Friday, December 2, 2011

Celebrating the Holidays in Oakland at the Dunsmuir Hellman Estate
Oakland, CA - City of Oakland Office of Parks and Recreation invites you to step back in time and experience a turn-of-the-century Holiday Tradition at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate. There, you can  tour the magnificent 16,224 square foot, 37-room mansion thatvolunteers have put in more than 5,000 hours to transform into a breathtaking masterpiece of an Edwardian holiday. Each room is decorated with elegant holiday trees, garlands, antique furnishings and festive decorations to provide you with ideas for your own home decorations. Your family and friends will enjoy quality moment together as you stroll the lovely turn of the century 50-acre estate in the breathtaking Oakland Hills. 
           Additionally, you can indulge in the adult or children's holiday teas, ride the romantic horse-drawn carriage, sip some hot chocolate while being entertained by holiday performers. Enjoy a light snack in the Winter Café and fill your holiday shopping list by purchasing from the mansion gift shop or the Carriage House Crafters. Children will enjoy the Kid's Zone with horseback riding, holiday face painting, crafts and Breakfast with Santa.  On opening day - December 3rd, join in on the biggest Holiday Sing-Along on the Great Meadow that the Holiday Tradition has celebrated over the last 41 years.  

 This year's program has been expanded to include:  
Sunday, December 11, you can start with Breakfast with Santa while you enjoy the Tap Dancing Christmas Trees; followed by the special guest appearance of Oakland Ballet's "The Nutcracker Suite" at 1pm; and immediately followed by the Scottish Dancers at 2pm. Bring the children and entire family...! 
           Office of Parks and Recreation (OPR) Director Audree V. Jones-Taylor sums it up when she said, "Holiday traditions help us create memories and have lasting impacts on our children. So we invite everyone to 'Come Out and Play the OPR Way' and have a great time at the Annual Holiday Tradition activities."

Events start December 3rd through 18th (Saturdays and Sundays only) from 11:00am - 5:00pm. The Estate is located at 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, off 106th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94605.
           The Mansion is open on Fridays for tour groups. For more information, or to schedule a holiday tour please call 925-866-9559; or visit

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oakland Special Trash Pick-ups for the Holidays

1.      Thanksgiving Waste pickup change: Thursday's Waste Management pickups will be on Friday, Friday pickups will be on Saturday.

2.      Free bulky recycling for Oakland Residents: Drop-off Select Items on Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bring your unwanted appliances, mattresses, electronics, and upholstered furniture to a free recycling drop-off event, hosted by the City of Oakland and Waste Management. 

WHO: Oakland Residents (proof of residency required) 

No commercial deliveries accepted. 

WHAT:  Free drop-off for select items:

*  Electronics (computers, monitors, TVs, cell phones, printers, etc.)

*  Appliances (maximum of 2)

*  Mattresses (maximum of 2 sets)

*  Passenger Tires (maximum of 4 without rims)

*  Upholstered Furniture (maximum of 2)

 WHERE:     Davis Street Resource Recovery Complex
                     2615 Davis Street
                  San LeandroCA  94577

WHEN: Saturday, December 3, 2011 - 9:00 am to 12 noon

HOSTED BY: The City of Oakland and Waste Management

INFO: Call City of Oakland Recycling Hotline at 510-238-7283

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

If you've been foreclosed read this

RightArrow.gifForeclosure review under way
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve Board announced Tuesday that the independent foreclosure reviews of 14 large servicers issued in April now are underway.
Approximately 4.5 million borrowers could have their loans reviewed and potentially be compensated for imposed financial hardship, according to a previous statement by the OCC.
According to the OCC, the review will take several months due to the volume of potential foreclosures to review.
The foreclosure review is part of a broader list of enforcement actions for the servicers to rectify missteps in the foreclosure process. The enforcement actions mandated by the OCC include improved borrower communications, greater oversight of third-party vendors, updated management information systems, and the elimination of “dual tracking” – which takes place when a servicer forecloses while a borrower is being considered for a modification.
Borrowers wishing for review may visit, or call 1-888-952-9105 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.  Requests for reviews will be accepted through the end of April.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rabid Bat in Berkeley

Did you know that Alameda COunty is a declared "Rabies Area" and has been since 1958?  The material below was taken from the City of Berkeley Website and is a reminder to all to be careful  around wild animals, living or dead.

