What A Difference A Stage Makes!

February 22nd, 2018

I’ve spoken before at length about the importance of staging a home before putting it on the market for sale. Of course, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I wanted to share some photos to illustrate this point. Here are some photos from a recent listing of mine, before and after we stage it:

Stage 1

This photo shows the home as it was after the sellers had removed their furniture. It’s a nice, open space to be sure, but it’s pretty barren. Now, let’s take a look at the same area post-staging:

stage 2

As you can see, the staging adds a warmth and character to the room that it previously lacked. Sure, the lighting and professional photography help, there’s no denying that. But even at a glance, the staged room is clearly the more inviting of the two. Let’s look at one of the bedrooms before the staging was in place:

Stage 3

There are plenty of possibilities here, but visualizing them can be difficult without some help. Here it is with that help, in the form of staging:

Stage 4

Now the bedroom comes alive. You can imagine sleeping in here. Without having to conceptualize what the furnished room might look like, you can instead picture yourself relaxing in it after a long day. You begin to feel at home inside a house you’ve only seen for the first time.

For a final example, compare this room:

Stage 5

With its post-staging form, which is elegant and vibrant:

Stage 6

As you can see, the home’s staging is a vital part of the sales process. That’s why I own my staging company: it allows me full control in order to get the best results. Each home is unique, and we stage each to bring out its fullest potential. For more examples of our great staging work, check out our website here: https://www.ninaraestaging.com/. In short, as I like to say: What a difference a stage makes!

LISTING SPOTLIGHT: 2311 OLIVEGATE LANE

February 7th, 2018

Today, I’m thrilled to share another brand-new listing with you, this one on Olivegate Lane in San Jose. This listing is a real treat, located in the Blossom Valley Area of San Jose. Please allow me to present to you:

2311 OLIVEGATE LANE, SAN JOSE 95136

This two story 2 bedroom/1.5 bath/1,152 square foot condo has everything you’ve been looking for. Its open, flowing floor plan gives the home an airy, breezy feel, with numerous upgrades throughout, including gleaming pergo flooring, brand-new paint, dual-paned windows and more, making it even more desirable.

The modern kitchen has everything you need to make mealtime a joy, including granite countertops and refinished cabinetry.

Two spacious bedrooms offer plenty of soothing natural light. The master bedroom also features wall-to-wall mirrored closet doors.

A large sliding glass door leads outside to the charming patio, the perfect place to relax. Just behind the back patio, the two car carport provides plenty of parking space, with abundant additional parking nearby.

On top of that, you’ll love the location! The complex features a pool and walking trail, and the home lies within walking distance of a plethora of desirable locations, including two parks, stores, public transportation, VTA and an elementary and high school. Commuters will enjoy easy access to Highways 85, 87 and 101. This home truly has it all!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 2311 Olivegate Lane! If you or anyone you know might be interested in the property and would like any more info, please visit the listing’s website HERE, or contact me by email at ejohal@kw.com and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. And to find out how I can sell YOUR home for maximum results, contact me today. I’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

LISTING SPOTLIGHT: 2677 GLENBRIAR DRIVE

February 1st, 2018

Today, I’m proud to share with you my latest listing, on Glenbriar Drive in San Jose. Allow me to present to you:

2677 GLENBRIAR DRIVE, SAN JOSE 95130

Glenbriar 1

This single-story 4 bedroom/2 bath/1,982 square foot home lies on the Saratoga/San Jose border. Its open, flowing floor plan and high ceilings lend the home a relaxing feel. Among the many fantastic upgrades are a fresh coat of paint, new carpeting, sophisticated lighting, real hardwood flooring and a hardwired surround sound system. The home is elegant throughout!

Glenbriar 2

Moving into the kitchen, you’ll find stainless steel appliances, a new gas stove and handsome refinished cabinetry.  The home has both an eat-in kitchen and formal dining room for added versatility.

