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




Nascar Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli Sells Mansion for $4.85 Million

Nascar crew chief Greg Zipadelli is finally looking at his mansion on Lake Norman from the rear-view mirror.

Zipadelli, now the competition director for Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing, has sold his massive estate in Mooresville, NC.  Originally listed for $6.8 million back in August 2013, the home ultimately closed in mid-March for nearly $2 million less than the decorated crew chief’s original ask of $4.85 million.  He paid just $1.175 million for the property back in May of 2007.

Built in 2008, the Tudor-style mansion sits on a nearly one-acre lot overlooking Lake Norman and has a total of five bedrooms, eight full bathrooms and two half baths. Highlights include mansion-standard amenities such as a gourmet kitchen, formal living areas and a wine cellar, along with a few unique perks. A decked out man cave comes complete with a wet bar, video game arcades and a pool table; and Zipadelli’s personal office sits adjacent to his garage.  Outside, the scenery of Lake Norman takes center stage from a wide patio area that includes an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, and a pool with a hot tub. A pathway leads from the home to a private dock on the water.


Hayden Pannetierre sold her Hollywood home for $3.075 million


After settling into Nashville, TN, earlier this year, actress Hayden Pannetierre has officially bid adieu to the Hollywood scene—at least, as far as her home in Los Angeles is concerned.Realtor.com® has confirmed that the television and film star has parted ways with her house in the celebrity-preferred Hollywood Hills West neighborhood. News of Pannetierre’s home sale was first reported by TMZ and records show the property changed hands in an off-market deal for $3.075 million in early February.  Pannetierre paid $2.635 million for the property back in March of 2008.

Built in 1962, the stylish residence has been updated to include designer finishes, wood flooring, recessed lighting and other luxury touches. An open floor plan of 3,120 square feet contains three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and an office.  Outside, 180-degree views of Hollywood take center stage thanks to a large, entertaining space with a pool.

Earlier this year, Pannetierre purchased a home in the country music capital after two years of working in the city on the ABC hit series “Nashville.” In addition to her Nashville home, Pannetierre reportedly owns a penthouse apartment in Hollywood, FL.


Gwyneth Paltrow pays $14 million for new home with Chris Martin

Realtor.com® has confirmed that actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, have purchased Lautner’s Garwood Residence in Point Dume. The couple paid $14 million for the home.

Presiding over a little more than an acre overlooking over Little Dume, the Garwood Residence sits hidden from the outside world behind tropical landscaping that provides the perfect cover for the celebrity haven.  A primitive covered pathway leads the way to the one-acre summit, where the 3,650-square-foot home sits. Three bedroom suites, a chef’s kitchen and a media room have perfectly framed views of the ocean through rows of floor-to-ceiling windows, while outer buildings with separate yoga and art studios offer places to escape for the creative type. For the sports enthusiast, there is a custom, full-size tennis court designed by the legendary tennis player and art dealer Gene Mako.  Outside, the landscaping design is punctuated by jungle gardens filled with fruit trees, a pebble-stone pool, and an outdoor master steam room and rain shower. A private pathway leads to the shore and a protected cove that presents the perfect place for boating visitors to drop anchor.


Vince Vaughn Buys $6.5 million home from Trojan’s football coach

In early March we learned that the former USC Trojans football coach had sold his Manhattan Beach, CA  7,300-square-foot custom Craftsman home to Vince Vaughn for $6.5 million.

Built by Nick Schaar in 2002, the rustic-contemporary Craftsman enjoys a half-acre lot and has six bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The grounds include a saltwater swimming pool and spa, a fire pit, an outdoor kitchen, and a guest house.  Inside, vaulted ceilings and a wealth of windows give the home an airy feel. An enormous living room is highlighted by a stone fireplace. The country kitchen comes complete with commercial-grade appliances, a center island and a breakfast nook that faces toward the backyard. The master suite features a private sitting area, a pair of walk-in closets, a steam shower and a spa room.


Zac Efron Lists His Home For Sale $2.849 million

Newly listed in the Hollywood Hills West area of Los Angeles is a home owned by the film and television actor. Zac Efron is asking $2.849 million for the Case Study Program home designed by esteemed architect Rodney Walker.

Built in 1947, the home of the “High School Musical” star has two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths and 2,400 square feet of living space. Telescoping walls of glass add an organic dimension to the open floor plan, and open the interiors to a large deck and impressive views. Shaded by mature trees, grounds spanning one-third acre offer a relaxed state of living with various patios and an infinity pool with a private cabana.


Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate Services





If you are like most couples, your home is one of your most valuable assets.  It is important to know what your options are and how to protect yourself.  I specialize in helping couples decide what is best for their unique situation.  It is important to contact a Realtor to help guide you through the process.



