Aerial view of Oakland, CA

Understanding Buying And Selling Oakland Real Estate

The city of Oakland has had an incredibly strong real estate market in recent years and buyers and sellers have been trying to anticipate upcoming trends and changes. For anyone looking to buy or sell in Oakland it can be difficult to navigate the city specific taxes, rules and mandates, so for that reason I have outlined a brief overview of what to expect for your upcoming purchase or sale

City Transfer Tax

Oakland has a 1.5% city transfer tax that is added to the purchase price of any real estate transaction that takes place in the city. This is traditionally split between the buyer and the seller. This is an important cost to consider as a buyer because it can significantly increase the amount of money coming out of pocket when calculating closing costs.


Downtown Oakland Skyline

Sewer Lateral Compliance


Many properties in Oakland are very old and for that reason the city has implemented a sewer lateral compliance that is required when a property transfers ownership. Older homes often have clay sewer laterals or reaches an extended distance due to topography.

Prior to selling a home an owner will be required to pay for an inspection where a camera is run through the pipe to check for any problems.

The sewer lateral will be required to pass an inspection or be repaired or replaced within a certain timeframe after closing. Once it is certified the sewer lateral compliance stays in place for ten years with the city records.

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Sidewalk Compliance

In 2018 the city of Oakland, working with the ADA, implemented the Sidewalk Compliance ordinance that requires all sidewalks in front of an owners home to be ADA compliant within a certain timeframe after a transaction. Often the repairs are minor, but if there is serious wear to an existing sidewalk the cost can be thousands of dollars. These repairs and certification are the responsibility of the seller.

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Rent Control

Rent control has been a very hot topic in the Bay Area for a long time and it is especially enforced in Oakland. If you are planning on owning an investment property in Oakland it is very important to factor in rent-controlled tenants. Rent can only be raised once a year and is currently capped at 3% annually. Tenants are required to be notified of each rent increase 30 days prior.


Vacancy Tax

A property in Oakland is considered vacant if it is not occupied at least 50 days in a calendar year. The city introduced the vacancy tax in order to encourage owners to rent their properties to fill the demand for the current housing shortage. The current tax sits at $6000 annually for a single-family home and $3000 a year for each unit in a multi-unit property. There are a handful of exemptions that apply but make sure to research your eligibility.

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Eviction Moratorium

Oakland is the only city in the country that still has an eviction moratorium in place after the covid pandemic. This means that tenants that cannot afford rent are not subject to eviction proceedings until the moratorium ends. The new proposal will continue the current eviction moratorium until July 14, 2023 and end it on July 15, 2023. This time period will allow for outreach, education, and referral to services to support tenants and property owners with the changes in law.

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Rent Registration

The Oakland City Council has adopted a requirement to establish a rent registry for all units subject to the RAP (Rent Adjustment Program) Program Fee. As of July 1, 2023, owners of these units will be required to report rent and tenancy information to RAP. They will then be required to confirm or update their units’ tenancy information annually by March 1.

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Pricing Transparency

Many parts of Oakland advertise very transparent pricing expectations when selling while others do not. It is very important to work with a real estate agent that understands the city and where to invest your time and money looking. Properties in some areas of Oakland will traditionally list 20-30% below expected offer price in order to attract multiple offers and start bidding wars. Confusion over this lack of transparency can hurt expectations for buyers and leave them lostwhen trying to get the home of their dreams.

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Client Testimonials


We were very happy with Dean as our Realtor. We needed to get our house on the market ASAP as we had a contingent offer on another house. Dean was very focused and managed to get our house ready for MLS in just a few days!

- Jennifer A.

We had a great experience working with Dean and would highly recommend him as a realtor! It’s been all-around a great experience!

- Elizabeth A.

I am so glad Dean represented me with my first time home purchase . Dean patiently took time to explain and address all the things to make sure I was 100 % satisfied . Even a month after purchasing he wanted to make sure everything was good!

- Chris M.

Dean Powell


CA DRE #02108792

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