July 11, 2018

Cost Across Time - A Look at Interest Rates Over 40 Years

Some Highlights:

  • With interest rates still around 4.5%, now is a great time to look back at where rates have been over the last 40 years.
  • Rates are projected to climb to 5.1% by this time next year according to Freddie Mac.
  • The impact your interest rate makes on your monthly mortgage cost is significant!
  • Lock in a low rate now while you can!


Let The Cross Group help you get into your new home TODAY!


Posted in Home Buyer
July 10, 2018

Tour Tuesday - 3 Homes in Brentwood

This week on Tour Tuesday we take a look at 3 homes in Brentwood California, an up and coming town, with homes in every price range.



If you have any questions, contact Kari Cross at The Cross Group,


Subscribe to our Youtube Channel so you won't miss our uploads:


Posted in Community, Home Buyer
July 7, 2018

5 Tips to Maximize Your Open House Visits

While open houses seem pretty casual, savvy buyers know that checking out a home isn't just about aesthetics or a quick view. In today's hot market, you might not get another look before making an offer. 

If you aren’t totally sure about how the open-house process works, you aren’t alone. Sometimes homebuyers visit an open house to window shop instead of taking full advantage of the opportunity to get important details about the home. When you visit an open house, you should have several questions prepared for the seller’s agent and you should have already conducted some research, too. You want to leave this process feeling that you have enough information to make a well-informed decision. 

Here’s what you need to know about the open-house process:

Know which questions to ask.



By now, you know that an open house isn’t just a casual gathering of interested buyers, sellers and real estate agents. It is a major opportunity for you to feel out the home while also getting critical information. 

You are probably still wondering what to ask at an open house. You should have several questions prepared, as the open house might be the only chance you get to ask them. If the home is a hot commodity, then other potential buyers might be looking to put in an offer soon. 

1. How many offers have been made??


You should always ask the real estate agent if any offers have already been made. If there are multiple offers on the home, it could indicate that the property might sell quickly. If there aren’t any offers yet, then the opposite might be true. Real estate agents hope that multiple offers will push up the sales price of the home. Keep your budget in mind -- even if you love the home, you don’t want to get into a bidding war with other prospective buyers if the result is an unaffordable price.

2. Why are the sellers moving??

The sellers could be moving because one of the owners got a new job across the country. Or they could be moving because the home’s maintenance is unaffordable and the repairs are getting more burdensome. Always make sure to ask the real estate agent why the sellers are moving. If they give a strange or off-putting reason, take note. The last thing you want to do is move into a house the owners sold because of bad neighbors, rising crime or failing schools.

3. How long has the property been on the market? Why??

Learning how long a property has been on the market will allow you to make a knowledgeable offer. Make sure to ask the agent, but also verify their claim with a listing service. It could have been on the market for a while because a previous buyer’s financing didn’t come through. Or maybe the property just went on the market this month and there are plenty of suitors. The context will provide you with useful information that gives you a better idea of how fast you’ll need to take action and how competitive the offer process might be.

4. When was the house built? Has it had any updates??


You want to make sure that you know when the home was built and if there have been any updates or renovations. Check on key features of the home, such as the roof, piping or electrical wiring. If you are purchasing an older home and there have been no recent updates of these features, you should be wary -- you might have to make those repairs at significant cost in the near future.

5. How eager is the seller to sell the property? Is it an urgent sale or can it happen at any time??


Just as it is important to know why the seller is moving, it is also important to know how eager they are to sell and what their timeline looks like. If the seller needs to offload the house in a hurry, then perhaps they might be willing to consider a lower offer. But if the seller isn’t motivated, then the process might not move very quickly.

Make sure you are ready this weekend, and remember, if you have any questions, or need help finding that perfect home, call The Cross Group! Who you work with matters!

Kari Cross



courtesy Forbes.com

Posted in Home Buyer
July 3, 2018

Tour Tuesday - Discovery Bay Water Options

This week on Tour Tuesday we take a look at different types of homes on the water in Discovery Bay California. 



If you have any questions, contact Kari Cross at The Cross Group,


Subscribe to our Youtube Channel so you won't miss our uploads:


Posted in Community, Home Buyer
June 26, 2018

5 Reasons Why Autumn Might Just be the Best Time to Purchase a Home

5 Reasons Why Autumn Might Just be the Best Time to Purchase a Home

1. Year-End Tax Breaks

As long as you close on the property on or before Dec. 31, any property tax and mortgage interest paid are tax-deductible for that year.  This can dramatically impact the amount of money you owe Uncle Sam, or increase your refund.

2. Less Competition

The National Association of Realtors recently noted that, in an average of a year, half of all home sales occur from May to August.  Although most people wait until the hustle and bustle of the spring selling season, you'll likely encounter less competition during fall and winter.  That means less stress and a reduced chance you'll be involved in a bidding war.

3. Eager Sellers

Sellers become more motivated the longer their home sits on the market, especially once the summer rush is over.  If a home has been listed for a while, it may allow buyers more room for negotiation and potentially a better deal.

4. Cheaper Moving Prices

You're probably planning to hire a moving company in some capacity, whether you're moving across town or across the country.  In the fall and winter moving companies tend to be less busy, which means you might enjoy more flexible schedules and lower prices.

5. Quicker Transactions

Motivated sellers paired with less-busy title companies may mean a faster closing in fall and winter.  Do you want a new home in time for the holidays or new year? It is entirely possible when you are on the hunt in the last quarter of the year.


