East Bay Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 2, 2020

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Home

Some practical tips that you will remember when things break. Don't stress, even I don't always do it. 

Whether this is your first time owning a home or whether you're a seasoned homeowner, these practical tips can help you extend the life of various components of your home.  

 

Clean or replace HVAC filters.

You need to do this more than once a year. I typically do this at the start of a new season. A dirty filter forces your heat, ventilation and air-conditioning system to work harder, which in turn drains your wallet. It also creates extra strain on the system shortening the life of the item. The other benefit that I care about is that it also reduces allergens in your home so you can sleep better knowing that your family and pets have cleaner air. In recent years, this has become even more important with the increase of fire seasons in California and lower air quality in areas hundreds of miles away from the flash point. 

Clean your gutters.

Gutters direct rain away from your roof and home, protecting both in the process. Clogged gutters, meanwhile, open your home to water damage—and there’s a good chance you won’t notice the damage until you need an expensive repair. I have seen this first hand, the rain gutters fill up and the water starts to go un under the roof shingles causing a leak in your attic or to trickle down between your interior and exterior walls which is one the leading causes of mildew. So yes, this is a big one. Not to mention that dry-rot that is associated with it. 

Clean your dryer vent.

Not all lint gets caught in the lint trap; some makes its way into the dryer vent. A clean vent will save you money by reducing the time your dryer has to run, while a clogged vent not only wastes money but could cause a house fire. Ask any firefighter or do a search on youtube. Seriously, the lint is highly flammable. Still don't believe me? Save a couple of lint loads from your dryer and place in a bbq grill and light it. 

Clean and repair your screens.

Trying to reduce your electric bills this summer? In many parts of the country, you can keep your house cool (at least at night) by opening the windows. Gently scrub on a flat surface with soapy water. Also, patch small holes as needed. Screens are not that expensive and independent and big box hardware stores will repair or have replacements at a reasonable cost. I replaced a screen for a sliding glass door for less than $80. Totally worth it. No one likes being woken up by a mosquito at 3:18am. Been there, done that. 

Clean decks, driveways, fences and other outside surfaces.

A pressure washer makes this job easier. If you don’t have one, borrow one from a neighbor or consider renting one from a home center. While you’re cleaning, inspect for damage. This is really just about pride of ownership. I've done this and it's messy and once you start with that first clean spot there is not turning back. However, it does look great. 

Repair any cracked or peeling paint.

A good paint job makes your home look nice, while providing a protective barrier from the elements. Touch-up painting is easy to do and inexpensive. This is important because your only defense against the elements of rain, sun, wind, and even bugs is paint. So, if there is a crack or chip water will go underneath and create more damage. It will not be noticeable and when it is, the cost far outweigh the $10 and 30 minutes it would take to go around the home. 

Vacuum your refrigerator coils.

The coils you’ll find on the bottom or back of your fridge conduct the hot air from inside the unit. If they’re coated with dust, they do the job less efficiently and cause your refrigerator to work harder; that means a higher electric bill for you. Use a vacuum cleaner hose or a brush on the coils. I really love this one because of the instant gratification. Trust me. Pull your fridge out and see the insane amount of dust collected on the coils and also on the floor. I had to replace a compressor on a newer fridge and it wasn't cheap. What did they do when they fixed it? Vacuumed the coils! 

Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.

You never know when you’ll need them. Sometimes it’s a matter of life or death, so take the time to change the batteries now. Several years ago it became a law that all homes sold have Carbon Monoxide detectors installed prior to the close of escrow. Those batteries are most likely at the end of their service life and unlike smoke, you can't smell C02, the silent killer. 

Clear vegetation around your AC compressor.

To work efficiently, the compressor needs good airflow. To ensure it has breathing room, prune any plant growth that could block it. You may live in the bay area where and no ac unit exist but this is still important. Instead of the AC unit, focus on clearing away shrubs and plants away from your home. Vegetation is bad for a home. It creates moisture which leads to dry rot and also allows termites and other pests to access your home. For example, people love wisteria and even I will say it looks amazing. Problem is that the cascade of flowers are just a ladder from mice and roof rats. Cost for clearing roof rats? A lot. Smell? Not so great. Mess? Don't want to talk about it. 

Drain your water heater.

Sediment builds up in your water heater tank. Use the spigot near the bottom of the heater to drain it. By doing so, you’ll prolong its life and reduce your electric bill. This is just something no one ever thinks about until you've seen one drained and see all the sediment.  Once you see if first hand it helps explain rust stains in the tub, toilets, and sinks.

I hope you find this information useful and please try one. I'm sure you can remember some of these items being called out on your home inspection. Feel free to leave a comment. If you need a recommendation for a handyman or contractor for a repair or help, call or email. 

 

- JMK

 

Feb. 26, 2020

Home sales see 13 year high

I travel a lot through Northern California and have been able to see first hand how the Bay Area market compares to other major markets in Northern California. The data pulled for the CNBC article link is pretty spot on. November, December, and January typically have slower sales trends due to people focusing on the holidays or just travelling. This season was not typical, interest rates did not rise as the typically do and sales did not slow. i personally had multiple closings and signed multiple listing agreements. But what I really noticed in the article was the amount of new homes projects that have been launched in the last 3 months. I personally have seen the major development from the old Alameda Naval Base to Placer County in the Sierra Foothills. Just in the the last month Rocklin launched 2 with more on the horizon because of a giant project on the Highway 65 corridor  which plans to transfor more that 13 sq miles of farmland sandwiched between Lincoln, Rocklin, and Roseville and includes 5600 more housing units and satellite campuses for UC Davis, Sacramento State, and Sierra College. 

