Ethnic Diversity in the World of Real Estate

CRS article June 2016As agents licensed by the State of California, we have to be very careful about how we present certain aspects of the various neighborhoods and ethnically diverse populations that we serve. Recently I was interviewed for “The Residential Specialist” magazine for my experience and expertise in ethnically diverse neighborhoods.

I feel blessed to live in an area so rich with culture, history (and culinary concoctions) that go along with the diversity.

What do you love about where YOU live?

California suburbs growing fast as many are priced out of cities, data show

Source: Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2016

Suburban areas on the outskirts of the red-hot Los Angeles and San Francisco areas grew especially fast last year, state officials reported Monday.

San Joaquin County, home to Stockton, grew faster than any other, up 1.3% to 733,000 people. The area has become increasingly popular for people fleeing astronomical San Francisco Bay Area housing prices while remaining within commuting distance.

San Joaquin was followed by Yolo, Riverside and Santa Clara counties.

The fastest-growing city was Vernon, which grew a whopping 72% thanks to a new housing development that brought its population to 210.

Among cities with at least 30,000 people, the fastest-growing were concentrated primarily in the Inland Empire and Orange County: Porterville, Eastvale, Lake Forest, Beaumont and Lake Elsinore.

The number of new housing units in California declined last year for the first time since the start of the economic recovery, due mostly to wildfires that scorched more than 2,000 homes.

California’s housing supply rose by 67,110 units last year, compared with an increase of 69,435 units in 2014. Demographers at the California Department of Finance say the number of new units would have been about equal to the year before if the destructive wildfires in Lake and Calaveras counties had not hit.

Of the new units created, just over half were multi-family dwellings such as apartments and condominiums. Los Angeles, the state’s largest city, saw the most growth in housing, with 12,224 new units. It was followed by San Francisco with nearly 2,900, San Jose with just over 2,000 and San Diego with about 1,750.

The housing hit came as California’s population grew to 39.1 million last year, an increase of 348,000 people, just under 1%.

Most of the state’s 482 cities saw population gains, but 44 cities shrank and one — tiny Tehama, population 431 — was unchanged.

Fleeing the Cities to the Suburbs

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Me with Rachel, one of our recent Exclusive Buyer Clients

Fleeing to the ‘burbs isn’t just for the Gen X-ers. Forward-thinking millennials are doing the same thing.

Yes, the “Selfie Generation” may be known as slackers, but not all of them are. See here Ms. Rachel, a 20-something attorney who moved from the expensive peninsula to the East Bay. Rachel and her fiance bought a home right down the street from me, in fact. We’ve become drinking buddies, semi-workout buddies, and both of our SOs are Mariners and Seahawks fans.

Back to the topic at hand. Here is what Rachel said about her reasons for moving:

“Moving from the peninsula to the East Bay (Hayward) was a great decision. We have shifted from unnecessarily expensive to reasonably affordable; From bland and cookie cutter to diverse and cultural; From a bubble about to burst to the next wave of growth and exciting potential.”

Side Note: Women are starting to rule the world. Our Significant Others are watching the Mariners game on TV right now…or something equally juvenile. Sorry guys, she’s taken.

 

 

Meet Phil! Does he look pouty?

Here’s “Phil”! This 12-year old sweetheart’s mom is selling their long-time home at 2828 Eastman Avenue in Oakland‘s Allendale district.

Phil
Phil, 12, is not included

When the sale closes, Realty World Neighbors will make a donation in Phil’s honor to Bad Rap, where he was trained when he was a youngster…

A home is not a home without a dog!

 

The Calm Before the Storm

photo of paintersA lot of prep work goes into preparing a home for sale. This home has been in the same family since 1977. Many memories have spun their stories over the years of growing up and raising a family here. It is now time for new memories and we’re working on making sure the home is clean and comfortable for the new owners.

Shown here are Todd Worsfold and his crew member preparing the home for sale.

Stay tuned for more details! May 2016 is when this home will be available. You’ll LOVE the new colors chosen, I’m sure!

