California luxury new homes for sale by Toll Brothers

Alamo Creek

The uniquely conceived master-planned community of Alamo Creek features a system of neighborhood integration that boasts an architecturally diverse streetscape nostalgic of early California. Belonging to the highly-acclaimed San Ramon Valley Unified School District, this Danville community is highlighted by its grand community center, swim facility, youth soccer complex and is conveniently adjacent to the prestigious Blackhawk, where shopping and dining are only minutes away.

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Gale Ranch

Surrounded by rolling hillsides and panoramic vistas, the highly-acclaimed master-planned community of Gale Ranch features neighborhood parks, hiking and walking trails, community centers, The Plaza shopping center and the 18-hole Johnny Miller-designed golf course. Ranking 6th among all unified school districts in California, this sought-after San Ramon community is just minutes from the perennial award-winning schools of the San Ramon Valley School District.

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Norris Canyon Estates

Norris Canyon Estates is the only new, single-family luxury home, staff-gated community in the Tri-Valley Area. Toll Brothers offers the largest homes on the most generous home sites in the community …Read More

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San Ramon, CA

County Contra Costa

Home Types Single Family

Priced From Mid-$1,000,000s

Phone 925-743-1000

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Schaefer Ranch by Toll Brothers

Schaefer Ranch by Toll Brothers offers luxurious single-family homes built with the highest quality craftsmanship, and exquisite architecture set amidst beautiful streetscapes with spectacular views. …Read More

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Dublin, CA

County Alameda

Home Types Single Family

Priced From Low $1,000,000s

Phone 925-828-2500

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The Preserve at Jordan Ranch – Altmore Collection

The Preserve at Jordan Ranch offers luxurious single-family homes with very desirable open plan living spaces, backyards for family entertainment, and is located adjacent to Fallon Sports Park, Dublin …Read More

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Dublin, CA

County Alameda

Home Types Single Family

Priced From Upper $800,000s

Phone 925-828-5900

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The Reserve at Pleasanton

The Reserve at Pleasanton is one of the few new single-family home communities available within one of the most desired neighborhoods of the East Bay. Ideally placed in one of Pleasanton’s most…Read More

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Pleasanton, CA

County Alameda

Home Types Single Family

Phone 925-461-2900

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Wilder

Nestled in a small valley and surrounded by thousands of acres of preserved open space, Wilder is a new community that includes an extensive trail network, parks and playfields, a grand Quarry House community center, fitness center and a world-class swim club. Located 30 minutes outside downtown San Francisco, this secluded Orinda neighborhood is conveniently located just minutes from the freeway, downtown Orinda and its highly-ranked Orinda Union School District.

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Reflections on the Beverly Carter Realtor Murder

Reflections on the Beverly Carter Realtor Murder

Firstly, condolences go out to the Carter family. The news has already done an adequate job showing that Beverly Carter was a mother of a son and a wife of a husband; no doubt she was part of a social web where she depended on others and others depended on her.

“Be safe” is now the resounding message all Realtors seem to have for each other after this incident. That is true that we need to be safer, but the concept is rather vague and we need to say more about it. I will go into this further after I summarize what I know to be the facts of the case from news articles.

The facts of the case say that Carter was targeted because she seemed rich and worked alone. Realtors in general embody a successful persona and part of that may be looking or appearing in formalwear or appearing well-off. This persona is natural and expected in an industry where the stakes are high and purchases and sale of houses are typically the largest investments people will make in their lives. There is an equivocation, though, between looking well-dressed and being well-off. An assumption was made and Arron Lewis acted on such an assumption.

The second reason why she was targeted was because she worked alone, or at least this is what Arron Lewis thought. I think what Lewis ascertained is that if he called Carter, Carter would show the property by herself, and he ended up being right.

