SOLD: 995 Hopkins Way – Enjoy Casual Poolside Living!

995 Hopkins Way

Pleasanton, CA 94566
$1,360,000
MLS: 40666310
4 Bedrooms
3 Bathrooms

Welcome home to this stunning five bedroom, three bathroom property. You are sure to be impressed by the fully landscaped front and back yard with mature shrubs and trees. Upon entry, you will be greeted by a gracious living room which is highlighted by vaulted ceilings and a charming fireplace.The dining room has been enhanced by a stunning chandelier. French doors give direct access to the patio creating the ideal atmosphere for entertaining guests. Concoct your culinary masterpieces in the remodeled kitchen which boasts an eating area, center island, granite counter tops and a wall of windows overlooking the gorgeous backyard. A spacious family room designed for informal gatherings features a fireplace and a sliding glass door which leads out onto the patio.

Escape to the master bedroom suite which comes complete with vaulted ceilings, sitting area and a gas fireplace. Achieve serenity in the master bathroom, which comes fully equipped with a dual vanity, separate shower and a tub situated in front of a sizable window. The additional bedrooms are all spacious for residents and guests alike. Eliminate early morning traffic with two additional full bathrooms. Casual poolside living can be yours in this home with a dazzling swimming pool and lush backyard. You won’t want to leave this paradise! Located in Ventana Hills, don’t miss your opportunity to own this impressive home!

8 Tips to Sell Your Livermore Home for Top Dollar!

By now you’ve heard that home inventory throughout Alameda County is seriously low. Barring any economic whammy, we’re going to have California home buyers who are anxious to capitalize on low rates and reasonable home prices, while we have homeowners who can’t, or won’t, sell their homes.  Throw in the shrinking supply of distressed homes, and you have a recipe for rising prices!

That isn’t to say that home sellers can run away with the market. Stingy bank appraisals can still hold back a sale, so over-pricing your home rarely turns into cash. However, there are smart ways to make sure your Livermore home listing gets buyer attention and the best possible offers! Here are a few ideas from my own experience, along with some tips from AOL real estate.

1. Price your home competitively. Nothing starts a buyer stampede like a terrific deal. Think about how you react when you find a bargain – you get excited. You know the deal isn’t going to last. You take action.  This is how multiple offers are created that can boost your home sale price well above your original list price. What’s more, multiple offers can be a way to prove a higher market value to the home appraiser.

2. Avoid marketing gimmicks. I don’t use them anyway, but beware of sales techniques that are based on more flash than substance. Buyers see through this and suspect the home is overpriced or has some other defect.

3. Throw in a bonus. Offer a home warranty, or a year of paid housecleaning service, or lawn care. If there is a personal artifact you can bear to part with, anything from a pinball machine, to a piano, to a large flat-screen TV – consider including it in return for a full-price offer.  Note: this is only attractive if the object in question is in good working order. Have a cash value determined for any service or item you decide to include.

4. Vamoose. Don’t stick around during the showing appointments. It makes buyers nervous, and they feel as if they are imposing.  This is a great time to take your mastiff for a walk and make sure your home is welcoming, rather than intimidating.

5. Take down the family shrine of photos. The buyers can picture themselves in your home more easily if they aren’t overwhelmed by photos of the current owners. This is part of your transition, and you’d have to do it as some point anyway.

6. If the walls look  bare, hang up some simple, inexpensive artwork that compliments the room interior.  Add a vase of fresh flowers in rooms that could use more color or a focal point.

7. Do some staging that says “welcome guests.”  Things like having a pitcher of iced tea and four glasses on the table. Or, a bottle of wine in an ice bucket with elegant stemware placed around it. Display a small platter of snacks, such as fruit. Depending on the season and the type of home, you can set the dining room table, or set up a picnic atmosphere on your outside deck. Your buyers might just be tempted to stick around and write an offer!

8. Work with an experienced real estate professional who knows the local market and has a proven track record of success! Like me!

