Sunday, January 22, 2006

Chat du jour

OK, OK, I know I probably won't be able to post a new house cat photo every day, but I will try to keep it up. I see lots of resident pets as I driving around the Bay Area looking at property. Some of them are just too cute not to share. I'll start off with my own.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

What's a co-op?

Over the past several years I have sold several co-operative homes in Alameda County. There are just a few in Alameda and a few more in Contra Costa, most notable among those is Rossmoor. It’s a challenge because they are relatively rare in the West. Neither the buying public nor the agent community are familiar with them. Buyers are reluctant to entrust their savings and salaries to something they do not understand. “Buy” and “sell” are relatively easy concepts to grasp, but “shares” and “leases” sound a lot more complex. Many buyers decide to look elsewhere, feeling that a co-op is something akin to a time share or some other novelty that might have little or no lasting value. Then too there is the matter of financing. The requirements for down payments of 10% or often more eliminate many in the first time home buyer pool. Marginally higher interest rates can also edge out part of the buyer pool. Co-op's can be a good buy for the right person, but it should be a long term decision. I doubt if anyone made money "flipping" a co-op in the Bay Area. You get more for your money because the prices are lower than condos and community standards are more strictly enforced. You have to have the requisite down payment and accept that your financing options are limited. Most co-operative share loans in our area are held by the National Cooperative Bank.