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94604 : Real Estate Advice

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Activity 588
Thu Apr 4, 2013
Gil Faust answered:
It would be very difficult to complete the mortgage process from beginning to end in 14 days. To best prepare yourself for a quick close, you should get completely pre approved, subject to the property and appraisal, before making offers. If you are ready and willing, we can provide a 21 day close guaranty certificate that you can submit with your offers. ... more
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Mon Apr 29, 2013
Alan May answered:
Personally, Martha... I wouldn't hire anyone who "badmouthed" the competition. But that's just me.

Selling real estate is not rocket science... but it's also not something that's formulaic. Meaning there's just no tabulation, or logarithm that we can use to build a price. So it often comes down to the agent's familiarity with the area, their experience (how long have they been doing this, how many homes of your type in your area have they listed), etc...

So it's not uncommon for agents to come up with different valuations... and since commissions are negotiable, each agent/agency decides what they charge, to make sure that the fee covers the expenses for all of the services that they offer.

So you need to do your homework... find out the history, experience, of each of those agents... how many homes did they sell last year, last three years.... what was their list/sell ratio on those homes... what percentage of their business is listings vs. buyers... are they prominent in your area in the type of home you have to offer.... are they a full-time, or part-time agent.

Ask them to explain exactly what services they offer for their fee, and ask them to explain why they charge what they charge. If one agent is charging less, make sure that they're not just deducting that portion from the buyer's agency commission that they're offering on the MLS.

Good luck.
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Thu Apr 4, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
The power of the internet has helped broaden the marketing area, from being local to being global.

At Alain Pinel Realtors, we say that we market to the world.

Being established is one thing (but of course, it helps to use someone who knows what she is doing!)

But the marketing technique, marketing plan, marketing reach are paramount.

Marketing goes beyond just putting the property on the MLS. Attention to details is critically important. Professional photos. Property specific website. Online marketing (not just MLS, but also on other sites like Trulia, etc). Staging. Etc.

And if you're looking for ideas on how to prepare your property so that you can get more C (cash), consider doing the C's (cleanliness, un-clutter, color, curb appeal, etc).
http://activerain.com/blogsview/3121946/preparing-a-house-for-sale-do-the-c-s-to-get-the-most-c-cash-

Let me know how I may help
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0 votes 6 answers Share Flag
Wed Apr 17, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
Funny....you don't want to use a realtor to help you sell your own place.... but you're asking us for tips...

We ask sellers not to be present during showings for the very reason you state: you take it personally, and may not respond in a manner to help you sell the house.

But if you are intent on selling your place yourself, here's how to the get the most C (cash) by doing the C's --- color, cleanliness, curb appeal, de-clutter, condition (repairs)
http://activerain.com/blogsview/3121946/preparing-a-house-for-sale-do-the-c-s-to-get-the-most-c-cash-

Good luck....
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0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Tue Jan 13, 2015
Pacita Dimacali answered:
I'm sure you will hear from several folks on the whys.

You may find it interesting that the founder of ForSaleByOwner.com gave up on trying to sell his own place, and used a realtor to do it.

See http://agbeat.com/housing-news/forsalebyowner-com-founder-gives-up-on-own-listing-hires-real-estate-broker/

The articles states: AGBeat columnist Herman Chan said, “If people want to take a stab at For Sale By Owner (ie FSBO), go for it. But well over 80% of FSBO’s eventually have to list with an real estate agent to get their house sold. It’s harder than it looks!”

It goes beyond the hows...there are mandated disclosures that a seller should provide to the buyer. How much do you know is required, and are you insured against any errors/omissions?
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0 votes 17 answers Share Flag
Wed Apr 3, 2013
Richard Matus answered:
Not always, sometimes it is a decision of using a different product at a similar cost. There is an organization called Build It Green (builditgreen.org) that has lots of good info that can help a lot. Some items may cost a little more up front but be a lot cheaper in the long run due to lower usage costs. LED lights cost more upfront but save a lot of money in the long run and last 20+ years! You spend nothing on light bulbs, just install and enjoy. ... more
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Thu Apr 4, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
Guess one should look at the factors that may explain why the house isn't selling. Principles of marketing: price, product, placement, promotion,

The first thing we review is the price. If it's over priced, it's not going to move. Some sellers may be in denial and refuse to accept their realtor's recommendation on a marketable price.

Condition of the property ---many buyers make decisions within seconds of seeing (or driving by a property). If it looks bad (junk/trash in the yard, and in obvious need of serious repairs), it may not entice buyers except for people looking for fixer uppers to fiip. But for fixer uppers, the price has to make sense, i.e., low enough to make room for investment in repairs, and to earn a profit when sold.

How is the property marketed? Is it on the MLS? Does it feature lots of good photos? Again, people can make decisions within seconds. As such, the photos must create the most positive impressions. Here's an artilcle about 12 horrible real estate photos that will scare away buyers
http://now.msn.com/bad-real-estate-photos-a-photo-gallery

How easy is it to show to prospective buyers? If there's a tenant, is the tenant cooperative? Are the residents willing to have a lockbox that realtors can access upon making an appointment?

