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94301 : Real Estate Advice

  • All19
  • Local Info2
  • Home Buying10
  • Home Selling1
  • Market Conditions2

Activity 252
Mon Nov 2, 2009
Arn Cenedella answered:
Generally the flood zone in Palo Alto is located in the areas immediately to the "west" of Highway 101.
Maps are easily available to determine specific location.
You are correct any additions or new construction need to be elevated 8 feet above the flood plain.
This applies whether you build a new house or add onto an existing house.
So it doesn't matter whether you "rebuild" and do "addition" - no difference.
You will not be able to "get around" the flood zone rules in any case.
Essentially any "new" building whether an "addition" or "all new" needs to be built above the flood zone.
I suggest you contact the City directly - building, planning, public works departments and they will be able to give you a detailed answer to your question. The City also probably has a handbook that will answer all your questions regarding residential construction. This info might also be available on their web site.
Good luck.
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Sat Oct 31, 2009
Brendan Aiello answered:
Hi Sophie,

Buying foreclosures is very similar to buying regular real estate.

I have sold many REO properties and would be happy to send you a list of just REO properties. Give me a call or shoot me an email so we can discuss specifics.

Brendan Aiello
DRE #: 01860602
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Tue Oct 27, 2009
Grace Hanamoto answered:
Hello Jmark and thanks for your question.

To better assist you, a Realtor will need to know your housing budget--what are you qualified to purchase--and what you would like to see in a home, condo or planned development. There are many cities that are within "easy commute" from Palo Alto including sections of West San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara (to the south) and Redwood City, San Carlos and sections of Mountain View to the north and east that might suit your needs.

However, if you can provide to your trusted Realtors more information, they can greatly narrow your search parameters and quickly find for you a great home. Also, this is a wonderful time of year to look since there are less buyers in the market right now. Give us a call if you have questions.

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos, Santa Clara
Tel 408-426-1616
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Sun Oct 25, 2009
Jordan Grandlund answered:
I'm a realtor in Bend, Oregon, but my sister in-law is a realtor on the Peninsula and I'm sure she'd be happy to help you look for a bargain in Palo Alto. Her name is Celeste Pagan with Carlmont Associates. Her number is 650-759-2097. I hope this helps! ... more
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Mon Jan 4, 2010
Elizabeth Herbert answered:
I would suggest that you call an attorney in your area as this is a legal question for a definitive answer. Also, I'd purchase Title Insurance!

From a real estate standpoint and what I've read about the special warranty deed it only warrants the title against the seller's own actions and/or omissions but nothing before the current seller took title. Other warranties can be conveyed to the new owner unless it is specifically stated in the deed. ... more
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Thu Oct 15, 2009
Trapdoor answered:
I've got no special insight, but I'd guess the conditions you describe are the result of the fact that the more affluent you are the more you can afford to "wait out"; the current down turn. So the more expensive houses are priced more aggressively (or unrealistically) and their supply and sales volume is more constrained (driving down the average sale price). The bizarre number of homes for rent in Palo Alto bears this out. Annecdotally, I can say I've got a couple of friends trying to rent their old places out rather than sell, and even know one guy who is living with his divorced wife rather than sell their place and split the proceeds while they wait things out! I certainly understand the psychology (no one wants to sell low), but if everyone is thinking this, then now is probably a good time to sell... ... more
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Mon Oct 5, 2009
Diyar Essaid answered:
The buyers' agent was:

Diyar Essaid
Coldwell Banker
0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Thu Oct 1, 2009
Don Tepper answered:
What you're talking about is an equity-sharing arrangement. A real estate lawyer can help you properly structure it.

Basically, the agreement should lay out all the specifics. It should also set a time frame for the transaction, and have provisions in case either you or your parents want out early. (For instance, suppose you get married and want a bigger place? Suppose your parents decide they want some or all of their investment back?) So the document would have some sort of buy-out clause.

The agreement should specify who pays for maintenance and repairs. It should specify who pays the condo fees. And so on.

An accountant can help structure it so that you and your parents both get the best possible tax breaks--you as an owner-occupant, your parents as investors. For instance, they'd want to take depreciation on the property.

But those are questions that an accountant and a real estate lawyer can best answer. The point, though, is that everything has to be spelled out up front.

Hope that helps.
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Fri Apr 9, 2010
Jesse Sierra answered:

Check this website out
Also, check with a local property management company.

Good luck,

Jes Sierra, B.Sc.
0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Fri Sep 11, 2009
Bill Mccord answered:
Only the Listing Agent will be able to answer your question for certain as every bank has a different way of handling short sales. That particular agent may be willing to hold your offer as a back up even though it may never reach the bank which has the final say. You should be aware that a typical short sale takes about 3 months to get an answer, and less than 10% of all such deals ever close. It's also very commont that the listing price on a short sale has no relationship with reality. As the Seller is not going to get any money from the sale it's common for the property to be listed way below value in order to get multiple offers and thus drive up the price tl it's true value.
Also be aware that the bank get a local "Appraisal" and will not accept a price lower than they could get from foreclosing on the property and selling it themselves.
When all's said and done I would not typically advise a buyer to bother with most short sale listings.
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Sun Feb 14, 2016
Grace Hanamoto answered:
Hello Richard and thanks for your post.