Receiving Thanks

IMG_2575[1]We have the best Seller Clients ever! This lovely plant was brought in by our Seller Client Arutha as she was on her way out of town and off to her new life in Las Vegas.

We were able to entice her to let us take her to coffee at Hippies Brew first before she left town. Hippies Brew has Jimi Hendrix painted on the wall. Arutha is a DJ who appreciates good music, so we thought it was a good fit to share a farewell brew.

Sometimes we meet people who retain our services to do a job for them, and if they weren’t leaving town, we’d love to cultivate a friendship with them. Arutha is one such lady with a wonderful sense of humor.

If you need a DJ in Las Vegas, we’ll connect you with her!

The Zalamea Family

Zalamea family photoDo you know of anyone who might have a home to sell to this lovely family? Meet the Zalameas!

They’d love a 4-bedroom home with at least one bedroom and full bathroom on the main level.

Contact us if you or someone you know has a home that might be of interest to Ed and Mary Ann for their family!

Artist Reception at Realty World Neighbors

IMG_2606[1]Hosted by the May & Jones Group

YOU’RE INVITED! Castro Valley resident Tracy Vinzant’s Artist Reception with her beach-scapes and luau-inspired artwork! Join us on Saturday March 12th from 1-3 p.m. at:

Realty World Neighbors Art Gallery at 22392 Foothill Blvd.

Downtown Hayward

The chosen theme is in recognition of the Rotary Club of F.U.N. Sunset’s Luau Fundraiser with the proceeds benefiting several of our favorite charities, including the Hayward Animal Shelter, Magnolia Women’s Recovery Inc. and Timelist.

Out of the Closet

Greg Jones during our remodel
Greg Jones during our own remodel

Here’s a real dialog that took place last month:

Homeowner’s question:

Good Afternoon;

So, I have a question on a remodel we are finalizing the plans for. We are working with an architect. Just to refresh your memories; our home is approx. 1200 sq.ft. with 3 small bedrooms and one remodeled bathroom and a remodeled kitchen we finished last year.
We are doing two things; enlarging our bedroom by adding a bathroom that will use the current closet plus a few feet into the bedroom, and add  8 ft. on the side that faces the front yard. That side will have a door that opens to a walled patio.
The second project is an addition; a 16 x 11 dining room off the back of the house.
We are currently submitting our plans to a structural engineer. We have shown our preliminary ideas to the planning dept. and (were given) the go a head to proceed to the next steps.
We have a couple of questions. The expanded bedroom will need closets, since the current one will become the new bathroom, and our contractor says that for a bedroom to be called a bedroom it has to have built-in closets. Is this true? We are trying to figure out how best to add closet space and are wondering if modular free standing closets are a reasonable idea, or if we should build in closets as part of the wall. Do either choice effect the value of our home?
We are also wondering if investing $80-100K in these two projects makes financial sense, given the fact that so far, our neighborhood is still looking like a blue collar area, though most of the Cal Trans rental properties have been purchased, rehabbed and put back on the market in the $500K plus price range over this last year.
Our own cash investment in our home has been very small; we paid $185k two years ago, and the down payment was paid by the CalTrans Stipend. We re-financed a year after purchase and pulled some of the new equity out to remodel the kitchen.
Our thinking is, since we paid so little for the house (really below market at the time) we have a lot of “head room” in which to invest for improvements, without exceeding our equity.
So… in your opinion, does it make sense to invest $100k plus (needs major hardscaping and landscaping when the building is complete) if we plan on being here at least 5 years?

We love the land our house is on;  a huge backyard that borders Hayward regional park trails in the canyon below, and that feels very private and almost rural.

So, those are our questions.

Thanks,
L.