Now is the time to make your home selling plans!  As your Livermore Valley real estate professional, I will provide you with a comparative market analysis and all the recent home sales data. I will also provide you with an expert marketing strategy to sell your home quickly and for the best possible price!

Contact me today for your FREE home selling consultation in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Home Prices Rise as Distressed Sales Fall in Livermore, CA!

Did you know that the current average listing price of a Livermore home is $1,068,938? The real estate market continues to charge ahead, with a list-to-sales ratio of 100.2%.

This means that the vast majority of  Livermore home sellers are getting their asking price, and then some! Home buyers in Livermore Valley aren’t just off the fence, they’re ripping out the posts.

We can credit some of the market activity to continued low mortgage interest rates, an improved employment picture, and a scarcity of homes on the market. But the reduction of distressed home inventory is the biggest story in California home sales.

The California Association of Realtors® reports that equity sales continue to gain market share statewide. Traditional home sales in California for October 2012 were 63.4% of the market. This is the highest level of equity sales since June 2008!

Distressed home sales, consisting of bank-owned property and short sales, represented 36.6% of the market.

Within the distressed sales, there is a ratio worth following between bank-owned homes and short sales. Bank-owned homes accounted for 11.8% of the distressed market in October 2012. Meanwhile, short sales accounted for 24.4% of the market and continue to gain ground as foreclosures shrink.

This matters because short sales are based on current market value, whereas foreclosures are usually discounted. Short sales are not as harmful to surrounding property values, and so watching this ratio trend in their favor is encouraging.

There are a few concerns on the horizon, including the much-publicized “fiscal cliff”, and the pending expiration of the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007.  Industry trade groups are doing heavy lobbying to make sure the importance of a healthy housing market is not forgotten by lawmakers.

Meanwhile, our home market in Livermore Valley needs one more thing to sustain growth – namely, more homes for sale! Now is the time to make your home selling plans for 2013!  As your Livermore Valley real estate professional, I will provide you with a comparative market analysis and all the facts on recent home sales. I will also provide you with an expert marketing strategy to sell your home quickly and for the best possible price.

Contact me today for your home selling consultation in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Livermore Valley Welcomes the Holiday Season with Hometown Events!

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us in Livermore Valley! And if you’re not ready, you can find your festive side by enjoying our hometown holiday events in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin! Here’s just a small sample to get you started:

November 29: Dublin’s 29th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony will take place from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  There will be performances by the Children’s Choir and the Dublin High School Jazz Band. Refreshments served after the concerts. Rumor has it that Santa himself will be stopping by! Event held at the Dublin Civic Center.

December 1:  Holiday Faire in Dublin, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Heritage  Park & Museums.  Experience the Christmas of yesteryear by making crafts, shopping for hand-crafted gifts, and listening to carolers. Be there early so the kids can see St. Nick arrive by a horse-drawn, jingle-bell wagon at noon. Holiday-themed beverages and snacks available for purchase. No admission charge for entry, but there is a $5 wristband for participating in crafts and taking a wagon ride.

December 1: Pleasanton’s Hometown Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Celebration begins at 5:00 p.m.  Get there early for a good viewing spot! The parade marches down main street with bands, floats, and classic cars and plenty of noise and cheer. I have it on good authority that Santa will be there, too.

December 1: Downtown Livermore hosts the 17th Annual Holiday Sights & Sounds Parade and Tree Lighting. Parade beings at 6:00 p.m. and will route along First Street, between M Street and McLeod Street.  Tree lighting follows the parade. Santa will find a way to be here, despite his tough itinerary this time of year.

If you still need help finding your holiday spirit after all this, try the spirits at our Livermore Valley wineries! The Holidays in the Vineyards event takes place December 1 & 2 at wineries throughout Livermore Valley. Tasting rooms will feature arts and crafts, carolers, holiday activities, and special wines for the season.

