Cost vs. Value Report 2016

By October 19, 2016 @ 8:44 am


What should you spend on your remodel?

The 2016 Cost vs. Value report is out.  YIPPEE!

Now let me set the stage: each year, right about this time, a little reminder pops up on my computer, notifying me to “Look for Annual Cost vs. Value Report.”  Well, last week it popped up!  I immediately stopped writing the email I was forming and popped over to Remodeling to look for the coveted report.  And there it was.

The report compares average cost for 30 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 U.S. markets.  The report allows us to compare these projects to other areas by identifying the costs for midrange and upscale projects.  The report also shows you the anticipated cost recouped when you sell.  For example: a major (Midrange) kitchen remodel in San Francisco would cost $74,481 with the resale value being at 104.5%; the average cost throughout the Pacific Northwest is $66,299 with the resale value at 64.9%.  The good (or bad) news is that these figures are up (and down) from 2015, where a San Francisco kitchen remodel would cost $69,359 with a $108.8% recoup value.

Why is this report important to you?  Because if you are considering any kind of remodel you should know what the expected costs should be.  This will help you negotiate with your contractor for a better price and provide you with an expectation of what you might recoup when you sell.  And as always, call us to discuss what the current trends are in the area.

Want a copy of the report?  Let us know!  We would be happy to send you a copy.

The $1 Listing

By October 17, 2016 @ 1:50 pm

So there is a new listing that just hit the market located 927 33rd St. in Oakland.  Listed with Keller Williams San Carlos this new listing is creating a lot of fuss.  Why?  Because it is listed for only $1.  Yes, $1.

The agent notes the following: “Very Creative Seller, Very Savvy and seller has high knowledge about Real Estate. Seller has right to refuse or accept any offer.”

Is this for real?  Yes it is.


There is a big discussion happening amongst the real estate community on a particular facebook thread.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • “This has created a true auction”
  • “This breaks the agent’s obligation to fair and honest dealings with the other side”
  • “This makes agents look like baboons”
  • “I have a client on a tight budget who would happily pay 100% above the listed price”
  • “It is an invitation for a lot of angry agents and buyers to step forward”
  • “I have to admit, I secretly always wanted to try this and see what would happen”
  • “REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”
  • “For the sake of discussion, how is this any different than the all-too-common $699k listing in a $1M neighborhood?”

About 35 comments into the thread the owner of the property chimes in.  “Hi all, interesting reactions here. As the long-time investor who’s listing the house, I’d like to clarify a few things: I’ve had a longstanding relationship with this agent, and she is being made whole financially, regardless of the final sales price. As many people have speculated, this is indeed like an auction. Whatever offers come in, the highest one will purchase the house, simple as that. You’ll notice that there’s no “we’re not setting a price, it’ll be like an auction” option on the MLS, so a $1 listing it is. On Sunday we had a great turnout and some good offers in already (!!!), so we’re quite satisfied with how it’s gone. You can either take advantage of the hype that something like this generates, or not use it and let it stay that much more powerful for other real estate professionals. The choice is yours. It’s not something to use on every listing, but it’s been great so far for me. If you want to know how it plays out in the end, I’ll post the results on Facebook.”

Super interesting stuff here.  I don’t actually have a problem with it.  It is a marketing strategy that is clearing garnering A LOT of interest.  The agent is getting a lot of exposure and the property is getting a lot of exposure – doesn’t that make for a successful marketing plan?  The Seller is an investor which means that if he/she has a good product, and a lot of eyes are on it, other buyers may seek out his listings.

I absolutely do not like our current strategy of “list low, get a lot of offers, sell high.”  I wish that we would get back to the good ol’ days where we would list at a price the Seller’s would take.  But until then, list it for $1 or $100.  The only people truly affected are those buyers who won’t see it because it didn’t pop up on their search.  This house will sell in the mid-$600’s so if their search is set to a minimum of $500,000 they will never see it.  But will it matter?  We will know in a few weeks.

What do you think?

1022 Creston, Berkeley: A Seller’s Story

By October 13, 2016 @ 2:10 pm

We love our Sellers!  And we love the houses they own.  Each one is unique, both in style, purpose, and history.  Some of our Sellers have lived in the their home for years, others decades.  But we have never had a Seller build their own home.

