Simple Landscaping Upgrades to Attract Prospective Buyers

A home can be modern and cozy inside, but without curb appeal, potential buyers will lose interest before they step inside. An attractive, well-kept lawn is one of the first things people will notice. The good news is that upgrading an existing lawn doesn’t have to take months, and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Here are a few simple upgrades to help boost your curb appeal.

Remove Weeds

If weeds have gained the upper hand, pulling is still the tried and true method for getting rid of weeds in a hurry. If the act of pulling the weeds won’t do the trick, you’ll need to attack them with an herbicide. Always use chemicals strategically and make sure to use the correct amount–different weeds require different treatment.


Take a stroll around your lawn and pick up anything that doesn’t belong. Take a wheelbarrow if you have a lot of branches, twigs or other debris. Pick up children’s toys and gardening tools. Put hoses away, or invest in an attractive roller.


Rake over brown spots to remove dead grass, then spread grass seed. For a more enhanced effect, aerate the soil before overseeding to help break up the soil and allow nutrients to get to the root of the grass more efficiently.


Taller grass stays green longer than short grass. Set your mower relatively high and take a little off the top every three to five days. Be sure the blade is sharp. A dull blade tears the grass and leaves ragged, brown edges.


Nitrogen-rich fertilizer will green up your lawn quickly, make sure to use the right amount according to your soil and grass type. A little nitrogen is a good thing, but too much may damage your lawn. Limit this trick to once or twice a year. Be sure and water well immediately after applying any type of fertilizer.

Iron is also helpful in turning a drab grass into a lush and healthy green lawn. Mineral supplements can be inexpensive and can be found at your local garden center or nursery.

Freshen up

Refresh any flower beds around your lawn by laying down a new think layer of mulch. The deep tones of fresh mulch will help compliment the more potent hues within the rest of the landscaping, making everything else pop. Fresh mulch is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take too much time to apply yourself.

You can also consider investing in an inexpensive edger to smooth out and even out the edges of your lawn. This is a quick and easy way to make your landscaping look trim and neat.

Add color

Flower beds and container gardens are a great way to add a pop of color into your landscaping. Plant a few cheerful annuals such as geraniums, petunias or marigolds. Clean up an exterior furniture or give it a fresh coat of paint. Don’t be afraid to use bright, bold colors.

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New Tax Reform Law

The new tax reform bill, which was signed into law by President Trump in late December, will be effective for the 2018 tax year. The National Association of REALTORS® has put together a useful summary to help you understand how the law affects homeowners and the real estate industry. Below, I have shared direct excerpts from that summary about a few of the major provisions affecting current and prospective homeowners.

Tax Rate Reductions

  • The new law provides generally lower tax rates for all individual tax filers. While this does not mean that every American will pay lower taxes under these changes, many will.
  • The tax rate schedule retains seven brackets with slightly lower marginal rates of 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%.

Exclusion of Gain on Sale of a Principal Residence

  • The final bill retains current law – a significant victory that NAR achieved.

Mortgage Interest Deduction

  • The final bill reduces the limit on deductible mortgage debt to $750,000 for new loans taken out after December 14, 2017. Current loans of up to $1 million are grandfathered and are not subject to the new $750,000 cap. Neither limit is indexed for inflation.
  • Homeowners may refinance debts existing on December 14, 2017 up to $1 million and still deduct the interest, so long as the new loan does not exceed the amount of the mortgage being refinanced.
  • The final bill repeals the deduction for interest paid on home equity debt through December 31, 2025. Interest is still deductible on home equity loans (second mortgages) if the proceeds are used to substantially improve the residence.
  • Interest remains deductible on second homes, but subject to the $1 million/$750,000 limits.

Deduction for State and Local Taxes

  • The final bill allows an itemized deduction of up to $10,000 for the total of state and local property taxes and income or sales taxes. This $10,000 limit applies for both single and married filers and is not indexed for inflation.
  • The final bill also specifically precludes the deduction of 2018 state and local income taxes prepaid in 2017.

Standard Deduction

  • The final bill provides a standard deduction of $12,000 for single individuals and $24,000 for joint returns. The new standard deduction is not indexed for inflation.

None of the information in the NAR report is intended as tax advice, so please consult your tax adviser for additional guidance. 