Glenbriar 3

The family room is the perfect place to unwind, complete with a cozy marble fireplace, vaulted ceiling and a lovely Anderson beveled glass 4 panel French sliding door.

Glenbriar 4

Four spacious bedrooms provide ample room not only for a bed, but for a desk and more. The fourth bedroom is well-equipped to serve as an office and has optional French doors. The master bedroom, with its soaring ceiling and sliding glass door leading into the yard, exemplifies the light, breezy feel of the home.

Glenbriar 5

Outside, the professionally landscaped backyard is ideal for entertaining. Among the several features are outdoor awnings, a stone retaining wall and pavers and paver lights in the back patio and driveway. Mature trees, shrubs and a vegetable garden add to the lush, lovely landscape. For all your parking and storage needs, a two-car garage provides plenty of space.

Glenbriar 6

The neighborhood is both charming and centrally located. Its close proximity to Netflix, Apple and Highways 85 and 280 making it a commuter’s dream. In addition, the home lies within the districts of acclaimed schools: Forest Hills Elementary, Rolling Hills Middle and Westmont High.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 2677 Glenbriar Drive! If you or anyone you know might be interested in the property and would like any more info, please visit the listing’s website HERE, or contact me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. And to find out how I can sell YOUR home for maximum results, contact me today. I’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

LISTING SPOTLIGHT: 12 MONTROSE COURT

January 19th, 2018

Today, I’d like to take a look at my latest listing, on Montrose Court in Brentwood, CA. Allow me to present to you:

12 MONTROSE COURT, BRENTWOOD 94513

Montrose 1

This 2 bedroom/3 bath/2,501 square foot Pulte home exudes comfort and warmth. Soaring high ceilings and an open, flowing floor plan are among the many highly desirable features of this home. Other fantastic elements include the handsome brand-new flooring, elegant modern lighting, new designer paint on the interior and exterior and the stylish staircase…a Pulte signature!

Montrose 2

The modern, stylish kitchen features a host of upgrades, including stainless steel appliances, refinished cabinetry, a five-burner gas stove, quartz countertop and breakfast bar.

Montrose 3

The kitchen opens up to the family room, a relaxing retreat with a cozy fireplace and a sliding glass door leading out to the vast backyard.

Montrose 6

Five generously sized bedrooms, including a full downstairs guest suite, offer an exceptional amount of space and versatility. The full master bedroom suite upstairs exemplifies executive style, with a high ceiling, sitting area, large walk-in closet and full master bath with a glass stall shower, his and her sinks and a soaking tub!

Montrose 4

Outside, you’ll adore the huge backyard with two patios for entertaining or relaxation, lush green lawn and children’s play area. For your parking and storage needs, there’s a refinished three-car garage, as well as a separate one-car garage, perfect for a work/tool room. There’s even space to park an RV!

Montrose 5

The location is phenomenal, too! Located on a quiet cul-de-sac in a central location, the home provides easy access to great shopping, parks and Highway 4. In addition, the home lies within the districts of acclaimed schools: Krey Elementary, Bristol Middle and Heritage High. A home this wonderful is sure to sell quickly, so if you or anyone you know are interested, please let me know as soon as possible, and I will provide you with any additional information you may need. I will be also be holding open houses this weekend, 1/20 & 1/21, from 1-4:00 PM, so stop by and check it out!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 12 Montrose Court! If you would like to learn more about this property, please visit the listing’s website HERE. And to find out how I can sell YOUR home for maximum results, contact me today. I’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

New Year’s Real Estate Resolutions

January 4th, 2018

Happy New Year! It’s officially 2018, and there’s no better time than now to set some New Year’s resolutions. But have you ever thought about making some resolutions related to real estate? Buying or selling a home, after all, is a huge and involved process. Even though having a knowledgeable agent helps, there are plenty of things you can do yourself to make the process and smooth as possible. For example…

RESOLUTION 1: FIGURE OUT YOUR GOALS

Resolutions

The importance of this cannot be overstated. Before beginning any real estate transaction, figure out what exactly you want. Are you looking to sell? Then determine what sort of sale will work best for you. How much money are you looking to net when all is said and done? Are you looking to buy another home immediately, or will you be renting after the sale? What time frame are you looking at…are there any times in the year in which moving would be too disruptive? If you’re buying a home, how much can you afford to spend? What areas are you looking at? What features are must-haves?

