california: Market Snapshot for San Mateo County, CA - 2019 - 09/18/19 07:17 PM
Not infrequently I am asked, "how's the market?" Occasionally the question is, "are we heading into a recession?"
In order to properly answer questions like those I turn to data (as well as anecdotal stories such as this one) I start with county data, then drill down to towns, neighborhoods, types of property, and general price ranges, property sizes, etc.
I work in three counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, primarily in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, with the balance in the Silicon Valley towns of Santa Clara County. While all are strong markets the data varies widely.
I reported recently on … (18 comments)

california: One Night Away - a fresh approach to life - 08/28/19 09:21 PM
The month of July was an extraordinary one for me in the real estate world. Great things resulted from the long hours, but a planned one-night get away had to be postponed. This week we finally had the chance to head on our short adventure.
Day One: This car-less adventure saw us head out the door with overnight backpacks, over North Beach with a stop at our friend's cafe (Pat's Cafe) for a leisurely breakfast and then down to Pier 41where a ferry boat took us across the bay to Sausalito via Angel Island and Tiburon.
From there, we walked up the hill along … (31 comments)

california: San Mateo, Santa Clara counties-what's the market like? - 06/18/19 08:33 PM
We've been sensing a change in the real estate markets in many of our local towns in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, the counties south of San Francisco that make up the Silicon Valley. Not every property listed gets multiple offers; not every property sees sale prices far exceeding list prices, although both of those occur regularly.
We all have anecdotal stories, but let's take a look at the data from our Multiple Listing Service.
This first chart shows closed sales of single family homes in San Mateo County for 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 to date.
Next, we'll take a look at a … (5 comments)

california: Housing Affordability in CA's Most Expensive Counties - 02/20/19 08:13 PM
Twenty-eight percent of California households could afford the median-priced home in the fourth quarter of 2018, down slightly from the same time in 2017.
However, California's four million-dollar housing markets--San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin and Santa Clara Counties all saw affordability improve year over year.
(interior of a house in San Mateo County)
All four California counties where it takes seven figures to buy a home can be found in the Bay Area, and they were all among the 10 in the state that saw housing affordability increase from the fourth quarter of 2017.
The California Association of Realtors’ latest Housing Affordability Index says that 28 … (8 comments)

california: Why do buyers buy homes in the Silicon Valley? - 02/13/19 08:13 PM
Understanding the real estate market varies per area and per price point. Fortunately for us Realtors® at Compass, our Chief Economist, Selma Hepp gathers the information we need to be better informed and to better help our buyers and sellers. By taking time to read, study and understand the data provided we can help educate our clients and understand the motivating factors for purchases.
In the Silicon Valley, for example, there are some interesting statistics at prices under $2,000,000 and those over $2,000,000
A few of the facts gleaned from questionnaires gathered between 1/1/16 and 12/31/18 include:

california: Proposition 5 on the ballot in California in November - 09/24/18 11:44 AM
Have you heard and read about Proposition 5 which will be on the ballot in California this November?
Proposition 5, the Property Tax Transfer Initiative, would amend Proposition 13 (1978) to allow homebuyers who are age 55 or older or severely disabled to transfer the tax-assessed value from the prior home to their new home, no matter:
the new home's market value; the new home's location in the state; or the number of moves. Currently, homebuyers over 55 years of age are eligible to transfer their tax assessments from their prior home to their new home if the new home's market value is … (11 comments)

california: Thanksgiving has past, but it's still autumn - 12/02/16 09:31 AM
While autumn will officially be with us for another couple of weeks, Christmas decorations are popping up all over town. I figured I had best post one more picture of autumn before we say goodbye to my favorite season for another year.
The gorgeous tree in the first photo is in front of a house in Menlo Park, and is one of many that shrieked to me "take my picture" when I was out on tour this past Tuesday. Palo Alto residential streets are gorgeous with yellow Ginkgoes and red Liquid Ambers. The brilliant orange-red of Chinese Pistache trees is seen all over Los … (18 comments)

california: Excitement is building on the West Coast - 11/13/16 11:31 PM
November 15th is the day that the commercial crabbing season gets underway this year, and at Princeton Harbor, just north of Half Moon Bay, California, excitement is in the air.
The harbor is bustling in anticipation; crabbers are waiting to load the crab pots onto the boats; the boats are ready to head out first thing tomorrow morning.
Fresh Dungeness crab at Thanksgiving or at Christmas is a tradition for many of us. Walk-away crab cocktails at Fisherman's Wharf; community crab feasts in February and March --- we're anticipating good things to come our way in just a matter of days.

california: April Is Earthquake Preparedness Month In California. Are You Ready? - 04/24/16 04:23 AM
Our colleague Jon Arendsen, a general contractor, posted a good reminder that April is Earthquake Preparedness Month in California.
His information pertains to preparing our houses. Bolting the house to the foundation, and strengthening areas around garage door openings when living space is above, are two of the easiest and most important retrofits in my mind.
Read on.
April Is Earthquake Preparedness
Month In California. Are You Ready?

