It is said that buying a home “is one of the most stressful times in a person’s life”. However, with good representation and a team to back you, it can be a very rewarding accomplishment.

Below we will share a few helpful tips to get you started in your home search. Know that we are here for you at any time!


Below are the top items to consider when choosing your realtor:

  1. Make sure you can trust your realtor!
  2. Is your realtor local and knowledgeable in the area you are searching?
  3. Does your realtor do a good amount of business each year? (aka, make sure he/she is not “starving” and therefore going to push you into making a bad decision just to make a sale). Since we have a team in place, you not only get one agent, but a team which allows us the time to give you the attention you need.
  4. Check references, read past client reviews... do your homework!

Why Should You Choose Us?

  • Collectively our team has lived in the Bay Area for 100+ years. We know the towns in Alameda and Contra Costa County inside and out! Linnette and Tammy currently live in Walnut Creek, Debbie in Piedmont and Sarka & Marco both in Oakland. The Bay Area is our home!
  • We have 68 “5 Star” reviews on Yelp from past clients!
  • Check out our accomplishments/awards!
  • Review our past sales: We old 40+ homes in 2015... we are not “starving” for business and will not push you into making a bad decision just for a sale.


In today’s real estate market, it is extremely important to do your home work when choosing your lender. Just as your realtor, your lender should be knowledgeable in the local market, responsive, experienced and most importantly... you need to trust your lender.

Why Does Your Lender Need To Be Local?

There are many benefits to working with a local lender. Below are the top reasons to choose a local lender.

  1. The real estate market in the Bay Area is extremely competitive. If a listing agent knows the lender you are working with and knows he/she is experienced and reputable it may persuade the listing agent to recommend to the seller to choose your offer over others. I have seen this happen many times! Listing agents have a strong say into who the seller decides to work with.
  2. Many local lenders use local appraisers. This is extremely important during the appraisal since the Bay Area market is very different than other markets. An out of area appraiser might not know the neighborhood or school district which could throw an appraisal value 100K off of true market value.
  3. Each county in CA has different local costs associated with buying a home - called “Closing Costs”. Local lenders are aware of these costs and can advise you in advance.

Response Time Is Crucial

A responsive lender is crucial to not only getting your offer accepted, but also having a smooth and successful close of escrow.

  • Customized Pre-Approval Letter: When you find a home you want to make an offer on, we will need to get a customized pre-approval letter from your lender for the amount you plan on writing the offer. Usually, lenders can provide this within an hour. If we are unable to get the pre-approval letter, we may not be able to submit your offer.
  • Lender needs to be on the ball! 2 of the 3 contingencies in the contract revolve around lender time frames: 1) Appraisal contingency and 2) Loan contingency. The sooner the lender can obtain appraisal and loan approval, the better your offer looks in the eyes of the seller/listing agent. However, we also want to make sure your lender is able to hit the dates he/she said they could and that they stay on schedule.

Experience. Experience. Experience

The number one reason why deals fall out of escrow in today’s market is due to problems with the loan. There are so many unforeseen issues that can pop up during an escrow process. Experienced lenders know how to work thru these issues and sometimes pull strings without jeopardizing the loan.

You Need to be Able To Trust Your Lender

Just as your realtor, it is important that you trust your lender. You want to know that he/she is looking out for your best interest, finding you the best rate and advising you appropriately. Same as realtors, there are many “hungry” lenders out there in today’s economy. Do your research to make sure you find the best fit.

Lender Recommendations

Feel free to email us for a small list of recommended, local and proven lenders. Note, we do not get any type of “cut back” or referral fee from the lenders. We only know that these individuals are experienced, responsive, and work with many of our buyers - they always get the job done at competitive rates!


Finding the perfect home can be challenging, especially in today’s Bay Area market - a market that is changing right in front of us. What was once a buyer’s market is now becoming quite competitive with limited inventory. This is not to say you won’t find your dream home. It just means, now more than ever, you need a strong team backing you and you yourself need to be proactive in the search, familiarize yourself with the inventory and be prepared to make some compromises.

Below we will discuss the following:

  • Steps you can take to better prepare yourself for buying a home
  • Writing offers
  • Once your offer is accepted, what next? This is the escrow process.

Steps To Prepare Yourself For Buying A Home

  1. Hire a reputable real estate agent. Read more about how to choose the right agent.
  2. Reach out to 2-3 lenders/mortgage brokers - one that is local, provides the best rates and can advise you appropriately. Read more about how to choose the right lender/mortgage broker. Although not a must, it’s usually best to use a lender your agent recommends as it makes your escrow process smoother.
  3. Get pre-approved with a lender to understand what you can and can’t afford
  4. Start reading and researching real estate websites to familiarize yourself with the market.
  5. Schedule a time with your realtor to view homes.
    • If you see a home come on the market that you really like, it is important to get into and view the home as soon as possible. Try and make this a priority!
  6. Check out open homes over the weekends.
    • If possible, plan on setting aside your Sundays to tour the open homes and learn more about the neighborhoods. Online search engines such as Redfin or local newspapers (in print or online) are the best resources to view what homes are open. The usual timeframes for homes in the Bay Area are Sunday from 1-4pm or 2-4:30pm.
  7. Do drive-bys and check out neighborhoods.
    • Although your realtor will be educating you about the neighborhoods, you should also drive and walk around the various areas - talk to neighbors, visit cafes... see for yourself if you like the community.
    • You learn a LOT about a neighborhood or home by talking to the neighbors.  After all, they do not have a vested interest in selling the home and will most likely be unbiased.






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© 2016 MyHousingGuide Inc. All rights reserved.

Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Listings are subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, prior sale, rental, and withdrawal without notice.

Square footages are approximate and may be verified by consulting a professional architect or engineer.