SOLD: 7393 Mines Road – Welcome to Paradise!

 

DSC_2830a7393 Mines Road

Livermore, CA 94550
$1,675,000
MLS: 40666082
5 Bedrooms
3.5 Bathrooms

Welcome to Paradise!  Nestled amongst the oaks in the foothills of Livermore on 4.5 acres, this beauty is a slice of heaven.  Entering through the foyer,  you will be hypnotized by all of the elegant details found throughout this home. The spacious living room comes complete with cathedral open beamed ceilings and walls of glass with gorgeous views that continues throughout the home and provides warmth and charm. The well thought out floor plan makes everyday living and entertaining a breeze.

Imagine creating delicious masterpieces for your guests in the kitchen that is outfitted with beautiful custom cabinetry for a luxurious feel, hardwood hickory flooring, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances.  A sizable center island as well as recessed lighting make this kitchen any aspiring chef’s dream. A breakfast area is just steps away and offers more stunning views and decorative cabinetry for serving your meals or storage.  You will be enthralled by the open family room that is enhanced with a brick fireplace and mantle.  To top it off, this room offers tranquil views of the Oak trees and hills!

Escape to your personal hideaway in the master bedroom suite with its own private bathroom, carpeting and spacious closet.  Four additional bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms can accommodate either residents or guests.  Experience outdoor living at its finest on your private covered patio where you will indulge in the views of the sizable backyard, and of course, the sparkling in-ground swimming pool.  Once you have experienced the views and copious amount of unbelievable features found throughout this home, you will not want to leave! From the approximately 1,000 square foot shop to the two stall barn, this home is just waiting for that sophisticated buyer. This gem is truly a must see!

SOLD: 1592 Roselli Drive – Custom Delight!

DSC_8898a1592 Roselli Drive
Livermore, CA 94550
$630,000
MLS:  40644239
3 Bedrooms
2 Bathrooms

Enjoy coming home to this beautiful haven in Liverpool! This home has been renovated with an abundance of updates including specialty flooring, crown molding, wainscoting and plantation shutters throughout. Stepping into the foyer, you are greeted by the family room boasting elements such as crown molding and upgraded lighting, sure to catch your eye. Beautiful upgraded kitchen, stainless steel appliances, new granite counter tops and a separate breakfast nook are sure to impress. For dining, show guests to the dining room where the open floor plan creates the ideal atmosphere for any special occasion.

At the day’s end, lounge in the living room open to the dining room. A brick fireplace is the center piece of the room and will produce an environment of rest and relaxation. Three bedrooms, including a sizable master suite, offer ample sleeping quarters for residents and guests alike. While the master bedroom is complete with an additional closet and contemporary wall colors, the attached master bathroom is equipped with a vanity with granite counter top and separate tile shower with sliding glass doors. The two additional bedrooms include spacious mirrored closets and windows for plenty of natural sunlight.

It will be easy to enjoy a quiet afternoon on your rear paver patio overlooking the landscaped backyard. This backyard affords a tranquil setting in which viewing nature will be pure joy and a negotiable small storage shed will provide a separate home office. Additional bonuses include: a newer roof, furnace, water heater and lighting fixtures and fans. Completely move-in ready, this could be the home you have been dreaming about!

 

5 Fun, Festive Events in Livermore Valley!

hayrideFall is a fun, festive season to enjoy here in Livermore Valley, where the festivals and activities never end! As your Livermore Valley real estate agent, I suggest that you get out and enjoy every beautiful day that we have here in Livermore and Pleasanton, and that you get to know your neighbors and local residents while you do.

To help you plan, here are five events coming up this month:

1.  ArtWalk Livermore is scheduled for tomorrow, Oct. 12, in Downtown Livermore! From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can walk around and view clustered art booths, along with art-destinations listed on a map, which are local businesses offering art crafts of exhibits. The Art Banners from September will also be displayed for up-close viewing. On the Plaza, enjoy an acoustic concert. Definitely a sight to see!

