I would like to introduce you to my newest listing is at 1555 Willow Lake Road in Discovery Bay.



This home is over 2700sqft on a large lot overlooking the Discovery Bay Marina


4 bedrooms with a huge bonus room and 2 bathrooms


Beautiful eastern exposure views


Large back deck


Updated kitchen


Custom cabinets with pull outs


Kitchen family room combo with fireplace


Upgraded master bathroom with jet tub


3 car extra deep garage and side yard access


For more info and to have pictures and video sent to your phone call 888-881-6801 enter home code 21880#

sign rider


Contact me with any questions or to schedule a showing of this home.

Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services




Luxury country living is exemplified in this exceptional rural estate, custom built in 2007 . This spacious 6 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom 7476sqft estate sits on 12.28 flat acres. Kitchen-family room combination, large upstairs entertainment area, huge game room with full wet bar, loft, home office, etc.  100% irrigated and fenced!. 6 stall horse barn, 4 car garage, 1 bedroom in-law suite attached to main home, 3 bedroom 2 bathroom separate home in the rear of property.  If you are interested in more information on this home contact me at kcross@interodb.com

























Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate




New home for sale in Discovery Bay.  This home is on the water on a premium lot…..  3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom, 1524sqft  Offered at $520,000.












Contact Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services


Buying – Selling – Relocating – Investing

COUNT ON CROSS…..for all your real estate needs!


If you are thinking about buying a home it is important to contact a real estate agent now!


Realtor’s have community knowledge and vendor information that can help you get ready for your move.  If you need a mortgage lender, or neighborhood information, a real estate agent will help you in the step by step process of purchasing a new home.



A few info graphs for home buyers:


Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services



Buying – Selling – Relocating – Investing

COUNT ON CROSS….for all your real estate needs!


If you watch Modern Family you know that Phil Dunphy is a real estate agent. The home the Dunphy family lives in is currently for sale but he’s not selling it.


10336 Dunleer Drive in Los Angeles has been listed for sale at $2.35 million. The home is a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathrooms, mahogany floors, marble countertops.

The house is used for all the external shots of the Dunphy household. The inside looks completely different though, as those scenes are filmed on soundstages.  The home’s current owner says he collects a nice fee from ABC every time they use the set. The new owners will get to negotiate their own contract with the studio.

Claire’s “Slow Down Your Neighbors” campaign for neighborhood caution must have worked, because the community is recognized for being safe for kids and spacious.   When the home was new in 2006 – three years before the show – it sold for less than two million.

A few Philism’s for you (some of the best real estate related puns from the show:


Every Realtor is just a ninja with a blazer. The average burglar breaks in and leaves clues all over the place, but not me. I’m completely clueless.

You haven’t seen a commission since you joined the Navy.

I haven’t sold a house all month. Do you see me saying “I’m done?” Never. Because there is no “done” in Dunphy.

I always follow the ABC’s of real estate….. Always Be Closing



I have been a real estate agent for over 15 years but I don’t sell homes!  

Over the years I have worked with may different buyers and sellers but it is not my job to sell a home….. I guide people through the process that will fulfill their personal dreams or needs, I assist people prepare for the largest financial decision of their lives, and I offer ongoing home information needed throughout the years they live in the home.

no homes

STARTING A FAMILY:  Working with a newly married couple looking for the perfect home in the right neighborhood close to a great school so they can start a family….It is not my job to sell this couple a home, my job is to help this couple with their dream to start a family.  Years after the sell when I visit the family in their home and watch how their kids have grown, I know that my job is much more important than the house, my job affects people’s lives and I couldn’t be more proud of that.

INVESTORS:  Working with many investors…..It is not my job to sell them a home, my job is to help them expand their business portfolio.  Finding a home for investors and assisting them with finding the perfect tenant.   In the recent years many of my clients have decided to invest their money in real estate and I provide them with the information needed to make the best financial decision they can.

RELOCATION:  I help people relocating to a new area get familiar with a neighborhood/city/state….. Moving to a new area is very stressful but I provide clients with the information needed to make the transition as smooth as possible.  When relocating to a new area every client will have different needs that are important to them and I help them through the process.  I am not selling them a home, I am helping them get familiar with a neighborhood, city or state.

FINANCIAL HARDSHIP:  I assist people going through a financial hardship…. When someone is going through financial struggle or on the brink of loosing their home it is a very difficult time.  I give my clients the information needed so they know how to navigate through the process.  I advise them of all the different options and help them determine what the best decision is for their situation.  I walk them through the process and I don’t sell their home, I help them get through a stressful financial struggle.

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS:   I help first time home buyers fulfill the American dream of owning a home… When making the biggest financial decision of your life it is important to have someone you trust guiding you along the way.  I provide my first time home buyers with all the information they need so they know that they are making the right decision for them.  I help my first time buyers figure out what they are looking for, what they want and what they need, and walk them through the entire process.

DIVORCE:  I help couples going through a divorce communicate about important home decisions…. When helping divorcing couples I help both husband and wife make important decisions about the home they are selling as well as assist them both in finding new homes.  The process can be very emotional, stressful and frustrating and the communication I provide helps both the husband and wife get through the process.

CHANGING HOME NEEDS:  Many of my clients need to downsize after the children move out or move into a larger home when they have more children,  When my clients need to sell their current home and buy a new home, they are concerned about moving from one home to the next.  I work with multiple parties to ensure that the client has a seamless move from the old home to the new home.

ESCROW:  The escrow process can be confusing.  I provide information and guidance for my clients to assist them through the escrow process.  I help my clients navigate the paperwork with confidence assurance throughout the entire escrow process.