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Bay Area Real Estate Market Update


With the economy anticipated to continue growing, demand for housing is expected to remain strong and incrementally boost home prices, according to the California Association of REALTORS®. C.A.R.’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young states, “This year’s housing market can be told as a tale of two markets – the inventory constrained lower end and the upper end that’s non-inventory constrained. This trend is likely to continue into 2018…” Read more about what’s happening now from our Northern California offices.


Monterey County – The real estate market in Monterey experienced a slight year-end plateau in home prices, which is great for home seekers because the frenzy has subsided. The exception is Pacific Grove that continues to be in high demand with only 28 properties currently available for sale. There was a general slowing in the luxury market, but it is too soon to tell if this is due to the recent tax reform. The new year is a great time for sellers to get their properties primed for sale and Monterey has experienced great weather for exterior photography and yard maintenance.

North Bay – Greenbae saw a continued seller’s market due to low inventory. The luxury market has slowed in Marin County, but multiple offers are still expected on well-priced homes.  Santa Rosa Bicentennial also saw reduced inventory, but a decrease in offers has offset the seller’s market.

Economists predict higher mortgage rates in 2018 and affordability may be in question later in the year. For those on the fence about selling, it may be an opportune time while the pool of qualified buyers is still relatively high. Buyers are also encouraged to begin their house hunt as offers have slowed and there can be less competition early in the year. The luxury market is property and area dependent, and the rush to purchase after the local fires has waned for the time being.

Southern Marin saw a slowdown in the market leading up to the holidays with properties either being sold or just taken off the market. Demand typically picks up in early February until late summer, which is good for both buyers and sellers as there will be more properties on the market to choose from. Inventory is projected to increase in the spring, giving buyers more opportunities to find their dream home. The luxury market also cooled during the holiday season, although the area experienced a stronger demand for high-quality new construction.

Sacramento County – Sacramento Fair Oaks endured a 15 percent decrease in inventory since October and sellers saw a hot housing market with little seasonal slow-down. High buyer demand and a rapid rate of sales means sellers should get their property camera-ready. The upper-end markets remained active over the past quarter. The $400,000 to $750,000 price range saw an 18 percent increase in closed sales and a 29 percent increase in pending sales versus last year at this same time. Buyers need to get themselves pre-approved to compete in this fast-moving market. Homes priced over $750,000 saw a 42 percent increase in closed sales and a 35 percent increase in open sales over the past month. Anticipated mortgage rate increases and proposed tax changes may have contributed to a sizzling fourth quarter, but the high demand and low supply is expected to sustain the trend.

San Francisco – SF Lombard saw the typical holiday slowdown and this may have encouraged sellers to price their homes right. With less competition in the new year, sellers may be able to find a buyer more quickly.

SF Peninsula – Redwood City saw little activity in all price points. With little inventory, sellers are encouraged to list their properties now if seriously considering a move.

San Mateo experienced an active market during the holiday season. Listings and sales did not stop, as there were serious, committed buyers and sellers. Buyers are encouraged to keep searching for their dream home. As many buyers wait for the spring season to start their search, there is currently less competition in the market.

Silicon Valley – Los Altos saw a sustained seller’s market with low inventory and multiple offers on many properties. Instead of the usual holiday slowdown, activity remained brisk with properties selling above asking price in many instances. Knowledgeable sellers and buyers act and react quickly to home values in the current market, which led to lower days on market averages. Average DOM year-to-date is 18 for Los Altos, 37 for Los Altos Hills, 14 for Mountain View and 13 for Sunnyvale. Although the quick-selling moments lead to less homes on the market for buyers to compete for, there have been more homes sold in 2017 than 2016. Sellers must be methodical in pricing their homes as buyers are now very knowledgeable and aware of values. Buyers should also be ready with financing and be aggressive with their offers. Homes priced over $4.5 million are selling steadily with little growth.

Los Gatos saw multiple offers as the norm, especially because inventory is half of what it was a year ago. This makes it a great time for sellers to list their homes and capitalize on the record-breaking appreciation in the area. Buyers are encouraged to work with local experts to find their dream property.

