Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day On Broadway with St. Martin de Porres School

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
–Nelson Mandela

Krista Miller and Tracy Sichterman plot their winning bids at St. Martin de Porres School's Fundraiser as Father Aidan McAleenan, Steve Burke, and Frederica (Flicka!) von Stade Gorman lead the live auction.

Nobody on the Berkeley Hills Realty team was surprised to get the invitation to St. Martin de Porres School’s fundraiser “St. Patrick’s Day on Broadway.” When agent Janesta Downey  joined Berkeley Hills Realty she warned us: “You’ll hear a lot about this school from me.”

Janesta’s relationship with St. Martin de Porres School began when she found “the perfect home for a group of nuns in West Oakland… As a result of the friendships formed during that transaction she became fundraiser, board member, and general cheerleader for St. Martin de Porres.”

Tracy Sichterman, Krista Miller, and Janesta Downey represented Berkeley Hills Realty at the event. The representatives suffered deeply— braving Flood Mansion to endure gourmet buffet stations, fine wines, and the presence and performance of mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade. Anything for the kids.  

Why Flood Mansion? “In the aftermath of the Great Quake of 1906, Maud Flood’s monumental home on Nob Hill was destroyed by fire. …James Leary Flood reassured his wife, saying, 'I will build you a house of marble on a hill of granite.'" He then built Flood Mansion. St. Martin de Porres School aims to build that kind of firm foundation-- in the form of a quality education-- for the children of downtown Oakland, West Oakland, and Northwest Oakland. "The students who attend St. Martin de Porres School generally live along the San Pablo Avenue corridor from the Port of Oakland on the West to the Southern border of Berkeley."

Visit The St. Martin de Porres School website for more information about the school. Even if you missed the fundraiser this year, you can still donate to the school here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Friday Nights at Oakland Museum of California


Oakland Museum of California has created a perfect, family-friendly Friday night event.

You can choose which part of the event to participate in based on your own mood and whims:

Feeling creative? Join the Customizer-in-Residence Open Studio series.

Hungry? Visit the Off the Grid gourmet food trucks. We tried empanadas from the El Porteño food truck. Impossibly, these empanadas taste even better than they smell.

Need a drink? Visit the cash bar for a selection of wine, beer, and a few mixed drinks.

Wanna dance? Each Friday features a different musician and/or dance lesson. Friday, March 8, featured salsa lessons from Serena Wong of Salsa Vale Todo, DJ JuanLove, and live music from Edgardo Cambón with his 5tet LatTiDo. We missed the dance lessons (see empanadas) so we brought our own shameless brand of enthusiastic non-salsa to the dance floor.

Wanna laugh? Sit on the steps and watch people non-salsa.

Wanna see some art? The museum exhibits are half-off during the event.

This fun, family-friendly event happens every Friday.
Visit Friday Nights @ OMCA website for more information and go check it out!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Berkeley Hills Realty Gets Colorful at The Color Run!

from l to r: Cathie Kosel (standing in for Nancy Mueller),
Krista Miller, Tracy Sichterman, Andrew Kosel,
Monica Alicia Bland, Negar Souza, Carina Stanley,
Rebecca Nemeth, Tom Knight
Berkeley Hills Realty organized “Team Kindness” for this month's San Francisco Color Run. (It was Krista’s idea!)

How to do The Color Run in  three steps:
1. Put on white t-shirts and start to run (or walk) a 5K.
2. Laugh through the color stations at each kilometer while getting doused with color.
3. Dance Dance DANCE! Shake your colorful self at the finish festival and concert.
(Optional/mandatory) Go to restaurant in the Bay Area without changing your clothes. 
Our choice: Montero’s on Solano.

What we know now that we didn’t know then: Go early. The traffic on the way is fierce but the parking lots are well-staffed and organized once you arrive.

We had a great time getting colorful!

To see more photos of the event, visit the Berkeley Hills Realty Facebook page.

A team that plays together stays together. When you are ready to find the perfect home base or put your home on the market, call us at Berkeley Hills Realty. We will “color outside the lines” and work as team to make sure we take care of your needs.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Berkeley Home Sales Prospects: Anything But “Calm”!