LOAN INFORMATION AND REFINANCE:  I provide lender information for both clients looking for new homes or wanting to re-finance their current loan…. giving my clients information is a huge part of my job.  When you are purchasing a home or refinancing your loan years after, I help my clients obtain the loan information needed.

AREA REFERRALS:  I offer referrals to contractors and service providers in the area….  Throughout the time people live in their home they sometime need the advise of a local contractor or service provider.  I offer my clients references that may have been used by other past clients by keeping a referral database.

Just like in most jobs, as a Realtor I wear many hats.  Working with people and helping them through the real estate process is my passion!   I don’t sell homes…..I assist buyers and sellers with their real estate dreams, financial questions, lender information, etc.

I look forward to assisting you with your real estate needs……..

  • Kari Cross
  • Intero Real Estate Services
  • 925-584-1640
  • kcross@interodb.com


In the past few years the housing market has had many changes and RealtyTimes recently predicted some of the top housing trends for the California Real Estate market for 2014:

  • Mortgage rates will go up
  • Home values and prices will increase
  • Fewer investors buying up properties and more buyers looking for primary residences
  • Seller’s market will continue but cool off
  • Home buyer’s need to start searching

real estate trend


Mortgage rates are predicted to rise, but not too far, up to 5% or 5.25% in 2014. The
Federal Reserve will begin tapering soon and the greater the reduction in Federal government purchases, especially of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), the more rates are likely to grow.

It’s a great time to buy now because mortgage rates are still below the historical average so if you’re thinking of making a move, 2014 is the perfect time to jump into the market and start looking! With low rates and increasing home values, now’s the time to buy in order to make a smart investment for your future.

Speaking of mortgages, home buyers also need to be prepared for stricter qualifications on home loans. Come January 10th lenders will be required to prove borrowers’ ability to repay a loan according to new “qualified mortgage” standards. An important statistic to keep in mind is the maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43% that borrowers will need to qualify.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, has also announced plans to reduce the maximum loan limits for conventional conforming loans some time in 2014.

If you are considering buying a home in 2014, contact your local Realtor now to make sure you know how these changes will affect you. 


Predictions show that home values and prices will rise in 2014.  Moderate predictions are clocking in at a 6-8% increase for California markets whereas others foresee a 10-15% increase.

According to Bill Plattos, Execute Vice President of First Team Real Estate, “2013 has begun the upward progression of the real estate market in California. In the next 3 to 4 years prices and sales will continue to rise bringing us back up to a peak.”


Investors swoop in when home prices bottom out like they have in the past few years, seeking foreclosed homes and short sales to snatch up.  However, as our economy strengthens and home values come back up in 2014 there are fewer distressed homes on the market to interest investors.  The rise in home values in and upswing in the economy will also make it easier for current home owners who’ve built up equity to afford a down payment and enter the market in search of a bigger and better home to fit their needs.

Fewer investors also means less price competition and fewer bidding wars for buyers shopping for primary residences.  2014 will be the prime time to buy and sell for home owners who are ready to move on to a better neighborhood, larger home or location offering a more convenient commute.


The seller’s market will continue in 2014 for California and on a national level.  However, it will be much cooler than the one we’ve witnessed over the past two years. “The market will get closer to normal – or as normal as the market can be,” says Plattos. “It will continue to cool and inventory will come up to a moderate level, not too low or too high.”


With the seller’s market leveling in 2014, that means buyers need to be realistic about the home they can afford.   Home buyers, now is the time to start searching the best deals in real estate in order to get the most for your money.



Provided by:

  • Kari Cross
  • Intero Real Estate
  • 925-584-1640
  • kcross@interodb.com

JUST LISTED: 1309 Roselinda Ct.

1309 Roselinda Ct.Roselinda.Front
New home just listed for sale in Brentwood.  4 Bedroom, 3 Full Bathrooms, Original model home with wood floors, plantation shutters throughout, One bedroom and bathroom downstairs, two lofts, upstairs laundry room with sink, located on a court….Must see!  

Click the link to view the virtual tour and see more 

View the Virtual Tour for 1309 Roselinda Ct., Brentwood, CA
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Kari Cross
Intero Real Estate
Schedule a Showing!
MLS#: 10639848
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L2L Virtual Tours


I recently published a book!


Before, During and After


Over the years I have worked with many different buyers and sellers and every situation is different.  Some clients like to know everything that is going to happen all up front so they know what is coming and others would rather just be lead along the way.  Depending on your personal situation, this is a perfect book for anyone thinking of buying or selling a home.  I wrote an easy to read, step by step account of what will happen during the buying or selling process.  Although every transaction has different specifications, the time line and process is always the same.

The book even has an additional section that helps both buyers and sellers prepare for the move including packing tips.  Although the book was written so someone with no real estate knowledge will easily understand everything, the back of the book has a complete glossary of real estate terms to help you navigate the real estate language.

Any of my clients that will buy or sell a home using me will receive a FREE copy of  WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN BUYING OR SELLING A HOME…Before, During and After


The book can also be purchased on http://www.amazon.com (search Kari Cross).


Writing this book was a long process and I am so excited to say that I finally completed it.  I look forward to sharing this tool with my clients and hope it helps remove some of the stress that comes when embarking on one of the biggest transactions most people make.

For more information:

Kari Cross

Intero Real Estate Services




Rock singer Kid Rock is selling his 5 Bedroom, 5 Bathroom, 8,305sqft Balinese-style mansion in Malibu.


