Monthly Archives: February 2015

Today Sotheby’s International Realty offers brokers state-of-the-art customizable agent websites and cutting-edge search tools.

February 18, 2015 San Mateo, CA, Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc., a leading residential real estate brokerage in San Mateo, announced today that it has launched state-of-the-art customized agent websites coupled with a powerful new search tool for every Today Sotheby’s agent company-wide.
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Powered by leading website provider Gutensite, individual agent sites will feature a fully customizable mobile website, combined with the data-driven search tool and easy-to-use CRM from Real Scout, preloaded with Today Sotheby’s community videos and content.

“We are so thrilled to be able to offer our agent mobile websites with our new community videos at no cost,” said Robert Brisbane, COO of Today’s Sotheby’s. “While most brokerages offer landing pages that only feature a stagnant bio alongside an agent headshot, what we are able to provide by partnering with Gutensite and Real Scout is something very unique that will allow our agents to move out of the dark ages digitally and stand out from their competitors.”
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“By partnering with Today’s Sotheby’s, Gutensite is able to create turn-key, agent website solutions for every Today Sotheby’s agent,” said Gutensite CEO and Founder Chadwick Meyer. “With exclusive branded templates, each new agent website is packed with lots of useful, authorized content about communities, the market, the buying/selling process, videos, and information about the company.”
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Additionally, by adding the search technology of RealScout to each site, agents will be providing a highly data-driven tool to their clients. “Having a branded search platform, allows agents to compete with high-tech search portals like Zillow and Trulia in the online search arena,” said RealScout CEO Andrew Flachner.

For example, when a consumer clicks on the search tab on one of the new broker sites, they’ll be taken to a co-branded site hosted on RealScout’s platform. “Real Scout helps individual agents convert active homebuyers into clients, by helping consumers search for homes based on “soft” search terms like “large backyards,” “high ceilings” or “proximity to transportation.” “This branded search tool keeps potential clients from leaving a broker’s website when they go browsing for specific features,” said Flachner.
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About Today Sotheby’s: Today Sotheby’s International Realty has a long tradition as an early adopter of technology. The company is based on the belief that it’s important to provide the most innovative tools, thorough training and a service-oriented staff to enable agents to be at their most competitive in today’s hot real estate market. Today’s Sotheby’s has recently invested in a wide variety of technology including the first phase of their website, a new dynamic, digital CMA, and a series of new community videos.

About Gutensite: Founded 12 years ago, the Gutensite Content Management System allows clients to seamlessly and effortlessly create beautiful and powerful websites with state-of-the-art functionality and design templates.
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About Real Scout: Real Scout is a 2-year-old startup that allows real estate agents to brand its collaborative search platform. By giving agents the ability to brand its search platform, RealScout helps them compete with high-tech search portals like Zillow and Trulia in the online search arena.
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Screenshot 2015-02-25 14.31.55

 

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Sotheby’s Auction House Acquires Interest in RM Auctions

Sotheby’s Acquires an Ownership Interest in RM Auctions, the World’s Leading Auctioneer Of Premium Collectible Automobiles

First RM Sotheby’s Sale To Take Place In Amelia Island, Florida, 14 March 2015

NEW YORK, Feb. 18, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sotheby’s and RM Auctions are pleased to announce the formation of a new strategic partnership as Sotheby’s acquires a 25 percent ownership interest in the world’s foremost collector car auctioneer, which will now be known as RM Sotheby’s.