The main reason many Realtors feel for Carter is because it is a tragedy in its own right, but also that we all know how Carter may have felt before going to that appointment: As Realtors we adhere closely to the Realtor Code of Ethics which basically states that our clients come first; we look out for the well-being of our clients when we sell a house to make sure they are making an informed decision. So when Carter gets a phone call asking to be shown the property, it would be natural that she is excited to have a new client where she can make a new sale, but most importantly being able to touch the life of another person who will do business with her.

When Carter shows up to the house, she is likely in a kind of selling mode mentality but is also selflessly trying to make sure everything goes well so the client can feel at home and possibly want to purchase the house. It is an incredibly emotional juxtaposition to contrast Carter’s likely selflessness to help another and Lewis’ malice to allegedly kidnap and kill.

Another thing to not overlook is that Carter may have also been targeted because she was a woman. Female Realtors in my opinion have the advantage of being more approachable to new clients because they are not very intimidating (versus a male Realtor). Such a phenomenon works wonders when you go door knocking and your body type and gender sometimes make a difference when you prospect like this. When I go door knocking with a hat on and a suit, people wonder if they forgot to pay their bills (it’s probably not this bad but you get the idea).

Nevertheless, it’s a shame that women in our industry are being targeted because they are perceived as weaker or more vulnerable. The systemic objectification in movies, magazines, and pornography likely contribute to this image. Women are burdened by having to look approachable but strong to their clients and it is difficult to satisfy all the demands of appearance that society tells us is acceptable. One of my friends told me that she intentionally does not raise the pitch of her voice when she is angry because it makes her sound less in control.

The best message here is to love real estate and be yourself if you are going to enter this profession, but it’s a no brainer that women have to work harder in this industry than men. My hat goes off to all female Realtors out there.

So what does it mean to “be safe” for Realtors and other real estate professionals? Many things come to mind.

  1. Carter made it a point to let her husband know where she was going to be. While that was not enough for this circumstance, it is something that we should all be doing: letting people know where we are through text or email.
  2. Newer client appointments should be made in the office during office hours. If this is not possible, showings with new clients should be done with another person accompanying the listing agent.
  3. Verifying client information through a variety of sources helps to make the new client a real person as part of a greater network. We can look the client up by email, phone, social network, and even check driver’s licenses to make sure the client has no issue divulging their identification to us. Clients should help us identify them. We get so involved with their personal information that identifying them should be easy and without much effort.
  4. Knowing self-defense and carrying pepper spray or a stun gun might be useful, however keep in mind that in a fray that weapons can be used against you, so be careful.
  5. If a property is vacant, maybe you should wait inside and lock the door instead of outside where your whereabouts can be ascertained immediately.
  6. When confronted with someone who corners you, follow these instructions to try and escape
  7. Pay attention to exits, scout locations, keep customer in sight, be careful with personal info

Realtors are servants of the public in my opinion and so we deal with the public frequently. Chances are that many of our clients legitimately want to do business with us and it is only the minority that wants to do harm to us. The news and its constant reminders will overstate the incidence of this happening and we need to keep that in mind. What is most important is that we stay smart with how we conduct our business from all perspectives, whether it is financial, professionals, and safety.

For our clients: it is important to remember that Realtors are also parents, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, etc. of a social web and that being a Realtor is a vocation that pays the bills for the people they love. We also love what we do and our needs are often secondary or tertiary to the clients’. This is not exclusive to this profession but extends to all professions. What I hope is that we Realtors continue to exercise the appropriate amount of safety when conducting business and that clients also help us by identifying themselves when prompted as well as following our safety procedures in all aspects of the real estate transaction.

As a Realtor, I am genuinely concerned about the welfare of my clients during showings. I am concerned about loose tiles or uneven surfaces that could make my clients trip and fall. I am concerned about cats and dogs that may be in the house during showing that may cause harm to my clients. I am concerned about a myriad of factors when showing property and I really want to keep not just Realtors safe, but everyone safe.

I hope these reflections have clarified that Realtors and clients all want to remain safe when engaging in real estate and I suppose this is something we take for granted. But I know that when my job is done at a particular property that our clients will continue to appreciate our service to them as Realtors but also as friends who keep friends safe. Rest in peace Beverly and I hope your family finds closure and that the defendant finds rehabilitation and reflects on the actions that have forever changed the lives of the Carter family and all Realtors everywhere.