Since this is an all cash deal to purchase an REO property, you have a couple of options:

1. Work with your Realtor to add your spouse9;s name to the contract via an addendum to the California Purchase Agreement. This might slow the bank down and could disrupt your closing date, so be aware of the consequences for asking for additional paperwork to be reviewed and approved.

2. Wait until the transaction has closed and have your spouse's name added to the deed via a Quit Claim Deed. Talk with the title company about this process. You may need an attorney or real estate paralegal to assist you in completing and having this form recorded.

Either way, this seems fairly simple to resolve and certainly could be done in the 10 days remaining on the contract.

Good luck!!

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
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Wed Sep 9, 2009
CJ Brasiel answered:

1127 Harker is a pending sale. Listed at $1.8m and set to close escrow the end of September. Once it closes escrow, the final price will most likely be displayed on the MLS.

1212 Parkinson was listed at $1.950M and sold $1.760M on August 26th. It was on the market 220 days.

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Fri Apr 9, 2010
Mark Burns answered:
Panic, hysteria, the world is coming to an end!

What is it we're looking at?

What 'mortgage bankers' are your referring to? How much is 'lots?'

There are no 'waves' of foreclosures. That makes absolutely no sense. Think about it . . . Seriously.

Mark Burns, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Elite - Top 3% Worldwide
President - PRDS, Contracts and Forms for Residential Real Estate in Silicon Valley 2008, 2009
Chair - Region 9 California Association of Realtors 2009
President - Silicon Valley Association of Realtors 2007
DRE #00896552 licensed since 1985
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Mon Aug 31, 2009
The Hagley Group answered:
Is this commercial or residental real estate? There are limits on the number of loans you can have at any one timeon residential. And commercial loans are pretty much impossible to get right now.

Call Linda Grassi, mortgage broker....she will advise you on what is available. 925-824-4848.
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Tue Sep 1, 2009
Colleen Pye answered:
There is a buyer for every house. Real estate in Houston is HOT. It is a great time to buy and sell here. I personally have not missed a beat.. it has been a great year. Much of the news of DOOM AND GLOOM.. is not about Houston. Yes, there have been those hurt by recession, but for the most part we still have people experiencing life changing events that turns into a sale or purchase. We were projected to have over 1M people here in Houston.. and about 50% are already here. They are coming here for new jobs... ... more
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Tue Dec 15, 2009
Chris Sorensen answered:
Yours is an all too familiar tale. In order for one to answer this question accurately, it would be great to know what your actual income is. With this I could look at your front end ratio and at least know whether or not you can easily afford the home.
Based on your loan amount and the time you took out your loan, it sounds to me like you obtained a stated income, 3/1 intermediate arm, based on the treasury index, or the 6 month LIBOR (London Inter Bank Offering Rate), both of which are under 1%. Assuming a margin of 2.75% above the index and you would have a fully indexed rate (FIR) of 3.75% or actually under, if your loan adjusted today. This equates to a payment of $5,649.52 factoring a 27 year amortization schedule.
I believe that rates, much to the long term detriment of the economy, will be kept artificially low by Bernanke, who is an expert on the Great Depression and very concerned about the country going into one while under his watch. Based on this, it is this experts opinion, that you will have a payment very similar to what you have grown accostomed to for the next four to six years.
If you are asking if you should keep the home due to its loss in value and potential continued loss in value, which, based on the fact that we are more than likely going to have an additional wave of defaults to contend with over the next two years, the answer is, I don't know! If you can afford it, yes, keep your home. If you flat cannot based on a drop in income or, as some did, you actually "overstated" your income (Not accusing), then your choices may be more limited.
Unemployment always lags in a recovery, coupled with the fact that there are not going to be any stated income loans available to create another false buyers market for a long time to come, and it may be seven to ten years before we see appreciation sufficient to make you 100% whole.
With all that said, my humble opinion is that we must decide between moral decisions and business decisions and not attempt to justify that which we know is wrong simply based on what the mob mentality is. Please read my post from a week ago.
I teach this for a living. Feel free to contact me at We are a non-profit and here to answer your difficult questions. Click on the; "I Need Help Button" and it will go directly to my e-mail. This way you can provide me with more details and I can do my best to advise you.
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Tue Sep 15, 2009
Glen Mitchell answered:
Hi Jen, it really doesn't matter what some site says your house is worth. Are you trying to sell it? refinance? etc. If so an appraiser will go off mls and county records and will not base their appraisal on unreallistic figures found on sites like zillow and trulia. If you need help figuring out a value for your own personal records email me the details of your place and I can send over recent comps and give you a better idea what its currently worth.


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Tue Sep 15, 2009
Marge Draper answered:
Well, it is morbid, but that's human nature. I don't think the value of property in South Palo Alto is lowering, first of all.

I think the worry is that this kind of thing is "catching". By that I mean that young people are impressionable. Depression is a very serious disease, and when untreated can lead to suicide. People in San Francisco use the Golden Gate Bridge, on the Peninsula they use CalTrain. ... more
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Mon Jan 4, 2010
Marcy Moyer answered:
The closer you get to downtown, either Palo Alto or Los Altos the better your appreciation will be.
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Fri Apr 9, 2010
Abe Mills answered:
You can get a loan, but might need some modifications. I would talk this over with your martgage banker. Also, I would get the building department to come inspect it, and get it signed off, they are usually fairly easy to deal with in your situation. That would solve your insurance issue.

Good Luck!
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