1904 Martinez Home = Happy Buyers

A home with history was exactly what Michael and Linda were looking for. So, when they found a home in Martinez that was built in 1904, they were smitten (and all the charming features didn’t hurt!).

The home showed off its colorful garden with giant, blooming hydrangeas and an entry with vining roses and birds painted on the walls. The kitchen has been remodeled with a Cappiello-style mural that is a talking point of the room. The mural included the spitting image of the previous owner’s dog, Sylvester.

The house even has a basement. The location is an added perk – they are located within walking distance of downtown Martinez – a prime location for the afternoon Martini Breeze as the previous owner called it. Michael is also a fan of tiki bars and is excited to set up his own home version of a tiki bar in that spectacular backyard. It’s safe to say Michael and Linda struck gold here!

A Nearly Century-Old Closing

I recently helped a client close on a lovely, 97-year-old home in Antioch. The 3-bed, 1-bath house at 315 W. 7th St. has original built-ins, original flooring, and a huge basement. There is some deferred maintenance and yard clean-up to do, but with time and money, my client plans to restore the home to its original grandeur.

My client was working with a tight budget and homes of a similar style with more modern updates were selling in the $575,000 range (the war in Ukraine, higher rates, and inflation have all shifted the market!). This home was originally listed at $499,000 but had no offers after 25 days on the market, when the price was lowered to $459,000.

About a week after that price reduction, my client saw the home and we called the listing agent to see if there was any interest. He said they had an offer, but it was low. We came back with a higher offer of $465,000. After the seller did a multiple counter to us and the other offer, we bumped up to $470,000 and won the house!

When they did inspections, we also got a $6,500 credit. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping somebody get into a home – especially one they did not think they could afford!

… and how cool is the rotary phone that when you got to chatting you could pull down a lever and sit to talk. It reminds me of old movies where the wife was chatting for hours with a neighbor.

Closing For A Fellow Kristin

I recently had the opportunity to close a sale for a client with my exact name! Kristin Williamson graduated about two years ago and works in the healthcare industry. She decided to buy her first home right when the market started to shift.

She bought a condo off Geary that needs a little updating, but has laundry inside and a huge hall closet for additional storage. It is a 2-bed, 1-bath with a large gated front patio. Her father and brother-in-law are going to put in new flooring and may update the kitchen before Kristin moves in. I look forward to seeing the updates!

Kristin is hoping to have all the work done by the beginning of October. She already has a roommate set to move in, too. I have to say, that’s a smart move. Buying a home in your early 20s and getting a roommate to defer the costs will set her on a path to building wealth via home ownership.

Another Closing!

I recently closed on a property (3320 Northwood K, Concord) in a very unique situation: I represented both the seller and the buyer. I do this rarely, but it worked out in this instance and both sides ended up very happy!

The sellers, Chahera and Hakim, have four kids in a two-bedroom home. To go to market, they would have had to paint and replace the carpet upstairs. It was a big ask! But, I had a buyer, Tina, who had been looking for a two-bedroom townhome in Concord and had been beaten out multiple times.

She offered Chahera and Hakim fair market value, taking into consideration the painting and carpet needs. The kitchen and downstairs half-bath had been recently remodeled. The pictures below are of the house as Tina begins to add her own touches of paint, carpet a bit of wallpaper.

Recent sales were around $420,000 and $430,000 and Tina and I had put an offer on the $420,000 property at $424,000 and they still chose the other buyer. So, needless to say, this was a perfect situation for both sides that left both buyers and sellers satisfied! Congratulations to both families.

A closing on 7007 Mariposa

I recently sold a home at 7007 N. Mariposa in Dublin. One cool thing about it is that this is the fourth property I have either helped sell or buy for this same family.

Each time they bought, I said, “you will be moving in four or five years!” They have a growing family so a move-up buyer makes sense. This home I just sold had only a small side yard and no driveway, but as you can see by the pictures, they had a beautiful home that went quickly. So off they went to find the unicorn house that has it all.

They are now in contract on new construction and I have a feeling they will be staying in this one for a long time. I’m so happy I was able to help them out again. Though one of the kids was sad to leave, I believe they will love their new home and their new baby brother or sister due to arrive next year Congrats to all!

A new closing at 831 Niagara!

Recently, I closed a sale on 831 Niagara in Concord. I was thrilled to help Ann & Andrea as they retired and are ready to move on to the next chapter in Chicago.

I met them about five years ago with another past client, Teresa Debarard, who works for the Coast Guard with Ann & Andrea. They wanted help buying the home they were renting, so I met them, checked out the house and discussed the process. The seller only wanted to use their own agent to save on commission, and since they had been living there they already knew about the house. I understood and said let me come over and show you the comps and give you recommendations for inspections and what you should be looking at regarding price.

Over the years, they made some wonderful updates to the kitchen, yard, RV pad, and had an amazing backyard made for entertaining. When I came to take the listing, Ann said they were working with me because all those years ago I provided insight and information for them to make a more informed decision even though I would not be part of the process. I truly believe it is always best to give first and help people make informed decisions weather or not they end up working with you. It comes back in so many wonderful and unexpected ways!

Two Condos, Two Sellers!

I recently closed on two homes with my clients, and wanted to share their stories. I helped Kevin (below) buy a condo before he got married, back in the downturn of the market in Roundtree. I sold his cousin’s house and helped them get into another home, so they referred me to Kevin.

Fast forward a few years Kevin and Katie married and had a baby girl who starts kindergarten in the fall, and they moved into grandma’s house (whose home I also helped with when she moved up from Southern California). They had been renting out their condo and decided it was time to sell. They had done some remodeling and we staged the home. It looked great, was listed at $350,000, was on the market for 11 days and sold for $360,000. I feel so grateful to have met this extended family.

