Danville CA Home Buyers

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As some of you know, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are my hiking days. I used to call it trail running, and we do a bit of running, but mostly a group of us (open to anyone who would like to join us – just let me know and I’ll get you on the distribution list!), just go out on the trails at 8:30 on Tuesday and Thursday morning and hike the many trails of our area.

The Hills are Alive!We were in the Briones Open space this morning and at the top of one ridge we stopped to take in the panoramic view – WOW! We had a 360° view of Mt. Diablo to the Benicia Bridge to the Las Trampas Hills and down the San Ramon Valley. What a gift! I had a Julie Andrews moment – the Hills Are Alive . . . !!! I was tempted to brake out in song – you’ll be glad to know I didn’t.

And as always, Real Estate never being too far from my thoughts, I started thinking about what it is about views that are always so appealing and significantly affect the value of a home? Views are always a plus, and sometimes a must for certain buyers. We are fortunate to have views.

My favorite view is of the Las Trampas Hills. I know the more desirable view is to the East and our beautiful Mt. Diablo – but I like views of the Las Trampas Hills. I love the plush greenness of the hills, and the gangly majestic Heritage Oaks and I really love to see the fog hanging on the hills in the early morning. And those rare days when the fog pours over the hills like Niagara Falls – a blanket of fog keeping us cool. What a delight! Gorgeous!

Golf Course ViewBut there are more than just mountain views around here. We have lots of Golf Course views – always pretty and of course just views of the Open Space – which is just a breath of nothing and always offers privacy. Alamo has a mandated 1/2 acre minimum lot size (with a few exceptions, like Round Hill Country Club), so there is lots of space and as you go up the hills in either direction the views get better and better.

Newer homes built here were built to take advantage of the views. Architects and builders knew to position a home properly if the lot had a view.

Windows, and lots of them, are the hallmark of a home built to take advantage of the views. French doors and indoor/outdoor spaces to bring the glory of the views into the home are a common element in our area.

I always laugh at some of the older homes, or homes built as part of the tract developments – where the builder just went in and built without taking into account how to place the house on the lot to best frame the view. Sometimes this can be fixed, most of the time it can’t.

I often stand in a home or a back yard when previewing properties and just scratch my head. What was the builder thinking? Sometimes I just want to pick the house up and move it a few feet this way or that.

And Views bump the value of a home too – but value that is so hard to define. So many homes in the area have some kind of view, so what is that worth? Some people will say everything – it has a huge impact on price and value. Some feel it is an intangible that has little value. All I know is that a home that sits up and has that feeling of being above it all has a better feel than a home that is down on the flats.

View from the hills of DanvilleThe trade off is usually flat land – the higher up the hills you go the better the view, but the steeper the lot, typically. That’s why when we find a house that sits up with views AND has a big flat lot – that is the one that has the best value, and a higher price tag.

Did you know there is even a book dedicated to Views? It’s call Homes with a View (duh!) and offers hundreds of homes with breathtaking views of Oceans, Golf Courses and Mountains.

Like most things in life, the good comes with the bad. We live in a pretty narrow valley, so while our valley provides spectacular views, our ever present freeway makes for Freeway Noise just about anywhere you live in Alamo, and most places in Danville – especially that very desirable West Side. But the upside of our narrow valley is that we have plentiful views. Views of Mt. Diablo, views of the Las Trampas Hills, just plain “sitting above it all” views.

One last view we have that isn’t as desirable is our “Freeway View” homes. Yes, unfortunately, there are plenty of homes nestled up along the hills that shoulder our beloved I-680 freeway that must have spectacular freeway views – and thundering freeway noise. This apparently doesn’t (or didn’t) bother those home owners because some of the most spectacular homes in our area you can see from the freeway, which means they can see the freeway from their homes. There is, as we say, a buyer for every home.

So if you have a home with a view, I have several buyers looking for one. Let know if you’ve been thinking about selling, or maybe you have a neighbor who’s been talking about it. I can help. In the mean time, enjoy your view everyday and be glad we don’t live in a place where everything is flat as a pancake. If you don’t love your view, come take a walk with me and my group next week.

 

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Have you noticed my newsletter has been missing the past couple of weeks? Why you ask? Well, all the normal stuff: two graduations, kids home from college, very busy with “the Spring market” (which actually hit in June!) and then this little item . . . I put my own house on the market last week.

