I have always loved Hallowwen, and Halloween 2020 will definitely be one for the books! With the concurrence of  daylight saving time, a full moon, a blue moon, the American Day of the Dead and on a Saturday no less, there is much to be entertained by, observe and celebrate! Even in our new reality of social distancing and the usual public trick-or-treating activities being discouraged, there is much to look forward to and do! Why not celebrate being conscientious with your costumes, candy and crafts this Halloween season, too? Try these ghoulishly green ideas and be a Good Witch this year.

  1. Greener Goodies-Make your own savvy sweets, support and shop organic and non-GMO or think outside of the trick-or-treat box and create your own terrifying treasures!
  2. Greener Garbs-The only limit here is one’s own creativity! Rummage through closets, the give away pile, old costumes, uniforms or clothing to create unique and memorable homemade costumes!
  3. Greener Gourds-Find and support your local pumpkin farmer and buy “local”! Use and then recycle your pumpkins and other autumn edibles
  4. Greener Galas-If you have time, make your party frighteningly fantastic with homemade decorations or buy eco friendly decos for that spooky but special fun.
  5. Greener Grab Bags-Reuse, renew, recycle and rediscover for your trick-or-treating bag, however you are doing it this year.

Greener Gear-Reuse as much as you can from year to year and know that Halloween does not have to end on November 1st. Try these eeko-ideas (get it?) to keep the celebration going!

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With anxiety already high from the pandemic and the election, the fires became the final straw for some clients who now plan to leave the state, or at least leave the highest fire-risk areas of California. Others were only temporarily dissuaded from looking at properties during periods of extremely bad air quality. And many, while expressing concern about the fires, will consider the long-term picture and be reminded just how wonderful is their current community. The specific impact of the fires of course depends on how close you are to them, both physically, and in time.

For properties very near the fires there are new issues during transactions:

lenders are conducting drive-bys before funding to be sure the structure is still standing. Obtaining fire insurance now requires that the property be a certain distance from an active fire, and the fire must be largely contained before a policy will be issued. In the Berkeley/Oakland/Alameda area where I work, many buyers are actively avoiding the hills for new purchases. This is not a new trend, just a more pronounced one. Insurance will be a factor for many residents, even in areas not previously considered high risk. In high fire zones insurance became substantially more expensive and more difficult to obtain after last year’s fires; that trend continues. All California residents should review their coverage, and

be sure that is both accurate and adequate to cover you should you need to file a claim.

At the same time there are buyers who purposely are purchasing in hill areas of Berkeley and Oakland, believing they are getting a better value by being contrarians.

All of us have gained a new appreciation for two things: air conditioning, even in the areas of normally temperate weather. And all of us have gained further appreciation for the first responders fighting horrific fires, and helping to preserve communities. These are true heroes!

[This is an expanded version of the response I shared on SF Gate last weekend. You can see the original post here. I’m the final entrant in the on-line version.]

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How Open Houses and Property Showings have Changed since Shelter-in-place

July 12, 2020

For the June 30th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle Sound Off column, this was my contribution, plus some additional comments: With in-person open homes still prohibited in the East Bay, agents are instead scheduling Virtual Open Houses, advertised at set times. Instagram Live, FaceBook Live and Zoom are all platforms in use for these […]

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Advantages to First-Time Buyers while we Shelter in Place

May 30, 2020

I was asked to respond to the following question by our publicists, Lion and Orb, and thought I’d share my (lengthy…) response with everyone. Most of the answers really apply to all buyers right now.  What are some ways the pandemic could make it an easier time to buy for first-time buyers? What factors will […]

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Celebrating Earth Day, the 2020 at-home version

April 21, 2020

Honoring the Earth as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! The Earth has responded to the Great Lull with clearer air, cleaner waters, and the return of many kinds of wildlife. While we can’t gather physically together, there are many wonderful ways to celebrate Earth Day everyday by taking care of ourselves, each […]

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Museums, Aquaria and Zoos to Virtually Visit while Sheltering in Place

April 16, 2020

Museums, aquaria and zoos from around the world have opened their collections to enjoy online, in tours and interviews, both in video and streaming live. The Louvre: You don’t have to book a ticket to Paris to check out some of the famous pieces in the world’s largest art museum. The Louvre has free online tours of three […]

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Changes to Marketing Properties during SIP

April 15, 2020

I answered this question in Sound Off on Sunday, 4/12/2020. Below is an enhanced and updated version of my response that was printed in the SF Chronicle, and is online at SF Gate: “How has the COVID-19 outbreak changed the way you market listings?” A:  Residential real estate was defined an “essential service” in California […]

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Tips for Sustainable Shopping this Holiday Season

December 17, 2019

With gift-giving and all of the holiday parties, Americans throw away an estimated 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than at other times of the year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It adds up to an additional one million tons per week! If crowded malls, tedious travel and impersonal gifts […]

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Strategic Pricing in this East Bay Market

October 24, 2019

I occasionally answer questions in the real estate section of SFGate, participating in a column called Sound Off. When I started several years ago, one agent per week had an opportunity to respond to a question with enough space to give a fairly thorough answer. As demand to participate increased, they changed the format and now […]

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Enchanting Retreat in Sylvan Setting

April 20, 2019

It’s been my pleasure to have several listings in North Berkeley this year, the current one being a very charming cottage in the woods at 1470 Campus Drive in the Berkeley hills. The initial response has been excellent, with many requests to review the disclosures. I always actively market my listings, especially to other agents. […]

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