Monday, December 19, 2011

Real estate recovery likely to be slow

Real Estate recovery likely to be slow, but if you look where it looks the best its right here in our wonderful Bay Area!!! Best micro area to buy real estate is right here!


Fair warning to U.S. reajavascript:void(0)l estate players: Resign yourselves to "a slowing grind-it-out recovery" in 2012, as "enduring economic doldrums" continue to weigh heavily on the market.

Your best bets: a small handful of "property-wealth islands," including San Francisco and San Jose/Silicon Valley, both seen as "primary 24-hour gateways located along global pathways," according to a report being released today at the Urban Land Institute conference in San Francisco.

San Francisco ranks third out of 51 cities as a place to invest in and develop commercial and multifamily apartment properties and fourth in for-sale home building, with San Jose two or three rungs lower in each category, according to the survey compiled by the institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Friday, December 02, 2011

1126median

Coalition group sues San Jose

Completely unfair for SF to be funding a group aimed at stopping the As moving to San Jose.
I for one as a San Jose citizen am outraged at the city of SF not wanting San Jose to be able to
have its own pro baseball club. They will lose and pretty soon we will have their football team as well....Santa Clara 9ers and San Jose As....kinda has a nice ring to it doesnt it?
hehehehe
As going to be doing some Silicon Valley Relocation soon!!

Coalition group sues San Jose
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Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO -- The coalition group "Stand for San Jose," which is opposed to the Oakland Athletics moving to the South Bay and is supported by the San Francisco Giants, filed a lawsuit Friday against the City of San Jose claiming the failure to perform a proper environmental review of land committed to the A's.

The 28-page suit, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court and shared with The Associated Press, also claims the city violated citizens' rights by not putting to a public vote the contractual agreement it made with the A's to sell the discounted downtown property where owner Lew Wolff hopes to build a new ballpark. He is still waiting to hear from commissioner Bud Selig about whether the club can relocate into San Francisco's territory.

Last month, the San Jose City Council agreed to sell nearly five acres at a huge discount to the A's as long as it is used to build a ballpark.

There was a 30-day window from Nov. 8, when the sides reached agreement on a two-year land-purchase option that costs the A's $50,000, for potential lawsuits to be filed.

"In the midst of its 11th consecutive budget deficit, San Jose politicians rushed to sell prime downtown land for only $6.9 million, even though it was acquired for $25 million and is currently appraised at approximately $14 million," Stand for San Jose said in a statement to the AP. "This huge discount for wealthy developers who want to build a baseball stadium comes at a time of fiscal challenges so severe that the mayor recently admitted: 'We're not as bad as Greece, I don't think.'"

The lawsuit claims that though several environmental reports have been done, the studies on issues such as traffic and air quality are insufficient relating to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and additional studies are needed.

Wolff, a successful Los Angeles real estate developer, said Friday night that lawsuits are often part of the process.

"In California, people can try to use the CEQA Act to stop someone from competing, to stop something they don't want to happen," Wolff said by phone. "Normally there are numerous lawsuits filed. This is a very solid EIS (environmental impact study), so it's somebody who doesn't want us to compete in that area."

A phone message and e-mail to San Jose mayor Chuck Reed weren't immediately returned.

Also, Stand for San Jose challenges that a public vote should have happened before the City of San Jose decided to enter into a binding agreement with Wolff and the A's for land committed to be used for a ballpark or stadium.

It reads that the city and its agencies "abused their powers and ran roughshod over their legal duties, including their duties to protect the public's right to vote and to comply with laws designed to protect the environment, prior to committing to sell public lands for a Ballpark Project."

Selig in March 2009 appointed a committee to evaluate the issue facing the Bay Area teams, yet he has provided no timetable for when he might announce a decision. Wolff has said he hopes to hear a resolution one way or the other soon. Moving to San Jose, he has said, would help the low-budget A's generate revenue and become a bigger spender.

The Giants have a significant fan base in technology-rich Silicon Valley in Santa Clara County, and they don't want to give that up.

Wolff, a friend of Selig's dating to their days as fraternity brothers at Wisconsin, is ready to break ground on an intimate ballpark projected to cost between $400 million and $450 million -- if and when he gets the OK to relocate some 40 miles south of the team's current home in the rundown Oakland Coliseum. The A's share the stadium with the NFL's Oakland Raiders.

Wolff has working drawings of the potential San Jose venue and an architect has been chosen. Wolff has said obtaining building permits would take about nine months, then the actual ballpark would require another two years to complete.

Stand for San Jose, a group of concerned residents financially backed by the Giants' Class-A San Jose club, is represented by San Francisco attorney Ronald Van Buskirk. Another portion of the lawsuit deals with complicated redevelopment issues and laws.

"Before making this sweetheart deal, the city failed to follow laws requiring a comprehensive environmental impact study and a vote of the people," Stand for San Jose said. "This legal filing simply asks the city to comply with the law by allowing the community to thoroughly study and understand the project's impacts and express its opinion in a public vote."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

San Jose OKs land deal for potential A's stadium

Well I am assuming there are other As fans out there and lord knows you should all be excited! We will be getting the niners and the As SOON!!!!
Home values and retail should do well with this....lets face it, we all like sports to some degree and being able to see games down the street makes us a better town=)
Congrats Athletics and welcome to SILICON VALLEY!!!!


The A's took another incremental step in their quest for a stadium in San Jose on Tuesday when the San Jose City Council voted 10-1 to approve extending a land-purchase option to the team.

"It's a small step, but it's still a significant step," San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said by phone. "It feels more concrete. Now we're talking about a real-estate deal. I think we're getting closer."

San Jose is granting the A's a two-year option to buy about 5 acres of land downtown, near HP Pavilion and the Diridon Station. The option will cost the A's $50,000, and there is a $25,000 option for a third year. During that period, the team may purchase the land for $6.98 million - an outcome presumably dependent on Major League Baseball approving the move.

A's owner Lew Wolff said in an e-mail to The Chronicle that he is "pleased with the vote" by the City Council.

There are no indications from MLB that the A's stadium issue is on the agenda for next week's owners' meetings in Milwaukee; the next owners' meetings after that will be in January. MLB's blue-ribbon panel studying a new A's ballpark has operated for nearly three years with no public recommendation.

Even if the A's get the OK to move, any final land sale and ballpark must be approved by San Jose voters, a stipulation affirmed by City Council vote Tuesday. No public funds are to be used to build or maintain the facility or to reimburse the team for any building-related expenses.

Santa Clara County is considered to be Giants' territory by MLB, but major-league owners could vote to overturn the territorial rights.

The A's are likely to pay the $50,000 for the option agreement within the next few days. Should the team decide not to purchase the land, the city will keep the $50,000.

E-mail Susan Slusser at sslusser@sfchronicle.com.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Foreclosures continue to plague housing market

No big news that more are going to foreclosure....
If you are a realtor you already know this.....






Foreclosures continued to plague the U.S. housing market last quarter, while a a growing backlog has caused the length of the foreclosure process to drag on and on.

Nationwide, foreclosure filings totaled 610,337 in the third quarter, an increase of less than 1% from the previous quarter, said RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosed properties.

Even though the increase was small, it is significant since it broke the trend of three consecutive quarterly decreases, said RealtyTrac Chief Executive James Saccacio.

"This marginal increase in overall foreclosure activity was fueled by a 14% jump in new default notices, indicating that lenders are cautiously throwing more wood into the foreclosure fireplace after spending months spent trying to clear the chimney of sloppily filed foreclosures," he said.

Home ownership: Biggest drop since Great Depression

Month-over-month, there were fewer foreclosures. Nationwide filings totaled 214,855 in September, a decrease of 6% from August and a 38% decrease from September, 2010.

"While foreclosure activity in September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up," said Saccacio.

Meanwhile, the time it takes to process foreclosures continued to grow. During the third quarter, once a bank began the foreclosure process it took an average of 336 days to complete, according to RealtyTrac. That's up from a nationwide average of 318 days during the second quarter. It's also the longest average foreclosure period going back to the first quarter of 2007, before the housing crisis began.

In New York and New Jersey, it took nearly three times as long for the foreclosure process to be completed. In the Empire State, it took an average of 986 days for the average foreclosure to be processed -- the longest in the country -- while in the Garden State, it took 974 days, according to RealtyTrac.

Compare that to Texas, where it took an average of 86 days to complete a foreclosure in the third quarter, the fastest foreclosure process in the nation, the company said.

Nevada, once a boom state for real estate, maintained its current title as the poster child for foreclosures. The state had the nation's highest foreclosure rate: one in every 44 housing units.

30-year mortgage rates fall below 4%

California had twice the rate of Nevada, but it still had the second-highest foreclosure rate, with one in every 88 units.

View this article on CNNMoney

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Underwater Mortgage? Water District to Buy Real Estate That is Literally Under Water

Too bad your property is "underwater" and not really underwater like this one is and it might be worth something =) In strange twist San Jose Real Estate that is actually underwater at Anderson Reservoir is being paid a premium for by the water company...Now dont you wish your property was at the bottom of a lake too -)


Oct. 12 (Source: By Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, Calif.) - In an unusual deal that gives New meaning to the real estate adage “location, location, location,” Silicon Valley’s largest drinking water provider is negotiating to buy 225 acres in the hills east of Highway 101 near Morgan Hill.But there isn’t much of a view. The property is under water. At the bottom of Anderson Reservoir.

