You're in escrow, now what?

Over the last two weeks, I have been actively working with four sets of home-buyers who have each had some pretty intricate files.  For example, a few weeks ago I had home inspections on a stellar mid-century home in the El Cerrito Hills, (photos coming soon.)  During the inspection contingency period, we had half a dozen inspectors through the property at the same time.  It was a revolving door coupled with a time crunch as we had to move quickly to investigate the condition in a short time period (By the time the inspectors were available, we only had a few days left in our inspection period). The roof inspector, the chimney inspector, structural engineer and seismic contractor were there at the same time, grabbing my client Susan or Greg to update them on their findings. A few days later and by the time my clients removed their inspection contingency, (the period of time agreed upon to fully investigate the property and neighborhood.) they felt completely comfortable with the property's condition. This is not to say they had a flawless property, but that they had a property whose flaws they understood. So what happens after you have a home inspection?: A few things. You can remove your inspection contingency, if you feel completely satisfied with the condition of the property and secure in moving forward with the purchase. You can remove it subject to a repairs or seller credits. You can cancel your contract if there are serious issues and you are uncertain about the value or condition of the property. With another client, we had a hiccup during the financing contingency period.  However in the end, after hours of strategizing with my clients and their lender, we were able to successfully resolve the problem and close escrow on time.

When it comes to financing it is always the buyers choice on who to use for financing the property, be it a mortgage broker, credit union or bank.  I strongly suggest working with someone with a proven track record of success who is local.  In the situation above, I was able to contact this professional after hours in emergency situations to resolve issues and set a game plan.  In this case, if the mortgage lender was out of the area  or in a different time zone, this task would have been extremely difficult.  Additionally, because of my on-going working relationship with this mortgage consultant, there was a huge incentive for her to resolve this file with a positive outcome. (She knows client satisfaction keeps her on my recommended service provider list.)

There are two finance contingencies: appraisal and loan. The appraisal contingency should always give a buyer ample time to have an appraiser in the house, write their report and submit it to the underwriting department at the financial institution that is funding the loan. For example, say you are offering $500,000 on a house and you are obtaining 20% down conventional financing. The house will need to appraise at $500,000 for the lending institution to agree to finance the property.  If the house does not appraise at the price your offered, you can either: renegotiate the purchase price so the 20% down ratios work with the appraised value, cancel your contract, (as long as you have an appraisal contingency), or bring extra money to the loan to satisfy the difference in value. The loan contingency is the time period allotted to obtain a satisfactory appraisal, get loan approval from the financial institution that is funding your loan after further review of your finances and the house.  When you get pre-approved for a loan before you write an offer, you are screened by the mortgage consultant or broker to see that you meet specific guidelines for a loan.  Once you place an offer and it is accepted, then both the borrower and property is scrutinized before you have loan approval.

I am so happy that my clients were able to purchase the homes that they really wanted.  I hope the above information gives you some clarity into the process. If you have more questions, I am happy to talk.

Broker's Tour Find in Montclair, Oakland

Sometimes a house is just a house, you know, walls, floors, roof, etc...  Other times a house moves people.  6492 Ascot Drive moves me!  It was my favorite house on Broker's Tour this week.  Classic mid-century modernist design for the purist who relish preserved original  features.  This house appears to have original green slate floors, original floor to ceiling windows and sliding doors and huge open spaces.  The chrome vintage Frigidaire oven is a piece of art, the original built-in cabinetry in the entry makes organization easy and the rumpus room downstairs gives this house great separation of space.  Frankly, I want to sell this house to a buyer, so I can come back and visit.

This house is so much more that the mere details that I mentioned above.  It is also about the light, the privacy and the feeling that this house gives once you greet it.  The cantilever design of the house that Realtors, Linda Elkin and Art White from Red Oak Realty call quietude reminds me of the celebrated Dave Brubeck's home.

Photos below are courtesy of Scott Hargis.  6492 Ascot Drive is listed for $675,000, has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, circa 1963.

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6492_Ascot_EXT
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6492_Ascot_DECK
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6492_Ascot_DR_LR
6492_Ascot_MBR
6492_Ascot_MBR
ascot living
ascot living
patio
patio

Can you make the cut? So You Think You Can Dance hits Oakland.

