El Cerrito, CA Real Estate News

By Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes
(Home Point Real Estate)
The El Cerrito High Class of 1979 was a very spirited class of almost 500 People.  Last night we had our 30th Reunion at the Golden Gate Fields Turf Club.  Hats of to Dwayne Fisher, David Washington, and Rachel Greenberg for pulling it together in just a few months. I do not have the pictures yet but if you are one of the members or just interested you can get more details at the Facebook Page I suspect the pictures will be there soon. It is great to connect with old friends, but in a class of almost 500 there are also people I met that I never actually knew in high school and that can be the best part. We had about 140 show up, including guest and a few alumni from other years.  If you are a part of the Great El Cerrito High class of 1979 get to Facebook and join the group.  We want e...
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By Arlene Baxter, Listing/Buying agent, Historic to Green, 2012 REALTOR of the Year, Berkeley Association Berkeley CA & environs
(Red Oak Realty)
Today I heard yet another story that sent chills down my spine! Like the previous story heard about a week ago, this one involved an El Cerrito property that had recently sold. The new owners had taken out permits for some work that they wished to do on their new home. When the job, a small one in this case, was completed, the inspector was very interested in visiting the property. Once there, the inspector asked to see other parts of the home that had not been modified. Long story shorter, the new buyers were fined for all previous work that had been done on the property, some of it dating back decades, forced to redo work that could not be documented to be up to code, and charged penalties as well as current permit fees. They had done no work without permits themselves! In speaking wi...
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By Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA
(www.Staged-to-Sell )
This was a project that we could not wait to share with you.  We worked on this project for four months. Before our client purchased the property it was used as a half-way  house for recovering addicts. A great cause but its located in the heart of an established neighborhood and maintaining the property was not number one the previous owners priority list. The new owner was referred to us by another Stager from Active Rain because we offer Full Service Staging and could fill the clients needs.  We met with the new owner, assessed the needs to bring it up to current market value and away we went.  He agreed to all of the recommended items and we ended up changing every detail of the house except the roof and the foundation! A crew worked six days a week on every detail. Here are just a ...
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By Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA
(www.Staged-to-Sell )
It doesn't happen often, but when it does it gives me a stomach ache. We were on a job earlier this week when my Blackberry did the little jingle it does when an email has come through.  I stopped hanging the new fixture Danny was just adjusting over the dining table and scanned my in-box where I found an email from a Realtor I had staged a home for a couple of weeks ago. "Hi Kym, this is Margaret. The sellers have decided to take the home off the market.  You did too good of a job, they realize that they love it, can live there for the rest of their lives.  How about that! Oh my...not the goal of any Professional Home Stager and words we don't want to hear. Of course, we are happy that the clients loved our work, but our goal and mission is always to help them love their NEW house even...
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By Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes
(Home Point Real Estate)
El Cerrito High Class of 1979 Reunion   Calling all Gauchos El Cerrito High Class of 1979! If you are a Member, Teacher or Friend of El Cerrito High Class of 1979 reunion is at hand.  Communication has been difficult.  Well the El Cerrito High Class of 1979 now has a FaceBook Page to help facilitate communication and planning.  There are some trying to plan a El Cerrito High Class of 1979 Reunion Picnic at Tilden Park on September 6, 2009.  However, this is too short notice for many and on a holiday weekend, so there is another effort to plan an El Cerrito High Class of 1979 Reunion in November. Yes I did learn to write in High School but if I keep writing El Cerrito High Class of 1979 Reunion over and over in normal sentences it will drive search results to the information about the El...
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By Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA
(www.Staged-to-Sell )
We were very lucky to work on a wonderful project a few months back on Harper Avenue in El Cerrito. We were very pleased to take on the job as we were referred to the project by one of our fellow stagers here on ActiveRain Cindy Lin.  She was kind enough to refer the homeowner to us and it turned into a four month project with great results (sold in 6 days for the highest amount in the area). Now, we have two more to thank her for on the same street. The homeowners came into that project and called us to help with another project we just finished today. It as only a three month project this time - lots of work, but great results. The clients agreed to most of the improvements on our list - and the house turned out better than they hoped. In addition, we just finished a consultation on t...