We were super fortunate to be asked to represent the Sellers on this beautiful home, 1022 Creston, located in the Berkeley Hills.




Holy views!

The Seller’s purchased the vacant lot about 15 years ago.  Sellers who build a home have the ability to add in a level of personality that isn’t always found in a partial remodel.  The Seller’s, who love to travel, filled the home with many European features, such as 220v in each room, bidets in all baths, an open-air carport, German appliances, and light-switches galore.  Want to build a deck?  The Seller’s added in the supports; build a fence?  The infrastructure is there.  Both engineers, the Seller’s also filled the home with the structural stability of a fortress.

The Seller’s love(d) their home.  From the many gatherings to the music that was made it was a home of happiness and joy.  They have now retired, and it became clear to them that it was time to move on.

The Seller’s also had an amazing collection of furniture and art.  Rosie and I helped to save them money by using their own furniture to stage the home.  While the Seller’s were away we transformed this lived-in home into a showpiece.


Decluttered counters, organized cookbooks by color


Took spare furniture, art and rugs to stage an empty room


Removed a large desk and added in small furniture with rug


Moved the dining room table, added in throw pillows on the couches

It isn’t always easy to sell a home that was custom-built.  Sometimes the features aren’t what cater to the majority of buyers.  Interestingly enough, this house was well-received by many.  And even more interesting?  Most of the buyers who submitted offers were engineer’s themselves.

An offer was accepted, and the new Buyer’s will move in soon.  I wonder what sort of story they will write.  Hopefully it is one of continued joy for many years to come.

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Albany Summer Sales

By October 6, 2016 @ 1:41 pm

Holy craziness!  Check out the prices for summer sales activity in Albany, CA.


Albany Prices are up 80% over 5 year range

Prices comparing 2007 to 2016 are up, and down

By October 3, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

Seven out of ten of the Bay Area counties have surpassed 2007 prices.  I am so surprised.  Surprised, I tell ya!  And here I thought that all counties had surpassed 2007 prices.  But I was wrong.

Why do we compare today to 2007?  2007 was the height of the real estate cycle (Note: real estate cycles typically last 7-10 years).  It was a time when we had a lot of inventory and houses were flying off the shelf.  If you could fill out a loan application then you could get a house- didn’t matter what you put on it.  I had been in the business for a few years and remember thinking that it was crazy that this is how real estate was.

Fast forward to 2016, the next, and current, peak cycle.  The sign of a recovering market is to compare prices from peak to peak, valley to valley.  The California Association of Realtors just released their 2017 Housing Forecast and in it was this chart, which shocked me:


California as a whole has not recovered.

Contra Costa County, an area that we service, has also not recovered.  Yes, the individual cities we service (El Cerrito, Kensington, and Richmond) have recovered, but the county as a whole has not.  Why?  The outlying areas near Antioch and Pittsburg had so much development, was hit really bad in 2011-2012, and is still recovering.  In 2007 the median price in Antioch was $514,900; 2016 is $357,300.  The good news is that only 11.5% of homes are underwater.

Check out San Francisco County: they surpassed the prior peak a long time ago with prices at 38.9% above 2007 prices.

Curious to know more about what your home is expected to do in 2017?  Ping us – happy to share the scoop.



Welcome to East Bay Living Real Estate

Hi friends! We are Krista + Rosie, the brains behind the East Bay Living website. Powered by Berkeley Hills Realty we are a top producing real estate team working {and having fun} in Berkeley, Oakland and the surrounding areas. From buying + selling to DIY + home decor to plumber + gardener recommendations we are your one-stop-shop for all things real estate.

Recent Posts

The $1 Listing
October 17, 2016
By Krista Miller
1022 Creston, Berkeley: A Seller’s Story
October 13, 2016
By Krista Miller
Albany Summer Sales
October 6, 2016
By Krista Miller
Prices comparing 2007 to 2016 are up, and down
October 3, 2016
By Krista Miller
Albany Local Week
September 26, 2016
By Krista Miller