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MARTIN HOMES TEAM CHANGING HOUSES TO HOMES

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- CONTENTS 

About Erin & Darrick

Our Approach

Why Martin Homes & Village Associates?

Lamorinda Market Update

Community Information

Recent Martin Homes Articles

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- ABOUT ERIN & DARRICK Erin and Darrick’s family roots go back three generations in Lafayette. They are extremely knowledgeable about all that Lamorinda has to offer and their love for the community is infectious. They feel fortunate to live in such an amazing community and to watch their children benefit from many of the same activities and traditions they did growing up such as LMYA Soccer, girl scouts, riding bikes on the Lafayette trail, paddle boating on the Reservoir and the list goes on. Erin and Darrick write a monthly column for the Lamorinda Weekly. See recent articles included in the Insight section of their website. Their love for real estate began early on with their personal experience buying and selling investment properties. This first-hand knowledge of the process is invaluable to clients. They pride themselves on truly understanding the needs of each and every client and are dedicated to ensuring that every seller and buyer has a successful experience. Erin received a BA from UC Berkeley and her MSW from NYU and worked as a counselor for New York University and UCLA - Santa Monica Hospital before obtaining her Real Estate license. Darrick is a retired Partner at Alvarez & Marsal, a global turnaround and management consulting firm and spent over twenty years leading numerous large international companies through change. Their combined background and skill sets are crucial when it comes to negotiating real estate transactions. In their free time Erin and Darrick volunteer at Springhill Elementary School, are supporters of Lafayette Juniors and LPIE and enjoy running and spending time with their nine year old twins and thirteen year old daughter.

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- ABOUT ERIN & DARRICK CONTACT DETAILS “Erin & Darrick believe in building trust with their clients. They are deeply committed to helping buyers purchase the right property and position sellers to receive the highest price as efficiently as possible. Their client’s needs always come first.” — VILLAGE ASSOCIATES, ORINDA

93 Moraga Way, Suite 103 Orinda, CA 94563

Erin Martin

Darrick Martin

925.951.3817 Erin@MartinHomesTeam.com MartinHomesTeam.com CalBRE#01922810

925.900.8218 Darrick@MartinHomesTeam.com MartinHomesTeam.com CalBRE#02006564

93 Moraga Way, Suite 103 Orinda, CA 94563

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- OUR APPROACH We pride ourselves in helping every family find a house that perfectly fits their needs and ensuring that Sellers get the largest return on their investment. Let us make our hometown, your hometown, and help you achieve your real estate goals.

FOR BUYERS Buying a home is more than a financial investment. It is commitment to a place, a community and the foundation of a family’s hopes and dreams. We understand that buyers are searching for more than a house; they want to find their home. That’s why we take the time to really get to know our clients, their desires and their needs. We work tirelessly to make sure that they get the best representation at every stage of the buying process – from personally previewing every available property, to structuring competitive offers that are successful, right through to the final details of closing the transaction.

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- OUR APPROACH We pride ourselves in helping every family find a house that perfectly fits their needs and ensuring that Sellers get the largest return on their investment. Let us make our hometown, your hometown, and help you achieve your real estate goals.

FOR SELLERS We take great pride in every home that we present for sale. A good first impression is key to generating interest among prospective buyers and translates into strong offers. As a seller’s agent, our goal is twofold; we want to take the stress out of the selling process for you and maximize your return. This means careful preparation of every property prior to market, multichanneled print and digital marketing once we go to market and advocating for your goals during the negotiation process and throughout the sale.

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- WHY MARTIN HOMES? Preparation and transparency is the cornerstone of our business

• A personalized sales plan that puts our clients first • Hyper – local analysis of target area for buyers and sellers • Professional staging included with ever sale (no hidden upcharges in commission fees) • Design and remodel consultation included with every listing with detailed investment suggestions to maximize returns • Conflict free representation for either a seller or buyer – never both at the same time • Innovative sales and marketing plan that encompasses all avenues of digital and print media platforms

Three generations of ongoing commitment to our community and schools. Proud sponsor of LPIE and Lafayette Juniors www.MartinHomesTeam.com


- REFERENCES FOR MARTIN HOMES Justin and Jenifer Walloch Moraga, CA 925.948.5539

Chris & Sara McCune Lafayette, CA sararathfon@Hotmail.com

Jason & Amy Miniello Lafayette CA 925.818.6992

Dana Vannelli Lafayette, CA 925.408.6407

Harriet & Bob Mayne Walnut Creek (Rossmoor), CA 925.483.0511

Karen & Mike Seater Lafayette, CA 408.802.7523

Katy & David Abrahams Lafayette & Walnut Creek, CA 650.776.3152

Jessica & Tanner MacDiarmid Orinda, CA 925.336.9020

Cyndi & Joe Mauch Walnut Creek, CA 415.730.6418

Please also view my testimonials at http://www.MartinHomesTeam.com/testimonials/

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- RECENT MARTIN HOMES TRANSACTIONS Over $43 million of real estate sold over the last twelve months

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- WHY VILLAGE ASSOCIATES? -

There is power in numbers. We believe our numbers speak for themselves. Our success directly reflects the success we deliver to our clients: 23 %

Average 23% of marketplace in Lamorinda year after year

Over $366 million in sales in Lamorinda alone (2016)

$13

Per agent average sales of over $13 million (2016)

387 total transactions (2016)

12

12 average transactions per agent per year

5 of the top 10 Lamorinda agents in dollar volume

22+

Average of 22+ years in the industry per agent

1

Number 1 sales office by dollar volume in Lamorinda

$366

387 5/10

$467

$467 million gross sales in 2016

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- LAMORINDA MARKET UPDATE FALL 2017 Below is a summary of Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”) data for Lamorinda residential detached home sales over the last twelve months from October 2016 to September 2017 (the prior-year comparison is from October 2015 to September 2016). Our real estate market remains strong as the Summer market delivered record figures for most of Lamorinda. The Lamorinda average sales price is now $1.56M, up 6%, and the average sales price per square foot is $610, up 4%. The biggest gains came from homes between 2,500–3,500 square feet where the price per square foot is up 11%. Families are feeling more confident about their financial situation and are moving up into larger homes. In addition, transaction volumes are up 14%, primarily driven by Moraga where transactions are up 37%. In Lafayette, the average sales price and price per square foot were both up 6% to $1.61M and $634. In Moraga, the average price is up 6% to $1.37M and the average sales price per square foot is down slightly by 1% to $561. In Orinda, the average sales price is up 7% to $1.62M and the average sales price per square foot is up 4% to $610. This is great news for all of us that live in Lamorinda. The following pages provide further details and breaks down the numbers by home size.

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Lamorinda

Lamorinda, CA Detached Residential Transactions Oct '16 - Sept '17 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions 52 Sales Price Average $1,004,973 High $1,295,000 Low $725,000 Sales Price Per SQFT Average $790 High $1,022 Low $547

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

314

194

122

682

$1,245,439 $2,205,000 $725,000

$1,701,140 $2,700,000 $850,000

$2,395,258 $6,500,000 $1,199,000

$1,562,418 $6,500,000 $725,000

$616 $1,056 $340

$583 $862 $318

$559 $1,071 $292

$610 $1,071 $292

Change From Prior 12-Months (Oct '16 - Sept '17 vs. Oct '15 - Sept '16) 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions Sales Price Average High Low Sales Price Per SQFT Average High Low

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

13.0%

6.8%

23.6%

23.2%

14.4%

10.0% 2.4% 51.0%

2.3% -0.7% 2.1%

10.2% 3.3% 13.3%

-1.4% 39.8% 1.2%

5.5% 39.8% 51.0%

9.9% -12.8% 21.6%

1.6% 14.2% 1.9%

10.7% 8.2% 10.7%

-1.8% 6.0% -2.3%

3.7% -8.6% 1.5%

Oct '15 - Sept '16 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions 46 Sales Price Average $913,400 High $1,265,000 Low $480,000 Sales Price Per SQFT Average $719 High $1,172 Low $450

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

294

157

99

596

$1,217,424 $2,220,000 $710,000

$1,543,300 $2,615,000 $750,000

$2,430,005 $4,650,000 $1,185,000

$1,481,221 $4,650,000 $480,000

$606 $924 $334

$527 $797 $287

$569 $1,011 $299

$588 $1,172 $287

Source: MLS

Prepared By: Erin & Darrick Martin 1 of 4


Lafayette

Lafayette, CA Detached Residential Transactions Oct '16 - Sept '17 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions 32 Sales Price Average $1,011,328 High $1,295,000 Low $740,000 Sales Price Per SQFT Average $817 High $1,022 Low $547

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

126

77

57

292

$1,232,842 $1,905,000 $772,650

$1,778,540 $2,700,000 $850,000

$2,536,941 $6,500,000 $1,375,000

$1,607,034 $6,500,000 $740,000

$631 $1,056 $340

$603 $862 $318

$577 $1,071 $295

$634 $1,071 $295

Change From Prior 12-Months (Oct '16 - Sept '17 vs. Oct '15 - Sept '16) 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions Sales Price Average High Low Sales Price Per SQFT Average High Low

