a benefit to help meet your mortgage payment if a future serious illness or injury prevents you from earning an income. Another option is a mortgage rider to a life insurance policy. This provides temporary life insurance protection in an amount typically sufficient to cover the unpaid balance of your mortgage. This rider is usually available in 15- or 30-year durations. 


  • Is what you see, what you get?

    Posted Under: General Area in Hayward, Home Buying in Hayward, Rent vs Buy in Hayward  |  December 23, 2010 5:42 PM  |  1,120 views  |  3 comments

    Is this cliché true when  it comes to REAL ESTATE??

    Is it possible that different buyers will view the same property through different eyes. ??

    There was this one bank owned  house for example.  It listed at below market and was attracting many buyers.  These buyers  were ready to buy and  were pre- qualified   for home loans with reputable lenders. 

    THE FIRST BUYER  who happened to be a first time buyer   commented on the condition of the home, the   smell, the stained carpets, the patches and nail holes in the walls and such.  This buyer noticed many of the cosmetic conditions of the home.

    BUYER number 2, was an investor having owned several other  properties. His view  was very different from buyer 1. The investor did not care about the cosmetic conditions, but instead was more concerned about   location, nearness to freeway,  number of beds/baths and garage. 

    Furthermore, the investor was pleased about the  dual pane windows, which let lots of light into the rooms.   All the while thinking of his potential return on investment. 

    For this example, the outcome is easy to guess. 

    Whether you are first time buyer, seller or investor, work with a licensed real estate professional (with REALTOR designation).  Your Realtor, will  know the market well and can help you find a home for the price you want to pay.  Also, beware of the news media, and other 'friends and co-workers- who might give you incorrect advice.

    Contact me if you are looking to buy or sell today.  My expertise extends to homebuyers, home sellers and investors all over the bay area.


  • What kind of market was 2010?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Fremont, Home Buying in Fremont, Financing in Fremont  |  December 23, 2010 5:24 PM  |  1,109 views  |  No comments

    Does anyone know if it's a sellers market or a buyers market?  Have we hit bottom? Are we hydroplaning?

    It's a   fine line where there is not clear answer really.

    In 2010 short sales seems to be on the rise, with bank owned properties still available, but not as plentiful as in2008 and 2009.  This means increased activity over a longer period of time for buyers & sellers.  More intense negotiations in some cases.  Properties receiving multiple offers, with a great number of buyers backing out and listings going back on the market.  All in all, it's been pretty tumultuous for brokers, agents, and real estate professionals in general, and all the departments and other entities that support them.

    Take for example the escrow companies, inspectors, & appraisers who start working on these short sale files.  Many hours spent with sometimes no apparent resolution. On the other hand, 2010 seems to have been a year when lenders have gotten a better handle on the short sale process, and some of them even streamlined their office staff and trained additional personnel to handle short sale negotiations.  The situation is a new beast that no one was familiar with and not knowing which way it would trample.

    It's taken a while for banks to discover that ACTING is better than REACTING.  However in this discovery period banking institutions have tightened the reigns on the lending process causing escrow periods to increase from the normal 30-day escrow to a 45, 60 or even 90 days escrow.

    So ultimately it's not even a buyers or sellers market.  It appears that 2010 was a lender market for the most part.

    Let's see what developments are headed our way in 2011.

    Wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and a prosperous one!!!

  • How long should I plan to stay in my new home?

    Posted Under: General Area in Union City, Market Conditions in Union City, Home Buying in Union City  |  December 21, 2010 1:50 PM  |  893 views  |  No comments

    The world is changing and so are the cyclical nature of the economy. Historically, the longer you lived in your home, the better it would be for equity building and tax advantages.   Pay close attention economic conditions. Are jobs increasing or decreasing in your target area?  Is the unemployment rate getting lower or higher?  Are home prices increasing or decreasing over a 3 to 6 month period?  Make the situation work for you. 

    mARKET CONDITIONS: Short sales and foreclosures are still available in most parts of the country, so once those go away,  the market will start to return to the buyers-recession state we were more familiar with.  Until then buyers will benefit from lower interest rates and declining home prices now than ever before.

    EQUITY: Some sellers might also benefit if they have owned the home for many years and have some equity in their home. This would make it possible for a seller to sell and make a decent profit. 

    INVESTING: Also take a look at what investors are doing?  If investors are out there buying up low priced properties, for cash, then it means it must be a good time to buy.  Buy low and sell high is always a good goal.   Investors generally pay a higher interest rate than owner occupied property owners, so they must make their money go farther.

    For more advise contact your well informed real estate specialist today.

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