These questions seem basic, but together they cumulatively form the bedrock of any real estate purchase or sale. If you need some help, arrange a meeting with your real estate agent to go over this info. You’ll be glad you did!

RESOLUTION 2: FIGURE OUT YOUR TAXES

Huge changes are coming to how your taxes are calculated. As is often the case with taxes, these changes can be complex and confusing, and determining how they affect you can prove difficult. However, taking the time to consult with a tax professional is worth it in the long run, as few things feel worse than being blindsided by an unexpectedly large tax bill. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need a recommendation for a tax professional. It is key to financial planning and setting your yearly budget and goals.

RESOLUTION 3: WATCH THE MARKET

If you’ve noticed, there’s a theme here: information is crucial to your real estate plans. Information about the real estate market is no different. We are coming off a year that saw record high home prices and record low inventory, and all indications are for these trends to continue in 2018. The real estate market can be fickle, though, and uncharted territory can bring unexpected consequences. Market fluctuations can affect the value of homes by hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Bay Area, so it quite literally pays to pay attention.

Naturally, part of my job is keeping up to date with these matters, and I want to make it easy for my clients and followers to stay informed. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter for an easy way to keep up with the latest real estate news!

Hopefully this list of resolutions will be helpful when it comes to jumpstarting your plans involving real estate in 2018. Here’s a bonus one: join my Real Estate Ambassador Program! This referral-based program is an easy way to earn perks while helping me build my business. It’s fun, it’s simple, and it’s mutually beneficial! For more details, email ejohal@kw.com.

Other ideas for New Year’s real estate resolutions? Please share them in the comments. Let’s work together to get this year off to a powerful start!

Getting Ready for a New Year

December 21st, 2017

We’re a mere two weeks away from 2018! The dawn of the new year presents a great opportunity to reflect upon the past year and plan for the future. Today I’d like to take a moment to review some simple steps you can take to prepare for the year ahead. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in 2018, or even wondering whether doing so would be beneficial to you, here are some things to consider.

JANUARY OPPORTUNITIES

New Year 2018

As I have noted before, the holiday season tends to present opportunities in real estate. One thing that often gets overlooked, though, is that things don’t magically change on January 1st. Typically, yearly inventory is lowest at the end of the year, yes, but things take a while to ramp up to their midsummer peak. The fact is, there are rarely significantly more homes on the market the first week of any given year than there were the last week of the year prior. Thus, even if the holidays have kept you too busy to be thinking about home sales, you can still benefit from low winter inventory. If you want to sell your home at a time when there is very low inventory (to increase buyers’ focus on your home) while taking advantage of a relatively distraction-free season, January could be the optimal time to act. In any case, it’s certainly worthwhile to be cognizant of your options.

NEW YEAR, NEW TAX PLAN

As we speak, a new tax plan is passing through Congress and likely to be signed into law shortly. It has changed quite a bit over the past few weeks, and keeping up with the latest changes has proven difficult. Regardless of the plan’s final form, one thing is for sure: it represents a massive overhaul. Since taxes are a huge part of the calculations in any real estate transaction, staying educated about these changes is crucial to your financial planning. For example, the mortgage interest deduction has been lowered from $1 million to $750,000 for new homebuyers, which is particularly significant in this area, where fewer and fewer homes sell for $750,000 or less. Here’s a great list of important things to keep in mind about the tax plan, and if you would like to be connected with a tax professional for more info, feel free to contact me. I can point you in the right direction!

The new year is coming, but as they say, change is good. With a little preparation, 2018 has the potential to be the best year yet for home buyers and sellers. And as always, I’m here to help out with your real estate needs. Here’s to a happy and prosperous year ahead!