2.  Every weekend in October, the Alden Lane Nursery hosts a Fall Festival! Each Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting this weekend, head to the nursery in Livermore for farm animals, apple fishing, fresh apples and apple tasting, an old-fashioned candy cart, pumpkins, a hay maze, pies, craft activities and more. It’s fun and delicious tastes for the whole family to enjoy!

3.  Get over to Livermore’s Summer Farmers Market before it finishes its season! This market runs on Thursdays at Carnegie Park from 4 to 8 p.m., but it only runs through Oct. 17. So next Thursday, get your fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables while enjoying live music and family fun. But have no fear, Livermore still has its year-round farmers market on Sundays!

4.  Looking for some indoor, relaxing entertainment? The Livermore Valley Arts Center is the place to be! They’ve got lots of upcoming performances. The most notorious and ongoing show is Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” opening Oct. 19 and running through Nov. 3. Be sure to get your tickets! Many other one-night performers are coming too, so check out the calendar.

5.  Get excited for the 5th Annual Downtown Halloween Carnival on Oct. 26 from 1 to 5 p.m.! if you’ve got kids in fifth grade or younger, bring them by for the costume contest, carnival games, activities and some surprise entertainment! If you’d like to host an activity booth or an arts and crafts booth, the applications are available online.

Aside from these events, the G & M Farms Cornfield Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Livermore is open every day during the month of October, as is Joan’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch. You’ve got lots of options! Get out and enjoy!

When you’re ready to buy a Livermore home or sell your Livermore home, contact me! I’m here to help you out, as your Livermore Valley real estate agent!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Home Buyer Motivation Revealed in Gallup Poll

Home buying pollMost real estate articles zero in on the financial benefits of home ownership. After all, buying a home is a big decision, and it makes sense to talk about mortgages, taxes, home prices and so on. Yet according to a recent Gallup Poll, home buying has as many psychological and emotional motives as financial ones.

Here are the top home buyer motivations expressed by the poll, along with my own thoughts:

Home ownership is an investment. Despite the loss of equity that happened during the housing bust, the long-term opportunity to build equity and come out ahead of the market still holds tremendous appeal.

Home ownership provides personal financial security. With fixed-rate mortgages below 4% for a 30-year loan, and below 3% for a 15-year loan, mortgage payments can be cheaper than rent, even with taxes and insurance factored in. And if you go with a 15-year loan, you could be mortgage free by the time your kids go to college, or before you retire.

Home ownership improves your credit. This is more than just an opinion. Whenever a creditor asks you if you own or rent your home, it’s because they use this data in evaluating your risk profile. Being a renter doesn’t mean you won’t get the credit you apply for, but it could influence the rate you are offered.

Home ownership provides a better family environment. Renting has uncertainties because of things like frequent changes of tenants, and changes in landlords or property managers. Changes in lease agreements, rental rates and tenant rules can be unsettling. Most apartments are also relatively small for the money, compared to what you could obtain when buying a home.

Home ownership is important to personal well-being. For many people, this comes down to having control over your living situation and being able to putter around the house. Want to pound nails in the wall? Go ahead. Tear out the carpet? Go for it. The intangible factors of home ownership, like personal freedom, privacy, and pride of ownership, are a large part of home buyer motivation.

The poll also revealed that many renters would rather be homeowners, but most are unable to buy a home due to bad credit, or a lack of funds, or because of frequent job transfers. Some 57% of renters cited financial reasons as their main obstacle to home ownership. Only about 13% of surveyed renters say that renting is a choice, made for convenience reasons or due to the downsizing of the household.

Are you ready to become a homeowner? Let me help you! I will refer you to trustworthy mortgage lenders, and I will help you find the ideal home for your needs and budget. Please feel welcome to contact me for the latest home listings in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin. I’ll answer all of your questions, and provide you with expert guidance!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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Livermore Population and Home Prices Increase

graphpegsThe more the merrier! Livermore’s population increased by 1.3% last year, according to an article in the Livermore Patch.  They report that the State Department of Finance counts our current population at  83,325. This is the second-highest growth rate in Alameda County. Dublin has the highest rate of population growth at 6.8%.

As a whole, Alameda County’s population grew by 1.2% to reach 1,548,681 residents. Our population growth is ahead of statewide trends. California’s rate of growth is 0.8%.

