I love this time of year, with the transition to autumn and the turning of colors. And I’m one who really looks forward to celebrating Halloween. I suspect there will be some especially scary politician costumes this Halloween–or are they out there already?!

I want to share a bit of  what it looks like behind-the-scenes as a Realtor.  I was recently awakened by a call from new buyers, a pair of professors who are accepting positions at Cal. They wanted to write an offer on what turned out to be the most popular home in Berkeley these past two weeks. Imagine the challenge of needing to educate them quickly, on the phone–and on a bank holiday–about the wild and crazy over-bidding in our area, vs. a much lower and slower market in the mid-west. I needed to explain the need to submit a contingency-free offer if they wished to be competitive, and to give them a crash-course in the physical quirkiness of our older homes. I needed to urge them to get a new pre-approval in just 24 hours, as their existing lender would not be a match for a house needing pest work.

As an object lesson I used my last listing on Fulton Street, that was much smaller than the property that interested them in Northbrae, on a wonderful block of Sonoma Avenue. My listing was small: 1079 sq. ft. and it sold, after my strategic negotiating, at $1,150,000:  54% over list. That result feels so wonderful when I’m representing the sellers! But next day I must go out on tour on behalf of my buyers, and that’s quite a different experience. I knew that the new buyers’ offer had little likelihood of success, given that more than a dozen offers had been confirmed the previous day. In the end 17 offers were written, and we were somewhere in the bottom half, having written at just about 20% over list.* But they needed to experience our market for themselves, and I am very proud that they were able and willing to make a decision quickly to jump in, even in an extreme situation. With that motivation, and now with more experience, I know they will succeed soon in acquiring a home, and I look forward to being their guide!

*[A market update: I now know that the Sonoma home, listed at $1,095M has a back-up offer at $1.625M, and is believed to be in contract at $1.65M!]

The question of the hour is: will the real estate market follow weather patterns? Some pundits are already seeing some cooling off in the less urban areas of California, as well as in the high price points. So far, with the exception of the Sonoma Ave. house, I’m seeing fewer offers on average, but not necessarily lower sales prices. On average the Berkeley median has declined this month from an all-time high of $1.2M, but Kensington has hit its own record level of $1.1M.  As the days shorten and we prepare for the first rains of the season, will there be fewer options, leading to more over-bidding? Or will colder, wetter weather actually dampen the market? And how will the election impact local real estate? I fear there are no macro-patterns to rely on. And so I continue to search house by house, week by week, hoping to find the best matches for all of my buyers.

Wishing you a colorful autumn, a wicked Halloween…and healing of our nation after the elections!

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Berkeley Mid-Century Modern

by arlene on June 19, 2016

183FairlawnIt’s my pleasure to be representing 183 Fairlawn Drive. This Chalet-style home with its clean lines and inviting interior offers a peaceful retreat in the hills. And yet you are close to all of the wonderful amenities of Berkeley: its great neighborhoods, Lawrence Hall of Science, LBL, the UC Campus and Tilden Park. A bus stop is a block away. Visitors are surprised to learn that it takes 12 minutes by bus to arrive at downtown Berkeley, or a 10 minute drive to get to my office at the top of Solano Avenue.

This home embodies the highly-desirable mid-century aesthetic. High wood-paneled ceilings with multiple skylights, and large triangular windows provide abundant natural light and sylvan views. The main upstairs living area is open and welcoming with a wood-burning stove and expansive dual-pane windows. Walls and ceilings have been freshly painted, the oak floors refinished, and the kitchen and main bathroom have just been updated. A small deck off the kitchen was also just rebuilt, and provides a pleasant spot to enjoy your morning coffee alfresco.

At the street level you will enjoy a spacious room that would make a third bedroom, great office, or could serve as the family/media room, or comfortable guest quarters with an adjoining half-bath and laundry facilities.

The front garden is planted with drought-tolerant plants and natives. And just down the block is the recently updated Terrace View Park, with basketball court, picnic area, swings and multiple play areas. It’s a great place to spend time outdoors and also enjoy your own neighborhood!

For more information, please visit 183fairlawn.com


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Behind the Scenes: the Real Value I Bring as a Realtor

May 16, 2016

I’m always fascinated to hear what people assume it’s like to be a Realtor. These past couple of weeks I’ve had several “back story” situations that I think would surprise most consumers about what are our most key duties, and how much difference an agent makes in the outcome of a deal. And so gentle […]

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800 Shattuck — The Pratt-Thomas House

April 3, 2016

The Pratt-Thomas House at 800 Shattuck Avenue is available for the first time in almost 50 years. The first of three neighboring homes designed by John Hudson Thomas for John Pratt in 1911, this is where Thomas himself lived for several years after its completion. This may be one of the most photographed homes in […]

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Sometime just asking the question can hurt you–Changes in the Insurance Industry

April 1, 2016

After the spring rains came additional things falling: trees. This is a good time to re-evaluate your insurance, and be sure that you know what would be your coverage in case a tree fell either on your property, or one of your trees fell on your neighbor.  Do you have a deductible that is so high […]

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The 2016 East Bay Real Estate Market Opens with Few Options, Lots of Cash

February 15, 2016

  It feels like spring, and daffodils, those harbingers of our new real estate market, are in bloom all around the East Bay. I know lots of properties are being prepared to come on the market, but right now the available homes are very scarce indeed. In all of Berkeley, in a $400K range of prices […]

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Autumn Market Starts with Record High Prices

September 28, 2015

The Autumn market has just begun amidst the highest median home prices ever in the East Bay. Berkeley has crested over $1M, Albany and Alameda both around $900K, and El Cerrito, is now $775K. My colleagues at Red Oak got some good air time on KPIX last week, showing the summary of our market: –1/3 […]

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One Day in the Sun: A day in the life of an East Bay listing agent

March 13, 2015

I was recently asked what is one of the favorite parts of my job as a Realtor? Certainly there are several very satisfying aspects, including providing tips about the home-buying process to new buyers, and sharing my knowledge about local architecture with people considering moving here from another area. But in this market, where inventory […]

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The 2015 East Bay Real Estate Market Opens–Low inventory, high over-bidding again?

February 3, 2015

Common wisdom among male agents is that the market starts after the Super Bowl. I’ve always described the market opening when the daffodils bloom. That major commercial event just occurred — and my first daffodil just bloomed! So if this year is like most, we should start to see more inventory appearing very soon. As […]

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Low interest rates plus low inventory ring in 2015

January 13, 2015

Happy New Year! I hope you had time since my last post to spend time with family and friends. Last week saw the first real tour of the year, but inventory is likely to remain quite low for the next few weeks. I met with new potential buyers between Christmas and New Year, and there was truly […]

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