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

18.5%

2.4%

30.5%

-3.4%

9.0%

10.6% 2.4% 16.5%

2.0% -13.4% 8.8%

16.0% 3.3% -8.1%

3.7% 66.7% 3.8%

5.5% 66.7% 16.5%

14.3% -12.8% 21.6%

2.5% 14.2% 1.9%

16.0% 8.2% 10.7%

0.1% 6.0% -11.8%

6.3% -8.6% 2.5%

Oct '15 - Sept '16 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions 27 Sales Price Average $914,532 High $1,265,000 Low $635,000 Sales Price Per SQFT Average $715 High $1,172 Low $450

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

123

59

59

268

$1,208,348 $2,200,000 $710,000

$1,533,003 $2,615,000 $925,000

$2,445,897 $3,900,000 $1,325,000

$1,522,665 $3,900,000 $635,000

$616 $924 $334

$520 $797 $287

$577 $1,011 $334

$596 $1,172 $287

Source: MLS

Prepared By: Erin & Darrick Martin 2 of 4


Moraga

Moraga, CA Detached Residential Transactions Oct '16 - Sept '17 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions 4 Sales Price Average $1,030,000 High $1,125,000 Low $950,000 Sales Price Per SQFT Average $732 High $789 Low $703

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

83

44

13

144

$1,203,943 $1,680,000 $725,000

$1,566,867 $2,650,000 $1,100,000

$1,816,462 $2,750,000 $1,199,000

$1,365,302 $2,750,000 $725,000

$584 $774 $380

$539 $768 $333

$436 $554 $292

$561 $789 $292

Change From Prior 12-Months (Oct '16 - Sept '17 vs. Oct '15 - Sept '16) 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions Sales Price Average High Low Sales Price Per SQFT Average High Low

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

-33.3%

23.9%

69.2%

116.7%

37.1%

20.6% 7.1% 38.7%

0.6% 4.0% -6.5%

4.3% 34.2% 4.8%

-3.8% 18.2% 1.2%

5.7% 18.2% 5.8%

5.0% -25.4% 47.7%

0.6% 3.6% -7.3%

1.3% 16.0% -10.4%

4.9% 1.8% -2.3%

-0.8% -25.4% -2.3%

Oct '15 - Sept '16 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions 6 Sales Price Average $854,000 High $1,050,000 Low $685,000 Sales Price Per SQFT Average $697 High $1,057 Low $476

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

67

26

6

105

$1,196,428 $1,615,000 $775,000

$1,502,750 $1,975,000 $1,050,000

$1,887,500 $2,326,000 $1,185,000

$1,292,202 $2,326,000 $685,000

$580 $747 $410

$532 $662 $371

$416 $544 $299

$566 $1,057 $299

Source: MLS

Prepared By: Erin & Darrick Martin 3 of 4


Orinda

Orinda, CA Detached Residential Transactions Oct '16 - Sept '17 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions 16 Sales Price Average $986,006 High $1,210,000 Low $725,000 Sales Price Per SQFT Average $749 High $882 Low $592

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

105

73

52

246

$1,293,356 $2,205,000 $750,000

$1,700,431 $2,368,700 $1,025,000

$2,384,650 $3,900,000 $1,250,000

$1,624,844 $3,900,000 $725,000

$623 $900 $413

$588 $824 $396

$569 $824 $343

$610 $900 $343

Change From Prior 12-Months (Oct '16 - Sept '17 vs. Oct '15 - Sept '16) 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions Sales Price Average High Low Sales Price Per SQFT Average High Low

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

23.1%

1.0%

1.4%

52.9%

10.3%

5.1% -1.6% 51.0%

4.2% -0.7% -2.0%

8.6% -8.5% 36.7%

-4.5% -16.1% 4.2%

6.9% -16.1% 51.0%

1.7% -10.2% -0.7%

1.8% -1.3% 8.9%

10.9% 4.4% 36.6%

-2.3% -16.1% 7.1%

3.6% -8.4% 18.2%

Oct '15 - Sept '16 1,501 - 2,500 2,501 - 3,500 Home Size

< 1,501 SQFT

# of Transactions 13 Sales Price Average $938,463 High $1,230,000 Low $480,000 Sales Price Per SQFT Average $736 High $982 Low $596

SQFT

SQFT

> 3,500 SQFT

Total

104

72

34

223

$1,241,685 $2,220,000 $765,000

$1,566,380 $2,590,000 $750,000

$2,498,166 $4,650,000 $1,200,000

$1,520,414 $4,650,000 $480,000

$613 $911 $379

$530 $789 $290

$583 $982 $320

$589 $982 $290

Source: MLS

Prepared By: Erin & Darrick Martin 4 of 4


- COMMUNITY INFORMATION -

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Lafayette The City of Lafayette, incorporated in 1968, is mostly situated on a former Mexican land grant, Rancho Acalanes. The community took the name of Lafayette in 1857. In 1937 when Lafayette’s population was 4,000, the Caldecott Tunnel opened creating further growth in the area. While mostly a residential community of quarter-acre or larger lots, Lafayette has seen office growth and supports a small but vital retail business district along the main street of Mt. Diablo Blvd, as well as several restaurants recognized throughout the Bay Area. Most residents are home owners living in a country setting and commuting to major Bay Area business centers. Population: Climate:

Schools:

Recreation:

Churches: Hospitals: Transportation: Shopping:

Area Code: (925)

25, 473

Winter range: 30’s – 60’s Summer range: 50’s – 90’s Average annual rainfall: 28 inches

Public: Four elementary schools and one intermediate school operated by the Lafayette School District (tel.: 925-284-7011); Acalanes High School operated by the Acalanes Union High School District (925-935-2800); some Lafayette students attend Campolindo High School in Moraga, operated by the same district. Private: Preschools include Montessori; one parochial k-8 elementary. Lafayette Reservoir for fishing, hiking, biking, picnicking; several private swim and tennis club facilities and the Lafayette Trail for biking and jogging. All denominations are represented in Lafayette and neighboring communities. Hospitals in Oakland and Berkeley, John Muir Hospital, Walnut Creek (925-939-3000). County transit buses serve the Lafayette BART station.

Just ten minutes to Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, a premiere outside shopping mall featuring Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and national upscale specialty stores. Major grocery chains are represented.

Zip Code: 94549


Moraga The town of Moraga, tucked away in the hills south of Lafayette and Orinda, shares a common bond of ancestry and affluence with its neighbors while maintaining a large measure of independence. The town’s name is taken from the Joaquin Moraga family who settled on a land grant, Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados, in 1835. Major residential development began replacing major ranching interests and flourishing walnut and pear orchards in 1953, and in 1974 Moraga was incorporated. The town of Moraga offers a unique blending of fine residential areas, two neighborhood shopping centers, and open hills where cattle graze and horses are pastured. Many Moraga residents are corporate executives who commute to major business centers. Population: Climate:

17,032

Schools:

Winter range: 30’s – 60’s Summer range: 50’s – 90’s Average annual rainfall: 24 inches

Recreation:

Private: Three nursery schools, Carden School; Saint Mary’s College.

Churches: Hospitals: Transportation: Shopping: Area Code: (925)

Public: Three elementary schools and one intermediate school operated by the Moraga School District (tel.: 925-376-5943); high school students attend either Campolindo or Miramonte High School, both operated by the Acalanes Union High School District (925-935-2800).

Moraga Parks and Recreation District supervises a 10-acre botanical park with a recreation center and two other parks. Hiking and riding trails connect to East Bay parks. Private facilities include Moraga Country Club and Moraga Tennis and Swim Club. All denominations are represented in Moraga and neighboring communities.

Hospitals in Oakland and Berkeley, John Muir Hospital, Walnut Creek

County transit buses serve the Orinda and Lafayette BART station.

Two shopping centers serve the Moraga area; major retail centers in Walnut Creek and Concord.

Zip Code: 94556


Orinda The City of Orinda is the first residential development on Highway 24 on the east side of the Caldecott tunnel. The freeway bisects Orinda resulting in the Crossroads business district to the south and The Village business district to the north. Orinda lies on portions of the Rancho de Laguna de los Palos Colorados and the Rancho El Sobrante, which were Mexican land grants to the Moraga and Castro families. In the 1920’s when about 1200 acres were designated the town site of Orinda, city people began building summer homes in the wooded hillsides. It was only when the Caldecott Tunnel to Oakland, about eight miles away, was completed in 1937 the area began to develop. Today Orinda offers gracious country style living to San Francisco and Oakland commuters who enjoy its rural setting and village-like atmosphere. Population: Climate: Schools:

Recreation:

Churches: Hospitals:

Transportation: Shopping:

Area Code: (925)

18,342

Winter range: 30’s – 60’s Summer range: 50’s – 90’s Average annual rainfall: 33”

Public: Four elementary schools and one intermediate school operated by the Orinda Union School District (tel.: 925-254-4901); Miramonte High School operated by the Acalanes Union High School District (925-935-2800). Private: Several preschools include Montessori; John F. Kennedy University.

Orinda Community Center offers a wide variety of classes for children and adults; numerous private and public swim, golf and tennis facilities including the prestigious Orinda Country Club.

All denominations are represented in Orinda and neighboring communities.

Hospitals in Oakland and Berkeley, John Muir Hospital, Walnut Creek (925-939-3000). County transit buses serve the Orinda BART station.