Things are looking merry and bright in Livermore Valley! As a longtime Livermore Valley 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 with  you, and give you 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
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Low Inventory of Homes for Sale Challenges California Market

Livermore Valley home sellers, take note: we have more buyers than homes! The 2012 Annual Market Survey, conducted by the California Association of Realtors®, shows that low home inventory is an issue throughout the state.  The situation continues to feed bidding wars among California home buyers, with 57% of home sales attracting multiple offers during 2012.

If you’re a home seller in Livermore Valley, this is a happy problem!  However, real estate professionals statewide are concerned that  a prolonged lack of supply could affect the pace of the housing recovery. It’s no secret that many sellers are holding out for higher prices. But if buyers give up before sellers see the price levels they want, nobody wins.

Understandably, there’s close attention being paid to home buyers! Here’s what the 2012 Market Survey says about California buyers:

  • 30% of home buyers paid cash.
  • 17% of home buyers were investors.
  • 40% of first-time home buyers are choosing bank-owned properties or short sales.
  • 35.8% of home buyers are first-time buyers, up from 34.2% a year ago.
  • 5.8% of buyers were from other countries, with China and Canada leading the group.

On the average, the days on market for a California home are half of what they were a year ago. 2012 traditional home sales have a median of 32 days on the market. Distressed properties are also moving faster, with short sales averaging 90 days on market during 2012, as opposed to 141 days a year ago.

To compare that to our local area, the days on market for homes in Alameda County are running about half of what they were a year ago; two months on the market instead of four.  There is great variety in the days on market throughout our county. What you find in Oakland is not necessarily true for Livermore, and so on.  While the survey is helpful, your best guidance will always come from local data – supplied by your local, experienced real estate professional! (Me!)

If you’re thinking of selling your Livermore Valley home in the upcoming months, it’s time to start making plans.  Let me show you the latest market data for your neighborhood! Please contact me for a comparative market analysis in Livermore, Pleasanton or Dublin. I’ll answer all of your questions, and provide you with expert marketing strategies to help you succeed!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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Economic Growth Will Help Livermore Home Values

A combination of new development, business growth and school expansions are underway in Livermore! Our local economy stands to benefit by the increase in jobs and disposable incomes. Our quality of life now includes more choices for shopping, dining and recreation, which in turn will attract new residents. We can reasonably expect that home demand in Livermore Valley will continue to rise!

The new Paragon Outlets in Livermore will bring an estimated $2 million in annual sales tax revenue to the city and about 2,800 new jobs to the area. Alameda County residents are likely to be more excited about the 130 new upscale stores, all promising big-name bargains.  A scene of gleeful pandemonium met Thursday’s grand opening, with traffic backing up for miles on I-580, and parking lots spilling over with cars.  Well, with up to 65% off normal retail prices, who can resist?

There’s good news in Livermore for health and fitness enthusiasts, too! 24-Hour Fitness will soon be opening a new “Super Sport Club” in Livermore. The new fitness center will span between 45,000 and 69,000 square feet – you’ll get exercise just walking through it. Amenities will include basketball courts, sauna and steam rooms, indoor pools, and the latest in cardio and strength-training equipment. Look for the opening around December 22 – just in time for those New Year resolutions.

Opening  in the future to less fanfare, but no less in importance, will be Charter School’s new athletic facility. The Livermore school invested $5 million in the purchase of 12.4 acres, located in the Tri-Valley Technology Park. The school intends to share the facility with the Livermore community.

All told, the trends in real estate development bode well for Livermore Valley home values! Buyer demand is already healthy in our area, and economic growth will continue to sustain it.

As your experienced real estate professional, I keep up with the trends that affect our markets. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, now is the time to contact me!  I have the latest sales trends and new home listings for Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin.  Let my experience in Livermore Valley real estate be your advantage!

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Avoid Short Sale Snafus When Buying a Livermore Home!

