Bay Area Realty Group Blog


July 14, 2017

Great new listing in Alamo Creek

This stunning Alamo Creek Mediterranean is only minutes away from the shops and restaurants Blackhawk. The well designed interior of this 3003 sq ft, home offers a bright and open floor plan featuring 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, interior laundry and 3 car garage. The spacious living room offers vaulted ceilings with walls of windows and flows into the open formal dining area. The highly upgraded kitchen offers an oversized island with bar seating, Bosch appliances and built in GE Monogram fridge, walk in pantry, and a built in office nook and large eat in kitchen area. The bright family room offers hillside views with generous sliders that open to the drought friendly backyard which features a full sized bocce ball court and no rear neighbors. GE Electric vehicle charger located in the garage.

The master suite and 4 guest bedrooms are all very generous and have great separation for ultimate privacy. There are stunning views of the trees and Mt. Diablo foothills from the master bed and bath. This exquisite home has been lovingly maintained and is in excellent condition. All common rooms overlook the verdant inner courtyard and every room of this wonderful home is bathed in glowing natural light. This really is a MUST SEE home. It is the perfect place to entertain your family and friends.

Conveniently located in popular community of Alamo Creek, and within walking distance to the community pool and clubhouse, both Creekside Elementary School and Diablo Vista Middle School, this home provides easy access to Hwy 680 & 580, Blackhawk Plaza, friendly neighborhood parks and 12 years of award winning schools. Blackhawk Plaza offers trendy restaurants, coffee shops, shopping boutiques, highly rated schools and transit options (including front door service County Connection shuttle to and from Walnut Creek Bart), this home offers the best of East Bay living in a charming family-friendly neighborhood.


Click for more photos

front cashmerekitchen





June 27, 2017

First Things First


In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out.

One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments

  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash

  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase

  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

The Bottom Line 

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.


Posted in Buyers
June 20, 2017

How Much Equity is in You're Home?

91,000 properties regained equity in the first quarter of 2017. This is great news for the country, as 48.2 million of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“One million borrowers achieved positive equity over the last year, which means risk continues to steadily decline as a result of increasing home prices.”

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2017 as well, as he had this to say:

“Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

According to the Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), more homeowners are beginning to realize that they may have more equity than they first thought.

“This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share of those saying it’s a good time to buy.”

78.8% of homeowners have significant equity (more than 20%) in their homes today!

This means that many Americans with a mortgage have an opportunity to take advantage of today’s seller’s market. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue:

“High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market. However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market…”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who is unsure of how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2017! Meet with a local real estate professional today, who can help you evaluate your situation and assist you along the way!


Posted in sellers
June 16, 2017

Not all Home Repairs are Created Equal


Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete kitchen remodel are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.

For more information about top renovation projects that net you the most ROI, Call or email

June 6, 2017

"Super Dads" Brought to you by CAR

May 31, 2017

Local Real Estate Pros Make all the Difference

If you’ve entered the real estate market, as a buyer or a seller, you’ve inevitably heard the real estate mantra, “location, location, location” in reference to how identical homes can increase or decrease in value due to where they’re located. Well, a new survey shows that when it comes to choosing a real estate agent, the millennial generation’s mantra is, “local, local, local.”

CentSai, a financial wellness online community, recently surveyed over 2,000 millennials (ages 18-34) and found that 75% of respondents would use a local real estate agent over an online agent, and 71% would choose a local lender.

Survey respondents cited many reasons for their choice to go local, “including personal touch & handholding, longstanding relationships, local knowledge, and amount of hassle.”

Doria Lavagnino, Cofounder & President of CentSai had this to say:

“We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor in this sector as we first thought, despite purported cost savings. We found that millennials place a high value on the personal touch and knowledge of a local agent. Buying a home for the first time is daunting, and working with a local agent—particularly an agent referred by a parent or friend—could provide peace of mind.”

The findings of the CentSai survey are consistent with the Consumer Housing Trends Study, which found that millennials prefer a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience:

“While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, Millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”

When it comes to choosing an agent, millennials and other generations share their top priority: the sense that an agent is trustworthy and responsive to their needs.

That said, technology still plays a huge role in the real estate process. According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of home buyers look for prospective homes and neighborhoods online, and 91% also said they would use an online site or mobile app to research homes they might consider purchasing.

Bottom Line

Many wondered if this tech-savvy generation would prefer to work with an online agent or lender, but more and more studies show that when it comes to real estate, millennials want someone they can trust, someone who knows the neighborhood they want to move into and someone who can lead them through the entire experience.

Bottom Bottom Line

You know who to call.

Bay Area Realty Group

Posted in Buyers
May 12, 2017

Tips on the Mortgage Process

What you need to know about the mortgage process

What you’ll need to Qualify in Todays Market:


Down Payment

Generally between 5-20% of the purchase price (Many buyers are putting down 10% or less - with some putting down as little as 3% 

Income Verification, Credit History and Asset Documentation

Impartial Third Party Appraisal:

Your lender needs this to verify the value of the house you want to purchase.

Stable Income

Good Credit History


During this time you will interact with various professionals, all of whom are valuable resources and perform different necessary roles


Steps to Take

1. Find out your current credit history and score.

Even if you don’t have perfect credit, you may already qualify for a loan.

