Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fremont Real Estate Agent Gets Stalked By Fremont Home Buyers

Real estate agents who help Fremont home buyers look at homes spend a lot of time out in the field. Today, I was one of the agents doing just that--spending a lot of time out in the field showing Fremont homes. My home buyers and I looked at 11 homes today. It may not be considered a lot of homes by some, but we did it smoothly and effectively within 2 hours without being rushed. That was nice. The odd part of it all was that during the whole time, I felt like I was being stalked. Not by my clients but by other Fremont home buyers.

More times than a few, we pulled up to the next house on our tour only to find that there was someone already waiting there in a car or van. They seemed motionless at first. Quietly, these car sitters waited for me to pull up, and then watched me get out my supra key box and approach the home. I guess once I showed signs that I was a real estate agent they pounced.
"Are you the agent?" or "Open House Today?" They exclaimed.
I had to say, "no." I was not the listing agent nor was I their agent. As I opened the door for my Fremont home buyers, they, the stalkers, assumed they were going to see the home and take their time with it. In they went wiping their feet with a sort of look that I don't necessarily have the words for.

This happened four times today until finally one of my Fremont home buyers, the husband chimes in and says, "Uh, this isn't and open house. You need to get an agent."
Kudos, naturally, good agents are worth their weight in gold I thought to myself.
Then, Mrs. Fremont home buyer takes a gentler approach saying, "You should call Jeff. He's really good. You need to get together with him. Oh, he does loans too. You need to be approved or the seller will not really look at your offer."
Wow, double kudos. My Fremont home buyer lessons sunk in.

When the day rolled to an end, I thought, will these stalkers call me? I doubt it, but truth be told, they should really get with an agent. Think of it this way:
  • The stalkers waited around hoping to get inside a house for sale.
  • My clients were being escorted by a professional to see 11 homes in 2 hours. Keys in hand at the door.
  • The stalkers had to rely on a flyer if there was even one there or try to find the info in the Internet.
  • My clients knew all the info already; heard the stats straight from me as I was able to compare the info to other homes I had professionally closed escrow with.
  • The stalkers, if they found a house they liked, would have to call the listing agent to make an offer. This can be risky and perhaps tempt the listing agent to just close the deal without thoroughly negotiating for the Fremont home buyer/stalker. Sometimes it happens.

I was very polite as were my Fremont home buyers during these strange ambushes, but I could not help to feel a bit taken advantage of. I was not put out, and I do not want my readers to think I'm ranting. Truth be told, I felt it was a funny occurrence running into these folks with their presumptuous dispositions. I thought I would let you know.

If you are stalking, please consider the FREE benefits of having a buyers agent as mentioned above as opposed to your current method of house hunting.

If you have an agent, good for you. The agent really cares about your transaction. Any business owner or agent wants to get referrals after doing a great job and they can only get them from caring about you and your transaction.

If you do not believe me, ask my current Mr. & Mrs. Fremont homer buyer. They really stuck up for having an agent. I later told her that it was very nice of here to say that to strangers about me and to keep up the good work.
By Jeff Pereyda

Everything But the Kitchen Sink & The Avenues

A short while ago, I "wrote" about a little place I was getting ready to list in The Avenues here. It was not ready to sell at that time, but it is now. Albeit there still needs to be some clean up and straightening--It's time to sell it. The last item to attend to was the kitchen sink. It had aged a bit and needed tile replacing in certain areas. Now that it's done, we are on our way.

"But wait," you might say. "Aren't you just a Fremont real estate broker? What's with this Menlo Park business? and The Avenues"? First of all, Menlo Park is beautiful and the listing call was a great excuse for me to take just a short drive over the Dumbarton bridge over to The Avenues. I love that area as you can tell by my attempt at some expository writing in the aforementioned blog post. I did not know it was called The Avenues at that time. Second, was the fact that I just knew I could help this seller get her goal of selling The Avenues house and moving into Fremont. Lastly, technology has made out-of-area listings much more palatable for the office to work with. Proximity is good, and it is something I preach to my agents, but we knew we had a good handle on it.