Like the reservoir itself, some of the details remain unclear. But the proposed purchase by the Santa Clara Valley Water District — which once owned the land and resold it — would close one of Silicon Valley’s most controversial development sagas 50 years after it began.

The submerged land is one of four parcels totaling 1,149 acres that the water district is negotiating to acquire from Los Angeles developer Castle & Cooke. The other three are dry land between the reservoir and Highway 101.

The agency didn’t set out to buy underwater land, said Ann Draper, acting chief operating officer of the water district. It needs the dry parcels to comply with state and federal permits, she said, that require the agency to protect the habitat of endangered species that are disturbed when water district crews perform Flood control work in hundreds of miles of streams every year across Santa Clara County.

And Castle & Cooke wanted to sell all four together, so to get the dry ones, the district has to buy the wet one.

“The value of that is minuscule, small,” Draper said of the underwater piece. “It’s less

than $4,000.”

The district has not yet made public the proposed sale price for all 1,149 acres, but it is expected to be several million dollars.

Details will become public 10 days before the Oct. 25 meeting when the water district’s board is scheduled to vote on the purchase.

Never a ‘New Town’

In a wider sense, the deal symbolizes the end of a five-decade chapter in San Jose’s history, the final breath of an era when developers with horn-rimmed glasses and rolls of blueprints turned miles of farmland into Silicon Valley subdivisions.

“The population was growing. It was an exciting time,” said Susie Wilson, a San Jose City Council member from 1973 to 1979. “This had been a farming community, and suddenly there were all these engineers and their wives who had been educated in colleges coming in. They all needed housing.”

In the early 1960s, Castle & Cooke, urged by former San Jose city manager Anthony P. “Dutch” Hamann, acquired 11,000 acres from Coyote Valley over the ridge to Anderson Reservoir. Under the names of its subsidiaries, Lake Anderson Corporation and Oceanic California, Castle & Cooke planned to build a massive “New Town” with stores,

schools and 100,000 residents.

“City leaders back then thought it was a big plum,” said Wilson. “It would be like Tesla coming in today. But Castle & Cooke tried too late. By the 1970s, the environmentalists had begun to band together. People didn’t want to see development going over those hills.”

The San Jose City Council finally killed the plan in 1978. Castle & Cooke, which had a history dating to 1850s Hawaii, sued San Jose for $30 million — the largest claim ever against the city at the time. The company lost in 1980, and later began selling off pieces of the land.

If the water district buys the 1,149 acres, Castle & Cooke’s ownership in the area would be all but over, at fewer than 100 acres.

“It’s been a long and colorful ride,” said Paul Ireland, a Castle & Cooke consultant who is helping sell the land.



One big question remains: Since the water district already owns the reservoir, why doesn’t it own all the land on the bottom?

Mysterious sale

Property records show that after Santa Clara County voters approved a $3 million bond in 1949 to build Anderson Dam, the water district signed an agreement with O’Connell Brothers, a ranching company, to use the 225-acre piece now underwater. But it wasn’t until 1954 when O’Connell Brothers finally sold the property to the water district, for $175,000.

Mysteriously, in 1956, the water district sold the land to Castle & Cooke subsidiary Lake Anderson, and another company, Gelco Development, even though by then it sat under water. The district kept “inundation rights,” but Draper said nobody at the agency today can find documents showing why it sold the land, or for how much. Was it a planned marina?

“You can speculate as to what those conversations were about,” Draper said, “but we don’t know.”

In years past, the water district went to federal agencies every year to obtain permits for flood control work to clear sediment and brush in stream channels. But in 2002, to cut red tape, it obtained a 10-year permit from the state fish and game department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers and others.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

New Discounts for Mortgage Borrowers

Clearly buying San Jose Real Estate right now would make sense if this article is true!
San Jose Real Estate is always a good deal compared to
San Francisco Relocation and Bay Area Real Estate in general....New buyers maybe it is time to bite the bullet and get a loan while rates are as low as they are~
good luck and read on~


by AnnaMaria Andriotis
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
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Lenders are cutting closing costs and offering other discounts to go along with low rates. What's the catch?

As mortgage rates continue to fall, lenders are rolling out splashy discounts and promotions to inspire reluctant home buyers. But critics say the newest offers still stop short of the best deal for borrowers: Lower rates.

More from SmartMoney.com:

• Risky Mortgages Make a Comeback

• Ask SmartMoney: Should I Borrow Against My House to Buy Stocks?

• Unable to Sell, Homeowners Remodel
From large banks to credit unions, a growing number of lenders are waiving fees, lowering rates and finding new ways to cut loan prices for would-be home buyers and refinancers. Capital One is waiving some closing fees for refinancers, which can save $3,300 on average. Citi and Bank of America are discounting fees by as much as 0.75 percentage point. And online lender Quicken Loans is telling customers who get a mortgage through December that if mortgage rates fall in the future, they'll be able to get the lower rates with most refinancing costs covered.

While some of the deals are available to refinancers, they are mostly aimed at home buyers. In this market, new purchase mortgages can be more profitable for banks. But they currently account for just about 20% of all mortgage applications, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. "We are still amazed that record low interest rates and significantly lower home prices have not resulted in strong loan demand," says Tim Zimmerman, president and CEO at Standard Bank in Pittsburgh, which is lowering closing costs by up to $500 for home purchases and refinances.

That's a small discount, relatively. Closing costs typically run up to 2% of the loan amount — $500 would fully cover closing costs for a $25,000 loan. Zimmerman says that on refinances closing costs tend to be lower, and that this discount along with low mortgage rates creates an opportunity for borrowers.

[Click here to check home equity rates in your area.]

But other offers are more generous. In a rare deal for refinancers, Capital One is eliminating on average $3,300 closing costs — including the appraisal and title-related charges — for homeowners who refinance into a 30-year mortgage in some locations, including New York, Texas and the Washington D.C. metro area. Some credit unions are also slashing closing fee costs. In August, for example, the largest credit union, the Navy Federal Credit Union (designated for Department of Defense employees and their families) began offering $2,500 off of closing costs for borrowers.

Other lenders are discounting costs that borrowers may pay when they sign up for a mortgage. Borrowers have the option to pay what are called "discount points" — a prepayment of interest — in exchange for a lower interest rate. One point equals 1% of the loan amount. Citi is offering home buyers 0.75% of the loan amount that can be used to offset discount points. On a $375,000 mortgage, the credit would be $2,812.50 -- plus the lower interest rate over the life of the loan. Earlier this year, Bank of America began offering 0.25 percentage point off discount points in 12 states; next month, the bank will extend the offer in nine more states, including South Carolina, Texas and Washington D.C.

But if you're seeing incentives, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage-data firm HSH Associates, there might be a catch. To qualify for the Bank of America discount, for example, consumers must have at least $50,000 socked away with the bank or its investment firm.


Other incentives may be designed to distract from a rate that's not as low as it could be. The average rate consumers get on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.25% — about 0.75 percentage point higher than the lowest advertised, according to LendingTree.com. That's almost the widest spread since the firm began tracking the data in February 2010. On a $275,000 30-year fixed rate mortgage, the difference adds up to about $120 more per month, or more than $42,000 over the life of the loan.

For their part, banks say they're looking to attract new customers, or drum up more business with old ones, and that rock-bottom rates, though difficult to get, are accessible for borrowers with the highest credit scores, large down payments and low debt levels. But they also acknowledge that these promotions are good without being too good: A Bank of America spokesman says the institution is looking to price competitively but not low enough to spark an overflow of applications that would prevent it from being able to process the mortgages in a timely manner, the spokesman says.

Still, a low interest rate is still the key to finding the cheapest mortgage. Experts direct borrowers to consider lenders who are most eager for business, including online outfits, which can offer a lower rate because they have lower overhead, and smaller institutions like community banks and credit unions that might have more wiggle room on rates. With rates expected to stay low for a while, qualified borrowers can afford to haggle to get a low rate, which will help them save more than most incentives on the table now.

___

Thursday, September 22, 2011

RSS Text Size Print Share This Tampa losing flashy start-up tech company to California

Many start ups believe in San Francisco Relocation.....
Maybe the Dotbomb thing wont die =)
Every week you are starting to hear about a new start up in SF....AIR BnB etc.....
good times



TAMPA --
One of Tampa's hotter start-up companies, TourWrist, is flying the coop and moving to the technology capital of the planet, San Francisco.

"We would have preferred to stay in Tampa," said founder Charles Armstrong, but the company has started attracting interest from venture capitalists and will likely complete a first round of funding within six weeks.

TourWrist was something of a technology offspring of the Tampa advertising and branding firm Spark, through its Spark Labs project and it developed a smart phone and tablet app that lets users view 360-degree photos on their phone.

By using the phone's compass and motion sensor, users can physically spin themselves up, down, left and right and seemingly peer through their device into another place in the world.

The name plays on the word "tourist" and using ones "wrist" to spin around.

For instance, auto makers have been using the app to display the interior of their cars, and real estate agents and hoteliers have been using it to display their properties. TourWrist only went live on the Apple system in the spring of last year, but became one of Apple's most popular apps, with more than 20,000 downloads a week.