I met Jill (below) through a referral from her goddaughter indirectly through another client I had helped last year. She also was renting out her condo in Martinez and realized it was time to sell. We did a few improvements (painted kitchen cabinets and added granite – see the before and after kitchen pictures below). Farm Lane was listed at $387,000 and sold for the list price after being on the market for 15 days.

Another closing at Tampico!

I recently closed a townhome on Tampico, and I’m so happy to have helped Tyler and Yana. They relocated about a year ago and decided to rent in San Francisco for a year and get a feel for the area. Tyler works down in Pleasanton and their San Francisco rent recently went up. They were very motivated to move back into home ownership.

We met one day over coffee and talked about the market, what they were looking for, timing, and the area they were most interested in. They loved Walnut Creek with Broadway Plaza, all the restaurants and overall vib. Since I had a previous appointment, we looked over some open houses in Walnut Creek and they decided to go look at a few. He called me later that day and said they really like a home on Tampico and wanted more information.

This home had been bought in July by an investor who flipped it. Timing is everything and the seller had the unfortunate experience of a soft second half of 2018. There had been a handful of price reductions until January where it was listed at $699,000, down from $775,000 – an opportunity for a buyer! It took a few days to get the financing and all the details, so about three days later we submitted an offer less than asking. In the beginning of January, the market again began to shift, this time upwards, and another offer was submitted and countered to $715,000. Their offer was accepted and then we started the inspections. They ended up with a $5,000 credit and some things that HOA needs to fix. Overall, it was a very smooth process and they are excited to be living in Walnut Creek with a yard for their dog and a nicely updated home! Congratulations!!!!

Two more successful closings!

I’ve had a streak of closings recently, including a long-time client who I’ve worked with seven different times now. She moved to Southern California a few years ago, so this investment property in Antioch will likely be my final transaction with her. She had become a friend and a wonderful client.  Thank you, Lori, for your ongoing support and friendship.
The other closing was 1944 Eagle Peak in Clayton and it was referred to me by a past client. Thank you, Jeff!
The pictures below are of a beautiful home that was my client’s respite. They remodeled it to their tastes and, in addition, it was an end unit overlooking Oakhurst golf course; a very peaceful setting.
Check out my client’s review:
My clients David and Nancy are getting ready to retire and move closer to their kids. The couple from Dublin wanted to live closer to their grandchildren in Clayton. They had a condo to sell in Dublin, thus it was a contingent offer that went smoothly and quickly. All parties were happy! As you can see from these pictures, they purchased a beautiful home with rolling hills beyond their back fences. The hardwood floors and sleepy gray/clean white theme throughout complement the peaceful backyard and the cozy bedrooms. I love a happy end to a real estate experience and connecting with wonderful people who I truly like. Give me a call to see what your real estate story could become.

The first-time buyer’s guide to real estate

Jim McKinley wrote a blog that I’ve made slight edits to below. Let me know what you think!

Buying your first home is exciting, but it can also be full of confusion, fear, and apprehension. After all, buying a home is a huge commitment, and if you’ve never done it before, there can be a lot of questions. However, by getting informed and preparing yourself appropriately, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls of buying your first home and step into this new stage of your life with confidence. To help everything go as smoothly as possible, follow these tips and tricks.

Get your Finances in Order

Many people might assume that it is time to become a homeowner based on their life situation, such as recently landing a well-paying job. However, no matter where you are at in your life, it takes quite a bit of financial preparation to correctly prepare for buying a house. First and foremost, you need to ensure that you have a solid budget. Some people might encourage you to put this off until after you buy your house, but your budget is an indispensable tool to figure out how much home you can afford. Secondly, save up a reasonable down payment. According to the Motley Fool, squeezing out enough money for a down payment might require a lot of expense cutting. We recommend using a savings calculator to help you figure out how much you’ll need to save each month.

Get Pre-Approved

Before you even begin to look at houses, go to some lenders to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This is not as scary as it might sound and can take a lot off your plate later. To be approved for a mortgage, the lender considers your credit score, how much you make, the amount you put down and your debt-to-income ratio, among other things. There are many different financing options available and a good lender will advise you accordingly.

Find a Great Agent

A good real estate agent can provide you with huge benefits when it comes to looking for your home. The housing market and lingo can be confusing. When you work with a real estate agent, they can advise you on how to write the best offer and discuss the current market so you can focus your energy on searching for a home. According to The Balance, an agent is a great asset; they can ask questions for you and obtain disclosures. Real estate agents are particularly helpful for first-time homebuyers who might not be aware of the home-buying process and a good referral source for reputable lenders.

View Houses in Your Area

Now that you have all the preliminary work squared away, it’s time to start looking at houses. Preferably, you’ll want your real estate agent to set up showings based on your criteria. Your agent can point things out that you might have missed and help gauge whether the home is listed for a good price.

Image result for house for saleNegotiate your Closing Costs

Once you find your perfect house, you need to close the deal. There are fees tacked on to buying a home called closing costs. Everything from lender fees, title insurance to title search fees. To the average person, these can begin to sound like a second language. You can shop a rate, but many lenders will quote you the lowest rate of the month, because until you lock in a rate, it is a moving target. Look to reviews and potentially how smooth your closing will go. Review your Loan Estimate closely and ask about all fees you do not understand. Once you understand everything, negotiate with your lender for lower fees.


Give yourself more than enough time to pack and move to prevent yourself from rushing. If you hate packing, you might even want to consider hiring a moving agency. If you have children, you might drop them off at a family member’s house to give yourself a couple hours of uninterrupted packing.

Home buying is an exciting, nerve-wracking process. By following these steps (and hiring the right lender and agent), your can home-buying process will be a lot smoother.