28830 Bison Ct.


5 Bedrooms

5 Full Bathrooms

Built in 2002

8,305 sqft


The private oasis features the quintessential California fusion of seamless indoor/outdoor living, and an enormous open kitchen and dining room.  A tropical sanctuary located on idyllic Point Dume, a private/gated custom designed home with beautiful executed details throughout.  A charming guest house overlooks the pool with shower.  Riviera 3 Beach key

Awesome Pool and guest house


Huge Kitchen and Dining room


 Master Bedroom and Bathroom


 Large sitting area and

Bedrooms with full length sliding windows/doors


 For more information Contact

Kari Cross

Intero Real Estate




The home tour has something for everyone……..but, if you are thinking about buying or selling a home make sure you call to see how you can participate in this years Home Tour.

The Home Tour is a day of fun, FREE activities for the whole family

Saturday September 15

Home Tour 11:00-3:30

Concert at the maria 4:00-7:00

Lions Club Motorcycle Run and Car Show

home tour

Showcasing Discovery Bay homes and lifestyle the Home Tour starts at the Yacht Club with music, food, fun and prizes.  Tour all that Discovery Bay has to offer with homes on the water, on the golf course, as well as gated and non-gated homes.

SELLERS:  If you are thinking about selling your home, call now to get your home on the market and included in this years home tour…..you don’t want to miss out on the added exposure the home tour offers!

BUYERS:  Make an appointment today to get a sneak peek of this years homes for sale and help to find exactly what you are looking for!

  • 925-584-1640
  • kcross@interodb.com
  • Facebook:  Kari Cross
  • Website:  www.countoncross.com
  • Author:  What you need to know when buying or selling a home



If you’ve been following housing market news this year, you may have been surprised by the latest home sales numbers to come out this week.  Sales of existing homes stalled at 4.92 million, dropping 0.6% in March from February.

With the recent market recovery of 2013 and the anticipation of a hot spring real estate market, many people are wondering what is going on?

THE PROBLEM IS LACK OF HOMES.   There’s plenty of demand from buyers, but just not enough to choose from on the market.   Most areas are experiencing multiple bids, and many buyers are waiting daily for new homes to come up for sale.

Some sellers are also being affected as well.   Sellers are seeing how difficult it is to find a home right now and they are not confident that if they sell their home they will be able to find a new one to move into.

Despite the decline in March sales from February, home sales were still 10.3% higher than the same month a year ago, marking the 21st consecutive month of year-over-year increases. That’s good news, and a good indicator of how the market is trending in the big picture.

Demand is still strong, according to the National Association of Realtors, which reported buyer traffic is 25% above a year ago. But the drop in available homes has put upward pressure on prices. And some buyers are getting frustrated and priced out.

SELLERS:  If you didn’t have enough equity to sell your home last year, you may be able to sell now.  Talk to a Realtor today and take advantage of the recent up turn in pricing and the current surplus of buyers.  Find out if you have enough equity in your home to make the move you have been waiting for.

BUYERS:  It is very important to have a Realtor send you homes daily as they come on the market.  If you are looking to buy a home right now you will have to be fast and be prepared for the current conditions.  Your local Realtor will help you navigate today’s market.

  • Kari Cross
  • Intero Real Estate Services
  • 925-584-1640
  • kcross@interodb.com

WOULD YOU RATHER BUY A HOME FOR $200,000 OR $150,000? ….you might be surprised with your answer



What if I told you $200,000 would be better and that if you are interested in purchasing a new home in the near future…..now will be better than later.


Many people look at only the current Real Estate Market conditions when deciding if they should purchase a home or not, but the most important thing to look at right now is INTEREST RATES.  In California interest rates are at an all time low and some people forecast rates to increase in time.  If interest rates do increase the home you can afford to purchase today will be “out of your price range” tomorrow.

(everyone’s specific situation will vary, but this is an example of one client)

Current interest Rate 3.25% – Monthly Payment $875.00 – Purchase price $200,000

interest Rate Example 5.25% – Monthly Payment $875.00 – Purchase price $150,000

With the above example…..if you would like to stay with a monthly payment of $875.00 you can no longer afford the $200,000 home.

With the unknown interest rate future and home prices beginning to increase, if you are thinking of buying a home….make sure you call today to review your options.



Prices in many real estate markets may be close to bottoming out….we hope.  So the old adage about buying low may be something to consider if you have a kid who will soon be heading off to college.  The idea is to buy a condo or small home for the kid to live in while attending school.  That way, you’ll avoid paying huge dorm room or apartment prices with no hope of any profit.  And….if you buy a small home with some extra space, you can rent it out to your kid’s friends and offset some of the ownership costs.

Lots of parents have made good money by following this strategy for the four or five years their kids spent in college and then selling the home after graduation.  Of course, the longer you can hold onto the property, the better the odds of cashing out for a profit.  The other key factor to consider is the tax benefits.  Here’s what you need to know…..


The tax rules generally prevent you from deducting losses incurred from owning and renting out a residence that’s used more than a little bit by you or a member of your immediate family.  However, a favorable exception applies when you rent at market rates to a family member who uses the property as his or her principal home.  In this case, you can deduct tax losses from the rental activity (subject to the passive loss rules, which I’ll explain later).  This beneficial loophole is open for you if you buy a condo and rent it out to your college-going child (and roomies, if any) at market rates.

You can deduct the mortgage interest and real-estate taxes.  If you pay mortgage points, you can amortize them over the term of the loan.  You can also write off all the other operating expenses -like utilities, insurance, association fees, repairs and maintenance, and so forth.  As a bonus, you can depreciate the cost of the building (not the land) over 27.5 years, even while it is (we hope) increasing in value.

