Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Countrywide Foreclosures in Oakland & Berkeley

As I've written about before, a lot of people still ask me about buying foreclosures. Due to the media's coverage of real estate market and the sub-prime fallout, there is a belief that there are tons of foreclosure deals out there just waiting to be snapped up. But think again. The East Bay is just different.

Click here to visit a list of Countrywide's currently active foreclosures in California (and dig deeper to look at the whole country). There are over 4200 Countrywide foreclosures in the state as of February 12th. How many are in our neck of the woods?

Well, Oakland has 33 on the list, and your search pretty much begins and ends with that. There is one foreclosure in Berkeley, and none in Albany, Emeryville, El Cerrito and Piedmont.

That Oakland list does offer some deals for people who are willing to put a lot of work into the homes and a lot of patience. Most of the deals are in the $200k and $300k range, but there is one as low as $118,000 and one as high as $744,000. Buying foreclosures takes a lot of time because everything needs to pass through the bank's bureaucracies, and the purchases are "as-is."

I found it to be quite interesting and wanted to share it with you. So, peruse the list and let me know what you think. And, if you have any questions about foreclosures, please let me know. I am always happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Inspection Contingency Period

So, you've made an offer on a home and it has been accepted. Congratulations! Within the escrow period, there is the inspection contingency period for you to look into all of the nooks and crannies of the house to make sure it is the perfect home for you. And, if you do find any significant faults, the inspection contingency provides the ability to pull out of the contract.

Now, you probably aren't an expert in foundations or furnaces or termites, so you have to get the experts in to inspect your home. But, what should you expect to inspect? Of course, every home is different in size, history, style and more, but this is a general list to set you on the right path to a successful completion of your inspection contingency period.

General Home—A look at all of the basic systems in the house, from heating and electrical to roofs and windows. The general home inspection can sometimes lead to additional specialized inspections.

Roof—An examination of the age, style and condition of the roof.

Sewer Lateral Inspection—This inspection looks at the plumbing connection from the private home to the city’s sewer system to find any possible leaks or seepage.

Pest and Structural—A investigation of any termite infestation or basic structural defects.

Foundation—A detailed investigation of the home’s basic foundation.

Heater—An examination of the age, type and condition of the home’s heating system.

Electrical—An examination of the age, type and condition of the home’s electrical system.

Plumbing—An examination of the age, type and condition of the home’s plumbing system.

The cost of these inspections can vary from free to several hundred dollars, so make sure to budget that into your plans. If you need a referral to a qualified inspection, check out The Smartt List or give me a call. I'm always happy to help. I can be reached at 510-547-5970 x57 or