Only last June, TourWrist won awards at the Tampa Bay Technology Forum's coolTECH event for local technology projects.

Other companies are getting into the 360-degree game as well, and automaker Nissan recently launched a similar app to show the interior of their cars.

TourWrist had only a handful of employees, but the symbolism of their departure is a bitter pill for Tampa with only a small silver lining, say executives here who have been trying to build more of a technology community.

"TourWrist is a win for Tampa and demonstrates that we have the means to incubate hot companies and prepare them for Silicon Valley's venture scene," said Brent Britton, an attorney at Gray Robinson and advisor to TourWrist. "It's unfortunate TourWrist could not get funded here. We'll miss the jobs they would have created."

Britton noted that technology investing takes skill and a tolerance for risk, and there's a common sentiment that "Tampa's early stage investors wouldn't know a hot startup if it bit them on the rotary phone they use to dial up their AOL account. But I think we can change that."

Tampa Bay has plenty of wealthy investors, said George Gordon, chairman and chief executive of the energy software company Enporion and past chairman of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum.

"A lot of those people made their wealth in real estate or manufacturing and not so much tech," Gordon said. "And people like to invest in things they know and understand and where they can add value."

San Francisco is flush with technology billionaires, Gordon notes, and successful early stage or "angel" investors in technology visit companies they support monthly, if not more often, "and they don't want to live on airplanes to get there."

Calif theme park sale paves way for 49ers stadium

Looks to me like the 49ers are moving to santa clara if they are buying Great America.
That in turn should make San Jose Real Estate even more desirable...If the 49ers relocate to san jose it is a win win
good news for real estate investors and homeowners here in San Jose CA

By: The Associated Press | 09/19/11 6:01 PM
The Associated Press
The owners of the San Francisco 49ers are teaming with a local real estate firm to buy a Santa Clara theme park that had opposed the 49ers' new stadium plans.

The San Jose Mercury News reported the deal by the York family and JMA Ventures on Monday. The $70 million deal to buy Great America is expected to help clear the way for a new football stadium next to the park.

Currently, the city of Santa Clara leases the land the park operates on to Ohio-based Cedar Fair for $5 million a year. Cedar Fair did not support a stadium proposal and sued the city for a loss of parking and other reasons.

JMA Ventures supports a new stadium.

Santa Clara's city council still must approve the purchase.

___

Information from: San Jose Mercury News, http://www.sjmercury.com



Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/entertainment/2011/09/calif-theme-park-sale-paves-way-49ers-stadium#ixzz1YhQr5I00

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

San Jose police raid pot co-op tied to suspect in radio host's killing

This is surely the craziest article I have read about San Jose Real Estate I have read in quite a while.....Cant quite understand the motive but I am sure a jury/court will figure it out!
Read on:




Two people connected with a San Jose marijuana collective helped Paul Ray Castillo elude officers after he allegedly shot a man who was pumping gas then killed a radio show host last week, police said Tuesday night.
Police said they raided the TreeHouse Marijuana Collective at 190 Commercial St., near Interstate 880 and Highway 101 after serving a search warrant on the dispensary. No other details were released, and police would only say that two people "associated" with the collective "aided and abetted Castillo after the homicide and assisted in his escape."
Police were expected to release more information Wednesday on the latest development and provide more details on Friday's crime spree.
Also on Wednesday, Castillo, 33, is due in court to enter a plea to charges that he shot a man at a Willow Glen gas station, then carjacked, kidnapped and killed 60-year-old Cindy Nguyen last Friday. Friends of Nguyen, a Vietnamese radio personality and real estate agent, plan a vigil on Friday.
Officers tracked down Castillo to an East San Jose neighborhood a few hours after the crime wave. But after officers s hot at Castillo, he managed to escape as police locked down the neighborhood and searched homes all night. Police have not yet said how they think Castillo escaped or said whether they have arrested anyone else.
The paroled ex-convict was arrested in a West Sacramento pizza shop on Sunday.

Slice of Silicon Valley as social media moves in Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/biz-tech/slice-of-silicon-valley-as-social-media-moves-in-20110911-1k48k.html#ixzz1YeXoHPrQ

Dotcoms are back and so is Silicon Valley Relocation!!!
Looks like the economy is still looking good in SV....


DOTCOMS are back. A decade after they fled from their large, funky offices leaving North Sydney a ghost town, they are now back filling the office void caused by the shrinking corporate sector.
The internet may be the nemesis of retailers but the rise of social media platforms has been a fillip for landlords following a slow start to the year.
The uncertainty in global financial markets has translated to increased business caution by financial companies looking to relocate or expand within the central business district.
Advertisement: Story continues below
In some instances, offices are being left empty as banks and law firms relocate across the city.
These spaces are being upgraded and rented to fast-growing internet businesses. Unlike 10 years ago, these former dot.bombs are now leasing prime office space in the CBD, further cementing their image as serious top 100 corporate businesses.
CB Richard Ellis's associate director, Stuart McSorley, said tenants were actively leasing 200 to 900 square metre offices, with online operators leading the pack.
Mr McSorley said the lack of financial services and recruitment activity, which traditionally drives Sydney's leasing market, has been offset by the rising demand from online operators such as social media and group buying providers.
Google, which has a long lease at Pyrmont, is on the hunt for an additional 10,000 square metres, equal to about four big office floors, to accommodate its growing staff numbers.
Facebook has signed up the penthouse floor at 77 King Street, above the Apple store, while LinkedIn has leased space at 130 Pitt Street for a minimum of five years.
The latest deal involved online site booking.com, which has leased an office on level 11 of the Australia Square Plaza Building at 95 Pitt Street for $670 a square metre for four years.
Leasing agent, Thomas Fredriksen at Knight Frank, said the deal was to establish the group's Asia Pacific head office.
''The exponential growth in the use of the internet in everyday life is driving the growth and relocation of the businesses from the fringe areas to being right in the heart of the CBD,'' he said.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/biz-tech/slice-of-silicon-valley-as-social-media-moves-in-20110911-1k48k.html#ixzz1YeXrvkR3

Friday, September 16, 2011

Polycom strikes deal to move HQ from Pleasanton to San Jose

A lot of companies are looking for San Jose Real Estate!
Silicon Valley Relocation is getting to be a large focus for companies this year.
San Jose Relocation for employees is making the valley look hot again!
The economy may be poor is some parts of the country, but it isnt that bad here in the South Bay.
If you are looking for a good area to live in, the Valley cant be beat.




Polycom said Monday it will depart Pleasanton and move its headquarters to a North San Jose building that could accommodate about 650 employees as it rapidly expands.
The technology company said being in the center of Silicon Valley would be a more appropriate site for its headquarters as it grows.
"We want to have a world-class, state-of-the-art headquarters as we scale from a billion-dollar to a $3 billion company," said Ashley Goldsmith, Polycom's executive vice president of human resources. "We are moving to the epicenter of high tech."
While the relocation is welcome news for San Jose, Pleasanton officials believe the company's departure won't sting as much because of other growth in the East Bay

city.
Were Polycom to move today, it would relocate more than 375 employees. Yet the six-story building it will take along Highway 237 could contain 600 to 700 workers.
The company's headquarters, technology demonstration center and other operations will be at the new San Jose site.
Polycom has become a dominant player in "unified communications" that blend video, audio and Internet-based communications in a seamless web. It is taking on major foes in the market, including its future San Jose neighbor, Cisco Systems (CSCO).
Over the year that ended in June,
Polycom generated $1.36 billion in sales and $112.9 million in profit.
"It's great to have the jobs in San Jose," Mayor Chuck Reed said. "This is a great location for a world headquarters. This is going to be a good location for the employees." He cited amenities such as new retail, including a Target store, along with future hotels in the area.
The company leased about 214,000 square feet in the America Center on the north side of Highway 237 near Great America Parkway, according to Cornish & Carey, and Studley, the commercial realty firms that arranged the deal.
The one building that Polycom will occupy provides plenty of room for its current growth needs. But the America Center project could accommodate Polycom's future needs as it grows.
"There is ample room for expansion for Polycom and anyone else in the project," said Phil Mahoney, an executive vice president with Cornish & Carey.
Polycom's lease also extends a string of major property expansions by top-flight tech companies. Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Dell, VMware, Facebook, Microsoft, Motorola, Juniper Networks and Box.net have all gobbled up big chunks of office space this year.

