High Tech Doorbell That You Need!

Summer is here! With summer comes beautiful tropical vacations and unfortunately a spike in burglaries.  If you are like me, you hide all your valuables and have someone check up on the house while your away, but there are still many hours where your home is not protected.  I recently read about the Ring video doorbell and think everyone should buy one!  Typically burglars will ring the doorbell first to ensure no one is home.  With a video doorbell you can answer via your phone and pretend to be home, and you’ll have a clear video record of anyone who has been near your doorbell.  Pretty awesome right? So how much do they cost and where can I buy one?  They are about $199 for the original model, or $249 for the Pro (slightly nicer cosmetically, more customizable, a bit better networking, but requires power, whereas the original can work without a powered doorbell button), for most people it’ll install in just a few minutes, assuming you have an existing working doorbell.  To purchase your new doorbell, check out their website at Ring.com or call up your local Home Depot, Best Buy, or simply go on Amazon!

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Another Successful RSVP Event!

Last Wednesday, SILVAR (Silicon Valley Association of Realtors) put on their annual charity event to support our local community. The past several years we have assisted seniors in Los Altos and Mountain View with household chores they can no longer perform themselves or pay someone to do. Some examples of things we assist with are cleaning windows, flipping mattresses, and yard work.

This year I had the pleasure of being the Chairman of all the Los Altos and Mountain View real estate offices. We assisted 28 seniors and had a total of 46 awesome volunteers. Thank you to everyone that volunteered! We worked hard and had a fun time meeting new agents from other offices and helping the seniors.

I want to thank the generous donations within our community… Ace Hardware, Walgreens, Target, and Main Street Dentist. We were able to provide every senior with a night light, pill container, $5 Target gift card, toothbrush and toothpaste. Overall, it was a successful event! Until next year….

Suzanne O’Brien


Posted in Aging in Place, Bay Area, california real estate, Home Buying/Selling, Landscape, Los Altos Community, Mountain View Community, Real Estate, Senior Community, senior specialist, silicon valley, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016 = The Year of Real Estate

The real estate market looks to be all stars and fireworks this year. The Chief Economist of Realtor.com recently stated that the 2016 real estate market is going to be the best since 2006! He isn’t the only one saying this either. Freddie Mac is on board too stating this year’s market will be the best we have seen in a decade.

What does this mean for you? If you are planning to buy or sell real estate in the near future it is worth meeting with an awesome real estate professional, cough cough ME, to go over your real estate goals and needs. I want you to be successful in making your real estate goals a reality, one move at a time.

To see the full article, click on the link: Real Estate: 2016 Will Be the Best Year in a Decade

-Suzanne O’Brien

(Featured picture is of my listing in San Jose. Love this house and my stager’s work!)

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Carole Rodoni’s 2016 Real Estate Predictions

Around this time last year I was fortunate enough to listen to Carole Rodoni’s predictions for the 2015 real estate market in the Bay Area. Lucky for you, she came to speak at my office meeting again this year to talk about her 2016 real estate predictions.


Carole predicts a choppy up and down market throughout 2016 with 300-400 point variations daily. Technology has moved the economic scale. She called 2016 the “Disruptive Phase” which will in turn build the most wealth but it will be choppy along the way. By a “disruptive phase” she means industries are being disrupted like UBER for example is disrupting the Cab industry as well as many more companies are doing this with other industries.

By end of year 2016, Carole believes we will be flat or slightly negative in the stock market.

Real Estate

“It’s all about perception in the Bay Area.” –Carole Rodoni

San Francisco is an international city that is known around the world. Geographically we are in “God’s Land”. The Bay Area is trending- people are making a good living and thats why we have traffic. The real estate market is going to be rebalancing. This does not mean we are not going to be in a recession here, she says something else is going on. Inventory is growing, pricing will start declining, homes will be staying on the market longer. High-end is going to go down and low-end is going to get hot. Millennials are wanting to buy and are looking for newer homes and they want it all. Carole says the homes that need lots of work will be sitting on the market and will require negotiating to get them sold.

Looking to buy or sell real estate in the Bay Area? Please feel free to call me at 650.947.4793 for all your real estate needs!


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Has My Home Depreciated? Zillow’s ‘Zestimate’ is Less Than What We Bought It For!

This question has become a very common concern and unfortunately a trending topic among some of my clients as well as been brought up at office meetings by other agents. Question to you: Are you guilty of checking your homes value frequently, quarterly, or a few months after purchasing your new home? I think it’s fair to say, most people are guilty and many FREAK out when they see that their homes value may have depreciated since their purchase. I am here to tell you, don’t read into the ‘zestimate’ or believe what Zillow says your home is worth. This is why my profession exists. We, realtors, are real estate professionals that have eyes, ears, nose and a mouth… AKA we are human and are not a computer! What Zillow can’t do, that we, real estate agents can, is tour inside homes and check the condition of the properties, stand outside the front and back yards, drive around the neighborhood, are familiar with the schools that a home feeds into and how sought after that school may be, AND above all, figure out the marketability of a property.  To help support my argument, LA Times recently wrote an article titled “Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a Source of Conflict Over Home Prices” that discusses more in depth on the topic. Below are two quotes I found to be most relevant that I extracted directly from the article:

  1. “Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, says Zestimates are “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%.”
  2. “In San Francisco it’s 11.6%. With a median home value of $1,000,800 in San Francisco, according to Zillow estimates as of December, a median error rate at this level translates into a price disparity of $116,093.”