 

Real Estate News: Holiday Edition

December 6th, 2017

The holiday season is upon us, and there’s magic in the air. There’s also quite a bit of real estate news! Here’s a look at some of the biggest recent stories.

HOW THE PROPOSED NEW TAX PLAN COULD AFFECT HOMEOWNERS

This might be the most important news in Bay Area real estate right now. A new tax plan is being proposed right now that, if implemented, could have far-reaching economic effects. The article lays out some of the potential effects on homeowners…the changes in the capital gains tax are particularly significant. I’m following all developments with this tax plan very closely, and I would advise all homeowners to do the same.

TIPS ON SAVING FOR A HOME DOWN PAYMENT

Purchasing a home in the Bay Area is an imposing task, especially for first-time homebuyers. It is not impossible, though, and with proper planning one of the most difficult elements-saving for a down payment-can be a good deal easier. Here are some actions people can take to make their home ownership dreams come true!

2018 HOME SUPPLY FORECAST

Some interesting observations here about projected home sales in 2018. In most of the country, relief for the current low inventory should be on the way…but the Bay Area may be the exception. Experts expect home supplies to remain low, and thus, prices to remain high. And I mean HIGH…the median sale price for a home in Santa Clara County just hit a new record high.

DECORATING TIPS FOR SELLING A HOME DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Holiday Scene

On the lighter side, here are some great tips for those of you looking to sell your home during the holiday season. Not only is it a great time to go on the market due to lower competition for the scarcity of other listings, but festive decor can give your home the extra edge it needs to look cozy and inviting to potential buyers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief glimpse at some of the most notable real estate news stories on this last day of November. As always, I am available by phone and email to answer any questions you may have, or help you with your home buying, selling and staging needs. Happy holidays!

LISTING SPOTLIGHT: 1137 MOUNTAIN QUAIL CIRCLE

November 22nd, 2017

Today, I’d like to take a look at my latest listing, on Mountain Quail Circle in San Jose’s Almaden Valley area. Allow me to present to you:

1137 MOUNTAIN QUAIL CIRCLE, SAN JOSE 95120

Mountain Quail 1

Located in the Glencrest Patios Almaden development, this 2 bed/2 bath/1,612 square foot home is just lovely. A highly desirable single-story Shapell home, you’ll love the amazing, Kinkade-like curb appeal. Inside, its open, flowing floor plan, huge family/living room with a built-in bar and fireplace and abundant natural light lend it a calm, relaxing feel.

Mountain Quail 2

French double doors lead to the kitchen, which features a gas stove, tiled counters, new linoleum flooring, a bright bay window and a breakfast room area.

Mountain Quail 3

The full master bedroom suite includes a walk-in closet, private patio and large master bathroom with a brass shower enclosure, his and her sinks and a soak-in tub! The second bedroom has a private patio/atrium and is near a second large bathroom.

Mountain Quail 4

Outside, the spacious backyard is a private retreat with a dining patio, mature trees, low maintenance vegetation and ample room for parties or quiet recreation.

Mountain Quail 5

In addition, the location is absolutely ideal. Families will benefit from the top-ranked local Almaden schools, and anyone will enjoy the easy access to great shopping and dining options. Commuting is a breeze as well, with convenient freeway access. With such an array of features, this home is a true 10+! In fact, the home proved so popular that, within a few days of hitting the market, it was already in contract! This simply provides more proof that, in this Bay Area real estate market, the right home at the right price will sell incredibly quickly. I am so happy for both the Sellers and the new future owners!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 1137 Mountain Quail Circle! If you would like to learn more about this property, please visit the listing’s website HERE. To find out how I can sell YOUR home for similarly excellent results, contact me today. I’ll be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

Real Estate Heading Into the Holidays

November 8th, 2017

Last fall, I did a blog post for other Realtors, explaining how to capitalize on the real estate market shifts that tend to accompany the last couple months of each year. The fact is, this is a situation that is not only beneficial to real estate agents, but to informed Buyers and Sellers as well. Allow me to explain. Looking at this year as whole, there have generally been very few homes on the market at any given time. Even summertime, when inventory typically hits its yearly peak, brought a relatively paltry number of listings on the market. As such, the listings that have been on the market have been selling for previously unheard-of prices. If you’re a prospective home buyer, there’s a good chance this has proven to be a frustrating year.