One necessary evil, some might say, is to chat up an agent or two in that area and find out the local tips and tricks to maximize the listing strength. I did just that. Here's what I found out that I did not know previously or just needed affirmation. First, I became reaffirmed that we had priced very well. Second, I learned that there is a huge difference between 5th Ave. and say 18th or 16th Ave., The Avenues. The latter being extremely desirable and part of what is referred to as "The Avenues." Nice touch, I thought. What's more, is that "The Avenues" belongs to FOBA (Fair Oaks Beautification Association) where the residents are encouraged to go beyond just upkeep, and it is working. The largest contributor to this well-found news was Shelly Roberson of Palo Alto. She owned properties in The Avenues some time ago and not only loved the area, but watched the area as FOBA went to work and beutification took place as well as the equity build up. She had many good things to say about our listing over all and was quite helpful. Needless to say, all the agents in the SCCAOR (Santa Clara Association of Realtorsa) were polite, helpful and wanted to share. I wonder if BEAR (Bay East Assoc. of Realtors), the membership I belong to, would behave the same way.

After we had reciprocated the listing in The Avenues, we have syndicated the listing to more than 50 websites using Point2Homes and (as a cute featured property at the time of this writing) more will follow suit I'm sure, but it will not end there. I plan on using many different means of getting information out as I hold the flag for Bay East Association of Realtors in "The Avenues."
By Jeff Pereyda

Friday, January 15, 2010

Handheld Device + Redfin = New Killer Tool

I got frustrated with somethings in the real estate business recently. One thing in particular was the fact that buyers were asking me to show them properties I knew nothing about. I got calls that went something like..."Oh Jeff, here's one I want to see." or "Jeff, can we see these. I'll send you a list." These were listings I had never seen, they were growing in number, and they were coming from other MLSs like Santa Clara, San Mateo, etc. Santa Clara County MLS currently does not cooperate with Alameda County, so if this is new to you, it might be a little complicated.

For example, let's say a Santa Clara broker gets a Fremont listing but does not have the Alameda County MLS subscription. It happens a lot. It will only show in their MLS not mine or maybe not yours. Well, frustrated, I not only found a way to get the info, what's more, I found a way to be alerted on my handheld device the second any listing anywhere comes on the market--thanks mostly to redfin. I like redfin; I am not so sure I like the picture of Maiwand and his attache on their Fremont (east bay team) home page, seems a bit smug, but they work with a great product. No one can deny that, so perhaps the photo is fitting.

Perhaps other mega home search sites have this function too, but redfin has a very intriging method of alerting homebuyers of new listings as they happen, and that is RSS saved-home-search-feeds. RSS (Real Simple Syndication), some call it, is quite cool. In short, just about any data can be compiled, organized a certain way then sent over the internet in nice neat readable packets to users by way of what is referred to as a "feed." The sender of the data (server side) pushes the information to the user on a regular basis (client side). I guess after getting over 12 million in funding from Microsoft's cofounder/investor redfin has a bit of R&D behind them.

Here's the killer application I made or rather "mashed." Tired of getting out searched by buyers, I am now on the forefront of home search mega mania. I'll show you what I did. Here's what you need:
  • A free account--easy to set up.
  • A handheld device, blackberry is what I have.
  • A Viigo account (recommended instead of Google Mobile Reader) Viigo is an RSS app for the mobile device, very cool.
  • Recommended, but optional, you can get a Yahoo Google Reader account or Google Reader I am not referring to a mobile You only need it on your regular online accounts for the laptop or desktop. These online apps make configuring the Viigo handheld account much faster and easier. You simply add the feed to--my yahoo, add to google, netvibes or rss in the second image below snipped from redfin. Don't worry. I will get to that.
Go to and set up your My Redfin account. After you search in redfin and want to save the search, redfin takes you to a naming window where you ok it. Go to the bottom left of the screen and select RSS. See the image here.

Name it. Save it. Then, it takes you here. Oooo. This is what I meant when I wrote, "my yahoo, add to google, netvibes or rss" earlier.

If you have a Google Reader or other RSS app on your regular online account with Yahoo or netvibes, you can easily attach the RSS feed you just created in redfin to it. The idea is to sync it to the handheld. If you click "add to Google," shown above, it takes you here.

and here

If you already have Google Reader on the handheld, it should work, but I heard it was a bit clunky. Viigo seems to do better. For mobility's sake, you should click "add to Google Reader." Google reader now has a live feed for homes that come on the market that match your criteria you set up in your My Redfin. Remember that when you are in the redfin property search/save step you can specify listings that just came on "yesterday'"or you can give it a time frame that you are comfortable with then do the saving steps above. I saved about 10 searches in my redfin account this way.
  • Fremont 300-400
  • Fremont 400-500
  • Fremont 500-600
  • Fremont 700-800
  • Fremont 800-900
  • Union City, etc.
After doing the steps above, I ended up with 10 or so feeds added to my Google Reader account online automatically after clicking the "add to Google Reader" button in My Redfin. Go into your Google Reader online account using your laptop/desktop. Make sure everything is there and it displays the way you wan it to. I selected the option to export an OPML from Google Reader. It gives you an .xml file. Just save this Google Reader export file to a place you will know where to find it later because you will import it into Viigo. Here are the images for that. In Google Reader go to Settings>Reader settings

In the Settings page go to Import/Export here.