An increase in residents means increased demand for housing, and it’s no surprise that the cost of renting and buying a home is also going up. The average listing price of a Livermore home for sale was $701,998 as of last week.  In Dublin, the average listing price of homes for sale came in at $734,783.

Please keep in mind that this also represents some higher-end homes hitting the market, which pulls up dollar averages. We have a few more listings in the $600,000 to $1 million range. There are several excellent properties available in the $1 million-plus range, including large parcels with acreage. If you’ve ever wanted to start your own winery, now is your chance!

Overall, homes are spending less than 30 days on market, and our home inventory remains lean. Even without population growth factored in, demand is far ahead of supply, and home prices are poised to increase. It’s going to be a hot summer for real estate in Alameda County!

We can expect home sales to remain brisk in Livermore! Mortgage interest rates are excellent, and there are some beautiful homes on the market at very attractive prices. It’s a great time to buy a Livermore home, and thanks to limited home inventory, it’s an even better time to sell! My experience can help you make the most of today’s opportunities.

Thinking of buying or selling a Livermore home? I will be happy to help you, just give me a call!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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Livermore Home Buyers and C.L.U.E. Reports

California home expensesOne of the expenses of home ownership that can surprise California home buyers is the cost of homeowner’s insurance. You might think that homeowner’s insurance policies in a given area would be similar in cost, but premiums from one home to another can be vastly different.

One reason is that homes with a history of prior insurance claims will have higher premiums than those with no claims. But as a Livermore home buyer, how would you know if the home you’re purchasing has an insurance claim history?

Enter the C.L.U.E. report. C.L.U.E. stands for the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange, which is a national database used by the insurance industry. It provides a record of insurance claims made against a home. Even though a house changes ownership, the C.L.U.E. report assigns a risk factor to the home itself, based on location, type of structure, prior claim history, and so on.

When you apply for insurance, the C.L.U.E. report on the home is combined with the risk that you present as an individual – your credit history and public records are all part of the picture. You can improve your own record, but you can’t erase the rap sheet that a home may have with the insurance industry.

This is important to understand, because a home with a claim history could impact your premium costs, even if the claims have been settled and all repairs made.

Fortunately, there is the C.L.U.E.® Home Seller’s Disclosure Report. This report looks back 5 years. If there have been insurance claims made during that period, the report will list the date of loss, loss type, claim status, amount paid, policy type and insurance company name.

A clean C.L.U.E. report gives you some assurance that your premiums won’t be tied to claims that pre-dated your ownership. On the other hand, if the C.L.U.E. report shows recent claims, it could indicate that the home may have a high-risk location or bear other concerns.

One catch: only the property owners, or their insurance agent, can request the C.L.U.E. report. But you can ask for the C.L.U.E.® Home Seller’s Disclosure Report as part of your purchase contingencies! This report, used in tandem with a home inspection, could help protect your wallet!

As your Livermore real estate professional, I’m here to help you with your home buying questions! Please feel welcome to contact me for the newest home listings in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin! Let my experience in California real estate be your advantage!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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Credit Score Improvement Tips for Livermore Home Buyers!

Livermore Credit TipsIf you are planning to buy a home in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin, your foremost concern could be qualifying for a mortgage. And for good reason! Mortgage underwriting has become notoriously picky. Loan denials happen to applicants who would have been deemed very creditworthy just a few years ago.

One of the top causes of a mortgage loan denial is an insufficient credit score. Even if your credit score meets loan approval, you may be surprised to find that it isn’t lofty enough to qualify for the most attractive interest rate.

Fortunately, there are ways you can improve your credit score! It takes diligence and patience. Here are some tips from FICO and consumer advocates:

1. Pay all your bills on time, including cell phone bills, cable TV service, and utilities. You don’t know who is actively reporting to the credit bureaus and who isn’t, until you have a report in hand. By then, the damage is done!

2. Reducing your debt load helps your score, but shuffling debt around does not. Avoid making frequent balance transfers to take advantage of introductory credit card rates. This can cause you to open more lines of credit than necessary, and it may backfire eventually.