Orinda offers stores and services in the Village and Crossroads areas and are just minutes from the Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek, a premier outside shopping mall featuring Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and national upscale specialty stores. Major grocery chains are represented. Zip Code: 94563


PRE-SCHOOLS LAFAYETTE Apple Seed Little School Child Day School Diablo Valley Montessori Happy Days Learning Center Joyful Beginnings Lafayette Nursery School Merriewood Children’s Center Michael Lane Preschool Old Firehouse School Seedlings/LOPC TOT Drop Preschool

N/A 1049 Stuart Street 3390 Deer Hill Road 3205 Stanley Blvd 955 Moraga Blvd 979 First Street 561 Merriewood Dr 682 Michael Lane 984 Moraga Road 49 Knox Drive 500 St. Mary’s Road

979.9089 284.7092 283.6036 932.8088 284.1143 284.2448 284.2121 284.7244 284.4321 284.3870 888.totdrop

www.appleseedlittleschool.com www.tcdschools.com www.dvms.org www.eastbaypreschools.com www.eastbaypreschools.com www.lafayettenurseryschool.com www.merriewood.org www.stanselms.ws/preschool www.oldfirehouseschool.com www.lopc.com www.totdrop.com

Bright Beginnings Child Day School Creative Playhouse Growing Light Montessori Growing Tree Preschool Mulberry Tree Preschool MVPC Nurtury Preschool Saklan Valley School

1689 School Street 372 Park Street 1350 Moraga Way 1450 Moraga Road 1695 Canyon Road 1455 St. Mary’s Road 10 Moraga Valley Lane 1678 School Street

376.2600 376.5110 377.8314 377.0407 376.8280 376.1751 376.4800x248 376.7900x16

www.eastbaypreschools.com www.tcdschools.com

Fountainhead Montessori Holy Shepherd Christian St. John’s Preschool St. Stephen’s Nursery St. Mark’s Nursery TOPS The Orinda Preschool

30 Santa Maria Way 433 Moraga Way 501 Moraga Way 66 St. Stephen’s Drive 451 Moraga Way 10 Irwin Way

254.7110 254.3429 254.4470 254.3770 254.1364 254.2551

MORAGA

ORINDA

www.growinglight.net www.growingtreepreschool.com www.eastbaypreschools.com www.mvpctoday.org/nurtury www.saklan.org www.fountainheadmontessori.org www.holyshepherd.org www.eastbaypreschools.com www.ststephensorinda.org/ www.stmarksnurseryschool.org www.topsonline.org


PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS: GENERAL INFORMATION Contra Costa County Office of Education, 77 Santa Barbara Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523, (925) 942-3388, www.cccoe.k12.ca.us

LAFAYETTE Lafayette School District 3477 School Street, Lafayette, CA 94549 (925) 927-3500 www.lafsd.k12.ca.us MORAGA Moraga School District 1540 School Street, Moraga, CA 94556 (925) 376-5943 www.moraga.k12.ca.us

ORINDA Orinda Union School District 25 Orinda Way, Suite 200, Orinda, CA 94563 (925) 254-4901 www.orindaschools .org

WALNUT CREEK Walnut Creek School District 960 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) 944-6850 www.walnutcreeksd.org ACALANES UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT 1212 Pleasant Hill Road, Lafayette, CA 94549 (925) 935-2800 www.acalanes.k12.ca.us Acalanes High School 1200 Pleasant Hill Rd. Lafayette, CA 94549 Phone: (925) 280-3970

Las Lomas High School 1460 South Main St. Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Phone: (925) 280-3920

Campolindo High School 300 Moraga Rd. Moraga, CA 94556 Phone: (925) 280-3950 Miramonte High School 750 Moraga Way Orinda, CA 94563 Phone: (925) 280-3930


PRIVATE SCHOOLS LAFAYETTE Child Day School (Pre & K) 1049 Stuart Street 284-7092

ORINDA Contra Costa Alternative School (8th-12th) 10 Irwin Way 254-0199

St. Perpetua School (K-8th) 3445 Hamlin Road 284-1640

North Bay Orinda School (7th-12th) 19 Altarinda Road 254-7553

Diablo Valley Montessori School (Pre & K) 3390 Deer Hill Road 283-6036

Temple Isaiah Religious School (K-12th) 3800 Mt. Diablo Blvd. 283-8575 MORAGA Saklan Valley School of Moraga (Pre-5th) 1678 School Street 376-7900 Child Day School (Pre) School 372 Park Street 376-5110

Fountainhead Montessori School (Pre-3rd) 30 Santa Maria 254-7110

WALNUT CREEK Alice’s Montessori (Pre-K) 3158 Putnam Blvd. 947-0603

The Doris-Eaton School (Pre-K – 8th) 1847 Newell Avenue 933-5225


PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOLS The Athenian School

Head-Royce School

Bentley Upper School

4315 Lincoln Avenue Oakland, CA 94602 (510) 531-1300

Orinda Academy

Berean Christian High School

19 Altarinda Road Orinda, CA 94563 (925) 254-7553

Palmer School for Boys & Girls

Carondelet High School

Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy

2100 Mt Diablo Scenic Blvd Danville, CA 94506 (925) 837-5375

1000 Upper Happy Valley Road Lafayette, CA 94549 (925) 283-2101 245 El Divisadero Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94598 (925) 945-6464 1133 Winton Drive Concord, CA 94518 (925) 686-5353

796 Grayson Road Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (925) 934-9261

College Preparatory School 6100 Broadway Oakland, CA 94618 (510) 652-0111

Contra Costa Christian School 2721 Larkey Lane Walnut Creek, CA 94597 (925)934-4964

De La Salle High School 1130 Winton Drive Concord, CA 94518 (925) 288-8100

Fountainhead Montessori School 30 Santa Maria Way, Orinda 1450 Moraga Road, Moraga 490 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill 939 El Pintado, Danville 6901 York Drive, Dublin

2740 Jones Rd. Walnut Creek, CA 94597 (925) 934-4888

(925) 254-7110 (925) 376-8000 (925) 685-2949 (925) 820-6250 (925) 829-2963


COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES Community Colleges University of California Berkeley No Street Address Available Berkeley, CA 94720 (510) 642-6000

Berkeley City College 2050 Center St Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 981-2800

CSU East Bay - Contra Costa Campus 4700 Ygnacio Valley Road Concord, CA 94521 (925) 602-6700

Diablo Valley College 321 Golf Club Road Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (925) 685-1230

California State University East Bay 25800 Carlos B. Blvd. Hayward, CA 94542 (510) 885-3000

Holy Names University 3500 Mountain Blvd Oakland, CA 94619 (510) 436-1000 Mills College 5000 MacArthur Blvd Oakland, CA 94613 (510) 430-2255 Saint Mary's College 1928 St. Marys Road Moraga, CA 94575 (925) 631-4000

Samuel Merritt University 3100 Telegraph Ave Oakland, CA (510) 869-6511

Contra Costa College 2600 Mission Bell Drive San Pablo, CA 94806 (510) 235-7801

Los Medanos College 2700 East Leland Road Pittsburg, CA 94565 (925) 439-2181

Additional Centers of Higher Education California College of the Arts 5212 Broadway Oakland, CA (510) 594-3600 John F. Kennedy University 100 Ellinwood Way Pleasant Hill,CA 94523 (925) 969-3300


Lamorinda Country Clubs and Swim Clubs Lafayette Las Trampas Pool LMYA Swim Team Oakwood Athletic Club Rancho Colorados Swim and Tennis Club Springbrook Pool Sun Valley

640 St. Marys Road 925-283-8605 1200 Pleasant Hill Road membership@lmyaswim.com 4000 Mt. Diablo Boulevard 925-283-4000 3016 Rohrer Drive 925-283-5448 Info@SpringbrookPool.com Stanley Blvd. Leland Drive 415-286-3674

Moraga Campo Cabana Club Moraga Country Club Moraga Ranch Swim Club

3799 Campolindo Dr 1600 St. Andrews Drive 8 El Camino Flores

Alamo Round Hill Country Club

3169 Round Hill Road

Orinda Meadow Swim and Tennis Club Miramonte Swim Club Moraga Valley Swim and Tennis Club Oak Springs Pool Orinda Country Club Orinda Park Pool Sleepy Hollow Swim and Tennis Club Danville Blackhawk Country Club Crow Canyon Country Club Del Amigo Pool Diablo Country Club

20 Heather Lane 750 Moraga Way 15 Risa Court 39 Spring Road 315 Camino Sobrante 72 El Toyonal 1 Sunnyside Lane

925-254-3860 925-247-8110 925-376-4110 925-389-6006 925-254-4313 510-816-7720 925.254.1126

599 Blackhawk Club Drive 711 Silver Lake Drive 601 Glen Road 1700 Clubhouse Road

925-736-6500 925-365-6181 925-362-0723 925-837-4221

Oakland Claremont Country Club Highlands Country Club Oakland Hills Tennis Club Sequoyah Country Club

5295 Broadway Terrace 110 Hiller Drive 5475 Redwood Road 4550 Heafey Road

Walnut Creek Boundary Oak Golf Course Dewing Park Swim Club Rancho San Miguel Swim Club Scottsdale Swim and Tennis Club Woodlands Cabana Club