This long-term investment comes as the more than $2 billion market for the finest automobiles continues to grow, presenting increasing opportunities for both companies. Sotheby’s and RM have previously collaborated on a number of successful sales in both the United States and Europe, most notably the November 2013 Art of the Automobile auction in New York, which achieved nearly $63 million in just two hours and saw a new auction record set for a Ferrari 250 LM at $14.3 million.
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Today’s announcement grows those previous partnerships and unites the two businesses for the full calendar of future automobile auctions. The first RM Sotheby’s sale will take place in Amelia Island, Florida, March 14, with additional auctions in Fort Worth, Texas, Lake Como, Italy, Monterey, California, London, England and New York among others scheduled for later this year.
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“Sotheby’s is thrilled to join the clear market leader in this field,” commented Bill Ruprecht, Sotheby’s President, Chairman, and CEO. “RM has established a formidable position that will only be strengthened by this new phase in our relationship. Just last year, RM set a new benchmark for a collector car auction with their flagship Monterey sale totaling more than $140 million, eclipsing the previous record they had established in 2013. The incredible synergy between our businesses, including significant overlap of top collectors and a focus on new markets, will be further strengthened as we work together to expand the classic car collector base. RM’s ownership of the high end of the market coupled with our global client network positions us for great success at a time when the market for investment-quality motor cars has never been stronger.”
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Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder, RM Auctions added, “The partnership that has been formed between RM Auctions and Sotheby’s is undoubtedly the most effective way for us to reach the ever-growing worldwide audience of collectors who take a keen interest in the collector car asset class. No other organization in the world has a client base as far-reaching as Sotheby’s and since we have worked so closely and successfully with them in the past, it makes perfect sense that we form a strategic partnership that creates a truly worldwide platform for collector cars. It’s an exciting time in our company history, and for the hobby at large.”
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Initially Sotheby’s will have a 25 percent ownership position in RM, governance participation and a comprehensive partnership agreement to work together to drive growth in the business. Over time, Sotheby’s will have opportunities to increase the ownership stake as the partnership evolves and grows.

The Montara House

The Montara House: Modern and Distinctive with Panoramic Ocean Views

330 13th Street, Montara, CA
Attractively Priced: $2,150,000

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  • 3 Bedrooms
  • 4 Bathrooms
  • 2,710 Sq.Ft (assessor)
  • Lot Size: 6,000 Sq.Ft (assessor)

Located on the coast just south of San Francisco, this three bedroom, four bathrooms home is made of four elements: steel, glass, Peruvian hardwood, and aggregated cement. The Montara home at 330 13th Street, with its panoramic views, was designed by award-winning Anderson Anderson Architecture to maximize natural daylight inside the home and provide a warm environment to savor the refreshing coastal climate.
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To minimize the use of resources and the carbon footprint, the home was built from three primary materials – concrete, glass and sustainably harvested Peruvian redwood. The results are remarkable; a functional yet eco-friendly home, which includes an impressive photovoltaic and solar water heating with natural gas back up system cleverly concealed on the roof to provide dual sources hot water and heating for the home.

Strategically placed windows and skylights draw in the sun and glass walls around outdoor living areas create a natural buffer zone encircling the house. The 3,250 square foot home offers four bedrooms and four bathrooms on a 6,000 square foot southwest facing lot that provides excellent exposure for passive solar heating. The property also includes a 100 square foot tool shed worthy of the best do-it-yourselfer.
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When the home was built in 2008, no expense was spared when it came to the core construction features, beginning with cast-in-place concrete, insulated concrete, and American Mold Guard Certified resistant treatment of all of the framing, floors and joists. Other features include a three-foot crawlspace with mold resistant coatings under the floors and below grade stem walls; a whole-house dehumidifier with a HEPA air filter; a 30-year hospital grade plumbing waste system; 1 ½” copper main supply lines for all of the bathrooms; and in-floor radiant heating to help stave off the region’s occasionally chilly climate.
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The home also was constructed using a commercial grade electrical system with conduit and pulled wires; a home run A/V conduit system with future proof wiring; two layers of 1 1/8” plywood sub floor, compared to standard houses that typically use one layer of ¾” plywood; a 130 gallon solar water heater with radiant tie-in and 99% efficient gas back-up; a solar ready roof deck with built-in rack mount base; and a 10’x18’ cantilevered deck, just off kitchen, that is ideal for entertaining and taking in Montara’s stunning sunsets.

