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Real Estate

Notable Listings / Sales

Featured home: 740 Hap Arnold Street in Antioch

January 26, 2018

Contra Costa contemporary comfort with luxurious touches


Where: 740 Hap Arnold Street, Antioch, CA 94509 (listing | tour)
This contemporary home in Antioch offers luxurious touches throughout. The formal living room and dining room stand out with gorgeous plantation shutters. Granite countertops, beautiful cabinetry, and high-end appliances highlight the spacious kitchen, which also boasts its own wine refrigerator. The family room features hardwood flooring and a fireplace, as well as large glass doors that open up to your private backyard. Outside, the sizable pool and patio space with plush landscaping becomes a personal oasis for you and your family.
Designed with an attention to detail and privacy in mind, this distinctive property in Antioch is a wonderful piece of modern real estate.
The 2,077 square-foot home and property include:

  • 4 beds
  • 3 baths
  • Attached 2-car garage
  • Hardwood and tile flooring
  • Master suite with upgraded master bath
  • Fireplace
  • Back patio and pool area

Listed at $529,950 by Hollie Guillory of the Walnut Creek office.
View more homes for sale in Antioch | Learn more about the Antioch community.

Featured Open Homes Notable Listings / Sales

FEATURED HOME: 808 Walnut Ave in Charming Burlingame

June 24, 2016

Craftsman perfection in the heart of the Peninsula

Grey Craftsman home with white trimWhere: 808 Walnut Avenue, Burlingame (listing | virtual tour)
Picture perfect inside and out, this beautifully appointed Craftsman home was built in 2007. Refined millwork, plantation shutters, and hardwood floors combine for an ambiance that is timeless and luxurious.
The spacious 2-story floor plan has 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths and a wonderful kitchen and family room combination, plus inviting venues for outdoor living, complete with built-in barbecue center.
Plus, all of this is just one-half mile to the downtown Burlingame for the best in shopping and dining.

  • Square Footage: (+/-) 3,163
  • Lot Size: 6,300
  • Listed: 6/17/2016
  • Year Built: 2007
  • Elementary School District: Burlingame Elementary District
  • High School District: San Mateo Union High District
  • MLS: ML81591174

Offered at $2,998,000.
Listed by Joanne Norris of Alain Pinel Realtors – Burlingame.
Stop by an open house on Sat. June 25 or Sun. June 26, from 1:30-4:00pm.
See more homes for sale in Burlingame | Visit our Peninsula community page

Announcements Industry Insights Marketing and Technology Insights

Special APR Discount for Inman Conference

June 14, 2013

Did you know one of the BEST real estate events of the year is happening in San Francisco this year? Inman News presents both Agent Reboot and Real Estate Connect this July at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.
The events kickoff with Agent Reboot on July 9th. This one-day boot camp, revamped with all new content for 2013, is a crash course in digital marketing to make your upcoming year your best. Get expert advice via case studies, mobile marketing techniques to attract the digital consumer, strategies to foster and build relationships on social media, tips to ensure your website is personalized and local and so much more.
Next up is the main event – the 3-day, information packed Real Estate Connect from July 10-12th. Real Estate Connect is where real deals are made, new partnerships are formed, new technologies are introduced, start-ups are launched and hard issues are debated openly. Connect SF will position you to take advantage of tomorrow. This year, APR’s own VP of Relocation and Business Development Michi Olson will be speaking.
Unsure whether to attend? Check out our post from last year highlighting some of the take-aways and tools.
Even better – this year we’ve partnered with Inman News to make it easier for you to attend both events – at a reduced price. You can save $300 if you REGISTER NOW. This special deal for local agents will give you tickets to both events for the exclusive price of $649.
Register NOW – and secure your spot in this incredible 4-day event.

Buyer / Seller Information Market Updates

Unique Opportunity in Today's Real Estate Market

November 5, 2012

Author: Bob Gerlach, Vice President and Manager of Alain Pinel Realtors Palo Alto
As I’m sure you’ve heard interest rates are at record lows. Today, a new home owner can get a fixed rate loan in the low 3% range or a variable rate loan in the high 2’s. If someone had told me that interest rates would be this low, I wouldn’t have believed them!
Since rates have been a bargain for some time, it seems to have desensitized us to the fact that this is a unique opportunity for homeowners that has a huge impact on affordability.   And… based on historical data, these rates may not be around forever.
Let me add some context to this – when I started in real estate industry in the 1970’s, interest rates hovered around 10-12%.  In the early 1980s, I saw interest skyrocket to above 15%!  I remember one sale in particular that we closed at 18% – and the buyer was thrilled that they didn’t have to pay 20%. According to Freddie Mac, the average interest rate in 1981 on a 30-YR, fixed-rate mortgage was 16.63%. That’s almost 4 times as high as rates are today.
Below is a graph that tracks the interest rate from the early 1990’s to present day.