My answer:

Yes, you should have a built-in closet so that the room is considered a “bedroom”. This does affect the home’s marketability should you decide to eventually sell. When we remodeled our house in San Francisco years ago, we knocked out a bedroom closet to enlarge the bathroom. The market was so hot that we got a chunk of money for the home in addition to enjoying a gorgeous remodeled bathroom, but we could no longer tout that room without a closet as a “bedroom” anymore but instead, a “den”.
It does make sense to invest $100,000 if your enjoyment of the home over that five year period of time is worth the $20,000 per year or roughly $1,666 per month. Only you can decide this. There really is no price one can put on enjoying one’s home.
In any case, nobody knows what the market will be like in 5 years should you decide to sell or refinance, so it is impossible to say definitively whether or not it’s “worth it” financially.
I’m being careful with my answers so as not to mislead you while still being honest.
Hope this helps!
Anna May

Available Soon! Target Date: Jan. 26, 2016

lindenwood exterior photoALREADY IN CONTRACT: All cash contract with no contingencies scheduled to close in 6 days.
3-bedroom, 2-bathroom single-level home in the sought-after and well-established Southgate neighborhood on Lindenwood Way!
This home’s neighborhood popularity is due to its tree-lined streets, easy access to shopping, the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge, a neighborhood swim club, the mall and Chabot College a few blocks away, which is where A-list actor Tom Hanks attended.
 
Stay tuned for more information!

Light Up the Season event!

LUTS 2015The evening of Thursday December 3rd, our office Realty World Neighbors will be open from 5-7 p.m. for Light Up the Season festivities. RSVP HERE for our own “The Painter, the Poet, the Artisan” reception!

That evening, here’s what you can look forward to:

-local artist Jackie Arellano painting live in action animal portraits in our office’s “Art Gallery” where animal rescue-related artwork is on display

-local artisan Donna Jeffrey with her fuzzy handmade winter hats and scarves on display

-Dr. Marlena Uhrik’s book-signing for her Mom’s Choice Award winner, In Grandpa’s Hands along with “Take a Little Time—A  Keepsake Coloring Book”

-the Hayward Arts Council will be open across the hall

-the Hayward Area Historical Society will be open next door

-next door, Cannery Cafe will also be open for some goodies!

-pick up your “Passport to Downtown” and enter to win prizes!

At 7 p.m. sharp, we’ll close up and head to City Hall for the 7:30 p.m. tree-lighting ceremony!

While Their Peers Play, Allen & Rachel will INVEST

UPDATE AS OF DECEMBER 23rd: IN CONTRACT!

I love meeting young people who focus on “building” rather than “playing”. Allen & Rachel are 20-somethings who’ve made the decision to buy a home which is NOT in alignment with what their peers are doing. I’ve said this many times before:

We LOVE WORKING WITH SMART PEOPLE!

Rachel & Allen seek a home in the Hayward-San Leandro-Oakland areas under $600,000. Might you know of a home coming available that their little dog Rupert would like?

IMG_4444

Why Doing Business Locally MATTERS

Amazon_Infographic_1200px_headerAmazon is rapidly expanding its online empire, but behind the conveniences that the company offers are a lot of hidden costs. We put together an infographic to see how shopping at Amazon compares with shopping at local businesses in its impact on jobs, taxes, the local economy, and community. Before you click, here’s why your choice matters:

Jobs: Amazon creates less than half as many jobs as local brick-and-mortar stores do. This means the more Amazon grows and crowds out other businesses, the fewer jobs available.

Taxes: In most communities, Amazon has no facilities and therefore pays no property taxes.  In about half the states, it does not collect state and local sales taxes. Property and sales taxes are the main source of funds for our schools and public services.  If local businesses are squeezed out by Amazon, households will have to shoulder a higher tax burden.

Local Economy:  While local retailers are engines of economic activity, spending their revenue at a wide variety of other businesses in the community, Amazon merely extracts money, leaving little behind.

Click here to check out the full infographic. Please feel free to re-post and distribute this widely!

 

 

Want to live next to this? (Home Available Soon!)

Monika flier in JPG

UPDATE: This home is now available. CLICK HERE for property details.

We just listed a classy 3-bedroom home right next to Lake Don Castro. It will be available soon.

Would you like to live near outdoor recreation?

Don Castro Regional Park is a 101-acre urban oasis on the boundary between Hayward and Castro Valley. The clear waters of the swim lagoon are a favorite with central Alameda County residents.

