Union City, CA: a Community Overview

I’ve gotten a fair number of requests from prospective homebuyers to provide more information on the various communities that I have expertise on.  So, I’ve put together a brief overview for Union City below.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have.

The city is 19 square miles and is a part of the Tri-Cities area, along with Fremont and Newark.  The current population is about 73,402 (According to the most recent census).  With 45.3% of the 18,642 households having children under the age of 18, it is a good place to raise your family.  The city has nicknamed itself “Gateway to Silicon Valley” due to its location in the heart of the Bay Area, with manageable commutes to the various tech companies located in the South Bay, the Peninsula and Fremont.  In addition, San Francisco is a manageable commute and accessible within 40 minutes on BART. 

In the historic Old Alvarado district of Union City, you can find historical Victorian homes, a small town post office, the Union City Historical Museum and a number of small commercial business, retail shops, and eateries. Local merchants regularly sponsor the Fall Festival, Friday night jazz bands, art shows, and, every weekend, a great Farmers’ Market.  The enormous Union Landing shopping center off of Highway 880 has a very broad selection of stores, restaurants and one of the largest movie theatres in the area.

In terms of community facilities, a $25 million Performing Arts Center at Logan High School is currently under construction. The 600 seat performing arts center is scheduled to open later this year and will include a Culinary Arts center as well.  In addition, a Union City has plenty of indoor and outdoor recreation areas, including the highly popular Quarry Lakes Park, Alameda Creek Trail, Kennedy Park, The Cesar Chavez Park, Union City Sports Center and Dan Oden Swim Center.

As for schools, Union City is served by the New Haven Unified School District, which enrolls approximately 12,800 students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The district is comprised of several elementary schools: Alvarado Elementary School, Delaine Eastin Elementary, Guy Emanuele Jr Elementary School, Hillview Crest, Searles Elementary, Tom Kitayama Elementary School, and Pioneer Elementary. Two middle schools: Alvarado Middle School, Cesar Chavez Middle School (formally New Haven Middle School) and James Logan High School.  For advanced studies or summer enrichment courses, Stanford and UC Berkeley are within 35 minute drives.  In addition, Union City is a short distance away from the well regarded Cal State University East Bay in Hayward and Ohlone College (a community college) in Fremont.

Union City is a wonderful place to live with a great deal of home buying opportunities currently available. It is an excellent time to buy a home in Union City and according to information sourced by Trulia.com, the average home price has come down.  As a realtor for Union City with over 15 years of experience covering the area, I’d be glad to provide you with more information on the Union City real estate market.  Feel free to get your Union City homes search started on my website today.

March 29, 2009 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Union City Mid-year Kindergarten Program

Kudos to Union City’s New Haven School District, which today announced a “Mid-year” kindergarten (KG) full-day program for kids who were not old enough to start KG when the 2008-09 school year started.  The program starts on January 262009 and runs through the end of the school year on June 11. 

 Generally, a child is eligible to enroll in regular KG if he/she was 5 years old on or before December 2. For those kids who turned 5 since December 3, or who will turn 5 before March 20, New Haven offers the mid-year program as a means to keep kids occupied and learning.  

According to the school district, class will begin at 8am each day and be dismissed at 2:05pm.  The program will only be offered at the Cabello Student Support Center, at 4500 Cabello St in Union City.  Here’s a map of it.  There will be no charge, but parents will be responsible for transportation.

Enrollment in the mid-year kindergarten program is of course limited, with first priority going to children whose families reside within the New Haven district.  But, if space still is available after District families have been accommodated, enrollment will be extended to children whose families live outside the District. 

Parents can enroll their children by calling (510) 489-4141, ext. 200, to make an appointment at the Cabello Student Support Center and pick up enrollment forms there as well.

Veena Grover, RE/Max Accord | http://www.VeenaGrover.com | 510.378.7546  

December 13, 2008 at 2:25 am Leave a comment

Buying an REO Property in Union City: Where to Start?

I’ve received a few requests for info from potential buyers of REO properties in Union City and Hayward on how to get started.  In terms of where to start, luckily there are many websites which allow you to customize a property search and specify “REO properties”.  For example, on my other website, there’s a webpage titled “Find a Home“.  Once you’ve selected the county you’re interested in from the drop-down menu, do the following:

  • Select Union City and click “add”
  • Enter the price range of the Union City properties you’re interested in.
  • Next to “Special Conditions”, there’s a checkbox for “REO/Bank/HUD/Corp Owned”.  Check that.

Email updates:  Whenever a property becomes available that meets your criteria, you will get an automated email update providing you with a one-page summary on the property.  

Use Internet Maps to get an overview of the property:  Google Maps has a “Street View” button at the top right, which is imagery of an entire street taken by a car.  You can get a real feel for the neighborhood this way.  Zillow and Trulia provide previous sale price history on many properties.  Finally, if you are looking at this from an investment (renting) perspective, you should check out HousingMaps, which is a map showing the various rental listings from Craigslist in whatever area you choose.  

With regard to how to write offers for REO properties in Union City, after doing a bit of internet research, I came across a clear, comprehensive list from About.com, which provides a list of 8 REO tips to Buying Foreclosures.

In short, the article lists the 8 tips as:

1. Get the property financial records (the bank’s purchase price on the property and the mortgage balance on the home).

2. Review comparable sales, including pending sales.  As an agent, I can help you with this. 

3. Analyze the listing agent’s REO sales (specifically, the sale-price to list-price ratio).

4. Ask about the number of offers.

5. Submit a pre-approval letter from the same bank that owns the property.

6. Getting banks to agree to repairs is hard. Don’t ask for them before your offer is accepted.

7. Try to shorten the requested inspection period, an important factor in their acceptance of your offer. 

8. Offer to Split Fees. Some banks will not pay for transfer fees. Offering to split may improve the acceptance of your offer.

I think #2 is especially important and is something that an agent with REO experience can help with. The internet is a wonderful tool to search listings info and see sale price history. However, in the quickly moving REO world, the latest pricing data is especially important. Your agent should be able to reach across his/her network of real estate agents and quickly get the latest pricing info on pending sales whenever possible. This will generally increase the chance of a competitive offer and a favorable outcome for your bid.

Veena Grover, RE/Max Accord | http://www.VeenaGrover.com | 510.378.7546

October 31, 2008 at 11:25 pm Leave a comment