Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grandma's Blueberry Cake

Yesterday's Social Media Boot Camp was a tremendous success. It was "standing room only" at the Berkeley Association of Realtors as we ran out of chairs to seat all of the attendees. The presentation from Katie Lance of Inman News was very informative and the feedback was positive.

We received many requests for more social media learning opportunities at the Berkeley Association (BAR). BAR has a wonderful education committee working on future events. We also received a number of requests for my grandma's blueberry cake, which many of the participants tasted at the event. Thank you Grandma!

Grandma's Blueberry Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs (well beaten)
1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk (substitute milk with 1Tbl. vinegar)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (if doubling the recipe 3/4 tsp baking powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 pint box fresh blueberries (or 1 large can drained)

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and stir well. Add baking powder to flour and sift three times. Add baking soda to milk and add to the creamed mixture alternating with the flour. Add vanilla. Carefully fold in the berries.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. (if using a glass dish bake at 350 degrees.)

Sprinkle when done with sugar and cinnamon mixture. Return to oven for an additional ten minutes.

P.S. Berkeley Hills Realty would like to apologize to anyone who came with the expectation of "lunch" and instead encountered a sugar rush. Some signals got crossed in our preparation for a successful event.

Thursday, May 20, 2010



BERKELEY, CA – Calling all Berkeley, Albany, Piedmont, Montclair and Oakland real estate agents! Berkeley Hills Realty is sponsoring a one-hour social media ‘hands on’ training for the Berkeley Association of Realtors on Wednesday, May 26,, 2010. Lunch will be served at 12 noon, followed by the training starting at 12:30 PM.

The training will be held at: Berkeley Association of Realtors, 1553 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94709

Katie Lance, Marketing Manager from Inman News will be the keynote speaker. The topic is: Social Media Boot Camp
- 5 Keys to Social Media Success. Katie is an experienced trainer and speaker on social media and how it applies to the real estate industry. She is also a contributing author to the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog.

This one-hour training is designed for the beginner or seasoned pro.

Topics covered will include:
• How to create a connection with people online
• Step-by-step ‘how to’ get started with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
• Best practices for making the best use of time with social media
• Building your network online
• Ideas for generating content
• The “Secret Sauce” – 1 hour a day plan to jump-start your social media plan

For questions or additional information, please contact Tracy Sichterman
Berkeley Hills Realty, 510-524-9888 x27 or

About Inman News Inman News ( is the leading source of independent real estate news, information, advice, research, technology, opinion and commentary for industry professionals and consumers alike. Inman's unbiased and hard-hitting stories are known throughout the real estate industry. Agents and brokers globally trust Inman News as their first source of accurate, innovative and timely daily real estate news.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Renovation Rule and the East Bay's Older Homes

Starting in April, renovations that disturb lead-based paint in older residential dwellings and child-occupied facilities must generally comply with the Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rule of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under the newly implemented rule, renovators of housing built before 1978 must now be trained and EPA-certified to perform safe work practices to prevent lead contamination. Additionally, renovators must deliver EPA's lead renovation pamphlet to an occupant within 60 days before a project begins (and, if mailed, at least seven days before a project begins). Renovators must also obtain the occupant's signed acknowledgment of receipt or substitute documentation as specified.

The EPA issued this rule in 2008, but delayed implementation until now. The rule generally applies to building contractors, handymen, residential landlords, property managers, and anyone else who is paid to perform renovations or to direct workers to perform renovations as specified. The lead renovation rule does not apply to homeowners renovating the homes they live in. However, sellers of target housing must, among other things, disclose to their buyers any known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards.

Renovation work covered by the lead renovation rule is defined as a modification of an existing structure that disturbs a painted surface, such as surface restoration or surface preparation activity. Excluded are minor repair and maintenance activities that disrupt up to 6 square feet of interior painted surface or 20 square feet of exterior painted surface. Demolitions and window replacements are not considered minor repairs.

Berkeley Hills Realty
has investigated the new rule as it applies to the way we help sellers prepare their homes for sale. Conversations with several small area broker/managers produced an interesting array of reactions. Local responses run the gamut from agencies who believe they have no obligation to police the new rule (maintaining business as usual), through agencies who have halted pre-market preparations over broad liability concerns associated with complying with the rule. At Berkeley Hills Realty, we believe in staying attune to all new information affecting real estate and home ownership. We also believe in the value of well chosen market preparations and will continue to advise our clients on the best approach to market their homes.

Berkeley Hills Realty hopes to be a source of consumer education regarding the new EPA rule. We are informing clients of the existence of the regulation. In addition we have checked with some of the painters and contractors whom we regularly recommend to make certain they are aware of the Lead-based Paint Renovation Rule and to verify that any new certification requirements have been met. We recommend all owners of pre-1978 homes make certain that new work is preformed by licensed contractors with knowledge of and the certification required by the new rule.

Much of the above infomation is sourced through the California Association of Realtors. For more information about the lead renovation rule, C.A.R. offers a legal article entitled Federal Lead-Based Paint Renovation Rule. See also EPA's Renovation, Repair and Painting webpage which includes the new requirements, pamphlets, and other resources. To locate an EPA-certified renovation firm, go to