Home burglaries are a serious problem in the Bay Area. Despite that, too many homeowners do not give much thought to securing their property against break-ins. Folks often become motivated to improve the situation only after they have been burglarized. There are a number of measures you can take now to discourage crooks.Read More
Category Archives: General Information
By Don Dunning | March 29, 2015
“Things never go the way you expect them to. That’s both the joy and frustration in life.”
– Michael Stuhlbarg
It began when I went to the freezer for a yogurt pop and found it as a liquid mess. Other foods were partially defrosted. Checking the refrigerator section confirmed we were in big trouble.
We quickly found a reliable appliance repairman who substantiated that it was time to replace our 10-year-old refrigerator. What sounded like a simple solution soon turned into a series of unforeseen, frustrating events.Read More
By Don Dunning | April 6, 2014
“You must trust yourself more than you trust others.”
– Suze Orman
If you plan to buy a condo, you are choosing to become partners with from one to hundreds of strangers in a shared financial arrangement. The others are the current condo owners in the building. Additional strangers (new buyers) will later join the group.
You will be participating in a written agreement to share the costs of maintaining and/or upgrading the building and its common areas. In the right building, with the right co-owners, this can work beautifully. If, however, you buy in a problem building with uncooperative or unrealistic owners, your condo ownership experience could be truly troubling.
I recently wrote an article about hidden problems in condo buildings and received a number of reader emails substantiating my warnings.Read More
By Don Dunning | March 7, 2014
“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead”
– Benjamin Franklin
Condo buyers purchase not only a particular unit, but a share in a building and its common areas. As such, the condition of the entire edifice is critically important, but is often not sufficiently considered or researched by buyers or their agents.
Sometimes, significant information about the history of a building’s past or present problems does not get to the buyer until after escrow has closed. This can lead to years of aggravation, legal costs and lost equity.Read More
By Don Dunning | November 25, 2013
If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.
– Michael Crichton
2013 has been an excellent year for sellers because low interest rates and insufficient inventory have led to high prices. Buyers, conversely, have found this to be a challenging real estate market.
I hear many opinions about local prices. With so much information online, it is easy to draw conclusions, but are they correct? Some say prices have surpassed highs of our previous seller’s market, others think not.
To answer this question, I chose three popular Oakland zip codes, 94602, 94611 and 94618, and charted Multiple Listing Service (MLS) statistics back to 2005, the peak year for closed sales.Read More
By Don Dunning | December 10, 2012
There are ethical restrictions and legal considerations for Realtors in dealing with another agent's client. This is related to making sure the agent acts in the best interests of his/her buyer or seller. These are generally unknown to the public.
Buyers are often not clear about what real estate licensees do and the differences between the role of the buyer’s agent (selling agent) and the seller’s (listing agent). This can lead to misunderstandings and upsets on all sides. Two recent situations illustrate this point.Read More
By Don Dunning | January 24, 2012
A private sewer lateral (PSL) is the pipe that connects the sewage line in a building to the public sewer main that is usually in the street. As of January 16, 2012, all properties in the City of Oakland, except condominiums and large retail structures, are subject to an ordinance that requires inspection and possible repair of PSLs under certain circumstances.
This is a good thing for those of us who live in Oakland and for the environment. There are details, however, for buyers and sellers to know and understand to avoid problems. Reading my previous two articles on this subject, Sewer Line Blues and Sewer Line Blues II, will likely open your eyes to what could happen if you do not pay attention.Read More
By Don Dunning | July 17, 2011
Sometimes, the idea for an article comes from unexpected places. I just received a phone call from a veteran agent who I have known in real estate for over 25 years. She asked if I would write about how poorly people sometimes treat those of us in the business and how we deserve better. What follows is my response to her request.Read More
By Don Dunning | February 8, 2011
As time goes by, the number and types of disclosures that must be made by a seller and/or his agent continues to expand. Many of these have resulted from lawsuits; all are meant to avoid legal disputes in the purchase of a California home. The California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) “Sales Disclosure Chart” contains 39 of them for various property types.
When I am called to review a case as an East Bay and Bay Area real estate expert witness, the question arises as to whether the non-disclosed item was a “material fact.” This is defined as information needed to help the buyer decide whether or not to purchase and how much to pay.
Many sellers and a surprising number of agents seem not to understand the importance of full disclosure; this can turn out to be an expensive mistake.Read More
By Don Dunning | January 3, 2011
If not yet here, the time is quickly approaching when Internet browsing and social networking will allow the most aggressive real estate companies and agents to make “identity sales” with information they purchased about you.
My experience, after 31 years in the business, is that clients often get chosen by the salesperson rather than the reverse. This trend, which has caused woe to an untold number of buyers and sellers, will continue at an accelerated pace.Read More