 

Should I go directly to the listing agent when buying a house?

Should I go directly to the listing agent when buying a house?

For some reason, buyers of real estate think they are getting an advantage by going directly to the listing agent to buy a house. I am going to explore why buyers might feel this way and then I will go on to say that it does not matter if you choose the listing agent or a selling agent to help you buy the house.

Lots of people like to find the listing agent of the property because they feel they are going straight to the source to buy the house. When this happens, the listing agent will become a dual agent to both the buyer and seller, both of whom must consent to the dual agency via a disclosure of agency relationship. My opinion about dual agencies is incidental to the main point of this article, but what I can say about dual agency is that it is ethically permissible.

Dual agencies are ethically permissible because the agent works in a way that helps both parties and does not reveal the “weaknesses” of either party and maintains confidentiality throughout all her actions. Many of my colleagues might have different opinions about this, but what I can say is that most agents find the dual agency morally permissible (its legality is obvious and nobody is trying to overturn its legality).

So if the buyer goes directly to the listing agent, a dual agency will be created. Buyers think that going to the listing agent will give them a distinct advantage over other offers. This is not necessarily the case. When the listing agent presents all offers to the seller, the seller will not choose an offer simply because the listing agent is representing the buyer. The seller will choose the highest and best offer—highest in terms of price, and best offer in terms of the terms and details of the offer that determine the costs divided to the parties.

So if the seller chooses the highest and best offer, it’s not the case that going to the listing agent will get you the house, especially if your offer is not higher than the rest.

Another reason buyers might want to go to the listing agent is so that they think they can close faster because all the files are being worked on internally. Again, this is not necessarily true. While I have been a dual agent before and it is convenient to have all the files in one place for myself, that is merely a convenience to myself, the professional Realtor, and not necessarily a benefit passed on to the buyer. How fast the transaction closes is determined by the terms of the contract and the loan of the buyer. If the buyer’s loan needs time to qualify and fund, then the closing is determined by that, and not by the fact that the listing agent is representing the buyer.

Recall now the original purpose of putting a listing on the MLS: sellers do this to get the exposure, with each MLS board providing at least 20,000 members who are Realtors. Chances are that the listing agent will not be the one to sell the property.

What the consumer should be aware of is that the listing agent does represent the seller, but the listing agent may not necessarily be the best person for the job. Good buyers should get a strong feel for the Realtor by meeting them face to face and having frequent phone conversations with them in order to see if there is compatibility. Imagine automatically choosing the listing agent only because they represent the seller in the house they are selling but they are incompetent. As a buyer, you will feel neglected, trapped, and worst of all, there might be miscommunications that could cost you money.

I’m not saying that always selecting a buyer’s agent will save you from agent blunders; what I am saying is that choosing a Realtor is like interviewing a series of professionals to make sure you are represented properly. By automatically defecting to the listing agent, you completely skip over the interviewing process which is essential to your own self-regulating consumer protection protocol. You wouldn’t operate heavy machinery without reading the manual, right? So too would you not select your Realtor without learning more about the Realtor and determining whether they are right for you.

What to do when my listing expires?

What to do when my listing expires?
by Dean Paul Dominguez, Realtor Broker and Educator

