Dec 192014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

Just look at it. In so many ways the pictures tell it all. It’s a 1915 craftsman that’s been totally remodeled inside and out. It’s got six bedrooms and three full bathrooms and provides over 2100sf of living space. Sweet pluses include a small room for an office in the back, a central family room upstairs, a basement and a 5000sf lot. Clean as a whistle and updated with modern appliances in the kitchen, new floors upstairs and down, new plumbing, new roof, clear pest report… and the list goes on. Let me first say I think this is a great one for a first time buyer, specifically because of all the remodeling. It’s the type of home you most likely won’t be working on every weekend once you take ownership. It looks and feels like a brand new home when you walk through it. But it’s actually a quite spacious and charming craftsman with a huge redwood tree in the backyard and it just brims with the spirit of revitalization. You’ll find this one located in the Fairfax Business District just northwest of 55th Ave and Bancroft. It may be a neighborhood you’ve never heard of, but it’s one that’s well worth a look in this price range for sure. It’s another great example of how demand is pushing into new parts of Oakland which is ultimately changing the face of so many areas such as Temescal and NOBE that were once not quite so famous. Drive around the nearby streets and you’ll see similar-aged homes, mostly craftsmans, with a charming variety of styles and levels of restoration. It’s another Oakland early 20th century neighborhood that’s got tons of potential, and considering its convenient access to Fruitvale BART, the Coliseum station and airport connector, and currently reasonable prices it’s certainly possible to be another one where demand takes it to a new level. Overall, this home just felt good to me. It felt like it could be a great place to live. A surprisingly good opportunity for this one that shouldn’t be missed. Please contact me for a private showing!

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Dec 052014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving holiday last week! Back to it this week now looking for the great deals in real estate in Oakland now, and this week I am choosing one that I think looks like a super opportunity. All of us who have been shopping for homes in Oakland know how trying to purchase is so often a story of repeatedly matching up against competing offers for homes on the market. It’s tough. And for buyers who have made numerous offers without success it can be a major disappointment. Sometimes when looking through the seller’s disclosures it’s hard to believe how some homes can possibly command such prices without being in absolutely perfect condition. But in the hot market there are still a few strategies that can help a buyer in securing a good deal, such as looking for homes that actually DO have needs for repairs; looking for homes where the seller will take offers right away once listed and looking for homes that fell out of contract and have returned to the market, to name a few. Looking for homes that have been on the market over 30-40 days is another one that can sometimes have promise. Sure, if they haven’t sold right away it seems like there must be something amiss. But in that regard, you have to weigh out the facts of the home’s condition and its amenities for yourself. What’s acceptable to you may be different from what’s acceptable to others who considered the home, and it may be a perfect fit for you when it wasn’t for others. And this home, I believe, fits into a category like this. At press time, this home has been on the market 46 days. This charming home did go into contract once and then came back on the market. So it sure seems like it’s fitting into one of those where perhaps a good deal can be secured. It’s very spacious with two bedrooms and a full bath on both the upper and lower levels. It has a huge back yard with mature trees, a large patio area and a gazebo. It has an attached garage with interior access. It’s a great looking 1945 home in desirable Leona Heights and it beckons for a walk-thru. It’s got a great vibe, with lots of natural light inside, and it’s one well worth looking into for anyone shopping this price range in this hot market.

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Nov 212014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

When you scroll down and look at the ones I chose this week you’ll see some super fancy spots, no doubt. And if Pablo “Panda” Sandoval comes calling I can say I will definitely take him to a couple of those in this week’s list. But back in the real world this week’s pick was really indisputable for me with this one right here on Magee Avenue in Upper Laurel. First off, what a nice spot in the neighborhood! It’s located on a corner lot with a side entrance to the detached garage in back, and when you scan across to view the home’s neighbors within eyeshot you’ll see one nice one after another. Just a great vibe on this street and in the neighborhood in general. Taking a closer look, this 1925 2/1 bungalow is no giant by any means. But it’s actually bigger than it looks, as it has a very functional basement with its own separate entrance. So the basement has numerous potential uses and could ultimately work out well for anyone who wants to expand the home. Beautiful wood floors and original period details are preserved in the home, while updating in both the kitchen and bath will really set it off once the new owner takes those projects on. But without question, the great prize here is the location. Homes nearby are selling well into the $600s, so owning this one with its great opportunities for updating and possible expansion make it a very intriguing investment. Let alone that it will be a charming place to simply call home! Laurel, and Dimond, and Lincoln Heights are all sweet spots in Oakland’s hills between I-580 and Hwy 13, and the homes coming on the market here are quick to jump off the proverbial shelves. Great one here for anyone interested in this lovely neighborhood, and when you consider what can be done with it the home sings as a great buy!

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Nov 142014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

I’m such a fan of this home. This is the prime version of an investor flip. Done with great care the renovation of this home just shines like a freshly minted coin. It’s a 1924 craftsman bungalow with absolutely excellent period details that were kindly preserved and accentuated in this home. The kitchen remodel is very modern, but yet feels like it perfectly fits a 90 year old home. Same can be said of the remodels of the bathrooms. The floors are gorgeous. The built-ins beautiful. The home’s vital systems are upgraded and new. Out back is a large detached garage that is plumbed with a half bath of its own, plus it’s partially finished and would make for an excellent bonus room or studio. Note also how the lot this home sits on is over 6200sf and mostly level, so it’s a very usable piece of land as well. Nice lawn area, plenty of room for urban gardening, nice patio areas both near the home and beyond the garage. Note also that in addition to this detached garage this home has a single car attached garage in the front. So there’s lots and lots of extra space here adding to the over 1400sf of living space in this 3bd/1.5ba home. Located just off the southwest side of Maxwell Park in Fairfax, this home is yet another in this wave of renovations pushing into these neighborhoods like a domino effect. So nice to see it reaching into Fairfax with its numerous craftsman and Mediterranean bungalows from the early 20th century. Wonderful neighborhoods through here, all long overdue for this wave to reach them. Glad to see it myself. Truly a great example of what an investor flip SHOULD be. Great home to check out!

Click for MLS Listing

 

 

Nov 072014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

There was just no question for me this week. When I first drove by this one and saw the Coming Soon sign I was hooked. Love at first sight you might say. The California craftsman bungalow is just such a timeless gem. In some parts of Oakland they sell for well over $1 million for one in the condition this one is in. In some parts of the bay area there’s no telling what such a gorgeous craftsman could sell for. And while some parts of our region are completely bereft of such classics, Oakland is actually brimming with them. This particular one was built in 1915 and has so much of those coveted design features such as the wonderful wrap around porch at the front entrance, exposed beam work and rock solid masonry supporting the pillars. The home just exemplifies the concept of built-to-last. Inside you’ll find three bedrooms, and additional office space, and two full baths. Period details are preserved and the kitchen is very nicely updated. A commercial grade stove/oven stands out as an anchor of the chef’s kitchen. Upstairs is a wonderful master suite built out of the attic with its own sitting room, bedroom and full bath. And outside you’ll find a charming backyard space with a great gazebo for lounging on those warm Oakland afternoons. Located on a great part of Fleming Avenue, this one is well worth a long look. It’s one that will outlive us all, just like it did its designer and original builders no doubt. And please acknowledge what a great price it is on this listing. The Mills Gardens and Maxwell Park neighborhoods just continue to wow me as I discover them in detail. Open this Sunday 2-4pm. Check it out!

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Oct 312014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

Back to West Oakland I’m going with this week’s pick, partially just because it’s such a hotbed of restoration and renewal of Oakland. When I drove up to this home one of the first things I noticed was how homes on either side of this one in this turn of the century neighborhood were recently renovated. Then I looked across the street and saw how three more of them were being worked on by contractor crews restoring that trio. As I looked around the neighborhood I saw perhaps a glimpse of the future where this incredibly convenient and charming part of Oakland is bustling with pedestrian traffic heading back and forth from the West Oakland BART station just a few blocks away and growing the ever-expanding “transit village” concept. Getting to the nuts and bolts here, this home is a quality restoration of a 1919 farmhouse-style, two-story Edwardian. The location is clearly a huge benefit, but the home itself lends itself to a great lifestyle as well. With three bedrooms and two full baths the home has two of the bedrooms and one bath upstairs, and the third bedroom and second full bath downstairs. So it’s perfectly set up for roommates, if that’s what you’re looking for. For a family, or anyone wanting to start a family, the second room upstairs makes a lovely nursery. And with a nice living room and full dining room, this home is perfectly well set up for holiday gatherings and special occasions to celebrate. Step outside and you’ll see a space for off-street parking, plus more space for urban gardening as well. All in all, when you factor in the price especially, this home just has the makings of a great place to live AND a great investment in a neighborhood of the bay area that may soon become the latest in restored classics. Great home to check out!

Click for MLS Listing

 

Oct 242014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

This is one where you’ve got to give it up for location. So many home buyers seek the period details found in this beautiful 1916 craftsman, but to have the same classic home in a wonderful, walkable location undeniably adds a healthy chunk of extra value.  In the parlance of those who really cherish the lifestyle that enables you to just park your car and walk to restaurants, shops, grocery, entertainment, public transportation, and more, it is scored a 93 out of 100 and described by Walkscore.com as a “Walker’s Paradise.”  So welcome to the heart of Oakland where EVERYTHING is at your fingertips. You’re literally just minutes BY BICYCLE, let alone a car, to most all the hot spots in Oakland including Grand Avenue, Piedmont Avenue, Lake Merritt, Uptown, Downtown, Rockridge, Temescal and more. In this home you have a huge reservoir of charm already in place with a delicate touch of updating so the period details remain lovingly preserved. You have a garage and partial basement for storage; you have a great back deck and a sweet and inviting backyard space that actually has some room to spread out a bit; you have a classic home that appears tremendously well cared-for; and you have a location that keeps  you right in the mix where you can easily access so much of the best of Oakland. Far more than just a home, this one is a lifestyle. And this lifestyle is one highly coveted in our fair town. Great one to check out this weekend! Open both Saturday and Sunday, or please do contact me for a private showing! We’ll get you pre-approved for your financing and ready to make a bona fide offer in no time.