1.  Do I have to sell to divide equity?

Not necessarily.  The equity in the house can be shared in a number of ways.  Selling is one option, but a buyout could also be possible.  If you opt for a buyout, it is important to remember that removing one spouse from the deed does not relieve them from the liabilities and responsibilities of the mortgage loan.

2.  Who is responsible for paying the home mortgage?

A separation or divorce agreement may specify that one spouse make the mortgage payments but if both spouses’ names are on the mortgage, both are liable if the paying spouse defaults on the loan.  The only way to protect yourself from being liable for the mortgage debt is if the other spouse qualifies and resonances the loan into only their name.

3. What if we owe more than the home is worth?

If you owe more money on your mortgage than the home is worth and it is not likely that either spouse will be able to pay for the home, a short sale might be the best option for you.  In a short sale, the mortgage lender agrees to allow the home to be sold for less than is owed on the mortgage.


Contact me for all you real estate related questions.

Kari Cross – Intero Real Estate





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




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



If you, or someone you know, purchased a home with a FHA or low down payment loan, you are probably paying a monthly mortgage insurance premium fee.   With home values on the rise you may have enough equity in your home to now remove the mortgage insurance fee.  Contact me at kcross@interodb.com for more information.

Information provided by:


If you are thinking about purchasing a new home, you might not always know where to start.  

10 things to know when looking for a new home.

  1. Find a great Realtor
  2. Get pre-approved with your real estate agents preferred lender
  3. Find what loan is best for you
  4. Figure out what your maximum purchase price will be
  5. Determine your wants and needs in a new home
  6. Search what neighborhood fits your needs and your purchase price
  7. Find the perfect home for you
  8. Know what you are signing
  9. Protect yourself through the escrow process
  10. Move into your dream home!

Contact Kari Cross with Intero Real Estate at kcross@interodb.com with all your real estate questions!


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
Schedule a Showing
Brentwood Homes For Sale
Search All Homes For Sale
Free List of Foreclosed Homes For Sale
Avoid Foreclosure
What is Your Home Worth?
Homes Close to Where You Work
Kari Cross
Intero Real Estate
Schedule a Showing!
MLS#: 10639848
Licensed In:
License #:
L2L Virtual Tours


The October 2013 Numbers Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes For Sale
Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes for Sale have seen steady price improvement month to month as well as year to yearas inventory levels remainlow.The Numbers This MonthDISCOVERY BAY, CA47 Homes are currently pending15 Homes have sold September 1- October 31, 2013

93 Homes are currently available


159 Homes are currently pending

13Homes that have sold September 1 – October 31, 2013

135 Homes are currently available for sale

This Months Most Expensive
The most expensive of all Discovery Bay, CA Homes for sale this month is listed at $1,199,000 and includes 4 bedrooms, 2.5bath and has 2,700 sqft. I toured this home last week and what impressed me the most was the view. This home is on the water and also has a pool in the U-dock.(schedule a showing).

This Months Least Expensive
The least expensive of all Discovery Bay, CA homes for sale came in at $229,000 and would be a great home for a first time homebuyer or an investor looking for a rental property with positive cash flow. It has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with 1,608 sqft and is a condo on the water(schedule a showing).

This Months Must See
There were some great Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes for Sale to consider for this months ‘Must See home tour.
A home listed on Wayfarer Drive listed at$499,888 is this months winner. It is a custom home located on the Discovery Bay Golf Course with amazing views. The home has been completly upgraded throughout and is move in ready.(schedule a showing).

Click to see the full report

Below are highlight properties for The October 2013 Numbers Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes For Sale. See more at the full report:
Highlights Maps & Local Schools
Status: Active
5650 Edgeview
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

Status: Active
4700 Discovery Point
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

Status: Make an Offer
5671 Starboard Dr.

Status: Pending
2454 San Simeon Ct
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

Status: Just Sold
5551 Arcadia Circle
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

Status: Just Sold
2414 Santa Cruz
Listing Courtesy of: Intero Real Estate

See the Full The October 2013 Numbers Discovery Bay and Brentwood Homes For Sale
Search All Homes For SaleDiscovery Bay Homes For SaleBrentwood Homes For SaleFree List of Foreclosed Homes For SaleAvoid Foreclosure

What is Your Home Worth?

Homes Close to Where You Work

Kari Cross
Intero Real Estate
Information valid as of October 30, 2013. Please contact us for the most current information and status of these properties.


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


The Bloomberg News posted an article on October 14, 2012 that shows promise for the California housing market and it echo’s what I see as a local Realtor.