As impressive as the core construction is, the Montara home’s aesthetic touches are equally as inspiring. Exposed hand textured concrete and aggregate and custom milled Peruvian redwood and white mahogany woodwork and flooring throughout the home cultivate a sense of warmth and comfort. The elegant doors, windows, sidings and ceilings were custom crafted using Peruvian redwood. Floor to ceiling glass throughout the home offers panoramic ocean views, as does the 400 square foot roof deck, accessible via a custom built steel and glass stairway tower with glass treads and a glass bridge. Additional enhancements include 2 ½” thick floors to ceiling doors; offset pivot wood and glass entry and patio doors; and a beautiful custom wood ceiling with ½” shadow lines.
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Any chef would be in his element in the professional grade kitchen, with its cast-in-place 6’x20’ white concrete counter top with inside and outside glass detail and custom built island with cantilevered table. Cabinets include a soft closing feature. The appliances are covered with custom white mahogany doors that augment the stainless steel counter tops and hood enclosure. A sub-zero refrigerator headlines a menu of notable appliances and fixtures, including: a Thermador electric oven; Blue Star 22k BTU commercial grade range with built-in barbecue and six burners; Kitchen-Aid trash compactor; Miele dishwasher; 1,200 CFM dual blower Vent-A-Hood; two Blano sinks, including one sink that is custom integrated into the stainless steel island top; two Insinkerator garbage disposals; and AXOR Italian designed faucets.

Four bathrooms are adorned with white-Carrera slab marble floors, 24” wide white mahogany slab counter tops, custom white mahogany cabinets, Lacava Italian made fixtures, and Toto toilets with the soft close feature. A custom sunken Kohler Jacuzzi tub in the master bath offers sanctuary and serenity for the homeowner.
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Need tech? The Montara House delivers with whole house audio and video distribution and intercom systems, as well as a Custom Bay Alarm system with smoke and heat detectors. Recessed lighting and a custom designed MIRO brand lighting control system with programmable RF switches provides warmth and clarity throughout the home, and a whole house central vacuum system helps keep the home inviting and clean.

Privacy was clearly on the minds of the architects of the Montara home, as evidenced by the white laminate glass on the entire east side of the house and a motorized roller shade in the master bedroom. Comfort and style were clearly on their minds when they designed the cast-in-concrete, wireless controlled modern gas fire-ribbon fireplace and the custom living room glass wall, 15 feet tall by 35 feet long, cleverly suspended from the ceiling.
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A drive-able grass driveway leads to a two-car garage that is accessible via a double-sided door with drive-through ability. A separate laundry room with a sink and ironing center, as well as a flat, large grassy 3,000 square foot backyard, complete the Montara home’s unique attributes.

The Montara Home is just 25 minutes from San Francisco, 35 minutes from Palo Alto and minutes from a host of local destinations that sit atop any seasoned California traveler’s list, including: Fitzgerald Marine Reserve; Half Moon Bay; the historic Moss Beach Distillery; and the Seal Cove Inn, a destination lodging property. Montara’s natural microclimate provides a sense of seclusion from nearby cosmopolitan regions and assures that year round temperatures remain generally mild.
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The Alan Canas Team specializes in luxury coastal homes in San Mateo County.  If you are looking for a beach home consider The Montara House and call us today so we can provide a private tour 650.343.9059.

 

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Chinese Continue To Snatch Up Peninsula Real Estate

“There’s no loan contingency, no inspection and no appraisal.”
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Competition among realtors is stiff. Some broker’s marketing strategy includes videos and a website in Chinese, while others include a Mercedes van to take buyers to open houses and a plane to show Chinese the splendor of the Bay Area. Local realtors are doing just about everything to get a slice of the Chinese pie.
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Realtors are even asking cities to change addresses of homes Chinese are interested in, with the number four. That’s because the number four means “death” in Chinese — a definite no sale.
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Who are these buyers and what are they buying? “It’s a combination of entrepreneurs, businessmen, developers and real estate tycoons. Many of the homes they buy remain vacant most of the year. They’re called “ghost houses.” We saw one example that is $9 million property bought by a Chinese family. They actually came and purchased the home, but their purpose was only to come here next summer,” Michi Olson, of APR said.
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A burgeoning middle class is now looking to invest their money in a safe haven, away from China’s polluted air and political and economic uncertainties. Additionally, in China you never have home ownership.