Click for MLS Listing

 

Oct 172014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

I think the big deal here is that this home has so much of what a new home buyer in Oakland will want, and for a fairly reasonable price at this point. Any of you who have been shopping, and touring on Sundays, and making offers over and over know. You know this. It’s a hot market in Oakland right now, and great properties generally have numerous suitors all vying for a chance to be the winning bidder. It’s challenging, no doubt. So what is occurring, as a very natural effect in the market, is demand is pushing out into neighborhoods that previously weren’t as high on the list in the past for investors who renovate homes in Oakland. The demand is creating the market for these investors who are truly rebuilding many of Oakland’s classic neighborhoods that are all filled with wonderful craftsman bungalows and charming Victorians and Edwardians. Many of these neighborhoods have endured eras that weren’t so kind to them, and some of the remnants of those eras certainly remain. But I so clearly recall when I first moved to Glenview in 2006, how there was a fairly significant number of those remnants in Glenview then too. I recall Temescal in the same boat years ago. I remember when few clients would even consider looking at homes in NOBE or West Oakland, and those areas are growing to be some of the most desired (and pricey) locations in the city for new home buyers. So as I travel through Oakland’s newly emerging neighborhoods every week I have seen these transformations with my own eyes. Seeing the contractor trucks parked up and down the streets of these neighborhoods always gives me comfort. In fact, as a case in point, just two doors down from this home is another that’s being renovated right now. And right next door is one that was renovated around a year ago. All I can say about this to you frustrated home shoppers is that the price you want is available in Oakland, and it’s available for a home like this one that has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, a detached garage, a usable backyard space, an unfinished basement, and in nicely remodeled condition. But if you want it in a neighborhood that’s already emerged into “pricey-town” you’d better add two or three hundred thousand bucks to the price. And if you take a look now at some of those pioneers who ignored the nay-sayers about Temescal and NOBE 5-7 years ago and went ahead and bought in those neighborhoods (probably mostly because the price was working for them at the time) you’ll see how their home values have skyrocketed. Wouldn’t you enjoy such a financial boon yourself? Check out 2529 Coolidge Ave in Oakland.

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Oct 102014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello friends,

Let begin by saying YES, this one IS as cool as it looks in the pictures. In those unique ways that architecture affects us this one had the effect of transforming the moment as I walked up the steps along the front porch to the front door where the 1912 era of this home seemed to come to life. Walking inside this beautiful over 2100sf shingle-side craftsman visitors are immediately greeted by the grand stairway leading to the bedroom area with its beautifully lathed balustrade and probably five foot wide wood plank steps. But I saved the tour of the upstairs for last in this tour. My first turn from the entry was to the left to the front room (the parlor, perhaps, in the parlance of the day) where its large picture windows were clearly including the original glass as the views through them had that familiar waviness common in the glass of bygone eras. A pleasing banquette fit into the southwest corner of the room set right next to a large window facing out the front of the home. (Nice spot to read a book on a rainy day is what I thought when I looked at it.) Beautiful wood floors and period details such as coffered ceilings fill this home, and the charm factor is on high throughout. Walk through the dining room and you’ll hear the laughter and swoons of dinner parties gone by, and hopefully new ones to come. And then pass into the kitchen and you’ll see where the classic meets the modern. Concrete countertops sit on top of modern cabinetry, and the kitchen has the feel of a 2014 chef’s kitchen. Walk past the breakfast nook towards the sun room in the back and you’ll see a wonderful spot for an office or an art studio filled with sunlight and overlooking the sprawling back yard with its multi-level deck, lawn area and multiple garden planters with a row of evergreen trees freshly planted along the back fence line to provide a pleasing barrier of privacy in the coming years. Outdoors is a wonderful spot here. And to complete my tour I was off to the upstairs. Three lovely bedrooms, again with so much of the period detail preserved: The master bedroom still had its Edwardian-era coal stove connected to the chimney running up the front facade of the home. The bathroom was separated into a water closet and a separate room with the bath and sink. The rear bedrooms both had doors leading out to what must have been intended to be a rear veranda (but which is just a roof top right now) and which must be fully returned to such use by the new owner, in my opinion. So before I gush over this one any longer I’ll just let you know it’ll be open this coming Sunday 10/12 and it’s one you’ll absolutely love walking through. If that time doesn’t work for you, you know you can contact me for a private showing. Really a great one in Oakland’s Rose Garden and Grand Lake neighborhood!

Click for MLS Listing

 

Sep 262014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

In today’s pick I’m making my pitch for Lower Laurel and Allendale as two neighborhoods where great improvements continue to occur. As the wave of demand sweeps over Oakland there are neighborhoods that are seeing a new influx of home buyers that they maybe wouldn’t have seen in a cooler market. And investors are definitely taking note. Driving through some of these areas you can see where past eras have been less kind to them, but you can also see more and more contractor trucks driving through and more and more carpenters, plumbers, painters and workers steadily tapping away improving homes in the neighborhood. I see it all the time, and I have to say one of the great pleasures I get as a Realtor in Oakland is to see how neighborhoods are transforming. I wish I could count how many times I’ve heard from one person or another from the surrounding areas, who claims to be familiar with Oakland (usually because they lived in Oakland many years ago), dismissing whole swaths of neighborhoods as somehow unworthy. But even within the last few years, as I drive through so many of them I see with my own eyes how the high demand in the bay area has made a significant impact on many neighborhoods in Oakland. It’s just impossible not to see it. West Oakland, NOBE, Temescal, Dimond, Laurel, Maxwell Park, Millsmont and many others have all jumped by leaps and bounds in some cases. So, for those who claim to know Oakland’s neighborhoods, I hope you will consider the possibility that it may be nothing like you remember from ten years ago when you lived here. It’s just not. And this home on Santa Rita is a great example of the work that our local investors and contractors have put into  a wonderful 1924 craftsman farm house where they’ve preserved the period charm, but have updated in the important parts such as the kitchen and bath. And in this one they finished the entire attic space as well, making a significant amount of additional space available for use in the home. Walk out back and check out what is now a very large blank canvas for a great landscape designer. The lot is 5850 square feet and it has a detached tandem 2-car garage sitting back there just waiting for the craftsman or artist or mechanic to inhabit it. And while this home is in what we call “fully-renovated” condition, it still shows an enormous amount of potential for more. This one will be open Sunday if you want to get out and check it out. Or, of course, you can contact me about a private showing. We’ll see what we can do about getting a good price on this one should you choose to take it that far! Very nice one here in a neighborhood you may want to give a second look to if you haven’t been in a while.

Click for MLS Listing

 

Sep 192014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

I think sometimes it just comes down to a vibe in a house. That’s what really got me when I toured this one yesterday. Something about it just felt good. The current owners have done a significant amount of upgrades to the home including seismic work , upgrades to the electrical and plumbing, and a new kitchen and bath. A lot of that sort of stuff is not immediately perceptible to the eye for a lot of prospective buyers, but it’s certainly something you look for when you get into the details. One thing that definitely caught my eye is how there is so much of 1906 still preserved in this home. The period details seem to make it burst with charm, and at this price point you’ll be really lucky to find so much, both inside and out, as you’ll find in this home. Outdoors you’ll find a modestly sloping yard with terraced spaces and a small detached studio space, for the writer or artist in you perhaps. There is also a chicken coop complete with chickens that I’m told are jointly-tended by an agreement with a neighbor. The ambience in the back yard is very quiet and pleasant with both sun and shade spots and mature trees all around. And underneath the home is a large garage space that has enough room for a workshop inside as well as a space for a small car. It’s clear that restoring this home has been a labor of love for the current owners, whom I’m told bought the home with a renovation loan in 2009. And it’s clear they did some great upgrades. You can see for yourself if you’d like during their open house on Sunday, or you can contact me for a private showing! Definitely a neat one, worth checking out!

Click for MLS Listing

 

Sep 122014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

I’ve definitely received numerous inquiries about West Oakland, so here is one that I think those of you who want to see the future of West Oakland now can check out. Located on 21st Street between Myrtle and Filbert, this 1895 four bedroom, two bath home has undergone a major renovation that includes upgrades to the foundation, plumbing, electrical, windows, sewer lateral and more. Coming in with just over 1900 square feet of living space the home has beautiful period details, a modern kitchen and baths, a 2-car tandem garage plus lots of additional basement space at the street level— and a very pleasant back yard with mature trees and grass, too! You’ll love the four large bedrooms upstairs, one of which is connected by a pocket door that enables it to morph into one very large room if desired. Ceilings are tall, probably about 10 feet or so, and the Victorian details are very nicely preserved. Overall it’s a super nice home with lots of space spanning three floors when you include the garage/basement area. And it’s located on a block where if you just take a walk or drive around you’ll see one Victorian after another, several of which are in the process of major renovations right now on this very block. So this home, especially at this wonderful price, is in that range where the newest batch of West Oakland pioneers will want to take a second and maybe a third look. These West Oakland neighborhood are changing almost weekly. You can see a vast variety of homes and circumstances in the residences that range from what appears to be the newest almost flashy and glamorous “painted lady” homes to the most recent history of working class folks intermixed with the artistic set and what you may describe as the far from mainstream folks. So it’s quite a microcosm of the bay area in general. It’s almost like everybody is represented in these West Oakland neighborhoods. And perhaps as it continues to develop, that spirit of inclusiveness just might become the hallmark of the NEW West Oakland. I hope so. This is a really neat home in one of the bay area’s most interesting and convenient locations, and it’s priced RIGHT! Check it out this Saturday and Sunday at the open houses, or contact me for a private showing.