SAN FRANCISCO — California, the state that led the nation into the housing boom and bust with some of the most reckless subprime mortgage lending, is now leading the way out.
A plunge in new defaults in California helped push U.S. foreclosure filings to the lowest level in almost five years, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a seller of home-loan data. Across the country, 531,576 properties received notices of default, auction or repossession in the third quarter, down 13 percent from a year earlier and the lowest since 2007. One in every 248 households got a filing, RealyTrac said.
California, the birthplace of subprime mortgage lending, saw an explosion of foreclosures thanks to such industry innovations as “no-doc” loans that required no proof of income. The state’s recovery is mirrored by U.S. home values that rose 1.2 percent in July from a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case Shiller index of property prices in 20 major cities. It was the second straight 12-month advance and the biggest jump for the real estate gauge since August 2010.

“We’re starting to see improvement in some of the hardest hit areas, strong demand, competitive bidding on properties and rising prices,” Sean O’Toole, chief executive officer of ForeclosureRadar.com, which tracks sales of foreclosed properties, said in a telephone interview.

The gains are moving in tandem with foreclosure declines as lenders control the flow of bank-owned homes that come to market, crimping inventory and pushing up prices, said Daren Blomquist of Irvine, Calif.-based RealtyTrac.

Initial filings in September fell in 31 states, led by California, the most-populous U.S. state, which dropped to a 69- month low. Defaults dropped 45 percent from a year earlier, 34 percent in Arizona, 22 percent in Michigan and 21 percent in Georgia, RealtyTrac said.

Home sales in California’s biggest population centers climbed in August to the highest level since 2006, according to real estate research firm DataQuick. Median house and condominium prices in six Southern California counties jumped 11 percent from a year earlier to $309,000, while values in nine counties in the San Francisco Bay Area gained 11 percent to $410,000, the San Diego-based company said.

California home sales probably will increase 1.3 percent to 530,000 units in 2013 for the third consecutive year of gains, the Los Angeles-based Realtors group forecasts. Estimated sales of 523,300 in 2012 would represent a 5.1 percent jump from 2011.
“Pent-up demand and first-time buyers will compete with investors and all-cash offers on lower-priced properties, while multiple offers and aggressive bidding will continue to be the norm in mid- to upper-price range homes,” according to Appleton-Young’s forecast.

If you are on the fence about buying or selling a home, make sure you contact your local Realtor and know what is happening in your area.  Don’t let the market pass you by.


The housing recovery is well under way, although the peak summer sales season seems to be fading. A report last week showed an overall drop in inventory at the national level, which has contributed to rising prices in several markets across the country.
The lack of inventory is actually creating a housing boom-like feel for those buyers at the lower end of the market. This is because the low inventory can’t keep up with demand, and therefore is creating multiple-bid situations, which are driving up prices.
Oakland, Calif., led the nation with the largest decline in inventory, which was down 59.3% from last year. Other cities that had at least a 40% decline in listings from a year ago were Riverside-San Bernardino, Stockton, San Francisco, San Jose, Bakersfield and Fresno – all in California – and Seattle.
What do you do as a buyer who’s up against multiple bids for every home you’re interested in buying? There are five rules of the road here:
1. Make your offer as solid as possible. If you know that your offer will be up against others, make things as simple as possible.  Try to write an offer with all the standard fees paid or even better.

2.  Get prequalified for a loan. Sellers will be more interested in talking to buyers they know will pull through with a loan. Show them by visiting a lender or mortgage professional before you start house hunting. Get prequalified for a loan and your offer will be much stronger.
3.  Have as much downpayment and closing cash as you can. This is common sense, but worth noting. A higher downpayment these days will get you a much better loan and also will likely put you at the front of the bidding line above buyers with less cash on hand.
4.  Be patient. You may not get the first house you fight for. It’s OK. Inventory may be tight, but there is a whole population of sellers out there who’ve been waiting to sell. They’re watching the market and will come around, creating more homes to choose from.

5.  Choose the right Realtor. Make sure your Realtor who’s helped buyers buy homes in the area in recent months.  The real estate market is always changing and Realtors can help you to understand the market in your area. 

If you have any questions, please let me know.

COUNT ON CROSS…..for all your Real Estate needs!


SOLD FOR $7,750,000

A penthouse owned by Oprah Winfrey at 207 East 57th Street that sold for $7.75 million was the biggest sale of the week, according to city records in New York.

Current listing information shows the 36th floor spread has 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, 2,530 square feet of glass-wrapped interior space, and an additional 750-ish square foot wrap-around terrace with beautiful city views. twelve-foot high ceiling, opens into an unforgivably slender, chute-like entrance hall that explodes in to a scalene triangle-shaped dining and living space where two long walls of floor-to-ceiling glass with birds-eye views that stretches from the George Washington Bridge, over Central Park, west towards New Jersey and south to the glittering towers of Midtown.

