Monday, August 30, 2010


The following is a word for word copy of a City of Berkeley Press Release

City of Berkeley sponsors L.O.L. comedy at bargain rates
Berkeley, California (Monday, August 30, 2010) - Laugh out loud with some of the funniest Bay Area comedians in this seasonal event sponsored by City of Berkeley Recreation. Headliner, Andrew Norelli, has appeared on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, Comedy TV, Entertainment Studios and Comics Unleashed. He will keep you laughing along with other comedians featured, including Jason Armenio, Red Scott, Yayne Abeba and Natasha Muse.
Bring your friends and enjoy a fun-filled evening for bargain prices. The show will be held on Saturday, September 4, 8:30 p.m. at the Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Cost is $8 (cash only). You can pay at the door. Program is for adults over 18 years old (only). Proceeds go towards City of Berkeley Recreation Programs.

For more information, or to request accommodations, please call Molly Sokhom at (510) 981-5150 or (510) 981-6903 (TDD).

In Defense of Home Ownership

Of course you would expect a realtor to be in favor of home ownership.  Afterall, if nobody bought homes any more we'd only have landlords for clients!  A brief overview of world cultures will show that from the beginning of time in most cultures land ownership was considered the main measurement of wealth.  Of course, on top of that livestock and crops played an important part as well.  But people always need a place to live.  And in areas such as ours when land is scarce it is hard to imagine that property values will stay depressed for too long.  I know there is a buzz right now about "the end of home ownership being a pathway to wealth" about the end of the American Dream.  Well, I don't believe it for a minute. There is a reason why property is called real estate.  It is the only investment that has historically apreciated in value and that you can live in, grow food, raise animals and in many other ways meet some of life's basic needs.

Now I don't believe home ownership is for everyone.  For many individuals, at certain times, renting makes more sense. There are many factors to consider when making a decision as big as buying a home.  I think it remains the American Dream, and the dream of most people living on our beautiful blue planet.  There is something special about having a spot that you can call your own .  I can't imagine that this special relationship between the human being and the land he holds stewardship to will ever end.

There are two articles for further reading. Click Here for NY TIMES (In Defense of Home Ownership) and Click Here for Time Magazine Article (The Case Against Home Ownership)

No Dip in Home Sales in Berkeley

It was all over the news that nationally home sales took a major dive in July when compared to the prior month.  I see two main reasons for that dive.  The first is that seasonally, at least in the East Bay, sales take a dip.  It happens every year.  We have basically two home buying/selling seasons, Spring and Fall.  July is typically slow and August even slower, much like December and January.  The second and larger reason for this years' dip is that the government sponsored incentive ended June 30th.  All buyers who wanted to receive this stimulus money or who were motivated to buy because of this had to close their transaction by June 30th.  Well this meant that many buyers were motivated to take the plunge sooner than they would have if their were no stimulus.  The second is that escrows that normally would have closed in July were pressured to close early.  This should have been anticipated by the experts.  It surprises me that so many economists were surprised at this data. 
Now that I've said these things, the reality for Berkeley, California, indeed most of the East Bay, is quite different from other parts of our nation.  I decided to take a look at the stats myself and compared June 2010 and July 2010 and this is what I found. In June 66 listings sold.  In July the number was 65, hardly a significant drop.  These numbers indicate that at least for the time being Berkeley continues to be a strong market for those who want to buy or sell a home.

In Albany the scene is pretty much the same.  The numbers are smaller, 12 sold in June, 10 sold in July, so statistically there is not a lot of significance. 

Oakland continues the theme: 390 homes sold in June vs 387 homes sold in July. Less than a 1% change. 

We can look at other data such as median home price, days on market and new listings to get a better understanding of the market dynamics in the East Bay.  If you are interested in seeing this material I'll post on my website: within the first week of September. In the meantime, if you are planning on buying or selling a home in Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, Oakland or other parts of the East Bay, or if you need a home valuation or other real estate related need, please feel free to email me at

Friday, August 27, 2010

Buying a Starter Home in Berkeley? Come see my New Listing at 3051 Acton Street, Berkeley

3051 Acton Street is a cute, reasonably priced, 2 bedroom /1 bath bungalow located in a quiet neighborhood of South Berkeley close to parks, freeways, BART, shopping, Cafes.  We're open this Sunday (8/29) from 1-4:30. Come on by and say "Hi."

In the meantime you can check it out at  And while you're at it please check out my website for all sorts of real estate information.  If you are buying or selling a property in Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, El Cerrito, Emeryville or other parts of the East Bay you will find valuable information on this site. And if you need help please feel free to email or call.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

North Oakland Farmers Market Update!

If you are planning on buying a home, renting a home or are currently living  in the North Oakland or South Berkeley area I suggest that you check out this new and wonderful neighborhood scene!