So where will your poverty-stricken son or daughter get the money to pay you market rent for the home?  The same place he or she would get the cash to pay for a dorm room.  In other words, from you!  You can give your kid up to $13,000 annually without any adverse federal tax consequences.  If you’re married, you and your spouse can together give up to $26,000.  Your child can use that money to write you monthly rent checks.  Just make sure he or she actually sends the checks and make sure they say they are for rent.  Also, it’s best if you open up a separate checking account to handle the rental income and expenses.  Taking these simple steps will help keep the IRS off your back if you ever get audited.


If the home throws off annual tax losses (which it probably will after counting depreciation deductions), the passive activity loss (PAL) rules generally apply.  The fundamental PAL concept goes like this:  you can only deduct passive losses to the extent you have passive income from other sources -like positive taxable income from other rental properties you own or gains from selling them.  fortunately, a special exception says you can deduct up to $25,000 of annual passive losses from rental real estate provided (1) your annual adjusted gross income (before the real estate loss) is under $100,000 and (2)you “actively participate” in the rental activity.  Active participation means being energetic enough to at least make management decisions like approving tenants, signing leases, and authorizing repairs.  You don’t have top mop the floor or snake out the drains.

If you qualify for this exception, you won’t need any passive income from other sources to claim a deductible rental loss of up to $25,000 annually (your loss probably won’t be that big). Unfortunately, however, if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is between $100,000 and $150,000, the special exception gets proportionately phased out.  So at AGI of $125,000, you can deduct no more than $12,500 of passive rental real estate losses each year (half the normal $25,000 maximum).  If your AGI exceeds $150,000 and you have no passive income, you can’t currently deduct any rental real estate losses.  However, any disallowed losses are carried forward to future tax years, and you’ll be able to deduct them when you sell the home.  All in all, this is not a bad tax outcome.


When you sell rental real estate that you’ve owned for over a year, the profit (the difference between sales proceeds and the tax basis of the property after subtracting depreciation) is long-term capital gain.  However, part of the gain (the amount equal to your cumulative depreciation write-offs) can be taxed at a maximum federal rate of 25%.  The rest of the gain will be taxed at a maximum federal rate of no more that 15% under the current rules (which I hope will be extended to post 2012 years)

Remember those carryover passive losses that we talked about earlier? You get to use them to offset any gain from selling the home.

*Information provided is for reference only, consult your tax advisor for information on your person situation, different states and counties have different rules.


If ever there was a fantastic time to buy a home, it’s right now. Let the statistics show you why now is your best bet to get into the housing market:

1. HOME VALUES ARE RECOVERING…..  U.S. home values rose 0.5% from February to March, the largest monthly increase since May 2006, before values at the national level peaked, according to a recent report from Zillow this month. In addition, the company said in its home value forecast that it expects 19 of the 30 markets it covers will reach a bottom in values this year.

2. INTEREST RATES ARE STILL EXTRAORDINARY LOW……  The cost of borrowing is still extremely attractive for buyers who qualify and are ready for the financial responsibility of a home mortgage. Saying mortgage rates have hit a new “record low” has become a bit of a broken record. While there’s no sign from the Federal Reserve that rates will increase significantly anytime soon, it’s definitely a great condition for buyers right now.

3. MULTIPLE OFFERS ARE BACK…….  Demand for housing is starting to outweigh supply in some markets across the country. Even despite the presence of “war” like situations, multiple offers are once again a fact of life in markets with strong economies and job prospects.

4. RENTS ARE RISING WITH NO END IN SIGHT…….  In many areas, rental income has increased in the past year.  In addition to rising rent, the supply of units is the tightest in more than 10 years, with 8.8% of units vacant in the first quarter. This at a time when the demand for rental units is at the highest in 15 years. This means more buyers likely will continue to jump from that tight market into owning while the numbers make sense.

As you can see, the buyer market is about to get more crowded than it’s been the last few years. These are each solid market forces that could push more and more buyers off the fence, creating more transactions and helping to lift home values this year and next. If you think you want to buy – or know buyers who are testing the waters – now is your chance to take advantage of prime home-buying conditions.


People have many questions about today’s real estate market…..and how it will affect their personal situation.  If you are behind on your house payments, looking for an investment property, looking for a rental, currently renting, or buying your first home, I have something for everyone.

SHORT SALE / FORECLOSURE:   If you are currently behind on your house payment, or thinking of letting your home go, make sure you call me asap to review your options.  I can help you short sale your home for FREE and I can explain your personal benefits.  It is important to know all your options in this crazy real estate market.

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS:  With all the short sales and bank owned homes on the market, it is the perfect time to purchase a great deal.  Interest rates are the lowest in history so it is important to take advantage of all the buyer benefits.

RENTERS:  If you are loosing your home and looking for a rental, I can help you at no charge.  If you have been renting, now may be the time to buy.  Call me to find out if you qualify to purchase a home.

INVESTORS:  Why invest your money in the stock market when you can purchase a home at a rock bottom price.  Many investors are buying great real estate deals.  You can purchase a home and use the rent to cover the monthly mortgage payment, find out if it can work for you.

BUYING / SELLERS:  The real estate market is always changing and it is important to have all your information before you decide to buy or sell.  Call or email so I can help you understand what is happening today.

If you know someone who could benefit from my real estate knowledge or needs a little guidance, please forward my information to them or let me know.


Real Estate Transactions are lengthy and very detailed.  It is important when buying or selling a home that everyone does their job correctly to make the sale go smoothly.  The Real Estate Agent, Mortgage Lender, home inspection, appraiser and the Title Company all have to work together and have a specific job to do.  The title company does many things during the purchase/sale of a home, most importantly they ensure a “clean title” and disburse all funds.