A swinging door in the dining area swings open to a light, bright, modern kitchen finished with flat-fronted cabinetry, charcoal-colored counter tops, and chunky center island.  Two guest/family bedrooms, one with private bathroom the other with access to a hall bath as per the floor plan below, occupy the northeast wing of the airy. A short corridor behind the kitchen and off the entrance hall has a stacked washer/dryer closet and connects to the relatively petite master suite occupies that the southeast wing and includes three walk-in closets (two with windows), a spa-style pooper with jetted tub, separate shower and cubby for the toilet and bee-day.

The Tower provides its residents white glove services that include 24-7 doorman and concierge services, a fully equipped fitness center, thematically designed children’s playrooms, residents only conference rooms, and a beautiful garden area.



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.


Most people forget what a valuable tool your local Real Estate Agent can be…..not just when you are looking to buy or sell a home.

Realtors have a huge amount of community knowledge.  If you need to know about the local schools, community events, plumbers, inspectors, landscapers, florists, cleaning services, etc.   During the process of helping buyers and sellers a Realtor has to wear many hats and are sometimes considered neighborhood specialists.

When you are thinking of buying or selling a home, you are looking for someone with an impeccable track record and a master negotiator that is well-respected.  But you also want to look for someone who cares about your well-being that will continue to help you after the sale is completed.  A great Realtor is someone who will assist you with the little things when they are no longer being paid for the service.  I have clients that call me months or years after a transaction to ask for help with local questions.  I love being able to assist my clients and friends with continued parts of their lives.

As a Realtor we use several different contractors during a real estate transaction and we know who has the best deals, who gets the job done quickly, or who is reliable….we also know which ones are not.  We speak with many clients and know what community areas and events they like and dislike.  Realtors share information with each other which can prove to be a valuable tool for you.

So the next time you want to find a cheap roofer or a great preschool…. don’t forget to ask your Realtor.


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


As a Realtor we work many hours, but only get paid if we actually sell a home.  With this in mind, you would think that we would do everything we could to show potential buyers the best features of a home and make a quick sell.  When looking at some of the MLS ad’s people write, we can find typo’s which you could say is an honest mistake.  How do you explain why an agent would use a bad picture to represent the home they are selling?

I am not saying that I don’t take many bad pictures, but I hope that I am not including them in my MLS listings.












In today’s market it is important to have good preparation of all aspects of buying a home.  Understanding some simple terms and what they mean to you, and the seller when you are purchasing a home is very important.

You need to know the difference in being pre-qualified for a mortgage and being pre-approved for a home loan.  Misusing these terms can mean acceptance or denial of an offer.

Getting pre-qualified is the initial step  in the mortgage process, and it’s generally fairly simple. You supply a bank or  lender with your overall financial picture, including your debt, income and assets.   After evaluating this information, a lender can give you an idea of the mortgage  amount for which you qualify. Pre-qualification can be done over the phone or on  the internet, and there is usually no cost involved. Loan pre-qualification does not include an analysis of your credit report or an in-depth look at your ability to purchase a  home.

The initial pre-qualification step allows you to  discuss any goals or needs you may have regarding your mortgage with your  lender. At this point, a lender can explain your various mortgage options and  recommend the type that might be best suited to your situation.

Because it’s a quick  procedure, and based only on the information you provide to the lender, your  pre-qualified amount is not a sure thing; it’s just the amount for which you  might expect to be approved. For this reason, a pre-qualified buyer doesn’t  carry the same weight as a pre-approved buyer who has been more thoroughly  investigated.

Getting pre-approved is the next step, and  it tends to be much more involved. You’ll complete an official mortgage  application, and then supply the lender  with the necessary documentation to perform an extensive check on your financial background and current credit rating.  From this,  the lender can tell you the specific mortgage amount for which you are approved.  You’ll also have a better idea of the  interest rate you will be charged on the loan and, in some cases, you might be  able to lock-in a specific rate.  With  pre-approval, you will receive a conditional commitment in writing for an exact  loan amount, allowing you to look for a home at or below that price level.  Obviously, this puts you at an advantage when dealing with a potential seller,  as he or she will know you’re one step closer to obtaining an actual mortgage.

The other advantage of completing both of these steps –  pre-qualification and pre-approval – before you start to look for a  home is that you’ll know in advance how much you can afford. This way, you don’t  waste time with guessing or looking at properties that are beyond your means.  Getting pre-approved for a mortgage also enables you to move quickly when you  find the perfect place. When you make an offer, it won’t be contingent on  obtaining financing, which can save you valuable time. In a competitive market,  this lets the seller know that your offer is serious – and could prevent you  from losing out to another potential buyer who already has financing arranged.