The Cross Group at INTERO

Kari Cross


Posted in Home Buyer
June 19, 2018

4 Gardening Tips for the Lazy Gardener

4 Gardening Tips for the Lazy Landscaper

Keeping up with landscaping can take a lot of time and energy. Between weekly mowing, picking weeds, and tending to all of the plants it can be a lot of work for those who are busy. Check out these easy gardening tips for those who simply don’t have a lot of extra time for a jungle inspired garden.

1. Plant a Xeriscape

If you live near a metro area surrounded by a natural flush of trees, or if you simply like the look of plants but don’t want the hassle of watering them, consider planting a xeriscape. This kind of landscaping is composed of plants that require little to no irrigation and are easy to take care of. Plants that do well in a xeriscape include lavender, ornamental grasses, and coneflowers. If you don’t live in a drought prone region, consider planting those native plants that already do well in your area. Native plants will need less attention as they are used to the conditions of your area and grow abundantly everywhere.

2. Add a Timer

Take advantage of technology by setting up the watering on an automatic timer. Simply plug in the timer at the hose connection to the spigot and allow the timer to water your plants on a regular schedule. This will work well for those extra thirsty plants that need more water throughout the summer and you won’t forget to water since it will already be taken care of. Setting up a drip system for your plants is another easy way to make sure that they get watered without having to have added hoses or sprinklers constantly in the flower beds as well.

3. Use Evergreens

There are many different evergreens that can be planted to add depth, height, and appeal to a yard. Evergreens are easy to maintain as they require little to no pruning and will stay green all year long. Plant a row of evergreen shrubs to add privacy to a yard as well as a constant wall of beautiful green color throughout every season. Evergreens may need a little extra watering during the hotter months as well as some pinecones that need to be picked up once a year. However, they are a great option for those homeowners who don’t want to have to mess with a lot of leaf raking or careful pruning like other trees.

4. Renew Mulch Coloring

Mulch looks great when you just put it down but a few years later it can easily fade and become an eyesore. Although a little unconventional, you can paint the mulch to renew the coloring and overall look of landscaping. Simply use a paint sprayer along with a nice brown paint to paint the top of the mulch in order to get an updated look. Make sure that the mulch is where you want it before you paint as only the top will get painted when you spray it.

Yard maintenance can take a lot of time so help yourself by planting a xeriscape garden or using evergreens in your yard for yearlong beauty. Set up your watering on a timer or even consider painting the mulch in order to give a quick makeover for a dull looking yard. Doing all of these things will help those of us who are lazy landscapers have a beautiful yard as well as time to enjoy it!

Kath Johnson is an avid gardener and regional representative for LawnStarter Lawn Care. When she’s not tending to her organic vegetable garden, she can be found exploring nature by bike or boat.

Kari Cross


Posted in Homeowner, Lifestyle
June 14, 2018

Knowing The 925 Featuring E.J. Phair Brewing Company

On this episode of Knowing the 925 we check out E.J. Phair Brewing Company in Pittsburg CA. 

Looking for an awesome slice and a one of a kind brew, look on further.



If you are interested in being featured on a future episode of KNOWING THE 925, 
please fill out the form at:  bit.ly/the925


Posted in Knowing The 925
June 12, 2018

Rent or Buy? Which Makes More Sense Financially?




Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (28.8%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (17.1%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!


The Cross Group

Kari Cross


Posted in Home Buyer, Homeowner
June 7, 2018

Why Working With a Real Estate Team Is The Way to Go

When you are buying or selling a home, whether your primary residence or an investment property, you want the best possible agent.  Agents help in negotiating, making sure all the legal requirements are made, and they ultimately protect one of the largest investments you will ever make.  So why leave all of that to one person? Working with a real estate team has many advantages.  

Our team is mad up of marketing specialists, transaction coordinators, buyers agents, listing agents, and many others who assist in every single transaction.  Kari is our lead agent and we defer to her for many decisions and ask her for input on every transaction, with almost 20 years of experience, she is our go to.  But we have a well defined structure that ensures the best possible outcome for each of our clients.  


From the consumer’s perspective, the advantages of working with a realtor team besides the obvious seemingly unlimited access to an agent, is the efficiency of the organization of the team moving the transaction to closing and the idea that several real estate brains can be focused on buyer and seller solutions.  More people on your side, means more brainpower focused on your transaction, you will never miss a deadline or forget an inspection, ever.  Everyone has a role, and we know our roles well.  We work together within our roles and communicate daily so everyone is on the same page.  This makes us highly efficient, and because our agents do not have to focus on marketing or coordinating, YOU are their number one priority.  

So next time you or someone you know is looking for an agent, send them over to The Cross Group, we are more than equipped to handle any real estate situation, and always have our clients best interest in mind.


THE CROSS GROUP AT INTERO       925-584-1640

Posted in Home Buyer, Homeowner
May 28, 2018

Don't Wait to Sell Your House! Buyers are Out Now


Recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) suggests that now is a great time to sell your home. The concept of ‘supply & demand’ reveals that the best price for an item is realized when the supply of that item is low and the demand for that item is high.

Let’s see how this applies to the current residential real estate market.


It is no secret that the supply of homes for sale has been far below the number needed to sustain a normal market for over a year at this point. A normal market requires six months of housing inventory to meet the demand. The latest report from NAR revealed that there is currently only a 3.6-month supply of houses on the market.

Supply is currently very low!


A report that was just released tells us that demand is very strong. The most recent Foot Traffic Report(which sheds light on the number of buyers who are actually out looking at homes) disclosed that “foot traffic grew 10.5 points to 52.4 in March as the new season approaches.”

Demand is currently very high!

Bottom Line

Waiting to sell will only increase the competition between you and all of the other sellers putting their houses on the market later this summer. If you are debating whether or not to list your home, contact a local real estate professional who can explain the conditions in your market.

Posted in Home Seller, Homeowner