As you can see,  this clearly indicates that our low rates today are uncommon.  If we look at it from a historical perspective, interest rates should start to creep back up over time.  If this does occur, it could have a significant impact on a buyer’s borrowing power.
What impact does an interest rate increase actually mean to the consumer? Let’s look at an example – a $1 million 30-YR, fixed rate mortgage with average interest rates from 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010, and now.

Today’s monthly payment on a $1 million loan is reduced by nearly half from 1990. Over the course of the mortgage, this results in over $1.3 million in savings on interest. Even if you only look back just two years to 2010, you save $700 on your monthly payment – resulting in over $250,000 savings over the mortgage.
Let’s look at this a different way – let’s say your budget allowed for $7,372 in monthly payments. In 2000, you would only be able to take out a $1 million dollar loan. With today’s interest rate, to have that same payment, you would have to have a loan of $1,647,730. That is an increase in purchasing power of almost $650,000. We aren’t talking about minor increases – today’s interest rates allow for a significant increase in what price home you can afford.
At Alain Pinel Realtors, we understand how rare these interest rates are and the very real affect they have on consumers. Contact your REALTOR® and see how much more buying power you may have today.

Chart is reproduced with permission from Mortgage-X.com. All average interest rate data is from Freddie Mac unless otherwise noted. This article recently ran in the Palo Alto Daily News publication Premier Homes.

About Author:

Bob Gerlach currently serves as Vice President and Manager of the Alain Pinel Realtors Palo Alto office which has consistently been one of the top producing offices within the company. Bob started his real estate career in 1977 as a sales agent, yet quickly moved through the management ranks. For more information call Alain Pinel Realtors Palo Alto at 650-323-1111 or email at bgerlach@apr.com.
Buyer / Seller Information Market Updates

Why Off-Market Can Be Off the Mark

October 30, 2012

Author: Rainy Hake, Executive Vice President, Alain Pinel Realtors
To say that the real estate market in the Bay Area is “competitive” would be an understatement. Inventory is at historic lows and as the economy in the area remains strong, demand is high. In this environment, it seems that every seller, every buyer, and every agent has a story about multiple offers. However, we’re also seeing another trend – an increase in “off-market” transactions and the buzz around them, especially on the Peninsula  It is more important than ever for buyers and sellers to understand these transactions and how it should be affecting how they interact with the market.
What is an off-market listing?
An off-market listing is when a home is for sale, but the seller and broker decide not to put it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – which is the data and information sharing system and network among all the participating brokers. Instead, the owner or agent attempts to sell the property by privately marketing and distributing information within his or her network.
There are obvious dangers in this strategy that potential sellers should be aware of. By selling a home off-market, you are placing all your trust in a single agent to distribute and market your property. You have no guarantees in the exposure your property will get and no way to know if you have received fair market value for your property. In a market flooded with buyers experiencing a shortage of inventory, it would seem mass exposure is ideal. With the MLS, you have an organized, regulated way to distribute reliable data to brokers and achieve mass exposure, while not leaving any money on the table.
Strategically some sellers may choose to market their home off-market in the short term as a “coming soon” in order to wet the public’s palette without turning on the crucial “days on market”  ticking clock until the property is ready for primetime. However, in a seller’s market where demand is out pacing supply, a potential false start can be potentially damaging in procuring the highest possible selling price.
There are of course some non-financial reasons that people might want to sell their home off-market – the most clear one being privacy. In an area like the Peninsula, which is filled with high-end homes and high-profile individuals, the desire to keep some matters quiet is understandable. Also, selling a home can often be a very personal decision – perhaps you’re leaving the area but have not told your employers, or a divorce or financial hardship has suddenly created a need to sell your home. A for sale sign in front of your house brings questions. With luxury homes, there is the added desire to not have people walking through your home unless there is a true intention to purchase.
However, these do not explain why we’re seeing an increase in the past few months. While there has been an increase in wealth due to the booming tech industry, the rise in off-market sales we have seen cannot all be attributed to big Silicon Valley CEOs. There are financial reasons for selling your home off-market as well. In a market in which buyers are hungry for inventory and perhaps have had a few failed multiple-offer situations, they might be willing to pay a higher price to have access to an exclusive property. Additionally, some sellers might not be actively trying to sell their home, but would if the price is right. By having it for sale off-market, they can test the waters with a higher price and see if anyone bites.
What do off-market listings mean for sellers?
Whether you chose to sell your house on the MLS or off-market, the most important thing to understand is that there are risks involved on both sides. Exposure is key to selling your home – whether it’s on the MLS or off-market. If you do choose to list your property off-market, it is crucial that you work with a brokerage and agent that you trust to expose your property to the proper buyers. Before you choose an agent at a small boutique firm for an off-market listing, you have to consider their network.
What do off-market listings mean for buyers?
For buyers, it is more crucial than ever to start working with an agent. In this age of technology, we have begun to see empowered consumers – they are independently doing their own research and looking at data on Trulia, Zillow, and other listing portal sites. However, with such a large number of off-market listings, these sites are not able to represent an accurate picture of what is going on in the market. With such low inventory, only looking on the MLS or other sites may not be the best strategy to expose you to all the homes that you might be interested in. In order to be exposed to the most homes, it is imperative to start working with an agent who has a large network and truly can communicate what is happening in your market.
At Alain Pinel Realtors, we have 31 offices around the San Francisco Bay Area. We have the largest and widest footprint of any independent brokerage in the Bay Area. The extensive network that our agents offer and the relationships they have is unmatched by any of our competitors. When it comes to off-market listings, whether exposing a property to the proper agents and buyers, or helping buyers find the properties that others haven’t shown them – our agents have a massive advantage – a network of 1,400 agents that they trust plus an international partnership with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®. In this hot market, working with a REALTOR® is more important than ever – a firm like Alain Pinel Realtors and its vast network can help bring insight and knowledge into what is truly going on in your market.