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Market Watch | No Holiday Slowdown for Most Northern California Communities

In other parts of the country, it may be typical to see a slowdown in real estate exchanging hands leading up to the year-end holidays, but not in Northern California. The region is among the most in-demand and most expensive markets in the nation as recently reported by Forbes magazine, where California – and Northern California in particular – dominates 2017’s list of America’s most expensive ZIP codes. From Atherton, Ross, Los Altos, Palo Alto to Hillsborough and Woodside, the region rules in luxury homes and premium prices. Other counties and cities may see a slight dip during the holidays, but overall demand remains strong. Read more about what’s happening from our Northern California offices.


East Bay – In Oakland, inventory has decreased mostly due to the holiday season. However, there are still serious buyers and sellers in the market – both motivated and ready to make a deal and that move.

Monterey County – Monterey Peninsula offices saw a slight slowing in new listings, with some sellers opting to wait until the new year. Buyer demand remained strong, especially on properties with recent price reductions. Many sellers sold their homes faster than expected; a client reported anticipating a six-month listing period, but was made a full price offer in two days.

North Bay – The Santa Rosa Mission office experienced a frenzied market after the wildfires. Properties that were priced right received multiple offers, often selling for over list price post bidding wars. Buyers in the entry-level market and even luxury segment are encouraged to act quickly with their strongest offers.

Placer County – In mid-November, Tahoe saw inventory down approximately 9% from the end of October with 462 properties for sale. Active inventory is down from 601 properties, or 16%, in a year-over-year comparison. Coldwell Banker continues to be the listing market leader with over 13% of active listings in the market. Luxury sales over $1 million are increasing for the first time in 2017.

Sacramento County – Sacramento Fair Oaks experienced a continued lack of housing supply, which impacted pricing and maintained a sellers’ market. But buyers should not be discouraged, there are still good deals in the market. Luxury homes are seeing a buyers’ market, especially in prices over $1 million. Buyers can choose from a variety of properties and currently have leverage to negotiate.

Sierra Oaks saw inventory up over 2016 in a year-over-year comparison. Activity continues to be strong in the luxury market.

San Francisco – In San Francisco Lombard, market activity was varied. While there were 23 offers on a single property, other homes didn’t fare as well. Activity generally slowed as prices increased. To help spur offers, sellers should price their homes competitively and make sure that their property is turn-key. The luxury market slowed over $3 million and we witnessed ample inventory in the $5-6 million range.

SF Peninsula – In San Mateo, homes continued to sell with multiple offers in short timeframes, even with the holiday season upon us. The luxury market slowed, especially in the price range over $3 million. 

Silicon Valley – Cupertino saw continued sales with multiple offers and an uncharacteristically active market considering the time of year. The luxury market was also strong with several sales over $6 million.

Gilroy and Morgan Hill inventory remained tight. Because of the unequal supply and demand, prices have increased to record levels. Sellers looking to move quickly should consider listing now as they can also receive top-dollar for their property. Buyers also must be prepared for a multiple-offer scenario. They should be able to make a strong offer above asking with no contingencies to be taken seriously.

Los Altos’ sellers’ market continued throughout the month with many homes selling over asking price. Average days on market year-to-date is 17 for Los Altos, 35 for Los Altos Hills, 14 for Mountain View and 13 for Sunnyvale. In these markets, more homes have sold YTD than all last year.

Sellers must be aware that buyers are knowledgeable. Therefore, asking for a price over-value will likely cause the property to sit on the market. However, with the help of an experienced agent, sellers will be able to get the highest possible price for their home. Preparation is key. Financing should be lined up and buyers are encouraged to be aggressive with their offers. The Los Altos luxury market is steady but flat, as most properties are on the market for 44 days.

Las Gatos experienced a lot of buyer competition with multiple offers on almost every property. Pre-emptive offers are becoming more common as buyers hunt for coming soon and exclusive properties that are not yet listed. This is a great market for sellers wanting to have a quick sale. The luxury market saw prices steadily increasing.

San Jose Almaden had an active month with increasing sales and only 50% of available inventory as compared to 2015 and 2016. Prices are also rising with increased sales.  As inventory declines, the area is still in a sellers’ market. Buyers should be ready to offer up to 20% over asking price unless a property has been on the market for over two weeks. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage affiliated agents can help both buyers and sellers navigate the market.