“In China, it’s a 70-year lease, so there are uncertainties. Nobody knows what’s going to happen 70 years from now right?” said one realtor.
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That’s another good reason to buy American.

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What Real Estate Trends to Expect in 2015

(Story Reposted from USNews)
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Many millennials have held off on buying a home, but experts expect that to change in 2015.

As housing recovers, prices in many markets across the U.S. have shot up. In fact, RealtyTrac reported that the median sale price of U.S. single-family homes and condos in October had reached its highest level since September 2008. Price appreciation and the lure of foreclosures created a feeding frenzy for real estate investors willing to pay cash and made it harder for traditional buyers to compete.
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But experts say that 2015 will be marked by a return to normalcy and balance for real estate markets across the country. Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow.com, predicts that home value growth will slow to around 3 percent per year instead of the 6 percent seen recently, and that will make real estate less attractive to many investors. “It’s been a tough market for buyers,” he says. “I think it’s going to get easier in 2015. Negotiating power will move back to buyers and away from sellers. It will be a much more balanced market.” (Too many buyers and too little inventory, or the opposite, contribute to an unbalanced market.)
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Redfin.com’s chief economist Nela Richardson agrees. “It’s been a clear pattern that the investor activity has been shrinking over time,” she says. “Investors like to go in where they can buy low and sell high. Price growth is starting to slow dramatically, so they can’t sell much higher than what they buy. Investment property is less compelling in 2014 going into 2015.”

More inventory and less competition from investors means even traditional buyers are becoming “more picky, and they’re willing to let a home go if they don’t think it’s a good fit for them,” Richardson adds. “Buyers are less worried that they’ll miss out on something. Houses are more like buses now. If you miss one, another one will come along.” Whereas buyers might waive contingencies in the recent past to make their offer more attractive to sellers, they’re now more likely to insist on contingencies for financing and inspections.
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That said, foreign investors may still find high-end American real estate appealing because of economic turbulence in their home countries. For instance, the U.K. is toying with a so-called “mansion tax” that would apply to those who own properties worth more than 2 million British pounds (or over $3 million), and China has placed restrictions on homebuying in large cities. Some foreign investors also worry about currency fluctuations devaluing money they hold in their home countries. “That section of the market is still all cash – people buying up these huge places because it’s safer here than in their own countries,” says Herman Chan, real estate broker with Bay Sotheby’s International Realty in San Francisco.

Buyers from outside the U.S. may use their properties as a rental, a pied-à-terre (a secondary residence used for travel) or a residence for children studying at American colleges. But for buyers looking for more moderately priced homes, 2015 could offer a respite from bidding wars and all-cash offers. “People who’ve been on the fence about selling are finally going to pull the trigger, which is great for buyers [because it creates more inventory],” Chan says. “Now people with regular jobs and 20 percent down finally have a chance to get into the market.”

For years, many millennials have postponed homeownership in favor of renting, but that may also change next year as a growing number of Gen Yers start families and seek more stability. “By the end of 2015, millennial buyers will represent the largest group of homebuyers, taking over from Generation X,” Humphries says. “They prefer smaller units closer to the urban core, so it will be interesting to see whether they follow the time-honored path towards the periphery of the metro.”
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Baby boomers are also likely to make a move in 2015. Chan says he’s “gotten so many calls from baby boomers recently saying, ‘We’re downsizing, and we’re moving to be closer to our grandkids or our son or daughter.'” With fewer homes underwater, they’re finally in a position to sell.
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While mortgage rates may not remain at the historic lows seen recently, more people may qualify for home loans as issues like foreclosures or short sales age out of their credit reports and Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae ease mortgage eligibility. Freddy and Fannie recently announced a new mortgage program for buyers with a down payment as low as 3 percent. “Freddy and Fannie have always been the industry leaders, and they’re saying, ‘It’s OK to lend to people who don’t have 5 percent down. It’s OK to extend credit in a reasonable and safe manner,” Richardson says.