Next, choose "export your subscriptions as an OPML file" below.

Just remember where you put your OPML (.xml) file. You'll need it.

So, next is Viigo. Go here. Download Viigo by any means you see fit and get it on your handheld device. You can use, mobile link, pc, text, etc. They give you all the options. Once you verify the install, you can go to your online laptop/desktop Viigo account. On the handheld, you may have to close Viigo and open it again to have it refresh correctly.

In the online account for Viigo laptop/desktop you can import that OPML you exported from Google Reader (.xml) now by using the fouth option when on your new Viigo online account page. This menu box is on your laptop/desktop online Viigo account under My Viigo after you sign in.

Or, you can even add whatever you have on Google Reader by using the Add Aggregator functions. Just remember your user name and password for the Reader not Viigo at that point.


Once you have:
  • saved searches in refin using the RSS option,
  • added them to Google Reader (or your preference)
  • exported them as an .xml,
  • installed Viigo onto the mobile device,
  • imported the .xml into Viigo,
  • Close and open Viigo again (it takes time updating, so be patient),

you will have a killer mobile app that gets pushed feeds from all MLSs redfin has (which is all of them) for the search criteria you set up the day they hit the market.

If a property is not in your MLS area and you can see it in the Reader on Viigo, you will need a way to get the agent file for showing info, phone numbers, etc. Look on the web for the address. Eventually you can get ahold of the agent. They will be happy to give you the agent printout if you have an interested buyer.

It is important to note that since the feed is embedded with a few redfin strings, you may not want to set this up going directly your buyer unless you have a solid relationship. redfin offers commission rebates in the feed. Money tempts people to do things they normally would not do, so do not tempt them. I "earn" my commission thank you. Besides, the real professionalism of an agent shows mostly during the escrow and not just in locating the home.

Anyway, now I am turning my buyer's heads to look at new listings that match their criteria instead of them turning my head thanks to redfin, Viigo and Google Reader.

Viigo also has weather, sports, finance, etc. for your feed enjoyment.

If you have a Q or 2, let me know, I certainly do not mind showing you how to get it up and running.
By Jeff Pereyda

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sorry We Couldn't Help You--A Closer Look

If you remember reading about Agnus from a recent post here, you might agree with us when we tell you that we collectively decided it was time to let her go from our 'current client list.' It is a rare thing to let a client go or even worse, fire a client, but there comes a time when you need to stay on target with the business and stop representing a client. In order to successfully represent a client, they should be ready, willing and able.

"Ready" is usually environmental or possibly a work related aspect of making the move. "Willing" is the drive behind it; the motivation and reason. "Able" is the feasibility; usually the money and/or other resources. These are my subjective definitions, but they seem true enough to get the point across.

Agnus showed all three, but later it was discovered that she had only two of the three. Due to her frustration with rental living in an area that did not suit her she was "ready" to move. She went out and looked at homes on a regular basis with me and one of my agents. She was "willing." We will get to that later. She had the funding, "able." So what went wrong?

After having a few mishaps (our offers being out bid, and having properties go pending before we could show, comp and write), true colors tend to come out. We discovered that it was fear. We would find a "perfect" home for her. There would follow a reason for not buying it. This happened a few times before we caught on. We would find a home that was not a good match for her--a fixer upper for a struggling senior?--you guessed it, she wanted it. Possibly knowing that she would never get it or never intending to go the distance in the contract assured her that it was safe to make such a claim. Resources thinning, we collectively decided that we cannot be in the business of counseling against fear of moving or fear of purchasing. She seemed willing, but there was a latent fear that came out later on.

We are frustrated and sad to see it happen, but we had to let her go. As a brokerage office, we must refocus out attention on the current "ready, willing and able" clients. A hard choice, but I think we made the right decision. We will have the "cordial cup of coffee" with her in a day or two explaining our decision.

