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Berkeley : Real Estate Advice

  • All243
  • Local Info9
  • Home Buying110
  • Home Selling5
  • Market Conditions12

Activity 163
Tue Apr 9, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
The best way to find listings that are actually listed for sale is to engage a realtor to alert you whenever something comes up for sale that meets your requirements and budget.

Not everything you see on the internet is up-to-date. Some find "listings" that aren't listings at all. There are common errors on real estate web sites.

As an FYI, and as of this writing, the least expensive condo for sale in Berkeley is listed at $299K. It has 803 sq ft, 1 BR/1 BA.

How may I help you?
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Fri Dec 6, 2013
Cindy Davis answered:
Sometimes, the tried and true ways work...when in doubt, go check it out for yourself!
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Mon Mar 18, 2013
Pacita Dimacali answered:
Your best bet is to find a rental/property management company to help you.

Working with a rental agent minimizes the possibility of scams that we know proliferate on craigslist. By going through a property management company, then both the prospective tenants and landlords are assured that they are dealing with legitimate inquiries/postings. ... more
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Mon Feb 18, 2013
Anna Bellomo answered:
Best (and wise) thing to do is to check the Megan's Law website:

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Mon May 27, 2013
Gina Odom answered:
It depends and you should really speak to a Mortgage Broker to find out how much you will need. If you are buying into a condo association that has been FHA approved you may only need as little as 3.5% down. However, if you are buying into a condo association that has not been FHA approved then you may need 15% or more as a down payment. Keep in mind that you will have closing costs as well and they can run anywhere from 3%-4.5% of the purchase price. If you would like a recommendation for a Mortgage Broker, email me at ... more
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Mon Jan 28, 2013
The Medford Team answered:
If you live just east of York, Pennsylvania, then you’ll want to change the zip code for your questions so that you get answers from that area. You listed a Berkeley, CA zip code, and agents here have no clue about building costs in PA. ... more
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Thu Jan 3, 2013
Lance King answered:
The only lenders who might do this with 20% down are likely going to charge you a LOT of money for the loan. The bank that most of our foreign investor clients work with is HSBC and they generally require 50%. ... more
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Sun May 17, 2015
Tina Lam answered:
No, you don't, but do plan on facing a bid for that amount.
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Tue Dec 4, 2012
The Medford Team answered:
ALTA Lender’s title insurance is always packaged concurrently with the Buyer’s title insurance – if you buy them as a package it costs less. Like any other insurance policy.

If you don’t want Buyer’s title insurance (and I can’t imagine why not – ESPECIALLY in Berkeley), then you no longer get the concurrent rate for the Lender’s policy and you have to pay full price for the Lender’s Insurance. Standard policy. Standard rates. No scamming involved. No extra effort to work their profit center. Not ridiculous. And they are not worried about losing it, either. It’s totally legal, totally right, totally normal AND, if you don’t sign off on it, the bank won’t fund your loan.

Totally simple. Totally standard. Totally legal.

And it’s not a matter of him giving you the concurrent rate because he quoted it – it was quoted concurrently. Take away the concurrent Buyer’s insurance and his hands are tied – he couldn’t charge you less even if he wanted to. Rates and policies are governed by the state.
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Wed Jan 9, 2013
Cindy Davis answered:
Boy are you in for a culture shock....and sticker shock. I recently explored the possibility of moving to Berkeley and it was more than I could handle. Are you going tor school?

My best advice is to use cragislist or get a property manager involved. Housing there is extremely tight and you will need all the help you can get!

Good luck.
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Thu Jan 3, 2013
Tomi Thomas answered:
How long something stays on the market has everything to do with whether it is well-priced and well prepped for the market. In general, homes are selling very quickly in all these areas...when handled by knowledable agents and properly marketed, often the time-frame is less than two weeks from the ON- market date to the In-Contract date.

I'd be happy to discuss sales trends with you, along with any other questions, as part of an Q&A that addresses your more specific need and budget. I'm reluctant to post numbers based on your neighborhood designations, because I find this type of blanket analysis does not give the best snapshot of market behavior. I know there are agents who love this kind of data, but personally, I think it is too broad brush to be helpful. I prefer to pull subsets of data, based on condition, and micro markets within the areas of interest. Looking at how properties that would have been actionable to you will tell you much more about how to achiee the best property for you and at the best price achievable.

The market is riddled with different pricing and marketing strategies right now, and understanding how to focus your capture strategy with the specific property might be a useful exercise for you.

You are welcome to call me to discuss...and to interview me to see if it is a fit. I don't assume a phone call establishes a working relationship - but I do recommend you find your agent first to help put this kind of data into context.
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Thu Jun 30, 2016
Pacita Dimacali answered:
Call Sinan Sabunguolu
(510) 772-0146

He is both an architect and a builder, as well as proprietor of Berkeley Design Center,
3195 Adeline Street Berkeley, CA 94703
(510) 652-6064

He is also a very strong advocate of green building
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Thu Nov 1, 2012
Eric H. Wong answered:
North Berkeley Station, El Cerrit0 Plaza Station, El Cerrito Del Norte, MacArthur Station at the edge of Temescal and the growing NOBE neighborhood...all great areas. It depends on your budget and what you are looking for. ... more
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Wed Oct 31, 2012
Christy Brock answered:
Why is the property non-warrantable. Makes a difference as to who can lend.
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Mon Oct 29, 2012
Lance King answered:
It's not only important, it's crucial. There are many issues with TICs that don't exist with any other kind of property, and using an agent who doesn't know TICs to buy is about as smart as seeing a podiatrist for a toothache.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
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Tue Oct 30, 2012
Michael Abram answered:
What is making your condo non-warrantable exactly? There might be solutions around it.

Michael Abram
RPM Los Angeles
Cell: (310) 995-0975 ... more
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Sun Oct 28, 2012
Jodi Selene answered:
I think you're absolutely right, Paul, in that rentals near the University in Berkeley are always in demand.
Berkeley is seeing a rise in prices right now, due to scarcity of inventory and historically the lowest loan rates - and so that's driving prices up and creating multiple offers on most Berkeley properties on the market.
Will this continue? No one knows for sure. No one can promise anything about housing prices, just as no one can predict what the stock market will be doing in several years. But a good, solid condo not too far from UC Berkeley and close to transportation will likely always be rented if it's manage dwell and will probably retain its value.
I've developed a condo project and had to write CC&Rs for it. I've also represented investors in buying rental properties. There are things you'll want to pay attention to - the conditions and regulations of any property that you buy, making sure it allows rentals, make sure the association is financially healthy, checking on owner occupancy rate, etc., etc. If you do due diligence and have the funds to compete in the Bay Area market, you can get yourself a great investment.
Awesome that you're living in Sydney! I loved it there and in Byron Bay when I visited 4 years ago!
Jodi Selene
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Wed Oct 24, 2012
Eric H. Wong answered:
The biggest problem with VA loans and the housing stock in Berkeley is the VA requirement for a clear section 1 on the pest report. The homes in Berkeley are, for the most part, 75 to 100 years old. A home with a clear section 1 of the pest report in Berkeley is pretty rare.

In addition, a 3 bedroom home within walking distance to the campus will be well above the limits of a VA loan,

You may want to expand your search area.
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Sun Sep 23, 2012
Eric H. Wong answered:
what do you want to know about the property?
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Sun Jun 30, 2013
The Medford Team answered:
This is really a question for an attorney. I can send you contact info for one in the East Bay if you need a referral - email me offline.
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