San Jose City Council approves Netflix deal

The San Jose City Council approved a $5 million tax-incentive deal Tuesday with Netflix for the video-rental company to relocate and expand its DVD division to the city.
Netflix is headquartered in Los Gatos and currently leases 250,000 square feet of space in three locations. Los Gatos recently approved a 550,000-square-foot Netflix development project. Under the San Jose deal, Netflix will lease 55,000 square feet of office space at 1732 N. First Street that was formerly occupied by the city's airport administration.
Under the 5-year lease agreement, San Jose will provide Netflix payments equaling half of sales tax receipts from the company's operations in the first year, 40 percent in the second and 30 percent in the third. The incentives are to offset $1.6 million in improvements Netflix plans to make for its San Jose operation, which will employ 225. The company plans to move the DVD division Oct. 1.
One resident, Ross Signorino, questioned why cash-strapped San Jose should give any company a tax break.
But Mayor Chuck Reed and other city officials said the company only gets paid if it provides new revenue to the city. They noted that Netflix had many choices for its relocation and that other cities and states are competing for such business.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Silicon Valley construction workers find jobs again

Well no matter how you slice it tom says that this is a leading indicator of real estate coming back to san jose. So no matter how the news spins the economy this week, real estate it would seem is slowly but surely on its way back!!! Hang in there san jose as we will put the home price slump behind us at some point for sure.
tom



For the past three years, the steel frame of an uncompleted five-story office tower has loomed over a corner lot in Santa Clara while the developer waited for the economy to revive.
Last week, in one more sign that Silicon Valley's economy is emerging from the downturn, construction crews were at work again on the building.
Valley developers are restarting dormant projects and some long-idled construction workers are back on the job. Santa Clara County added 1,800 construction jobs in June, double the 20-year average.
Thousands of new apartment units in more than half a dozen complexes are in various stages of development in San Jose. South Bay office developers are planning new campuses and finishing projects they put on hold after the 2008 crash.
The Sobrato Organization, which mothballed the Santa Clara office building in 2008, is even planning a second 5-story office building on the site.
"We feel strongly about the tech sector and the Bay Area," said Mike Field, Sobrato's director for commercial real estate. High end office space is in short supply and there's lots of demand for it from big tech companies, he said
Still unknown is whether the national economic turmoil may slow things down again. "I'm optimistic but very cautious," said Neil Struthers, chief executive officer of the Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building & Construction Trades Council.
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construction workers, it's nothing close to a return to the employment numbers before the 2008 crash, but it's probably a signal of more hiring to come.
Dan Borba, a 30-year-old construction specialist from Fremont, is working again after three years he says were the worst of his life, scrabbling up temporary jobs and working for half or less what he was paid before the crash. He started on a full-time union job a week ago.
Borba said that every day he feels "lucky to wake up and go to work as long as there's work to be had. I do believe our industry has seen the last of it," he said.
Among the work in progress or planned: Dostart Development Co. is in discussions with tenants about a proposed campus in Mountain View; Irvine Apartment Communities is building a massive apartment complex in north San Jose, and construction will start this fall on another Moffett Towers building.
Rafael Santiago, 45, of Santa Clara, was laid off a year ago. Last week, for the first time since then, he found fulltime work at an apartment construction site in North San Jose.
"Things are getting better," he said. But his former co-workers mostly gave up during the downturn and moved out of state, he said.
For Lou Hollister, 32-year-old former investment analyst for Charles Schwab, the building renaissance has allowed him to switch careers.
Last week, he began work as an apprentice electrician on the re-launch of the Santa Clara office building.
In finance, "You sit in front of a desk all day," he said, as he stowed gear in a building site locker at quitting time. Being an electrician "is the best of both worlds -- there's a lot of calculation, but it's physical too, and you're out of doors."
The construction of several data centers in the South Bay has helped keep electrical workers busy during the downturn, said Sal Ventura, assistant business manager for the San Jose local of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 332.
"We're seeing a lot of work on the books with our employers and we're seeing some projects that will have a significant impact for construction workers in near future," Ventura said. "We still have 15 percent of our people out of work, but it's better than the 25 to 30 percent we had."
Employment in other trades -- operating engineers, cement masons and laborers ---is also rising, according to union spokesmen. But hiring varies as projects go through different stages.
Operating engineers are the first on the building site, with heavy equipment. They are doing better in San Francisco and Oakland, where there are large public works projects under way, than San Jose at the moment, according to Mark Kyle, spokesman for Operating Engineers Local 3 in Alameda, which covers Northern California, Nevada, Hawaii and Utah. But upcoming projects for the South Bay, including the beginning of BART construction, will increase hiring here, he said.
"Two years ago we had 5,000 folks on the out of work list. It's down now to about 1,700," he said.
At one time, 40 percent of Labors Local 270 in San Jose were idle, said business manager Jim Homer. "It is far better than it was last year," he said.
Work for cement masons is picking up too. "As of right now it looks pretty good," said Jerry Zamora, business agent of the Cement Masons Union Local 400 in San Jose.
Construction specialist Borba's advice for others who haven't landed a job: "Keep your head up and keep going. It's out there," he said.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

San Jose Residents Have Longest Life Spans In U.S.

I knew living in San Jose was good but WoW longest lifespan in the US!!!
Makes you want to move here doesnt it? I am a little surprised but in a good way.
tom




SAN JOSE (CBS 5) — San Jose has topped a list of U.S. cities where residents enjoy the longest life spans.
A study by The Daily Beast and the Centers for Disease Control looked at decades worth lifespan data to find out in which cities people lived the longest.
Watch the video report.
In San Jose, the average life expectancy was 79.2 years for men, 82.9 years for women.
Following San Jose on the list, San Francisco came in 6th. Men there live an average of 75.9 years, while women live 82.52 years. Oakland also made the list, coming in 15th. There, men live 76.4 years on average, women 81.2 years.
Even tourists like Mack Gillen of Ireland could be found basking in San Jose's youthful glow. "I'm not surprised people live longer because it's laid back, it's relaxed," he said.
It seems as if the farther west you go, the better the longevity. Only two cities in the northeast made the cut.
The west coast had the majority of the spots on the list of 20 cities, with California having the most out of all the states.
The study did not specify why people in the top cities listed were living longer.
The full list can be found at this link.

Monday, July 18, 2011

letting robosignners walk

Ever since the current economic crisis began, it has seemed that five words sum up the central principle of United States financial policy: go easy on the bankers.

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This principle was on display during the final months of the Bush administration, when a huge lifeline for the banks was made available with few strings attached. It was equally on display in the early months of the Obama administration, when President Obama reneged on his campaign pledge to “change our bankruptcy laws to make it easier for families to stay in their homes.” And the principle is still operating right now, as federal officials press state attorneys general to accept a very modest settlement from banks that engaged in abusive mortgage practices.

Why the kid-gloves treatment? Money and influence no doubt play their part; Wall Street is a huge source of campaign donations, and agencies that are supposed to regulate banks often end up serving them instead. But officials have also argued at each point of the process that letting banks off the hook serves the interests of the economy as a whole.

It doesn’t. The failure to seek real mortgage relief early in the Obama administration is one reason we still have 9 percent unemployment. And right now, the arguments that officials are reportedly making for a quick, bank-friendly settlement of the mortgage-abuse scandal don’t make sense.

Before I get to that, a word about the current state of the mortgage mess.

Last fall, we learned that many mortgage lenders were engaging in illegal foreclosures. Most conspicuously, “robo-signers” were attesting that banks had the required documentation to seize homes without checking to see whether they actually had the right to do so — and in many cases they didn’t.

How widespread and serious were the abuses? The answer is that we don’t know. Nine months have passed since the robo-signing scandal broke, yet there still hasn’t been a serious investigation of its reach. That’s because states, suffering from severe budget troubles, lack the resources for a full investigation — and federal officials, who do have the resources, have chosen not to use them.

Instead, these officials are pushing for a settlement with mortgage companies that, reports Shahien Nasiripour of The Huffington Post, “would broadly absolve the firms of wrongdoing in exchange for penalties reaching $30 billion and assurances that the firms will adhere to better practices.”

Why the rush to settle? As far as I can tell, there are two principal arguments being made for letting the banks off easy. The first is the claim that resolving the mortgage mess quickly is the key to getting the housing market back on its feet. The second, less explicitly stated, is the claim that getting tough with the banks would undermine broader prospects for recovery.

Neither of these arguments makes much sense.

The claim that removing the legal cloud over foreclosure would help the housing market — in particular, that it would help support housing prices — leaves me scratching my head. It would just accelerate foreclosures, and if more families were evicted from their homes, that would mean more homes offered for sale — an increase in supply. An increase in the supply of a good usually pushes that good’s price down, not up. Why should the effect on housing go the opposite way?

You might point to the mortgage relief that would supposedly be extracted as part of the settlement. But if mortgage relief is that crucial, why isn’t the administration making a major push to reinvigorate its own Home Affordable Modification Program, which has spent only a small fraction of its money? Or if making that program actually work is hard, why should we believe that any program instituted as part of a mortgage-abuse settlement would work any better?

Sorry, but the case that letting banks off the hook would help the housing market just doesn’t hold together.

What about the argument that getting tough with the banks would threaten the overall economy? Here the question is: What’s holding the economy back?

It’s not the state of the banks. It’s true that fears about bank solvency disrupted financial markets in late 2008 and early 2009. But those markets have long since returned to normal, in large part because everyone now knows that banks will be bailed out if they get in trouble.

The big drag on the economy now is the overhang of household debt, largely created by the $5.6 trillion in mortgage debt that households took on during the bubble years. Serious mortgage relief could make a dent in that problem; a $30 billion settlement from the banks, even if it proved more effective than the government’s modification program, would not.

So when officials tell you that we must rush to settle with the banks for the sake of the economy, don’t believe them. We should do this right, and hold bankers accountable for their actions.