2. Start gathering all your documentation:

Income verification (W-2 forms, tax returns, employment), Credit history & Assets (like bank statements to verify savings)

3. Contact a professional

To help you develop a spending plan & determine how much house you can afford.

4. Consult with your lender to review your income, expenses and financial goals.

To determine the type and amount of mortgage you qualify for.

5. Talk to a lender about applying for a mortgage $ getting a pre-approval letter.

This letter provides an estimate of what you are able to borrow (provided your financial status does not change) & demonstrates to home sellers that you are a serious buyer.


Bottom Line is:

Do your research, reach out to the professionals, stick to your budget & be sure you are ready to take on the financial responsibility of being a homeowner.

Posted in Buyers
May 9, 2017

Popcorn, great for movies not ceiling decor

Popcorn ceilings, cottage cheese ceilings or Stucco ceilings—whatever you call them, they're not only an eyesore, they also may contain a carcinogen known as asbestos.  The ceiling treatment was commonly used from the late 1950s into the 1980s in homes across the United States because of its ability to hide imperfections in handiwork and its acoustical characteristics. 

Spring Cleaning!

The Clean Air Act of 1978 banned the use of the ceiling material, but manufacturers were allowed to use up their existing inventory, so popcorn ceilings continued to crop up across the country well into the mid-'80s.

However, not all popcorn ceilings contain asbestos. If left undisturbed or contained, asbestos is not dangerous but many people still don't want it present in their home. 

The problem is you can't tell if a ceiling contains asbestos unless you test it. You can't tell by looking at it with your naked eye. Identification requires a microscope and a trained eye. This means you will need to obtain a sample of the ceiling and send that sample to a laboratory that specializes in identifying asbestos. Testing typically costs up to $250 if a technician takes samples. There are self-test kits available for less but for safety reasons it is recommended that any asbestos sampling be done by a professional. All sample testing must be done by an accredited lab (even when using a "self-test" kit)



When selling a home with popcorn ceilings the seller should look closely at removal. The cost can scare one off but having it removed will make the property increase in value and livability. It is common to see sellers remove part of the popcorn texture from their home and not complete the entirety of the job. And when it comes time to sell the buyer is likely unhappy with the partial removal. In every case the seller regrets not doing the entire project. 




Once you've removed the popcorn and repaired the ceiling, you have options for the new covering. You can paint the ceiling with ceiling paint, which can enhance a room. However, if you're selling the house, the next owners may or may not like the color you choose, though classic white is a safe choice. You can add a new texture that is a bit more stylish, like knockdown or orange peel. You can also cover the ceiling with something like ceiling tiles, but the smoother and less obtrusive the finish, the better for your bottom line.

May 2, 2017

Spring Clean your Home and Life


Spring is a beautiful time of year, flowers in bloom, nicer weather and Spring Cleaning! It can mean any process that involves a deep clean of a space or home and can be used as a metaphor for simplifying and invigorating ones life or business.  

Living with less can help us resist the urge to splurge: A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that being in cluttered environments decreases self-control, resulting in a greater likelihood of impulsive spending.

Start de-cluttering by ditching unnecessary paperwork!

Tax returns and supporting documents 

The IRS says most of us can discard tax paperwork three years after the date we filed. Uncle Sam’s time frame for an audit generally expires after that. (Keep digital scans if you want to be extra careful.)

Merchandise receipts 

Depending on where you shopped, you might not need a receipt for a return. Target, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and other stores allow returns of many items without a receipt if they can track your purchase using your credit or debit car d, or by an email order confirmation for online purchases. Check the store policy before ditching your paperwork. 

Warranty Receipts 

For big-ticket items (like electronics or appliances) with a warranty, McCrory recommends keeping receipts and related paperwork for at least the term of the warranty, which is usually one to two years. After that, they can go in the trash. 

Bills, pay stubs, bank statements 

Unless you’re applying for a loan, like a mortgage (which requires an assortment of recent documents), you can confidently shred any statements that can be retrieved online and printed if need be.

Earn cash for clutter! 

Used iPhones:

The site will send you a prepaid shipping label, inspect the gadget, and pay you for your device. At the end of last year, an iPhone 6s in good condition fetched an average of $245. 

Other electronics:

Ship GoPros, laptops, or wearable tech to NextWorth and get cash in return. Says CEO David Chen, “Even if a product is broken, it can see strong trade-in value.” 

Designer clothing:

List high-fashion duds, and when you land a buyer, Tradesy will send a box and shipping label (and take a commission off the top). 

Other clothing:

The site sends a bag with prepaid shipping label; fill it with good-condition clothing and accessories, then ship it back. ThredUp lists items for you, and you earn a percentage of the sale price.

Garage/Yard Sales 

We just held a garage sale at our Orinda home last weekend and it was a great success! We earned a good amount of money and it was a perfect excuse to get rid of unwanted items and spend time with the family! 

Cleaning a home can be great to prep a move or to just re appreciate your home! 


May 1, 2017

Favorite part of the job!


 Three days, multiple offers and way over list! #BayAreaRealtyGroup #SOLD 

Posted in Market Updates