Last Word

If you are interested in purchasing a new home, I can help you find a mortgage lender to help you get Pre-qualified and Pre-approved so you know exactly how much you can borrow!


After my last post I decided to look a little deeper into the meaning of some real estate terms often used.  Sometimes things are very accurate, but sometimes things are not always what they seem…….

  • Corner lot – noisy intersection of two busy streets
  • Will help finance – owner knows they’re asking too much
  • Cathedral ceilings – a bear to heat
  • Well below market – nobody else wants it
  • Great starter home – standing room only
  • Easy freeway access – noisy freeway traffic day and night
  • Low maintenance lot – no yard; the kids will have to play in the street
  • Meticulously maintained in the original condition – the appliances are 50 years old
  • Ready to remodel – the house is about to collapse; you will have to invest twice the asking price in remodel before you can move in
  • Newly remodeled kitchen – 50-year old cabinetry and faucets have been replaced with cheap modern equivalents
  • Ready to move in – the interior has been painted with one coat of cheap paint
  • Desirable neighborhood – this little house is extravagantly overpriced because the neighborhood has a snobbish reputation
  • 1 car garage – you can drive your Ford Escort into the garage but there is no room to open the door
  • Partial mountain view – you can see the tip of Mt. Diablo if you climb on the roof
  • Territorial view – good view of your neighbor’s bedroom window
  • Build sweat equity – the house is not inhabitable
  • Efficiently designed kitchen – the kitchen is too small to fit two people at the same time
  • Doll-house – tiny place filled with ugly knick-knacks.
  • Secure location – the neighbors dog barks all night
  • Country living – too far from anywhere to drive to work
  • Cozy – not a single room could fit a full size bed
  • Close to all amenities – the backyard is a shopping mall parking lot
  • Must see inside – the outside is ugly
  • Motivated sellers – subtract 15% from the asking price
  • Near transportation – Amtrak train goes through the backyard, every 15 minutes, day and night
  • Just available – previous owner just died on the premises, hope you don’t believe in ghosts

How will you find a creative way to describe the flaws in your home when you plan to sell?


The Winchester Mystery House covers 6 acres with 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms,  13 bathrooms,47 fireplaces, 6 kitchens, 40 staircases, 3 elevators, 10,000 windows, 2,000 doors, 52 skylights, 2 basements, and 1 shower.  This home has many things, but it has no reason for the way it was built.  It has been assembled, disassembled, and reassembled numerous times with no master plan or design.  Stairs lead to nowhere, floors have doors and windows in them, doors open into solid walls, and some doors open to nothing.  All of this because of Sarah Winchester’s obsession to keep the building continuously under construction for 38 years.

WHO IS SARA WINCHESTER:  Oliver Winchester was the co-owner of a successful shirt manufacturing business. In 1857, just before the U.S. Civil War broke out, Winchester took over the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company. The company, which would later be renamed Winchester Repeating Arms Company, was responsible for revolutionary advances in rifle design. With repeating rifles, a soldier could fire several times without reloading, and sales of the weapons soon made Winchester both wealthy and famous. His son and heir, William Wirt Winchester, married Sarah Pardee in 1862.

Sarah gave birth in 1866 to the couple’s first and only child, Annie, who died before she was two weeks old. Annie’s death affected Sarah deeply, and for years she withdrew from the public and her family alike. In 1880 Oliver Winchester died, leaving his fortune to his son William. But the following year, William died of tuberculosis. This left Sarah the only heir to the Winchester fortune, an inheritance of US $20 million, plus nearly 50 percent ownership in the company, which paid her $1,000 per day.

The distraught Sarah visited a Boston psychic (a common practice at the time) who told her the deaths were revenge from the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles, and that Sarah could escape the spirits’ wrath by moving west and building a house that would never be finished.

THE HOUSE:  In 1884 Sara moved from New Haven, Connecticut to San Jose, California. She bought an unfinished, eight-room farmhouse near San Jose which is now known as the Winchester Mystery House. She soon started building 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the next 38 years – and she never stopped.

Sarah spent over $5 million building and rebuilding the bizarre Winchester House, but it didn’t ensure her immortality. She died in her sleep on September 5, 1922 at the age of 82. Upon her death, construction stopped abruptly.

SUPERSTITIONS:  From moving because the psychic told her to, to her repeated use of the number 13, it is certain the Sara was superstitious.  There are 13 bathrooms; 13 palm trees line the driveway; most of the windows have 13 panes; a sink drain has 13 holes; a chandelier that originally had 12 lights was modified to have 13; and so on. It is also frequently said that she slept in a different bedroom every night.

In 1906, the Winchester house rose seven stories high.  When the great earthquake struck San Francisco, part of the Winchester house was damaged, including the bedroom in which Mrs. Winchester was sleeping that night. Although she was unharmed, she believed the spirits were trying to tell her something. As a result she had the front portion of the house blocked off, and continued construction elsewhere.