Many sellers may experience an expiration of their listing. This means that nobody bought the house and the listing period between the seller and the listing agent has ended. So what should a seller do when this happens?
A seller’s goal is to sell the house, so the seller needs to get to the bottom of why the house did not sell. Agents don’t want listings to expire for obvious reasons. Agents want to help sellers sell the house, and they also want to do their job well. When a listing expires, I argue that there was some kind of miscommunication between seller and listing agent that everything was OK, but was not.
One of the most common reasons a listing does not sell is because of price. The listing is overpriced and fairly priced substitutes exist in the market that buyers would rather pay for. When a listing is overpriced, there is a very specific phenomenon that occurs: thousands upon thousands of automatic notifications go out to clients each day from various websites or directly from their agents. When a listing is overpriced, the pricing may exceed the buyers’ maximum price, determined by the loan qualification or by their savings. The exposure of the listing decreases dramatically and nobody gets to see the house.
Why do I say there is a miscommunication between seller and listing agent? The listing agent has the onus of bringing to the attention of the seller that the listing is overpriced. If the listing agent does not do this and fears that the listing will not be theirs if they come forward with the truth, then the miscommunication has already started from the beginning.
But while I know it’s easy to pin all the blame down on the listing agent, the seller must meet the listing agent halfway. When presented with evidence that the price of the house is within a certain range, the seller needs to keep an open mind about price for the sake of selling the house.
It’s scary when sellers don’t want to disclose material facts about the house because they don’t want to lower their price (i.e. this is grounds for a lawsuit, without a doubt), but thankfully we’re not doing something so severe here. What we are dealing with is the seller’s unwillingness to lower the price when the seller is told the listing is overpriced.
The listing agent does not single-handedly need to be the one to tell it straight to the seller that the listing is overpriced if it wasn’t already done so at the listing presentation; the listing agent, through many broker’s tours and open houses, will have no trouble calling the agents up to find out what their clients thought of the listing. Through a process of polling via the business cards of other agents who visited the property, it can be easily demonstrated that the price change needs to occur.
The reason why I focus on overpriced listings being expired, even though it can be the case that other reasons may loom large in the face of an expired listing is because people will always buy real estate at the right price, no matter what. Even if the basement is flooded with sewage and a tree fell on the roof, there is still an appropriate price that one can assign to that listing.
So after a seller’s listing expires, it’s up to the seller to find a new agent. The seller won’t have to look high and low for agents who will solicit the expired listing, based on the area in which you are located, but the next agent should know that the listing expired and the seller needs to be upfront about what transpired beforehand. Doing this starts all conversations with the kind of transparency that is needed when selling your house in real estate.

The Reserve At Browns Valley – New Homes for Sale in Vacaville CA | Standard Pacific Homes

Grand opening is here! Call us at 510 304 6060 to register. Remember that when you register with us, you gain the help from a professional who will represent your best interests. Without representation, the builder will ask you to sign things and may not give sufficient explanation to what you are getting yourself into. We assist all our clients in making sure they do their home purchase right.

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Why Realtors are like Doctors and why you can’t Self-Medicate

Why Realtors are like Doctors and why you can’t Self-Medicate

The main purpose of this article is to draw an analogy between Realtors and doctors in the sense that both are professionals and that we should consult with them regularly for expert advice. If you believe we need expert advice from doctors, then so too do we need expert advice from Realtors.
This article has an apologetic tone to it for many reasons. The first is that the increased transparency of homes for sale empowers consumers to research homes in advance. This allows a more informed user. The same has happened for medical issues being available online. People can search for their symptoms and try to make conclusions about their health from their research.
If you have ever had symptoms and used search engines to identify what you could be suffering from, you can imagine it is a terrifying process. It is terrifying because there are so many uncertainties involved about self-diagnosing that we don’t have enough empirical knowledge or the background knowledge to come to a definitive diagnosis. So what do we do? We end up either acting on a false belief or we set the appointment with the doctor.
If we do the former, we do a self-medication. Suppose we had a viral infection and we think we have a bacterial infection. And suppose further that based on our false belief, we take antibiotics, hoping the infection goes away. Since antibiotics don’t work against viruses, we’re left with all the side-effects of taking antibiotics without the benefit of the cure.
So now let us return to the topic of real estate. When first time home buyers or not savvy persons of real estate think it is good idea to buy or sell the house themselves, it’s clear that they have their own best interests in mind, but it’s not clear that a professional has their best interests in mind. When the buyer/seller is self-represented and the other party has representation, the unrepresented party might ask help from that professional, but there’s no guarantee that that agent will help the other party out of generosity or other virtues.
I have had many sellers with whom I fill out forms, and it is sobering to see my sellers skip or flat out omit information on their disclosures because they don’t want to disclose something. They fear that disclosing something might lower the final price of their home. And they may be right. But when the property condition is not what the other party thinks, it’s a no-brainer that the price reduction in disclosing the material fact is far cheaper than the cost of damages in a lawsuit for the failure to disclose.
Putting the legal aspects aside, the seller/buyer needs to do the right thing and disclose the material facts of the property. The professional Realtor is there to make sure that happens.
I can’t stress enough how important the counsel of a real estate professional really is. A 30 day close requires a lot of coordination and precision among the parties and many things can be missed as a result. A do-it-yourselfer might try selling the house themselves, but any delays in the process could be costly, resulting in per diem fees owed to the other party.
In any event, I hope I have drawn the analogy well between Realtors and doctors and I hope you will find the time to consult your professionals as needed when the time comes.