San Jose Main had little inventory with only 437 homes for sale in Santa Clara County, as compared to 2600 homes in 2011. This has created motivated buyers and multiple offers on most properties. Regardless, sellers still need to price their homes well and be thorough in preparing their property to go on the market. This includes staging and decluttering as needed. Buyers still have a chance of landing their dream home, but must have realistic expectations and remain persistent.

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Bay Area Real Estate Market Update

In September, the Bay Area maintained its position as California’s most in-demand region for real estate. According to the September California Association of REALTORS® report, six of nine Bay Area counties had less than three months’ supply of inventory, and of the six – two had less than a two months’ supply. The report indicated that San Mateo took the No. 1 spot with the highest price per square foot at $883/sq. ft., followed by San Francisco ($875/sq. ft.), and Santa Clara ($687/sq. ft.). Read more about what’s happening from our Northern California offices.


East Bay – Oakland reported multiple offers with less contingencies in September. Home sales have slowed compared to recent months, some remaining on the market for three to four weeks as compared to a two-week period during summer. There are still motivated buyers who are looking to be settled in a new home before the holidays and sellers should not hesitate to list their homes now.

Monterey County – Monterey Peninsula closed September with an increase in both dollar and unit sales. Buyers continue to seek more options and act quickly when newly-listed properties enter the market.

North Bay – Greenbrae showed a strong September regardless of low inventory and buyer interest remains high. Year-over-year, prices were up 10.7 percent and units increased by 16.6 percent. The median price point also increased to $1,286,000 versus $1,191,500 in 2016. Properties under $1 million were especially popular and sold swiftly. Buyers do have some good news in the form of low interest rates and the ability to negotiate, especially on properties listed for over a month.

Novato had a downturn in the real estate market after the devastating fires in Sonoma and Napa counties. The fires increased demand on housing inventory for both sale and rental properties as many residents were displaced. Sellers continue to receive multiple offers, with many all cash. Buyers in Novato saw favorable conditions, such as lower interest rates and less competition.

Southern Marin experienced a slowdown following Labor Day with an increase in days-on-market and fewer multiple offers. Sellers still have a window of opportunity to list their homes before the holidays, but must be sure to price their properties competitively.  Buyers have more options with an increase in inventory. In the luxury market, 16 percent of listings over $3 million are under contract.

Placer County – Tahoe saw 87 properties sold during the month of September, the third highest two-week sales period year-to-date. Twenty-eight of those properties were sold above $1 million. In 2017, there were 217 properties sold over $1 million, down 6 percent from 2016. The median sales price for luxury properties is down about 8 percent from 2016, at $1,525,000. The average sales price of luxury homes year-to-date stands at $2,262,092 as compared to $2,375,008 in 2016, which is a 5 percent decrease.

Sacramento County – Sacramento Fair Oaks saw a decrease in closed sales, but ended the month with 2,663 pending sales, a 7 percent increase compared to September 2016. Available homes decreased by 6 percent year-over-year. Due to more limited inventory, there was a 9.4 percent increase in the median sales price. Sellers should price their homes within market range and ensure their properties show well and are clutter free during open houses. Between now and Thanksgiving is the optimal time to list, as buyers are motivated and ready to make offers.

In Sierra Oaks, the market saw solid activity. In the luxury market, buyers had a lot of inventory to choose from and sellers are willing to negotiate.

San Francisco – San Francisco Lombard remained active with 80-85 percent of homes and 65 percent of condos selling for above their asking price. Buyers in San Francisco are encouraged to make offers now. If they wait, they could lose out on the equity that could eventually get them into their dream property in the future.

San Francisco Pacific Heights saw continued shortages in inventory. The luxury market had multiple properties go into contract, although many sales were executed off-market.

SF Peninsula – Half Moon Bay reported an all-time low in inventory supply. Although this makes the housing market tough for prospective buyers, many were still encouraged by low interest rates. Palo Alto downtown also saw low inventory that led to multiple offers on most, if not all properties.

Redwood City experienced a healthy demand and saw many sales exceeding asking prices. One instance was an uninhabitable house in southern San Francisco that listed for $550,000 and received 29 offers, selling well above the listing price. The luxury market remained active, although properties did not move as quickly.

San Mateo saw an increase in both inventory and prices. The luxury market was active, but slower with properties priced above $2.5 million. 