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By Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA
(www.Staged-to-Sell )
Last week I posted the blog about a Full Service Staging project that we worked on for four months and launched to very good reviews.   http://activerain.com/blogsview/1090497/months-and-months-of-work-but-worth-it- The owner was very happy with the results and the reviews were very very good. We received word today that the house has already gone PENDING! Just 6 days. Yes, that is very good news - in this market - really good news as that was quick. BUT here is the real story. This home four months ago was not the home you see today by any means. We completely transformed the entire property from head to toe. The only thing we didn't change was the roof and foundation.  It was in sad shape when the owner purchased it and yes he invested some good money in it, but when it was done he pr...
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By Nate Ellis, "Mr Danke Schoen"
(HomeWay.tv - Keller Williams Realty East Bay 925-337-8489)
So you are looking to buy a new home in El Cerrito and are wondering what Down Payment Assistance is available.  The City of El Cerrito does not offer any assistance directly.  But there may be assistance available from the County and State of California.Contra Costa County offers the American Dream Down Payment Initiative (ADDI) to assist eligible buyers with up to 6% in down payment assistance.The State of California offers up to an additional 6% in assistance through several programs designed to help First Time Home Buyers, plus a bonus of $7,500 because El Cerrito is a high cost area.Special financing may also be available, including additional Down Payment Assistance and Below Market Interest Rates.  Restrictions Apply.To see if you are eligible for assistance contact Nate Ellis.Or...
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By Glen Bell, My East Bay Agent
(Better Homes & Gardens, Mason McDuffie)
I've tracked the pending and active sales in El Cerrito along with 34 other East Bay Cities since July of 2005. Pending and Active Sales give us a better idea on how the market is doing on local levels. At the very peak of the market, during 2004 through the middle of 2005, there were more pending sales than homes for sale. Basically, there were more buyers than there were homes to buy. Now, in most cities, there are far more homes for sale than pending. El Cerrito doesn't always follow the trends of the Greater Bay Area. Compared to Albany, Kensington & North Berkeley, it remains a bargain that appeals due to its central location and proximity to the nearby shops & culture of it's neighbors. It boasts having two BART stations plus there's an abundance of parks. It has become an afforda...
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By Glen Bell, My East Bay Agent
(Better Homes & Gardens, Mason McDuffie)
I have provided the graph above for those of you trying to make sense of the Housing market in El Cerrito. The graph follows Pending Sales and Active Listings on a week by week basis beginning in July of 2005 through January 14, 2007. (Data has been collected from EBRD MLS).Actives - are properties currently for sale.Pending - are currently in escrow.Following these numbers can sometimes give us an indication of market trends. For example, as in most cities within the greater Bay Area, there has been a trend coming from a very strong "seller's" market in the summer of 2005, and going to a more "normal" market at the beginning of 2007. The trend shows the relationship between inventories and the number of buyers. Simply put, this follows the laws of supply and demand. Last summer there w...
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By Glen Bell, My East Bay Agent
(Better Homes & Gardens, Mason McDuffie)
"Has the home market hit bottom? That is the key question for the U.S. economy in 2007. According to some housing indicators, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for homebuilders, but that cautious optimism comes with caveats."Read the article found in the January 15, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek HERE."To get the most reliable signal that the housing recession is over, keep an eye on the average monthly supply of new homes for sale and the average mortgage rate each quarter. Analysis by Goldman Sachs U.S. economist Edward McKelvey of eight pieces of housing data widely used as leading indicators of the housing cycle showed those two series are better than quarterly averages of new and existing home sales, housing starts, mortgage applications, housing affordability, and homebuild...
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