“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!
7864 Hillmont Drive, Oakland
Perhaps the greatest magic trick in the bay area real estate market these days is how to find a nice place to live within a price point that actually comes close to one’s budget. And often, the search begins for most buyers by looking at homes priced fairly close to what they think they can pay. Seems reasonable, right? And it ought to be. But, the challenge that must be acknowledged is that when the market is hot, agents and sellers are not under any pressure to price homes near to a probable selling price. Many of them price them simply to attract interest, even though the probable selling price may be 20% or higher above the list price. And of course this chasm between the list price and selling price that appears to be practically everywhere has the effect of spooking buyers into thinking every home they’re interested in may require some outrageous offer to be considered a contender by the seller. And while the truth is this scenario certainly is happening around town, the market force of demand is not always so easy to predict. Some homes seem like they have all the qualities needed to sell quickly at a price well above the list price and yet they may sit a while, somewhat inexplicably. And others may just get snapped up before the market has barely even had a peek because the seller is motivated and a buyer with an appealing offer comes along pre-emptively. So the nuances of home buying these days lie undeniably in the domain of individual situations. Yes, cover letters to the seller describing something about the buyer and his/her effusive love for the property certainly do help. And when you have deep pockets where a huge down payment, or even a cash offer, is possible, you’ll generally see smooth sailing especially if you’re willing to pay an astronomical price for a hot property. But what about when you’re well qualified for financing but have a lower down payment? How do you compete? Well, there are definitely a few maneuvers that can help, such as checking out homes that have been on the market longer than 30 days, checking out homes that have come back on the market for whatever reason, and checking to see if a seller is willing to entertain offers right away versus waiting for a particular offer date. All of these are possible openings that could provide opportunities. But again, the opportunity depends upon the individual situation. And while these can open some doors, another method one can employ is to expand the search into new areas that haven’t been considered before. In Oakland in particular, the revitalization of neighborhoods is happening all over town and areas that were never on the radar of some home shoppers should definitely be given a chance. With its wending, narrow streets where no sidewalks were ever built the Eastmont Hills preserve a somewhat rural vibe with grand views of the urban world below from a bird’s eye vantage point. Most homes in this area were built from the 1920s-40s and the variety of styles makes it anything but a cookie-cutter neighborhood. Some of the homes have unusually large lots, relatively speaking, and since the terrain isn’t conducive to street grid patterns the home sites are nestled into unique spots along these hillside pathways. The hillside lot on this week’s pick is actually almost half an acre! It’s huge! And the setting of the home, especially once one hikes up into the space behind the home, feels park-like. Great shade and tree cover, great views, a Koi pond, and carved out plateaus for enjoying sunsets and wonderful Oakland weather are all present. Set apart from the home is an excellent detached garage with two bays for cars and room to be creative with the space. And finally, inside this great home originally built in 1922 we have a space that’s separated in such a way that the lower level with its two bedrooms and full bath could be used as an in-law, or as a nice private spot for a roommate, or as a great master suite. On the main level, the home is wide open between the living and dining areas with the western view outside beckoning a contemplative stare or two. The kitchen is separated from this area, which is common in the designs of older homes, and one bedroom and one full bath round out the completeness of the living space all on this one level for a resident. But most of all, this home just feels like a place where you have some space to spread out, to unwind, and to explore your creativity in a very peaceful and quiet setting perched up in the hills. And this price range is really excellent for such coveted amenities in the bay area. It’s really worth a walk thru. It’ll be open this coming Sunday if it looks like it may be a prospect for you. And perhaps most of all, it’s a great place that someone will soon be able to call home. If Sunday’s open house doesn’t work for you, please don’t hesitate to call me for an appointment!