The Most Important Thing to Do Before Looking for a House

The Most Important Thing to Do Before Looking for a House

Today, we live in a culture where information arrives instantly at our fingertips. Information about homes for sale is no different. Anybody can look at a house, whether they are old, or young, rich or poor; the information is available for anyone.

Now let’s think about only those people who are qualified to buy a house. Chances are they have large cash reserves or the minimally decent down payment needed to purchase. But even they might shop for a house without doing the most important thing they need to do.

So what is the one thing that is so important? The answer is simple: finding out your max price. Your max price should be known to you. If you are getting a loan, your max price is determined by your loan advisor and it may appear on your preapproval form. Your real estate agent will also have knowledge of your max price, even though you might think it is confidential information.

Why should your real estate agent have this information? She should have it because it places a cap on the searches she will do in finding your house.

Is your max price confidential information? Well, yes, it is, and it should not be shared outside of those trying to work in your best interest. That is why your loan advisor knows your max price, your real estate agent knows your max, your significant other knows your max price… and that’s about it. For everyone else, like the seller you are trying to buy from, you do not reveal your max price to them, for obvious reasons.

To be sure we are all on the same page here, the max price is your down payment plus your maximum possible loan amount you qualify for. If your preapproval letter shows your maximum loan amount, that is not your maximum purchase price. If you see that, add your down payment to determine your maximum purchase price. That is when the search truly begins.

Many of my clients ask me: “Let’s see property first and then I’ll get qualified.” Denying my clients of this suggestion might insult their reputation and pride, especially if they make it clear to me if they have the means to purchase property. So what do I do? For repeat clients, I usually oblige them and tell them that we can see property first and get qualified later. For newer clients, I have to stick to my guns and tell them that you must get qualified first.

Why do I stick to my guns? The answer is twofold: the first is that I am a professional. While the client calls all the shots for decision making regarding the purchase of the house, it is my responsibility to create the conditions that make success porrible.

The second answer has to do with time. I respect my clients’ time as well as my own. If we see properties without establishing the price range or qualification, period, then we are wasting time out on the field looking at properties the client does not qualify for. In fact, I have had many overqualified clients looking for property, only to learn that they have auto loan debt they forgot to pay down, student loans they did not touch for years, or other debts that may hinder their ability to get credit.

So when these issues are identified early, what can they do? They can fix them early when there is time to do. What happens if the issues are not addressed right away and the client insists on looking at property? The results can be disastrous, and let me explain why.

Imagine finding the house of your dreams but you are not yet qualified to purchase on a house. Because many sellers impose deadlines for offers, you are now against the clock in getting qualified for a loan. This puts pressure on the loan advisor and added stress on everybody. After getting qualified, now imagine that your max price is less than the listed price of the home you love, and let’s assume there are multiple offers out there on the house already.

From this case study of being underprepared to offer for a house, we see that the origin of the problem was not knowing what the max price is for a house before shopping.

So in summary, we learned that finding out your max price before house shopping is like putting the horse ahead of the cart—it is the smart way to go.