The Marks Report
July, 2014

We are in transition from the spring to summer real estate seasons. The spring real estate market showed strong activity nationwide: existing-home sales rose strongly in May, inventory grew, and all four regions of the country experienced sales gains. In many places across the U.S., properties often sold at higher prices, and some sold with multiple offers. The median time for all homes on the market, nationally, was 47 days.

Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist, reports current sales activity in the second quarter rebounded after a lackluster first quarter. Total existing-home national sales, which include single-family homes, townhomes and condos, rose 4.9% in May. June statistics are not finalized yet but show continued growth.

As we enter the summer season, what can we expect? As of now, the market in the Bay Area is still showing buyer competition for homes - especially in certain price ranges.  With steady to declining interest rates and an increasing inventory of homes for sale, this is becoming good news for homebuyers.

If you'd like to keep track of the market in your neighborhood, you can sign up for free automatic abbreviated reports anytime. Just log onto, then follow the instructions on the left side of the screen. If you have any questions, you can contact me directly and I will set it up for you.  You can also view more in-depth reports for your specific neighborhood anytime you'd like. 

Click here for that link.

As always, if you want to further evaluate your options, contact me anytime:


Articles and Advice

What Home Buyers and Sellers Should Know about Housing Affordability

By: Jill Hamilton

If you're thinking about buying or selling, here are some factors to consider.

Click here for article...


Selling for the Season
Play up the perks of your home by adapting it to the season with these tips. 

Summer Friendly Landscapes

Help conserve water and ditch the thirsty greens for these easy yard alternatives.

Click here for article...

Ask Alan

Q: Since a buyer will probably do their own home inspection, shouldn't I just wait and let him or her find any issues regarding my house?

A: Most of us think our home is in fantastic condition. After all, we have the furnace maintained regularly, fix major appliance issues, repair the roof, and clean the gutters seasonally.

But before you have an accepted offer from a buyer, that buyer is already evaluating the condition of your home. Almost unconsciously, he or she will flick on switches, open and close top drawers, doors and gates, and hold the handrail as he goes upstairs. The buyer may even try to open a window or window coverings.

These are good signs as it shows the buyer has serious interest in the home. But, if the buyer notices a bunch of things that are a bit unreliable, he or she may jump to the conclusion that the whole place needs work.

Since these little fixes are usually inexpensive to fix, try acting like a buyer and walk around with a critical eye. The fewer issues found, the easier the escrow once you accept an offer.

Also, completing pre-sale inspections while preparing your house for the market could help you avoid a renegotiation or failed escrow.  The inspection could find significant issues that, if found after an offer is accepted, would cause a buyer to either renegotiate the price or walk away from the transaction. 

Featured Homes
7 El Sereno
PENDING! This beautifully updated ranch style home features 4 large bedrooms, 3 bathrooms in 3800+ square feet and sits on a fantastic lot with mature oak and redwood trees.  It has a wonderful indoor-outdoor floor plan with doors from almost every room opening to the large, park-like yard, gardens and huge patio with an outdoor fireplace.  Situated on a highly desirable street, this home is charming and serene, yet minutes from transportation and downtown Orinda.    Offered at $2,975,000.
 30 Ariey Lane
SOLD PRE-MARKET! Gorgeous new construction from premier custom home builders, Greenpoint Homes features 5 bedrooms plus a bonus room, 4.5 bathrooms and an oversized 3 car garage.  High end finishes throughout the 4425 square feet of living space. 
2 Lloyd Lane
SOLD! Meticulously maintained 3+ bedroom, 2 bath home near town with easy commute!  Updated throughout with gleaming hardwood floors, beautiful living room with fireplace, eat-in kitchen, family room could be turned back into 4th bedroom.  Offered at 849,000.
460 Camino Sobrante
SOLD! Beautiful, modern 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home in Orinda Country Club! Gorgeous kitchen/family room combo with wet bar, master suite with attached bonus room - perfect for office or nursery! Basement could become additional bedroom w/ensuite bathroom.  Offered at $1,295,000.


 Adoptable Pet Spotlight

Families going through foreclosure have to make very hard decisions, and sometimes are no longer able to care for their pets. Dogs and cats often end up in public shelters– racing the clock as they hope for adoption. That’s where Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, or ARF, comes in. The ARF team rescues pets who are about to run out of time in these shelters, provides care and comfort, and then finally matches them with the perfect owners.

I double-dog dare you to look at 9-week-old Fernando and NOT smile.  This cute little guy is a terrier/chihuahua mix, and seems to love all ages of humans.  He's active and adventurous - all 3 pounds of him. 

To find out more about Fernando or any of the other ARF pets looking for a home, click on the link below.

Event of the Month

Orinda Concert in the Park

Every Tuesday through August, 6:30-8:30

Orinda Community Center Park

Enjoy live music at the park every Tuesday evening this summer!  Click below for the schedule.

Click here for more information


Lafayette USC Show and Picnic

Saturday, July 19th, 5:30-8:30
Lafayette Reservoir

Bring a picnic and a blanket and enjoy music with Operation Swingtime, a show honoring veterans!

Click here for more information


Berkeley Kite Festival

Saturday and Sunday, July 26th and 27th

Cesar E. Chavez Park, 11 Spinnaker Way, Berkeley

Live music, food, tons of events for kids, and of course, kite-flying make up this festival, now into it's 29th year!  Park at the $15 lot at Golden Gate Fields and take the free shuttle to the festival.  

Click here for more information

Wine Group Tasting of the Month

Many of you know that I have a passion for good wine. I’ve even grown grapes and made my own. I’ve also belonged to a wine group for about 20 years. Every month we get together for a blind tasting and then rank the wines we try. 

Click here for this month’s tasting…