Last weekEast Bay home sellers saw more than the usual number of reasons to look forward to this spring's home selling season. It looked like the opposite of the lengthy real estate “Perfect Storm” that caused free-fall across the national landscape. 

Signs pointed to the possibility that we may be headed into the opposite market conditions. Webster’s Dictionary says the opposite of ‘storm’ is ‘calm’ – but I don’t think you would call Berkeley home sales outlook a “Perfect Calm.”  Far from it!  

Some of the signs:
  • - Falling Inventory. Per the NAR’s Existing Home Sales Report, there’s a nation-wide shortage of total inventory. By the end of January, it had fallen another 4.9%: lowest in seven years. Raw unsold inventory hasn’t been this low in 14 years!
  • - Rising Demand. Per last week’s National Association of Home Builders’ News and Alerts bulletin, “housing demand continues to return.”  NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, pointing to buyer traffic that is up 40% over a year ago, states flatly, “We’ve transitioned into a seller’s market in much of the country.”
  • - Buyer Attitude. Also last week, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index showed a rebound from January. The ‘Present Situation’ index rose sharply (from 56.2 to 63.3). This remains the only less-than-stellar point of contention, I think one area could be a tipoff to gathering strength: the proportion of those expecting their income to rise is now growing, those expecting the opposite, falling.
If this spring turns out to be the opposite of a Perfect Storm for Berkeley home sales, will conditions improve further? Should sellers wait? The falling inventory measure might suggest otherwise. If the NAR’s appraisal is correct, now that these trends are consolidating, “…it would seem likely more inventory would come to market.”
written by Gina Odom, Realtor

Friday, March 1, 2013

Introducing the Newest Agent at Berkeley Hills Realty:

Meital Amrami
Glowing referrals from Meital Amrami’s client-friends quickly gave her a thriving real estate business. It is easy to see why. Meital lights up when speaking about her clients’ successes: “We got it! We got it! I love seeing them so excited and jumping up and down… It is such a good feeling.” In a competitive market with up to 30 offers on a single house, Meital often sealed the deal for her clients by presenting a clean contract, settling on the right price, and using the kind of savvy negotiating skills one tends to acquire from growing up in a family of nine siblings.
Meital, who speaks both Hebrew and English fluently, lived in Tel Aviv for 24 years. She served in the Israeli Navy as an officer for 3 years and was recognized for her social skills, responsibility, commitment, and integrity as a leading commander.  After moving to the United States, Meital graduated with honors from the University of Texas at Dallas with a B.S. in Animal Science and Biology. After graduating, she moved to Arizona. Meital planned to become a veterinarian, but when she was introduced to real estate she knew she’d found her true calling.
Though Meital now focuses on high-end homes, she started her career by specializing in distressed REO properties. The resulting immersion in home construction knowledge eventually led her to become an investor herself. She has since purchased several “fixer-upper” properties and renovated them completely, paying attention to the tiniest details. Meital’s eye for beauty, detail, and elegant design is sharpened by her lifelong passion for sculpting and sketching. It has become second nature for her to find and market exceptional homes for the most discriminating clients: “I am very available to my clients. I become psychologist, friend— everything!”
Meital and her husband Tomer spent a year in San Francisco before making Berkeley their home last year. Why the East Bay? “I love the nature, the weather, the serenity... and the people are amazingly kind, laid-back, and full of positive energy.” When Meital is not working to find, improve, or sell a home, she is enjoying her own Berkeley oasis. She loves serving gourmet Middle Eastern food and playing with Noam, her 13-month-old son; Bella, a Chihuahua/pug mix; and Sam, a bassett hound. Meital is warm, high-energy, highly recommended, and experienced: “I have gained extensive business skills while working with investors and I look forward to putting those skills to work for my clients in the San Francisco Bay Area.”
Meital Amrami
DRE# 01922024
Office: 510.524.9888 x59
Vm: 510.524.1700 x59
Cell: 415.837.8224