September 2019

What People Are Saying

"I would recommend Leah Tounger of Keller Williams in any real estate transaction!  I had a VERY complicated 1031 Exchange and she helped to keep our residential purchase on track while we completed the sale of another commercial building.  Her knowledge, contacts and help was invaluable since we were on a world cruise during the final sale.  She was amazing!  I would definitely use her services again and highly recommend her to anyone else."

"Leah and John were our agents to both sell our home and buy a new one in 2018.  It was a complicated 6 months, with many twists and turns, and Leah and John were superstars.  They worked tirelessly, always were available for a call or meeting to answer questions and discuss strategy, and their expertise translated into exceptional results for us."

"John Corden was our realtor from Leah Tounger Realty Group. He was an excellent communicator and facilitator for us throughout this process. He knew exactly what to ask for in negotiations, inspections and saved us a lot of stress and money. It came down to the wire in closing and I don't thing we'd be in the home now if it wasn't for John's saavy and expertise. Thanks again!"


Monthly Market Minute
State of the East Bay Real Estate Market

The East Bay housing market is currently in a state of flux with some potential clouds on the horizon. After several weeks of declines, mortgage rates trended slightly upward last week, though still remain at historically low levels. This was despite calls by President Trump for the Fed to take interest rates to zero or even negative. Even with inflation heating up the Fed is expected to cut rates another 25 basis points the end of the month with additional cuts ahead. At the same time consumer debt, in all forms, is increasing and small business optimism is down a bit. All in all we can expect rate volatility in the near term. 

We are seeing some areas of the East Bay (both geographical and price point) begin to get clobbered by the shift. This falls in line with what is being observed in other parts of the state like the Los Angeles basin. At the same time, the market for "affordable" homes in and around Oakland under $1M is red hot. We are seeing multiple offers, low days on market and prices over asking.
Having real estate professionals like the Leah Tounger Realty Group is more important than ever when attempting to navigate the turbulent markets we are experiencing. If you are curious what your home's value is, reach out to us or go to: or give us a call!
Zero Interest Rates a Good Thing?
Slow Down, Here Are Some Things to Keep in Mind
Zero interest rates sound pretty good. Negative interest rates sound even better? This is exactly what Europe is experiencing. And at first glance it sounds great for mortgages. But stepping back and looking at the big picture, this scenario may not be so rosy. Keep in mind, zero (or even negative) interest rates would not just apply to mortgages, but banking too. Not very thrilled about that 0.2% interest earned on the money in your bank account? Imagine the thought of PAYING the bank to hold and invest YOUR money! This is exactly what is happening in Europe as they have transitioned to negative interest rates.

So what are some of the real world pitfalls of this scenario? If you are paying the bank to use your money, many people would be inclined to seek other often riskier ways of storing their assets. Risk could be in the form of the type of investment or perhaps how your assets are stored. For instance, gold would be a great hedge but there would be substantial risks storing your life savings at home in the form of gold bullion and coins.

Even with mortgages, it probably is not be a good thing. At zero or negative mortgage rates, the bank isn't making money. In fact, at negative mortgage interest rates, the bank would be in effect paying you to buy a home. How inclined do you think banks would be to offer such loans? In the end homes would become less affordable. You can read the complete article [HERE].
5 Home Upgrades Millennials Couldn't Care Less About
By Ana Durrani 
Despite being called out for their ineptitude at saving money and their overwhelming fondness for spending it on experiences instead of things, millennials actually do desire financial stability—especially if it means they can buy a house.So what kind of homes do they want? According to real estate professionals, a large majority of millennials seeks out properties that are move-in ready—with plenty of room for customization."They care more about the home being clean and in good condition," says Mary Katherine Spalding, a Realtor® associate with Helen Painter Group in Fort Worth, TX. "Cosmetic changes are much easier to make, and millennials are a generation of DIYers.”

But home sellers are also becoming well-versed in what they don't want. If you're looking to attract millennial buyers, be forewarned: These home upgrades/features will turn them away from your home faster than you can say, "What's your Wi-Fi password?". If you want to attract Millennials to buy your home, be aware of what they don't like or want! [Click HERE to find out the 5 things]  
Three Powerful Reasons to Buy a Home NOW!

Now is the time to buy a home despite economic uncertainty, or more to the point, because of economic uncertainty. There are three powerful reasons that bear this out: Affordability, Interest Rates and Creation of Family Wealth. For those of us living in California, affordability does not seem to be the case. However, despite appreciation, increases in income and significant decreases in mortgage rates have made homes more affordable. As we all know, mortgage rates, despite the recent uptick, are at historic lows. This is a big component of the affordability equation. Finally, a tangible asset like real estate is much safer than intangible assets like stocks. Real estate has better Real Rate of Return. Don't be suckered in by Average Rate of Return, it is MEANINGLESS! If you are not familiar on the difference read this.

It is also important to challenge conventional thinking and get out of the box. Buying real estate is not just for first time homeowners. Everyone should consider investing in real estate, whether it is your primary home, a second home or investment properties. But you say the Bay Area is too expensive to even get started? Then buy an investment property somewhere that is more affordable yet still yields good returns. A big part of real estate investing is about using OPM...other people's money. We have clients that have rental properties that are cash flow POSITIVE on a 15-year loan. Get a few of those and you have the makings of a nice retirement.
Read the full article [HERE].

Curious to learn more? Leat us know, we can help!
Curious what your home is worth?

Featured Properties & Market Activity
34231 Torrington Place, Fremont
Sweet Starter Home or Investment
3 BR | 2 BA | 1,400 SF
More info at:

Offered at $998,000
5960 Grizzly Peak Blvd, Oakland
Scenic Oasis with Potential for Expansion
1 BR | 1.5 BA  | 1,534 SF 
More info at:

Offered at $699,000
568 Fortuna Ave, San Leandro
Charming Broadmoor Home
2 BR | 2.5 BA | 1,766 SF
More info at:

Offered at $789,000
35 Asilomar Circle, Oakland
Mid-Century Modern
3 BR | 2 BA | 2,242 SF
More info at:

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