Click for MLS Listing

 

Sep 052014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

Well if you’re looking for your ‘island fix’ this one will perfectly take care of that by seemingly dropping you right into Maui with an amazingly charming twist on the 1920s Oakland craftsman bungalow. Located on a terraced hillside in Crocker Highlands, this home’s setting is lush with all sorts of tropical and native flora. Part Buddhist meditation center, part Polynesian retreat, part spectacular bed and breakfast, and part classic Oakland bungalow this one felt amazing from the moment I walked inside. Great updates in all the right places, such as the kitchen with its sliding doors expanding the pass-thru from the kitchen/dining area to the back deck to approximately 12 feet across by 8 feet high creating an indoor/outdoor flow between the two spaces that broadly opens up the festive feel of the obvious center of the party! Take a few more steps up from the patio and you’ll reach the next iteration of the numerous gorgeous lounging spots in this back garden: The hammock by the Koi pond with the gentle waterfall. Oh, yes, that’s where you’ll find me on many a Friday afternoon at the end of the work week! No question! It’s a beautiful spot with some small peeks of the views to the northwest from this hillside. Listen to the water cascade, watch the Koi, read, have wine, chill. Full stop. But not really… ’cause there’s more. Take a few more steps up the hillside and you’ll find the statue of the Buddha to the right inside a mini cathedral of tropical trees and plants shrouding the spot one might sit in quiet contemplation before him. It’s a charming and genuinely spiritual spot with a beautiful wooden plank hot tub at the top of the hillside. So it’s really covering the spectrum here from the quiet solitude of individual meditation to the prospect of sharing the space with one special friend/spouse, or of course you can quite spectacularly entertain a group. Step back inside the home and you’ll find a lovely craftsman built in 1920 which has maintained its period details, although with a nicely updated modern kitchen and 2 full baths. From the master suite upstairs you have a view of the downtown Oakland skyline and the evening sunsets that spring like a nimbus behind it each evening. And at the lowest level of the home you have a nice 1-car garage with extra space inside for storage. Easily walkable to the Lakeshore business district and easily bicycle-able to all sorts of fun stuff in Oakland, this home is nothing short of a bay area gem. Open houses the next two Sundays and available to show by appointment by me. So come on down and check it out! Wonderful home!

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Aug 292014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello Friends,

The MLS listing says offers for this home are being taken next Wednesday, September 3rd, and I have to say that one of the immediate thoughts that came up when I toured this one is that this home will be high in demand on its offer day because THIS is what everybody wants. In our cozy, urban world we are quick to concede to the 2-bedroom, 1-bath home size. The truth is, in a home with the right configuration that sort of restriction can be overcome. The key phrase in that statement being “the right configuration.” So let’s look at this one a little closer in that light. First off, the location is a prime, coveted spot in Lincoln Heights. Homes in this neighborhood fly off the shelves, primarily because the style in the neighborhood is consistently early 20th century bungalows; they’re all usually well tended; the tree coverage and general foliage in the neighborhood is mature and beautiful; the access to freeways, carpool, and public transportation is excellent; and you can actually get a home with a yard around here. So quickly we can chalk one up as an “A” in the location column. Then, focusing on the home, it comes down to a couple more criteria: style and opportunity. Under the style column, as you can see in the pictures, this home is the ever-highly-sought-after craftsman bungalow. Its period details have been preserved and it’s also been updated in the kitchen and bathroom— which are always important value items. Under the opportunity column, there are actually three areas where huge opportunity exists here: the huge basement, the garage and the 5000sf landscaped lot. The basement and garage are both below the main floor of the home and offer between them an opportunity to create a significant amount of additional living space. Ideally, the proper way to achieve this is to raise the level of the home to meet the local building codes height requirements, but it’s very common that spaces like this (and attics, too!) are finished off and used as excellent additional living space. And lastly, with this gorgeous back garden area, one only need spend a short amount of time back there to recognize how it’s not only spacious but it’s also a canvas where an artist has put in some work already. But when it’s yours, it’s yours, and you can do whatever you wish with this wonderful space including adding deck space, or a gazebo with a spa, or a grand urban garden, or whatever strikes your fancy! The bottom line is that there is SPACE. There is a lot more room to spread out with this 2-bedroom/1-bath home than can be immediately recognized at first glance. And, frankly, that’s what lots of home shoppers are looking for. Location, style, opportunity. This one has all three in the best of ways. It’ll be open again this Sunday before taking offers next Wednesday. Really nice one that’s more than worth a good long look.

Click for MLS Listing

 

Aug 012014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

My, my… West Oakland! There’s really so much to this part of the ever-evolving Oakland story. Once the premier destination for R&B musical acts on 7th St such as Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Al Green and known as the “Harlem of the West”, this area reached a plateau that many locals believe disintegrated with the construction of the freeway overpasses and the elevated tracks for BART running right down 7th Street 40 years ago. Others say it was the 1989 earthquake that left the crumbled freeway in that area which they believe sounded the death knell for the neighborhood where people and businesses left one by one. But now, there is a new story going on in West Oakland, one where the struggle seems to be one between those who took up residence there during this arguably run-down time and those who see it as an unusually compelling locale for development: Just one BART stop from downtown San Francisco, with lots of gorgeous Victorians dotting the neighborhood and with industrial spaces available to convert to lofts and apartments, in a region where rents are truly sky high. Anyone interested in purchasing property in West Oakland should do their diligence and learn about the West Oakland Specific Plan (WOSP), as it’s the city’s earnest attempt to acknowledge the competing interests in this slice of land where developers are licking their chops for zoning changes that benefit their plans and where historical residents are clinging to one of the few somewhat affordable places to live in the bay area. There are competing visions that condemn gentrification’s pernicious effects on neighborhoods and others who proclaim tens of thousands of jobs could be generated with some of the development ideas presented. And while at press time this plan is still being negotiated by those whose interests are most affected, there is obviously a lot of speculation going on in West Oakland already in advance of whatever major redevelopment plans may end up coming down the pike.

And indeed, this week’s pick is one where speculation lead to action. Aside from the obvious, that it’s a Victorian with period details such as 12-foot ceilings and ornate trim, this home has the elements of design, location and price that combine to make a great Pick of the Week! It’s really two homes in one, as the lower level has been finished off with a kitchen and bath making it an entire separate unit in the home which can ultimately turn into a rental or an in-law, or maybe just a great recreation room for the new owner. Upstairs is a nicely appointed 2-bedroom/1-bath with plenty of living space of its own. Out back is a fair amount of yard space just waiting for a bit of landscape design, and on the street level is a one-car attached garage that will definitely come in handy for most any type of vehicle the urbanite calls his transportation. City accessibilty by a quick bike ride to West Oakland BART,  or to Uptown’s restaurants and night life, or to the Bay Bridge’s walking path to Treasure Island, this area will no doubt continue to develop as a bicyclist’s haven. By car, you’re just minutes to the freeways to San Francisco and the Peninsula, or just go by surface streets to Berkeley. EVERYTHING is close from West Oakland, and your transit options are many. There are a lot of interested parties hoping to be part of the new story of West Oakland, and this home’s new owner will have a prime opportunity to get involved. And at this price, it’s potentially a chance to get in on something big. Well worth checking out, so please contact me for a private showing if you’re interested.

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Jul 252014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

Hello friends,

By any rational measure, a home listed over $1M should not be a disappointment in any way. And indeed, I can affirm after walking through this one in Oakland’s beautiful (and I really mean beautiful) Crocker Highlands neighborhood that this one surely is in every way a distinct pleasure. Let’s begin with the moment when I was standing on the front landing by the entry and it was so quiet at this location that I could hear the pleasant din of a small water fountain— coming from across the street! Inside you’ll find a split level home with numerous ups and downs between rooms and period details to make those who love homes from the 1920s swoon. But aside from the gracious design you’d never know this home is an eighty-six year old. She’s a spritely retiree if she’s a retiree at all! The modern kitchen is equipped with chef-level appliances, stone counters and new cabinets; all the makings of the the 21st century standard of a luxury kitchen. Both bathrooms are also fully updated as well, and thus the feel of the vital functions of the home is like new. More harkening back to a past era, this home is not an open floor plan as we see in many newer homes, or even those of this age that have been altered. Instead, the main floor of this one has a separate formal living room at the front with a huge picture window looking out to the neighborhood, a separate and amply-sized formal dining room, a breakfast nook, a media room/family room, and a full bath. Upstairs are three bedrooms and a full bath, and like a charming bed and breakfast each room seems to have its own unique character. The rooms in the front and back of the home I thought were particularly pleasing in their own ambiance and relation to the site. For example, a lovely deck connects the master suite to the back garden area and gives the room its own very pleasant indoor/outdoor flow. And exiting the home from by way of this deck leads you to the more than a quarter acre lot of this home which gently travels up a sloping hillside with a terraced patio space on the same level and connected to the deck from the master suite. Beyond that patio is a wonderful natural space that many gardeners and little children alike would surely love to explore. And if that isn’t enough, below the main floor is a spacious area where there is a laundry area, a nicely-sized workshop and plenty of storage space. Down one more flight of stairs is an attached garage with two bays for your cars. So overall, it’s a home that has almost everything. Its location is superb in one of Oakland’s most serene and premier neighborhoods; its updating is perfectly suited for modern living; its design enables life’s activities to occur on three levels with plenty of space and PLENTY of charm; and its back garden is on the northwest side of a hill that provides lots of space for a creative landscape. Open this Sunday, it’s one you won’t want to miss!

