Friday, July 27, 2007

Mary's List!

I've added a new feature to my web presence that is sure to grow and grow, and I hope you find it helpful--Mary's List. This is a list of great people and businesses that can help you with your home and life. Find a computer specialist, a hauler, or someone to help with new floors...and more. And, do you have someone to suggest...just let me know. Drop me a line at 510-547-5970 x57 or

Have a fun weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fun Time

Alrighty, enough talk about real estate....time to take a break and have some fun this weekend! The East Bay always has so much to do that it can be hard to decide! Here are some of my picks for fun in the East Bay this weekend:

The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival makes its annual trek to Berkeley for a week of screenings at the Berkeley Rep. Highlights include the magical drama AVIVA MY LOVE and the romantic comedy GORGEOUS!

Lyle Lovett and His Large Band take the stage with kd lang at the Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord. What a great combo!

Get some exercise and remember Oakland's historic "work holiday"--a citywide general strike that led to over 100,000 workers walking out on their jobs in 1946--the last general strike in US history. The walk starts in Downtown Oakland at Broadway & Telegraph on Saturday morning at 10:30am.

I'm also going with family on Friday night to see Hairspray. Loved it onstage and can't wait for the movie. You can't stop the beat!

Have a fun weekend...and if you happen to visit some open houses on Sunday and want to make an offer, let me know. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Real Estate 101

Tenants in Common

In the Bay Area, where real estate prices continue to be high and challenging for first time buyers, creative solutions are always appreciated. Holding title to your home in a TIC, or Tenants in Common, is one such solution. So, what is a TIC?

A Tenants in Common arrangement allows a group of people to hold title together in percentage shares with undivided interest. Imagine a 4-unit building owned together by the residents of each unit. And, whereas a single loan had to be arranged for all of the owners in the past, that is changing these days, making TIC ownership easier than ever.

TIC ownership allows Right of Survivorship, which means you can leave the home to your heirs. This might seem logical, but it is the key difference between TICs and Joint Tenancy ownership, in which your share goes to the other joint tenant owners.

While there are many similarities between TICs and Condos, there are also key differences. TIC owners retain the airspace to their units and jointly own the common areas. In a condo, you lose the airspace and the HOA owns the common areas. TICs usually have monthly fees to cover general area maintenance and such, but you will always own your share.

TICs can be tricky, but are becoming more and more common and continue to be a great way to enter the real estate market. If you have questions about them or would like to discuss it further, I am always happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Financial Tips

Watch out for that Pre-Pay Penalty!

If you are thinking about selling your home, make sure to check your existing home loan(s) for any pre-payment penalty. They can be quite stiff!

Remember back when you were setting up your mortgage, and perhaps you got a better deal by including a pre-payment clause? The lender gave you a better deal because they thought you might stick around for awhile sending them regular checks. They like checks! Well, if you go away before 3 years or 5 years (depending on your own loan), you could get stung with a hefty penalty costing you thousands of dollars.

Even if you are selling your home close to the date, it could throw a wrench in the process. Say you want to schedule close of escrow for right after the pre-payment cut-off date, but if you submit a loan payoff demand even 24-hours before the the penalty phase ends, you could still owe the fee. So, watch the dates in addition to watching the money.

For more on pre-payment penalties, including a great summary of why they exist, check out Mike Mueller's blog. Or if you have further questions about the little details you have to watch out for when selling your home, let me know. I'm always happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or