A title company’s primary duty is to conduct an abstract search on title from many agencies including County Recorder, Federal and State Agencies, and County and City Offices.  Before a buyer can take possession of a piece of property, you have to make sure that the seller has the legal right to sell the home.  A title insurance policy protects from various defects such as another person claiming an ownership interest, improperly recorded, fraud, forgery, liens, encroachments, easements, unpaid taxes, and other items that are specified in the actual policy.

The title company works as a third party so neither the buyer or seller can claim the money was mismanaged or used for the wrong purposes when closing on a home.  All funds are deposited into an escrow account and held until both the buyer and seller have complete all requirements in the purchase and sale of the home and agree to all terms, at which point the title company disburse all funds as agreed upon.

In short, the primary job of the title company is to protect both the buyer and seller equally as a neutral party in the transfer of Real Estate.



If your home is listed for sale and it just won’t sell, it may not be your real estate agent’s fault–after all, home sales were down more than 40% in August over the same time last year.  However, there are many ways to gauge if your agent is doing a good job.  

1. Lack of Communication:  If you haven’t heard from your real estate agent in a few weeks, it’s time to find a new one.  Even if no one has called for a showing of your home, or your agent hasn’t found any homes that meet your requirements as a buyer, he or she should be touching base with you regularly to keep you up to date on the work being done on your behalf.  After all, there’s no doubt you’re thinking about your home transaction almost daily–as an agent acting on your behalf, shouldn’t your real estate agent be keeping you in mind?

2. Lack of Leadership:  If your real estate agent agrees with you on every point, this is the sign of someone who’s eager to please–not someone who’s committed to doing the best possible job at representing your interests in the real estate market.  When it comes to pricing a home for sale, insist that your agent produce the research that was used to arrive at that price.  

3. Unable to Listen:  In contrast to #2, your real estate agent should also be able to listen to your wants and needs.  The agent and the buyer/seller don’t always have to agree, but in the end they are someone that is acting on your behalf.  Your real estate agent is the expert and should be able to take the lead, but they will have to be someone willing to allow you to have the final word in the end.

4. Too Much Pressure:  While you should seek out a real estate agent who is knowledgeable enough to have an educated opinion and confident enough to (respectfully) voice it, if you feel your agent pushing you in any particular direction, this should send up a red flag.  Especially when you’re buying a home, there is no real reason an agent should want you to buy any particular home over another.  If you get the feeling you are being steered toward certain homes, make sure you address this and in the end are purchasing what you want.

5. Lack of Follow-Up:  Whether you’re buying or selling, many real estate agents think their job ends on the home’s possession date.  This is the day upon which the transaction is considered complete, and the real estate agent is paid.  An agent who calls beyond this date to address any follow-up questions you might have and to ensure that you’re happy with his or her work is going above and beyond what is required and showing a commitment to customer service.  After all, at this point your agent’s commission check has already been signed, so this level of care is a great sign of an agent who is willing to do what it takes to make you happy and keep your business in the future.

The Bottom Line:  As in every line of work, there are great real estate agents and there are terrible ones. However, in a tough real estate market like this one, you might have to gauge their performance on more than just a speedy transaction.


Home prices have taken such a beating and demand for rental units has increased so much that it’s now cheaper to buy than to rent in most major U.S. cities.

According to real estate web site Trulia, buying was cheaper than renting in 88% of the country’s 50 largest cities in July.  In just 12% of the cities renting was cheaper.  In addition to a decline in home prices, rock-bottom interest rates have added a lot of weight to the buy side of the scale.  With the addition of all the factors as well as the tax perks of home ownership, it certainly is a buyer’s market.

In most cases if you plan on staying a while, and have some cash for a down payment, you’re better off buying in most places.

It is important to consult a Realtor to go over your specific information…

the factors that will be evaluated are:

  • How long you plan to stay:  If you’re not keeping the home for several years, transactional costs of buying and selling can wipe out any buying edge.
  • Do you have cash for closing:  Some fees can be paid by the selling end of the transaction, but you need to have enough money to pay your down payment and some purchasing fees.  Your Realtor and Lender will help determine how much money you will need to purchase a home.
  • Can you cover all the homeownership costs:  It’s not just the mortgage:  Don’t forget about property taxes, insurance, heat, utilities and regular maintenance.
  • Can you claim the tax advantage of homeownership:  Mortgage interest is deductible and can shave a lot off tax bills.  It is important to check with your tax advisor to determine how much benefit you may gain.

You may not know if you are ready to purchase a home…..Is your credit score high enough? Do you make enough money to qualify? Do you have enough money for a down payment? etc…  FREE advice on what you can do to purchase a home is available at your local Real Estate Office.  Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services 925-584-1640  kcross@interodb.com


When searching for the most expensive homes for sale in America, many different style homes come up.  If  you had the money….What would you buy for $100 Million?…. Would you spend $75 Million for a “fixer-upper” ?

 Spelling Manor
 594 S Mapleton Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90024
For Sale: $150 Million

The Spelling Manor is at the top of list and is said to be one of the most expensive home for sale in the U.S.  The current owner Candy Spelling (widow to late TV producer Aaron Spelling and mother to actress-turned-reality TV star Tori Spelling)  put the home up for sale last September.  The Spelling family purchased this home from the legendary entertainer Bing Crosby, and it is reported that Spelling is downsizing from “The Manor” to a two-story Los Angeles condo she purchased for $47 million last year.