AP Exclusive: Mortgage 'robo-signing' goes on

Where is robo cop when u need him? Probably having a robo donut at robo winchells....
The banking industry is really getting bad nowadays....makes you want to take out a loan doesnt it?
hahahaha
Instead of managing the default, the OBAMA regime should be overhauling the banking system as it
is hoarding money and foreclosing willy nilly

Michelle Conlin and Pallavi Gogoi, AP Business Writers, On Monday July 18, 2011, 5:00 pm
County officials in three states tell The Associated Press that an illegal practice known as "robo-signing" continues in the mortgage industry -- months after banks and mortgage companies promised to stop it.

Last fall, the nation's largest banks suspended foreclosures while they investigated robo-signing. That's the term used when someone in the mortgage industry forges a signature or signs a mortgage document without reading it.

In one Massachusetts county alone, the office that handles property deeds has received almost 1,300 documents with the name of a known robo-signer.

Critics say it's proof that the mortgage industry hasn't gone far

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Don't call it the next tech bubble - yet

As the author notes back to multiple offers in many markets including palo alto and mountain view....funny how cramers rag the street was calling it a bubble here less than a month ago.
Old Jumbo JIMBO dont know real estate




Signs of exuberance are everywhere: Tesla roadsters, soaring real estate, overpriced vinegar - and eye-popping valuations for pre-IPO companies like Facebook and Zynga. So why are so many Silicon Valley denizens reluctant to use the B-word?
By David A. Kaplan, contributor
FORTUNE -- Michael Dreyfus, 49, is a leading real estate broker in the heart of Silicon Valley. During the winter he sensed the housing market was coming back, though he hadn't a clue what he'd be in for. In February prospective sellers came to him with a listing for a perfectly respectable property in Palo Alto: four bedrooms, three bathrooms, 7,500-square-foot lot, needs work. He recommended that the sellers ask $1.9 million. When the house went on the market in April, they had bumped the price to $2.3 million. Seven offers came in above that price; $2.7 million won the frantic bidding. Several buyers attempted to make offers even as the broker was supervising repairs to a kitchen flooded by a burst pipe. What's a little leak when the price tomorrow may hit $3 million? "We live in an alternative universe here," Dreyfus acknowledges.
Welcome to the Bizarro World of Silicon Valley Summer 2011, where financial fervor is fueling yet another real estate boom. Billions of dollars in fresh venture capital is being invested, and tech IPOs are hitting the stock market weekly. The rest of the country may be in the economic doldrums, but here the winds are fair and the sails of the newly rich captains are full. Entrepreneurs are pulling out fresh business plans; more angel investors are getting into the pre-IPO action; exuberance fills the Northern California air. Is the surge the beginning of a new, lasting wave of good times to wash over El Dorado, or is it the harbinger of the latest speculative cycle?
Consumer sites like LinkedIn (LNKD) and Pandora (P) have gone public recently, with multibillion-dollar valuations -- and without the profits to justify it (at least using traditional metrics). LinkedIn has been trading at 750 times its estimated 2012 earnings -- as the rest of the market trades at barely 12 times forward earnings.
Just last week, Zynga filed for a $1 billion IPO. The fever is contagious: Groupon, based in Chicago, is sure to have an IPO shortly, and Washington, D.C.--based LivingSocial, the No. 2 local-commerce website after Groupon, may file soon too. And everybody expects an IPO from Facebook by early 2012. Its valuation, based on trading in private secondary markets, has surpassed an astonishing $80 billion, which puts the seven-year-old company in the same financial league as established public operations like Amazon (AMZN) and Cisco (CSCO).
Microsoft's acquisition of Skype has similarly furrowed brows. Chinese Internet companies, listed on American stock exchanges, are another marker of enthusiasm possibly gone awry. For example, Youku.com (YOKU), hyped as the YouTube of China, went public in December at $12.80 and approached $70 in April. In June it had sunk to near $25. You could argue the stock had returned to normalcy -- or instead that a little bubble had popped, and when it did, it popped big. Color.com has become its own cautionary tale. It announced in the spring that it had raised $41 million for a "miraculous" free app for smartphones that would allow users to share snapshots. Yet when the app launched, it was a bust.
The swell in IPOs isn't limited to splashy social-networking companies. IronPlanet, based across the bay from Silicon Valley in Pleasanton, is as unsexy as it gets. It conducts online auctions worldwide for heavy equipment, like a Caterpillar (CAT) backhoe loader or a John Deere (DE) crawler tractor -- and plans to go public this summer. Overall, more than 50 tech IPOs are expected by year-end -- coincidentally, or ominously, the most since 2000. Proceeds from IPOs this quarter -- nearly $12 billion so far -- are already more than double last year's total. Venture investment for 2010 was $23 billion -- nowhere near the $99 billion of 2000 but far above the $10.5 billion of 1996.
From the tech boom's epicenter in and around Palo Alto to the neighborhoods up the peninsula in San Francisco, the newest paper Siliconillionaires are everywhere. "It's too hot," says one VC whose firm has invested in a dozen IPOs over the past year. He's telling me this on a recent Tuesday night during one of Silicon Valley's elite poker games -- in which he's proving he's quite adroit at placing bets.
"The valuations are very high and discount too much risk. Too much late-stage money is flowing in -- and much of it from other dotcoms, which have lots of their own investment money coming in, so it's circular." The exuberance reminds him of a time not so long ago -- barely a decade -- when the dotcoms and the stock market and the Valley came crashing down. On March 31, 2000, the Nasdaq (COMP) peaked at 5132. At 2800 or so, it's still barely half that now. Nonetheless, warns the VC, "the analogies to the last bubble are unavoidable." (For such analogies, see charts below.)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Citigroup sued by National Guard man over foreclosure

To me there is no excuse for this....here is a man going to serve his country who was wronged by the bank who held is mortgage. I hope he recovers double what it was worth. People should blame the banks for the housing failure as they in large part caused it and then profited when people couldnt make the payments. This is a good example of it. If the true negative value of underwater homes was on the books many many banks would fail. But there is an accounting rule that allows them to mask it. BAD BAD CITIBANK!!!!
(just my opinion)






NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc was sued on Friday by a Texas Army National Guard sergeant who said the bank foreclosed on his home while he was preparing to be deployed to Iraq, court papers show.
Jorge Rodriguez said the May 2, 2006 foreclosure of his Del Valle, Texas home by the bank's CitiMortgage unit violated a 2003 federal law designed to ease the financial and legal burdens of military personnel called into active duty.
Rodriguez said the foreclosure occurred three months after he had begun training at Fort Hood, where he was "on lock down" and could not communicate with outsiders.
He said he could not make payments on his mortgage while in active duty, and learned about the foreclosure only upon returning on August 7, 2007 from an 11-month stint in Iraq.
"This was not an isolated incident," Rodriguez said in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court. "CitiMortgage initiated thousands of foreclosure proceedings across the United States without adequate safeguards to ensure that service members on active duty were not targeted."
Rodriguez said his property was sold at foreclosure for about $137,900, or $13,400 more than his original mortgage. He said he received no proceeds from the sale.
The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of U.S. armed forces members whose homes were foreclosed upon improperly by CitiMortgage from December 19, 2003 to the present.
It seeks to restore possession of the homes, compensatory and punitive damages, and other remedies.
Sean Kevelighan, a Citigroup spokesman, said the New York-based bank is looking into the matter.
JPMorgan Chase & Co, a Citigroup rival, this year apologized and said it would forgive loans made on homes it seized from at least 33 U.S. military personnel who were on active duty.
The case is Rodriguez v. CitiMortgage Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-04718.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Carol Bishopric and Tim Dobbyn)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Things Sellers Do That Real Estate Agents Hate

This article appeared on YAHOO but was written by a realtor in San Francisco....
I have to for the most part agree with what he has to say! Pretty much right on the money...
good blog about things sellers do that drive real estate agents crazy!





Home sellers today are under a lot of stress. It's a tougher market, home prices have fallen a lot, and many are trying to get as much money as possible to recoup their investment. Real estate agents feel sellers' pain and we're on their side. But sometimes, sellers do things that make it harder to for an agent to sell a home for what it's worth.

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Here are five not-so-great things sellers do that make their real estate agents cross their fingers and hope for the best.

1. Sellers who think their property is unique, thus worth more money.

Sellers consider their homes special; most likely they've put a lot of heart, soul, and money into fixing it up. It may be where they started a family or built a lifetime of memories. Real estate agents get that, but trust me, unless it's the Winchester Mystery House, most properties aren't that unusual.

When a seller believes their home is unique, however, they also believe it's worth more. Sellers then end up fixating on an asking price that's too high, despite the advice of an agent. If it's priced too high, a home will sit on the market for months. Unfortunately, nine out of 10 times, the seller will end up selling for less money than they would have gotten if the home was listed at an appropriate price from the start.

2. The home is a mess.

Sellers: It's important to pick up the home before a showing. Potential buyers touring a home usually don't appreciate stepping on a child's toy and fail to see the charm of a dog's discarded tennis ball. Buyers want to feel that a home is clean and well maintained. If it's not, they'll likely move on to the next.

3. Sellers who hang around during an open house.

There's a reason why real estate agents don't want sellers sticking around when potential buyers arrive. While a seller may be perfectly friendly and agreeable, they can alienate buyers or make them feel uncomfortable without even knowing it. I have one horror story involving a seller attempting to shoo a cat out from under the bed just as buyers were arriving. He'd just gotten out of the shower and wasn't appropriately dressed, needlessly repelling potential buyers.