OH MY GOSH!! I have never worked so hard, been so exhausted or completely frazzled. Every Realtor should put their own house on the market every few years!! It has been all the things I warn my clients about – space invasion, stagers moving my personal things and worse, stagers not liking my personal things (“But I LOVE that painting there!!”), thinking (wishing) my home was worth more than I logically know it is. It’s all very difficult.

My husband took a new job which offered a re-lo (relocation) package (yea!!), so the time was right to sell our big Alamo house (www.306CanterburyCt.com) and buy down. Because it’s a re-lo, and no relation to the employee (I’m his wife!) can benefit financially from the sale – I had to hire an agent to sell my own home! Weird. So my first step was to interview agents. Weird again! We had to interview three Realtors (Sirva re-lo requirements).

306 Canterbury Ct

Wow – it is all about style and who you click with. We all have about the same tools and marketing, but who you click with, trust and feel comfortable with makes all the difference!! All the agents we spoke with were great – it’s just that they are in MY home, with my stuff, and my dogs and kids!! But just like a lawyer, accountant, doctor or dentist – when hiring a service provider, check their credentials and verify their experience – then go with your gut. This is such a personal transaction – it’s critical that you are comfortable opening your home to this person.

Being an agent myself, I didn’t want to be a “difficult seller”. So I promised myself I would do everything my agent asked me to do. I am very easy with all that – my husband – not so much.

First we had to get the house clean, clean, clean!! (have you heard me say that before?) We keep our home pretty clean, but now it had to sparkle. So I started having the cleaners there every week – and that can get expensive. I have an awesome cleaning crew if you need one.

This cleaning included carpets. I have a big house, so even getting ALL the carpets cleaned was expensive (I’ve usually only done the rooms that particularly needed it). Not this time – all 5000+ square feet got cleaned! And then it rained that afternoon, so with two dogs and two kids home, I had wet carpets for two days. Great.

The stager came in and “tagged” furniture and accessories that needed to go. Fortunately our office administrator was hosting her annual garage sale benefitting Breast Cancer prevention – so I told her if she would come get it, it was all hers. Oh my! Imagine the wails of “but I love that bookshelf – I’ve had it since I was in college!”, “I’ve had that couch since my first house in Maryland in 1985!!” to which the garage sale husband said “that’s ok, you’ll have a garage in your new house too”.

306 Canterbury Ct

I don’t think he was even trying to be funny – but I laughed out loud. Why exactly are we keeping a 30 year old couch that hasn’t left our garage since we moved into the house eight years ago? But we did. They filled an entire big truck with stuff that was going – just going away. We’d probably had it too long anyway – uh, ya think?

The big sectional in the family room where “Big Brown“, our Vizsla/Lab mix has slept every afternoon of her five years with the family, and where “Tank” the 15 pound male cat has decided to mark his territory and use as a scratching pole had to go. I couldn’t even find anyone to take it!! Even the garage sale people didn’t want it!! Ha!! (For those of you who are wondering, my no less than perfect “Cookie” my 4 1/2 pound Maltese has been my perfect stress soothing dog throughout.)

We didn’t want to buy a big new sectional since we were moving DOWN not UP – so we ended up renting furniture. Beautiful stuff – but not very comfortable (and it’s rental). Guess what kind of success I’ve had with “Big Brown”? Good thing we have insurance on the rental furniture!

We had to hire a landscape stager to spruce up the front – two days and several thousand dollars later – we had cleaned, pruned and manicured hedges and bushes, lots of fresh bark and beautiful new carpet of roses, petunias, geraniums and other lovelies I have no idea of their names. Wow – it looked GREAT!! The photographer was coming in the morning – all good. Unfortunately the deer got there before the photographer did and had a fine breakfast of all our new color in front. AAAUUURRRGGH!!!

306 Canterbury Ct

So we are sparkling clean, staged inside and out – not a thing out of place. How long do you think that lasted with three kids, two dogs and a husband? Oh my gosh, the pain of it all.

I have felt your pain. While I will still ask you, my beloved sellers, to do all the things you need to do to get your house in its best possible condition to sell, at least now I’ll know the pain, stress and anxiety it is causing you!! Been there, done that!!

 

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