Santa Cruz County – Days-on-market was at an all-time low of 40 days in Santa Cruz because of low supply and favorable conditions. The month ended with only 250 single family homes on the market as opposed to the high of 1,457 homes available in July of 2007. The sellers’ market has led to multiple offers within a few days of listing. The luxury market has remained steady over the last five years at around $1.4 million.

Silicon Valley – Cupertino saw an active market, at times with more pending sales than active listings.  Buyers are encouraged to start house hunting as Silicon Valley is a uniquely strong region with exceptional demand. The luxury market remains active with several sales exceeding $6 million.

Gilroy and Morgan Hill saw low inventory and over 65 percent of the 54 available homes sold for over $1 million. Entry-level homes can be challenging to find, although the average list price of Gilroy is slightly lower. Overall, the area remains a sellers’ market with multiple offers and homes selling for above asking.

Los Altos experienced a continued sellers’ market with low inventory and multiple offers on most listings. The average days-on-market remained low, ranging from 13 days in Sunnyvale to 35 in Los Altos Hills. Sellers need to ensure their homes are priced and primed for a competitive sale. And buyers must be prepared with financing and a knowledgeable, trusted agent to represent their best interests. Buyers must also be aggressive as the market is highly competitive and sellers are more responsive to solid offers. The luxury market priced above $4.5 million in Los Altos is steady and flat. On average, time on market is 44 days. Inventory is steadily increasing and the number of sales in the high-end market is down slightly.

Los Gatos saw a sustained sellers’ market, and luxury activity remains strong and active.

San Jose saw inventory at a record low. That coupled with low interest rates has created an increasingly competitive market for buyers. Even with the strong demand, sellers are encouraged to price their home competitively – at or slightly below market price – to avoid pushback from buyers. Because of the current competitive landscape, buyers should be ready to make an offer quickly because hesitation may cost them a great opportunity.

Saratoga saw multiple offers on most of its listings and a continued sellers’ market.  Buyers who are ready to make a move should have all financing in order. The high-end luxury market experienced an increase in listings with 24 properties for sale in September, a 9.1 percent increase from August 2017, and a 71.4 percent increase from September 2016.

El Dorado County – El Dorado Hills had less than two months of inventory priced under $750,000 and about a year of inventory in the $750,000 to $1 million price range. Year-over-year, sales were down 14 percent compared to 2016. Homes priced under $500,000 continue to receive multiple offers.

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Bay Area Real Estate Market Match

Housing Supply Remains Tight in Northern California


Limited inventory and high demand was the continuing trend as the summer season ended. The California Association of Realtors reported that San Francisco overtook San Mateo as the most expensive market in the state. Supply remained tight as every single county in the San Francisco Bay Area saw a reduction in unsold inventory, as did most parts of the Central Coast and Central Valley. San Francisco saw the highest price per square foot in August at $871/sq. ft., followed by San Mateo ($863/sq. ft.), and Santa Clara ($668/sq. ft.). Read more about what’s happening from our Northern California offices.


East Bay:  

Fremont saw reduced inventory, down 38% from 2016. Even with minimal inventory, buyers were still price-sensitive, prompting sellers to keep asking prices reasonable. The luxury market also required fair asking prices for a quick sell, even with a slight increase in inventory.


Oakland also experienced a continued sellers’ market with no increase in inventory and far more buyers than sellers. Most properties received about three to five offers, creating a great opportunity for sellers to get a higher price for their homes.



Monterey County:

In Monterey, the market saw the expected slowdown with children returning to school. However, new listings in the $3-5 million range appeared on the market. Pacific Grove saw an increase in activity with some buyers looking for vacation properties.


North Bay:

Santa Rosa Bicentennial saw a busy month with 26% more closed sales than in July. This increase in properties coming off the market resulted in fewer available homes for eager buyers. The luxury market remained active with more properties being listed than in previous months.


Southern Marin’s market slowed around Labor Day, but has since picked up. Supply currently exceeds demand and inventory is up to 1.6 MSI (months supply of inventory) from 1.1 recently. This means that homes are staying on the market longer giving buyers more choices with less competition.


The luxury market has seen steady growth with three Mill Valley properties closing above $5 million. Many buyers in the multimillion-dollar price range have high expectations, including new construction with pools, pavilions and views in desirable locations.