CONFUSE EVIL SPIRITS:  Sarah worked hard to discourage the ghost from following her around the house.  She made a labyrinth of rooms and hallways, suddenly she would push a button, a panel would fly back and she would step quickly from one apartment into another…unless the ghost was extra watchful and quick, it would loose her.  She would open a window an apartment, not to get fresh air, she would climb out onto the top of a flight of steps that took her down one story only to meet another flight that brought her right back up to the same level again….all inside the house.

Columns were installed upside down, stairs that lead to the ceiling, doors that go nowhere and that open onto walls, chimneys that stop just short of the roof, etc.



TODAY:  After her death the house was turned into a  tourist attraction and was later declared a California Historical Landmark.  Today the home is still open daily for tours.


The construction of the White House started in 1792 and the total cost was $232,372.   According to Zillow.com even with todays declining market, the White House would sell today for $308,058,000.  Now that’s a great profit……in 219 years George Washington would have a $307,825,628 profit .  Now that was a great investment!

The White House has approximately 200 people work in the home each day and over 6,000 visitors a day walking thru making it the most popular home around.  The 6 levels, 132 rooms, 32 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 7 staircases and 3 elevators accommodates all the people who live in, work in and visit.  The home also has an indoor tennis court, a swimming pool, movie theater, running track, billiard room and a bowling lane.

Having a home that is 55,000 square feet on 18 acres of land would not be cheap to buy, and the cost to maintain the home would break the bank.  The annual budget for “the care, maintenance, repair and alteration,  refurnishing, improvement, heating, and lighting, including electric  power and fixtures, of the Executive Residence at the White House and  official entertainment expenses of the President,” runs about $9,260,000  or about $25,370 a day. The cost of lawn and garden care around the White House is included in the $5,427,000 a year spent to maintain the grounds of all the Capitol-area federal buildings.  In order to paint the entire outside surface of the White House, it would require over 570 gallons of paint.

George Washington never actually lived in the White House, though he oversaw its construction.  The first President to occupy the White House was President John Adams in 1800.  At various times in history, the White House has been known as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House,” and the “Executive Mansion.”President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.


Baby boomers approaching retirement with a mortgage balance and financial assets are faced with the question of whether or not they should liquidate assets to pay off the mortgage.

With income declining at retirement, the mortgage payment becomes more of a strain. Yet liquidating assets to repay the mortgage reduces the income being generated by the assets, and leaves the borrower with less to liquidate later on when needs may be even greater. We don’t know how much money we will need to support our lifestyle in retirement because we don’t know how long we will live, and not everyone can accumulate more wealth than we can possibly outlive.

 The case for paying down, or off, the mortgage for seniors often revolves around the fact that their mortgage rate is greater than their rate of return on their assets. Basically they earn less on their money than they pay on their mortgage: paying off a 5% mortgage with money earning 2% makes sense. If you’re a senior and your rate is more than 5% and you haven’t refinanced in the last 2 to 3 years, you will want to check current rates – you’ll be surprised.  It makes good sense to refinance your mortgage to a lower rate rather than pay it off if the senior either needs the income from their assets to live on. If mortgage repayment earns the higher return before-tax, it also earns the higher return after-tax. If income on the alternative investment is not taxable, however, returns should be compared after-tax. Again it is important you sit down with either your Lendor or CPA or financial planner to figure out what is best for you and your family.

I can help you find the right person to answer all your questions!


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.


Yahoo Finance has released an article reporting the top 10 American industries that may not recover from our recession.   Realtors came in at number nine as of November 2010.

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9. Realtors. The National Association of Realtors reports that there were 1,370,758 realtors in October 2006 — the peak of the market. By the end of 2007, the figure was below 1.2 million. The number is below 1.1 million today and has continued on a downward trend. Home prices have dropped so far and so few homes are sold, that the ability to make money in the business disappears by the day.

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Although I am OK with the decline in the number of Realtors in today’s market, this is a scary statistic.  As a Realtor I am self-employed and my success depends on you!  If you or your friends and family are thinking of buying or selling a home, contact me. 

Pick an agent that stands out in a crowd to help you with your next Real Estate Transaction!



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.



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. 


If you owe more on your mortgage than you can sell your home for, you’re not alone! 

I can help you decide what the best option for you is….Wait it out, Short Sale, foreclosure, etc.  We offer FREE advice and important information needed to decide.  If you are current on your payments, or several months past due, contact me now.


