Patrice Sandstrom Real Estate Group


Sept. 21, 2017

So Few Homes for Sale


There is no doubt that the largest challenge in today’s housing market is a lack of housing inventory for sale. This challenge has been defined as an “overwhelming lack of supply,” and even a “straight up inventory crisis.”

First American just released the results of a survey which sheds light on the reasons for the current lack of supply.

The survey asked title agents and real estate professionals to identify what they believe are the top reasons for this lack of inventory in their markets. Here are the results of the survey:

47% – existing homeowners are worried that they will not be able to find a home to buy

26.5% – first-time buyer demand is absorbing a large share of available homes

11.3% – existing homeowners’ mortgage rates are lower than the current rates

10.6% – insufficient or negative equity in the home

4.6% – foreign buyer demand is absorbing a large share of available homes

As the survey revealed, there is a shortage of current homeowners willing to put their homes on the market for one of three reasons (see above).

Is this an opportunity for some homeowners?

The report on the survey explains:

“The crowd has spoken, and it seems in many markets home buyers and sellers alike are ‘imprisoned’ by the lack of housing inventory.”

That leaves a tremendous opportunity for every homeowner not facing these concerns. If you can put your home on the market today, you are subject to far less competition than at any time in recent history. That will result in your home selling quickly and for the highest possible price.

The Bottom Line

While many homeowners are feeling imprisoned for multiple reasons, those who are not handcuffed by these concerns have a once in a lifetime opportunity to sell their houses at a peak selling time.

Posted in Buyers, sellers
Sept. 13, 2017

Four great reasons to consider buying a home today!

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today, instead of waiting.

1. Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.0% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have hovered around 4%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

3. Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage 

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

4. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

Call us today to discuss and find out If purchasing a home for you and your family is the right thing for you to do this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Posted in Buyers
Sept. 6, 2017

Downsizing Without The Stress: A Senior’s Guide

Downsizing Without The Stress: A Senior’s Guide

For many seniors, making the decision to move to a new home is one that comes with many concerns, not the least of which is making sure it will meet all of their needs. It can be overwhelming to start the homebuying process, especially if there are health concerns, but that is precisely why many people start looking for a new place after retirement. You might have been in your current home for decades, filling it with love and memories, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean it will always be right for your needs. There are physical issues to think about, such as whether you’ll be able to continue to traverse the stairs every day or take care of the yard, and there are safety issues as well, such as whether your home is far away from the nearest hospital or from your family.

It’s a big decision, but downsizing comes with many benefits. Not having as much to take care of is a big one, but you’ll also save on your utility bills, monthly expenses, and taxes. Knowing that downsizing is such a big job means you’ll be prepared and organized, which is half the battle.

Here are some tips to get you started.

Make lists

Before you do anything, start making lists. These will help you stay organized so you won’t forget the important details. Downsizing includes lots of moving parts; not only will you need to find a new home and make arrangements for the move, you’ll also need to take care of selling your current home, paring down your belongings, packing, changing your address with the post office, and all the legalities that come with home-buying. Keep organized and easy to find in a folder, including any paperwork related to the realtor or home-buying process. Write out shopping lists for supplies, packing lists that can be taped to each box, and lists of contacts so you’ll have everything handy in one place.

Hire some movers

Once you have a new place picked out and you’re on the path toward moving, you’ll need to find the right people to help do the job. Make sure they know about any medical equipment you may have and how to handle it, find out exactly what their fees will be (most moving companies charge by the hour and a per-mile fee outside of a certain range), and do some research online regarding their ratings from other customers. For help in finding the right movers for your big day, use this helpful hiring tool.

Practice self-care

Moving is a big job, and for seniors who are leaving behind the home they’ve lived in for many years, it can be emotionally taxing. Take care of yourself by having friends and family around you prior to and during the move, and make it a point to do something relaxing every day, whether it’s getting more rest, reading a good book, or getting a massage. Treat yourself during this time and keep your stress to a minimum.

Ask for help

It can be hard to go through a move without the assistance of friends and family, so ask a few close loved ones to come over and help you go through your belongings. Not only will it make the process go faster, it will also be helpful to have people there to support you and help you choose what to take with you and what to donate or sell.

Think about large pieces of furniture that won’t fit in the new house, antiques or jewelry that would otherwise just be sitting around, and anything you’d like to pass down to your children or grandchildren. Rather than give these things up, send them to a good home and keep them in the family.

Downsizing doesn’t have to be a painful process. By planning ahead and making lists to stay organized, hiring movers, practicing self-care and asking for help, you can make sure your move goes smoothly. That means more time for enjoying the next chapter of your life in comfort and ease. 

Written by guest blogger Michael Longston

Posted in Buyers, sellers
July 25, 2017

Buying Your Dream Home


A few Questions to Ask 



















If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family will have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.

Ask yourself the following 3 questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.


1. Why am I buying a home in the first place? 

This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.

For example, a recent survey by Braun showed that over 75% of parents say, “their child’s education is an important part of the search for a new home.”

This survey supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. They are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.