4. Holding out for extra money at the last minute.

Say a buyer made an offer that was $40,000 less than what the seller wants. The agent and the buyer's agent have gone back and forth with a series of counter offers. The seller is only about $3,000 from their dream price but they insist on trying to squeeze another $1,500 out of the buyer.

[In Pictures: 10 Smart Ways to Improve Your Budget.]

During escrow, the buyer may find a reason to ask for that $1,500 or more back in credits anyway. In demanding more money, the seller may have created bad will, as well as stressed those involved in the purchase. When it comes down to it, extracting that last $1,500 may actually cost the seller more at the end of the transaction.

5. Sellers who don't clean up before turning over the keys.

Sellers should imagine themselves as the future buyer. Would they want to walk into their new home and find twelve cans of old paint in the garage? Or an old sofa with a broken leg in the attic?

The tip to sellers is to try to make the home as spotless as possible for the new owners. They'll appreciate it and so will the agent. And besides, it's good karma.

Brendon DeSimone is a realtor based in San Francisco. He is a contributor to Zillow Blog, has collaborated on multiple real estate books, and is often quoted by major media outlets.

Monday, June 20, 2011

10 most expensive housing markets

Well I am a little surprised but we made CNNs most expensive housing market even after the downturn at #2!!
At least we still all know it is a great place to live right?
With the huge hit we have taken the last 2 years we should also be considered one of the most likely to appreciate!
gl
tom



2. San Jose, Calif.2 of 10

For $745,000 buy a three bedroom home in a gated, San Jose community.
Median home price: $545,000

Silicon Valley's tech millionaires and other residents have seen their home values plunge dramatically, but they're still holding some of the most valuable properties in the nation.

Home prices in the region have fallen 36% from their peak, according to Wells Fargo. Still, the metro area market is anything but cheap.

Prices in many coastal California communities have remained high due to tight regulations, strict building codes and the tough-to-build-on hillsides and mountains that surround places like the Silicon Valley. That, added to a post-World-War II population boom during which many engineers, scientists and other technology experts flocked to the emerging semiconductor industry here, has kept demand for homes high.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Silicon Valley Real Estate Facebook Page

As I am a big believer in SOCIAL MEDIA, I am in the process of having a professional design my facebook page....It will have all the bells and whistles you would expect from a realtors facebook page. I will also be advertising it on facebook soon after he gets it done.

I like Facebooks cutting edge advertising, in that they target people who seem to be interested in a certain subject. I think this is the wave of the future for small businesses and big busness has been doing it for a while. You notice how amazon for instance sends you targeted emails on what you have been most recently looking at on their sight. They must do it by giving you those slightly toxic cookies we are all so enamored with =) Here is to the next wave of SOCIAL MEDIA on facebook. I will post the link and most likely seo it when I get it done.

silicon valley homes exploding in price

Here is the original article from bloomberg
I would agree that prices have been going up but they make their point a little hard.
Palo Alto prices have certainly spiked to high levels....
It is a great time to buy in silicon valley!
tom


June 15 (Bloomberg) -- A surge in wealth from technology stock sales and initial public offerings is spilling into the Silicon Valley real estate market as newly rich workers bid up home values in suburban cities south of San Francisco. Bloomberg's Cris Valerio reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

A sold sticker is displayed on a for sale sign outside of a home in Palo Alto, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The Hoover Tower stands at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
A surge in wealth from technology stock sales and initial public offerings is spilling into the Silicon Valley real estate market as newly rich workers bid up home values in suburban cities south of San Francisco.
The median price of single-family houses sold in Palo Alto, home of Facebook Inc., climbed 20 percent in May from a year earlier to $1.63 million, the biggest jump since 2008, according to preliminary figures from research company DataQuick. In Mountain View, the base of LinkedIn Corp., prices rose 3.1 percent to $957,500, the ninth year-over-year gain in 12 months.
The advances are defying a U.S. housing slump that has sent national values to an eight-year low. Share sales such as the IPO of LinkedIn -- which doubled on its first day of trading -- and an expected offering from Facebook will fuel a boom in some Silicon Valley cities into 2013, said Kenneth Rosen, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley.
“It’s just the beginning of the story and I suspect we’ll see an explosion in the next couple years,” Rosen, chairman of the school’s Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics, said in a telephone interview. “You’ve got young people with real money, and it’s not surprising they want to have a house.”
IPO Filings
Almost 300 companies have filed for IPOs in 2011, the most for any year during the same period since 2000, and more than 10 percent of those are in California, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Silicon Valley is the U.S. hub for early-stage companies, receiving almost 40 percent of the $23.3 billion in venture-firm investments last year, estimates from the National Venture Capital Association show.
Pandora Media Inc. climbed 8.9 percent today as shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The online radio company, based about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Silicon Valley in Oakland, raised $234.9 million in its IPO. Shares were priced at $16, above the expected $10 to $12 range.
The real estate gains in Silicon Valley, located primarily in the San Jose metropolitan area, are mostly occurring in towns where million-dollar values are already the norm. The median price in Cupertino gained 12 percent last month from May 2010 to $1.08 million, and values in Saratoga rose 4.7 percent to $1.62 million, according to San Diego-based DataQuick.
U.S. Price Declines
Housing in much of the rest of the nation is struggling as foreclosures and unemployment of more than 9 percent weigh on consumer sentiment. Home prices in 20 U.S. cities dropped 3.6 percent in March from a year earlier to the lowest since 2003, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values. The measure has declined 33 percent from its 2006 peak.
In Palo Alto, traffic at home showings has tripled in the last three weeks, with the average age of potential buyers dropping from about 50 to the mid-30s, said Daniel Siciliano, an associate dean at Stanford Law School who attends the tours because he’s in the market for a bigger house.
“People at startups have a lot of pent-up demand and tend to spend a portion of their new liquidity pretty quickly,” Siciliano said of his newfound competition for residential real estate. “They want to manifest their wealth.”
Past Silicon Valley property booms started in Palo Alto, adjacent to the Stanford campus, and Cupertino, home of Apple Inc. (AAPL), because of those institutional links and their coveted public schools, said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. Buyers from China have also been drawn by education resources in prestige valley locations and pushed up demand.
‘Happening Place’
“We’re a happening place because of the university and a lot of the folks that have been buying are relatively young,” said Levy, who has viewed downtown condominiums selling for double what he paid in 2005. “We have the best train service to San Francisco. I can be downtown in 35 minutes.”
Sean Scott, head of sales for Redwood City-based software firm Ingenuity Systems Inc., looked at a four-bedroom, two-bath home in Palo Alto last month priced at $1.8 million. The house has “soaring ceilings and generous living spaces,” two patios and a “lush backyard garden,” according to a marketing flyer.
A sale is pending for more than 20 percent above the asking price, or at least $2.2 million, after five bids were received, said Denise Simons, the listing agent at Alain Pinel Realtors.
“The market seems to be returning to the crazy days and the question is whether or not it is a false recovery or a sustained recovery,” Scott said in an e-mail after viewing two more homes at $1.25 million or more, and declining to make any offers. “I suspect that it is a sustained recovery, given the planned liquidity events with social-networking companies.”
Facebook IPO
Speculation that Facebook will go public in the next year is mounting even as the world’s largest social-media site remains silent about its plans. The company may have an IPO in the first quarter of 2012 with a valuation as high as $100 billion, cable channel CNBC reported June 13, citing people familiar with the matter.
Some investors have already cashed in equity in their companies through private share sales, boosting Silicon Valley housing demand and contributing to price gains, Rosen said. Stakes in closely held firms can be sold on secondary exchanges such as SharesPost Inc., which connects buyers and sellers. The exchange values Facebook at almost $53 billion.
Shares granted to employees of public companies can’t be sold until 180 days after the IPO, under U.S. securities rules.
New Millionaires
“You will probably see hundreds, if not thousands, of newly minted millionaires in the next two or three years,” said Steve Eskenazi, a tech investor in Hillsborough, north of Palo Alto, where the minimum lot size is a half acre (0.2 hectare). He sold his portion of an online advertising network to Sunnyvale-based Yahoo! Inc. in 2007.
“Most people in their 20s who find themselves millionaires feel it’s their inalienable right to buy real estate, and they’re typically not price sensitive,” Eskenazi said.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 27, bought a house this year in Palo Alto, said Larry Yu, a company spokesman. He declined to disclose details. Zuckerberg paid $7 million for a 5,000-square-foot (465-square-meter), seven-bedroom home in a “leafy and affluent” neighborhood, the San Jose Mercury News reported May 5, without saying where it got the information.
The purchase was made before Facebook’s scheduled move to Menlo Park, just north of Palo Alto.
15 Miles
As more firms go public and workers cash in shares, real estate within 15 miles of the office will climb, said Rosen, who gave a presentation at Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Mountain View headquarters before the company’s 2004 IPO to educate employees on housing. Sales are usually concentrated in the “middle to upper end,” he said.
In Cupertino, about 12 miles from Palo Alto, a three- bedroom home listed for $908,000 got more than a dozen offers and sold for $950,000 on June 8, said Albert Kao, an agent at Giant Realty Inc. in the city. The prior owner, who bought the property in 2002, decided to sell after her children graduated from the public schools. She made a $290,000 profit before commissions, Kao said.
Lower-priced areas are still struggling with weak demand. In all of Santa Clara County, which encompasses some Silicon Valley cities, prices decreased 5.1 percent in May from a year earlier to $498,000 as distressed sales pulled values down in the broader market, DataQuick said in a report today. The drop was smaller than in the rest of the San Francisco Bay area, with the nine-county median in the region tumbling 9.3 percent.
Groupon, Zynga
Groupon Inc., an online coupon provider based in Chicago, filed for an initial share sale June 2 and is hiring engineers in California, according to its website. As early as March, Groupon was in talks with bankers about an IPO that would value the company at as much as $25 billion, two people familiar with the matter said at the time.
Zynga Inc. of San Francisco, the largest maker of games for Facebook and valued at $8.8 billion on SharesPost, may file for an IPO by the end of the month, a person with knowledge of the matter said June 3.
Those firms are among the companies that will help Silicon Valley grow by about 20,000 workers in 2011, said Levy, the California economist. Software publishers and Web portals accounted for 5,600 of the 13,400 jobs added in the year through April in the San Jose metropolitan area, according to the California Employment Development Department.
“We’re at the beginnings of an expansion of the job base,” said Levy. “There will be a lot of hiring.”
Simons, the agent for the four-bedroom Palo Alto home, said there were five “excellent” offers for the 2,257-square-foot residence. It was constructed in 1973 by California developer Joseph Eichler, who built thousands of “progressive” tract houses in middle-class neighborhoods, according to a website devoted to the properties.
“There are people who want to get in and they’re willing to pay,” Simons said outside the home, which was repainted, landscaped and staged with furniture before the public showings. “We’re just starting to see the market come back.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at dlevy13@bloomberg.net