About Author:

Rainy Hake currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Alain Pinel Realtors where she plays a role in managing the strategic direction of the company, and also oversees the Marketing, Technology, Training and Strategy departments. She has over 15 years of experience in the real estate industry and holds and MBA from the University of Oxford.
Buyer / Seller Information

Don't Miss Out on Expiring Opportunities

October 26, 2012

Author: Quetzal Grimm, Sales Manager of Alain Pinel Realtors Woodside
With the Presidential election just around the corner we have all been bombarded with different messages about the economy, how we got here, how to best get better, and what it all should mean to us. Regardless of our political beliefs, there is a coming change in tax law that impacts us and those around us. As of December 31, 2012, the current estate, gift and generation skipping transfer (GST) laws are set to expire.  Below is a chart of the present exemption amounts and rates as well as the current proposal from the White House.

The exemption amounts are per individual; for couples these would double (i.e. $10,240,000 for 2012). Given the expiration of the law and uncertainty of what it will look like in the future, now is a great time to visit these issues with your tax and estate planning professional.
What does this mean for real estate?
As much of estate planning involves minimizing, or even eliminating, these transfer taxes, real estate can play a vital role in transferring assets to meet this goal.  As real estate professionals, we are frequently part of a team that helps our clients achieve these goals. The following are considerations and potential benefits of acting under the current laws. Do not rely on this information with respect to your situation; all estate decisions should be completed under the guidance of tax/estate planning professionals and attorneys.
Lifetime Gifts
Using the $5.12 million ($10.24 million per couple) lifetime gift exclusion, clients may have the opportunity to transfer assets, sometimes at a discounted valuation, to an irrevocable trust for the benefit of their children, or other beneficiaries.  Under some circumstances, a client may still be able to maintain management of the asset.  It should be noted that under the current law, once a person has reached the lifetime gift limit of $5.12 million, any additional gifts may be taxed at 35%.
Generation Skipping Transfer Tax
A Generation Skipping Transfer (GST) Tax is a tax that is assessed on a property that is passed from one generation to a generation that is two or more levels below the generation of the person who is making the transfer. For example, a transfer of property from a grandparent to a grandchild would be subject to the generation skipping transfer tax. The tax was partially repealed in 2010; however, on January 1, 2013, the federal GST Tax exemption and rate will default to the numbers that were in effect nearly a decade ago (see chart above). So right now, there is a window of opportunity to speak to your estate planning professional to take advantage of this tax exemption or to set up a Generational Skipping Trust before the end of the year when the tax rate goes back to nearly 55% and the GST exemption plummets by over $4 million.
Purchase of Children’s Residences
There are several ways to complete a new purchase for children and each should be explored with a tax/estate planning expert.  Although the entire property can be purchased, we frequently see clients providing outright gifts of cash to their children for the down payment of the purchase. Depending on each client’s strategy and goals they may want to preserve some of the gift exemption for other uses.
Transfer of a Personal Residence
In this case a client did not want to transfer investments but rather use their personal residence to take advantage of the current law. If the client immediately transfers their personal residence to an irrevocable trust for descendants, then market rent may have to be paid at that time.  However, through the use of a Qualified Personal Residence Trust (“QPRT”), market rent payments may be delayed for a term of years.   As with all of these examples, these are complicated tax and estate issues that should be explored with a tax/estate planning professional.
While there is great uncertainty about what will happen in November, we can be certain of the laws, exemptions and rates today. Regardless of what happens in the upcoming election, these potential advantages will change without Congressional action. Without action, the exemptions decrease dramatically and the rates go up. At Alain Pinel Realtors, we understand the need to act fast for our clients and have experience meeting their needs. Our agents provide exceptional service and are experts at working with our client’s team of professionals, or recommending other resources.


