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If you are looking for new or almost-new appliances and you are on a strict budget, I have an option for you. There is a Sears outlet store located in San Leandro. The appliances they sell aren’t new, but they are almost-new. This is where they send the appliances that are out-of-the box and can’t be sold as new anymore. For example, a customer might order a refrigerator from Sears and have it delivered. Once they unpack it, they realize it is too big/too small/wrong color so they send it back to Sears and get a different refrigerator. The opened refrigerator gets sent to the San Leandro store to be sold there at a hefty discount. Sometimes they even get overstocked on some items so they do have some brand-new items there from time to time.


If you go, be sure to check the appliances out from head to toe, because this is also where they send those appliances that get nicked or scratched in shipping and are refused by the customer. I have not heard glowing reviews back about cleanliness of the store or their customer service (their Yelp reviews are not great). And they may not have a huge selection of one item or another depending on what they get from the other Sears stores. But many people have reported back that it’s worth it to them for the discounts they got. So if you are willing to put up with a little frustration, give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.


The address is 1982 West Ave. 140th in San Leandro. Their phone number is 510-895-0548. They are open Monday-Saturday from 9 AM to 9 PM, and then Sunday from 10 AM to 7 PM. Website is www.searsoutlet.com. Happy shopping!


Over the next 12-18 months, many homeowners are going to see changes to their mortgage payment. A few will see their payments go down but some will see a MAJOR increase.


The ones that see their payment go down are the ones that took an adjustable-rate loan. Many of them have been fearing their payment will go up, only to be pleasantly surprised that their payment will actually go DOWN since mortgage rates have dropped quite a bit since they took their loan out 5-10 years ago.


Others won’t be so lucky. One of the more popular loans made back in 2005 and 2006 was a loan that had a fixed rate for 10 years and then the loan resets and recasts. Reset means the rate is adjusted by adding what’s called a “margin” to an “index.” Let’s say your loan paperwork states that your loan will be a 4% for a set period of time, and then it resets to “LIBOR plus 2%.” “LIBOR” is a common index that lenders use. 2% would be the margin that would be added to whatever LIBOR is at when your mortgage resets. The good news is that right now LIBOR is less than 1%, so your new reset interest rate in this example would be a little less than 3%.


So if that was the only change, the person in this example would see their payment go down. However, the loan may also “recast.” If your loan was interest-only for those 10 years, it may convert into a principal-reducing loan, which could increase the payment quite a bit. But on top of that, it will also likely need to be paid off in 20 years (since you are 10 years into a 30 year loan). These two changes can REALLY spike your payment.



The number of homes for sale is rising. There are more homes for sale right now in our area than there has been for several years. Does this mean the market is about to collapse? I don’t think so.


Inventory does tend to climb over the summer months, so the fact that inventory is higher than it was a few months ago is entirely normal. However, it is higher than at any point over the past 2-3 years. But it’s not substantially larger. For example, in Brentwood there are about 160 resale homes on the market right now. We started the year at about 100 homes on the market. So while that is a HUGE increase as a percentage, it’s only about 60 more resale homes. I think 160 is still pretty low inventory for a town the size of Brentwood. Other East County cities are seeing increases, too, and it’s the same story of a big percentage increase, but still low numbers overall when compared to their population.


One big factor is the amount of new homes for sale. It seems like just a few years ago there were very few new homes for sale around here, and now there are quite a few. They are taking buyers away from resale homes, but mostly in the upper price ranges. There are very few new homes for sale for less than $400K around here.


So what to make of the rise in inventory? If you are a buyer, this should be good news. You will have a little more to choose from, and possibly fewer other buyers to compete with. If you are a seller, it may take a bit longer to sell your home, and you’ll need to be priced well compared to the other homes competing against yours, and keep a close watch on any new listings coming on the market.


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