“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
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!