The lake, San Lorenzo Creek Reservoir, is where fishing is available year round and hikers along the shore will discover a surprising wilderness in miniature, where turtles and frogs splash in the water, ducks rest in the reeds and raccoons and deer come down to drink at sunset. There is access to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, the Chabot to Garin trail and over five miles of trails in the Five Canyons Open Space. The adjacent lagoon is supplied with water and a large shallow area is roped off especially for children.

CLICK HERE for more information about Lake Don Castro.

“Zombie Homes”: The Vacant (Property) Dead

Dashboard 1

‘Zombie’ Homes Spook Fewer Neighborhoods

Vacant foreclosures – known as “zombies” – plunged 43 percent in the third quarter compared to a year ago, according to RealtyTrac’s latest U.S. Zombie Foreclosure and Vacant Property Report. As of the end of the third quarter, about 20,050 residential properties were in the foreclosure process and vacant, but had not yet been repossessed by the foreclosing lender.

“The overall inventory of homes in the foreclosure process has dropped 36 percent over the past year so it’s not too surprising to see a similarly dramatic drop in vacant zombie foreclosures,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “What is surprising is there are so many vacant homes where the home owners do not appear to be in financial distress — with only 3 percent in foreclosure or bank owned, and only 6 percent that are underwater. More than 63 percent of these vacant homes are not even encumbered by a loan, owned free and clear by the owner. The fact that the home owners are not selling given the recovering real estate market in most areas indicates that many of these properties are in poor condition and in neighborhoods that have been left behind by the housing recovery.”

The following states are still haunted with the most vacant “zombie” foreclosures, according to RealtyTrac’s report:

  • New Jersey: 3,997
  • Florida: 3,512
  • New York: 3,365
  • Illinois: 1,187
  • Ohio: 1,028

The following states have the highest share of vacant “zombie” foreclosures as a percentage of total vacant properties:

  • New Jersey: 9.4%
  • New York: 8.2%
  • Nevada: 2.7%
  • Massachusetts: 2.5%
  • Illinois: 2.1%

On a metro level, the following areas had the highest share of vacant “zombie” foreclosures as percentage of all vacant properties:

  • Rochester, N.Y.: 14.3%
  • Trenton, N.J.: 10.5%
  • New York: 10%
  • Albany, N.Y.: 7.9%
  • Allentown, Pa.: 5.2%

Source: RealtyTrac

Have “zombie homes” plagued YOUR neighborhood?

A Family Affair in the Upper B Street Neighborhood

Beautiful family!

Exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement signed: August 7th, 2015

In Contract: August 16th, 2015

CLOSED ESCROW under list price by $20,000: October 9, 2015 (closed in 59 days after we negotiated for the sewer lateral to be paid/repaired by the Seller)

Meet Mary & Hayes and their little one “S”, along with Mary’s parents.

This purchase happened because both Mary’s parents and Hayes’ parents helped them buy the home. Mom and Dad have their own place so the plan isn’t for them to crash the new pad any time soon.

This was a fun purchase for me to work, personally. It sure wasn’t the run-of-the-mill sale. There wasn’t a legal sewer connection and the sewer lateral had to be replaced. Plus, the property was purchased along with an adjacent lot and there were some easements to take into consideration, so it certainly wasn’t boring.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mary & Hayes and their positive attitude throughout the process. They are smart people and I always enjoy working with smarties! The sale took a bit longer than if there weren’t issues with the sewer connection, but with patience, everything turned out fine in the end.

Cheers to kids who make their parents proud enough to invest in them!

Client Testimonial:

“Anna is amazing. We were fortunate to find a house we liked pretty quickly, but then it took some doing to solve some problems with the house before it could close. She helped us through the whole process and helped us stay calm and be patient. She worked with the seller’s agent to let them know what needed to be fixed and kept us up to date on all the paper work we needed to do. I highly recommend Anna May. She’s efficient, thorough and friendly.”
-Hayes Morehouse