Go Solar NOW! Major changes to Solar in 2023

by arlene on January 19, 2023

Despite hearing resounding objections from the public, scientists and even many politicians, in December of 2022 the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)  approved changes to modify the amount of money paid by PG&E and other utility providers to solar customers for excess electricity that homes provide to the grid.

I partnered with a solar provider colleague, Derrick Holt of Solar Energy Systems of California who serves with me on the Climate Action Committee of our Association of REALTORS to produce a video to summarize the issues, and answer the key questions about why you want to act now, including examples of the financial advantages to you.  Here is the Link to our Video.

For those who prefer a limited summary in print,  here are some of the key points:

The updated Net Energy Metering (NEM) 3.0 rules, which go into effect after April 14, 2023, reduce the net energy payments to customers by a whopping 75%! And they have added monthly fees just for the priviledge of having rooftop solar systems.

But it’s not too late to sign-up for a solar installation under the curre, nt NEM 2.0 program. You only need your application approved before the deadline. Your solar vendor then has up to three years to complete the installation. You must apply in time for PG&E to respond, and my guess is that they will be deluged with applications!

In addition, you can transfer the current NEM 2.0 program to a new owner when you eventually sell your home, something you cannot do that under NEM 3.0. This both saves you money in the short term, and increases the value of your home in the future. There also are tax incentives to help with the upfront costs. So the sun and the stars really are converging for you to act now. Right now. This month, but not much later!



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Focusing on Giving Thanks this Holiday in 2022

by arlene on November 17, 2022

Holidays in 2022 are still going to be in transition, just like so many aspects of our world. We are fortunate that COVID is less deadly now, but the virus is still evolving. Some families may be aching to have a large family gathering again, while I know quite a few people are still being cautious, not yet ready for groups larger than just a few friends. So whether there will be many people at your table or just a few, wouldn’t it be wonderful if for this 2022 version of Thanksgiving we focus on what really matters: being part of a community, and giving thanks for the friends and family members who are still with us, and who make our lives special!

Give a call to someone with whom you have not been in touch for many months. If you already been through your contact list once, maybe it is time for a second pass! The words “thank you” and “I have missed you!” really can be a valuable gift to someone!

Consider making this year’s holiday meals special by ordering out:

  • Order take-away from some of the many local restaurants and caterers that are open, and really need your business to survive this health crisis. Give a call to your favorite restaurant and see what they are offering. You might consider Ann’s Catering, which used to provide fare for my broker tours and now provides daily meals and weekend specials to take away. They recently announced that they are struggling. It would be a shame to lose this local institution, so consider ordering either a full dinner occasionally, or perhaps just ordering some of their yummy side dishes and desserts.
  • Order a pie or cake for either Thanksgiving or other holidays, and deliver it (or have it delivered) to clients or friend. There are traditional and inventive creations. Here’s a list of local options.

Buy fewer things as gifts, and focus on experiences:

  • Give a membership to a local museum, zoo, or aquarium. Some are outdoor experiences, and all will have updated safety protocols.
  • Give gift cards to local businesses. That helps some of our favorite businesses stay afloat, and your friends will enjoy excellent local items. The Cheese Board is always a hit with its excellent breads as well as their amazing pizzas! Or choose your local bookstore like Pegasus, Mrs. Dalloways, or Walden Pond Books.

Support local community services with donations:

  • There are so many worthy causes that are having a really tough time, and you can make a donation, or make it in the name of someone you wish to honor. Whether you wish to support the struggling arts, or donate to the food banks which need record donations, or want to help the homeless, your donations will be greatly appreciated. You can help make sure local animals are taken care of by donating to shelters.

I’m going to be on the lookout for outdoor events that can still be very festive, while being safe. One Berkeley example: this Saturday, November 20th from 5 – 7 pm you can join an outdoor party along 4th street, as they debut their remarkable holiday light display. You can also enjoy Fantasy parades each Saturday evening in December and enjoy the lights then. Follow this link for more details, including other light displays throughout the East Bay this holiday season. Enjoy!

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Support Local Businesses for Gifts and Celebrations!

December 16, 2021

The diversity of the East Bay is quite inspirational – it offers a little something for everyone. We know that many restaurants and small businesses have folded as a result of the pandemic, and others are having a difficult time staying open. To protect the variety of local businesses that make our community unique, let’s […]

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New spa bathroom in North Berkeley home with both vintage and modern mahogany!

August 22, 2021

I remember those first days of school when I was kid, when the teachers would always ask us to prepare a report on how we spent our summer. The timing is perfect for me to report how I spent my summer this year, and it was largely preparing a listing for sale. Normally that would […]

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Starting At Home: Stabilizing And Nourishing Our Environment

April 16, 2021

Did you know buildings produce as much smog as all of the light-duty vehicles in California? That’s about 40% of all of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, Berkeley was the first city in the country to adopt an electrification mandate for new construction and major rehabilitation. More than 30 California cities have followed similar […]

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How has the pandemic changed what homebuyers will be looking for in the coming year?

January 20, 2021

 I answered the question for the SoundOff! section of SF Gate for Sunday, January 17th. Here is a somewhat expanded response: In a word, most buyers simply want MORE than pre-pandemic, and the following trends are expected to continue: More space within the home: With families spending most of their time at home, they want […]

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Surprises Aplenty in the 2020 Real Estate Market!

December 30, 2020

Surprises were commonplace in this most uncommon year. One of the first major surprises was just how quickly the real estate market transitioned from on-hold in March, to a very active market as soon as we were declared an “essential service” the beginning of April. I’m grateful for the few buyers of mine who were […]

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FOCUS ON GIVING THANKS for Thanksgiving 2020!

November 19, 2020

Next week instead of large gatherings with many family members and an enormous roasted bird, lots of us will have just immediate family members at our table. So instead of big production meals, we can focus on what really matters: being part of a community, and giving thanks for the friends, family members and for […]

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Follow the Good Witch, and have a Green Halloween!

October 14, 2020

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 […]

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How the recent fires have impacted our Real Estate market

October 9, 2020

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 […]

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