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Buyer / Seller Information Notable Listings / Sales

Featured home: 165 Arbor View Lane in Lafayette

January 12, 2018

Superior craftsmanship in a Tuscan villa


Where: 165 Arbor View Lane, Lafayette, CA 94549 (listing | tour)
Built with exquisite finishes and impeccable design, this airy home in Lafayette features high ceilings throughout, impressive attention to detail, and beautiful views at every turn. European Oak floors lead you from the foyer to the gourmet kitchen that includes a sizable island and gorgeous cabinetry. A spacious great room boasts an incredible floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. The stunning master suite is your own private escape, offering a fireplace, immense walk in closet, and luxurious master bath. An expansive loggia lets you enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather, and the endless design opportunities for the backyard allow the buyer to customize the outdoor space to fit his or her needs.
A masterpiece of an estate in Contra Costa County, this Tuscan villa is nothing short of a showstopper.
The 4,785 square-foot home and property include:

  • 5 beds
  • 6 baths
  • Attached 3-car garage
  • Hardwood and tile flooring
  • Wine cellar
  • Multiple fireplaces
  • Loggia

Listed at $2,995,000 by Karen Richardson of the Orinda office.
View more homes for sale in Lafayette | Learn more about the Lafayette community.


 
 

Buyer / Seller Information Featured Open Homes Notable Listings / Sales

Featured home: 9485 Thunderbird Place in San Ramon

October 20, 2017

An updated abode with plenty of curb appeal


Where: 9485 Thunderbird Place, San Ramon, CA 94583 (listing | tour)
This beautifully remodeled home includes four bedrooms and three baths—with tasteful updates throughout. The spacious kitchen offers a prodigious island as well as gorgeous granite countertops. The stunning master suite includes a newly renovated bathroom and three closets, creating ample room for storage. The home’s bonus room has been turned into a media room, perfect for entertaining family and friends.
Outside, the property boasts a sizable back yard and drought-resistant landscaping with with an elegant patio and barbecue area, a spa and your own private putting green. Located in a friendly neighborhood near schools, parks, shops and the local golf course, this Contra Costa County home is as convenient as it is luxurious.
The 3,094 square-foot home and property include:

  • 4 beds
  • 3 baths
  • Attached 3-car garage
  • Cherry wood, tile and carpeted flooring
  • Spa
  • Putting Green
  • Media room
  • Solar panel lease paid until 2035

Listed at $1,365,000 by Joe Norton and Lindy Penfold of the Danville/Blackhawk office.
See this exceptional estate for yourself at this Sunday’s open house from 1 to 4 p.m.
View more homes for sale in San Ramon | Learn more about the Contra Costa community.

Buyer / Seller Information Featured Open Homes Notable Listings / Sales

Featured home: 1599 Hillgrade Avenue in Alamo

September 15, 2017

A historic home with sweeping views


Where: 1599 Hillgrade Avenue, Alamo, CA 94507 (listing)
Set atop 2.1 acres and built in the early 1900s, this home has been impeccably maintained and undergone a beautiful restoration. Rumored to have been the site of a hunting lodge built by one of President William Taft’s cabinet members, this home’s rustic roots are shown in the original architectural features that still highlight it. These features include hewn log posts, rock walls, stone and hardwood flooring, and other artisan-crafted accents. Though rich with history, this home has been smartly transformed with state-of-the-art art amenities such as the sound system wired throughout the home and exceptional security system.
The “log cabin” living room, as it’s been called, is the warm and inviting heart of the home, offering a 12-foot wood-burning stone hearth fireplace for friends and family to gather around. The kitchen offers an ample space and is the perfect place for chefs to entertain guests, who will also approve of the impressive wine and tasting room.
A major bonus to this home is its layout, which includes private spaces and public areas perfect for social gatherings. The four en-suite bedrooms each open to their own balcony or patio and serve as their own personal getaway. With views spanning across Mt. Diablo to the Delta, an abundance of amenities, its convenient location near Alamo and Walnut Creek and its historic background, this resort-like estate is a standout in Contra Costa County.
The 4,288 square-foot home and property include:

  • 5 bedrooms
  • 5 baths
  • 3-car garage and carport
  • 3 fireplaces
  • Wine and tasting room
  • Demonstration kitchen and pizza oven

Listed at $2,200,000 by Debra Trevarthen of the Orinda office.
Experience this stunning property for yourself at our open house this Sunday, September 17 from 2 to 4 p.m.
View more homes for sale in Orinda | Learn more about the Orinda community.


