Piedmont, CA Real Estate News

By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
To the SF Chronicle Corrections Department: Hi:   I'm surprised that the blog area comments on this story didn't cover this issue, but I'll do it--   Please put a correction in Monday's paper concerning the lead sentence on your private fire staff story--   I'm not sure which of two problems John has:   1.  He doesn't realize that Piedmont is a separate chartered city from Oakland, and has been for over 100 years, and thus has its own fire department (dating from back when Piedmont was a long way from any Oakland fire stations . . . .).  Thus our town fire department is staffed by unionized public employees, just like the Forest Service, not a private service, or   2.  He's confusing town with zip code.  Piedmont and Oakland share three zips:  94610, 94611, and 94618. These zips include...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Despite unsettling events in the housing and mortgage markets as recently as today, the East Bay appears to be doing better than much of the rest of the state and much of the country, according to data from a variety of sources. Berkeley prices are about 5 percent below the $829,000 average in the 2Q06. In contrast, Oakland's average price declined by 20 percent between this just-closed quarter and the same period last year, according to data from the Multiple Listing Service. At the same time, median prices across the state declined by 35 percent in May, 2008 compared to May, 2007 according to the California Association of Realtors. The organization reported that prices across the San Francisco Bay Area declined by 19.5% from 5/07 to 5/08. The average home price was $525,100 in Oakland...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Maybe I just don't have kids in elementary school anymore, so I missed it, but I came across a Piedmont blog this week with a decided focus on the green agenda (and baseball, btw).  Check it out at Piedmont.Wordpress.Com.  Those guys should link back to my blog for detailed discussions of going green in the built environment!
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Organize a picnic, bring the low folding-chair, spread the blanket.  It's Movies in the Park time!  And I'm again co-sponsoring the series.  Remaining movies include: Curious George--Friday, July 11thEnchanted--Friday, September 12th All movies start around dusk, in Piedmont Park at the curve on Highland Avenue.  Invite friends from out of town, and let them get a sense of the Piedmont lifestyle.  I'm happy to provide a no-obligation tour anytime!
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
The quarter wrapped up with just 21 closed sales (compared to 46 in '07 and 33 in '06), averaging $605/sf, closing in a typical 30 days, at just a tad below the original asking price, on average.  The average sales price this quarter was $1.894 million, though homes in this group tended to be quite a bit larger than usual for our market--over 3,000 sf.  Prices ranged between $855,000 and $7.8 million, according to the Multiple Listing Service from which these data are drawn, and sold for between 80% of asking price and a remarkable 25% over the asking price. While only one home sold over $2 million in the first quarter of the year, six sold over that price point this quarter (which in turn accounts for the larger-than-usual size).  And note that the average price per square foot, $605 t...
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
Every so often, a home stands out the most beautiful home I've found. Here's one! This Piedmont, CA home rests on a treelined street and was lovingly restored in the Craftsman style, by a family for themselves. The results are in the details like Carrara marble and historical fixtures in the kitchen and baths.It's two-story Craftsman home with a large open kitchen and four bedrooms upstairs. The details and the community does factor into the price of the home but the effect is extraordinary!
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By Nicole Bailey
(Residential Properties)
Lovely Craftsman Architecture on a tree lined street!     This home has historical references in the fixtures and finishes throughout the home.  It is a large, traditional shingled home, with a warm and friendly entryway.This home has an over-sized attic converted to a wonderful playroom. Additional details are a wonderful built in cabinets in the dining room and bedrooms.  Every perfectly preserved and restored detail on this lovely home has been done!  It is definitley eye candy for HGTV crowd!