About Author:

Quetzal Grimm currently serves as the Sales Manager of the Alain Pinel Realtors Woodside Office which has approximately 22 agents. Quetzal started his real estate career in 2003 and immediately formed a successful partnership with Diane Chesler serving clients throughout the mid-peninsula area. Quetzal can be reached at 650-529-1111 or quetzal@apr.com
Alain Pinel Realtors Insights Industry Insights Marketing and Technology Insights

The APR Brand – You Tell Us!

October 24, 2012

At Alain Pinel Realtors, we hold our brand and our image to the highest standards. We believe that quality is the universal language. We don’t just project that image, but deliver on the promises that our image suggests – delivering only the best training, technology, and tools to our agents and ensuring they provide their clients with the most professional and distinguished customer service.
But what is the APR image? What is the APR brand? We asked the managers of all our offices recently to describe what they believe is the APR brand and values in three sentences or less. Below is a tag cloud of their results:

 

What does the Alain Pinel Realtors brand / image mean to you?
To see our past ad campaigns, see The Gallery on apr.com.

Business Planning Insights Industry Insights Sales Insights

Early Bird Gets the Lead

October 12, 2012

The evidence is in – when it comes to internet leads – the early birds gets the worm.
Often salespeople argue that if you’re a strong salesperson, even if you call a lead late, you’ll have a higher chance of closing a lead than someone who contacts them earlier – but so far, the evidence suggests otherwise. Internet consumers not only want, but expect almost immediate responses to their inquiries – and any response over 15 minutes greatly reduces the chance of closing that lead.
Let’s look at the internet consumer:

  • Internet consumers often submit 3-5 lead forms, creating multiple “leads” for multiple agents
  • In a 2011 California Association of Realtors survey of buyers, when asked why they chose their agent, responsiveness played a major role in two of the top five factors named:

What Determines How Buyers Chose Their Agent:
1. Most responsive (28%)
2. Worked with agent before (18%)
3. First to respond (17%)
4. Most agressive (16%)
5. Most knowledgeable (6%)

  •  Additionally, the CAR survey showed that 36% of buyers expected an instant response from agents on internet requests – and 96% expected a response within 4 hours
  • According to MIT*, the odds of contacting a lead more than 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drops 100 times. From 5 to 10 minutes the odds decrease by 5 times.
  • The first to contact a lead increases conversion 238%, speed of response is THE best predictor of a closed transaction
The statistics are clear – the modern internet consumer moves fast – and expects you do too. When they choose to submit any sort of lead from they want information right then. If you aren’t providing it for them, not only are those leads quickly dying, but they’re likely to be picked up by another agent. In that same CAR survey, 86% of leads felt that response time was “extremely important” when deciding their real estate agent.

While perhaps it’s true that not too long ago, a better salesperson could close a lead more frequently even if contacting a lead later – in this rapidly changing industry – that is not what consumers want. An easy way to increase your business and start closing more leads today is to decrease the waiting time before responding to leads. Every agent should make it their goal to respond to any lead within 15 minutes.
Photo Credit: Corn Exchange Clock Bristol (Rick Crowley) / CC BY-SA 2.0
* Research Study by James  Oldroyd, PHD, MIT, October 16, 2007
Notable Listings / Sales

9 Bridge Road Listed in Kentfield by Susan Van Liere of Alain Pinel Realtors Marin Office

October 12, 2012

9 Bridge Road, Kentfield, a 1906 vintage Craftsman home, has been listed by Susan Van Liere of the Alain Pinel Realtors Marin Office and co-listed with Susan Bowman of Coldwell Banker. This truly authentic home is an original example of the California Craftsman style, combining classical architectural elements and modern expressions of the day. Local Marin architects believe 9 Bridge Road was designed by a student of Bernard Maybeck under Maybeck’s tutelage. The interior design details and many of the exterior elements bear striking similarity to many of Maybeck’s homes in Berkeley and San Francisco built in the early 1900’s.

