Friday, July 20, 2007

Hot Property--311 Oak Street #837

My colleague Perry Riani has just listed a terrific loft at the Sierra building in Jack London Square, and I must say it is one of the best deals in the neighborhood.

This is a huge top-floor loft with nearly 1400 square feet and unbeatable views of Oakland and SF. It isn't technically a penthouse, but you feel like you are on top of the world, and--even better--you aren't paying penthouse prices. At $589,000, it has a great price per square foot--one of the best in the neighborhood.

And, the features are impressive. It is a 1 bedroom/1.5 bath loft unit, but it also has a nice bonus space that could be a nursery or a home office. The hardwood floors and open kitchen floor plan are beautiful, and give this modern industrial design a warm homey feel. A wall of windows lets in the perfect Bay Area sunlight--and they even open. Or you can modulate the mood and temperature with remote-controlled blinds and air conditioning. The building has many great amenities, including a fitness center, pool, 24/7 security, concierege....and a really great deli on the corner!

Take a virtual tour at And,don't miss the open house this Sunday, because this unit won't last long. If you would like to preview it, I would be happy to give you a tour. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or

Have a sunny and fun weekend!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Neighborhood Focus--Maxwell Park

Looking at the market these days, I am seeing more and more great deals in the Maxwell Park section of Oakland, which is one of the most on-the-rise sections of this town.

Maxwell Park was created in the 1920s and is generally situated along the western side of the 580 between the Fruitvale/Laurel districts and Mills College. The architecture is a charming mix of period bungalows and single family homes with old world touches. Plus, it is close to BART and has many services and great schools. Just this spring, Oakland Magazine named Maxwell Park as one of the best neighborhoods in town.

What does the market look like in Maxwell Park this week? Pretty interesting. Over 20 properties are listed in this little neighborhood. Here are a few properties that look great:

*5360 Walnut--$444,900--A huge 2 story 4/2.5 that needs just a little sprucing up
*3206 Millsview--$485,000--A beautifully updated 2/1 with 1150 sq. ft.
*4615 Brookdale--$479,000--This 2/1 has great period details, modern updates & fruit trees!
*3214 Wyman--$525,000--This 1929 3/1.5 is the definition of storybook charm!
*2821 Madera--$529,000--A 2/1 with classic curb appeal and impressive updates throughout
*3012 Kingsland--$724,000--A huge 4/3 home with some of the best remodeling work in the neighborhood. If you want to spend a little more, this looks like a great deal!
*And many more...

If you would like to tour these homes or explore the neighborhood some more, I would be happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Real Estate 101

What is a 1031 Exchange?

You often hear people talk about 1031 exchanges, and might be wondering if this is something you should be thinking about. Or, you might wonder, maybe it is just something for big real estate investors. This is something everyone should consider when selling a home, especially in the fluctuating East Bay real estate market.

Section 1031 of the IRS tax code allows the sellers of a home to defer the capital gains taxes. You do this by re-investing the proceeds into a "like-kind" property. So, if you sell a single family home, you must re-invest in a single family home. Or, trade an apartment building for a similar apartment building.

While there are many facets to this srategy, the key things to remember are: the tax is simply deferred until a later date, the properties must be "like-kind", and the exchange must be identified within 45 days.

The key benefit of a 1031 exchange is that it frees up a substantial amount of money that would have gone to the federal government immediately, allowing you to continue to use and invest it until the tax is due at a later time.

While the basic premise is simple, the tax code can be complicated. If you have questions or would like more information, I would be happy to help. I can always be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or

Monday, July 16, 2007

Financing Tips

Last time on the topic of Financing Tips, I wrote about MMAP--the Monthly Mortgage Assistance Program. Today, I wanted to visit Home Equity Sharing, which Traci Hukill wrote an excellent article about in yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle Magazine.

As we are starting to see, it is becoming a "buyer's market" in many East Bay neighborhoods these days, so people interested in getting into real estate should seriously considering getting their financial ducks in a row in the next few months. One obstacle to this can be the daunting prospect of coming up with the down payment, so home equity sharing is a creative and sound solution to consider.

Home equity sharing is basically finding a private individual investor to cover the down payment in exchange for an equity percentage in the home. The particulars are up to the involved parties, who will need to agree upon the percentage of equity, the time of the agreement and more. Typically, the homeowners pay back the investor in 3-5 years and then refinance on their own.

The easiest way to do this might be to make an agreement with a friend or family member, but there are also matching services out there, such as, which can connect you with investors.

Of course, like with any financial deal, there could be some risks, so be sure to discuss all the angles with your financial advisor or mortgage broker.

If you would like more information on home equity sharing or would like to further discuss financing options for first-time home buyers, please let me know. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or