Where is it located? The most oft-repeated phrase "location, location, location" is still true. If it's in a less desirable location, all the more that one should focus on the other marketing principles.
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0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Sat Apr 6, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
Strange....

I go to Lake Merritt quite frequently since my folks live in a high rise directly across the Lake. I have never thought nor seen it as "dirty". The City takes very good care of it and have made improvements by the addition of running paths, gardens, parks, lights. There are so many people taking advantage of this place as evidenced by the number of folks walking, jogging, boating.

It's a fabulous place to be. Take time to enjoy it....dine at Lake Chalet, or take a gondola ride.
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0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Oaklandish asked:
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Oaklandish asked:
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Ellen Lynch answered:
Oakland already IS Brooklyn! The area from lower Park Blvd to lower San Antonio is on the old maps as Brooklyn. It tried to succeed from Oakland a long time ago. If you look on property records, and do some research about Oakland, particularly through The Cultural Heritage Survey,,, headed by City of Oakland's own historical expert Betty Marvin bmarvin@oaklandnet.com , you can learn a lot about Brooklyn, in Oakland.

Many of us were part of the Brooklyn Neighborhood Preservation group, that planted trees, worked on neighborhood issues, etc. and, that group will be starting up again!

Many of us still call our area of Oakland, Brooklyn! As someone born and raised in New York, (along with a lot of Oaklanders), I love this! I've lived here, in the Brooklyn area of Oakland for thirty five years.

Our area, just east of lower Park Blvd, has always been culturally diverse, with lots of community-involved folks. Now we have a few cafes and the great Champa Garden restaurant.

Oakland is still the most diverse city in the entire country!
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Tue Apr 2, 2013
Claire Wills answered:
I would guess Brooklyn. :)
0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Keith Jean-Pierre answered:
The most important factor is your mental state. Are YOU ready to purchase? If you are ready, I would suggest calculating the mortgage payment you are comfortable with. There are many different mortgage calculators, a quick search in Google or Bing will pop this up for you. After you determine that, you should speak with a mortgage representative to determine what you are qualified for. Once you do this, you can select an agent and get the process started. Let me know if you have any other questions. ... more
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Tue Apr 2, 2013
Antoine Pirson answered:
The only correct way is to ask your tax accountancy or lawyer. Although I did take an IRS course as part of my real estate education, I am not allowed by law to give you advice on this tax topic.
A
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0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Tue Apr 2, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
Downtown is thriving with new businesses, and there are many new condos/lofts available. Easy access to BART and other public transportation. By the Jack London area, you can also hop on the ferry or Amtrak

You can also look in to the Lake Merritt/Grand Lake area to enjoy the many restaurants, shops, farmer's market, theater

Rockridge, Piedmont Ave -- many choices of restaurants and shops as well as easy access to BART

Or consider Alameda. Believe it or not, we have a lot of things to do here, too. There are excellent reasons to move here.
http://activerain.com/blogsview/1605905/alameda-ca-moving-here-excellent-reasons-why-it-s-a-great-place-to-live-
... more
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Tue Apr 2, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
Here's a link on SF Gate regarding that question
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/estimate-capital-gains-taxes-real-estate-2613.html
.
But there are other considerations for tax exemptions. See Nolo regarding avoiding capital gains tax
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/avoid-capital-gains-tax-selling-home-29901.html

Some questions:
When did you buy the property
Did you buy as single owner, or as a married couple
If married, is the title in both your names
If one spouse has passed on --- how long ago? how was title recorded

You will need a CPA to help you get the complete answer.

If you haven't sold yet, have you engaged a realtor to determine what the current market value is? If not, you may want to get a comparable market analysis.....I can help you with that.
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0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Thu Apr 4, 2013
Simone Hoover answered:
We are in a seller’s market right now and if your property is priced correctly it should only take a few showings. I would recommend it being open at least one Sunday Open house, one brokers tour and to be flexible on some additional times. If your property is vacant or not have your agent put a lockbox on the property, so other agents can have better flexibility in showing your home. ... more
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Mon Apr 1, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
You should look in the terms of your lease first. Generally, the lease will indicate how many people can stay in the unit.

If you add someone to stay at your place, that may be seen as a violation of your lease.

Check the California Landlord/Tenant book http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/ to have a clear understanding of your rights/obligations

See what is says about living in the rental unit, when and how much a landlord can raise the rent, etc http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/landlordbook/living-in.shtml

Whatever you do, you can't arbitrarily make a decision without reviewing your lease and discussing with your landlord.
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Sun Mar 31, 2013
Michael Bardales answered:
Possibly. They may require a larger down payment. I have a great lender who can help you with that. Let me know.
0 votes 5 answers Share Flag
Thu Mar 28, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
If you have access to the internet, you can access the info online http://www.bart.gov/

And if you have a smartphone, there's an app for that

http://www.bart.gov/schedules/mobile/wireless.aspx ... more
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