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Jul 112014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

2225 13th Avenue, Oakland

Let’s cut right to some specs here: Dwelling is a 5 bedroom, 2 bath Victorian with 2346 square feet built in 1875. Lot is a very spacious and fully usable 7500 square feet with a long driveway and multi-car parking behind the home, plus a big garden space in back with three huge, mature palm trees. Main level has 3 bedrooms, modern full bath, sitting room and an updated kitchen. Upper level has 2 bedrooms, a study (or sixth bedroom), a sitting room, updated kitchen and bath, and also a large back deck off of the kitchen with separate stairway to the back parking area and garden. Period details are preserved in every way except in kitchens and baths. Exterior ornamentation is gorgeous Victorian with “painted lady” style. Distant views to the east bay hills and towards the bay are seen from the upper level bedrooms. Wonderful setting on a large lot with room to spread out, and a fully fenced and gated perimeter for privacy and security.

This home is a wonderful vintage gem that has huge potential by virtue of its configuration as either a single family home or as a 2-unit property. Inside the foyer is the stairway with a door that offers the option where separating or connecting the two levels of the home is available. Both levels are very spacious, approximately 1200sf each, with great period charm including high ceilings, Victorian trim and oversized windows. Aside from the excellent Victorian style the home is just so interesting because of the option of its configuration where the owner could easily rent out the other half and probably recoup close to half the monthly cost of owning the home. Or, as a single family home it’s quite spacious and generously setup for entertaining inside and out! Centrally located just minutes from so many of Oakland’s fun destinations such as Lake Merritt, Downtown, Uptown, Grand Lake and Jack London you’ll find it great for commuters and cyclists alike, as it’s got easy access to everything Oakland. Roomy inside and set on a lot that gives you space to spread out this home just seems to be a spectacular deal at this price currently listed under $575k. Open this Sunday from 2-4:30, this is definitely one to check out!

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Jun 272014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

5600 Castle Drive, Oakland

Hello Friends,

Calling all San Francisco, and even Silicon Valley, home shoppers! First allow me to empathize with you over what a $1.2M listing looks like in your area. I know you really thought there would be more when you stepped out on the trail looking at them on these pretty Sunday afternoons. I know you thought there might be some room to spread out, maybe an extra bathroom, maybe a garage, maybe a city VIEW! But alas, perhaps there was none of these in those homes. Perhaps it’s been a bit discouraging and perhaps you thought there would have to be more VALUE than this at this price level. Well, before you just throw in the towel please, please take a moment and meet the wonderful Oakland neighborhood of Piedmont Pines, and please allow me to introduce you to a home at 5600 Castle Drive situated in this neighborhood. Let’s do it like this: What if while on this home search you started daydreaming about a home that blew away everything you had seen. Like maybe a home with over 3200 square feet with four full baths and a view of the San Francisco city skyline!? And maybe one with a spa outside perched upon a hillside sitting under a gorgeous 50ft tall redwood tree— and make it with a river rock waterfall cascading beside it! What if your imaginary home also had an au pair/in-law unit so you could have live in help or provide a place for a friend or family member to live? And might as well throw in a gourmet kitchen, a recreation room with a great bar, and numerous balconies and patios from which you and your guests will enjoy the spectacular weather at your imaginary home! Right? RIGHT???

I think you guys know where I’m going with this. All these amenities and more are legitimately what you’ll find at this week’s Pick of the Week. This 1946 home has over 3200sf; it has 4 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms; it has San Francisco skyline and bay views; it really does have a spa with a river rock cascade next to it sitting under a 50ft redwood tree. Oh, and by the way, that area by the spa also shares the bay and city view with the house. Yes, gourmet kitchen. Yes, great patios and balconies. Yes, au pair/in-law unit. Yes, wonderful location in Piedmont Pines in the Oakland hills. Yes, listed for $1.195M. Yes, you can see it this Sunday. And yes, you can contact me for a private showing!  What a great, great home! SF and SV home shoppers, and certainly East Bay folks who know how lovely it is, come on down!

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Jun 202014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

2420 109th Avenue, Oakland

Hello Friends,

As you all know, I am always on the hunt for great deals in our super-heated real estate market. And I have to say, I’m LOVIN’ what I’m seeing out in the Las Palmas and Durant Manor neighborhoods near the newly redeveloped Foothill Square Shopping Center. If you haven’t been out there recently it’s really worth a new look. It’s been a pet project of city councilman Larry Reid for over 16 years to bring a large supermarket to this part of Oakland that’s been underserved by such a shopping destination for decades. And according to this article in Oakland Local his perseverance paid off this year with the opening of the 80,000 square foot Foods Co., making it the largest supermarket in Alameda County.  And just last month the Contra Costa Times posted this very kind article heralding the transformation of Foothill Square and its impact on the neighborhood. Great grocery stores really do have a huge impact on communities, serving as anchors for families and as places for neighbors to bump into one another and share a neighborly moment. It’s the very essence of community when neighbors see each other in public places and chat about the latest going on in the neighborhood. So huge kudos to Larry Reid and to the developers at Jay-Phares Corporation who put it together at Foothill Square. They did a great job, and the neighborhood redevelopment is following right behind them. In short, if you’re looking for a cute home for what— right now, at least— is a GREAT price, definitely check out these numbered streets in the 100s in the Durant Manor and Las Palmas neighborhoods. This week’s pick is an excellent example of what you’ll find. It’s a great remodel of a 1939 Mediterranean 2/1 with a great yard, a nice 1-car garage, and period details preserved to keep it bursting with charm! I’ve walked through a few homes out in this neighborhood now, all of them remodels, and I’ve poked around through the various tree-lined streets, and I’ve seen how the Foothill Square redevelopment has transformed this area to a legitimate walker’s neighborhood. So as home shoppers, as we’re assessing the development of neighborhoods around Oakland, I think it’s wise to recognize how neighborhoods like this can transform, sometimes quite rapidly, as investment takes hold. This neighborhood may turn out to be a model for many other neighborhoods in cities around the nation. Who knows? All I know is that in our high priced region for real estate this is one where affordability and livability seem to be walking hand in hand right now, which is a fairly rare thing these days. Check this one out yourself this Sunday, or of course you can contact me for a private showing! Great home!

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Jun 132014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

1070 61st Street, Oakland

Hello friends,

This week’s pick is a wonderful two bedroom, 1 bath craftsman with lots of coveted period details which stand on their own as pleasing amenities for this home. But the part that really grabbed me was the extended list of amenities that aren’t immediately seen from a quick glance. Let’s start with the location which sits within easy walking and biking distance to lots of what’s fun and new in Oakland’s burgeoning NOBE neighborhood. (NOBE stands for North Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, by the way). Also known by its denizens as the Golden Gate neighborhood, this home is just a stone’s throw from the Golden Gate recreation center, park, and playground. Check out all the cool and fun activities going on there by clicking here. Take a brief stroll up San Pablo Avenue and you’ll find the very pleasing treats of James and the Giant Cupcake. One door down you’ll find the homey comfort food and community vibe of Actual Cafe. A few more blocks north and to the west on 65th you’ll find good food, art, and live music at Farley’s on 65th. And of course there’s more. You’re a quick bike ride to Ashby BART, and of course the hearts of Berkeley and Oakland and San Francisco are just minutes away by all sorts of modes of transportation, but especially for the urban bicycling enthusiast. A very active bicycling community can be found in this neighborhood, and this home is just minutes from one of its epicenters: Spokeland. So hopefully you get the idea. This home is part of the new Oakland environment where community carries the highest priority and where new businesses and new neighbors are building a great new vibe with a most hopeful potential. And so back to the home we go, and back to the unseen amenities which for me  carried a lot of weight. Walking through the home feels like walking through a classic, no doubt. And the remodel took great care to preserve that classic feel. But when you walk out the back door into the back yard you realize there is a lot more here. First, the detached two-car garage has been partially finished into a studio space, and with its skylights and pediment windows it feels like an absolutely perfect art studio. It’s large and it’s got great light and it’s separated from the home enough to give the space a uniquely connected-but-separate relationship to the home. It’s just great back there! Gets the creative juices flowing! And then heading back to the house, if you step through the somewhat undersized door and head down into the basement you’ll see a huge amount of extra space down there as well. Definitely expansion potential there, as any of our local contractors will notice right away with a home like this one. So there you have it! This home is a sweet gem of a craftsman, with all sorts of great spots to walk and bike to, and within the home there is space to live and to be creative and to ultimately expand when the time is right. Great house! Open Sunday, or contact me for an appointment for a private showing.

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Jun 062014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