3800 Valley Vista Road 2016 Olympic Blvd 2727 San Carlos Drive 500 Walnut Ave 111 Longleaf Drive

Pleasant Hill Contra Costa Country Club Pleasant Hill Aquatics

925-284-9816 925-376-2200 P. O. Box 184

801 Golf Club Road 468 Boyd Road

925-934-8211

510-653-6789 510-849-1104 510-531-3300 510-632-2900

925-798-7135 925-932-9595

925-934-4775 925-932-9163 925-939-0821 925-932-4941 925-938-7628


LAMORINDA CHURCH DIRECTORY ANGLICAN CHURCHES St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Anglican Church 451 Moraga Way Orinda, CA 726-4477 BAPTIST CHURCHES Calvary of Lafayette 3201 Stanley Blvd. Lafayette, CA 935-7507

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES St. Monica's 1001 Camino Pablo Moraga, CA 376-6900 St. Perpetua 3454 Hamlin Road Lafayette, CA 283-0272

Santa Maria Parish 40 Santa Maria Way Orinda, CA 254-2426

CHRISTIAN CHURCHES Lafayette Christian Church 584 Glenside Drive Lafayette, CA 283-8304

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE CHURCHES Christian Science Church 24 Orinda Way Orinda, CA 254-4212 CONGREGATIONAL CHURCHES Orinda Community Church 10 Irwin Way


Orinda, CA 254-4906

EPISCOPAL CHURCHES St. Anselm's Episcopal 682 Michael Lane Lafayette, CA 284-7420 St. Giles Episcopal 1928 St. Mary’s Road Moraga, CA 376-5770

St. Stephen’s Episcopal 66 St. Stephen’s Dr. Orinda, CA 254-3770

CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 3776 Via Granada Moraga, CA 284-4924 JEWISH Temple Isaiah 945 Risa Road Lafayette, CA 283-8575

LUTHERAN CHURCHES Holy Shepherd Lutheran Church 433 Moraga Way Orinda, CA 254-3422 Our Savior’s Lutheran Church 1035 Carol Lane Lafayette, CA 283-3722

NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCHES Refuge Community Church 155 Moraga Road Moraga, CA


942-1000

Willow Spring Church 1689 School Street Moraga, CA 376-3550

ORTHODOX CHURCHES Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church 1700 School Street Moraga, CA 376-5982 St. John Orthodox Church 501 Moraga Way Orinda, CA 258-4255

PRESBYTERIAN Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian 49 Knox Drive Lafayette, CA 283-8722 Moraga Valley Presbyterian 10 Moraga Valley Lane Moraga, CA 376-4800

UNITED METHODIST Lafayette United Methodist Church 955 Moraga Road Lafayette, CA 284-4765

St. Mark's United Methodist Church 451 Moraga Way Orinda, CA 254-5965


- RECENT MARTIN HOMES ARTICLES -

www.MartinHomesTeam.com


Each month Erin & Darrick write and publish the real estate column in Lamorinda Weekly. Below are their recent monthly articles _____________________________________________________________________________________________ November 2017 WHAT THE GOP TAX PLAN MEANS FOR LAMORINDA HOMEOWNERS As we move into the holiday season the GOP has provided a less than cheerful topic for the Thanksgiving dinner table, a new tax plan. The recently released House Republican tax bill contains significant changes that are important for Lamorinda homeowners to understand if this bill passes. Californians already face the nation’s highest state income tax rate of 13.3% and when combined with the highest Federal rate of 39.6%, you end up paying income taxes of 52.9% of your income. Under the proposal there are three changes for homeowners: First is a reduction in the amount of mortgage interest that can be deducted; Second is a new cap on property tax deductions; Third are limits to the capital gains exemption used by homeowners when they sell. Current homeowners are allowed to deduct interest paid on mortgages valued up to $1.1 million, but the proposal cuts the cap to $500,000 for future purchased homes. Also, the bill limits the mortgage interest deduction to only your primary residence, ending the deduction for vacation homes. For anyone with a mortgage more than $1.0 million this would effectively cut your deduction in half. Mortgages over $1.0 million are commonplace in Lamorinda where the average home price is now $1.6 million. Under the tax plan the deduction for property taxes will be capped at $10,000. With local property tax rates close to 1.2% the proposal would effectively eliminate any deduction for assessed home value more than $830,000. Likely the most important change, is the limitation of capital gains exemption on the sale of your home. Currently married couples can exclude up to $500,000 in capital gains from the sale of their primary residence if they have lived in their home for two of the last five years. Under the bill the period will increase to five of the last eight years and you will begin to lose the gain exemption if the income of married couples exceeds $500,000. Combined with the deterrent that CA Prop 13 provides to potentially selling your home (e.g. the step-up in your assessed value of your home) this provision will put further handcuffs on families looking to move up into larger homes and empty nesters looking to downsize. We are concerned about the impact this bill will have on our housing market and our community. Please call us with your real estate questions - Erin at 925.951.3817 or Darrick at 925.900.8218 _____________________________________________________________________________________________ October 2017 FALL REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE While it might be Halloween season the Lamorinda real estate market is anything but spooky these days. Below is a summary of Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”) data for Lamorinda residential detached home sales over the last twelve months from October 2016 to September 2017 (the prior-year comparison is from October 2015 to September 2016). Our real estate market remains strong as the Summer market delivered record figures for most of Lamorinda. The Lamorinda average sales price is now $1.56M, up 6%, and the average sales price per square foot is $610, up 4%. The biggest gains came from homes between 2,500–3,500 square feet where the price per square foot is up 11%. Families are feeling more confident about their financial situation and are moving up into larger homes. In addition, transaction volumes are up 14%, primarily driven by Moraga where transactions are up 37%. We believe this trend can be attributed to the award-winning Moraga schools and the small-town feel. In Lafayette, the average sales price and price per square foot were both up 6% to $1.61M and $634. In Moraga, the average price is up 6% to $1.37M and the average sales price per square foot is down slightly by 1% to $561. In Orinda, the average sales price is up 7% to $1.62M and the average sales price per square foot is up 4% to $610. This is great news for all of us that live in Lamorinda. We expect the market to remain strong through year-end and expect the 2018 Spring market to deliver another record setting performance. pg. 1


Please see the Lamorinda Market Update section of our website (www.MartinHomesTeam.com) for further details and breaks down the numbers by home size. Please also don’t forget to sign-up and participate in the Lafayette Reservoir Run on October 22nd and help support our local schools. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ September 2017 HELLO LAMORINDA! I have received several phone calls from clients who are considering selling their home in the spring. Now is the perfect time to start laying the groundwork for a successful sale. This is especially true in Lamorinda where the spring market has gotten progressively earlier. It is more important than ever to start making your to-do list now if you want to take advantage of this typically strong early selling market. I always suggest that sellers spend time de-cluttering and getting rid of things that they no longer use or need. Consider donating your unwanted treasures to deserving local nonprofits. Thinning out your possessions shouldn’t be an overwhelming exercise and is a good habit to get into regardless of whether or not you are planning to move. Now is also the time to start getting quotes, picking finishes and lining up contractors if you plan to make updates to your home prior to selling. Make sure that you consult with your Realtor® throughout this process to ensure that you are making choices that will appeal to current buyers. It is important to make sure that the money you put into upgrades will translate into higher profits upon sale. When the budget for repairs and upgrades is limited, a simple coat of paint can go a long way to brightening up your home. I also highly recommend sellers pre-inspect their home so there is time to make repairs or disclose any defects before going to market. The home inspector will provide clearly written reports describing the condition of the home and highlighting any areas of concern. If you are not in a position to address the items flagged by the inspector, it may be a good idea to get quotes for their repair and include them in your disclosures. And finally, take a good look at what your home is worth before you go full speed ahead by seeking the advice of a local Realtor® who understands the nuances of the Lamorinda market. They can help you to evaluate your situations and make sure your expectations are realistic and that a move makes financial sense. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ May 2017 LAFAYETTE KITCHEN TOUR MEETS THE SPRING MARKET At the beginning of May, I always start to get excited about the Lafayette Kitchen Tour. No matter how many houses I see throughout the year, I love the kitchen tour because it is a great opportunity to see new kitchen design trends and the creative new choices homeowners are making in their kitchens, while at the same time supporting local charities. If you are thinking about remodeling and need ideas or if you are preparing your home for market, the kitchen tour is a great way to do research. As the spring market unfolds this year, it is important to keep in mind that buyers are paying a steep premium for homes that are completely remodeled to the taste of today’s buyers. For example, 1083 Upper Happy Valley Road, listed for $1,625,000 just sold for $1,905,000. We are hitting new highs in terms of price per square-foot: At 2,073 sqft, 1083 Upper Happy Valley Road sold for $919 a square-foot. In addition, 3943 S. Pearldale sold for $994 a square-foot in March. Although both of these homes were on the smaller side, they were both completely remodeled. Many families moving to Lamorinda have two working parents and do not feel that they have time for remodel projects and are willing to pay a premium for something done. In this market it pays to update kitchens and baths and professionally stage your home as long as you are making choices that appeal to new buyers’ tastes. Make sure you consult with your realtor to ensure you are picking the right finishes. pg. 2