The Los Angeles Times recently produced a dour article about short sales, suggesting that these home purchases can fall apart without much ado. However, purchasing a home through a short sale in Livermore Valley can be accomplished without pain if you follow a few rules of thumb.

1. Short sales are not intended to be a better deal for the home buyer. They are simply called “short” because the home sale, at current market values, will not be enough to cover the seller’s outstanding mortgages.  Therefore the mortgage lender must approve the sale and agree to the loss.

Short sales, when priced wisely, should be in line with comparable homes on the market.  It doesn’t make sense to price a home below market if the bank is likely to reject it – no matter how many buyers take the bait.

2. As a home buyer, be sure that your mortgage pre-approval gives you enough time to consider a short sale. Stay in contact with your mortgage lender and obtain extensions, or re-qualify, as necessary. Keep your information updated and do not make major changes to your job or credit profile.

3. Because short sales involve highly motivated sellers, it’s tempting to lowball your offer – but if the bank refuses it, you’ve wasted your time and possibly alienated the seller. Make a respectable offer in line with the market.

4. As the Los Angeles Times article suggests, you may need to consider ordering the home inspection up front and paying for it out of pocket, if the closing timetable is too aggressive.  But in most cases you can negotiate a reasonable extension of the closing date. After all, it’s in the bank’s best interest to have the deal go through.

5. Livermore Valley home inventory includes a number of short sales, and it may not be possible to avoid them without significantly limiting your choices. Rather than fear a short sale purchase, work with an experienced real estate professional – like me – who understands these situations and can guide you through them.

The truth is, distressed property sales will be part of our Livermore Valley real estate market for years to come. New short sale policies are taking effect with lenders as of November 1, 2012, and we may see more short sales hitting the market as a result.  Some homeowners are leveraged too heavily with mortgages to have any other means of moving on, even as home values recover.

Let me help you with the home buying process in Livermore Valley! For the latest price trends, and for help with your real estate questions, contact me!  I have the local expertise you can trust for Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin. Whether you are buying a home for the first time or for the tenth, I can provide the latest market data and the professional guidance you need.

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
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Buyers Want Homes in Livermore Valley!

The limited supply of homes for sale in Livermore Valley continues to affect prices, according to the latest market data. Strong buyer demand in Livermore has given home sellers an edge, resulting in an average list-to-sales ratio of 100%! Here’s how the real estate market is shaping up for Alameda County, Livermore, and the rest of California.

According to the California Association of Realtors, median home sale prices for Alameda County increased by 7.5% in a year-over-year comparison. The median sales price in Alameda County for September 2012 was $491,670; we saw a median sales price of $457,210 in September 2011.

The days on market for homes in Alameda County continue to shorten, with an average of 59.2 for September 2012. A year ago, Alameda County days on market averaged 67.9.

Livermore home prices are in range of the county median. The average home sale price for Livermore during the last 30 days is $479,678.  Sales activity is brisk, with the average Livermore home spending only 30 days on the market.

Median home prices throughout the State of California are up by 19.5%, compared to September 2011. September 2012 home prices averaged $345,000 statewide; a year ago they averaged $288,700.  Throughout California, days on market are shrinking, with homes spending an average of 39.3 days on market in September 2012, compared to 54.2 a year ago.

Is now a good time to buy a home in Livermore Valley? If the days on market are any indication, a lot of home buyers think so! There is a collective expectation that home prices will continue to rise during 2013, and buyers are anxious to take advantage of the lower home prices they’re seeing today.

The biggest challenge to our market is the scarcity of inventory at the lower price levels. This is pressuring some buyers to go where the inventory is, be it in higher price ranges, or in locations outside of their original target. You can still find a great home for the money in Livermore Valley, but you may need to cast your net a little wider – and work with a real estate professional who can help you!

Local experience counts in  Livermore Valley real estate! For the latest home sales activity for your neighborhood, contact me! I have the local expertise you can trust for Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin! Whether you are buying or selling a home, I can provide the latest market data and reliable professional guidance.