Berkeley, California (Thursday, October 20, 2011) - A bat infected with rabies was recently found in the area of the 300 block of Rugby Avenue in the City of Berkeley.  Although the bat was removed without incident, residents in Berkeley and the surrounding areas are advised that Alameda County has been a “Rabies Area” since 1958.
In Berkeley, bats and skunks are the most likely animals to be infected, although unimmunized dogs, foxes, coyotes, badgers, weasels, raccoons and unvaccinated cats can also carry the rabies virus.
Rabies infection is virtually always fatal in man so it is critical that people know how to prevent infection.  Avoid skunks and bats and do not handle dead wild animals.
Educate your children about the dangers of wild animals and warn them not to touch any animal they do not know.
Any nocturnal animal which is seen during daylight hours such as skunks, bats, or grey foxes should be considered dangerous.
Call Berkeley Animal Control Services at (510) 981-6600, Monday-Sunday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., if suspicious or dead animals are observed in your area. For after-hours emergencies contact Dispatch at (510) 981-5900.
• Rabies is found in most counties in California including Alameda County. Alameda County has been declared a "Rabies Area" since 1958.
• Rabies is a deadly virus disease which affects the nervous system. Once symptoms start in an infected human being it is uniformly fatal. There is no known cure.
• Rabies is transmitted in the saliva of infected warm blooded animals (mammals) through mucous membranes or any break in the skin by biting, licking or scratching.
• Animals at high risk for carrying rabies are skunks, bats, dogs which have not been vaccinated against rabies, foxes, coyotes, badgers, weasels, raccoons, and wild and unvaccinated domestic cats. Rodents (gophers, mice, hamsters, squirrels, rats, opossums, guinea pigs) and rabbits are considered very low risk for rabies.
• The degree of risk to humans and pets for rabies is determined by the species of the animal and the circumstances. There is no risk for rabies from reptiles, birds, or insects.
• If a wild animal such as a skunk, bat, or grey fox which is normally nocturnal (active at night) is seen in the daylight acting in a strange manner, it may be tested for rabies by the State Health Laboratory. Example of animals to be tested:
  • A skunk roaming or staggering in daylight.
  • A bat hanging on a window screen or sill.
  • A grey fox acting in an aggressive manner in the daytime.
• Immediately call the City of Berkeley Animal Control Services at (510) 981-6600 regarding strange acting animals.
• The following are protective measures that are necessary to prevent rabies in humans and domestic animals.
  • Have dog(s) and cat(s) vaccinated against rabies.  Vaccination and Licensing is required for all dogs 4 months of age and older. Dogs which are first vaccinated at one year of age or less must be revaccinated one year later. The interval for revaccination is three (3) years for older dogs.
  • Confine dogs to property especially puppies less than four (4) months of age since they are not protected against rabies. Otherwise, if a dog is taken off the premises it must be on a leash.
  • Report any animal bites of humans or any close contact between dogs or cats with skunks or bats or other wild animals to the City of Berkeley Animal Control Services at (510) 981-6600.
  • Avoid wild animals or domestic animals which are strays or which run loose. Do not feed wild animals by hand. It is dangerous to attempt to feed, pet, or care for sick or injured animals.
  • Do not attract skunks or raccoons with food! They will eat garbage, fruit, vegetables, and especially dog and cat food. Pet food left outside is a strong invitation to wildlife.  Keep garbage cans covered with tight fitting lids. 
  • Do not provide shelter for skunks and other wild animals. Close all openings under your home and other buildings. Keep foundation vent screens in good repair. Eliminated piles of trash, rocks, wood, hollow logs, heavy growth of vegetation and other possible hiding places.
  • Do not provide shelter for bats. Close, seal, or screen all openings so there is none greater than 1/4" in size especially at roof level.  Install 1/4" screen on attic vents and maintain in good repair.
If you require information regarding wild animals such as bats or skunks, please call the City of Berkeley Animal Control Services at (510) 981-6600, Monday through Sunday or Vector Control Services at (510) 981-5310, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, contact Dispatch at (510) 981-5900.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Red Oak to Host Green Chamber of Commerce Mixer

East Bay Green Chamber of Commerce Mixer!
Tuesday, October 18th from 6 - 8 p.m.
Susan Sakaki
of EnviroSystems Group
Speaking about the Alameda County Green Business Program
And a representative of StopWaste, discussing  Cash & Assistance for Going Green on your Building Upgrade

Red Oak Realty Oakland office at 51 St. and Pleasant Valley Ave.
Food donated by The Natural Grocery Co.
The Natural Grocery Company

Wine donated by Frey Vineyards, America's first Organic Winery
Free to members of the Green Chamber of Commerce; $10 to everyone else

Berkeley Businesses to benefit from Green Program

The East Bay Green Corridor invites you to join an exciting new solar group purchasing program for Bay Area small businesses and commercial property owners called Solar@Work (a partnership with SF Environment).  This limited-time offer provides access to some of the lowest solar prices seen in the region for this building class.  Not only that, the more participants that join, the lower the price for the entire buying group.   

What makes the program unique is not only the 20% group discount offered to program participants, but also an integrated financing option.  Through the program's pre-negotiated solar lease option, participants can install solar for little to no money down and, for the first time, pay less for solar power than they pay for electricity from the grid.  

The Solar@Work enrollment window is open through October 2011. For more information 

Free Bicycle Helmets for Berkeley Residents!

Got a helmet?  Need one? The City of Berkeley's Injury Prevention Program is offering bicycle/multi-use helmets for Berkeley residents for FREE.

Pick-up your FREE helmet at City of Berkeley Public Health Division at 1947 Center Street, 2nd Floor.  Some sizes (large) are limited.  Offer available until supplies run out.  Office hours are from 9 am to 5 pm.

Limit one (1) per person and all parties receiving a helmet must be present.  No appointment necessary.

For more information, contact the Injury Prevention Program at 510-981-7676

Berkeley to Start Booting Cars

Thought you should know. If you are one of the many individuals with 5 or more unpaid parking tickets, its time to get them under control.  Berekely has beguna program where they will put a "boot" on your car, making it impossible to drive off, if you are one of the "scofflaws."  Apparently right now there are over 1.5 million dollars worth of unpaid parking tickets and these funds would benefit the city budget. This program is scheduled to begiin in about 2 weeks!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Open homes listings for today, Sunday 8/28/2011, are now posted on my website.

Two Big Choices Facing Most Home Buyers

Unless you have unlimited resources there are two distinct choices you will be facing when buying a home. These choices are , in most cases never really articulated.  Most home buyers eventually arrive at this realization but coming to it sooner will save a great deal of time and frustration.

A group of  us at Red Oak Realty were discussing recently ways that we could help our clients in the home buying process.  One of the things we talked about were the decisions facing home buyers as they move through the process. Of these decisions perhaps the two biggest are as follows.
Most of us will have to choose one from each group.   This is a forced choice.  Which in each group is more important?  Choose either Time or Money.  Then choose Location or Condition.

Lets look at the first choice.  We have a budget.  We can save money by buying a short sale, fixer or REO (bank owned foreclosure), but these take more time.  Or we can save time by purchasing a conventional sale in a home that is remodeled and move in ready. There are lots of variations to this equation. But the idea is simple:  Choose which is more important.

The second choice is not as obvious to most buyers.  Lets face it, how many times in our lives do we buy a home?  If location is most important to you then you will notice that the 'desirable' locations tend to be more expensive so you end up getting less house for your money.  Whereas you may be able to get everything you want in a house in a less desirable neighborhood.  Somewhere on this continuum the right home awaits you.

I recommend that the Home Buyer includes these decisions in their home buying strategy.  Sit down with your realtor and use these to come up with a plan that quickly focuses your home search and brings you to the home that most closely matches your needs.

As usual, let me know if I can help.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Monthly Newsletter Seriously Local Berkeley Oakland

Click Here for link to my monthly newsletter.  Now posted on my website,
The newsletter contains local information, market updates, mortgage information, restaurant reviews and more.  If you would like it delivered to your inbox once a month (3rd Thursday) all I need is your email and  a note that you want to receive the newsletter.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

South Berkeley Home Sales Data

Click Here to see South Berkeley Home Sales Stats.for the 2nd quarter 1997-2011.  I can customize this report for your neighborhood.  If you would like to request current market data let me know.  Click on my picture for contact information.  Or email me at

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Food trucks coming to Golden Gate Fields

If you missed Off the Grid well here's your chance to find it. Over 30 food trucks for 4 consecutive Saturdays beginning August 27th. They will be serving everything you can imagine! 

Here's the link: Click Here for Info about Food Trucks

Have you been to Downtown Berkeley's free Saturday Night Movies?

Well its a lot of fun and there are only two of the four shows left.
Saturday nights on Center Street in downtown Berkeley (B of A parking lot).  Bring a chair or rent one for $5.  Come in costume.

Entertainers open the show at around 7:30

The remaining shows are:
Raiders of the Lost Ark on 8/20
The Big Lebowski on 8/27
Here's the link for complete info (CLICK HERE)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Open Houses for Sunday 7/10/2011

Click on the following link to get a complete list of Open Houses in the East Bay, Berkeley, Oakland, el Cerrito, Walnut Creek, Piedmont etc for sunday July 10, 2011  And check my website often for updated market statistics, Open House listings, Active Listings, REO's and Short Sales, Neighborhood Information and more.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We're Back to Normal!

Good news for the housing market!!  The number of NEW foreclosures and notices of default has returned to normal.  What this means is that we are well on the way to a normal housing market.   Picture a python who can eat a pig whole.  That pig works its way through the python's digestive system until it is completely digested. This analogy applies to foreclosures and notices of default.  The system had to digest an extraordinary amount of them.  This lump is working its way through the system and when finished we're back to normal  This information should be of particular interest to buyers who want to purchase at the best time. The bargain window is still open but as it begins to close more buyers will jump in creating more demand and sending prices up.  Mark Zandi from Moody's discusses this on NPR's Planet Money. Click Here

And please remember to use my website for up to date market information, open homes listing, property searches, neighborhood information and more.  And, if you need a property valuation, comps for your home, marketing info,or a referral to one of my preferred vendors please give a call or email. (510) 368-2854,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Check out the ART MURMUR!

Every month the crowd gets bigger.  In many ways its like a big block party. Even though publicity says it runs from 6-9 Pm last month it was still going strong as late as 11PM

Oakland Art Murmur is a group of nearly 20 galleries in Oakland that have coordinated openings Wander from gallery to gallery, sample free nibbles, drink some free wine, see occasional outdoor movies and fine some new artists to love at venues like 21 Grand, Blank Space, Luka’s Taproom, Rowan Morrison, Rock Paper Scissors Collective and more.

Every First Friday of the month, member galleries are open to the public from 6-9 pm. Additionally 23rd Street between Telegraph and Valley is closed to car traffic, and craft, art, and food vendors are set up along this corridor.

Getting There:
Member galleries are generally located between 22nd and 26th Street and along the Broadway/Telegraph corridors. You may view the map for more specific locations. To get to the area using BART, get off at the 19th Street Oakland stop, which is only a few blocks away. The 12 (Grand St), 51A (Broadway), and 1(Telegraph) AC TRANSIT buses also come right to the Uptown District.

For more information CLICK HERE
Remember to email or phone me for home valuations, help on real estate related questions and needs and check out my website for Sunday Open Houses, Property searches, Market Data by zip code, home buying and home selling tips and more

Monday, June 6, 2011

What is going on in the El Cerrito Home Market?

While most of the Bay Area housing market has stabilized or has taken a small dip over the past few months, the city of El Cerrito has shown a steadily decline in housing prices and a steady increase of days on market.  If you were ever thinking of puchasing a home in El Cerrito its time to pull the trigger!  Look at the charts below.

Charts like these for other zipcodes in the East Bay are available on my website,
Just click the Market Data tab

Real Estate Market Data for Berkeley, Oakland, Albany Piedmont, Kensington

I've just posted market data on my website for many East Bay areas by City and by zipcode.  Included are Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Kensington, Oakland, LaMorinda, and Piedmont  Click Here to view the report you want.  Data includes Median Sale Price, Average days on Market, months supply of Inventory, Number of properties sold and more  If the link doesn't work then go to and click on the market data tab at the top of the page.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Up Coming South Berkeley Events June, 2011

The following is an exerpt from Council Member Darryl Moore's Newsletter

Townhall Meeting

Please join me for a townhall meeting to discuss a variety of important issues. We will have a representative from the Parks and Recreation Department to discuss some upcoming improvements to San Pablo Park. The Berkeley Police Department will be discussing various crime prevention methods, in preparation for our summer months, and will be available to field questions regarding crime issues that the community would like to discuss. Teresa Berkeley will be attending from the City's Budget Office to discuss Berkeley's budget and the various ways the city is managing these difficult economic times.

What: Townhall meeting to discuss improvements to San Pablo Park, Crime Issues and the City's Budget

When: 6PM on Thursday, June 16th

Where: Frances Albrier Community Center in San Pablo Park, 2800 Park Street between Russell and Ward

Urban Farm Grand Opening

Urban Farm Grand Opening Celebration

Sunday, June 19, 10:00 - 1:30
@ The Urban Adamah Farm
1050 Parker St. in West Berkeley

photo by Melissa Schilling

Space is limited :: Register (for free!) today

Planting, Seeding, Mulching - Cob Oven Bread Making - Face Painting -
Make your own Pickles - Introduction to Camp Urban Adamah - Create a Personal Terrarium - Ice Cream Making - Bicycle Blender Smoothies - Wild Edibles Workshop - Meet Berkeley's Resident Dairy Goat Herd - Great Kosher Organic Food... AND MUCH MORE....

Music by:

and others!

With the participation and support of:
Author/Urban Farmer Novella Carpenter
The Office of Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, AD 14
Councilman Darryl Moore

Learn with:
Deena Aranoff, Professor of Jewish Studies at the GTU
Zelig Golden, Co-Director Wilderness Torah
Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Netivot Shalom

To register or to learn more, visit:

Co-sponsors: Congregation Beth El, Edah, Berkeley Hillel, Pursue, Wilderness Torah, Congregation Netivot Shalom, Congregation Beth Israel, Center for Jewish Life and Learning, Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay, Kehilla Community Synagogue

Berkeley Juneteenth 2011

The Berkeley Juneteenth Festival is a street festival extending the 5-block South Berkeley Adeline-Alcatraz corridor that is free and open to the public. Family entertainment is the focus of all Berkeley Juneteenth Festivals, and no alcohol and tobacco sales or sponsorships are allowed.

Sunday, June 26, 2011
10 am to 6 pm

MAIN STAGE ENTERTAINMENT is the "heart" of Juneteenth-in-Berkeley. The music incorporates the best of the African American experience: African drumming, jazz, blues, neo-soul, gospel, rhythm and blues, and reggae. Local talents, like John Handy, Faye Carol and Pharoah Sanders have graced our stage, but BJF is a vehicle for showcasing up and coming acts, providing them with an opportunity to show their talents.

COMMUNITY STAGE features performances directed towards novice entertainers. Auditions are held 60 days prior to the Festival. HEALTH FAIR- Alameda County health agencies offer informational workshops and health screenings. TWO ON TWO BASKETBALL TOURNEY provides wholesome, physical competition on event day. HISTORICAL EXHIBITS includes an indoor exhibit hall featuring a collaboration of presenters. ART FOR CHILDREN programs and for-fun activities are coordinated by practicing artists. The VISION MAGAZINE is a BJF souvenir publication sold on Festival day which features the day's activities.

For more information, please visit

4th of July @ Berkeley Marina

The 4th of July is a great day to have a lot of fun. The biggest party is at the Berkeley Marina from noon-10PM. There's all kinds of free fun! Adventure Playground, always a favorite, is open 11am-8pm. Get your face painted, try the giant slide, or splash in the water at the beach!

There's live entertainment from noon until 9:30PM on the main stage including Downtown Rhythm, Lee Waterman & Jazz Caliente, The Hipwader's Children's Music, Tin Sandwich Harmonica Trio, The Ian Franklin Band, Foxtails Brigaide, & Steel Pans. Tucked around the marina are Afro Cuban Rumba Drumming, Circus Art performers, and on The Buddy Club Stage in Shorebird Park you'll find jugglers and magicians. There's art & crafts, yummy food, massages, free dragon boat rowing from 2-6pm, pony rides, a dunk tank, and much more including the grand fireworks off the end of the Berkeley Pier at 9:30pm.

Let's hear it for the red, white, and blue...but keep it green, too. The party shouldn't leave the environment trashed. If you can, bring your own dishes -- Frisbees double as plates! A bandana is your cloth napkin to use at all of the international food booths. With water stations located around the event, you can refill your own reusable bottle and keep a lot of plastic out of the landfill. Be sure to use the recycling stations located throughout the marina for your disposables.
Free admission. Alcohol-free event. No cars after 7pm.
Getting There:
CARS: There is plenty of free parking in the Marina, noon-11PM. However, the roads close 7-10:30PM (and the Police have the option to close them earlier if the lots are 100% full) so you can't get in or out between those hours. Come in earlier! After the fireworks, and after all of the pedestrians have left the Marina, the road opens to vehicles (around 10:30PM) when you may drive out.
BUS: AC Transit runs on a slow 51B Sunday schedule from Downtown Berkeley BART right into the Marina. At the end of the event, however, you have to walk, with the rest of the crowd, out to 6th and University Ave. near Spenger's to pick up a bus back to BART. Unfortunately, we do not have an event shuttles.
BICYCLES: Free valet bicycle parking. Ride your bicycle over the Berkeley overpass and Richmond Spokes will valet park it for you in the lot near Adventure Playground from noon-10PM. But be sure to pick it up by then!
Dogs are OK on a leash.

For more information, please visit

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Open Houses for Sunday 5/15/2011

Its been a while since I've had a chance to blog. First I want you to know that I have posted East Bay open houses on my website and I do this every Saturday.  You can access over 600 homes open in the East Bay in cities such as Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Oakland, Piedmont, LaMOrinda, and more simply by clicking here. Furthermore, I post market data  by neighborhood, monthly with special quaterly reports each quarter. This data gives median sales price, volume of homes sold, average days on market and more. You can accesss these by clicking here.  If ever these links are broken its easy to visit my website and click the appropriate tab on the left. As far as market data is concerned , on request I can break the data down by very small geographical areas .  Just charge. If you are out home shopping this weekend please stop by my sensational listing at 2112 Essex Street  in Berkeley.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Berkeley Earth Day Events 4/23/2011

What: Berkeley Earth Day Festival

When: Saturday, April 23 12:00p.m. - 5:00p.m.

Where: Civic Center Park, MLK & Allston

Berkeley Earth Day is an annual event held in April to celebrate the environmental movement and creatively challenge the problems facing our planet. This year is Earth Day's 41st anniversary! Enjoy cultural performers, speakers and resources to link individuals and groups with each other in community based ecological activities.

Free shuttle to Trumer Brewery for Tours & Tastings leaves every 30 minutes from 2-5

Expanded Food Court with 10 food booths and seating

Test drive the electric Chevy Volt with extended range

Free electronic waste drop-off including Cell phones, computers, monitors, printers, FAX machines, speakers, old video tape machines, etc.

Also have collections for household batteries, fluorescent lighting, and a torchiere swap (bring your old halogen or incandescent and get a new energy-efficient one for free!)
Ecology Center "How To" Tent at Berkeley Earth Day

The Ecology Center will be hosting FREE, back-to-back mini-workshops on a wide variety of topics. Stop by the "How To" Tent and attend any of the 20-minute sessions. Leave inspired and energized to improve your environmental impact! Powered by Coyle Industries' solar generator. Click here for details and full schedule of workshops:

Expanded Food Court, with a café area to enjoy your food and drink, and additional prepared food vendors who use organic ingredients sourced from the Berkeley Farmers' Market.

Free Collection Events, sponsored by the City and located along MLK Jr. Way:

Electronic waste collected by ACCRC

Household batteries & fluorescent lighting collected by CCC

Torchiere swap by Rising Sun Energy Center (bring your halogen or incandescent torchiere for a new energy-efficient one, and sign up for a free energy audit as well!)

This is a family-friendly event. Free bicycle parking is provided along Allston Way.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Plant Swap In North Oakland 5/7/2011

I just received this posting and thought I'd pass it along.

Inspired by plant swaps around the San Francisco bay area, Dan and I have decided to bring this FREE sharing event to North Oakland. Located in the Golden Gate neighborhood we host plant swaps twice a year: once in spring and once in fall.

At the plant swap you can bring: unwanted plants, cuttings, seedlings, starts, foraged plants, and seeds.

This is also a great place to bring any extra pots, natural fertilizers, vermicompost/worms, garden tools, etc you have and are no longer using. Pass them all on to a new home and come pick up some new-to-you plants for your garden and home.

The only entrance fee is something brought to add to the swap.

Next Swap:

Saturday May 7th


5927 San Pablo Ave.

Oakland, CA 94608

(on the Berkeley/Emeryville border)

Please spread the word to all your friends

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Berkeley, Oakland Neighborhood Videos

Want to learn about a particular neighborhood in the East Bay?  In Berkeley?  In Oakland?  In El Cerrito?  Click on this link CLICK HERE and you will get a fresh look at some of the wonderful east bay Neighborhoods.  We are creating more daily so if you don't see your favorite East Bay Neighborhood, come back often and check!  Share with your friends and keep me in mind if you need a great local realtor. These videos are also posted on my website,, (first tab on the left).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interested in REO's? A Sobering Story

We wrote our offer on a Richmond Annex property on January 29th.  A week later we were in contract. By the end of the following week we had completed all our inspections and based upon these inspections requested a price reduction to help cover the cost of repairs needed.

The listing agent advised us that this request would not be accepted and a week later she was proven right.  My clients were not willing to proceed based upon the initial price and the inspections.  So we sent in a request for a price reduction of a lesser amount. A week later this was accepted and we're ready to move forward.  By this time we're a month into the negotiations.  We got our appraisal done and everything is flowing the way it should.  All the bumpy spots are now out of the way, or so we thought. 

On Monday, March 14th, we signed loan docs, had a glass of champagne and looked forward to closing.  Final loan conditions were met and buyers wired remainder of downpayment to Escrow holder on Thursday, March 16. Now we're done. All we have to do is sit back and wait for the loan to fund and the deed to be recorded. Not so fast. 

Thursday evening I received a phone call from the listing agent.  "Hello Bill.  I have some bad news for you..."  She want on to explain that she didn't have the details but needed to inform me that the bank was cancelling the contract and that the appropriate docs would be drawn up and sent to us on Friday.  It seems that the bank believes that it may not be the legal owner of the property!  It may have not followed the correct procedures for foreclosure and therefore cannot legally sell the house and needs foreclose all over again!

One might wonder what the bank would do if they were a day later and the property had closed. Or for that matter what my clients would have done, if the bank sold them a property that wasn't theirs to sell.  I wonder how many of these have already been sold.

My clients are now almost two months into this transaction, emotionally tied in to it, financially have spent on inspections, appraisals, well over $1500.

I'm feeling an emotional charge about this one.  My clients are great.  They've never bought a home before and shouldn't be treated this way.

Do my clients have a recourse?  Unlikely.  The Bank's addendum to the purchase contract makes it very clear that there is no recourse.

 One wonders if the banks (yes I'm lumping them all together) have any kind of conscience at all.  First they create a crisis in the housing market (See the movie Inside Job, or listen to the director tonight on KQED 8PM or 3/19 at 2PM--Commonwealth Club), then they foreclose, then in the rush to make a buck don't even do it correctly. I wonder if any of us will even get a letter of apology. I'm not expecting it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Out The Glen Burke Story

Berkeley High School's presentation of the acclaimed documentary film "OUT. The Glenn Burke Story" produced and directed by 1978 BHS grad Doug Harris is coming this Wednesday, March 9.  The event includes 6:00 pm pre-screening reception, with film shown at 7:00 pm and discussion afterwards.

The event is a benefit for the Berkeley High Gay-Straight Alliance, Berkeley East Bay Track Club and Athletes United for Peace.  Purchase tickets at for $5.

"OUT. The Glenn Burke Story" is a finalist for the 2011 GLAAD Award, and been submitted for a Bay Area/Northern California Emmy Award.

Glenn Burke was a 1970 graduate of Berkeley High School and is considered by many as one of the greatest athletes to come out of Berkeley.  He was the first openly gay player to compete in a major professional sport in the US. 

Filmmaker Doug Harris, a 1978 graduate of Berkeley High School and Executive Director for Athletes United for Peace will be presenting this highly acclaimed documentary.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Saturday March 5th
Miss Pearl’s Jam House
One Broadway, Oakland CA  94607

 Miss Pearl's Jam House new executive chef, Mike Davis, has challenged local chefs to a gumbo throwdown known as Gumbostravaganza 2. Mike Davis, Serafin Cruz, and Victor Sosa (all from Miss Pearl’s) will compete against each other and against Dean Dupuis (Picán), Eddie Blyden (Henry’s), Lydia Walker (Bay Leaf Cafe), and Brandon Dubea (Angeline’s) for bragging rights on the Square. Entry to the event is free, gumbo samples are complimentary, and attendees are the judges! Here’s the icing: all ballots will be entered for a drawing for a free New Orleans eating extravaganza at Miss Pearl’s. (Source:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Open Homes, Open Houses for 1/23/11

This weekend looks like its going to bring us perfect weather!  Lots of sun, perfect for home shopping. And if you are looking for a list of Open Houses or open homes in the East Bay for Sunday 1/23/2011 then you have to look no further.  Just CLICK HERE and if this link doesn't get you there simply go to my website, and click the Open Homes button on the left side of the page.  This week we have over 400 listings from Albany and Alamo to Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland and Walnut Creek. While you are on my website you might want to check out some of the other postings I have: market updates, East Bay Neighborhood videos and descriptions, special reports. Or you might want to check out my new map based search tool. Let me know if you need any help. and have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Open Houses for Sunday 1/16/2011 Now Posted

Its that time of the week you've been waiting for, when I post Open Homes for Sunday 1/16/2011 covering the entire East Bay and including Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek and more. As we end the holiday season the number of homes being actively marketed begins to increase. We have over 300 properties to look at compared to half of that 3 weeks ago. This is one of the greatest times ever to purchase a home. We have seen signs lately of the inevitable rise in rates. Economic news has been favorable and the extension of tax cuts should provide extra stimulous to the economy. The rising of rates will most likely bring many of the buyers who have been sitting on the fence back in to the market as they begin to think, and rightly so, that the worse is over and that as time goes on it will only become more difficult to purchase a property. Even if property values stagnate in the short term an increase in rates will decrease the individual's buying power.
Please Click Here to see the most complete lists of open houses in the East Bay for Sunday, January 16, 2011. And please remember to check back here often for real estate related news on a very local level.

Don't forget to ask if you need any assistance that is real estate related. I'm happy to help. email

If you would liket to subscribe to my on line monthly newsletter please email me and put Newsletter Request in the subject line.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Energy Efficient Loans for FHA Home Buyers

EEMs or Energy Efficient Mortgages are FHA loans that allow borrowers to simply tack on an additional $8,000 for energy efficient home improvements (new windows, doors, furnaces, air conditioners, insulation, etc.).

These loans are quick and painless, but many people do not know about them.

I highly recommend seriously considering EEM loans for any FHA buyer in the process of purchasing a house that is over 20 years old. It is a very cheap and easy way to finance some very beneficial home improvements. These improvements will end up paying for themselves!
For more information about mortgages, buying or selling a home or property, home valuations, property searches, market updates and more please check my website or call (510)368-2854 or email me

Saturday, January 8, 2011

East Bay Open Homes for Sunday, 1/09/2011, Now Posted!

Its that time of the week you've been waiting for, when I post  Open Homes for Sunday 1/9/2011 covering the entire East Bay and including Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek and more.  As we end the holiday season the number of homes being actively marketed begins to increase.  We have  over 300 properties to look at compared to half of that 2 weeks ago.  This is one of the greatest times ever to purchase a home.  We have seen signs lately of the inevitable rise in rates. Economic news has been favorable and the extension of tax cuts should provide extra stimulous to the economy.  The rising of rates will most likely bring many of the buyers who have been sitting on the fence back in to the market as they begin to think, and rightly so, that the worse is over and that as time goes on it will only become more difficult to purchase a property. Even if property values stagnate in the short term an increase in rates will decrease the individual's buying power.
Please CLICK HERE to see the most complete lists of open houses in the East Bay for Sunday, January 9, 2011. And please remember to check back here often for real estate related news on a very local level.  
DOn't forget to ask if you need any assistance that is real estate related.   I'm happy to help. email

Friday, January 7, 2011

East Bay Real Estate Market Update

I have just posted statistics for many East Bay communities on my website.  Click Here to go directly to that page, or go to scroll down the left side to the tab that says"Market Update".  The posted figues are for many East Bay Neighborhoods such as Elmwood, Rockridge, Richmond Annex, Temescal, Thousand Oaks, Albany, El Cerrito and more. If you are planning on buying a home or selling a home in the East Bay you owe it to yourself to be as informed as possible.  The data I've posted is pretty specific to local areas.  It includes Median Sold Price, Median List price, Supply and Demand, Days on Market and months supply of inventory.  I post as much as I can and update as time allows.   The current charts graph the past 24 months and give a very good picture of market trends, highs and lows, etc. 

While you are on my website you might want to try the map based search feature.  It is new and easy to use. You can draw an area on a map and it will immediately show you every house that is for sale in that area.  You do not have to register to use my website, though you may if you wish.

Lastly, I send out a newsletter monthly which you are welcome to sign up for. But I need your email.  Just drop me a note requesting that you be put on my mail list and I promise not to spam you.

Oh, one more thing, please call me 510-368-2854, email me or text me if you would like any real estate information, home valuation, comparative market analysis, or resources.