CNBC recently reported that this year’s spring market is the “Strongest Seller’s Market Ever”. They also state that San Francisco tops the list for the the largest number of people looking for homes to purchase outside of their city. Mortgage rates have recently come down and remain near record lows after creeping up slightly at the beginning of the year. The relatively cheap cost of money has certainly helped the spring market. Now back to the kitchen tour - This self-guided tour will be held on Saturday, May 20th from 10am to 3pm and welcomes guests into six special Lafayette homes with masterfully designed unique, elegant, and awe-inspiring kitchens. Proceeds from this year’s event benefit the work of four local non-profit organizations: Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, Alternative Family Services, The Taylor Family Foundation, and Trinity Center. These organizations were selected by the Lafayette Juniors for the support they provide to women, families, and individuals in need throughout the East Bay. Tickets are $40 ($35 tax deductible), with a box lunch available for $15. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lafayettejuniors.org and are also available at Premier Kitchens in Lafayette. Hope to see you on May 20th. Please feel free to email me or call with your real estate questions – I can be reached at erin@erinmartinhomes.com or at (925) 951-3817. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ March 2017 LAND FOR SALE IN LAFAYETTE I feel lucky to have the opportunity to help clients sell and buy very unique and special properties. Lafayette is filled with amazing neighborhoods and interesting nooks and crannies. While we have many beautiful homes, what we don’t see very often are vacant lots. We do see more and more builders and frustrated buyers tearing down existing homes on good lots and starting over because there are so few vacant lots left in Lafayette. I call this the Moraga Blvd phenomena. Every time I drive down this quaint street, there seems to be another home being taken down in order to build something new. In south bay cities like Menlo Park and Palo Alto this common place and maybe the wave of the future in Lafayette. In the last fifteen months only 9 lots have sold in Lafayette. The highest sale was $1,237,000 for 1.3 acres in Reliez Valley. The average sales price was $548,389 and the average price per square foot was $17.66. As of the end of March there were only 7 lots available for sale. Many of the remaining vacant lots in Lafayette have challenging terrain or are difficult to build on because of protected trees, creeks or easements. There are two vacant lots near where I live. Both are pancake flat and one is just short of an acre. After researching both lots out of curiosity and because they look perfect for development, I discovered that one had a utility easement running right through the middle of it. The other has a creek that runs along two sides with a deep embankment. While there are some challenges with the second lot, it would be a wonderful place to build a home if the owner was interested in selling – which is not the case. Often buyers ask me about building costs or about the new prefab homes such as Connect-Homes or BLU homes. I have seen several of these homes going up in Lamorinda and I believe they are becoming more and more popular because they are a less expensive building option than custom new construction. Many prefab vendors also handle the permitting process with the city and the county which is valuable. While these prefab homes appear to be a wonderful new option the issue remains the same – vacant lots are scarce and buying something existing is usually more economical. Please email me with you real estate questions or for a home evaluation. I can be reached by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com or by phone (925) 951-3817. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ February 2017

2017 READY OR NOT pg. 3


First I want to thank you all for your emails and calls about the loss of Ben Miller. I will pass on your kind words to his family. He will not be forgotten by our community. On January 20th 2017 I flew to Washington DC to participate in the Womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s March. I wanted to show solidarity with the millions of other people concerned about womanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rights, immigration. climate change, health care, and LBGTQ rights. While many of you may be thinking - what does this have to do with Lafayette Real Estate? When we think about real estate in Lafayette we consider it an investment. Our schools, climate and families are what make us great and our homes valuable. I plan to continue to find ways to make sure our public schools stay strong, climate research continues and equal rights for everyone are protected. The new year brings anticipation on how the 2017 real estate market will shake out in Lafayette. With a change in presidents, climbing interest rates and crazy unusual rain, buyers are wondering, will it finally slow down so I can jump in? Despite how hot the Lafayette market has been for the last several years, I believe many buyers have stayed on the sidelines waiting to time the market right so they can get a good deal. We all remember the downturn and the buyersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; market from 2008 to 2011 and many buyers believe that we are due for a correction in the near future. While Buyers and sellers are trying to time the market right it is essential to remember that real estate is an investment but for most families looking to buy in Lafayette it is a decision that involves the heart. People are looking to find a place to call home and raise their families. Lafayette has the whole package when it comes to weather, schools, shopping, accessibility to BART and safety. Our small town is a breath of fresh air to those who have been priced out of the South and North bays. We may be due for some sort of correction or decrease in yearly growth but as I sat at my first open house of the year there was no question rain or shine buyers are looking in Lafayette. If you are thinking about delaying putting your home on the market because of the rain go check out some open homes so you can get a good sense of how many buyers are out looking. If you are thinking about selling you should definitely be looking under your house to make sure it is dry. This intense rain is testing the best of drainage systems. Every year I think my husband is being a little too type A when he meticulously cleans our drains and gutters but this year I am thankful for his hard work. Email me if you need resources for drainage, gutter repair or if you are concerned about new movement, cracking or settlement in your home. The sooner you get it checked out the better. Even if you are not thinking of selling excessive moisture under your home can lead to odors, rotted framing, pests, foundation movement and mold. As a wrap up 2016, the stats are in. According to Contra Costa Association of Realtors the number of new single family home listings in 2016 was down 15.2% from 2015. The average home sale price was down 1.6% from $1,530,847 to $1,506,811. I believe the change, although small, can be attributed to buyers waiting to see how the election played out and anticipating a correction to come. The most shocking numbers come from townhome, condo and attached home sales. Inventory increased by 300%. The average sales price is up 27.5% to $987,639. There obviously is a demand in Lafayette for all the higher density construction. 2017 is going to be another great year for real estate in Lafayette. Please feel free to email me your real estate questions or call for a free home evaluation (925) 951-3817 _____________________________________________________________________________________________ January 2017

REMEMBERING BEN MILLER Just before Thanksgiving, the Lamorinda realtor community was stunned and heart broken by the loss of Ben Miller, a beloved local Realtor with Dudum Real Estate Group. Ben passed away suddenly due to a heart condition at his home in Moraga. Ben is survived by his beautiful wife, Ashlie Rolley Miller, his six-year-old son and his new baby. Needless to say, Ben was way too young to be taken from his family and friends. Ben and I began our careers in real estate at the same time and became friends. The loss that I feel for his family and our community is immeasurable. Ben brought laughter, kindness and positivity to our profession and his clients. We had so much more to gain from his perspective and his drive to succeed. I wish there was a way to document how many colleagues and friends were touched by Ben and devastated by his passing. The response speaks to how truly beloved he was and how deeply he will be missed. pg. 4


Real Estate is a competitive profession but Ben and his business partner, Sherry Hutchins were such a successful team. Ben and Sherry, top-ranked at Dudum Real Estate, worked tirelessly for their clients. It was just the beginning for Ben. Many of you know Ben outside of work from swim meets, sporting events and school functions as an incredibly attentive dad. Ben loved being a part of his kids lives and talked endlessly about his newborn daughter. There is a gofund me site where you can offer support Ben’s family - https://www.gofundme.com/a-celebration-of-ben-miller. Life is fragile. It reminds us to hug the ones we love and cherish all the things we have to be thankful for. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ December 2016 YOUR SPRING MARKET TO DO LIST I have received several phone calls from clients and readers who are considering selling their home in the spring. Despite the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, now is the perfect time to start laying the groundwork for a successful sale. This is especially true in Lamorinda where the “spring” market has gotten progressively earlier; school enrollment begins in the early spring which means many buyers are looking to close on their new home even earlier in the year to ensure that their child is able to attend neighborhood schools. It is more important than ever to start making your to-do list now if you want to take advantage of this typically strong early selling market. I always suggest that sellers spend time de-cluttering and getting rid of things that they no longer use or need. Consider donating your unwanted treasures. There are wonderful charities that will pick up items that can be reused or recycled. These donations not only help deserving non-profits, but your generosity will be repaid come tax time when you are looking for those itemized chartable deductions. When it comes to trash, if you live in Lafayette, Republic Services (previously know as Allied Waste) provide bulk garbage pick ups. Check with your service provider to find out more information. There are also professional organizers who will come to your home if you need extra help with the de-cluttering process. Thinning out your possessions need not be an overwhelming exercise and is a good habit to get into regardless of whether or not you are planning to move. Now is also the time to start getting quotes, picking finishes and lining up contractors if you plan to make updates to your home prior to selling. Make sure that you consult with your Realtor® throughout this process to ensure that you are making choices that will appeal to current buyers. While as homeowners we may love a particular avant-garde choice in decor, it may not be what today’s buyers want and are paying a premium for. It is important to make sure that the money you put into upgrades will translate into more profit at the close of escrow. However, there are some circumstances in which it does not make financial sense to make updates in advance of a sale. In this case or when the budget for repairs and upgrades is limited, I often recommend just a simple coat of paint. It can go a long way to brightening up a house and making it feel current and refreshed. About a year ago, I wrote about the benefits of presale inspections. I still highly recommend sellers pre-inspect their home so there is time to make repairs or disclose any defects before going to market. A pest inspection and a home inspection are good places to start. It is essential to use reputable inspectors, who are well known and trusted. They will provide clearly written reports describing the condition of the home and highlighting any areas of concern. If you are not in a position to address the items flagged by the inspector, it may be a good idea to get quotes for their repair and include them in your disclosures. That will help potential buyers to better understand the current condition of the home and also the financial implication of any problems. I believe it is always in the seller’s best interest to disclose to potential buyers as much information as possible up front. It allows for more informed decisions to be made on all sides and reduces the likelihood of having to renegotiate a deal once in escrow, based on newly discovered defects. Do keep in mind that, even with presale inspections, a buyer may still want to do their own inspections. Many sellers are surprised when they have paid for a home inspection and the buyer decides to perform one as well, but getting a second opinion is a common practice. And finally, take a good look at what your home is worth before you go full speed ahead. This means looking beyond your Zestimate and seeking the advice of a local Realtor® who understands the nuances of the Lamorinda market. They can help you to evaluate your situations and make sure your expectations are realistic and that a move makes financial sense. pg. 5