3. Don’t run your credit cards up to the limit, not even during the holidays. Using more than half of your available credit can hurt your score. Some credit counselors say that you should not use more than one-third of your available balance.

4. The age of your credit accounts can impact your score. The more seasoned your accounts are, the better. Consistent credit relationships and good, consistent payment habits are key.

5. Applying for too much credit can hurt your score. If you are shopping for interest rates, multiple credit inquiries that occur in a very short time – such as within the same day – are not generally harmful. However, multiple inquires on your credit report can cost you points. For this reason, it’s suggested that you shop only 3 different lenders, instead of 5 or more.

6. The number of accounts and the type of credit also can impact your score. A mix of credit, such as a credit card and a car loan, show that you can handle various types of debts and treat them with equal priority. This is a smaller percentage of the scoring model, so don’t feel pressured to run out and open new accounts you don’t need.

7. Don’t close old accounts in good standing, even if you are not using them. Closed accounts are pervceived as a negative event, whether or not they were closed by the creditor or the consumer.

Also, don’t ignore medical bills. Years ago, when mortgage underwriting was easier, medical collections were not a deal-breaker. But a single collection account on your credit report can drag down your score. It’s far better to make payment arrangements with the clinic than to deal with a collection company.

Please remember that these are basic guidelines. FICO does not share the scoring progams they use, just like Google won’t tell you how their search rankings work. Also, there is no overnight cure for damaged credit. Any company that promises you a magic wand to “fix” your credit just wants your money. Paying your debts on time, and paying down high balances, are the bread and butter of credit improvement.

When you have questions about buying a Livermore home, let me help! I will refer you to trustworthy, reputable mortgage lenders who can help you pre-qualifiy for a mortgage. I will also help you find the ideal home for your needs and budget!

Please feel welcome to contact me for expert home buying guidance!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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California Home Sale Prices Continue to Climb!

Livermore Home PricesCalifornia home prices continued to climb during December 2012, according to the California Association of Realtors! The median price of a California home increased 5%  from November to reach $366,930 in December. This is a 27%  price increase from December 2011.

Shrinking home supply remains the big issue in California real estate. The unsold inventory index, an indicator of market supply, declined to 2.6% in December. This is a further reduction from the November index of 3.1%. A year ago, the index stood at 4.3%

Alameda County’s median home price was $529,910 as of December 2012. This is a price gain of 5.2% from November, and a gain of 17.8% from December 2011.

Livermore is experiencing these same trends. If you look at the Livermore home sale statistics on my website, you’ll see that the average home sale price for the last 30 days was $473,586, with homes spending an average of 34 days on market. Our home inventory vs. our rate of sales absorption creates less than 1 month of supply. You can’t slice it much thinner than that! Our list-to-sales ratio is 100.8%, meaning that Livermore home sellers are getting their full asking price, and then some.

What’s behind the disappearing home inventory? A perfect storm of increased buyer demand from an improved economy, a reduction of distressed properties hitting the market, a lack of new construction, and homeowners who cannot yet afford to sell. In short, there is no quick fix for the lack of inventory. Until more California homeowners recover equity, home supply will remain limited.

There is some hope for relief on the horizon, as banks prepare to release long-held foreclosures to the market, and home construction starts pick up. But until we see balance in our home supply, home buyers in Livermore and throughout California will find themselves in competition for the listings that are available.

Our home market in Livermore Valley needs more homes for sale! If you are a California homeowner, you could be looking at the best opportunity to sell your home that we’ve seen in years. As your Livermore real estate expert, I will provide you with a comparative market analysis and all the facts on recent home sales. I’ll show you a net sheet that estimates your proceeds, so that you can make a fully informed decision. There is never any pressure to sell – I give you the information, and the decison is yours to make!

Contact me today for your free, no-obligation home selling consultation in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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7 Livermore Mortgage Qualifying Tips for 2013!

If you want to buy a Livermore home, you might be concerned about your ability to qualify for a mortgage. And with good reason! The stingy lending environment isn’t likely to change anytime soon, according to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal. Mortgage interest rates may be historically low, but mortgage underwriting is historically tight!

