Home » Featured, Real Estate, Sharon Alva

Real Estate Roundup with Sharon Alva: Alameda real estate professionals for education

Submitted by on 1, February 11, 2011 – 12:02 am4 Comments

I was proud to join real estate professionals in Alameda this week in support of public education. A group of real estate professionals came together to form a Primary Formed Committee (PFC) to advocate for schools in Alameda. The first order of business for the new committee, Alameda Real Estate Professionals for Schools (AREPS), will be taking out a full page ad in local papers in support of Measure A.

“Well funded schools are vital for a healthy community,” said Troy Staten, president of the Alameda Association of Realtors (AAOR), when we met. (Staten said he was speaking for himself, and not the association.)

While the board of directors of AAOR has remained neutral on the upcoming parcel tax measure, a majority of AAOR members who responded to a survey about the issue were in support of Measure A. At a special meeting of AAOR, many agents and brokers voiced their support for the measure.

Agents, lenders and others who work in real estate see the close tie between well-funded schools and property values. We are regularly asked by clients to help them choose towns and neighborhoods where schools have small class size, high scores, AP classes and rich curricula that include music, art and sports.

As real estate agents, we often turn perspective buyers to online sources like www.Greatschools.org that compare schools by both objective criteria like test scores and class size, and by more subjective parent and faculty comments. We also advise parents to seek advice on Berkeley Parents Network and locally at Alameda Parents Network. Time after time buyers tell us they are willing to pay higher home prices to live in those communities where schools are well funded.

Buyers ask us about schools even when they have no school-aged children as an indicator of home values and appreciation. Communities that care about public education are desirable to all home buyers. No wonder so many of us, as part of our concern for our clients and their interests, support schools.

Sharon Alva is a real estate agent with Alain Pinel Realtors, living in Alameda. You can reach her at sharon@alvaproperties.com


  • Sharon,

    Great to see yet another group of Alamedans stepping up to support our schools. While in my mind (and I would bet in yours) “great education” is all the motivation needed to vote Yes on A, your column is a great reminder of the many secondary benefits that the schools provide our community at large.

  • Jon Spangler says:


    Here’s one simple – and hypothetical -scenario I came up with to illustrate why the costs of implementing the school closures and program cuts approved in Plan B might be more expensive than paying the higher taxes. What do you think of it? Am I being realistic? I welcome your critique.

    1. Measure A fails and no subsequent parcel tax is approved during 2011-2013 to replace the missing $12-$17 million in AUSD income needed to bridge the gap.

    2. Following the 2012-13 school closures, home prices fall just 5 per cent in value from their current levels because AUSD schools are no longer seen as attractive. For a home worth $600,000 in today’s market that 5 per cent would be $30,000.

    3. IF the additional parcel taxes on the above home ran $600 per year (the net increase after Measure A replaces the two current parcel taxes) the net cost to the homeowner (7 years x $600 per year) = $4200.

    4. So if property values fall 5 per cent from current levels this mythical homeowner would LOSE $25,800 ($30K less the $4200 savings of the Measure A taxes not paid).
    I guesstimated these numbers but I believe they are well within reasonable limits. The loss in property values could be as small as 1-2 per cent and this imaginary homeowner still loses money.

    That small (1 to 5 per cent) loss in home values across the Alameda market by 2013-2014 seems entirely probable to me if Measure A loses and AUSD’s “Plan B” is fully implemented. If Measure A fails I will be VERY glad to be the former homeowner that I am.

    • Sharon Alva says:

      From an on-the-ground view of Alameda’s real estate market that is right on the money. Some of the losses in home value have already happened. I have buyers looking in Piedmont this weekend. They are making the compromise (smaller home, less yard) for schools. So the $900-M$1.2 they would have spent here will likely go to Piedmont, where they will gladly pay over $1,000 in parcel tax. Same for the clients who finally bought in the peninsula, and the ones who bought in Berkeley (less expensive house but since “looks like private school so…”). So some drop in value because our schools have been endangered for so long is already happeneing. If the parcel tax does not pass I suspect a greater loss. Whether it is 5% I can’t say, but it could even be more. I look at lovely San Leandro neighborhoods like Broadmoor or Estudillo Estates and the same house there in a very Alameda-like setting is more than a hundred thousand dollars less than Alameda.

      • Adam Gillitt says:

        Scary propaganda!!!!!

        Are buyers at all concerned about allegations of corruption in City Hall over the past year at all, or about all of the positions in the City that are staffed in interim capacities, or issues about Alameda Point and other concerns that may affect their property values or are they singularly focused on the alleged benefits paying an unfair school parcel tax?

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.