I wish you and your family a wonderful and restful holiday season. Please email me with you real estate questions or for a home evaluation. I can be reached by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com or by phone (925) 951-3817. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ November 2016 2016 DESIGN TRENDS IN REVIEW One of the many perks of being in the real estate business is that I get a front row seat when it comes to new trends in home design. It is exciting to see what home owners are doing in terms of remodeling and updating and it is just as interesting to see what trends buyers are paying a premium for. There is no question that the open floor plan is in and that the formal dining room is out. Home owners are sacrificing the separate formal dining space to create more open spaces even if this means that the only dining space is incorporated into the kitchen. Buyers like more informal dining areas as long as they feel there is plenty of room for guests and family to dine during holidays and special occasions. The oversized island has also dominated kitchen design. Room to sit around the island is key for buyers and when it comes to countertops, manufactured surfaces are increasingly popular. The newest product is called Neolith and it has many wonderful characteristics such as: resistant to high and low temperatures, scratch resistant, easy to clean, hygienic, waterproof and 100% recyclable. There are many styles and finishes to choose from. Keep a look out for this new material. When it comes to flooring I am partial to solid wood but engineered wide plank floors are everywhere. A range of colors are popular from very light to very dark. Often these products are prefinished so the installation is quicker and leaves less of a mess behind. Mixing of styles is also en vogue. For example, while many homes may look very traditional on the outside the interior has a more modern feel or a mixture of both. An example of this is the Modern farmhouse. It is a perfect mixture of rustic and new. Modern materials are used like metal roofing, prefabricated wood flooring and stainless steel appliances. These modern features are juxtaposed to sliding barn doors, large farm tables and reclaimed wood accents. White is the new grey when it comes to exterior and interior paint. Picking the right shade of grey that is not too blue or too green has led homeowners to go with white. Different shades of white â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and there are many â&#x20AC;&#x201C; make rooms appear bigger, cleaner and lighter. If you are thinking about making changes to your home, it is important to keep in mind what buyers like if you think you will be selling in the near future. It is better to go with more neutral colors and styles than go to the extreme when it comes to trends. If you are interested in checking out what is new in home and kitchen design and at the same time support local charities, the Lafayette Kitchen Tour, organized by the Lafayette Juniors, is scheduled for May 20th 2017. I wish you and your family a wonderful Holiday season. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ October 2016 FALL IS HERE The hustle and bustle of Fall is here but the Moms of Lafayette get a moment to catch their breath now that school is back in session. Summer vacations are gone, day camps are behind us and weekend trips to Tahoe make way for Saturday soccer games, fall basketball and parent school parties. September also brings an increase in real estate activity as parents or soon-to-be parents can now focus on where they want to live for the next twenty or so years. Lamorinda saw a strong Spring selling season with a continued upward trend over last year. As we transitioned into Summer the higher-end market over $1.5 million started to soften a bit as folks started to scatter for Summer plans. In addition, in mid-June the pg. 6


stock market dropped by 6% in less than a week and lack of recent Bay Area IPOs started to catch up to us a bit. The back-half of 2015 and the first half of 2016 was a lack luster period for Bay Area IPOs, which are impacting Lafayette home prices more than ever as tech companies continue to push north into San Francisco and Oakland making Lafayette now accessible. This combination of seasonality and other economic influences in my opinion helped drive the softness we saw in the higher-end market over the Summer where price reductions and extended time on the market were the norm. This is a good reminder that like a lot of things in life timing is critical for certain major decisions. While our home is the place we all raise our families and build lasting memories it is also likely your largest asset that requires a great deal of care and thought when either buying or selling. Understanding and monitoring the local market and all factors that influence the value of your home are crucial anytime you are even thinking about selling or buying a home. As September has come around we have seen the higher-end market come around a bit. Buyers are back looking for homes in force, the stock market has rebounded 10% from early June and a few Bay Area IPOs have had strong recent initial showings. Timing sometimes is everything, or at least a major contributing factor. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ September 2016 ZESTIMATES: CASES FOR AND AGAINST How many of you regularly monitor the value of your home on real estate sites like Zillow? This month I want to share my perspective on these values measures or “Zestimate” and what they mean to the market value of your home. In my view these estimates of your home are like the weatherman telling us that it will be in the 70’s tomorrow. I generally know it will be a nice day but I would certainly like to know if it will be 79° so I can wear shorts and a T-shirt or 70° so I bring a sweater. While sellers start with Zillow when considering if it makes financial sense to sell, very rarely does Zillow agree with my pricing feedback. In my experience more often than not Zillow over estimates the value of a home and sellers are shocked when my pricing feedback does not match up with their Zestimate. Los Angeles Times writer, Kenneth R. Harney, interviewed the CEO of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff in February of 2015 and asked the question how accurate is Zillow? Spencer Rascoff answered that they're "a good starting point, but that nationwide Zestimates have a "median error rate" of about 8%. In some rural counties in California, error rates range as high as 26%. In San Francisco it's 11.6%.” I found this large margin of error shocking. If my pricing feedback was off the mark by 8-26% I would have very few clients. With the median home price of $1,375,000 year to date in Lafayette, the error rate can range from $110,000 to $357,500. There are endless reasons why Zillow has such a large margin of error. For example, Zillow never inspects a home nor do they hear freeway noise, see curb-appeal or lack thereof, check out busy roads, see an undesirable home next door nor does Zillow consider the other endless factors that go into determining market value. Pricing is make-it or break-it when it comes to buying or selling Real Estate. In other words, if my pricing feedback to a buyer is off the mark – the buyer either loses the house to another or overpays. When it comes to listing, a home that is overpriced sits on the market and all momentum and leverage is lost. So the next time you look at Zillow and daydream about packing up, cashing in and moving to Oregon, remember Zillow is only in the ballpark and if you still decide to move after getting more accurate feedback from your realtor or an appraiser keep in mind then you won’t live in Lafayette. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions. I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ pg. 7


August 2016 DISCOVER SARANAP Recently I sent a listing in Saranap to clients who are looking to purchase investment property in Lamorinda. I explained to my clients that Saranap is bounded on the south and east by portions of Walnut Creek and on the north and west by Lafayette but Saranap is a residential census-designated place. Some portions of Saranap have a Walnut Creek address but feed into Lafayette schools and some portions into Walnut Creek schools. According to Wikipedia “Saranap has had numerous opportunities to be annexed as either part of Lafayette, or of Walnut Creek. These have been largely resisted by the occupants, whose land use is governed by county rules. These include the ability to keep small aviaries and bees, which can be highly restricted by law in surrounding cities, and in newer neighborhoods by restrictive covenants. My clients were not impressed and told me that they wanted to find something in Lamorinda. During a Sunday tour I suggested that we go check out Saranap. My clients had never been to this neighborhood despite being extremely familiar with Lamorinda. We drove around and visited a home on the market They fell in love with the quaintness and the convenience to downtown Walnut Creek and Lafayette as well as Hwy 24. While many of you may know Saranap well, I have discovered that there are many local residents and buyers out there who do not know about this special neighborhood. Saranap feels undiscovered. In addition to the charm and central location, in my experience your dollar goes further in Saranap I can not say enough good things about this neighborhood. Homes feed into Burton Valley or Parkmead Elementary – both are award winning. The Burton Valley bus stops throughout Saranap and picks kids up for school and many other families are in walking distance to Parkmead. In addition, Hall Equities plans to develop Boulevard Way into a mixed-use village with residential uses and restaurants, services, and shops. Many residents would be within walking distance to restaurants, coffee and other shops. The proposed project is controversial because of the height of the buildings and because of concerns about the overall affect on the neighborhood. I do think that the ability to walk to amenities will be such an amazing benefit to residents and to home prices in this neighborhood. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions. I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ July 2016 PRICE REDUCTIONS….THAT CAN’T BE TRUE!? The number of price reductions for homes above $1.5 million has picked up in Lamorinda and is the likely result of the recent tempered Bay Area IPO market over the last 6 - 9 months. Historically the tech IPO market has provided the fuel to drive real estate prices higher in the Bay Area as employees trade their stock options for dream homes. In the past month my inbox has been filled with agents advertising price reductions in Lamorinda . While it is uncertain this trend will continue (as in recent weeks pre-IPO companies like Uber have raised large sums of money), the recent price reduction trend has resulted in contentious escrows as sellers are reluctant to realize they have a little less leverage than in recent years. Most sellers still feel that they are in control and can demand prices above last year’s levels but today both buyers and sellers are figuring out how leverage has shifted. A good example of this is in mid-June I wrote an offer for clients on a house that had recently done a $25,000 price reduction. The new price was in my client’s price range so they decided to write an offer at the new asking price. They wrote a clean offer with good terms without a loan contingency. The listing agent informed me that there were no competing offers. My clients were surprised when they received a counter offer asking for $10,000 more than the reduced asking price. After several discussions my clients decided not to accept the counter in hopes that the seller would come around. pg. 8