April Is the official month dedicated to "EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS" 
There are things you and I can and should do to help ourselves, our families and our neighbors. There are also … (9 comments)

california: Free Seminar - Stopping Scams on Seniors - 02/08/16 11:53 AM
Statistics tell us that one in five seniors has been a victim of fraud, and that seniors are the most targeted group. New scams surface constantly.
So, what can you do to help yourself, a family member or a friend? Seniors, their families and caregivers are welcome to attend a FREE seminar.
When: Friday, February 19, 2016, 9:00-11:00 AM
Where: Veterans Memorial Senior Center, 1455 Madison Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94061
For additional information, or to register for this FREE event, call 650-349-2200 or click this direct link,
(Seminar presented in partnership with Assembly Speaker pro Tem, Kevin Mullin, and the Contractors State License Board.

california: My Visual Treat-Almost Wordless Wednesday - 11/18/15 01:52 PM
As some of you know, I've been laid up this past week after emergency surgery in Mexico.
Today was my first day behind the wheel, and I planned my journey from San Francisco to Palo Alto to avoid the worst of the traffic.
I happily turned the corner on a residential street in Palo Alto, anticipating the beauty I'd see -- I wasn't disappointed. Even through a less-than-sparkling-clean windshield, you can see why I look forward to coming to my clients' house.

california: Wordless Wednesday (almost!) - 11/04/15 08:16 AM
There are plenty of activities to enjoy when one lives in or near San Francisco. These shots were taken a few months ago on a foggy day hike with a friend. Leaving San Francisco around 10:00 AM, we were back before 3:00 PM - but had traveled a world away.
The Zen Center's Green Gulch farm near Muir Beach, Marin County - awaiting your visit.


california: SOLD-opportunity missed in Belmont, CA 94002 - 09/26/15 02:56 AM
SOLD - 2922 Belmont Woods Way, Belmont CA 94002
Buyers, you have missed this chance to live in prestigious Belmont Woods, high in the hills of Belmont, California. After one one weekend of open houses, 3 offers were received. The seller chose one with which to work, and escrow closed this week.
Competition is fierce for well-priced and marketed homes in good condition in the mid-Peninsula cities of Belmont and San Carlos, as well as surrounding cities. To be successful in your search, preparation is essential. One of the first steps is to connect with an agent who will represent your interests and … (16 comments)

california: Can Trees and Solar Panels Co-exist? - 09/11/15 05:52 AM
We Californians like our trees. They shade our city streets, increasing property values. They dress up our suburban gardens and can provide a place for our children to swing and climb. In our wild land areas they provide refuge for birds and wildlife, and can hold steep banks in place. Sometimes they are small specimen trees, friendly in size and manner. Or they can be grand, majestic trees inspiring awe.
We Californians also like solar technology and more and more solar panels are springing up on roofs throughout the state.
And here enters the problem: What happens when one person's tree shades the solar … (13 comments)

california: Throwback Thursday-Now and Then - 08/27/15 01:56 AM
Our part of the world has some fantastic Open Space to enjoy, and we have the weather to encourage outdoor explorations year round.
The Marin County headlands, starting just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, following the coastline to Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Valley, Muir Beach, and on toward Mt. Tamalpais is one such area. Gorgeous and rugged; a great way to spend a day or an afternoon.

However it hasn't always been accessible to us. For many years this land was military land, with the coast heavily fortified, big guns in place. My dad was stationed in one of these batteries at … (30 comments)

california: FAQ: How Does One Price a Unique Property? - 08/23/15 10:04 AM
Today, Karen Fiddler, broker-owner of a real estate firm in southern California wrote a great blog post, "When Do You Want To Move? The Science Behind the List Price." In the post she clearly explains how to figure out months of inventory, and how that can best be used to recommend a reasonable list price.
In my area of California, the Peninsula from San Francisco to the Silicon Valley, we have an extreme shortage of inventory, with multiple offers the norm. When a property is unique in some way, finding proper comps to use isn't always possible, so as a listing agent … (12 comments)

california: What's the market like in Belmont, California 94002? - 07/23/15 01:55 AM
What's the market like? That's a question I hear often.
In most of our San Mateo County and Silicon Valley towns, as well as in San Francisco, there is a shortage of inventory, with many ready and able buyers for the few listings available. 
Today we'll take a look at Belmont, California, a town with a population of roughly 26,750. The following information for single-family homes was compiled this morning from our Multiple Listing Service.
14 active listings (yes, only 14 in the entire town) These range in price from $950,000 to $2,248,000, with a median list price of $1,399,000. 17 pending … (2 comments)

california: How to be a successful buyer in Belmont, CA - 07/23/15 01:23 AM
With our extremely limited inventory of houses for sale, what does it take for a buyer to successfully purchase a home in Belmont, California?
Here's what worked for my first-time buyers, who will be closing on their home next week:
They had a plan, they knew their financial situation, they knew what was important to them. They shared that information with me so I could focus on suitable properties, and arrange showings within a day or so of hitting the market. They worked with a lender I knew and trusted, promptly got everything to the lender that she requested. They read the … (13 comments)

california: Throwback Thursday-Hiking in the Sierra Nevadas - 06/18/15 02:17 AM
Now that summer is in full swing, many people head to the Sierra Nevada mountains for weekends--or weeks--of high altitude adventure.
This Throwback Thursday picture dates back to around 1990 or so, when Gene (5th from left) and I (pink cap) led a group of our Sierra Club hiking friends on a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from Donner Summit to Squaw Valley - a long, rugged, spectacular, memorable hike!

In the background you can see snow on north-facing slopes and bowls; this year is different with virtually no snow pack remaining.
Happy memories with good friends.

california: Gardening in a Drought Stricken State - 06/18/15 01:01 AM
Gone are the days when we could pretend California was England, or the East Coast for that matter, where plenty of rainfall occurs year round. This year for the first time ever, we have statewide mandatory water rationing in California.
The first place to look when cutting back on water use is landscaping. California's Mediterranean climate allows us to enjoy the outdoors year round, and we don't need water-thirsty lawns to add beauty or make life enjoyable.
Take a look at these examples. The first one is one slope of Lafayette Park in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco. Parts … (13 comments)





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