7864 Hillmont Drive, Oakland

Perhaps the greatest magic trick in the bay area real estate market these days is how to find a nice place to live within a price point that actually comes close to one’s budget. And often, the search begins for most buyers by looking at homes priced fairly close to what they think they can pay. Seems reasonable, right? And it ought to be. But, the challenge that must be acknowledged is that when the market is hot, agents and sellers are not under any pressure to price homes near to a probable selling price. Many of them price them simply to attract interest, even though the probable selling price may be 20% or higher above the list price. And of course this chasm between the list price and selling price that appears to be practically everywhere has the effect of spooking buyers into thinking every home they’re interested in may require some outrageous offer to be considered a contender by the seller. And while the truth is this scenario certainly is happening around town, the market force of demand is not always so easy to predict. Some homes seem like they have all the qualities needed to sell quickly at a price well above the list price and yet they may sit a while, somewhat inexplicably. And others may just get snapped up before the market has barely even had a peek because the seller is motivated and a buyer with an appealing offer comes along pre-emptively. So the nuances of home buying these days lie undeniably in the domain of individual situations. Yes, cover letters to the seller describing something about the buyer and his/her effusive love for the property certainly do help. And when you have deep pockets where a huge down payment, or even a cash offer, is possible, you’ll generally see smooth sailing especially if you’re willing to pay an astronomical price for a hot property. But what about when you’re well qualified for financing but have a lower down payment? How do you compete? Well, there are definitely a few maneuvers that can help, such as checking out homes that have been on the market longer than 30 days, checking out homes that have come back on the market for whatever reason, and checking to see if a seller is willing to entertain offers right away versus waiting for a particular offer date. All of these are possible openings that could provide opportunities. But again, the opportunity depends upon the individual situation. And while these can open some doors, another method one can employ is to expand the search into new areas that haven’t been considered before. In Oakland in particular, the revitalization of neighborhoods is happening all over town and areas that were never on the radar of some home shoppers should definitely be given a chance. With its wending, narrow streets where no sidewalks were ever built the Eastmont Hills preserve a somewhat rural vibe with grand views of the urban world below from a bird’s eye vantage point. Most homes in this area were built from the 1920s-40s and the variety of styles makes it anything but a cookie-cutter neighborhood. Some of the homes have unusually large lots, relatively speaking, and since the terrain isn’t conducive to street grid patterns the home sites are nestled into unique spots along these hillside pathways. The hillside lot on this week’s pick is actually almost half an acre! It’s huge! And the setting of the home, especially once one hikes up into the space behind the home, feels park-like. Great shade and tree cover, great views, a Koi pond, and carved out plateaus for enjoying sunsets and wonderful Oakland weather are all present. Set apart from the home is an excellent detached garage with two bays for cars and room to be creative with the space. And finally, inside this great home originally built in 1922 we have a space that’s separated in such a way that the lower level with its two bedrooms and full bath could be used as an in-law, or as a nice private spot for a roommate, or as a great master suite. On the main level, the home is wide open between the living and dining areas with the western view outside beckoning a contemplative stare or two. The kitchen is separated from this area, which is common in the designs of older homes, and one bedroom and one full bath round out the completeness of the living space all on this one level for a resident. But most of all, this home just feels like a place where you have some space to spread out, to unwind, and to explore your creativity in a very peaceful and quiet setting perched up in the hills. And this price range is really excellent for such coveted amenities in the bay area. It’s really worth a walk thru. It’ll be open this coming Sunday if it looks like it may be a prospect for you. And perhaps most of all, it’s a great place that someone will soon be able to call home. If Sunday’s open house doesn’t work for you, please don’t hesitate to call me for an appointment!

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May 302014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

6624 Saroni Drive Oakland

Hello friends,

Okay, wow! Let’s begin by stating that this custom home built in 1959 is a product of the illustrious architect Beverly Thorne, who by the way is most famous locally for building the “Brubeck House” just five years prior for famous jazz pianist Dave Brubeck and his wife Iola. For their home it was an idea that developed after they used a war bond that Dave’s dad had purchased for him to buy a piece of land on Heartwood Avenue in Oakland’s Montclair hills in the late 1940s. In 1954 the Brubeck home became somewhat of a sensation among the architecture critics of the time and Beverly Thorne had come to find fame as an architect early in his career. In fact, Ed Sullivan actually did one of his shows from the house! Check out this article in the jazz website jazzwax.com for some pretty interesting stories told by Mr. Thorne himself. And for more, check out this one in SFGate.com, which expands more on his work locally. Using some of the modern construction techniques, particularly utilizing steel I-beams and cantilevers, Thorne’s designs had a strikingly modern and dramatic appearance to them. And by attaching his structures by the use of these huge steel I-beams to bedrock and to outcroppings in these hillside home sites many of the challenges of hillside construction could be overcome. Another particular feature of the Thorne home is the cantilever, which uses the strength of an I-beam and a counterweight on one end to enable the other end to extend out a long distance, unsupported from underneath. It’s a fantastic design element that especially stands out in homes with great views from the hills where grand balconies or even entire wings of homes can be built upon these extensions. And in this wonderful 5bd/2ba home on Saroni the use of the I-beam and the cantilever are both well represented as both a product of the era and of this individual architect as well. But without going into too much overkill on each an every design element for this one I think I’d rather just point out how walking through felt like visiting an architecture school or museum. I immediately noted the primary horizontal I-beams, as one passes right by their enormity as you walk down the stairs to enter the home’s front door. But beneath them, and in the space outside the front door is this lovely patio shaded by the parking deck at the street level which on a hot day (as Thursday’s tour day was) this shady spot felt just as pleasant as could be. And being around 15×15 or so it was big enough to set up a nice arrangement of outdoor furniture and really enjoy the space. Inside the feeling was open and full of light. The large back deck beckoned despite the heat, and peering around I was reminded of my own architecture classes in college and found myself feeling buoyed just by being there. As was the custom of the era, the kitchen is set apart— which is a departure from our current era with exposed kitchens— but the living and dining were open to one another and a slidable rice paper partition separated the study/office from this room. Just a beautiful environment on this main level with the family’s spacious living quarters down below. And while this one may strike some as in need of some cosmetic updating there is no question that anyone with an appreciation of architecture in general, but most specifically mid-century I-beam and cantilevered residential architecture, will see the wonder of this home on Saroni. Huge thumbs up for this one! You can see it yourself this Sunday, or of course just contact me for an appointment!

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May 232014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

3049 Middleton Street, Oakland

This week I got on the freeway from Glenview and drove east on I-580 to see a home in the neighborhood called Sheffield Village that straddles the border of Oakland and San Leandro. When I got on the freeway my GPS lady told me to “continue on I-580 for seven miles.”  Seven miles? I thought to myself: Goodness, this better be good! Having recently explored both further east and further north in Oakland I’ll admit it’s been a while since I drove out seven miles from basically the center of town where I live and work, but I’ll happily testify that that drive was pretty quick and it was more than worth it. As described by some of its long time residents in their Yelp page, Sheffield Village was a idyllic place for families, “It was Wally & The Beaver all the way. MIlk was delivered to your house, so was dry cleaning.” With its nearby parklands with their creeks and hills there are fond memories recalled by those who grew up there. But a review that really stood out was one written by a recent transplant named Nicole K. whose review from 2013 could probably be best described as gushing. Here it is in its entirety:

We’re considered ‘new’ to the village, having only lived here four years.

The moment we drove into the neighborhood from San Leandro to view a home, we knew we wanted to live here. Craftsman style homes from the ’30s and ’40s beckoned with their brick paths to welcoming front porches. Someone waved as we drove up to the house (seriously, this happened). The week we moved in, we had cookies and flowers delivered to our doorstep by various neighbors welcoming us to the neighborhood. Having lived in Kansas, NYC, SF and Berkeley, four very different locales, I have never been welcomed so wholeheartedly to a place. I’m paying it forward by trying to welcome other new neighbors with homemade jam. 😉 The neighborhood has a Facebook page and a yahoo group where neighbors post about loose dogs, household goods free to villagers, security issues, borrowing tools and other neighborhood issues. People are mostly courteous and always generous. There’s an express bus that picks up people who work in the city and delivers them to the TransBay Terminal with only one stop, wifi and comfortable seats. The village is walking distance to an organic-focused family-owned grocery store (Estudillo Produce), a butcher shop, Starbucks, a community coffee shop with a backyard patio and more. We can’t believe our luck and are so excited to raise our young son in such a warm, caring community (which, incidentally, is full of young families and babies now). A hidden gem, the jewel of Oakland to be certain.

I think that puts it really well. And with the scene set by that info, all I want to say about this home is that it’s just a beauty! It’s quite spacious with a detached two car garage in front (rather than in back) of the house with a lovely little courtyard in between it and the home’s entrance. Once inside the layout is in somewhat of an “L” shape where there is a wing to the right of the center axis that makes up the living room with two banks of windows, one facing towards the front courtyard and a second facing towards the back yard. The two bedrooms and one and a half baths on this floor are more than ample in size and the kitchen is also good-sized and fairly recently remodeled. Natural light fills this main floor and the beautiful wood floors give it a warm vibe inside. And then downstairs you have a very large extra space that could easily be a great in-law or space for a renter or housemate. It has its own access to the back yard and provides a significant amount of extra space in the home. Out back you’ll see a lovely view of the hills surrounding Sheffield Village and there are plenty of mature trees providing both shade and privacy. Oh, and right next to the property line on the right side is one of the paths used by residents to access the common amenities maintained by the homeowner’s assocation in the village such as the club house and the tennis courts. Overall, I think what you’ll find in Sheffield Village is a neighborhood plan that has stood the test of time. The streets are curved and the homes are well-tended. And according to those who live there, most importantly, the folks are very friendly. Sounds like a little piece of paradise! You can check this one out this Sunday afternoon, or of course you can just contact me for a private appointment to see it! Great, great home that was well worth a seven mile drive from Glenview to visit!

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May 162014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

6323 Sunnymere Avenue, Oakland

Hello Friends,

I looked at a lot of homes this week, some of them pretty darn fancy, and I guess I came down to choosing this sweet two bedroom, one bath home partially because of its undeniable CUTENESS but also because of how I think it represents some hope for people looking to buy a home in this price range in the bay area. EVERYONE who has spent any time shopping for a home in our area recently knows that it’s really a challenge right now to find a great home in a great location for a great price. In fact, compromise is a huge part of the equation these days. From those escaping Silicon Valley and San Francisco to find housing that even resembles reasonable in price for what you get, to those coming up in their lives searching to buy their first home, the market has proven to be an extremely competitive gauntlet through which we are all running— those of us who are on the front lines of home buying. But if it’s any consolation, there appears to be a trend continuing where more and more homes are coming on the market: 408 listed in March, 439 listed in April, and 244 listed thus far in May. So as inventory increases the opportunity for buyers improves one by one. And with the demand created by all of these new buyers to Oakland we’re continuing to see renovations occur at a rapid pace in emerging neighborhoods such as West Oakland and NOBE. But there are many more neighborhoods than that such as Allendale and Fairfax, Tuxedo and Fruitvale, and the lovely neighborhood where this week’s pick is located: Millsmont. With homes built mostly in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, the neighborhoods surrounding Mills College share a common bond of being mostly two and three bedroom homes, some with classic styling and period details and some with pretty large lots, especially for what is in our era a fairly urban environment. But these neighborhoods were built when this area was somewhat distant from the urban environment, and their quiet streets carry the history of this area that has seen its ups and downs but that finds itself on yet another upswing from all the new residents coming in bringing their commitment to community and their willingness to look out for their neighbors. This home on Sunnymere is such a great spot to start for a new homeowner. In a price range that competes with condos, it’s not located right in the heart of the night life like so many condos are. But it’s a detached home, with a nice yard, and a fun vibe inside and out, and a detached garage, and easy parking for your friends who come over… and more. It’s a great place to call home and one that you can see yourself this Sunday since it’ll be open for the public to tour. I recommend it. Indeed, its cuteness is infectious! Great one to check out!