Unfortunately, the next day the seller received another offer and went into contract. The drama continued when two days later the listing agent called back to inform me that the current buyer backed out and asked if my clients were still interested. Not wanting to lose the house again my clients agreed to pay the additional $10,000. In this particular case my clients accepted the seller’s terms but the seller did not get his original asking price, leaving the seller disappointed and the buyers feeling they over paid. While our market continues to be a seller’s market because of the lack of inventory – sellers have less leverage as often there are not buyers in back up position or because sellers have been forced to reduce their listing price to get buyers interested. If you are thinking about selling your home make sure that you and your realtor look at the most recent comps. Prices from the beginning of the year for certain homes are very different from prices going into the summer months. Set realistic expectations and come up with a solid pricing strategy especially if you are in a position where selling your home quickly is vital. Please email or call with your real estate questions. I can be reached at erin@erinmartinhomes.com or by phone (925) 951-3817. __________________________________________________________________________________________ June 2016 SUMMERTIME IS HERE!!!!!! Spring is traditionally when people decide to sell their homes in Lafayette for a multitude of reasons. When the weather is beautiful and flowers are in bloom homes look their best. Buyers traditionally receive their end of the year bonus the first of the year, have the money for a down payment and are no longer distracted by the winter holidays. Not to mention families are looking forward to the next school year and are trying to move to Lafayette in time to enroll their children in our award winning schools before summer break. Springtime is when sellers historically do best. So what has the spring market been like in Lafayette in 2016? According to statistics collected by Contra Costa Association of Realtors, as of April 30th, inventory is down 9.2%, the number of single-family pending & closed home sales are down 21% and the average sales price is up 6.3% to $1,586,903 compared to $1,419,886 in 2015. The low inventory has pushed prices to new heights in Lafayette. Prices are significantly higher than the previous high water mark of 2006 where the average sales price was $1,359,845. While Lafayette single-family inventory is definitely an issue townhome / condo listings have doubled and closed sales are up 150% thanks to new developments like the Woodbury. If you are curious how Lafayette stacks up against Orinda and Moraga - I am too. A little friendly competition never hurts. For Orinda the average home price is $1,635,741, the number of listings are down 6.1% and closed transactions are also down 41.6%. Moraga inventory is actually up 14.7% from last year while the average home price is $1,281,815 up 2.35% over 2015. As the spring market wraps up what is in store for this summer? There are definitely buyers who will be continuing to look through the summer months because they have not secured a home during the spring due to the short supply of single family homes. Despite the significant increase in the average sales price across the board in Lamorinda you can’t ignore that the number of closed transactions has slowed. Interest rates are holding near historical lows, but we will likely need further appreciation in Bay Area technology company valuations to push prices higher from here. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. __________________________________________________________________________________________ May 2016 VOTE YES ON C As Lafayette home owners we know that maintaining our property only protects and preserves our investment and prevents further damage. Although this is a given, when was the last time you crawled under your house to check to see if it is dry or peaked in the attic to make sure that there are not any pesky critters sleeping, eating and wreaking havoc? I know that general maintenance often gets overlooked in my household, not because we don’t think it is important but because we didn’t check under the hood to see if we needed more oil. pg. 9


We have not checked “under the hood” of our award winning schools – which we all benefit from whether it be increased property values or happy, healthy and well educated kids. I can’t tell you how many times I hear from buyers – “We want to live in Lafayette because the schools have such a stellar reputation.” Our five schools, Lafayette Elementary, Happy Valley Elementary, Springhill Elementary, Burton Valley Elementary and Stanley Intermediate are now 50-70 years old and only one of the five schools received upgrades over 16 years ago. The physical state of our schools does not reflect the quality of education that our children receive. We are fortunate to have teachers, administrators and parent volunteers who have dedicated their precious time to bring to our attention the desperate need to repair/replace leaky roofs, deteriorated plumbing, HVAC, lighting and electrical systems. Measure C will also upgrade technology infrastructure to keep pace with 21st century learning, modernize outdated classrooms, labs and equipment. We can no longer ignore enrollment growth and instructional needs – Measure C will construct modern, flexible classrooms at Stanley Middle School and reconfigure or construct classrooms on the districts four elementary school sites. School safety items will be addressed such as play equipment and pick up drop off zones. Measure C will cost Lafayette home owners $29.50 per year for every $100,000 of assessed value – not the market value of your home. Assessed value is the taxable value of your home and business and will vary greatly based on when you purchased your home. The good news is that all funds will stay local and no funds can be spent on administrator’s salaries, benefits or pensions. You can learn more about Measure C online – www.YESforLafayetteSchools.org. Please take the time to go online offer your support and vote yes for Measure C by absentee ballot or at the polls on June 7th. Our home values depend on our schools. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. __________________________________________________________________________________________ April 2016 APPRAISING APPRAISALS Thank you for your comments and phone calls after last month’s article on downsizing. Gaging the responses I received, the article struck a cord for many local residents. The lack of options is an issue and unfortunately one that is not easily resolved. Lafayette is a wonderful place because there are so many generations of families who stay in Lafayette – we need to ensure that downsizers have affordable options and can remain a part of the community that they have lived in and supported for so many years. Recently clients of mine wrote on offer on a home that received multiple offers, one of which was all cash. In order to compete with the all cash offer my clients waived their appraisal and loan contingencies despite knowing that there was a good chance the property would not appraise. In the past six months there were very few sales in close proximity to the property that were similar in terms of lot size, square footage, condition of the home and purchase price. The lack of inventory that we have experienced makes finding three sold comps and two pending or active comps in the past six months, which is what lenders generally require, a challenge for appraisers. My clients made the decision that they were willing to risk making up the difference between the sales price and the appraised value because they loved the home and ultimately because they were tired of losing out to cash buyers who don’t need an appraisal or other buyers who waived the appraisal contingency. Prior to waiving the contingency we went through worst case scenarios and ran the numbers to determine how much more money they would need to come up with based on financing of 80% loan-to-value. An appraisal determines how much a lender will loan a buyer on a given property. My clients were comfortable with the worst case scenario. We waited nervously to hear the outcome of the appraisal. By law appraisals must be done by a third party who have no interest in the outcome. The appraiser is selected by an Appraisal Management Company. A week after meeting the appraiser at the subject property my clients received a report and were shocked to find out that the property appraised for $210,000 below the purchase price. Immediately we scrambled and ordered a new appraisal that came in three days later at the purchase price. Fortunately, my clients could breathe a sigh of relief and did not need to show up with and additional $168,000 at closing. pg. 10


Two separate appraisers came up with such different values within days of each other. Often appraisers who are from out of town or who are not familiar with local neighborhoods miss the mark when it comes to local home prices. In this particular case the appraiser who came in low had not seen the comps and was comparing apples to oranges. Realtor Magazine recently found that the top reasons for closing delays and cancellations involves appraisal issues. The third most common reason for cancellation of a contract is the appraisal – in fact 11% percent of cancellations can be attributed to a property not being valued at the sales price by the appraiser. In 18% of escrows the appraisal is the cause of delays in closings. As a buyer and as a seller it is crucial to understand the appraisal process and to have a Realtor who can advocate appropriately to ensure that your escrow does not fall through due to a low appraisal. Comps are hard to come by when there is low inventory and it is essential that realtors give appraisers the most up to date info including the number of offers and how many are cash and the condition of the property. Buyers really need to educate themselves on the process and have a game plan for how to handle low appraisals especially because sellers often have buyers in back up and are unwilling to negotiate a price reduction due to a low appraisal. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. __________________________________________________________________________________________ March 2016 DOWNSIZING IN LAFAYETTE What I love more than anything about Lafayette is the small town feel. When I go to the grocery store I love running into childhood friends, my parent’ neighbors, and even my elementary school teachers. There are so many reasons to love our small town which is why I believe multi generations of families choose to stay and raise their families in Lafayette. My parents still live in my childhood home. My Dad grew up in Lafayette and he would never consider leaving. I think the same could be said for so many people who have spent their lives in our beloved town. Recently a client asked me to list off all potential options for downsizing in Lafayette. Unfortunately, there are very few choices. Although I don’t think this is entirely a new problem, I do believe the lack of inventory in Lafayette stems from more and more people staying in their homes longer because there are so few options when it comes to finding something smaller and low maintenance. Twenty-five years ago many of my friends’ parents downsized to smaller homes near downtown on streets like Moraga Blvd. But now Moraga Blvd is the “Hot Spot” for families who value walkability and proximity to BART and are willing to sacrifice smaller yards and square footage for the more urban like lifestyle. In December of 2015 a two bedroom one bath home sold for $1,100,000 and a 1,563 square foot fixer sold for $964,000. A slightly larger home with 2,121 square feet sold for $1,410,000 in May of 2015. My Mom’s friend bought a home on Moraga Blvd. in the mid 1990’s for $350,000 when her kids left for college. The Woodbury is a new housing option that offers a lock and leave lifestyle. The location is extremely convenient to downtown and the reservoir. Units are all single story and accessible by elevators. In January of this year a 2 bedroom sold for $1,340,000 and in November of 2015 a three bedroom sold for just shy of $1,500,000. The ongoing joke for my parents is that a three bedroom in the Woodbury is in fact larger than their current home. The option to end a forty-year battle with a leaky sprinkler and pesky deer that eat my mom’s roses, is appealing. Although my parent’s are staying put in their home, just yesterday a client of mine put their name on a list to for a unit at the Woodbury. Merrill Gardens is another new option in Lafayette that is centrally located on Second Street and Mount Diablo Blvd. There are 85 senior living apartments and several different levels of care provided to residents. For example, there is independent living, assisted living, memory care and respite care services. Monthly rent, which includes all meals, housekeeping, transportation, utilities, maintenance and more starts at $3,500 per month. Other services include any time dining, activities, and Concierge Services. The apartments have kitchens and washer/dryers, and current availability includes Studio and 1 Bedroom apartments, with a waitlist for 2-bedroom apartments. pg. 11


