Berkeley, CA Real Estate News

By Catherine Krueger, Specializing in the East Bay Real Estate market (E
(Compass)
Well I guess $300K over the asking was the magical number.  I heard that my offer was not accepted but I was not told who got it and if it was an all cash versus an offer over mine.... My clients and I are bummed.  Everyone around me is shocked that prices in Berkeley are still crazy and that people are overbidding by that much. I can't say that it is true for every single house but given our lack of inventory I have seen many houses go over the asking price.  El Cerrito has slowed down and prices have gone down too but the house around the corner from my office in the St jerome/1000 Oaks area received 4 offers so that is a good sign.   Interest rates are holding up well and my upcoming listings should do well in this market.  I just hope I don't have to compete against similar homes on...
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By Catherine Krueger, Specializing in the East Bay Real Estate market (E
(Compass)
I wrote a few weeks ago about this house in the Berkeley hills where there were 12 offers.  The bank still countered everyone for the highest and best offer despite offers $200,000 over the asking price....  That is pure gluttony.  And then the worst part is they accepted an offer with 10% cash down on an REO where the previous owner had stripped the house of everything.  You name it and it is GONE...  so the house cannot appraise as a livable space.  After 2 weeks the buyers backed out because they did not get a loan so the bank decided to lower the asking price and put the house back on the market instead of calling the agents who had written an offer!!  I don't understand the reasoning yet again.  We are back at our second shot hoping to get our offer accepted.  I know that there wer...
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By Michael Greenslade
(Better Homes & Gardens | Mason-McDuffie Real Estate)
Yesterday I had the great opportunity to tour the Thorsen House near U.C. Berkeley in Berkeley, California.  My client who happens to be a high ranking alumni member of the fraternity that owns the Thorsen House gave me a private tour of this beautiful Greene & Greene "Ultimate Bungalow". Greene & Greene architects are the same architects that designed the world famous Gamble House in Pasadena California. My client is getting his loan funded today and will be closing on his first home in Oakland's Montclair district tomorrow. It was high time to take a break.  My client chose to work with me because of my passion for and knowledge of historic architecture. I will be doing a full series of blog postings later, but I want to give you this web link now.  www.thorsenhouse.org to let you kno...
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By Catherine Krueger, Specializing in the East Bay Real Estate market (E
(Compass)
Everything is spinning in the Bay Area!  Suddenly buyers are back after taking a nice festive break.  This week has been very busy with rates dropping and then rising and then dropping again.  Refis are on the way up and more houses are coming onto the market. Today I wrote an offer on a house that was previously on the market for $2,800,000!  Beautiful 4500sqft home with gorgeous views of the bay on 1/2 acre!!!  The seller unfortunately lost the home to the bank and the agent put it back on the market for under $1,000,000.  Well, talk about chaos.  Everyone wanted that property.  Then another client called me about writing an offer on a property in Richmond!  Wow  it is nice to be busy again and get back in the groove after a slower period in 2008.  Looking at prices in the depressed a...
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By Joanne O'Donnell
(Chic Home Interiors)
Yesterday afternoon I went to an open house in Berkeley, CA where they were doing a seminar on cohousing.  The Architect/Builderspoke first and you could really see his passion for the project, which is a two home/condo structure in West Berkeley with communal entrance and courtyard.  Most of you who know about cohousing might say - only two?  But that is all he could get zoning for and so did what he could within the parameters he was given.  But what a job he did on the greening of the project, the project has been Green Point Rated at 200 points. By comparison the current average for single family projects is 109 points and for multifamily 87 points.   I give you both as I am unsure which category this falls into.  He made good choices throughout without compromising style.  From the...
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By Catherine Krueger, Specializing in the East Bay Real Estate market (E
(Compass)
Inventory in the Berkeley area, CA is so low!! Clients are waiting for a decent house to come up.  I checked yesterday and in one week only 18 new homes in the East Bay!!!  Some of them are overpriced and others are your typical REO or short sale listings...  How can you sell those??  We need more homes to sell.  Market is holding steady in the East Bay.  I have seen a slight increase in sales prices in the last month as well.