Heading into 2011 many people are wondering what the California Economic and Housing Trends and Forecasts will look like in the years to come.  Many people are concerned about the fall of the home prices.  Through the years home prices have gone up and down much like a roller coaster.  What goes up must come down….the idea is to make sure you buy your next home before prices go up to high.  As you can see from the chart below, interest rates are low and the market is due for a much needed up-turn.

Housing Price Trends and Forecasts
Declines in housing values during 2008 were devastating, with less severe drops estimated in 2009 (mostly having occurred in the 1st half) with stabilization projected during the 2nd half of the year.  By 2010, demand pressures will likely cause prices to conservatively increase by 1.7%. 

Median home prices have fallen 42% from their peak in 2006, to a level similar to the median price in 2002-03.  Following a bottoming out in 2009, mild price appreciation patterns beginning in 2010 are likely to be relatively gradual during the next few years, but will build momentum as the economy begins to improve, distressed inventory is absorbed, and economic expansion returns. 

By 2014, the median home price is forecast to increase a healthy annualized 8%. Despite this increase by 2014, the resultant forecast median price will remain well below the peak unsupportable level achieved in 2006.

Mortgage Rate Trends and Forecast
Years 2009 and 2010 will be the lowest years in terms of mortgage rates in over two decades.  The super low home loan rates have been made possible by the Federal Reserve’s extraordinary efforts to prop up the housing market and the overall economy in the wake of the global financial crisis.

A window of opportunity exists to refinance or purchase a home at historically low rates, allowing for much more relatively affordable housing costs for most buyers.  By 2011 mortgage rates are likely to increase as economic growth increasingly stimulates inflationary pressures, and as the world demands higher payments to service the nation’s enormous debt load.

Housing Construction Trends and Forecasts
Levels of housing construction in the Northern California closely correlate with residential permit activity.  Builders cut back sharply on construction after the housing bubble burst, causing the severe decline in permit activity in 2008.  Residential permit activity is anticipated to keep declining through 2009, dropping to historic lows in 2010 and remaining low through 2011.

Permit activity is expected to be at extremely depressed levels for the following two to three years before gradually increasing to improved (but still low) levels by 2013.  A decline in previously permitted housing units in the outlying areas magnified the plunge.

Gradual incremental growth in the housing stock is projected due to limited development opportunities in key areas, oversupply in outlying areas, and the recessionary impact on funding and feasibility for development. Incremental increases in housing stock will be far lower than historical patterns.

Employment Trends and Forecasts
The main long-term foundational driver in terms of housing sales volume and price support is a given region’s employment base.  The following trends and a five year forecast of employment and unemployment levels for Northern California.

This region is forecast to lose 344,008 non-farm jobs during 2009 – a 4.1% loss of the total non-farm job base, for the biggest loss in decades.  During Year 2010, an additional loss of 69,433 jobs is forecast.  Thereafter, the impact from the national stimulus package will increasingly be felt, and combined with improved financial markets, should lead the national economic recovery towards regional economic expansion. By 2014, a healthy 2.1% growth rate is forecast for non-farm jobs in this region.

After reaching historic levels estimated at 12.1% unemployment in 2009, it is forecast to peak at 12.4% in 2010, before gradually receding toward more normal levels thereafter.  State budget woes have intensified high unemployment levels.

Household Income Trends and Forecasts
Increases in median household incomes are likely to be marginal during Years 2009 and 2010 – a reflection of the current economic downturn.  Thereafter, income growth is likely to begin to normalize, reaching an annualized 2.8% gain by Year 2014. 

The number of households making between $100,000 and $200,000, and above $250,000, per year is likely to increase dramatically during the next five years as the population matures and as economic growth resumes.


Your mortgage payment is most likely your largest monthly expense.  Even though MONEY DOESN’T GROW ON TREES, there are ways you can decrease your monthly payment and pay off your loan faster.  Below are a few ideas, we will use this mortgage example:

  • $200,000 mortgage
  • 30-year fixed rate mortgage
  • 6% interest rate
  • $1,199 monthly principal and interest payment

Savings will vary based on your actual loan facts and timing of the change.

1. Make an Extra Payment Each Year

If you have the means, the easiest way to save money on your mortgage is by making an extra mortgage payment each year. These extra payments are automatically applied on your principle, not interest. Not only does your remaining balance drop, but you will not have to pay interest each month on that principal for the remainder of the loan term.   Savings: $47,000. By making one extra payment of $1,199 each year and applying it to your principal, you could save over $47,000 in interest and cut 5 years off the life of the loan.