2. Where are home values headed?

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in May (the latest data available) was $252,800, which is up 5.8% from last year. This increase also marks the 63rd consecutive month with year-over-year gains.

If we look at home prices year over year, CoreLogic is forecasting an increase of 5.3% over the next twelve months. In other words, a home that costs you $250,000 today will cost you an additional $13,250 if you wait until next year to buy it.

What does that mean to you?

Simply put, with prices increasing each month, it might cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy. 


3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?

A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), NAR, and Fannie Mae have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase over the next twelve months, as you can see in the chart below:
























The Truth


Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

Posted in Buyers
July 24, 2017

Modern Day Castle

This one of a kind modern day Castle is situated in the coveted Alhambra Valley Hills of Martinez on just over an acre lot. With elements of Medieval designs throughout, this home boasts many unique characteristics. The custom designed interior of this 4,545 sq ft, home offers a bright and open floor plan featuring 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, an oversized eat in kitchen, large living room, spacious game room, elegant family room, an intimate library/media room, and a creative loft offering a turreted balcony overlooking the hills beyond. As a bonus to the main house there is a charming 420 sq ft separate guest cottage with private living space and bathroom. Just outside the main level is the custom in ground square shaped pool

5460 Alhambra Valley Rd, MARTINEZ, CA 94553

decorated with stone accents and cave like overhang that protects from sun or offering a lantern lit night swim. Tired from a long day…step into the cedar planked sauna to unwind and relax. backyard space with glorious views of the Alhambra Valley hills.

5460 Alhambra Valley Rd. MARTINEZ, CA 94553

Check out this video link below. Also and give us a call to see in person

925-525-9966 Patrice Sandstrom

Click for video

July 14, 2017

Great new listing in Alamo Creek

This stunning Alamo Creek Mediterranean is only minutes away from the shops and restaurants Blackhawk. The well designed interior of this 3003 sq ft, home offers a bright and open floor plan featuring 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, interior laundry and 3 car garage. The spacious living room offers vaulted ceilings with walls of windows and flows into the open formal dining area. The highly upgraded kitchen offers an oversized island with bar seating, Bosch appliances and built in GE Monogram fridge, walk in pantry, and a built in office nook and large eat in kitchen area. The bright family room offers hillside views with generous sliders that open to the drought friendly backyard which features a full sized bocce ball court and no rear neighbors. GE Electric vehicle charger located in the garage.

The master suite and 4 guest bedrooms are all very generous and have great separation for ultimate privacy. There are stunning views of the trees and Mt. Diablo foothills from the master bed and bath. This exquisite home has been lovingly maintained and is in excellent condition. All common rooms overlook the verdant inner courtyard and every room of this wonderful home is bathed in glowing natural light. This really is a MUST SEE home. It is the perfect place to entertain your family and friends.

Conveniently located in popular community of Alamo Creek, and within walking distance to the community pool and clubhouse, both Creekside Elementary School and Diablo Vista Middle School, this home provides easy access to Hwy 680 & 580, Blackhawk Plaza, friendly neighborhood parks and 12 years of award winning schools. Blackhawk Plaza offers trendy restaurants, coffee shops, shopping boutiques, highly rated schools and transit options (including front door service County Connection shuttle to and from Walnut Creek Bart), this home offers the best of East Bay living in a charming family-friendly neighborhood.


Click for more photos

front cashmerekitchen





June 27, 2017

First Things First


In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out.

One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments

  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash

  3. Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase

  4. Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time

Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.

The Bottom Line 

Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.


Posted in Buyers
June 20, 2017

How Much Equity is in You're Home?

91,000 properties regained equity in the first quarter of 2017. This is great news for the country, as 48.2 million of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

“One million borrowers achieved positive equity over the last year, which means risk continues to steadily decline as a result of increasing home prices.”

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2017 as well, as he had this to say:

“Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

According to the Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), more homeowners are beginning to realize that they may have more equity than they first thought.

“This is only the second time in the survey’s history that the net share of those saying it’s a good time to sell surpassed the net share of those saying it’s a good time to buy.”

78.8% of homeowners have significant equity (more than 20%) in their homes today!

This means that many Americans with a mortgage have an opportunity to take advantage of today’s seller’s market. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a housing situation that better meets their current needs (moving to a larger home or downsizing).

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue:

“High home prices have led many consumers to give us the first clear indication we’ve seen in the National Housing Survey’s seven-year history that they think it’s now a seller’s market. However, we continue to see a lack of housing supply as many potential sellers are unwilling or unable to put their homes on the market…”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who is unsure of how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2017! Meet with a local real estate professional today, who can help you evaluate your situation and assist you along the way!


Posted in sellers
June 16, 2017

Not all Home Repairs are Created Equal


Whether you are selling your home, just purchased your first home, or are a homeowner planning to stay put for a while, there is value in knowing which home improvement projects will net you the most Return On Investment (ROI).While big projects like adding a bathroom or a complete kitchen remodel are popular ways to increase a home’s value, something as simple as updating landscaping and curb appeal can have a quick impact on a home’s value.

For more information about top renovation projects that net you the most ROI, Call or email

June 6, 2017

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