The house was originally commissioned by a San Francisco family as a summer home. It was framed and finished using redwoods cut from the lot itself, and the heart of redwood paneling in the entry and living room are original. The original house was comprised of a master bedroom (currently the dining room), living room, sleeping porch, small keeping room, and kitchen with ice shed (still intact, currently used as a closet next to the back door). A carved wood grate above the stairway served as a speaker, and accommodated a large horn-shaped fixture that amplified music from a phonograph placed in the closet behind the grate.

In 1914, the home was sold to owners who added the second floor bathroom and two bedrooms. These residents kept the home until 1992, when the third owners purchased the home largely in original condition and began the task of careful restoration.
All of the beautiful upgrades have been done with care to preserve the home’s architectural integrity, and much of the residence retains its original 1906 character, including light fixtures and sconces in the living room, light fixtures at the entry, and the oak flooring in the living room. The current owners have enhanced this home by remodeling the kitchen, adding a custom stained-glass skylight in the upstairs hallway, and creating luxurious bathrooms. In addition, they have updated the electrical and plumbing systems to modern standards. The result is a perfect blend of this unique home’s classic features and charm with upgrades and amenities to address the needs of today’s homeowners.
9 Bridge Road includes a warm and inviting living room that features beautiful redwood paneling, a large fireplace and built-in cabinetry with windows and French doors that open to a deck overlooking the lush, private and landscaped grounds. The traditional formal dining room is located between the kitchen and living room. The kitchen is spacious and includes a six-burner oven, Subzero refrigerator and Carrera marble countertops, and adjoins a comfortable family room and informal dining area. Down a small staircase is a delightful den or guest suite with a fireplace and French doors that lead to the yard, patio and gardens, plus a laundry area and full bath. Upstairs are three bedrooms and two recently remodeled bathrooms, including a gorgeous master suite and an enchanting bedroom with a play loft. An office on the entrance or landing level, a one-car detached garage and plenty of storage areas throughout complete this residence.
The grounds of this street-to-street lot are beautifully landscaped with lovely flowering plants and feature two nice patios, including one that could easily be a lawn, and there is a level play area with a swing set and room for a sandbox or raised planter beds.
9 Bridge Road is located in the sought-after Kentfield School District near Marin’s renowned outdoor recreation areas, biking/hiking/walking paths, the gourmet Woodland’s Market, popular boutiques, and the College of Marin.
Listed at $1,795,000, for more information visit www.9BridgeRoadKentfield.com.
 

Industry Insights Legal Insights Marketing and Technology Insights

Illegal E-Mails From Your Smartphone?

October 10, 2012

Does your signature on your smartphone look like the one above? Or perhaps it said “Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID.” As a real estate agent, you’re constantly on the move. The concept of an  “office” has taken on a lot more meaning – it’s no longer just the desk you go to sometimes. With the right tools, the “office” is wherever we are – and we’re sending more and more emails from our smartphones. But does a Realtors® need to reference their DRE number in their mobile email signature? After all, it is almost universally added to our email signatures when we’re sending from out computers or laptops.
Let’s look at the DRE rules. As of July 2009, your DRE license number must be on all solicitation materials intended as a first point of contact with consumers. Under the section 2773 regulations this includes:

  • Business cards
  • Stationary
  • Websites owned, controlled, and/or maintained by the soliciting real estate license
  • Promotional and advertising flyers, brochures, email and regular mail, leaflets, and any other marketing or promotional materials designed to solicit the creation of a professional relationship between the licensee and a consumer, or intended to induce a consumer to contact the licensee about any licensed services.
The disclosure rule excludes advertisements in electronic media (such as radio, TV, streaming video, etc.), print advertisement in a newspaper or periodical, and “For Sale” signs placed on or around a property,

So … what does that mean about emails sent from mobile devices? The law is ambiguous – it truly depends on what type of email you’re sending. Are you reaching out to someone for the first time or just dealing with a past client? The truth is though that some email you could be sending from your mobile phone could require it. As with most legal issues – we fall on the side of caution – why wouldn’t you include it in your mobile email signature? We send plenty of emails both from our mobile devices and from our desktop computers that don’t require our DRE# in our signature – but we still list it. We do this because we know it only takes one email that requires it that is missing DRE number to have a problem.
Realtors® almost always have robust email signatures – sometimes too robust. Maybe it’s time you think about what the signature on your mobile phone says about you. Would you rather tell people what type of device you’re on – or perhaps add some branding and your DRE license number?


Do you have a question about best practices?* Send us an email (blogs@apr.com) and we will try to answer it in a future entry.
*This is not meant to serve as official legal advice – please consult an attorney for legal advice pertaining to your individual situation.