I hope this helps agents and clients examine their roles and the necessary resources needed to make it all work.
By Jeff Pereyda

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wrapping It Up--Starting In Fremont

If you have been on facebook, and had seen this ad you should buy a pack or two here

They are these clever little snaps that wrap around the end of an open bag, then you just snap the other on top. Now why didn't I think of that.

Is it real estate related? No, but they sure are cool if you like to keep things fresh and neat. You get 12 for $10.00. I have a bunch.

I love em.

By Jeff Pereyda

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bocce Ball in Parkmont--closer than you think

Some time ago, I was at City Beach for my coed bachelor and bachelorette party. Yes, my wife-to-be was there. It was a fun time, and I especially enjoyed the bocce courts they have there. Thanks to my brother and a resource or two, I learned that the floor of the bocce court is partially made up of crushed oyster shell. Fascinated by such a claim, I bent down for a closer look. Sure enough, there were little bits of oyster shell on the bocce court. It actually had a mother of pearl effect under the bocce court lights they use there. However, albeit beautiful to some, it can be a bit messy and quite evident to that fact immediately after players receive a pat for a good roll. A white, dusty hand print poofs its way onto almost any fabric. Well meaning gestures of, "way to go" and "good one" seem to manifest themselves on both shoulders and backsides throughout the course of almost any game.

Notice there at the bottom right hand corner of the image above. There are three proposed bocce ball courts in Parkmont waiting to be built. I am wondering what the City of Fremont will put on the floor of their bocce ball in Parkmont ground cover. Can't wait. Will I be disappointed if they use just gravel? A bit, but I can still play bocce ball in Parkmont much easier than having to drive to City Beach and pay.

My children and I go to the mustard field which humbly occupies the Centerville space now. We currently climb the pine tree and throw rocks there. Actually, I throw the rocks. Keeps the ol' arm loose.

The future Centerville Community Park where they will have the bocce ball in Parkmont is off of Eggers, & Camden right next to Washington High School . You can go to the Fremont link here. Centerville Community Park.

Bocce ball in Parkmont, what a nice touch to an already great place to live. I'd be a nice transition after a day at the real estate office,
By Jeff Pereyda

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Search For Homes On The iPhone

If you go to my site,, you will see an iPhone app down near the bottom of the page that you can download. The application allows users to search for homes on the iPhone, but even better, a user can create a search criteria, save it and when a home comes up for sale that matches the criteria, it alerts the iPhone user to view their homes on the iPhone. Pictures, data and map are all there.

Great, Now that it was in, I was ready to go give it a try on my phone. One small problem. I have a Blackberry. My developer passed me up and went straight to search for homes on the iPhone. He said that there are much more apps written for the iPhone. But, they are working on the application for the Blackberry as I write, supposedly. So, I cannot even try my own app?

If you have an iPhone, can you please download my app and search for homes on the iPhone? Then let me know how it is. It would be nice to hear that someone out there can search for homes on the iPhone from my site, even though it is not me. Just remember the code when you get to iTunes CODE 3180.

Happy house hunting.

By Jeff Pereyda

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Can Homebuyer in Fremont or Homeseller In Fremont Know If They Have A Good or Great Agent?

In a Q&A I took part in, a homebuyer needed to know if his agent was a "great" agent or just there, like a lemon. My answer was abit roundabout because it can be subjective, but only up to a point. There is merit to the question.

Representing a seller for example, any licensee can list a home, but having real estate contract knowledge and thinking outside of the box when an offer comes though the fax or scan is one of several characteristics that mark a great agent. I tutor my agents in regards to the purchase agreement for a total almost 8 hours of lecture—line for line in a Quicktime presentation. Not that I have arrived by any means, but I want my new agents to know what I know about the contract. Knowing the buyer’s 3 day right of rescission for lead, natural hazard disclosures and transfer disclosures is important, but it is only a small part of the whole. Explaining reports, pointing out warnings like airplane flight paths are also very key when it comes to being a “great agent.” It takes motivation and skills, but the real skill needs to shine during the transaction. Another broker once told me, "at the end of the day, all you have is the contract.'

Take a look at the buyer. My point is that there is work involved in finding the home, but the real work begins for you, the buyer, after the home is located. Redfin comps are good, sometimes. But you need shoe leather too. That is where the great agent comes in as well. Similar or even the same subdivisions can repeat themselves along one or more areas after being separated by neighboring subdivisions. Only an experienced agent will know the floor plans are the same. In addition, presenting the offer takes great skill and professionalism too. The way we speak and handle ourselves over the phone or in person to the listing agent can go a long way in the buyer’s favor. I’m sure some agents here can attest to getting a contract signed buy the seller because the listing agent really liked the buyer agent and the listing agent then gave a good testimony to the seller. Moreover, the agents skill also comes into play by having a mediating personality to calm would be storms (stand offs) from happening over what may be a minor detail and not worth killing a home buying deal over.