The Manor is a French-chateau-style estate sits on 4.7 acres and illuminates luxury at every turn. Unique features of the three-story, 56,500-sq ft home include a 17,000-sq ft attic with a barbershop and salon, rooftop garden, two-lane bowling alley, service wing with staff quarters, China room, gift-wrapping room, and wine tasting room.

525 Highway 50, Zephyr Cove, NV 89449
For Sale: $100 Million

 The second most expensive home reported on the market is “Tranquility” located in the state of Nevada.  This home was originally listed in 2008. 

The 210-acre property is situated on its own private lake with a total of eight separate buildings including a 20,000-sq ft main residence. Also included on this rare piece of Zephyr Cove real estate is an art studio, boat house pavilion, gym with indoor basketball court, horse stable, two par-3 golf holes, and a 16-car garage. As if that wasn’t enough to explain the $100 million price tag, the prestigious property also comes fully furnished.

6121 Kirkstone Lane, Windermere, FL 34786
For Sale: $100 million

 The gigantic Windermere, FL mansion, known as “Versailles,” is reported to be America’s “largest single family home under one roof.” The palace-like estate, architecturally inspired by the royal residence of Louis XIV.  The home was listed for sale May 2010 and although still under construction it is offered for $75 million as-is, or $100 million finished.

Situated on a 10-acre peninsula along the shoreline of Lake Butler, the 66,800-sq ft is blueprinted to include every thinkable amenity a homeowner could imagine.  The Versailles features 13 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, three pools, a baseball field, two tennis courts, grand hall, two grand staircases, two-story wine cellar, indoor roller rink, movie theater with a balcony, and his-and-her offices separated by a two-sided, 12-ft aquarium.

Frank Woolworth Estate
 4 E 80th St, New York, NY 10075
For sale: $90 Million

Retail magnate Frank W. Woolworth commissioned three townhouses to be built for each of his three daughters back in 1911. This one, designed by renowned architect Charles Pierpont Henry Gilbert, was completed in 1916 and is the biggest of the three. With a $90 million asking price, it became the priciest listing on the Manhattan real estate market when it was posted for sale this past March.

The 35-ft wide, 7-story home boasts 18,000-sq ft, and has 10 bedrooms, 11.5 bathrooms, three kitchens, a paneled library, elevator, 14-ft ceilings, private gym, and a formal dining room with seating for up to 50 guests.


CASH IS KING…People are investing in Real Estate!

According to the National Association of Realtors, after a slow February, existing home sales increased 3.7% in March (but were down 6.3% from March a year ago).  Nationally home sales has shown a huge increase in buyers who are paying with all cash. 

A large percentage of the cash sales were to investors.  Although many investors are taking advantage of the opportunities available in the housing market right now, a portion of these sales to investors will be coming back into the market at some point.  These homes will likely be flips and will add more inventory to the market down the road.

While the housing market is working to recover on a national level, many outside factors play into home sales stats:

  • Rising gas prices
  • The national deficit (and prospect of further budget cuts)
  • Proposals to further restrict mortgage lending

These are all things that could trip up a full housing recovery – or continue to prolong it.  Real estate is local and as such, some markets are doing well while others aren’t.

The fact that there are so many cash deals happening right now tells us that investors still have confidence in Real Estate…. and I can show you why you should too.


Statistics show that investing in real estate and owning rental property is still one of the best ways to invest, even in our current market conditions.  The fact is now is the best time to purchase investment property for most people.

 Having investment property is not for everyone…….It could be labor intensive, and it’s not very liquid.  Holding onto the property will most likely give you greater return.  This is why you are more likely to “make” more money purchasing investment property than you may be able to “make” in other investment vehicles.

During the current market conditions, most homes have dropped in value.  In California we have many people loosing their homes and moving into rentals.  With the increase of these, home sales have dropped and our rental market is high.  investors can take advantage of this and put extra cash in their pocket.

Lets look at an example of a home currently on the market.  I found a home for $150,000 it is a 3 Bedroom + loft/office, 2 1/2 Bathroom, 1595sqft, 2 car garage, close to schools and shopping, move-in ready home in a nice neighborhood.  This would be a perfect investment home.

  • $160,000 purchase price (including closing costs, negotiated price and closing costs – estimated)
  • $30,000 down payment (may be less than 20% depending on the type of loan)
  • $1,300.00 a month estimated mortgage, taxes & insurance (depends on loan and interest rate)
  • $1,600.00 a month is the amount this home can currently be rented
  • $300.00 profit each month 

With these numbers it will take you 100 months to make back your down payment, but don’t forget the other values owning rental property brings.  Each year you own the home you will receive an extra income tax deduction.  The hope is that you can make just a little money each month and hold onto the home until the market values go up and you can sell the home for a much larger profit.  A few years ago investors would purchase investment property and have a negative cash flow each month, that is not usually the case today.

These are rough numbers and every situation is different.  It is important that you talk to a Realtor to see what your numbers might look like.



Many first time home buyers don’t even know were to start when they are looking for a new home.  Many times people don’t really know if they are even ready to buy a home or not.  Most people will spend time on the internet looking for the perfect home.  Some people have been financially ready to buy a home for many months and are not aware they are ready…..or they think they are ready and they are not.

The first step should be to contact a Realtor!

.                 Real Estate Agents can assist you from start to finish……….        and charge you nothing!

FREE advice, FREE knowledge, FREE information, FREE negotiation, etc….

Using a full time Realtor….that you like, and who knows the are you want to buy in is very important.  Your Realtor can explain each step of the process.  Your Realtor will be able to assess your situation and match you with a Mortgage Loan officer that can help meet your specific needs.  The Realtor and Mortgage Officer will work together to make get you qualified.  They will find out how much you can afford to spend….what your monthly payments will be…and how much you will need for your down payment and closing costs.