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
So What's Going on in this Market??Only 11 homes sold in Piedmont this past quarter, compared to 18 homes during the first quarter of 2007 (and 21 during 1Q06).  The average price per square foot settled in at $606/sf, lower than last quarter's $631/sf, but consistent with the pattern of the last several quarters.  The typical home sold in 28 days for $1.609 million.  Prices ranged from $815, 000 to $2.85 million, with only one home selling for more than $2 million.Perhaps more interesting than what has sold is what has not sold.  On the market are six homes in the over $2 million price range.  Three of these have seen price reductions of between $400-500,000 in the past several months.  And only three have sold in that price range in the past five months.Two active listings are of part...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Who sells more Piedmont real estate?  You may be surprised!  In 2007, for homes selling above $1 million (the average sale price is about $1.5 million), Pacific Union closed more seller-side transactions (volume and total sales) than did The Grubb Company (and that doesn't include my 2007 activity with Prudential!).  Moreover, we were second in Berkeley overall, and we didn't even have a Berkeley office!  That's changing this year--you may have noticed our brand new office opened just after the New Year---
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
You may think I sell houses, but I really help people make great real estate decisions.  This quarter I:  met with two clients to give feedback and advice on their planned renovations; passed on information about green building, insurance, and wills; met with a client to discuss the plusses and minusses of selling off a vacant lot; recommended an architect, and a contractor; tracked down low-e film applicators for windows; referred a client to an agent in Contra Costa County (she then bought a home); and another client to an agent in West Marin.  And this is just in January.  I get paid when you buy or sell a home, when your friends and colleagues buy or sell a home through me, and when I refer you or a friend to a great realtor elsewhere in the region or country.  I've carefully develo...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Part of my 360-degree service is linking you with resources you need. If you haven't met with your attorney in the past two years to review your current situation, it's time.  If you've been procrastinating since you bought your high-value home, or since your lower-value home appreciated to become a high-value home, it's time.  If you haven't clarified whom you'd like to step in and take on the kids--or if they haven't agreed, it's time. Please come to my home at 104 Pala Avenue on Thursday, March 6th from 7:30-9 pm for healthy dessert and decaf coffee,* and a short presentation followed by Q&A with Dewey Watson of Tierney, Watson and Healy in San Francisco (Dewey is our former school board president; I've worked with him for years on the Boy Scout board, over which he also presided).  ...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
As promised, here is my Top-10 list to help green your home.  To me, that means reducing our environmental footprint by:  increasing the efficiency of the resources we do consume,[*] reducing/reusing/recycling; and eliminating environmental hazards.  Let me start out by saying that tuning up your home saves money (what's not to like?), increases comfort and improves peace of mind.  I can't tell you how much more comfortable our tight, renovated, radiant-heated 1916 home in Inverness is.  And removing asbestos from our heating ducts here next month will give me peace of mind-at least for children brought up in this home in the future! Your future buyers and their agents can feel and understand the difference in a tuned-up home (particularly if it's pointed out as part of a thoughtful mar...
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By Nate Ellis, "Mr Danke Schoen"
(HomeWay.tv - Keller Williams Realty East Bay 925-337-8489)
So you are looking to buy a home in Piedmont.  In this eddition of Golden Nuggets we will take a look at Down Payment Assistance and First Time Home Buyer programs in the Alameda County, CA City of Piedmont.  There is $67,000 in Down Payment Assistance available for the purchase of your New Home.  The funds may be in the form of grants, gifts and silent seconds with affordable housing covenants and/or equity share restrictions.  Funds may come from the City, County, State, or other Agencies and Non-Profits.Summary: The City of Piedmont does not currently have a Down Payment Assistance Program or First Time Home Buyer program available directly through them.  Assistance may be available from County, State and other resources.The State of California offers up to an additional 6% in assist...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
The average price of a Piedmont home dipped about 3 percent in 2007 compared to 2006, from just under 1.7 million to $1.62 million.   The average sales price was about 2 percent below the original asking price. On a per square foot basis, the average remained flat at $610/sf, compared to last year's $612/sf.  A total of 106 homes sold during the year, a ten percent reduction compared to 2006 (and 20 percent below 2005's peak).  The total value of these transactions was about $172 million.  Homes typically sold for a tad below the asking price in 29 days (compared to an average 29 days in 2006 and 24 days in 2005).  Prices ranged between $725,000 and $7.6 million.The average price of a home sold in Piedmont during the fourth quarter was up quite a bit compared to the third quarter--our 2...