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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Future Directions for Livermore Real Estate

Predictions for next year’s housing market are already here, with industry analysts expecting higher home prices in the first quarter of 2013. Will California and Livermore Valley lead the way? Here’s what the California Association of Realtors® 2013 Housing Market Forecast says!

First, let’s look at how 2012 is expected to wrap up. According to the Housing Market Forecast, California will close out 2012 with home sales activity 5.1% higher than 2011. Statewide home prices will average $317,000, posting a 10.9% gain over 2011 price levels. Livermore Valley home prices are already well above this average, as noted in my prior blog.

For 2013, California home sale volume is expected to be modest, due to shrinking home inventories. Sales activity is expected to pick up by only 1.3%.  Meanwhile, home prices are predicted to increase by another 5.7%, bringing the statewide median home price to $335,000.

These estimates are conservative, and the wind could shift in a number of ways. For example, housing and monetary policies will influence market activity. The condition of our national and local economies, as well as our employment outlook, will have an impact on sales. We also have homeowners who are waiting out the market in the hopes of higher home prices next year.

With those thoughts in mind, Livermore Valley is likely to do better than the statewide projections for California. So far for 2012, our home prices are already up by 11.4% from a year ago, well above the state average of 5.1%!

Will we see double-digit price gains in 2013? It’s certainly possible, depending on the demand in key price ranges. Our proximity to the Bay Area keeps home demand strong, and the decrease in distressed property sales will keep inventory limited.  Price gains are likely to be strongest in the mid-range of our market, with homes in excellent condition enjoying the best offers.

Our community events, charming downtown districts and miles of wine country offer the best in California living without the big price tag!  If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Livermore, Dublin or Pleasanton, please contact me today! Whether you are looking for the latest market statistics or just need help with a few questions, turn to me as your professional Livermore Valley real estate agent.

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
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Is Livermore Valley a Seller’s Market?

Despite gains in home prices during 2012, some homeowners who want to sell are avoiding the market, according to a recent survey by Redfin. In the survey, potential home sellers believed  they would get higher prices by waiting a year or two. Ironically, if prices are higher in a year or two, these sellers will also pay more for their next home!

The truth is, you can’t time the market. Nor can you predict what mortgage interest rates will be in the future, or what the economy is going to look like.  When to sell your home isn’t as important as why you are selling your home. If you need a bigger home for your family, or a shorter commute to work, or you’ve got a great job offer in another city, it makes sense to evaluate the opportunities you have today.

In fact, the opportunities in Livermore Valley real estate could be better than you thought. Sellers are getting over 98% of their asking prices, and in some cases, multiple offers. For example, here’s a quick look at how August 2012 shaped up.

Single-family homes for sale in Livermore averaged 31 days on market, with an average sales price of $520,741.  Sellers obtained  98.81% of their asking prices.

In Dublin, single-family homes averaged 24 days on market, with an average sales price of $639,275. Sellers obtained 99.25% of their asking prices.

In Pleasanton, single-family homes averaged 40 days on market, with an average sales price of $881,522. Sellers obtained 98.87% of their asking prices.

Overall, Livermore Valley home sellers do not have the market competition today that they faced during 2011 and 2010. Even so, price recovery is still a very gradual process. Inventory levels are low, but factors such as home condition, location, amenities and price always carry importance.

Is Livermore Valley a seller’s market? It depends on the home, the seller, and your real estate professional! Experience counts when you have a Livermore Valley  home to sell. I have the local expertise to help you succeed! Whether you just have a few questions, or you’d like a comparative market analysis, I’m ready to help you!

For the latest home sales activity for your neighborhood, contact me!  I will provide the latest market data and the professional guidance you can trust.

John Kurtzer
Your Livermore Real Estate Expert
RE/MAX Accord

Livermore Real Estate
View Livermore Listings
Visit My Website