One of my favorite reality television shows is, So You Think You Can Dance.  I grew up in the dance studio.  From the early 1970's I was always at Everybody's Creative Art Center turned City Center Dance Theater after school.  To my mother's disappointment, I quit dancing when I turned 20 and I often regret it as well.  What I love about this show is that it showcases all forms of dance, from hip-hop to ballroom, contemporary and many more.  I was so excited when my friend Karlya called me this morning to tell me that auditions were being held at the Paramount Theater on Broadway.  After dropping my children off at school I headed downtown to see the dancers line up.  I am glad to see that Oakland was selected to be an audition city.

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Oakland Kitchen Renovation

Earlier this year, I listed and sold, 3915 Laguna Avenue in the Dimond district of Oakland.  (www.TheLagunaCottage.com) This house was/is such a special house!  It sold with seven offers earlier this Spring, much in part to the gorgeous kitchen.  Richard and Christina, the former owners, hiredlocal architect Angela Klein to help with the lay-out.  They then hired, Oakland contractor, Rebecca of Paragon Kitchen and Bath Remodel.  After all of the love, thought and heart poured into this renovation, I was curious to see what this room looked like before the transformation. I am always intrigued by a home's history, so I had to find out more.  Unfortunately we could not find any before pictures, so I contacted the Realtors who listed the house when Christina and Richard purchased the house some years back...and I was in luck!  They still had a few snapshots of the kitchen.  Look at the metamorphosis below:

 Laguna Kitchen BEFORE & AFTER

Laguna Kitchen BEFORE & AFTER

 BEFORE

BEFORE

 AFTER

AFTER

Mark your Calendar - Oakland Events

Oakland is full of life, savor what this city has to offer.  Below are just a few events in the coming weeks. Original piece of art by Oakland local, Pam Consear

O Zone at OMCA:  Incredible!  | Friday October 8th, 5:00 - 9:00 pm. Learn about the making of the film with behind-the-scenes stories from Pixar artists who helped make it!  For more information click here.

Oaktoberfest!  Saturday October 9th, 11:00 am - 6:00 pm. Come enjoy beer, music and food in the Dimond district of Oakland.  Red Oak Realty is a proud sponsor and will have a booth!  I will be there from 12:00-2:30 pm to answer any real estate questions you might have.  Come and say hello! For more information click here!

Sundays in the Redwoods, Sunday October 10th, 2 pm at the Woodminister Amphitheatre.  George Duke, Stabe Wilson and Ray McCoy will close out this annual 4 Sunday series. For more information click here!

15th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival on Sunday October 24, 2010 from 10:00 am to 5:00 am. The festival will be held between 33rd Ave. and 37th Ave. on East 12th St., as well as in the Fruitvale Village.  For more information click here!

Celebrate Redwood Heights and the art work of Pam Consear! Wednesday October 25th from 6-8 pm at 3595 Monterey Blvd in Redwood Heights. (art gala, open house and refreshments.)

Boo at the Zoo! Saturday October 30th from 10 am - 3 pm. Come celebrate halloween with the children in your life at Oakland's zoo.  Click here for more information.

Bay Area Dine Out! Tuesday November 9th dine out for Meals on Wheels.  80 local restaurants are participating in this event. For more information click here!

Here are Some Tips to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

1. Buy a cross-cut type shredder and be sure to shred all personal and card info, especially approved credit applications. 2. Be careful of "Dumpster Diving." Make sure that you do not throw anything away that someone could use to become you.

3. Be careful at ATM's and using phone cards. "Shoulder Surfers" can get your "Pin Number" and get access to your accounts.

4. Cancel all credit cards that you do not use or have not used in 6 months. Thieves use these very easily - open credit is a prime target.

5. Put passwords on all your accounts and do not use your mother's maiden name. Make up a fictitious word.

6. Empty your wallet of all extra credit cards and social security numbers, etc. Do not carry any identifiers you do not need. Don't carry your birth certificate, social security card, or passport, unless necessary.

 

 

Coming Soon to Redwood Heights, Oakland

Take shelter in your new home

As you walk along the path to the front door of 3390 Guido you will enjoy the cool breeze and shelter of the pine tree above.  Once you cross the threshold of the front door the the large rooms,  easy floor-plan and cheery kitchen will capture your heart.  This house was rescued 8 years ago.  Once a victim of a fire and re-built with plain white cabinetry and ordinary vinyl flooring, Ellyn gave this house new life and made it a home.  In the last eight years this house has had updated bathrooms, updated kitchen, new furnace, new hot water heater, seismic strengthening,  new drainage, new landscaping, new interior and exterior paint and lots of love!  Open Sunday July 18th, 2010 from 2-4 - 2 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, offered at $615,000