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May 092014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

6106 Lowell Drive, Oakland

Hello Friends,

This week’s pick was so much fun to walk through for me because it so pleasingly represents how things are changing in Oakland in general and in Oakland’s NOBE neighborhood in particular (named for North Oakland/Berkeley/Emeryville). From here on out this one will retain the distinction “Built in 2014.” Perhaps just as we see the Victorians and the early twentieth century craftsmans, this one in a hundred years may perhaps be a great representative of our era. It’s a smart design that takes advantage of natural light as much as possible. Energy efficiency and sustainable materials are a signature of Baran Studio Architecture, who designed the home. With concrete floors on the main floor and 9.5 foot ceilings the home feels open and airy and distinctively modern. The flow allows easy transitions between the living, dining, kitchen and outdoor space. So those fun dinner parties will carry on throughout this home’s main floor without any undue incentives to cluster in small spaces. Upstairs you’ll find all three bedrooms and two full baths. And a particularly unique feature about the upstairs is that the tall ceiling motif is not only continued, it’s raised. The ceilings in the upstairs are 11.5 feet tall! It’s just a fantastic feature that again opens up the airiness of the home and continues a warm welcome of the natural light coming in through the bank of windows spanning both floors at the southwest corner of the home. Set in a neighborhood enlivened by live/work artist’s studios across the street and several other studios nearby the artsy/industrial vibe is very close by. But when you step outside into the home’s outdoor garden space the tall corrugated metal fencing and surrounding walls give a feeling of complete privacy out back. The pretty weather in Oakland will never be lost in this home both through the great banks of windows and through simply stepping outside into your private back garden space. Located about three quarters of a mile from Ashby BART this one is a fifteen minute walk or a five minute bike ride from excellent transportation options all around the bay area. And with vibrant entertainment areas in both Berkeley and Oakland just minutes away you’ll find this location fully complements the urban living ideal. It’s a great one here on Lowell, with new homes built by this developer all down this side of the block. It’ll be open Sunday if you want to check it out. And another one almost identical to it will be coming on the market right next door soon!

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 Posted by at 9:35 am
May 022014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

6951 Thornhill Drive, Oakland

Hello friends,

This week’s pick is just simply the quintessential east bay home. It’s one of those where you call up your San Francisco friends and say “It’s another beautiful day in the east bay!” — teasing them a bit as you look at the fog to the west from your sunny view deck. Let’s start on this one by noting its location in the Oakland hills neighborhood of Montclair. Well known for its relatively rugged terrain and sweeping views it’s also one of the city’s most desirable areas. Located far enough from the city hustle bustle where the sounds you hear are only those of the trees swaying in the wind and the birds singing a spring melody the singular word that comes to mind first when thinking about Montclair is tranquil. And that’s definitely the aura that surrounds this home which sits on a perch with a wonderful view towards the bay and San Francisco, including the Golden Gate Bridge, that actually has a good amount of usable yard space as well. And the reason I mention that is because I know any of you who live in the hills know that a home in the hills usually equates to either a view OR a yard, not a view AND a yard. Hillside homes just don’t often have much of a yard around here. But this one does and that’s a really neat feature. One other part to note in this location is how this relatively flat hillside perch, which has this wonderful view towards the northwest, also has a full panorama towards the southwest. So it’s just drenched in sun and great for your plants and the gardener in you! Sunbathe on the spacious deck and take a peek at your roses and lilacs or your tomatoes and squash growing down below. Sunsets spectacular most every night, and the famous fog of the bay area will delight you with its show every afternoon in the summer. Inside this home you’ll find all the modern amenities. It’s fully updated from its original construction in 1940 and covers almost 2100 square feet with three bedrooms and two full baths. It also has a detached two-car garage as well. Living and dining and kitchen are all open to each other, making it a cheerful spot for entertaining. And two bedrooms and a full bath are all located on this same level as well. Downstairs is the master suite with a large full bath, laundry room and a master bedroom. Two sets of stairways on either end of the home access this downstairs level, but both can be closed off so it remains private. But probably my favorite part of the home was back upstairs in the kitchen and living areas. It just felt like a fun place to hang out. It’s a beautiful spot to just gaze off into the western view in daylight, dawn, dusk or night time. Any time of day will do, and your friends and family will surely gush over it too! Truly a perfect California family home is the likes of this one. It’ll be open Sunday to tour, or you can just contact me for an appointment for a private showing! Great one to check out.

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Apr 252014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

3368 Madera Avenue, Oakland

Hello friends,

Continuing on my journey exploring Oakland’s emerging neighborhoods I discovered this lovely 1926 bungalow in the charming neighborhood of Maxwell Park. Set perched on a hill, Maxwell Park is a neighborhood of well over 90% single family homes built mostly in the 1920s and 30s. You’ll find a variety of styles here including the ubiquitous Mediterraneans, Craftsmans and Tudors we’ve seen built in other neighborhoods in Oakland such as Redwood Heights, Oakmore and Glenview for a few of examples. Just to the north is your most convenient shopping district with grocery, dry cleaning, hardware, restaurants and retail along the strip of MacArthur between 35th Avenue and High Street known as the Laurel District. To the south Maxwell Park is bordered by Mills College and to the west is another emerging neighborhood known as Fairfax. Across I-580 to the east are the neighborhoods of Upper Laurel and Leona Heights, and the closest BART Station is Fruitvale which according to Google Maps is 2.6 miles away. It just seemed wise to describe the setting and enable some bearings first before trumpeting a few highlights of this home. So many folks are exploring Oakland as an alternative to the areas they perhaps feel priced out of in San Francisco and other areas, and putting a 360-degree view on the neighborhood makes for a good starting point.

The challenge in the bay area for many homebuyers, perhaps most first time homebuyers, is the prospect of just “getting in.” That refers to getting into the housing market with a purchase, somehow some way. Lord knows it’s EXPENSIVE round here, y’all! Condos in SF are crazy high in price and single family homes are either reserved for the uber rich, it seems, or set way out from the cherished dining and entertainment spots and they’re usually shivering in the fog. Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito are all pretty pricey too over here in the east bay. And once you move your radar down to Oakland, while it has its own unbelievably pricey parts too, the prospect of home buying does start to appear more possible for folks around here. “But what about all the stories we hear on the news about Oakland’s crime problems? Is it safe to live in Oakland?” Indeed, I’ve heard that question more times than I can count on my fingers and toes. Without sugar coating anything I’ll come out with it: There are crime problems in Oakland. We who live here know it, and we here who, as MLK put it, are “people of goodwill” are working on that. In Glenview, where I live, the neighbors have come together in lots of ways to stand up to the prospect of crime. One of the very best from my perspective has been joining in with the National Night Out block party, which takes place every year nationwide on the first Tuesday in August. On our block this party’s epicenter is right in front of our house! It’s so much fun, and the very best thing that comes of it is getting to know the neighbors, from all the long-timers (we have one who’s been here since the 1920s!) to the newbies. Some great friends have come out of this too, as we’ll be taking part in our ninth year of this party this coming August. And in Oakland alone last year there were over 500 of these block parties all over the city. We use neighborhood watch, we use private patrols, we contact our city council people, and we watch out for each other. All I can say is watch out when people organize! It’s a force to be reckoned with. Things are definitely changing, as is often so brutally seen in the skyrocketing prices for housing and rents in Oakland. And just today in fact, I read an article in the SF Chronicle that mentioned how just this year 20 bars and restaurants are opening in Oakland’s downtown entertainment district (known as Uptown) between the waterfront and 27th Street. There’s a lot of investment going on, and we’re definitely seeing it in the wave of renovations taking place from Temescal to NOBE, to West Oakland and out to Laurel and Maxwell Park. The peripheries are emerging neighborhoods well worth looking at, and indeed YOU can be among these people of goodwill who organize your neighborhood’s people (and party, like we do) for a safer and more hospitable Oakland in general. It’s definitely happening all over, and I’d just like to believe that good wins over evil when enough good folks get involved!

So that’s my two cents today about what’s been coming along in Oakland. I see a lot around here and I know there are still mountains to move in some regard. But mountain movers are arriving here all the time it seems, and “getting in” remains a great idea for new homeowners trying to seek a spot to call home in the bay area. Yes, it’s expensive— and Oakland is really no exception to that— but I think what you’ll find here is something called COMMUNITY. A rare commodity sometimes in the big city. But it’s really here. Now. So enjoy looking at this charming Mediterranean style home on Madera Avenue in Oakland’s beautiful Maxwell Park. It’s listed just under $400k, which I know sounds unspeakably low in our region’s terms. Chances are it’ll sell for quite a bit more, but it’s a chance to “get in” not only to a great home with wonderful period details, but also to a community who is perhaps at the forefront of how a city’s people reclaims its neighborhoods. It’ll be open Sunday from 2-4:30pm if you’d like to see it. Or, of course, call me for an appointment!