Placer County:

Tahoe offices sold 90 properties in the last two weeks of August, 17% more than the previous two-week period and the largest sales period to-date in 2017. Eighteen of those properties were sold at above $1 million. Buyers remain interested and continue to search for their dream home. Luxury sales dipped with 163 homes sold in 2017 compared to 198 sold in 2016.


Sacramento County:

Sacramento Fair Oaks experienced an unseasonal uptick in pending sales, up 11% from 2016 and 16% from July. Inventory remains 10% less than last year. This combined with low interest rates indicates a strong selling period. Buyers abound with new open escrows in August at the highest level since May 2012.



Sierra Oaks saw more inventory resulting in increased competition for sellers. While many properties still received multiple offers, the rising inventory levels have given buyers more options and leverage with negotiating. The luxury market also saw strong increases in inventory.


San Francisco:

In San Francisco, the overall trend remained the same – high demand with low supply. Sellers with fixer properties had to be strategic with their list price.


SF Peninsula:

In Half Moon Bay, the market saw a slight increase in inventory. Buyers remained price sensitive even in the luxury market.


Menlo Park had high buyer demand in all price ranges, but particularly the starter and luxury markets. While this demand was eased by some increases in inventory, there was also an increase of buyers coming into the market. A few properties listed at $10-plus million closed after sitting on the market for over 100 days.


Palo Alto’s market had an increase in the percentage of local buyers. This combined with low inventory created a sustained sellers’ market.


Redwood City saw slight increases in inventory, such as 15 new single-family homes in San Carlos. Because of this new inventory, sellers had to list their homes at reasonable prices to receive multiple over-asking offers.


Over the past month, San Mateo’s office saw increased inventory. This rise in activity was also prevalent in the luxury market.



Silicon Valley:

Cupertino saw a highly charged sellers’ market. With the market favoring sellers, many properties were going for amounts much above their asking prices. Los Gatos saw similar market trends, prompting multiple and even preemptive offers.


Gilroy and Morgan Hill also had a continued seller’s market. Well-maintained homes with reasonable prices received multiple offers from buyers willing to waive appraisal contingencies. Due to current demand, sellers could secure approximately $700 per square foot.


The market in Los Altos saw the same conditions of low inventory and multiple offers. The current market has created knowledgeable buyers and sellers, who have learned to act quickly. On average, homes have only been on the market for 12 days. The luxury market remained steady, but flat. Inventory increased and days on the market averaged 27.


The San Jose Willow Glen market also experienced low inventory. There were many active properties in the luxury market with a $1.2 million starting point. Even at that price, buyers were faced with competitive bidding wars on most homes.


Saratoga continued the trend of low inventory with a decrease of 5.9% from last month. Days on the market also decreased to 22. This is a 42.1% decrease from last month and a 31.3% decrease from 2016. The luxury market remains steady with 20 properties listed between $4-$12.5 million.



El Dorado County:

El Dorado Hills saw low sales in year-over-year statistics with tight inventory and new construction not being able to keep up with demand. The high demand led to multiple offers, especially with homes under $600,000. Home prices have slightly increased, although appraisals can be below the purchase price. Sellers must be sure to price their property competitively, even with the current levels of demand. The luxury market has plenty of available inventory.


Market Watch is a monthly column exploring the Northern California housing market. Click here to view past issues.

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Low Inventory Still Impacting Northern California – Bay Area Real Estate Market Update

Sparse housing inventory continues to affect the Northern California market. The California Association of Realtors’ latest report indicates that the San Francisco Bay Area endured a large drop in pending sales due to the lack of available housing. In fact, it dipped 11.5 percent since last July. The report also indicates that San Francisco and San Mateo counties were both down double-digits, 11.0 percent and 21.4 percent, respectively. For homeowners on the fence about selling, the lack of inventory makes it a great time to list because many patient homebuyers are prepared to come in with solid offers. Read more about what’s happening from our Northern California offices:


East Bay – In Fremont, inventory remained low and prices held firm prompting multiple offers on most properties. Even with the current sellers’ market, buyers still have a chance to find their dream home with increased listing activity expected in the fourth quarter. Sales for Fremont’s luxury properties priced between $1.4 to $3 million were not as active due to sparse inventory.

