East Bay Real Estate – A Fresh Approach

A Fresh Approach to East Bay Real Estate

Craftsman Bungalows—Not So Ordinary After All

Posted on | April 8, 2015 | No Comments

When my parents brought me home from the hospital, it was to a newly constructed home in the San Fernando Valley.  They arrived just after World War II when there were still orange groves everywhere and the nearby movie studios pretty much defined local culture.  It was all about ranch homes and midcentury design.

When I arrived in Berkeley, I landed in a rent controlled apartment in a beautiful old Craftsman brown shingle, and I never looked back.  When we brought our son home from the hospital some years later, it was to a classic Craftsman bungalow not too far away.  In our combined 30 plus years in real estate, Dana and I have sold more Craftsman bungalows than any other style of home!  Probably a couple hundred!

And I just learned something new!  Craftsman bungalows originated in India!!!  British officers stationed in India in the 19th century adopted a certain kind of tropical house which were used as way stations for travelers.  These bungalows were designed with shaded verandas, open floor plan, and easy access to the outdoors to facilitate the movement of air in the hot climate.  This style easily translated to the sunny climate of California and was embraced by the Arts&Crafts movement first as summer homes (think Mill Valley or the Berkeley hills) and eventually, with some weatherizing, for year round use.  By 1906, bungalows had gone mainstream and, thanks to kits distributed by Sears Roebuck and others, they also became affordable to ordinary citizens many of whom migrated to the East Bay after the big San Francisco earthquake.

(thank you, Margie)

6605 Dana twilight small

 

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Do you have a crush?

Posted on | June 18, 2014 | No Comments

HowDoBuyersCrushes

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It’s that time of year again

Posted on | January 29, 2014 | No Comments

Blossoms

Look what we spotted in the Berkeley hills a few days ago!

It has become common knowledge that when the plum trees start to bloom, the spring real estate market is not far behind. The other marker is Super Bowl Sunday. Or rather, Super Bowl Sunday being over. So, if you are thinking of making a move this year, now is the time to get going! So far this year we are seeing a continuation of the seller market of 2013 fed by extreme lack of inventory in Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito and better parts of Oakland.

Even in a seller’s market, houses require thoughtful preparation. Call us and we will be happy to walk through your house with you and share our resources for painting, landscaping, staging and minor repairs.

If you are hoping to buy, now is the time to declare yourself. We love working with buyers and the better we know you before you find your dream house, the better we can represent you with a winning offer. If you would like more data about sales and prices, we are happy to sign you up to receive our monthly newsletter. And it’s not all about real estate!

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What is a house?

Posted on | April 10, 2013 | No Comments

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Modern Masterpiece

At its most basic, a house is a roof over our heads, a retreat from the world, protection from the elements.  Yet in our experience, most buyers are hunting for something more than 3 bedrooms and 2 baths with a good roof and a big backyard.  That’s where architecture comes in.  Fortunately, not all buyers are narrowly focused on Mediterranean, or Craftsman, or whatever, but most buyers hope when they walk into their future house, it will just feel right, and from whence does that rightness come?  It is some combination of size, flow, light, orientation, outlook, style, and finishes—in short, it’s architecture.

It’s always fun to have a listing with an architectural pedigree.  If it’s a Julia Morgan, or a Bernard Maybeck, that pretty much tells the story, but if it is the work of a contemporary living architect, it is very exciting to make contact and tease out the story of how the house happened to be designed and what statement the architect was hoping to make.  Most of the houses we sell are not architect designed, of course, and then the challenge is to identify the elements of the home that may speak to potential buyers and showcase those elements with tasteful props, professional photography and high quality marketing materials.

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Slow Architecture

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Time to nest?

Posted on | March 12, 2013 | 1 Comment

Time to Nest?

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Humans are not the only creatures experiencing a tight housing market.

According to Helen G, old friend and bird watcher extraordinaire, the bird-housing market also seems a little tight this spring. She reports that the bird house outside her kitchen window was built for chickadees but a pair of titmice have taken over this year.  They are a bit larger than the chickadees and require a slightly larger entry hole.  Not to worry!  They are just squeezing in and out, building a nest of all nests.  One carries in debris, and the other seems to be carrying it out.  These are pieces of dried plant material some of which are 6-7 inches long.  This seems to go on hour after hour.  Supposedly, the female builds the lowest level of nest by herself (the course stuff), and they both add the soft, fluffy stuff on top.  It can take 10-11 days to build.

Here’s what I’m wondering: who’s working harder, these industrious titmice, or the average Berkeley buyer who has to compete in a multiple offer situation?

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