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Apr 182014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

1984 42nd Avenue, Oakland

Hello friends,

After doing a lot of searching recently in the Oakland neighborhoods of Dimond, Maxwell Park, Millsmont, Mills Gardens, Allendale, Fruitvale, NOBE and West Oakland I can tell you that there is a wave of renovations happening in all of these neighborhoods. Agents tell me they are seeing a lot of influx of buyers from outside of Oakland (mostly from San Francisco, it seems) and apparently this surge of buyers has been fueling quite a renaissance of housing in these neighborhoods. Take a look at these sales of homes in Oakland just since April 6th and note how the sales to list price ratio has numbers well above 10%, even reaching above 20% in a couple of cases! The influx of buyers into Oakland, perhaps a lot of whom are those who have determined they are priced out of buying in San Francisco or the peninsula, is really pushing prices up quickly— and it’s only April! I’m concerned for those who are waiting for the summer to shop because the trend certainly appears that prices will be spiking as the traditional buying season settles in during the spring and summer. But the good news is that neighborhoods that maybe weren’t even on the radar of shoppers before are now being given sincere consideration. And driving through, as I do all the time, it’s fantastic to see how many contractor trucks are parked along the sides of the streets with lots of workers engaged in this renovation wave all over town. The Victorians in West Oakland… well, my goodness. Day by day these neighborhoods are being restored with the intricate “painted lady” style exterior paint jobs so coveted in this area, especially in San Francisco. And the Mediterranean and craftsman bungalows in these neighborhoods further to the east are certainly getting the treatment too as you see lots of repairs being made and lots of finished products of that trade gleaming in the springtime sun with their fresh paint jobs and new landscaping. There is definitely a rising tide in Oakland housing these days, and this amazing craftsman home on 42nd Avenue located in the district near the Fruitvale BART station rings a bell for that rising tide when you first walk in the door. When you click through the pictures in the MLS page (click the link or picture above) you’ll see how all the wonderful craftsman built-ins and gorgeous trim work are all preserved in this home in their original wood grain finish. And it’s everywhere in this home too! But the kitchen has been very tastefully updated with modern cabinetry and appliances, and the blend from old to new has a seamless feel that’s more than welcome. When you walk out the back door into this home’s over 8500sf lot you begin to see how this home has just a little bit more than the usual bungalow. You could run an urban farm at this home! Seriously! The lot slopes down slightly from the home, but this lot is entirely usable space. And it’s a space just waiting for its next owner to build it into its next iteration. As a home that was built in 1923, it’s seen a few iterations. And frankly, so has the neighborhood. But as you drive through you see a neighborhood that is taking care of itself, and one that is definitely part of the renovation wave in town. Indeed it’s listed at a low price, and they are taking offers on Tuesday of next week. But don’t be fooled. This is no giveaway. There is going to be some fierce competition for this home, and some lucky person is going to win it! Check it out Sunday if you think it may be for you. It’s really a great one!

Click to view MLS Listing

 

Apr 112014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

3659 38th Avenue, Oakland

Being a first time homebuyer in the market we have right now can really be daunting. It’s scary enough to think of transferring such a big chunk of money into a home purchase, but it’s also now coupled with a fear of passing into this endless cycle of making offers that aren’t accepted, where the other competitive bidders push the prices up beyond what seems even close to reasonable or just swoop in with a higher offer AND pay cash! Sheesh! If you’re looking in San Francisco and you want a place with fancy amenities like a parking space (heaven forbid!) you may find that $700k-$800k gives you a chance, and I mean a chance, at purchasing a shoe box. If you’re shopping in the South Bay you’ll find, as one client of mine recently mentioned “the $%@$#iest $1 million dollar homes ever” around there. And here in our neck of the woods, as folks start to look across the bay to Oakland and the east bay the question for a new home buyer still remains: How can I get in, with my dignity intact hopefully? Bay area shoppers, even first time homebuyers are a pretty sophisticated lot. Most all of them are on their own hunt on the internet in their spare time. They know how homes are selling for much more than the list price in most cases. And they know how neighborhoods are changing, especially in Oakland, over a matter of months, let alone a matter of years. If you haven’t traveled through the Oakland neighborhoods of NOBE, West Oakland, Tuxedo, Allendale, Dimond, Maxwell Park, Millsmont and Laurel lately you haven’t seen the latest version of Oakland. So imagine if you will, a first time homebuyer couple who live in an expensive apartment in San Francisco and want to buy. They’ve discovered how buying in their own neighborhood is out of the question and have begun to look across the bay in Oakland. But they don’t really know the neighborhoods and have heard God knows what about how sketchy Oakland can be. They’re wondering how on earth homes in these unknown neighborhoods could be selling for 10, 15, even 20 percent over asking and wonder if these neighborhoods are going to be not only a good investment but a good place to call home. And they wonder things like: Will I be able to walk to coffee or to an afternoon happy hour like I do here in SF? What are my public transit options, my freeway options? I hear there are great restaurants popping up all over in Oakland, but where are they? How can I retain some of this city lifestyle that I love and still make that grand leap to buying a home? And can I afford something that isn’t a piece of crap?

I think the answer to all of these questions is subjective and can’t be satisfied with one silver bullet. The reality is in a lot of cases you’d be buying into the potential a neighborhood seems to demonstrate. NOBE and West Oakland fit into that category very well. Or perhaps another is you’re buying into an older neighborhood which through lots of renovations is changing in its physical and demographic makeup— where actually there are a lot of folks like YOU moving in— and the new businesses coming in are catering to the new makeup of the neighborhood. Laurel, Dimond, Maxwell Park and Allendale fit into that one, I think. And that’s a big part of why I chose this beautiful 1915 bungalow in Laurel for this week’s Pick of the Week. This home is just off of the main drag in the Laurel district where you’ll find a great variety of restaurants and shops, and most all the other services you’ll need steps away. Yes, you can walk to spots like Famer Joe’s organic grocery, Full House Cafe, Fist of Flower Pizza, Everett and Jones BBQ, and a grand smattering of other businesses you may enjoy being near. Your closest BART station is Fruitvale, which is a short bus ride down 35th Ave. Your closest freeways are Highway 13 and I-580 to pop you in or out of town. And with this home on 38th, you’re choosing a turn of the century charmer with three bedrooms and two full baths with a cute as can be back yard with nice decks and grassy areas (room for urban gardening!). And in Oakland you’ll find it’s actually quite sunny and temperate most every day in the summer while it’s foggy over in San Francisco!

Will you have to pay more than list for this house? If this one is consistent with others in the area, then the answer is yes. There’s no guarantee of that either way though. But even at a higher price it’s sure a whole lot more than a shoebox for $700k. It’s a home where you can sink in some roots, and hopefully it’ll be a price you can justify, with your dignity intact. Please call or contact me if you’d like to see this great home in Oakland’s sweet and charming Laurel District!

Click for MLS Listing Info

 

/p>>

Apr 042014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

1111 Peralta Street, Oakland

Friends, this beautifully renovated 1897 Victorian on Peralta Street is the direction West Oakland is going. This is a wonderful example of what makes up this classic neighborhood. Month after month I am walking through renovations of homes in West Oakland and the feeling is just excellent to see how the investment is lifting up a neighborhood that has seen its share of disrepair over the years. Walking up the stairs to this one it’s impossible not to notice the ornate carving of the Victorian pediment in the facade; the scrolls in the Ionic capitals of the posts of the front porch; the beautiful frieze of the roofline with its own scrolls at the ends echoing the motif. The ornamentation of a genuine Victorian is something to behold wherever it may be, and this one does not disappoint. Walking inside the natural light is pleasing as it comes into the home from all directions, and it’s only after a short time that one realizes, as I said out loud: “This is a whole lotta house!” The specs on this one come in as a four bedroom, three full bath, nearly 2500sf home taking up two floors of the structure. Twelve foot ceilings tower over you as you pass through the main, upper floor and the open combination of kitchen, dining and living room feels like it greets you warmly as it’s already entertaining guests as you walk in.  One bedroom and one full bath are on the main floor, while the remaining three bedrooms and two more baths are downstairs. And as is the case with these wonderful renovations, all the trappings of a new home are what you’ll get with this one: great bathroom fixtures and appointments, great lighting, cushy carpet in the lower floor bedrooms, and upgrades to the systems. Step out from the back bedroom on the lower floor through the double doors into the covered brick patio and back garden you’ll find a very ample outdoor space with a lush lawn. Your gardener’s spirit will find the rest of what to do with this space as you glance back over the yard while walking up the stairs to the deck off of the main level. And once back inside the main level there is one more extraordinary feature to this home that sparks the minds of those who see potential in unfinished spaces: There is a gigantic attic above the main level which is tall enough to have a full sized set of rooms up there, and the question of what to do with it is for you to decide! So while this already is “a whole lotta house,” it’s even more. It’s a great one in a neighborhood that is seeing investors come in and renovate home after home. And West Oakland couldn’t be more centrally located. It’s about as close to the center of the bay area as you can get! Wonderful home open this Sunday, or you can contact me for a private showing.

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Mar 282014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

4902 Broadway #102, Oakland

Hey San Francisco condo shoppers! Maybe you don’t need that extra $400k that it’ll take to purchase a 1245sf loft style condo built in 2005 with deeded garage parking, reasonable HOA dues, rooftop deck, in-unit washer/dryer, 18-foot tall windows to view the western sunset, easy walk to world class restaurants and shops, not to mention BART. Well, MAYBE you can get all that for $900k in SF. But come to think of it, it’ll probably price out a little higher than that. So if that probably extra half a million bucks DOES matter to you, maybe you ought to take a quick ride over to Oakland’s beautiful Rockridge neighborhood and have a look at this excellent condo that offers just that, listed at $499k. According to the BART.gov website’s “Quickplanner” the trip from Rockridge to Embarcadero (or vice versa) is a 20 minute ride. Figure in less than ten minutes to bike to the station from this home on Broadway or walk for a little longer and you will start to piece it together. The reality is that you’re not giving up San Francisco at all— except for maybe some fog, which you’ll find is a quite friendly visitor in Rockridge rather than an overwhelming beast each summer afternoon in SF. Your loft condo has all the modern amenities you’ll want including great natural light (really great natural light), modern kitchen appliances with great style and function, a huge open feel inside with its 18-20 foot ceilings, a great vibe for entertaining, and most especially convenience to so much that the bay area has to offer both in San Francisco AND outside of it. Great location that holds the cache of a Rockridge address that should prove to be both a great place to live AND a great investment for years to come! This one is a gem and well worth a walk-thru. It’ll be open both Saturday and Sunday this weekend for public tours, or you can contact me for a private tour! Really a great one to check out!