Read the full CNBC article here: 

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 26, 2020

How to get items removed from your credit report

If I have represented you in the past, you know what I say as we began our journey, "It's easy to to find a home and make an offer, its the financing that will drive you crazy". And that remains true more than ever. Here's a helpful guide from Money.com with resources that can help you remove items that may have incorrectly been included on your credit report which can improve your credit score which helps your buying power with a lower interest rates and/or helps you qualify for a home loan. 

Read more here:

Money.com

 

Posted in credit
Oct. 12, 2019

This Weekend Open Homes | East Bay

May 2, 2019

4 Things to Understand About Credit Scores Before Applying for a Mortgage

Your credit score is an essential factor in determining much about any mortgage loan you receive. A credit score is a measure of your trustworthiness as a borrower. It pays to know as much about your credit score as possible before applying for home loan funding. Here are four key points to understand:

1. Credit Scores Are Calculated by Financial Formulas

Credit scores (also called FICO scores because they were created by the Fair Isaac Corporation) is determined by a several factors. The weightiest element - 35% - is your payment history. The more often you have been late on making your payments, the lower your credit score will be. The next largest factor - 30% - is your utilization rate. The is the ratio of how much debt you owe compared to your total available credit. Maxing out all your credit accounts will pull your score down. Another 15% of your score is made up of the length of your credit history. Shorter histories give credit bureaus less data to evaluate and may bring your score down. The types of credit you have accounts for 10% and the last 10% is determined by the number of inquiries on your credit report. That means how often you are applying for new credit accounts.

2. You Can Check Your Credit Score for Free

Your credit score is available through the three major credit reporting bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. By federal law, you are allowed to check your credit report once year from each of the credit bureaus. Some websites will allow you to get the actual FICO score for free while other will require a fee. And checking your own credit score will not have a negative impact on your score. In fact, it is a good idea to check your credit report at least annually to look for any inaccuracies and to make sure your score is where you expect it to be.

3. Credit Scores Affect Mortgage Interest Rates and Loan Amounts

Credit scores are 3-digit numbers ranging from about 300 to 850. Good scores start at about 680 and truly poor credit begins under 620. If you have a score above 720 you will be able to qualify for the best mortgage rates. The lower your score, the higher your interest rate is likely to be. The lowest credit scores may disqualify you from certain loan programs as well. With excellent credit you may be able to borrow more for a home than you would with a less-favorable credit report.

4. You Can Take Steps to Improve Your Score

The good news is that if your credit score is not where you’d like it to be, you can improve it. The best way to push it up is to start making all your payments on time. This will take some time to show up in your score but it will have the biggest impact. You can also pay down all your credit accounts to roughly 30% of their limit to lower your utilization rate. And if you limit the number of new accounts you apply for in a given period, you may also be able to raise your score.

Once you understand these basic facts about credit scores, you will know how your score will affect your mortgage terms and will be in good shape to apply for a home loan.

Posted in credit
April 12, 2019

This weeks off market listing update

Click image for list

April 4, 2019

2019 Market Forecast

Home sales in California are projected to rise to 428,300 units in 2018, a slight increase of 1.0 percent from 2017.  Tight supply and low housing affordability continue to hinder market growth and put upward pressure on home prices. The statewide median price of existing single-family homes is expected to reach $582,000, an increase of 8.2 percent in 2018 when compared to the prior year.

Click Image to read the full report from Leslie Appleton-Young

Economic Forecast CAR - JMKyono

March 20, 2019

Market Summary Alameda and Contra Costa County

Sales Reports by zip code/city/county. 

View number of sales and percentage under/over list price. 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JRNXKvyolf2VLOSIqIsojAq9xqaoVLKh?usp=sharing

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 6, 2019

Hands Across Alameda

Honored to be able to work with the City Manager office and sincerely appreciate their support to bring the residents of Alameda together.

Really proud of the boys because it meant a lot to them to see so many people come together.

Thank you to all the volunteers - April, cindy, Julie, Sarah, Jack and Margaret.

City of Alameda Video

Feb. 6, 2019

A request from the City

I am honored to work with the city again. A couple of years ago I become the admin for Alameda Peeps a closed FB group that has grown to about 10,000+ people in Alameda.

When doing so, I switched the focus of the group to be active in the community through supporting local business and charities that needed help. In my tenure we have helped raised and contribute over 1 milliion dollars in donated food, goods, and cash that has gone directly to either people themselves or organizations with little admin waste.

We have helped countless families with the Alameda Food Bank Turkey fundraiser for Thanksgiving with a total of over 5000 Turkeys, we helped the City of Alameda with their toys for tots campaign and last year was their biggest amount of toy donations and volunteers. We held a blood drive that saved up to 90 peoples lives. We've held fundraisers for schools and cats. We sent a cat to a permanent home in Pittsburgh, PA, we have found animals, given rides to strangers, jumped dead batteries, supported local business through cash mobs, held grand Peepenings for new businesses, and so much more.

So to receive this email from Jim is an honor and in the end when I see the group and community pull together to help those who are less fortunate, those who we will never meet or be given a thank you and it is refreshing that we do it because we are grateful, kind and humbled.