The Mortgage Officer will review different loan programs and first time home buyer programs with you.  They will help you decide if it is the right time for you to purchase a home and what price you should look at.  My clients often qualify for homes much higher than they can actually afford.  It is important to stay in a price range you are comfortable with and make sure you can afford the monthly payments. 

Almost 80% of all home searches today begin on the Internet.  Buyers can view dozens of homes, see multiple pictures, see aerial shots of neighborhoods, etc.  Some people feel like they don’t need to use a Realtor for most of the process if at all.  Realtors have first hand knowledge of the industry that is invaluable.  Realtors have access to homes for sale before you can view them on-line.  Most “good deals” are already pending before the average person can see them on the internet.  Having someone on the inside to show you homes first is a huge advantage especially in today’s market.  A Realtor can look for homes that meet your criteria and e-mail them to you as soon as they come on the market.


Many people don’t know were to start when it is time to move several years of “stuff.”  Moving your belongings to your new home is not the only thing that needs to be taken care of.  Make sure you don’t forget about:


  • Schedule disconnection of all utility services at your old home, and connection of them at your new one. Be sure to disconnect the day after you leave and connect the day before you arrive. If you have “last month” deposits with services, such as the water or gas company, request your refund.
  • Notify any creditors of your move.  (credit cards, cell phones, auto loans/leases, insurance, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, auto registration, etc.  Make sure they are aware of your new address
  • Contact health clubs or other organization you have joined.  Ask how to move, sell, or end our membership.
  • Arrange to have school records transferred to your children’s new school district and/or daycare.
  • File for a new drivers license with your new address
  • Change banking information and order new checks.
  • Order a copy of medical, dental and immunization records including prescription medications.  Ask your doctor to transfer your records and prescriptions to your new doctor and pharmacy in advance.   
  • Don’t forget about your pets.  Arrange for your veterinarian to transfer the records to your new location.
  • Make sure all library books have been returned and all dry cleaning or items out for repair have been picked up. Also retrieve any items out on loan.
  • File a change of address with the Postal Service. 
  • Notify friends and family of your new address and phone number

A few simple things you should remember when packing your belongings.  Having things in order will help relieve some of your stress and make the move go smoothly.


  • Stock up on packing supplies. Moving boxes, bubble wrap, newspapers, packing foam, packing tape, plastic totes – anything and everything you can gather (ahead of time) will help when it’s time to begin packing.
  • De-clutter and purge unwanted items.  Sale, donate or trash unwanted and unused items.  The more you eliminate the lighter your load will be saving you packing time, loading time and money.
  • Pack unused and seasonal items early.  Packing items that you will not miss before the move will save you time later. 
  • Mark all moving containers with the contents and location in your new home. You can lose a lot of time digging into boxes to figure out what they contain, and where they go in your new home.
  • Wether you are using a moving company or moving yourself, keep all valuable together.  Try to separate valuable and/or irreplaceable items like important paperwork/documents, jewelry, family heirlooms, keepsakes, photos or any other important items.  Keep a special eye on this box and make sure it is put in a safe place at all times.


  • Make childcare arrangements for moving day.
  • Make arrangements for your pets on the day of the move.
  • Have an essentials box.  Plan one box to be loaded last and unloaded first that will contain items that might be needed as soon as you get to your new home.
  • Leave a note with your new address in the house so that future residents can forward any stray mail.


  • Make childcare arrangements for moving day.
  • Contact the Chamber of Commerce to request their new resident packet.
  • Register to vote
  • Make arrangements for your pets on the day of the move.
  • Have an essentials box.  Plan one box to be loaded last and unloaded first that will contain items that might be needed as soon as you get to your new home.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time for moving day.



When you are looking for a new home to rent it is important to be informed of the dangers to avoid.  It is easy to fall victim to many of the scams out there.

When looking for a home to rent, many people will search the internet and local sites such as Craigslist.  One scam is for people to take a home that is currently for sale and list it on craigslist as a rental.  They will interview applicants and accept a first month and security deposit.  The renters have no idea that the person they are working with is not the actual owner of the home.  Most of these scammers are very convincing in dismissing suspicion.  They excuse the fact that you can’t view the home because the old tenant hasn’t moved out yet.  They may offer the home at such a great price that you just don’t want to miss out on the perfect deal.

This is not something that just happens on the internet.  Some scammers will find a vacant home and have the locks changed so they can meet clients, show the home, and collect the money.

Another scam to be aware of is one that can be very inconvenient for you.  Some renters are finding themselves signing a lease, moving into a home with no problems.  A little after they are settled someone knocks on the door and advises them that the home has been sold and they need to move out immediately.  Landlords that are in foreclosure are moving into rentals and renting out their homes until the bank shows up to remove them.  This will leave you with no place to live, the loss of your security deposit plus the additional moving expenses.

We can give you piece of mind when you are looking for a new rental.  Using a Realtor to find a rental is a free service we provide.  We will ensure that the person claiming to be the landlord is the actual owner of the home.  We can also check to ensure the home will not be in foreclosure at the time you sign your contract.  We can help you make a more educated decision when you are looking for a home to rent.



Do your shopping during peak sales times.  Below is a rough guide of when traditional items may go on sale throughout the year.  If you have been wanting to make a purchase and you are not sure when to do so…..this may help.