Holidays

So now we’re heading into the holidays, the time of year when real estate activity tends to bottom out. School is well underway, the weather is cooling down and rain is moving in. Especially once we pass the Thanksgiving threshold, real estate will be the furthest thing from many people’s minds. There’s a reason real estate offices tend to get very quiet in December.

What Does This Mean for Me?

The thing is, this situation presents a unique opportunity. That is to say, the limited market activity can benefit wise buyers and sellers alike. Look at it like this: we’re at the beginning of what is most likely, in a year with far fewer homes for sale than usual, the time of year in which the fewest homes yet will be available. So if you’re looking to sell, you could have your home be one of these few gems on the market, and get a much higher share of attention than you might at other times as a result. This increased attention, if leveraged correctly by your real estate agent, can result in a substantially higher sale price for your home.

Don’t be fooled, though: the holiday market can benefit buyers as well. You will note that I mentioned leveraging a home for sale correctly. This is because, historically, there just aren’t that many buyers around during the holidays. With the numerous events, responsibilities and distractions the end of the year brings, people often lack the time or energy to shop for homes. As such, as a Buyer, you’ll suddenly find yourself with less competition. If you’re vigilant, aggressive and act on the advice of your agent, you might just be able to ring in the new year with a new home as well.

Naturally, everyone’s situation is different, so please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have regarding home buying or selling, during the holidays or the whole year ’round. I’m always happy to help!

LISTING SPOTLIGHT: 5901 MOUNTAIN MEADOW COURT

October 25th, 2017

This week we’re going to take a look at my new listing, a lovely home in San Jose’s red-hot Evergreen area. 5901 Mountain Meadow Court, San Jose, CA 95135 is another gorgeous example of the wonderful homes in the area.

Mountain Meadow 1

5901 Mountain Meadow Court

Located in on a safe, private cul-de-sac, this 4 bed/2.5 bath/2,540 square foot Single Family Residence epitomizes beauty with incredible upgrades and breathtaking views. A single-story home, it boasts a breezy open floor plan, creating a lovely, flowing environment. The list of upgrades within is extensive, including gleaming hardwood floors throughout, a surround sound system, a built-in bar area with a sink and storage and much, much more!

Mountain Meadow 2

Mealtime is always a joy in the gourmet kitchen, featuring a stainless steel refrigerator, LED lighting, under-cabinetry lighting, corian counter tops and a convenient center island with gas stove.

Mountain Meadow 3

The master bedroom is a private retreat, complete with a newly remodeled master bathroom with an elegant free standing Neptune bathtub, and a walk-in closet.

Mountain Meadow 4

This park-like estate lies on a massive lot (over an acre!) with a serene, amazingly large backyard with magnificent oak trees. Relax and enjoy the three large patios and new lawn. There’s even sufficient space to plant a vineyard or fruit trees! A large driveway and three-car garage provide plenty of room for parking and storage.

Mountain Meadow 5

On top of all this, the location couldn’t be better. The views from nearly any point on the property are exceptional, providing sweeping vistas. It also lies within the district of top-ranked schools: Silver Oak Elementary, Chaboya Middle and Evergreen High School. You must see the property for yourself…and you can, at one of the open houses this weekend! From 1-4:00 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, Mountain Meadow Court will be open for your viewing pleasure. Come by and take in its striking elegance!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at 5901 Mountain Meadow Court! If you or anyone you know might be interested in the property and would like any more info, please visit the listing’s website HERE, or contact me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.