 
 
 
 

APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What do low interest rates for the foreseeable future mean for Bay Area real estate?

September 30, 2015
Agents SOUND OFF
 

Hazel Carter
Tiburon / Belvedere
415.730.9445
hazelc@apr.com

Question: What do low interest rates for the foreseeable future mean for Bay Area real estate?
Answer: It is a relief for buyers to hear that interest rates are holding for the time being. However, when buyers think rates could be on the verge of escalating, it does motivate them to purchase. Sellers are certainly relieved, comforted by the concept that money is relatively easy to come by and should continue to keep buyers motivated.
Conversely, when I first began my career in real estate, interest rates were 18 percent — a good reminder that it is important for those considering buying to take advantage of these current rates.

Read more opinions on SFGate.

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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Alain Pinel Realtors Hosts Luxury Consumer Summit

September 30, 2015

Top luxury experts and real estate professionals come together to discuss working successfully with today’s luxury consumer

Alf Luxury Event
Alain Pinel Realtors (APR) hosted The Luxury Consumer Summit last week, an event that educated real estate agents and managers on how to increase their business with the luxury consumer and effectively deliver outstanding customer service experiences that set them apart.
Held at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, real estate professionals from San Francisco, Marin, and beyond came together for an intimate luncheon that featured Alf Nucifora, the Chairman and Founder of The Luxury Marketing Council chapters in San Francisco and Las Vegas, as the keynote speaker, as well as two panels.
Nucifora spoke on the topic of today’s luxury consumer and what they are looking for in their customer experience.
In his presentation, Nucifora said, “Let’s look at the product. What do our affluent customers demand? The most important thing they want is the ‘experiential’ halo over the product or service. Every category you can think of, it has to be experience driven.”
The Luxury Consumer Experts Panel followed Nucifora’s presentation. Moderated by Rainy Hake, APR’s Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, panelists shared experience from industries outside real estate, offering a fresh perspective on how the luxury consumer can be approached.
Larry Altschul, Senior Vice President of Customer Development at MGM Resorts International, joined the event from Las Vegas and spoke on his experience working with “whales,” high net-worth gamblers, sharing several stories of his clients’ outrageous requests. Greg Minor, General Manager of Ferrari/Maserati of San Francisco, spoke specifically to the Bay Area marketplace in terms of who the luxury consumer is and how to capture their business. Sharon Osen, Chief Marketing Officer of Perricone MD, provided insights into what agents can be doing with the resources they have to find client information, organize it in a manageable way through a CRM tool, and put it to use in order to generate more business. David Friedman, President of Wealth-X, emphasized the crucial nature of compiling this information and how to use specific data to target groups of potential clients.
The second panel was moderated by Michi Olson, SGMS, APR’s Vice President of Global Business Development & Relocation, and was geared specifically to real estate. The panel consisted of top agents from all over the country, including Jeff Hyland from Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, Pat Choi from Choi International in Honolulu, Brian Lewis of Halstead Properties in New York City, and Quetzal Grimm from APR Woodside. All the panelists echoed the theme of treating the luxury consumer like a real person rather than an exotic spectacle, being authentic and true to yourself in all that you do, and going above and beyond to make their wishes a reality.
“As a luxury brokerage, it is crucial to stay relevant and understand the needs of our affluent clients so that we are able to provide them with the exceptional customer service they have come to expect from Alain Pinel Realtors,” said Hake.

APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Interest rate hike delay means what for Bay Area buyers, sellers?

September 8, 2015
Agents SOUND OFF
 

Tom Dreyer
Mill Valley
415.412.3443
tdreyer@apr.com

Question: Interest rate hike delay means what for Bay Area buyers, sellers?
Answer: If the Fed continues to hold rates at present extraordinarily low levels, it should support and enable the hot local sales market. Low rates provide a clear incentive for all types of buyers as they are able to leverage additional buying power — and are able to borrow more without dramatically increasing their expected payments. With a stable rate, buyers willing to hold a property for at least five years can increase the chances of making money on the eventual sale.
That said, a small, incremental increase in rates by the Fed over several quarters typically will create a spike in buyer activity, while they fear their “buying window” may be closing. Over the long term, it also may price out some buyers until the market becomes more balanced.
The past weeks’ volatility in the stock market, should it continue, is a greater concern to me insofar as consumer confidence is concerned. If consumers do not feel financially stable, it can have a large impact on the real estate market.
Read more opinions on SFGate.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

Home warranty: Good idea?

