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!

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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 readers, I hope you’ll allow me to indulge in a bit of pride in my work.

My most recent listing was a beautiful contemporary in a park-like garden. After proudly marketing it with handsome photos, a professionally produced video, and very active open houses, we received three lovely offers. But it’s never a matter of just recommending that my clients accept the highest offer. Can I negotiate the offers to be even more lovely than originally presented? In this case two offers had identicle terms, and both were significantly over list. One buyers’ agent presented to me in person, and made it clear that her clients might be willing to go higher if necessary. Another agent shared with me that her buyers wanted her to present to me…but she was awfully busy, she told me. So she presented her offer over the phone, and at the end of the conversation asked if her clients were in the running. At that point I could share with her that there was already a higher offer. She pressed for details. And here is where I enjoy the art of finessing. How you respond, and how much information you share by inference, can make a huge difference to the outcome of the transaction. By giving each of the two agents an opportunity to improve their offers, and making it clear that there truly was competition, both parties came back with improved offers. In the course of those phone conversations the sales price increased by $70K, a dramatically improved result for my seller. I know that without my standing among my colleagues, and years of experience with negotiating, I could not have achieved that price.

800 Shattuck Avenue

800 Shattuck Avenue–The Pratt-Thomas House

Some of you visited my previous listing, the 1911 Pratt-Thomas House, a John Hudson Thomas masterpiece.After working on it for so many months it feels odd to no longer have that home as part of my work life. With gorgeous original details, but also original systems, I priced it at $1.325M. For that property I also produced a professional video tour, and held a preview reception for neighbors and other owners of historic homes. The property had been featured in several publications, and I invited the author of one to give a brief presentation during that reception. Several hundred people visited during the open houses! It also received three offers, and in that case as well, the final price was not just the result of an exuberant market. Strategic marketing, and lots of negotiating with other agents behind the scenes produced not just a high sales price, but a truly extraordinary one: $1.8M! I’m of course delighted for my sellers, and also hope that the buyers over time will be able to restore that wonderful property.

Meanwhile, we’re seeing lots of new inventory, and a bit of softening in the high end of the market. Tech news has not all be positive. So I watch carefully for other signs of a slight change in the market.

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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

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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

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  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

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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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Giving Thanks for a Great Year in East Bay Real Estate!

November 26, 2014

2014 will be my most productive year in real estate. And so with Thanksgiving fast approaching here are some of the key things for which I give thanks not just this week, but throughout the year: –My clients. Each of my buyers and sellers had many choices of agents to guide them through their purchase, or […]

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