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Mar 212014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

2558 Fern Street, Oakland

This home is a stunning remodel of a 1923 Mediterranean style bungalow in Maxwell Park and an extraordinarily clever use of outdoor space. Let me say that again somehow: This home is a STUNNING remodel of a 1923 Maxwell Park bay view home and a super-fun landscape design in the back yard that gives this home the feel of a holiday resort atmosphere! Enter the home through the front door on its main floor and you’re immediately greeted by the open floor plan spanning from the elegant living room all the way back through the modern-style chef’s kitchen through to the back deck with its view of the SF bay and peninsula mountains to the southwest. You’ll note the quality level of this remodel, as it appears to be of the highest order. The kitchen is a modern beauty and one any home chef would be proud to call the heart and soul of this home. With two bedrooms and two full baths on this level it’s a great setup all by itself. But there’s a lot more! Head downstairs and you’ll find a sitting room, bedroom and a full bath. Additionally, there are counters installed in the sitting room waiting to be turned into a kitchenette providing the opportunity to turn the room into a rec room, or a separate 1/1 unit, or a lovely in-law. Walk out back to the southwest facing hillside back garden and you’ll find a multi-level wooden deck and terraced back yard that is accessed by a stairway and stone pathways to each of three levels. These levels will include, sequentially as you descend down from the home: The lawn and hot tub level, the substantial vegetable garden bed level, and finally the awesome “cabana” level at the bottom of the hillside lot in back. Just a wonderful space inside and out listed for a price that makes it extraordinarily enticing to those looking in the $400k-$600k range. It’ll be open from 1-4pm this coming Sunday, and the listing agent says they will be open again for the public to tour the following Sunday during the same time period. Well worth a tour on one of those days if you’re shopping! And if you’d really prefer a private tour, please just contact me for an appointment! Wonderful home to call Pick of the Week!

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Mar 142014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

51 Chatsworth Court, Oakland

So much of our love for a home, I think, comes within the first five minutes of encountering it. And in this Piedmont Pines home it began for me with the peeks at the bay and peninsula hills I saw in the distance as I walked down the steps into the eastern-side deck entrance towards the front door. What’s sort of funny is that I didn’t even notice the detached 2-car garage that was on my right as I walked in because I was too distracted by the pretty view to my left as I walked in! I noticed it and looked at it only when I was on my way out! (Which gave me a little chuckle, must say.) Let’s begin my noting that this three bedroom, three full bath, over 2100sf home was built in 1958, and its exterior siding is redwood. This is a unique feature all by itself, and the mid-century design carries you away to a tranquil mountain retreat located in a quiet cul de sac on a western hillside setting where the focal point of this home’s view points directly towards both downtown Oakland and San Francisco’s skylines. The bay and her cities are beautifully framed in the windows from the living room, dining area, AND the kitchen! Outside from the living area is a large deck overlooking the same view— and the mid-day Thursday’s warm temperature and clear, sunny skies allowed it to show off itself to its very best. From this home you’ll have wonderful sunsets and views of the city lights all through the night too, and the layout of the home clearly lends itself to that prospect of entertaining all through the night as well. And by contrast, on those stormy winter days perhaps you’ll find yourself sitting by the large stone fireplace with its rough hewn timber mantle all cozy and curled up with a great book. With a setup that ultimately works like three master suites (one upstairs and two downstairs), the home is perfectly well suited for a family, or for accommodating guests, or for roommate situations— where each room has a mini oasis of privacy to itself. And yes, once walking back out through the front door you’ll notice to your left there is a large 2-car detached garage as well which seems to fully round out the completeness of this hillside location in the wonderful neighborhood of Piedmont Pines. Definitely an excellent home! Open Sunday, or you can contact me for an appointment to tour it!

Click here for MLS Listing Info

 

Mar 072014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

851 Calmar Avenue, Oakland

Walking inside this incredible 5000sf home from 1911 one is immediately transported to the past. First of all, its location places it in one of the prime view spots in one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Oakland: Crocker Highlands. Walkable to the Lakeshore shops and restaurants, it’s also an easy drive about a half mile down Mandana to all these businesses, Lake Merritt, the Saturday Farmer’s Market, etc. But within the gates of this nearly 8700sf lot perched atop of a hill you will find yourself inside the Edwardian world of pre World War I wealth. Step inside the grand entrance and you’ll immediately see straight ahead to the main salon with its wall of windows to the west and a covered balcony outside so guests can enjoy the view of the bay and city. The trim is exquisite craftsmanship all around, from floor to ceiling the woodwork is captivating. An oversized fireplace sits at the south side of the room, which is one of three in the home, and a space that clearly appears designed as a library/study is right off of this main salon to the northeast side as well. From the entry, if you step to your left the gorgeous dining area welcomes guests right away, with another giant fireplace and a couple of nearly 8×8 classic paned windows with views out to the southeast garden. Pass between the dining room and the kitchen and you’ll see a particular hint that you’re visiting another era of time, as there is a servants’ prep station with wide counters and cupboards between the dining room and the kitchen. (Don’t see that too often even in the largest homes anymore.) Once inside the kitchen you’ll notice it has had some renovations, but still needs to be finished off. A half bath and a room that appears originally intended for a houseman or house-woman is located adjacent to the kitchen right by the back stairway down to the basement— where and additional bedroom and bathroom are. Passing downstairs through these rooms you’ll enter an area that’s obviously built for entertaining, and which looks like a very classic-style billiards room. It’s beautifully paneled and trimmed from top to bottom and has a built-in banquette of seating hugging the walls approximately three quarters of the way around the entire room— and a third fireplace for the home is located here too. It’s a beautiful room, and since it has its accessed by its own stairway through a door from the main entry it seems to suggest that in its original days it’s a place where the gentlemen retired for a brandy and a cigar after dinner— just seems to have that sort of historical feel to it.  And really, such is the case with the entire home. This home is really a museum piece which begs for its sessions with the restoration department. Its character is immense and charming in so many ways, and its times to shine, despite its one hundred and three years of age, are far from over. So as you walk through the areas where restorations are needed they will be apparent, and it’s unnecessary to itemize them here, but suffice it to say that they are reflected in the price, which is significantly lower than a pristinely renovated home of this character in this location would surely command. And finally, let’s not forget the top floor where four bedrooms reside including two master suites on the west side and two additional smaller rooms on the east side. Again, period details will enchant you. For example, jjust as there is a covered balcony outside the main salon one floor down, directly above that is a covered balcony shared by the two master suites. Yet another architectural touch that gives this home so much charm. Indeed, there is much to be done to restore this home to its immense grandeur, but this one quite brilliantly stands out as a piece of Oakland, and indeed bay area history. It’s a wonderful home just waiting for a new owner to polish her back up to a gleaming shine. Please contact me for an appointment if you’d like to see it.

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Feb 282014
 

“Pick of the Week” is a home I’ve recently toured in person which I believe makes for a great buy based on its status as a Great Home Design in a Great Location for a Great Price!

4336 Evans Avenue, Oakland

Hey, hey GLENVIEW!!! Well, it’s nice to walk through one in my own neighborhood and feel the vibe I felt at this one, that’s for sure!  Without question, it was the extraordinary craftsman details in this interior that drew me to this one. And walking in, this home definitely does NOT disappoint! But in walking around the home inside and out it becomes quickly clear in this one that it’s far more than just a pretty interior with original and delightful arts and crafts details. Let’s start with the basic specs: Built in 1911, this 2590sf home sits on a mostly level, somewhat triangular-shaped lot of over 6000sf that’s probably just a three minute walk from the Glenview district’s fabulous restaurant scene (including Rumbo al Sur, Park Sushi, Bellanico, Marzano, Blackberry Bistro, Diggery Inn, Banana Blossom, Pastino’s, Park Burger, and more!). Walking up to the front door guests are welcomed into the large front porch, whose covering supports a balcony on the upper level which is accessed from one of the front bedrooms. Once inside, the craftsman delights begin. From the mission-style balustrade to the original leaded glass light fixtures and windows, to the beautiful stained wood trim from floor to wall to ceiling, to the gorgeous and useful built-in buffet in the dining room. Walk through the kitchen, which was clearly remodeled from its original a number of years ago, out through the tiled steps in the back and you’ll step into a beautiful, medallion-shaped brick patio arrangement with a fountain in the center and raised terraces on the perimeter. The detached garage is to the left and a lovely variety of garden flora follows the fence line. Over to the south side of the home is a large side yard with lots of additional space for gardening or outdoor activities just waiting for the new owner to choose its best use. Entry to the partial basement is also on the exterior on this side. Once you walk back inside and up the mission-style stairway you’ll find four bedrooms and two full baths (a third full bath is located on the main level). Entry to the front balcony is through one of these bedrooms and the northwest view from there must be quite a nice one on a spring afternoon! The master suite is quite large with its own private deck outside overlooking the back yard and the southwest view from the home. Room for family and guests is more than ample on this level, and the heavy 1911 construction keeps sounds from the floor below at a minimum too. Overall, the home just quietly reminds us of the era when Glenview was a newborn subdivision where its rolling hills and views delighted back then and continue to this day to be a lovely place to live! An easy walk to the Park Blvd casual carpool this home ought to get a second look from anyone looking to spend $1M on a condo in SF. Just look at how much home you could choose instead! Open this Sunday for public tours, or call me for an appointment. But better be quick, they’re taking offers on Tuesday the 4th, says the listing agent.

Click for MLS Listing Info