The city of Lafayette planning department offers an up-to-date list of housing options in Lafayette including rentals and new potential building projects under review. This is a great source of information. You can follow plans like the KB Homes project on Dewing between BART and Petco. Check out their website to learn more: http://www.ci.lafayette.ca.us/city-hall/city-departments/planning-building/housing Please email or call with your real estate questions. I can be reached at erin@erinmartinhomes.com or (925) 951-3817 if you would like I free home valuation. _______________________________________________________________________________________ February 2016 ISSUE OF INVENTORY The current lack of inventory is the hot topic in Lafayette Real Estate this January. The beginning of the year is traditionally a very slow time because sellers wait until the rainy season is over, gardens are in bloom and buyers are out planning for the upcoming school enrollment period. While historically January has been slow month for real estate, this January there is a surplus of buyers desperately wanting to purchase a home. In early January, a 1,481 sq. ft. Burton Valley fixer on Burnt Oak Circle that was listed for $880,000 received 11 offers, six of which were all cash. As of January 16th, there was one active listing in Lafayette under a million dollars and it does not feed into the Lafayette school district. There are four detached family homes available under $1.5M, one of which is in the Martinez school district and only one property is newly listed on the MLS. There are four active listings over $2.6M. These numbers speak for themselves in describing the current lack of inventory. If you have been thinking about selling there is a real benefit to coming on the market before there is more competition. Waiting until the spring to get the highest price is no longer a hard-and-fast rule. Basic economics of supply and demand tells us that things sell for more money when there is an abundance of buyers when supply is scarce, which certainly also applies to housing. Unfortunately, most sellers assume real estate does not sell in the winter and this is just not true in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s market. During the holidays I received many calls from new buyers who were on vacation and had time to think about house hunting. With the new-year comes a new home mentality where buyers are planning the purchase of their new home. Many people have received their year-end bonus and are ready to put their money towards a down payment. If you do decide to beat the competition to market this winter make sure that you or your agent keep the house heated for showings and open houses and leave lights on so your home feels bright despite shorter days and El Nino weather. Buyers are aware that the drought has taken a toll on lawns and gardens. Making sure your yard is tidy and clear of debris as well as adding some black bark can go a long way this winter. While there is some concern of the stock market and how raising interest rates will affect home prices there is no real sign that this is impacting Lafayette. In addition, since many market pundits feel economic uncertainty will increase in the second half of the year getting a jump on any plans to sell your home in 2016 will likely only benefit you. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. _______________________________________________________________________________________ January 2016 COVET THY NEIGHBORS HOUSE? The end of the year is such a busy time, I hope everyone had a moment to come up for air and enjoy ringing in the New Year. Over the holidays my neighbor put his home on the market. Naturally, during the first open house my husband and I went next door to check it out. We were curious about the floor plan, interested in what updates they had made and bottom line how their home compared to our house. We were being nosey neighbors. This is a term I use affectionately and I love it when neighbors come to pg. 12


visit homes I am holding open. I think that nosey neighbors show potential buyers that this is a neighborhood where people take pride in ownership and care about their real estate investment. My husband and I are very invested in the sale of our neighborâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home because it provides a data point for how much our home is worth in the current market. For some of us this is important because we want to know how much equity we have in our home or for others it helps to evaluate if it is a good time to sell. Home values are determined by comparison sales in the area. The condition, fixtures, square footage, lot size of recent sold homes helps realtors, appraisers and buyers determine a homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s value. The bottom line is that it only helps us if our neighbor has a successful sale. Buyers are investing in a neighborhood and not just a home so there are some important things you can do to help your neighbor in selling their home and ultimately yourself. The most important thing you can do to assist your neighbor is help ensure your neighborhood shines as bright as possible. Keep your yard tidy and pull garbage bins off of the street. If you have animals be conscious of open house times and schedules and keep animals inside. It can be stressful for animals when open houses draw more cars and traffic. Sellers have an obligation to disclosure a loud barking dog or a failing fence, neighbors just need to seem well, neighborly. I used my neighbor selling his home as a good excuse to encourage my husband to trim back our hedge and to encourage my kids to thin out all their bikes and toys littering our yard. I am hopeful that potential buyers did not hear me yelling at them to turn off the television and get outside and help me. I am looking forward to the New Year in Lafayette real estate. It is always exciting to see how the spring market unfolds. Please feel free to email me your real estate comments or questions or if you are considering selling your home and would like a free home valuation. _______________________________________________________________________________________ December 2015 PRESALE INSPECTIONS If you are thinking about selling your home and have not sold a home for some time, you might be surprised that many sellers are obtaining what are referred to as presale inspections prior to going to market. Historically sellers would only provide a pest report but now seller provided home, sewer, chimney, pool, roof and pest inspections are common place. This new trend is driven by sellers trying to reduce sales price reductions and renegotiating while in escrow by minimizing the occurrence of new previously undisclosed defects. The assumption is that a buyer offered X amount to purchase the property based on the information provided to the buyer. If the buyer knows that there is a crack in the pool the buyer should adjust their offer price accordingly. If new defects are discovered during the inspection period these items are typically renegotiated. Presale inspections also allow sellers an opportunity to correct defects that may scare away buyers. If a buyer has as much information available prior to making an offer they can make a more informed decision and determine their level of comfort with the condition of the home. In addition, in multiple offer situations more information about the house is available during the competitive bidding process compared to a seller having reduced leverage when renegotiating new discovered defects in escrow. A couple of key things to keep in mind is that just because a seller completes presale inspections does not mean the buyer should not do their own inspections and get a second opinion. Many sellers are shocked when they have paid for a home inspection and the buyer decides to perform one as well. Getting a second opinion is a common practice. The argument against presale inspections is that what is discovered and put in a written report could scare away potential buyers where as buyers who are present during inspections can ask questions and get feedback from inspectors. While this argument may have some validity, buyers should always be encouraged to go over inspections with their realtor and to call inspectors for further information even if they are not present during the inspection. A seller may decide they want the buyer to pay for inspections or they may not be in a position to pay. Home inspections in the Lamorinda area run about $550 and go up from there depending on the square footage of the home. A pest inspection is generally $275 and same with a sewer inspection. A roof inspection is roughly a $100 and a Chimney is approximately $175 and more if a pg. 13


home has more than one chimney. Although this is an added expense for the seller, it is well worth it if last minute costly credits are prevented. If cost is a factor it is possible to work with inspectors who accept payment through escrow. It is essential to use reputable inspectors who are well known and trusted who provide clear written reports that can be provided to potential buyers prior to making an offer. Disclose all reports even if a seller is disputing the validity of the report. Get a second opinion and quotes for repairs that need completing but always disclose. I want to emphasize that presale inspections do not relieve sellers of other disclosure obligations. When you occupy a property you know conditions that may not be evident in a one-time inspection and must pass this information on to all interested parties. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com. _______________________________________________________________________________________ November 2015 LAFAYETTE GOES HIGH TECH There is no question that my three children provide me with tech support and know more about iphones, apps and cool new technology than I do but what I do know is there is growing trend in the San Francisco commercial real estate market that bodes well for Lamorinda long-term home values. The high-tech boom over the last three decades has primarily benefitted home values in the Silicon Valley and surrounding South Bay areas and has eluded Lamorinda because of the long commutes down to the Peninsula. In recent years, this situation has begun to change with many big name technology firms deciding to headquarter in or open offices in San Francisco. It is quickly becoming in vogue for these firms to move north along Highway 101 or 280. These companies value San Francisco whether it be because it is culturally rich, centrally located, temperate or just a really cool place to work. This trend puts Lamorinda in reach to all technology employees that now work in San Francisco and are looking for great schools, walkability and public transportation - not to mention all of our great new restaurants and food shopping options. To name a few, Twitter, Saleforce, Spotify, Dropbox, Airbnb, Square, Uber and Zendesk are all headquartered in San Francisco and Google and Apple have both recently added sizable office space in the City. Google recently announced that it purchased a building along San Francisco's waterfront and is leasing 250,000 square feet at One Market Office Plaza. LinkedIn is building a 26 story headquarter building on Second Street that will house 2,500 workers and Salesforce is building what will be the tallest building in San Francisco that will be over 714,000 square feet. According to CNET, since 2010, 31% of the jobs created in San Francisco are in the tech industry. I have seen this trend first hand as many of my clients work at these firms mentioned above. This shift is nothing but good news for the long term impact on Lafayette real estate. Many of my buyers ask if the market is going to calm down and if it will become less competitive to buy a home in Lafayette in the near future? If this trend continues there will only be more buyers out there looking to call Lafayette home. Please feel free to call or email me your real estate questions or for a free home evaluation. I can be reached at (925) 951-3817 or by email at erin@erinmartinhomes.com.

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