Monterey County – After the excitement of Concours d’Elegance, the Pebble Beach classic car show event, the Monterey Peninsula market has returned to normal. With the end of summer traditionally being one of the strongest sales periods – along with a continued sellers’ market – it was a great time to list properties. The luxury market slowed slightly because of inventory, but still had significant activity. Monterey also has some luxury golf properties listed and available that should garner buyer excitement.

North Bay – Despite the shortage in inventory, many buyers in Greenbrae are still searching for their dream home and want to take advantage of low interest rates. Sellers came out ahead by pricing their homes competitively. This strategy encouraged more buyers to place offers and led to above-asking closings. Historically, September sees the highest amount of inventory in the area so it should be a solid month.

Southern Marin experienced a similar trend, a sellers’ market with multiple offers.  Demand will be strong, so buyers should be prepared to bid against multiple offers and bid over asking price.

Placer County – Tahoe offices had an increase in interest, especially with summer vacationers checking out the area. A slight increase in inventory over the past couple of months coupled with favorable mortgage interest rates encouraged buyers to start house hunting and created a strong market for sellers to list and sell their homes quickly. In the luxury market, sales on properties priced above $1 million is down 20 percent compared to 2016. There has been an increase of just over 1 percent in average sales price of luxury homes at $2,277,113 as opposed to the 2016 average of $2,248,678.

Sacramento County – Folsom’s inventory increased, encouraging buyers to stay in the market. This has created a great opportunity for buyers and more properties to choose from. The luxury market is still strong, but sellers must ensure to price their homes competitively.

Sacramento Fair Oaks experienced the seasonal inventory climb, increasing by 10 percent compared to the previous month. Although in a year-over-year analysis, inventory is still down by 12 percent, the uptick in listings gave prospective buyers some much-needed relief. On average, the region has seen an increase in listings as the summer winds down with steady sales. Properties are still affordable and square footage prices are significantly less than the Bay Area average. The luxury market is experiencing a stronger buyer’s market and a larger amount of inventory.

Sierra Oaks had an increase in both listings and sales, with multiple offers on entry-level homes. The luxury market experienced an increase in activity with both listings and purchases.

SF Peninsula – Half Moon Bay’s market remained competitive. The luxury market continued with strong demand. Average days on the market was just 17, with a median sales price of $2 million.

Menlo Park experienced a fast-paced market with no slowing. Sellers were encouraged to list their homes instead of trying to time the market or wait for a more optimal time.

Redwood City had a lack of inventory. Homes priced under $1 million brought in multiple offers. In the $1 million-plus market, homes sat on the market longer before closing.

Santa Cruz County- Offices in Santa Cruz saw a strong month. Average sales prices have been increasing steadily for the last five years by $30,000 to $90,000. This year is no different, with the average sales price of $950,000 and an average list price of $1,050,000. Buyers have been more aggressive in their offers. The luxury market in Santa Cruz peaked in comparison to the last few months with an average of just 50 days on the market (instead of 54 days), and experienced significantly more sales above the $1 million mark over past months.

Silicon Valley – Cupertino continues to experience a lack of inventory. However, the luxury market is still active up to $4 million. Low inventory was also a key factor in Los Gatos’ market, creating a similar dynamic as in Cupertino.

Gilroy and Morgan Hill also endured a lack of inventory causing multiple offers and high closing prices. Even in those markets favoring the supply-side, sellers should be prepared to choose quickly when presented with multiple offers. To submit a winning offer, buyers must put their highest offers first and make the transaction easier for the sellers.

San Jose remained active even with declining inventory. Because of the decreased supply, prices have slightly increased. Sellers can take advantage of the high demand. Buyers should think long term and be prepared to make a strong offer. Factors such as multiple offers or slightly higher asking prices should not deter them from putting in offers.

Saratoga’s market saw an increase of 21 percent in the average sales price year-over-year. The luxury market remained active with five listings and four sales.

El Dorado County – Although El Dorado Hills continued to see low levels of inventory, there was a slight increase in days-on-market before a close. Inventory priced under $500,000 had fewer multiple offers. With fall and the end of the year upon us, many prospective buyers are looking to close on a new property. The luxury market also saw low inventory prompting buyers to make their strongest offer.

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