2. Create Bi-Weekly or Bi-Monthly Payments

Bi-Monthly:  You can save money on loan interest by making by-monthly payments. By paying half a payment early you can start the bi-monthly plan.  Pay your normal payment on the 1st of the month.  On the 15th of the month make another half payment.  From then on pay a half payment on the 1st and a half payment on the 15th of each month.  This will help to re-calculate your interest sooner each month and save you money at the term of your loan.  Bi-weekly:  Another way to pay off your loan early is by creating a bi-weekly payment plan.  Put half of your monthly mortgage payment in a savings account every other Friday (or, on your pay day). Each month, pay your mortgage from the account. At the end of the year, you will have made 26 half payments, which is 13 full payments. This will leave with you an extra payment that you can put toward your principal. Most people manage the separate accounts themselves, but there are companies that you can hire to act as an escrow service and manage the payments for you.  Savings: $47,000. Same as extra payment.

3. Cut your PMI

Many people are forced to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) because their down payment is less than 20 percent. If you are in this boat, you can petition your lender to cancel the insurance as soon as your mortgage balance falls below 80 percent of the home’s appraised value. This can happen if your home’s value has gone up or you have repaid some of the principal. This may require a new appraisal but could shave hundreds of dollars off your monthly payment.  Savings: $130 per month. If you only put down 5 percent and had a PMI rate of .78 percent, you could save $130 per month.

4. Fight Your Property Assessment

Property taxes can be thousands of dollars a year. If you think your home’s value has decreased in the last year and it was not properly accounted for in your tax assessment, you can petition your assessor and fight your assessment.   Lowering your tax assessment will lower your yearly taxes.  Savings: Varies. Depends on your local tax rate and home adjustment, but could be hundreds of dollars a year.

5. Recast Your Mortgage

Some lenders are willing to recast (reset) your monthly payment when you make large payments toward the principal of your mortgage. Usually, when you put money toward your balance, your monthly payment stays the same but the term of your loan shortens. When the loan is recast, your monthly principal and interest is recalculated so you end up with a lower monthly payment over the existing term of the loan.  Savings: $120 per month. Putting $20,000 into the loan would reset the payment to $1,079, saving you $120 per month.

6. Loan Modification

If you are late on your payments and are going through a financial hardship, you may be eligible to modify terms of your loan (such as rate, term, or principal balance) to make it more affordable. The goal of these programs is to allow borrowers to stay in their homes and continue making their monthly payments. Not everyone qualifies for these types of programs, but if you do, they can save you a lot of money. Contact us to see if you qualify.  Savings: Varies. It can reduce your interest rate to as low as 2 percent, extend your term to 40 years, or reduce your principal.

7. Refinance Your Mortgage

The most common way to save money is by refinancing your mortgage to a lower interest rate. Reducing your rate can lower your monthly payment and help you save on interest payments. However, there are costs associated with refinancing so you want to be sure you are going to save enough to cover the refinancing fees. We know people that can help you decide what is right for you with no commitment.  You can compare rates, and loan programs, and then calculate if refinancing makes sense. With rates at historic lows, if you can refinance, and you haven’t already, you should.  Savings: $126 per month. By lowering your interest rate to 5 percent, you would have a payment of $1,073 which would save you $126 per month. If the refinance costs $5,000, you would recoup the fees after 40 months.

Hope these tips help you to STOP FLUSHING MONEY DOWN THE TOILET.





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.


People often ask; “What is a short sale really?” and “does it cost me any money?”  Please contact us for specific information to help you decide if a short sale is right for you, but the below information will give you a little background.

  • The home is listed for sale:  Most banks will not discuss short sale options until you have an offer on the home. 
  • Submit short sale package:  Once an offer is obtained, the realtor submits the “short sale package.” (Listing Agreement, Agency Disclosure, Authorization to Convey, Offer, 3 Month Bank Statements, 3 Month Pay Stubs, 2 Years Tax Return)
  • The bank can take up to a few weeks to receive and process the information.
  • The bank will assign a processor to the file.
  • Additional paperwork may be requested by the processor.  When paperwork is submitted, upload process will vary
  • The bank orders a BPO/Interior valuation of the home.  This value will help the bank determine the fair market value of the home and asses the loss they may incur.  This process can take several weeks.
  • The bank will assign a negotiator to the file.  It can take several months before a negotiator is assigned to the file.
  • Depending on the bank, it can take months for the negotiator to review the package for a decision.
  • The bank will issue approval, counter offer, additional items are requested, or the short sale will be declined.
  • If approval is provided, the escrow period begins.

Other important information:

  • During the short sale process the bank will also be moving forward with the foreclosure process.  Most banks will hold the foreclosure proceedings once a short sale package is submitted, but this is not always the case.
  • The seller can remain in the home until the short sale is completed and escrow is closed.
  • A successful close of escrow can be completed with no cost to the buyer or seller.  All fees (including taxes, closing costs, Realtor fees, etc.)  should be processed and charged to the bank during the short sale approval process.

I have a high success rate of short sale closes and look forward to helping you decide what your next step is.


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.”