The North Oakland Farmers' market at Arlington Medical Center is calling out to all neighbors and community groups in the Golden Gate, Sante Fe, and surrounding neighborhoods to get involved and help shape the future of your neighborhood farmers' markets. We want to here what you want! Tell us your vision for a community farmers' market that serves the needs of this neighborhood and we will work to build it together. Phat Beets Produce is a North Oakland Community Based Organization composed of residents, activists, and doctors. We strive to connect small farmers and farmers of color to urban communities and to connect youth to safe green spaces. For more info please check us out at Please send your ideas and your vision to

The market is every Saturday from 9-2pm at the Arlington Medical Center Parking Lot on 57th and Market and Tuesdays from 2-7pm at the Children's Hospital Oakland.

Below is our late summer FREE WORKSHOP SERIES. Please pass it on! Can you hang flyers in the neighborhood? Let us know-
8/28/10 Baumen College Cooking Demonstration
Baumen College is back with a fresh, seasonally based meal demo prepared from market
ingredients. Come and get a taste and take home a recipe!
9/4/10 Beekeeping in the Market
Khaled Almaghafi, 4th generation bee keeper, and owner of Queen Sheba Farms is a successful
urban bay area bee keeper. He will be bringing a small colony for a live demo.
9/11/10 Soap Making at Home
Efiya , founder and owner of Iyoba, will be doing a demo on the basics of making your own soap.
Stop by and enjoy the workshop and then check out her wide array of handmade products
9/18/10 Natural Sugar n' Cookin' from the Garden
Joy Moore, Bay Area food justice activist, cooking instructor and producer at KPFA will be choppin'
it up with us in the market, making a fresh dish and speaking on sugar and your health.
9/25/10 Backyard Chickens!
Jonah Mossberg, of the Edible School Yard, will be bringing out some hens to the market and speaking
about the ease of backyard egg production in the urban setting. Hmmm...
10/2/10 Cooking with Eco-Chef Bryant Terry
Come get a taste of Food Justice with Eco- Chef Bryant Terry, author of Vegan Soul Kitchen and
GRUB as he makes a Vegan Collard Greens dish. 12-1pm
10/9/10 Growing Mushrooms on Coffee Grounds
Alejandro Velez of BTTR in Emeryville will be doing a demo on growing oyster mushrooms
on coffee grounds. He will also speak about his busineess venture BTTR and their social business model
10/16/10 Fixing a Flat and Bicycle Basics
Bike Man Dan will be teaching a workshop on fixing a flat and basic bike maintenance. Bring your
bike by and as Bike Man Dan. More info at
10/23/10 Copwatch "Know Your Rights Training"
BE EMPOWERED! KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! Berkeley Copwatch provides "Know Your Rights"
Trainings to educate the community about their rights with the police and info about Police Brutality.
10/30/10 Fall Seed Saving in the Garden
Christopher Shein, Bay Area Permaculturist, Merrit Hort. Instructor, and BASIL co-founder
will be doing a fall seed saving workshop. Learn to save your money and diversity by saving your seeds!

And for information about buying or selling a home in Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, Emeryville, El Cerrito and other parts of the East Bay please check out my website

Saturday, August 14, 2010

List of Sunday Open Homes in the East Bay for 8/15/2010

If you are interested in buying or selling a home in Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington or in other parts of the East Bay you will benefit from having a fairly comprehensive list of open homes to visit.  If you are a buyer it will help you to comparatively shop.  If you are a seller it will help you see what the competition is as well as give you ideas for preparing and pricing your property.  I try to post this list as early in the day on Saturday as I can.  It doesn't always happen but 99% of the time it will be posted before the open houses begin on Sunday.  To see the list of open houses   CLICK HERE. And if you need information about Buying or Selling a home in the the East Bay come back often and check out my website,

Friday, August 13, 2010

North Oakland's New Pop-Up Store

Honestly, I haven't been to it yet but I love the concept and the reviews are favorable. This is right around the corner from Children's Hospital.  It usually pop's up on the 3rd Wednesday.  some of the reviews are below.  Maybe I'll see you there!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Celebrity Sightings (Brad, Anjolina, Philip) in Berkeley and Oakland!!

I've been told by those in the know that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are currently staying at the Claremont Hotel.  Not only that but Philip Seymour Hoffman has been seen the past two days at Bittersweet  Cafe at 5427 College Ave. He's been showing up mid afternoon. 
Remember you learned about it here.  And remember that if you want accurate and timely information about buying or selling a home ini Berkeley, Oakland, or other parts of the East Bay please visit my website:  And if you want assistance in pricing, home valuations, or real estate related resources please call or email me for a quidck response.