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By Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA
(www.Staged-to-Sell )
    I love before and afters.  The reason is that after working on a project, sometimes for months, we tend to forget really what it looked like before we got our hands on it. After the staging we take our photos, list them on or site, send them to our clients and file them away for another day. Once in a while I run across a few that really make me sit back and smile. This one just sold over asking with multiple offers. Hippie decor at it's best...          BEFORE STAGED TO SELL - Master Bedroom         AFTER STAGED TO SELL- Master Bedroom             BEFORE STAGED TO SELL - Living room            AFTER STAGED TO SELL - Living Room   Kym Hough's Staged to Sell serving Berkeley, Piedmont, Oakland and the entire Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. More information www.Staged-to-sell.com. ...
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By EastBayWaterDamage.com Certified Professional Restoration
  This home in Berkeley had mold growing on the grout between the tiles for "a few years" according to the homeowner.  They would attempt to scrub off the mold only to have it return again a few weeks later.  Mold growth requires moisture and there is always moisture in a bathtub/shower so some mold growth can be common.  However, constant mold growth on the grout can often mean that there is moisture in the wall behind the tiles which is why the grout is always wet and mold continues to come back even after a thorough cleaning.  In this picture, the water damage and mold was so severe that one of the tiles actually just fell off with a minimum amount of pressure applied.  The entire wall surrounding the tub was saturated with moisture.  The entire tub and tile wall had to be removed in...
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
Seller's Error #2: Listing Price Too High!Listing your home for more than it is worth will most likely result in a sale price far below what you would have received if you correctly priced you home in the first place. Overpriced homes are missed by buyers until the price is reduced because buyers shop by price range. There may be a perception by buyers that your listing is stale. Stale listings can develop a stigma, for absolutely no reason!Realtors prefer showing properly priced homes and may use your home to close buyers on another lower priced listing.Keeping in mind that 96 percent of all homes are sold by Realtors. Attracting Realtors to your home is important.Longer list times also cost you more mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, and the carrying costs associated home o...
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
This Berkeley home is a totally intact Mid-Century Modern.Color, pop, fixtures, it's all here! The bathroom comes in a cool aqua blue. The kitchen is a fab limey-yellow. The space saving, fridge was ultra cool for the the day, in three compartments above the counter-tops. This home includes an avocado washer and dryer, (not guaranteed to be energy efficient.)
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
Look at these lovely built in closet doors!  Every detail of this Berkeley Home was refinished, polished or replaced with a long lasting sustainable material. The home has private decks and indoor/outdoor space bringing the hillside views into your kitchen and living spaces.  A guest bedroom features built in boolshelves.  The open floor plan of the home takes all the square footage and makes it usable.
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this incredible remodel on The Alameda in Berkeley. This post is mostly just to show you some incredible pictures... Just want you to see!  The builder used sustainable hardwoods and oiled them with Low-VOC oils.  Every detail of the home is simply beautiful!  If you would like to take a look at this lovely home you can email me to nicole@greenhouserealestate.net!
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By Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA
(www.Staged-to-Sell )
A truly unique home located in the Solano Avenue area of Berkeley. Walk to quaint shops and coffee houses and 10 minutes from downtown San Francisco.  This property has a main house and an in-law unit.  Wood floors throughout main house completely refinished. Mature, gorgeous and unique yard. Complete in-law unit with large bathroom, kitchen and large windows that open to a beautiful garden and large deck perfect for outdoor living.  Professional Staged by Kym Hough's Staged to Sell www.staged-to-sell.com serving Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito and the entire Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Fabulous Outdoor Living Space   Cozy Office
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
What's Your Favorite Flavor?In the Elmwood District of Berkeley is the most fabulous Ice Creamery, Ici.Place made Ice Cream daily, with all the free tastes you want. Piles of lemons abundant in a large pedestal bowl, hint of the flavors to arrive from the kitchen.Plus other nuggets of delicious sweets. You really must come down here and wait in line if you have not. It is sure to be your new summer destination.