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

YAHOO is now completely BIPOLAR....just days ago they published an article from thestreet.com
saying that silicon valley prices were a bubble...now they publish the truth =)


Silicon Valley real estate market sizzling



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By Yahoo! Local – 2 hrs 37 mins ago
Pueng Vongs, Y! SF Editor
While the rest of the country is mired in a housing slump, sales in the Bay Area high-tech hub couldn't be hotter, according to a report from Bloomberg News. This is even while sales in Northern California overall are down.
The report details surging prices in the South Bay, crazy traffic at open houses, and million dollar homes with multiple offers -- often above the asking price.
Read the full report.
The rush is fueled by new IPOs and anticipation of Facebook's offering next year. In fact, big money is already being made on the social media giant in private share sales pre-IPO.
The report states that the median price of single-family houses in Palo Alto, home of Facebook, increased 20 percent in May from the previous year to $1.63 million, the biggest jump since 2008, according to DataQuick. Bidding wars are common.
Other areas also seeing a sizable bump are Cupertino, which gained 12 percent last month from May 2010 to $1.08 million, and Saratoga, which spiked 4.7 percent to $1.62 million, according to DataQuick.
"The market seems to be returning to the crazy days and the question is whether or not it is a false recovery or a sustained recovery," says one home hunter.
The high-tech, young, newly-monied set favor owning a house and picket fence, says the report. One observer in Palo Alto says he estimates the average age of buyers has dropped from about 50 to the mid-30s.
The report also expects the hi-tech resurgence to spillover into more jobs.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Median Prices June 4th 2011

MEDIAN MAP SJ Sat RE 0604

Short sales getting faster

Contra Costa Times
Posted: 06/01/2011 10:10:59 PM PDT
Updated: 06/03/2011 05:09:45 PM PDT

When it comes to short sales, the real estate transaction involving a mortgage that is worth more than the home it is tied to has long belied its name as a quick deal.
That is starting to slowly change, thanks to increased bank staffing, a Department of Treasury program that aims to speed up the transactions and more of a general acceptance of the deal.
Just ask first-time homeowners Michael and May Manlapeg, who were renting a house in Walnut Creek a few months ago. After signing a pending sales contract for a home in Pleasant Hill in late January, they thought it would take as much as six months for the deal to go through. Escrow ended up closing in slightly less than three months. Regular home sales typically take 30 to 60 days to close escrow after a pending sales contract is signed.
"I knew it could it could be a long, difficult process. It went faster than we expected," said Michael Manlapeg, 34, of the four-bedroom, three-bathroom property in Pleasant Hill they purchased in a short sale for $550,000.
The family moved to the Bay Area five years ago after Michael Manlapeg accepted a job as an information technology manager at an employee-benefits administration company in San Francisco.
The Manlapegs were looking for a home in the Walnut Creek/Pleasant Hill area that could accommodate their four young children, but they found places that fit the bill were out of their price range. So, they turned
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to a short sale, which allows for a home to be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage -- provided the transaction is approved by the lender.
Unlike foreclosures, which can sell at substantial discounts, short sales tend to be priced closer to fair-market value. Still, some short-sale bargains can be struck by negotiating down the price based on work that needs to be done on a property.
The $550,000 price the Manlapegs paid reflected a $50,000 negotiated discount to offset needed roof work and minor repairs.
Financing
The couple financed the property with a 30-year, fixed-rate Federal Housing Administration loan with a 4.75 percent interest rate and a 3.5 percent down payment. Their new home features a pool and creekside deck area; it was once listed as a regular sale for $1.1 million in 2008. "We got a great price," Michael Manlapeg said.
Short sales are taking less time to do now than a year ago, said Kevin Kieffer, a real estate agent with the Danville office of Keller Williams Realty, who represented the Manlapegs in their purchase. "Banks have staffed up and put systems in place," he said.
Still, Kieffer said time challenges can pose a problem for short sales. "I generally tell (buyers) to be prepared to wait up the 120 days to close, and it could go longer. Those who are renting can be the ideal candidate."
In April, short-sale transactions accounted for 18.6 percent of existing Bay Area home sales, up from 17.6 percent in April 2010 and up from 12.9 percent two years ago, according to MDA DataQuick, a real estate tracking firm.
Work in progress
While some short sales are not taking as long as they used to, there is room for improvement, said Colleen Badagliacco, head of the California Association of Realtors' short sales task force and an agent with the San Jose office of Altera Real Estate.
A California Association of Realtors survey conducted during the last two weeks of 2010 found that fewer than three of every five short sales in the Golden State closed last year.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said that it took more than 60 days for lenders to provide a written response that approved or rejected an offer from a buyer.
However, many large lenders have begun streamlining the process in response to changes made earlier this year to a voluntary Department of Treasury program that aims to speed up short sales, even though that program has seen less than 5,500 short sales completed since it began in April 2010.
Banks participating in the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives program, or HAFA, are making progress in speeding up short sales, Badagliacco said.
"One of the key components (of HAFA) is that lenders will give a response to an offer within 45 days. "... Because of that, they have had to streamline their processes, which is helping them respond faster to loans that are not in the HAFA program. That certainly is a step forward," she said, adding that most smaller lenders have not done as much streamlining.
Incentives
HAFA provides financial incentives to lenders and $3,000 in relocation assistance to sellers to encourage short sales. It is geared to homeowners who qualified for a trial loan modification through the Home Affordable Modification Program but were unable to obtain a permanent modification. Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages can request to be evaluated for the HAFA program.
When HAFA was launched in April 2010, there was no time requirement for participating lenders to provide a yes-or-no answer to homeowners seeking approval for a short sale.
That changed Feb. 1, when a new requirement required an answer in 30 calender days, which has since been increased to 45 days starting June 1. The 45-day deadline also applies to homeowners not in the program who already received an offer and want it to proceed as a HAFA short sale.
The program applies to loans that are not backed by mortgage giants Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. However, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rolled out their own short-sale programs in August. While some differences exist, a $3,000 incentive paid to sellers who close a short sale applies to all three programs.
Many homeowners who fell out of the Home Affordable Modification Program now are turning to short sales, said Anastasia Stephanopoulos, a real estate agent with the Walnut Creek office of J. Rockcliff Realtors, an East Bay brokerage. Most of the short sales her office is handling are not HAFA short sales, she said.
"The banks are becoming more automated with how they are approaching the process. (Short sales) are moving much more quickly," she said. "It's really more cost effective to accept a short sale than to let it go to foreclosure. "... I'm finding a lot more short sales and fewer foreclosures."
However, she noted, short sales can be complicated when there are two or more loans on the property.
Tax advantage
Normally, when a loan amount is forgiven by the lender as a result of a foreclosure, loan modification, or short sale, the amount is typically treated as taxable income.
But a temporary change to the tax code revised that through tax year 2012, which means forgiven debt can be excluded from taxable income at the state and federal level if the loan was used to acquire, build or substantially improve the taxpayer's primary home. Consult a tax professional for more details.
The seller's credit score also may be affected, although not as much as it would be in a foreclosure, Stephanopoulos said.
Even though the seller may face some financial drawbacks from a short sale transaction, "They are able to sell their house and put some closure behind them. I think sellers are happy to put it behind them," she said.
Contact Eve Mitchell at 925-952-2690.
A short sale doesn't necessarily mean a great deal.
A buyer who needs to be in a home by a date certain should not attempt a short sale purchase.
Sometimes at the 11th hour, a buyer may be asked to participate financially to provide fees for short sale negotiators or money to the second lien holder.
Sometimes foreclosure proceedings are also taking place. Because of the length of time required for bank(s) approval, it may be foreclosed upon before the short sale can be successfully completed.
Live in the home or have lived there in the past 12 months.
Have a documented financial hardship.
Have not purchased a new house within the past 12 months.
First mortgage is less than $729,750.
Obtained a mortgage on or before January 1, 2009.
Must not have been convicted within the past 10 years of felony larceny, theft, fraud or forgery, money laundering or tax evasion, in connection with a mortgage or real estate transaction.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

residential is it a good investment now?

