Sunday, October 29, 2006

Give a dog a bone

Just sold: Brand new, custom home with hardwood floors, recessed lighting, custom paint and a flat screen TV. Sales Price? $13,500.

Think you can't afford a home in the Bay Area? Maybe not for yourself, but you certainly can for your four-legged pooch.

Ranging in price from $800 - $25,000, doggie duplex's, cottages, and mansions are all the rage. A recent article in (10/18/06) stated that pet owners will spend $38.4 billion on their animals in 2006, up nearly $10 billion from 2001. Forget the lambskin blanket; it appears that what your dog really wants is a custom-built home.

Electricity, hardwood floors, faux rugs, and windows are just a few options designers will include. One such San Francisco based designer requires a personal interview with the would-be owner.

In an interview with, Michelle Pollak, a designer for La Petite Maison, said "One client had us send paint samples to let the dog choose the color. The client put down three paint chips and saw which one the dog went to first," Pollack says. Nevermind that dogs are colorblind.

Donald Gorbach, real estate broker and owner of "Doggie Mansions," will even pay real estate agents and brokers an unprecedented 10 percent commission on every home they sell.

Agents, if you are having trouble selling the real deal, try selling one of these.

Picture from La Petite Maison

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mr. Bubble is for the tubs: 2007 Market Forecast the results are in.

The median home PRICE in California is expected to drip, er, drop 2% in 2007 while home sales will drop 7% compared to 2006.

But what about us here in the Bay Area?

Chris Thornberg, an economist with Bay Area-based Beacon Economics claims "The market is flat and the bubble has popped." Ouch, that is harsh.

While the market has clearly downshifted from record-breaking sales of the past 4 years, what we are seeing isn't a pop, but a smooth landing, perhaps with a little turbulence. Even though the market is tipping towards buyers, here in Berkeley and Oakland, it is still possible to see multiple offers. What? Multiple offers? Even this past week a home in the El Cerrito hills had 7 offers! Why? Price. What was that? PRICE.

Over the past year the real estate market was characterized by a gap between buyers and sellers. Buyers no longer feel a sense of urgency because inventory is higher; sellers, despite sensing a decline in the market, are still hoping to capitalize on their equity, even at the risk of taking longer to sell.

Since last month we've seen interest rates go down, the stock market go up, and gas prices go down. September's sluggish market seems to have given way to a much more promising October. Buyers are much more optimistic and sellers are getting realistic with their pricing strategies. PRICE. To be successful in today's market, you may need to look beyond the media frenzy and just have patience. Could we be looking at a revival of the Bay Area's entry-level market? Buyers can only hope.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I Tube.. We Tube.. Googles for YouTube

This just in. Google acquires for $1.65 bil. But I bet you already knew that. Not too shabby for a company that hasn't even seen a profit!

Now we can call it GooTube.

Well, I posted a "tube" for the first time today. It is a listing I have in Oakland. Check it out.

Kinda fun and quirky.

The crazy thing about this video entertainment portal is that it has forever changed the way people consume media and branding. My husband posted a goofy video he took of birds attacking a squirrel in our front yard. As of today nearly 200 people have viewed it and 2 people have even linked it to their personal websites.

What does this mean for real estate and marketing your house? Well, if you watched my video, you probably have a good sense of what the condo looks like! It shows space, intimacy, texture, and light. It allows me to demonstrate features as well as tell a story. People in another part of the country can click on the link and have a hands on tour. Combine this with CraigsList, and you have captured the local market as though you were a king.

Although YouTube is all the rage, I suspect that before long these clips will be lost in a sea of .wmv files. But for now, it is a superb means for watching bloopers, videos of loved ones, and marketing your home.