Post-holiday sales for cards, gift wrap and decorations * White sales for bedding and linens * Sports and weight-loss equipment * Computers * Winter clothes and accessories * Organizers, storage containers and shelving


Candy, chocolates * Jewelry * Flooring and carpet * Housewares * Furniture * Electronics


Spring clothes and accessories * Gardening equipment, mowers and supplies * Luggage and travel accessories * Frozen food


Spring clothes and accessories * End of season on coats and winter accessories * Men’s suits * Paint and wallpaper


Spring cleaning supplies * Linens and towels * Auto maintenance supplies and tires * Memorial Day sales on picnic foods


Pianos * Televisions, stereos and radios * Home improvement materials and hardware * Cheese and dairy


Fans and air conditioners * Summer sports gear and sportswear * Art and craft supplies * 4th of July picnic sales * Used cars


Linens and towels * BBQ and patio furniture * Back-to-school supplies and clothes * Bathing suits


Gardening supplies, perennials, trees and spring bulbs  *Housewares like carpets, lamps and dinnerware * Bicycles * Seasonal car maintenance * Canned foods


Cars * Fishing and hunting gear * Crystal, silver and glassware * Spring bulbs


Winter clothes and accessories * Quilts, comforters, and blankets * Space heaters * Turkey’s and Thanksgiving preparation


Toys * Gifts * Post-holiday sales * Party foods and baking goods

Although some items are on sale during certain seasons…..I can help you decide if it is the right time for you to purchase a home.



Many things go into picking the right home and for each buyer the list might look a little different.  Neighborhood, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of the home, single or multi-level, yard size, age of home, local schools, and of course price are just some of the things to consider when looking at homes.  It is smart to start with a list of things you would like and then prioritize the list of most important on down.  It is important to decide what thing you must have verses which things would be nice to have.  Making this list and having a clear picture of what you are looking for will help you narrow down possible homes even before you start the looking process.

The internet is a great tool in looking for homes that might match your criteria, using a Realtor is an important tool all home buyers should also utilize.  A Real Estate Agent can assist you in many ways and you can benefit from their knowledge and experience at no cost to you!  Local Realtors can have access to homes coming on the market before they are available to the public on the internet, they have knowledge about the community and market that can benefit you when writing an offer, they have access to local inspection companies, title companies, lenders, etc.  They can provide you legal protection on the purchase of your new home.  Realtors can schedule and assist in many of the home buying appointments saving you from having to take extra time off work.  Again all FREE of charge. 





Many people don’t know were to start when purchasing a new home.  Can you afford to buy a home at all?, how much can you afford?, do you have enough money for a down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, and other home bills?  With the lowered housing market, now is the perfect time to figure out what you can afford.  Below is a general guideline you can refer to.  We urge you to contact our Realtors and Lenders to help you figure out your specific situation. 

Generally, your annual gross income multiplied by 2.5 will give you an approximate amount for the price of home you can afford.  This amount will vary depending on how much of a down payment you have, your credit score, your debts, and financial situation.  All debts, including liens, child support and alimony, should not exceed 30%-40% of your gross income.

Down Payment:  Your down payment is a percentage of the purchase price of the home.  This amount can range from 3% to 20% or more if the buyer wants to lower their loan amount.  This amount will vary depending on the type of loan you qualify for. 

Closing Costs:  Closing costs are fees charged, in addition to your down payment, to purchase a home.  These fees include financing fees, title insurance, taxes, escrow items, homeowner insurance, etc.  These fees can range from 1% to 7% of the purchase price depending how the offer is written.  You will receive an estimate of these costs prior to closing.


REO FORECLOSURES, (Real Estate Owned), is a home which is in the possession of a lender as a result of a foreclosure or forfeiture. 

Many buyers want to buy REO foreclosures because most banks often list these homes under market value.  Because the homes are “priced to sell,” theses homes often receive multiple offers.  The term HIGHEST AND BEST is a term used with most banks to respond to multiple offers.  They will ask each buyer to submit their Highest and Best offer and the bank will approve the “Winning Bid.”  Many times the winning bid may not be the offer submitted with the highest purchase price.  Many things go into consideration when looking at an offer. 

A buyer offering all cash and not asking the bank to wait for loan contingencies is appealing to the bank and may be able to offer less than a loan that may be hard to finance.  Buyers that are obtaining a loan want to make sure they submit their pre approval letter along with their offer.  Buyers may want/need to get pre approved by the lender who owns the property.  You do not need to use their lender for your loan, but having their approval will give you a stronger offer.  Banks will trust you are a qualified buyer if they know that someone from their bank will lend to you.

Typically when you are purchasing a REO home, it is an AS-IS purchase.  Writting an offer for the home in it’s As-Is condition will be a stronger offer presented to the bank.  If you encounter a problem during the inspection period, you can renegotiate with the bank after the offer has been accepted. 

On a typical purchase contract a buyer has 17 days to conduct inspections on the home.  If you are able to shorten this time, even to 10 days, that will make your offer a little stronger and make you appear as a serious buyer. 

Some banks will not pay certain fees, such as transfer fees, or escrow fees.  If a buyer offers to pay, or split those fees, the bank may feel more inclined to accept the offer.  Although choosing a title company is the buyer’s choice, offering to let the bank choose the title company can often save the bank money and again make your offer a little stronger.  Many banks receive title discounts when they use their prefered title company and allowing them to choose can help you. 

When you get into a multiple offer situation and the price is bud up above the asking price, many times the appraisal could become a problem.  If you find yourself dealing with a low appraisal the bank will most likely have to lower the list price of the home.  The bank will most likely run into the same appraisal problem with the next buyer who has to obtain financing.  This is why all the other factors of the offer are so important the bank can “make up money” in other places other than just the “offer amount.”