This article points out the obvious, that smart people are buying up real estate now....
and the doom and gloomers wait.
It is clear since the bay area hit bottom in march that bay area real estate is a good deal right now! If you work with a realtor you will see how many listings are priced at an attractive price point. Just take a look!

Real Estate: Finally a Good Investment?
by Dave Kansas
Wednesday, January 19, 2011




The housing market still looks pretty bleak: There were a record one million foreclosures last year, home prices are still falling in many regions and the number of "underwater" properties is at a record high.

And things don't look much better in other areas of real estate. The number of construction jobs continues to decline, even as other parts of the economy have added jobs. And mortgage rates have moved higher as long-term Treasury yields have backed up during the past few months.

Basically, the real estate market remains a mess.

Real estate encompasses a wide range of markets — homes, apartments, hospitals, office buildings, strip malls, dormitories and other properties. But for our purposes, let's focus on residential real estate, or homes. Here are four reasons to think residential real estate might represent a bargain — with one big caveat.

Everyone hates homes.

Homes are probably the most hated asset class in the country. That's what happens when a bubble bursts. People avoid thinking about the value of their home. Sellers moan about no offers, buyers gripe about impossible lending requirements.

Hatred of an asset is often the precursor to contrarian interest, and being contrarian is at the heart of many investment strategies. To paraphrase Warren Buffett, be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful. Mr. Buffett backed that idea when he invested in the stock market in the teeth of the financial crisis in late 2008 and early 2009.

Of course, being contrarian for its own sake isn't wise investing. Gold was hated for years ("dead money") before it recently became an attractive asset class. Still, a lot of smart ideas begin with the question: What does everyone hate?

Smart people are buying real estate.

This cohort is led by John Paulson, the hedge-fund manager who made $20 billion betting against the housing bubble. Last fall he said in a speech: "If you don't own a home buy one. If you own one home, buy another one, and if you own two homes buy a third and lend your relatives the money to buy a home."

Why is Mr. Paulson so adamant? Because he believes long-term interest rates are not going to get much lower. They have, in fact, risen since he gave that speech, but they remain remarkably low by historic standards. Low rates and the expectation that home prices will rise is his argument. For his part, Mr. Buffett has predicted the housing market will bottom this year.

Real estate performs well during inflation.

There's no inflation these days, but when buying a home one should take a longer view. And the longer view shows that the economy has enjoyed a disinflationary period since the early 1980s. A number of folks think that cycle is slowly reversing itself.

If that's the case, then convention would argue for holding assets that do well in an inflationary environment. That includes Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, commodities and real estate. Remember that during the stagflation nightmare of the 1970s, real estate had a strong run.

Inflation isn't a significant issue in the U.S., but it's a growing problem elsewhere. China and India have taken steps to fight inflation, the euro zone is getting flickers of inflation and the U.K. has had oddly higher prices (above 3%) for an extended period of time. If the cycle is slowly turning, real estate makes more sense.

Demand may be coming back.

Supply isn't as out of whack as it used to be. At the end of November, home builders reported 197,000 new homes on the market, the lowest level since 1968, according to Yardeni Research. The National Association of Realtors reports that the inventory of existing homes for sale fell 4% to 3.71 million homes, which represents a 9.5-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 10.5-month supply in October.

Those aren't pretty numbers, of course, but they are moving in the correct direction. And that may be a reason that many home builder stocks, such as KB Home (NYSE: KBH - News), Hovnanian (NYSE: HOV - News), Pulte (NYSE: PHA - News) and Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL - News), have come off their lows in the past several weeks.

It's all comes down to jobs. There are a zillion caveats to any positive home thesis, but the big one is unemployment. If the economy is not creating jobs, the chance of a rebound in housing is diminished. It's hard to buy a home without a job, and folks who aren't working don't want to take long-term risks.

The job market is still struggling and the debate is hot about when it will recover. Optimists see recovery this year. Pessimists see pain for several years ahead. How this X factor gets resolved will say a great deal about whether housing will rebound.

___

Monday, January 03, 2011

Making selling easier for 2011

This article has a number of good tips!
I would advise sellers to not only look at homes at open houses but to get in the car with their realtor and actually tour the best comps that are close to their area.
That way they know they will be in line with the listings that come up as comps in their area.
Also I would advise for sellers to be more flexible as well. NO MORE APPOINTMENT ONLY listings.
This completely reduces the pool of available buyers by reducing their access to the home.
This is a terrible trend listing agents started when almost all homes were short sales and reos.
As the market begins to return to normal be the first seller to return to flexible viewing times in your area, as you will get a higher sale price with more buyers having access.
I think getting it listed before the rush this year is beneficial as well.
Keep dogs outside or in the garage if at all possible when buyers view the home.
Have all disclosures and inspections done early or before the home is listed to help the sales process. Hope this has been helpful!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

resolutions for home sellers from marketwatch

Resolutions for Home Sellers in 2011
by Amy Hoak
Sunday, January 2, 2011




If your New Year's resolution involves selling a home in 2011, you've got some work to do: There's lots of inventory out there and in a buyer's market like this one, getting an offer on a home can be challenging.


Still, for the committed seller willing to do some prep work and come to terms with the current value of his or her home, locking in a buyer isn't impossible.

By listing in early January, you might be able to catch some of those early birds who start browsing in the winter so that they can find a new home before school starts in the fall, said Louis Cammarosano, general manager of HomeGain.com, a real-estate website. In fact, many buyers tend to start their searches online right after Christmas, and continue throughout January and February, he said.

[Click here to check home equity rates in your area.]

"If you hit the ground running and you're a fresh listing that has done everything right, you've got the best shot," said Cammarosano.

Consider the following tips to give your home the best chance to get noticed -- and sold -- in 2011.

Price It Right from the Start

Many sellers suffer from attachment bias, said Tara-Nicholle Nelson, consumer educator for real-estate website Trulia.com. They believe that their home is worth more than they'd pay for it in another context. While it's always a bad idea to overprice a home, it's especially dangerous in times like this because there is so much competing inventory in many local markets.

Nelson's advice: Give yourself a reality check by looking inside comparable homes during open houses. That can help you get a clearer idea of your home's value.

[See 7 Towns Where Land Is Free]

You might even consider interviewing a few real-estate agents to get more than one take on how the home should be priced, Cammarosano said.

The longer something sits on the market, the more price reductions you might have to make and the more potential buyers will assume that there's something wrong with the home, he said. So more often than not, it's best not to try testing the waters with a higher price, he adds.

Don't be afraid to advertise in the listing and marketing materials that it's not a foreclosure or short sale, Nelson said. In markets where distressed sales are plentiful, there are buyers who simply don't want to deal with the extra hassle and uncertainty of a short sale or bank-owned property, she said.

Get the House Ready

Most sellers know they need to declutter, paint in neutral colors and generally stage the home as best as they can to help buyers envision themselves in the home. Often, this is done on the advice of a real-estate agent or professional stager.

The closer you can get your home looking like a photo from a Pottery Barn catalog, the better off you will be, said Beth Jaworski, a real-estate agent in the Milwaukee area.

And make sure that your cabinets and refrigerators are cleaned out and decluttered, too. "You want to have a minimum of 'stuff' in the house. The less stuff you have, the larger the closets, basement and garage will look," she said.

Jaworski also recommends having a home inspection done a month before putting the home on the market to identify any major defects that need to be corrected.

Provide as Much Information as Possible

Have energy bills and a list of updates available for buyers to see, Jaworski said.

"Buyers are always curious what the utility bills are, how old the roof is, how many layers it has, how old the major mechanicals are and when that addition was added," she said. "The more information you can provide on the house, the better."

Consider providing a floor plan with listings as well, Cammarosano said. That way the prospective buyers don't have to keep making return visits to determine how their furniture will fit in the space -- they'll have the dimensions in hand.

Make It Easy to Show

The more available you can make your home for showings, the better, said David Welch, a broker/associate in Orlando, Fla.

Make it easy for your real-estate agent to access the property and keep the place clean.

[See Make Money in 2011: Your Home Edition]

"You want your home to be easy to show because you don't know if you will get a second chance," Welch said. "Trust me, the buyer wants to like your house. Keep it in show-ready condition," he said, so they aren't turned off by a first impression.

Be Flexible

Buyers are in the driver's seat these days, and they know they can make all sorts of unusual requests without risking the deal. Be ready.

"Buyer wants to see the house at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, OK," Jaworski said. "Buyer wants to bring 10 family members and an inspector to check out the house for three hours this weekend, OK. Buyer wants you to include the kitchen table and chairs, the painting over the fireplace and your snow blower, OK."

"The more flexible you are," she said, "the better off you will be."

Amy Hoak is a MarketWatch reporter based in Chicago.