Fortunately, I have a few mortgage qualifying tips in my pocket that could help you get your loan approved. Keep in mind that while a mortgage pre-approval has value, it isn’t a loan guarantee. It doesn’t take much to blow your pre-approval out of the water prior to closing, and this is where some home buyers go wrong.  Here are 7 mortgage qualifying tips to help you!

1. If you have credit skeletons in the closet, disclose them up front at the time of application. Any bankruptcies, foreclosures, short sales, loan modifications, judgments, and so on should be declared by you. These may not show up in the “first pass” of your credit review, but mortgage underwriters will dig much deeper prior to closing.

2. If you claim a bundle of losses on your income tax return, this can work against your mortgage approval. You can’t refuse income to Uncle Sam without having consequences with Aunt Fannie Mae.  If your pre-approval was based on income that your tax returns can’t back up, you might still qualify for a mortgage using the lower income calculation. However, this may put you in a completely different price range of homes.

3. If you are a business owner or employee who receives some income in cash, you need to have a paper trail to support the earnings. Lenders won’t count funds if the sources cannot be proved. Incidents of mortgage fraud and other financial crimes have made mortgage underwriters nervous about cash. Document everything.

4. Avoid opening new lines of credit right before you apply for a mortgage, and especially during the home buying process. Any change to your credit profile can cause your mortgage underwriter to get edgy. Remember, unlike the “good ol’ days”, lenders are looking for reasons not to approve your mortgage.  Getting new credit, changing your credit score, and changing your debt-to-income ratios will open a can of worms.

5. Avoid changing jobs during the home buying process. Even if your new position pays more money, the lender will view it as a higher risk because of the short length of employment.

6. Be cooperative! If a lender asks you for more bank statements, more paycheck stubs, or other documentation, it’s better than getting a flat “no.” Lenders are looking for consistency in your character and financial behavior. Also, if you do not qualify for one type of mortgage they may review you for another. This means getting fresh paperwork and obtaining the most recent data possible.

7. Stay ahead of the game by pulling your own credit history and FICO score once a year. Visit annualcreditreport.com and MyFico.com to review your personal credit profile.

I hope these tips help you! I’ll also be happy to refer you to good mortgage lenders in Livermore who can answer your home financing questions.

Thinking of buying or selling a Livermore home? Let’s talk! I will share the latest market data for your neighborhood and help you find the best opportunities. Just contact me for the latest home sale details in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin. I’ll answer all of your questions, and provide you with expert guidance for success!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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Enjoy Holiday Events in Livermore, CA!

Is your inner Scrooge working overtime? Don’t worry, there’s still time to banish the bah-humbug! Take a look at these festive events happening in the Livermore area!

The Valley Dance Theatre presents The Nutcracker, December 8 through 16. Enjoy the grace and beauty of this timeless holiday story, memorable for both the elegant choreography and rich musical score. Seats are still available for several performances,  but you’ll want to get your tickets soon! Tickets are available at the Livermore Performing Arts Center.

The Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton presents acoustic musicians Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel in a special holiday concert on December 15.  This Grammy-winning duo is known for their eclectic blend of instruments and song. Their home-grown American sound is complimented by a broad range of musical styles from around the world. Tickets are available through the online box office

Experience the Journey to Living Bethlehem in Livermore, December 13 through 17. This inter-faith, live-action production will take you back 2,000 years as 100 actors re-create the original Nativity scene. This free event begins at 6:30 p.m. and repeats every 30 minutes. The event is located by St. Michaels School at 345 Church Street.

There’s also time to experience Livermore wine tastings! You can go upper crust with the Riedel Wine Glass Presentation and Tasting on Thursday, December 20, and learn why the wine glass you choose affects the taste of your beverage. Your $75 ticket includes set of 4 premium wineglasses.

Or, for $5.00, you can party like there’s no tomorrow and enjoy the End of the World Port Wine Release on Friday, December 21.  Visit the Livermore Valley Wine Country website for full details!

Things are looking merry and bright in Livermore Valley! As a longtime Livermore resident and real estate professional, I’m proud to be a part of our community. If buying or selling a home is on your wish list, give me a call! I’ll share the latest market activity, and provide the expert guidance you need for success.

Wishing you all the best this holiday season,

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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