August 3, 2015
Agents SOUND OFF
 

John Jenkins
Saratoga
408.741.1111
jjenkins@apr.com

Question: Home warranty: Good idea?
Answer: Home warranties are often an inexpensive way to give recent home buyers peace of mind.
The relatively cheap plans will protect homeowners from having to cover the cost of repairs to most major appliances.
Additionally, the warranty will handle all aspects of the repairs — meaning no headache of dealing with different vendors.
However, as with any insurance plan, there is always the possibility you will not need it, and there can be other limitations.
Home warranties will not cover issues determined to be pre-existing. Depending on your plan, they often may choose to repair appliances rather than replace them — no matter how out of date the appliance is.
It might sound simple, but one of the most important elements to getting worth from a home warranty is remembering its value and using it. If you have a problem and try to fix it yourself before calling in the issue, that can void it being fixed through the warranty.
It’s important to look at the specifics of the plan and the condition of the home you are purchasing when assessing if a home warranty plan is for you.
Read more opinions on SFGate.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

What are the pros and cons of earthquake insurance?

June 22, 2015
Agents Sound Off
 

Kristan Marie Lynch
San Francisco
415.713.3547
klynch@apr.com

Question: What are the pros and cons of earthquake insurance?
Answer: As a realtor specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area, the topic of earthquake insurance comes up often, especially with first time home buyers. As far as I know, I only have one client that has ever purchased earthquake insurance. Property owners complain that the cost of earthquake insurance is prohibitively expensive and include very high deductibles. However, should your home suffer substantial damage when the ‘big one’ hits and you have earthquake insurance, I doubt you’ll be complaining about those insurance premiums.
Every property has different risk factors depending on where the home is located, when it was built and how it was built. A homeowner would be well advised to weigh these factors and the associated costs before making a decision.
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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

How much should clients believe what they read in online reviews about a Realtor?

April 29, 2015
Agents Sound Off
 

Rainy Hake
Executive Vice President
408.741.1111
rainy@apr.com

Question: How much should clients believe what they read online about a Realtor? How can they determine fact from fiction in online reviews?
Answer: Without question, asking friends, family or neighbors that you trust about an agent will always give you a more accurate impression of an agent than online reviews. Online reviews of real estate agents are often tricky to sort through. Unlike a restaurant that deals with thousands of customers a year, agents often deal with only a handful. As a result, because the sample size is so low, it’s very rare to get a complete picture based solely on online reviews. To add to this, sometimes the reviewers aren’t even the clients of the agent; they are just people who interacted with them in another capacity. While some sites (Zillow and Trulia) verify that the reviewer was involved in a transaction with an agent, many sites like Yelp, Google Places, and reviews on Facebook pages feature no such verification.
I would say that if there are numerous reviews and a pattern emerges that fits with your previous perceptions and interactions with an agent, they may have some credibility – both positive or negative. It also never hurts to ask the agent about any reviews you have concerns about; how they respond might shed some light.
When all else fails, choosing an agent that is affiliated with a respected brokerage with a professional, solid reputation in the community is typically a safe bet.
Read more opinions on SFGate.

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APR in the News Buyer / Seller Information

When should I stage and professionally photograph?

April 20, 2015
Agents Sound Off
 

Nick Granoski
Palo Alto
650.269.8850
ngranoski@apr.com

Question: When should I stage and professionally photograph?
Answer: The speed at which our market moves makes it critical to get everything right from the start.
Many times buyers need to make up their minds about whether or not to make an offer after seeing a home just one time. With only one chance to make a first impression, I always recommend staging and professional photography.
The degree of staging will vary based on the home. The condition of the interior and exterior along with the price range are all factors in making a decision regarding how much staging to use.
If the house is barely inhabitable and needs all new electrical, plumbing, roof, etc., it doesn’t make sense to stage. You want to make the home look livable, but no need to overdo it.
On the other end of the spectrum, a high-end home may already have custom furniture and paint colors picked by an interior designer, but it will still need some degree of staging to make it shine. The art of staging and photographing a home to sell is unique to each transaction, but all homes will benefit.
Read more opinions on SFGate.

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