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
I met Jamie at my Bikram Yoga class and she offered me an incredible array of nutrition information right on the spot. Jamie is young and enthusiastic about helping people become their best selves.Jamie offers Farmer's Market Tours, helping you get the best and freshest from the market and then she helps you prepare it in a way that is delicious and nutritious. I really like Jamie's attitude about not offering traditional diet advice, like how to get bikini ready, but just wants you to feed and love the body you are in.She has a new group session beginning next week. For more information about Jamie Living, check her website!
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By Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA
(www.Staged-to-Sell )
    Gorgeous 3 bedroom/3 bath, sitting room, spacious home on corner lot with private garden and back patio.  Upgrades throughout the property. Hardwood floors, beautiful tile bathroom floors, Large living room with fireplace, formal dining room, eat-in kitchen in desirable area of Berkeley in the Claremont neighborhood.  Detached garage. List price $950,000. Staged Professionally by Kym Hough's Staged to Sell serving Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda and Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. For more information go to www.Staged-to-Sell.com
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By Mary Smartt, Smartt Moves with Mary Smartt
(Lawton Associates / www.LawtonAssociates.com)
Last time, I blogged about what sellers can do to "help me, help you" --and now it is the buyer's turn. I'm going to be doing a lot of work researching properties, putting together tours for us, creating offers, negotiations, scheduling inspections, and more. And, there is a lot that buyers can do to help make the search and the transaction go as smooth and effectively as possible.Buyers, you can "help me help you" by doing the following:Know what aspects of a new home are most important to you. Maybe you need at least 2 bathrooms, or would prefer a nice view. Some people want a walking neighborhood close to stores and public transportation. Or--who knows--maybe you want a fire pole to slide down in the morning. Know what is most important to help focus your search.Know your motivation....
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By Michael Greenslade
(Better Homes & Gardens | Mason-McDuffie Real Estate)
I just sent of an email to Mark at Omega Salvage's upscale lighting and fixture store Omega Too.  I stopped into their Berkeley storefront the other day and talked to him about the possibility of restoring the lighting fixtures in my parent's San Leandro home.  I started to describe to him that the Chandeliers were made of cast metal, twisted steel and bent steel.  I tried to describe how the ends of some of the pieces had dragons at one end and Flor De Les at the other end.He told me that he had some people in his staff at Omega Too that do restoration of fixtures like these.I sent him some detailed up close photos.  His reaction was WOW, he had never seen anything like them before, but his restorationist had some knowledge of them.  I am still waiting to hear back from him and now her...
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By Mary Smartt, Smartt Moves with Mary Smartt
(Lawton Associates / www.LawtonAssociates.com)
There is that great line in the movie Jerry Maguire where sports agent Jerry pleads with his only client Rod Tidwell to do things that will help him be a better agent on Rod's behalf. He tells him "Help me help you!" Well, as a real estate agent, I often have to ask my clients to help me help them. So, I thought it might be helpful to share some thoughts on what you can do help your agent do a great job on your behalf. Today's edition is for the sellers in the audience, and next time I'll focus on the buyers.Sellers, you can "help me help you" by doing the following:*Create a list of all the improvements you have done to the property since you owned it. If possible include receipts and reports. Even if it is something small like having a new ceiling fan installed, put it on the list.*Ma...
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By Michael Greenslade
(Better Homes & Gardens | Mason-McDuffie Real Estate)
I have been looking long for this photo of the original Theta Chi Chapter House at U.C. Berkeley.  This was the one designed by William Raymond Yelland. Yelland was the designer for Normandy Village and Beckett's Irish Pub. It was located on LeConte just North of the campus near Normandy Village.  It was torn down in order to make room for an medical office building I believe. The blueprints for this frat house are still available in the design archives collection at U.C. Berkeley.It is the perfect text book building by Yelland. He has many of his classic features in this one building.  This frat house features dutch gables or Jerkinhead gables. A very prominent cat-slide roof at the right side.  The fireplace with the tapered top is very much his style. The bay window with the railing ...
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