Now that you’ve read the above quotes, please don’t take your ‘zestimate’ to heart. If you are curious of your homes value, you may want to contact your real estate professional for the best, most accurate, estimate.

Looking to buy or sell real estate on the Peninsula? Please contact me and I will be happy to follow up with you!

Want to read the rest of the article? Click the link below: http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-harney-20150208-story.html



Posted in Bay Area, california real estate, Home Buying/Selling, home prices, homeownership, Real Estate | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Most Important When Buying A Home?

Every once in awhile, Alain Pinel, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Prestigio International writes on Intero’s “Reserve”. His recent article addressed the most important factors buyers look for in a home. He talked about location, quality and price. Which do you find most important in your home search? I’m guessing your answer is location. Am I right? Alain makes a point that “given the choice, you want the best built home, at the best price and in the best location.” However, he says “the problem is that the ideal package does not exist.” I think this is a hard thing for buyers to grasp. You work so hard to be able to save up enough to buy a home and want it to be perfect, but in reality the “perfect” home may mean thousands or even several hundred thousand over your budget. Sometimes buyers need to identify what tradeoffs they are willing to compromise.  Personally, my husband and I have always gone for location. We have found with a little elbow grease (or a lot) and patience, a home can be transformed into whatever you desire.  For the complete article with Alain’s expert opinion, check out the link below.




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Mountain View’s New “Right to Lease” Ordinance in Effect 1/07/16

If you rent in a 3+ unit complex in Mountain View, this new lease ordinance applies to you. Starting tomorrow, landlords will be required to offer tenants a written lease with an option of a 6-month or 12-month term at inception of tenancy and at time of lease renewal. This new ordinance was created to protect tenants from high rent increases. For more information about the specifics, including what this ordinance means for current month-to-month tenancies, check out the link below!

Tired of renting? Thinking of making the transition from tenant to first-time home buyer? Let’s talk about how I can help you achieve your real estate goals. There is no better time to start your home search than the beginning of a new year!



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What Will An Increase in Int. Rates Mean for Bay Area Real Estate?

Doug Duncan, chief economist of Fannie Mae states “A far bigger restraint on home sales is a limited supply that should push up prices by nearly 5% both this year and in 2016. As a result, he expects home sales to increase 4% in 2016, down from 8% this year, with higher rates holding back 1% to 2% of deals.”

I believe this increase in interest rates won’t make much of a difference, if at all, in our Bay Area market where housing is limited and buyer’s continue to want a place to call home.

For the complete article, check out this link:


For a more local view, check out this Mercury News article:



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Good Strategy = More Money in Your Pocket!

Pricing your home for a little below market value and hiring a real estate professional are the two BEST ways to get the highest price for your home. For more on this topic, check out Keeping Current Matters (KCM) newest blog post. See below for the link to the blog:

How to Get the Most Money from the Sale of Your House

Posted in Bay Area, california real estate, Finance, Home Buying/Selling, home prices, homeownership, Real Estate, silicon valley, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Ways to Senior Proof Your House

Many seniors would like to stay in their homes as long as possible. With that said, you’re ability to do this depends on many factors, including the nature of the challenges you face in your current home. Sometimes it may require a large home renovation and many times it is as simple as a few inexpensive fixes to improve your current living situation. See below for a list of safety improvement ideas from the Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) newsletter:

  1. Change out your hardwood floors to carpet and get rid of your area rugs. This will reduce tripping/slipping hazards and can cushion falls. If you need to make do with area rugs, make sure they’re secured to the floor.
  2. If you have stairs, add a second handrail along the opposite wall to improve stability.
  3. Wear non-slip shoes in your home instead of slippers or socks.
  4. Add non-skid safety strips to the floor of your shower/tub and get rid of your removable in-shower bath mat. They are safer!
  5. Bathroom grab bars should be preferably anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible, adding a clamped safety rail to the side of the tub is better than nothing.
  6. Purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top for those hard to reach items.
  7. Improve the overall lighting in your house by adding motion-activated nigh lights in the hallway. It may be as simple as changing the bulbs out to higher wattages.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have a relative or friend that you think may benefit from moving out of their home and into a senior home please feel free to reach out to me. I am a Certified Senior Real Estate Specialist and have helped many seniors sell their homes and make the transition.

Posted in assistant living, Bay Area, Home Buying/Selling, Senior Community, senior specialist | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment