Piedmont, CA Real Estate News

By Gail M. Travers, Going the Extra Mile for You!
(RE/MAX BRE #01240306)
Piedmont has a rich history, reflected today in its many one-of-a-kind homes, designed by a small group of talented early 20th Century architects, including Albert Farr.  Piedmont, CA, began as a 600 acre parcel purchased from Don Luis Peralta in 1852 by Walter Blair, for $1.25 an acre.  Blair built a dairy on Highland Ave., started a quarry in what is now Dracena Park and later built the Piedmont Hotel.  In 1877, James Gamble, then President of Western Union Telegraph, purchased 350 acres of land from Walter Blair and started one of the East Bay's first real estate development firms, Piedmont Land Company, from whence the City took its name.  Piedmont means "foot of the mountain" in Italian and Gamble judged it a good choice for naming the new community.  His land was divided into 67 p...
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By Debbi DiMaggio, Helping Others Gives Success True Meaning
(Highland Partners . Piedmont)
Stately Piedmont Mediterranean OverviewMapsPhotosFeaturesDescriptionNeighborhoodOpen HouseMarket StatsIDX Search $4,695,000Single Family HomeFor SaleMain Features 5 Bedrooms4 Bathrooms1 Partial BathroomInterior: 6249 sqftLot: 0.34 acre(s)Location 50 Bellevue AvenuePiedmont, CA 94611 To get updates on open home dates and other property events, please click the "Like" button below: Debbi DiMaggio and Adam BettaHighland Partners(510) 414.6777debbi@debbidimaggio.comhttp://www.debbiandadam.com Listed by: Debbi DiMaggio  ~ 01047447 Our recent listingsStately Piedmont MediterraneanPiedmont Avenue LifestyleExquisite Piedmont MediterraneanSophisticated Lake Merritt Condo ~ Updated and Stylish!Luxury Living with Sparkling ViewsSubscribe to our listing feed See more Piedmont, CA real estate for sale
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By Debbi DiMaggio, Helping Others Gives Success True Meaning
(Highland Partners . Piedmont)
1 5 0 Courtesy Debbie DiMaggio / Highland Partners Debbi DiMaggio View Larger Image Real Estate Find real estate Luxury homes New homes Rentals "On the Block" blog Place an Ad More Realestate Homes Sold 06.27.10 Sound off 06.27.10 Loan changed hands, enabled refinancing 06.27.10 Bay Area home price report 06.27.10 Q: How much does having a swimming pool add to a property in the Oakland, Piedmont and Berkeley area?   A: It doesn't add much value here, and many buyers see a pool as a negative, some going as far as filling in the pool as soon as they buy it.   In fact, one of my favorite homes in Piedmont as a child was recently sold, and the pool was filled because they had young children and thought it was too much of a risk.   My new home does have a pool, and as a mother of two teenag...
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By Debbi DiMaggio, Helping Others Gives Success True Meaning
(Highland Partners . Piedmont)
Interactive FloorPlan Presentation
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
 If you're a new buyer in this market, you'll want to be prepared, now more than ever!  I can offer you:  · A free, comprehensive list of all open houses in the East Bay (not just those in the Chronicle, etc.), sent to your email box before noon each Saturday;  · Free email updates sent to your email box the moment a new home meeting your criteria hits the market or sees a price change;  · A free, no-obligation 1-2 hour tour of any neighborhood you think might meet your needs (or a referral to a deeply experienced agent who covers that area, if I don't), stopping into a couple representative homes;  · Access to a website that includes: -a review of typical buyer costs for homes at various price points; -a list of strategies you can use to increase the chances your offer will be accepted...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
You know me well enough to know that I'm a straight shooter, more interested in making sure you have the right advice and insight than in getting a check in my pocket.  My reputation depends on that.  And it's important to know when market trends are counterintuitive.  "Everyone knows" that now's a bad time to sell, if you can avoid it, right?  Wrong.  Here's a scenario for you:  Assume a household in a great house in Crocker Highlands.  They've always wanted to move to Piedmont when their children get to school age.  Prices have dropped 15% since the peak, though they are way ahead since they bought in 2001.  They really need that fourth bedroom.  If they sold the Crocker house and bought a more expensive home in Piedmont in 2006, they would have sold high and bought high--but they wer...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
OK-here's a bit of a diversion.  Did you hear knowing moans around you when you saw Julie and Julia--the part when the four friends are out for drinks and one says something like "I asked my personal assistant to go to Safeway and buy pancetta for my big dinner tomorrow, and when I got home she said, ‘Oh, Safeway didn't have pancetta... ‘  I asked her ‘well, did you go to Piedmont Grocery????'"  I so get that "I want you to take care of it and not make me take care of it" feeling.  And Winans Construction gets it too, when it comes to home maintenance.  They've  just set up a handyperson service to complement their remodeling business (see www.winconinc.com for a portfolio), so make your list, check it twice, and then contact them at 510-653-7288 or info@winconinc.com and they'll take c...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Recently, a client I'd been working with for quite a while mentioned that he was thinking that he'd stay here in the Bay Area for 2-3 years, and then move away.  Always paying attention to serve my clients' best interests, I said, "hey; we should rethink this home purchase gameplan, then." We talked about what is known (and NOT known) about market trends for the next couple of years, for his locations and for his price point, because these can be very different than for other locations and price points.  We talked about transaction costs--he had already seen my buyer's costs spreadsheet each time we've made an offer, unique for his city and purchase price, estimating escrow fees, city transaction fees, inspection fees, and homeowner insurance fees, among others.  But he wasn't thinking ...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
We repainted our trim in Piedmont not long ago (now have a Warm Brick thing going rather than Forest Service Green).  The brown paint for some trim and the gate has a touch of red in there, which feels like Mexican mole sauce if you stare at it long enough.  Yum!! If a paint job is in your future, read this story from HGTV, and think about calling Angelisse Karol for consulting (ask me for her contact info) or maybe stop by Scout Hardware in Temescal near Donya Tomas.  Scott Silvera held an evening info session a few months ago on the topic, and sells zero VOC paints for exterior applications.
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
That's the deadline for submitting an application for a downward adjustment in your property assessment (resulting in a reduction in property taxes).  Two great resources are: --the county assessor's site, which includes all the forms and deadlines, and --this video from the state Board of Equalization, which walks through the process piece by piece. Remember that only your ''Prop 13'' property tax will be affected by a reassessment; the other charges on your bill (for instance, city and school parcel taxes; and 911, East Bay parks, library bond payments) won't decline.  And if you, like we, bought your home a dozen years ago, your assessment is unlikely to have increased in the intervening years to current market value, much less to higher-than-current value.  I'm happy to run comp...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
2Q09 Market Update After several years of steady prices (sales prices had been quite flat at around $600/sf since our market peak in November of 2005), and a winter and spring of very few sales and prices all over the place, this spring market makes the market direction clear:  Prices are down as much as 16-18 percent compared to a year ago (see detailed spreadsheet at the bottom of the page). I think our market has been affected by several factors unique to our high-end market.  First, market distress has been focused below our price range, but those sellers are our move-up buyers.  If they are having trouble selling, they have trouble turning around and buying.  This pattern applies to less-expensive homes in Piedmont as well--their owners were very frequently the buyers of more-expen...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Ten homes sold in the first three months of 2009 in Piedmont in an average 65 days, compared to 16 last quarter and 11 in the first quarter of 2008 (see details at the page bottom).  The average price of a home was $1.867 million ($570/sf), a dramatic rise from last quarter's figure of just over a million.  In contrast to then, nearly half of this quarter's homes sold for over $2 million.  Two of the sales were REO or bank-owned properties, and most of the high-end homes had been on the market for several months. Let's get real, though--it's folly to base conclusions on so few sales in such a small town.  These homes included some that offered much more square footage than the tax record reflected, one whose buyers paid nearly $100,000 of the sellers' costs (I've adjusted that effective...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Ten days ago, the Treasury Department announced two housing programs for households having difficulty paying their mortgages.  The programs target two different groups: --those who could handle payments if only they could refinance to today's low interest rates, but can't because their first mortgage is more than 80% of the current value of their home, and --those who need more drastic action--a modification to their loan terms--to stay in place. The refi program is called Making Home Affordable and the loan modification program is called (drumroll) the Home Affordable Modification program.  Both help only owner-occupants; neither will help those who realistically can't afford the house they own, even with near-term assistance. The Making Home Affordable Program To qualify for the refi ...
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
Pristine Piedmont Mid-Century ModernThis blank canvas offers Piedmont Schools and includes a lovely sandstone, brick fireplace and impeccable original baths. Large rooms and open, family, friendly floor plan, typical of mid-century homes.  Mid-Century Architecture has enjoyed a huge resurgence, particularly with the 30-40 something crowd, but the clean, spare, unfussy, lines when furnished interestingly, appeal to anyone who looks to their home to take them away.  Serene open spaces can be created with little effort.
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By Joanne O'Donnell
(Chic Home Interiors)
 California dreaming - I am constantly amazed and overjoyed by this wonderful area we live in.  There are surprises around every corner - beautiful vistas, incredible hikes through redwood forests or coastal wetlands or around lakes hidden away - private and beautiful and often only 5-10 minutes from a shopping area.  Tilden Lake, Lake Chabot, Lake Temescal...  and of course, the ocean.  I am just waxing on because I spent the day taking Spot (a handsome 7 year old Sharpe mix (1/4 Labrador - a bit less wrinkled and not quite as stubborn) to various venues where he could explore and run and sniff the vegetation and other canines.    We started out to go to Muir beach - one of our favorite places, but got sidetracked.  Never know how it happens, we start out with one thing in mind, make ...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
For months I've been describing trends in surrounding areas of the region, state and nation--declining median prices weighted down in part by short sales and ''real estate-owned'' properties in many markets, tightening mortgage standards at all points of the income and property price spectrum, and so on.  Overall, there's been a comforting ''flight to quality'' effect for Piedmont in particular and Berkeley in general.  These markets have stayed quite strong. Finally, we're starting to see some shifts in our own backyards driven by the same gale force winds blowing through the economy and the markets.  So far, the changes are affecting the way purchases close rather than the price at which they close.  While higher-end buyers are used to purchasing their new homes before selling the bea...
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By Kym Hough, Staged to Sell East Bay - Danville, CA
(www.Staged-to-Sell )
Tree House available to move right in and live among the birds. Wonderful view from almost every window. Hardwood floors, open and airy main rooms. Large kitchen. Two decks and detached garage. This charming bungalow sits high in the hills of Montclair Village one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the East Bay of SF. Piece and quite abounds. Staged by Kym Hough's Professional Staging company serving Piedmont, MontClair, Orinda and the entire Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.  For more information go to www.Staged-to-Sell.com to view all of our listings. Michael Friedman of Grubb Co. is the listing agent for this property. Also, you can visit our virtual consigment shop at www.StagersLIST.com      
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
You may have missed the announcement in August that RISMedia named me one of their national 50 Realtors on the Rise.  They discuss each winner in greater detail on a day-by-day basis through August and September; here's the link to the early-September blurb.
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
MB Jessee, the professional painters, organized a nice event for local "green" professionals last Friday.  They are on top of the low-VOC ("volatile organic compounds") movement, and Maya, their marketing director, is reaching out to network with other eco-friendly professionals.  At the event, I met Amy Hutton of Winans Construction.  She's a CGBP (certified green building professional--remember builditgreen.org . . . .) and is organizing a free seminar at the Rockridge Library, 6-8 pm on Tuesday, September 30th.  She'll cover what to do and what to avoid to make your remodeling project a streamlined, lower stress effort.  She's happy to answer questions about your thoughts and plans.  And don't forget that I'm happy to take a look at your blueprints, refer you to various remodeling pr...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                For More Information:                                                                                                 Maureen Kennedy                                                                                                 510-290-8535             `                                                                                   Kennedy@MaureenKennedy.Net    Maureen Kennedy Selected as One of Top 50 Realtors on the Rise Across Nation East Bay real estate broker Maureen Kennedy of Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC was selected as one of the top 50 Realtors on the Rise nationwide by RISMedia's August 2008 Real Estate issue.   Kennedy is the first San Francisco Bay Area winner in the program's four-year history. High...
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