OAK NOTES from Grace Bishop
Oct 2019


Writing a successful offer on an East Bay home is both an art and a science. And because the market remains hot, it has become a critical component to buying on the sunny side of the Bay.

Writing a great offer starts with understanding the East Bay's particular home-pricing culture, in which agents routinely under-price the homes they list. 

Of course, buyers and their agents also need to know the market's seasonality pattern and the micro-market trends of both the target home and its neighborhood when writing the offer. 

But these practices are just the tip of the iceberg that buyers should implement to find success. Because the East Bay is such a competitive market, buyers need to carefully present their offers – it can separate them from the pack in multiple-offer situations.

With that, here's a list of offer-writing best practices that homebuyers should be aware of if they want to have the best opportunity to land the East Bay home they desire. 

Write a thoughtful love letter

Buyer love letters do work, especially with properties that have been in a family for a long time. For those homes that boast being on the market for the first time in 40 years, whip out the pen and paper and write a love letter to go along with your best offer.

Practice open house etiquette

The offer really starts at the open house, the seller's agent will likely remember who comes through. When the offer arrives, the agent holding the open house will likely remember you, so leave a good impression.

Get preapproved

If financing is required, buyers should consider getting a preapproval letter from a local, reputable mortgage broker as opposed to a national or online lender. 

Reach out should you need to work with one of the best local lenders. A good, competent lender will enhance an offer's appeal, as this minimizes the headaches that can come from financing contingencies.

Network with the listing agent

It's important that a buyer's agent be on the listing agent's radar from the start. This means that buyers must choose their agent carefully, one who has a good professional reputation. Shepherding a property to a close takes persistence, skill, goodwill and effort. 

For additional tips, stay tuned for our full blog post on writing the best offers for East Bay listings going live later this month!




In September, activity for the East Bay real estate market tends to slow to one of the lowest points of the year. This is because it reflects transactions that ratified in August, the tail end of summer. That said, the market was essentially flat: compared to last year, the number of sales sold in September increased 1%, the median price increased 4%, homes sold slightly closer to asking at 8.4% over list, and days on market stood at 21 days.

Although it's not reflected in sales data, the supply of available homes spiked in September, increasing over 30% within 3 weeks after Labor Day. This caused some unsteadiness, with some listings missing offer dates and requiring price reductions. However, that is common for this time of year and the market performed better than it did in 2018. We should expect to see these metrics reflected in the October report. 

In the meantime, Red Oak Realty has produced a 75-page report about the state of East Bay real estate market through Q3 2019. This includes analysis by city, neighborhood and price range through the Bay Area. If you would like a copy of the report, just reply to this email.


Markets were watching the US/China trade talks very closely during the second week of October. Late in the week stocks ended sharply higher on optimism that a deal would be reached. President Trump and the Chinese Vice Premier met and then it was reported that U.S. and China reached the first phase of a substantial trade deal that will delay tariff hikes that were set to kick in the following week. Stocks were up over 500 points when U.S. Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, said a decision had not been made over additional U.S. tariffs scheduled for December. Stocks then fell off their highs, closing up 319 points as many analysts started to reach the sobering conclusion that a substantive deal was probably still not very close. "Behind the hype, this is nothing more than [a] partial and ostensibly unsustainable deal lacking in real enforcement mechanisms. For businesses this will mean less damage, not greater certainty," noted Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics.  The surging stock market pushed mortgage bond rates higher but we are still solidly below 4% on 30-year fixed products. The long term outlook will depend on news regarding inflation and the continued negotiations between the US and China.  

If you would like to get preapproved to purchase a property, pull cash out of your current home or to see if you are eligible for a rate reduction on your current mortgage, please contact Faramarz Moeen-Ziai of Commerce Home Mortgage at fmz@commercemtg.com or 415.377.1147.

 Commerce Home Mortgage


October's page features the EBMUD Water Treatment Plant from an unusual but aesthetically pleasing view. From the snowcaps to the Bay, EBMUD filters over 375 million gallons daily via the Mokelumne River to the Pardee Reservoir. 

With the hot weather and fire season upon us, conserving water and energy are utmost important. Remember to unplug unused electronics and not let your water run.

This image is one of 12 featured in Red Oak Realty's 2019 "The East Bay From Above" calendar. We'll include more about each month's aerial photograph throughout the year. Call or email to reserve a complimentary copy of the 2020 calendar.


It's hard to believe that Paradiso has been in business since 1996. If you are not familiar with the restaurant, it is a San Leandro neighborhood favorite that offers a wide variety of options from seafood pasta (that some may say has too much seafood - if there is such a thing) to gluten-free options. Open seven days a week, it offers a full bar, features natural and organic meats and produce, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Paradiso was also featured on Check Please. This local restaurant has a wonderful vibe and makes an effort to bring comfort food to all. 

Paradiso is located at 685 Bancroft Avenue, San Leandro, CA 94577. Open for lunch Monday thru Friday from 11am to 4pm, dinner Monday thru Thursday 4pm to 9pm and brunch Saturday and Sunday 10am to 3pm. Reserve a table via online or call 510.430.9310.

Grace Bishop
Realtor | #01245471