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By Carla Higgins
(The Grubb Company)
Get An Extra Hour Out Of Every DayHow can you get an extra hour from each day? This is a basic challenge for all of us. We've come up with many practical ways to secure one more precious hour from each day. (Remember that each of these tips is probably adaptable to your particular situation.) Here they are... 1. Make up and follow a detailed, daily schedule. 2. Get up earlier. 3. Do less passive reading, TV watching and the like. 4. Avoid allowing others to waste your time. 5. If you commute to work, use the time to study or plan. 6. Organize your work; do it systematically. 7. Make creative use of lunchtime. 8. Delegate authority if possible. 9. Spend less time on unimportant phone calls. 10. Think first; then do the job. 11. Do instead of dream. 12. Work hardest when you're mentally m...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Konrad's alma mater, Reed College, opted out of the US News and World Report college listings with much fanfare years ago, but Piedmont High made the grade in the magazine's recent "Top 100 Public High Schools" list.  The cohort included all those magnet, charter and academy schools--in fact winner Thomas Jefferson High School in Northern Virginia received kudos for "picking top students and feeding their passions."  Of Bay Area schools, only Piedmont High, Mission San Jose High (Fremont), Monte Vista High (Cupertino), Palo Alto High, Saratoga High and Lynbrook High (San Jose) were among the Top 100; our usual competitors in Lamorinda, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Alameda, Albany, and Danville all merited Silver status. Check on your favorite school here.
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
 Click here for the story, which appeared on the front page of Sunday's Open House pull-out section.  Take special note of the bit about the persimmon cake . . . . Not to toot my own horn too much, but this is what it takes to sell a great home in a market like we have right now.  Attention to detail, careful analysis of the attributes of the home, great marketing savvy and local connections.
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
I imagine you don't spend a lot of time at open houses.  But let's talk about 25 Mesa Avenue, a fabulous fixer with great bones, on the market in January.Usually I make Hershey's brownies from Costco for open houses--assuming there's no white carpet!  But 25 Mesa Avenue, a great home in Piedmont's coveted Golden Rectangle neighborhood, has a gorgeous persimmon tree right in the backyard, though the persimmons were all gone by January.   I think there's nothing that expresses the essence of a home's legacy plants like a home-baked treat featuring the garden's produce. So during the season I picked the persimmons, made cakes, and stored them in my freezer, awaiting the open houses.  Visitors loved the cake, and loved the story.  So much of marketing is about telling stories.Oh, and each o...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
The Piedmont UpdateInstitution or ''too predictable''?You know you're a bit of an institution when a long-time Piedmont real estate hand emails you in late March and says, ''Maureen, I know you're e-newsletter's about to come out, and here's what I think . . . .''  So while the message may be predictable (''Prices stay flat!  Well priced homes sell promptly!''), I'm bucking institutionism and mixing things up a bit:  You'll read this not on the first day after the quarter as monotonously usual, but when virtual marketeers say is the best day of the week to email--What a quarter! Eighteen homes sold during the first quarter of 2007, averaging 42 days on the market (though 10 out of 18 sold within two weeks).  The average price was $1.695 million, in stark contrast to last quarter, when t...
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By Maureen Kennedy
(Pacific Union Real Estate-GMAC)
Contact me (Kennedy@MaureenKennedy.Net) to borrow several "A-Frame" realtor signs (I can't use the Prudential ones for my business anymore) to announce garage sales or special events around town.  They'll be in full use on Thanksgiving morning, giving directions for the Turkey Trot and were used last year for the Boy Scouts' Tree Lot.Just give me a buzz and I'll drop them off, and you can return them later. And don't forget that you can call Republic Waste (800-320-8077) and ask for bulk pick up twice a year.  2-4 day turnaround is typical.  I'm already feeling 10 pounds lighter after my pickup two weeks ago! 
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