In short, all agents have the same tools, MLS, websites, etc. But, because everyone is different, we get different results. Take a pen for example. I can take one and sign my name. Then someone else can take the same pen and sign my name. Same pen—very different results. That’s where skills come into play. We agents all have one or more tools, MLS, websites, etc. Hence, we all have the same starting point with a client whether buying or selling a home, the offer itself. But great agents get different results. Most of the “results” come after the home is found or the offer written.
By Jeff Pereyda

Where's La Morinda?--Oh, Thanks Google Maps

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A colleage at my office is uprooting the family and has decided to move to La Morinda. When he told me, I sort of had that blank stare for a moment. Albeit brief, my stare was a dead giveaway that I had no idea where this "La Morinda" was. He politely explained that La Morinda is a colloquialism for a tricity area comprised of Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda. Hence, La-Mor-Inda.
I'm sure that the contributor of the Wiki entry for "lamorinda" would be happy to glean any more useful tidbits for lamorinda. I, for one, still do not know how to spell it. Do I treat it as a derivative from the Latin as I did above in the feminine using "La" followed by "Morinda?" Or, do i just do what they did and let just roll with no spaces as in lamorinda? Let me know.
I do not pretend to know the real estate there either. I consider my self a specialist. I specialize in Fremont, Newark and Union City real estate here Although, I or another broker here could probably pull it off and represent him in lamorinda, (I have sold homes in Disco Bay, Milpitas, Menlo Park, but Fremont real estate agents need to keep the best interest of the client in mind. Let the local specialist help them. I did not even have to think twice about referring him to Pacita Dimacali at Gallagher and Lindsey in Alameda. One of her sites is here I refer all my outbound clients to her.
In spite of all that, I had did some reading about the endeared place up north. It sounds like a nice place to live. Spelling it correctly is just icing on the cake I suppose. He will be missed.
Look for his 5 bedroom 2.5 bath home in Union City coming up on the market soon in the upper 600k's.
By Jeff Pereyda

Friday, January 1, 2010

Fair Oaks In Menlo Park--Too Cute

If you had the opportunity to follow my blog once in a while, you already know that I am a real estate broker who sells Fremont homes. Can I sell a home in the Fair Oaks in Menlo Park area? The answer is yes. You see, if someone is in need to relocate from Fair Oaks in Menlo Park, they might consider a Fremont home as an option first and contact a Realtor here in Fremont to aid in the research.

Many reasons govern those who need to sell their homes and move, regardless of where, but Fremont home prices are still good from a buyer's perspective, and Fair Oaks in Menlo Park may not have been hit as hard by the price drop; home prices may have fallen only 25% in Fair Oaks in Menlo Park as opposed to 30-35% in Fremont, so a relocation from Fair Oaks in Menlo Park to a Fremont home at this point could be a slight win fall. We currently have the pleasure of helping a home owner make such a move.

Sometimes, as I mentioned earlier, it starts when an owner who is contemplating a move, looks into purchasing a home in another area and asks a Realtor questions about it--(in this case, Fremont and yours truly, respectively) Anyway, after I had a nice talk with the home owner in Fair Oaks in Menlo Park, they decided it was the best thing for them to do. We discussed many options--rent, roomates, but it was just time.

When I drove to the home off of Fair Oaks in Menlo Park I was taken aback, hence the inspiration for the blog post and the attempt at expository writing to follow.

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I was truly awe struck by the old trees lining the streets with teeming fall colors and their limbs above reaching across the canopy as if presenting one another with Yule Tide greetings and protecting us below from the cold, light rain. On occasion, I would see wafts of chimney smoke reaching through the lower branches leaving those of us walking along these country roads with a choice to either simply catch the scent of oak or pine or place that smell of fall together with an image of fresh-baked hearth bread by the fire inside these country cottages during a cold winters rain. I had chosen the latter to embellish in the moment even if it were perhaps not true.

I know. "Don't quit the day job Jeff." Stick with real estate.

So, in short, I have the listing, and it should be on the market in one week or so. Truly, Fair Oaks in Menlo Park is too cute for words, at least my words anyway.
By Jeff Pereyda