Earth Day 2017-How Small Changes Have A Big Impact In the East Bay

Earth Day should be every day, as it pertains to the day to day, moment by moment actions each of us takes as we move about our homes, businesses and natural environment. As one of the bright spots in the world for sustainable awareness, residents of Berkeley and the Greater SF Bay Area have an acute social consciousness about how their actions may impact the environment. As a designated Green Business by the City of Berkeley,  Berkeley Hills Realty takes every step that we can to ensure that our footprint is mitigated as much as possible. How? Read More

Happy Birthday, Tracy!

  Today, Berkeley Hills Realty agents and staff are hacking Berkeley Hills co-owner Tracy Sichterman’s blog to wish her a very Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday, Tracy! What’s so great about Tracy Sichterman? Here’s what BHR agents and staff have to say:   “I can’t sum her up in just One Good Thing. Tracy has an infectious energy and excitement for her work, and is the curator of the coolest shoe collection in real estate.” Rebecca Nemeth “Thoughts About Tracy: She is so smart, yet so kind and considerate… a very nice combination. She is so successful, yet so modest and humble… a very nice combination. She is so inspiring, yet so supportive and encouraging… a very nice combination. She is the key to the entire office, no combination required!” Tom Knight “Great source for info! My go-to tech girl!” Terese Ashman “Happy Birthday Tracy. Among the many things I admire about you is your positive attitude and the great ability of always being able to say good things about everyone.” Love, Maya Trilling “Tracy is wonderful because she is the most generous, truly optimistic person I have ever met. She glows with the energy of an overachiever that has made it and wants to share it all with the world! Happy Birthday to the best “boss” a person could have!” Carina Stanley, Office Manager “Happy birthday to one inspirational, hard- working, sophisticated, unselfish, and classy bike-riding emotional creature. May your year be full of love, laughter, and a great cocktail. Cheers!” Krista Miller “Happy Birthday Tracy. It has been a pleasure working with you for the last 1.5 year. You are not only a beautiful person but also a fabulous supportive person in the office to us all. I am amazed at how much you do for everyone. Thanks for being you.” Xoxo, Mamood Mokhtari “Tracy: The best great thing about Tracy is Tracy. Top to bottom, a complete package! And inside too!” Xoxo, Nancy Mueller “One great thing about Tracy Sichterman is her infectious gracious smile and her kindness to all who come her way…” Happy Birthday from Feri Niroomand & Negar Souza “Tracy is very whole. And by that I mean that she very naturally possesses abilities (qualities) that are a tricky balance in one person. She is kind but has boundaries, smart but accessible, careful but willing to take risks, energetic and optimistic but not crazy (I think!). And most of all for me anyway, she is a really positive force, always. She is encouraging, substantive, always available and yet not judgemental. I am sure she must have privately had some dark moments in the past year or two given the economy, but bless her heart she turns it into sunshine every time. And it’s real, the kind that warms you and gets you through.” Romney O’Connell Happy Birthday, Tracy! Thank you for making Berkeley Hills Realty such an amazing place to work!   For more information about Berkeley Hills Realty, call 510-524-9888,   email [email protected] or visit us at Read More

Berkeley Hills Realtors are Team Players

After the Berkeley Hills Realty weekly meeting, the office rings with a volley of shouts: “I’m coming!” “I need two more minutes!” “I’ll drive!” What on earth is going on? After party? Happy hour? Nope. When a single agent asks for extra hands and eyes to resolve an issue concerning property newly in her care—a team forms and deploys itself in five minutes flat. 35 minutes later, the issue is resolved. The solution team swarms back in to return phone calls, disappear leftover birthday cake, deliver hot tea to visiting clients, and buzz in their vote for the office background music. One agent is extremely apologetic about not being able to help due to a prior commitment: “When I need help, every available agent makes an effort to help me. So, I try to help every time another agent asks.” As a buyer or seller working with an agent at Berkeley Hills Realty, you win the unique qualities and expertise of the agent you have chosen. Plus, you get the combined knowledge of a whole team of seasoned professionals. Every one of them is prepped and ready to defeat any obstacle that comes between you and your dreams. Oh! So that’s what Berkeley Hills Realty means by “small town ethics, big world view.” Glad somebody’s on that… Read More

“Knock-Knock” is No Joke:

Real Estate Professionals Find Out “Who’s There” By Knocking on Doors Sunday morning. 7am. Berkeley Hills Realty co-owner Bill McDowell quietly posts signs for an open house at 2pm. At nine, he starts strolling the neighborhood. He chats with neighbors, pets puppies, stands as a cheerful target for children on bikes, hands groggy couples their Sunday paper, and personally invites each person he meets to the open house. He may or may not have on the special M&M tie fellow agent MayaTrilling gave him to tease him about his signature stash of peanut M&Ms. He will have on a smile. You’d be wise to bet the house he is representing with fellow co-owner of Berkeley HillsRealty, Tracy Sichterman, will sell and come fully equipped with good vibes for the new owners. That success can be attributed to the powerful combination of Tracy’s online marketing campaign and her gentle nurturing of each client coupled with Bill’s careful research and gregarious door-to-door visits. This broker pair encourages all of the agents at Berkeley Hills Realty to use their individual mixes of digital push and personal pull to embrace the company’s motto: “Small Town Ethics. Big World View.” Bill and Tracy are not alone. Many real estate professionals are linking their technological savvy with more traditional methods of marketing to get quantifiably positive results in a chaotic market climate. Are you a real estate professional thinking of strapping on your foot-in-the-door shoes? Here are three quick tips to consider when knocking on doors: Never Show Up Empty-Handed: Some agents hand out a formal invitation to an open house. Others combine the invitation with small, useful gifts– a calendar, a key chain flash drive, or snacks. When a name is added to their mailing list, some agents offer a chance to win a bottle of wine or entry into a drawing for a prize. Include your business card in your package of goodies, but have more than your business card to share. Know Before You Go: Do your research and know the neighborhood. Read the neighborhood association newsletter, the local paper, and all of the signs posted in the neighborhood (and neighborhood businesses). When you know a little bit about the neighborhood you are likely to be more comfortable, which means you and your message are more likely to be welcomed. Share the Knowledge: Any information that can positively impact a homeowner’s investment or help a buyer to evaluate the market is likely to be well-received. Know what the concerns of local residents are and come armed with solutions, suggestions, and referrals. Do you know a good landscaper, contractor, house sitter? Be ready and willing to share that information if the topic comes up. The best way to find out how door-knocking works is to talk to agents who are already working it. Find out which agents are getting good results with this method and ask for their advice while treating them dinner or coffee. Knocking on doors to find out “who’s there” might just be the key to boosting your real estate dream to the next level. Read More

Berkeley Hills Agents Don’t Spill the Beans

  “If the end is right it justifies the beans!” ~Stephen Sondheim Did you know? Every time you buy or sell a house with a Realtor from Berkeley Hills Realty, part of the proceeds from your transaction goes to a local charity. That donation is made wisely, too. For example, at Alameda County Community Food Bank, every dollar donated is worth five spending dollars to buy food for hungry families. Here’s agent and broker associate Nancy Mueller taking a break from packing beans with other volunteers to present Charles Beyer, Volunteer Manager at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, with a check from Berkeley Hills Realty agents and clients. Nancy volunteers monthly with the food bank and she invites you to come along! You can contact Nancy at 510.524.9888 ext. 20 or email her at [email protected] . You can also contact the Alameda County Community Food Bank at (510) 635-3663 to volunteer or donate. Read More

Service With a Smile, Your Smile

  by Tom Knight There seems to be a trend these days: everything costs more and what you get is less. OK, I know I’m just another “old guy” who remembers the “good old days” when things like this were taken for granted: Fresh cold milk was delivered to your doorstep. Butter and cottage cheese too. The gas station attendant not only pumped the gas, but cleaned the windshield, checked the oil and gave you a free map. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, gas was 35 cents per gallon. Postage stamps were 5 cents, except for air mail: that was 7 cents. Mail never got lost and there was no such thing as “junk mail” to clutter up the mailbox. The mailman was a friend. People actually used words like “please” and “thank you.” If you gave a gift, you could reasonably expect to receive a handwritten thank you note. Everyone nowadays seems to be stressed out, in a hurry, and pissed off. That’s why it’s such a shocking experience to encounter old-fashioned service, so extraordinary these days. And that is why I wish to briefly acknowledge the outstanding service I recently received. Men’s Wearhouse: I bought some good sports coats and dress shirts for work several years ago. The coats get heavy use with all the stuff I carry in my pockets, such as my real estate electronic key, my iPhone, business cards and my wallet. Recently I put my wallet in my coat pocket and it went right down to the bottom corner of my jacket. Something’s wrong with that! I decided to go back to the store with my coat. They said, “if you can wait just five minutes, we’ll have that fixed for you.” Indeed they did. The pocket was sewn back together, my coat was good as new, and there was no charge. Prompt, courteous, efficient service. Kuddos to the Men’s Wearhouse. I will return again and again. Pastime Hardware: It’s a crowded and busy place, and easy to see why. They have everything you could ever need or imagine and much more. But so does Home Depot. The difference? Pick a number, just like Baskin-Robbins. Your number will come up quickly and a well-informed employee will escort you to wherever it is in the store you need to go to find the item in question. Sometimes you might not even know what you need to solve a home repair, but never fear, they know the answer! In my case, I have an old swamp cooler up at my country house. The belt which drives the fan was starting to fray. The clerk took the old belt, measured it on a wall device, looked up the number, got a long pole and fetched the replacement belt from high on the wall. A couple of minutes and I was out of there. Kuddos to Pastime Hardware. They’ve got it all, including the best customer service anywhere. I am a real estate agent at Berkeley Hills Realty. Nothing is more irritating to a buyer or seller than having to wait hours or worse yet, days for a return call. Not with our agents and not with me. I will answer your e-mail or phone call right away. It’s about “old-fashioned” customer service. Courtesy, caring, efficiency and professional expertise are the services we provide. Sometimes it’s good to be “old-fashioned.” Tom Knight Broker Associate [email protected] vm 510-524.9888 x56 DRE #01441406 Read More


SOCIAL MEDIA BOOTCAMP FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS HOSTED BY BERKELEY HILLS REALTY 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 SichtermanBerkeley Hills Realty, 510-524-9888 x27 or [email protected] 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 Read More

Tracy Sichterman and Bill McDowell take over Berkeley Hills Realty

BERKELEY, CA – September 2009 – After joining the Berkeley Hills Realty ownership team in 2005, longtime agents Tracy Sichterman and Bill McDowell have taken full ownership of the prestigious real estate firm. Former co-owners Peter Damm and Nancy Mueller will stay on as active brokers and mentors, serving East Bay buyers and sellers of residential real estate. Sichterman, who is married and has two children, says she is excited by the idea of heading the firm with McDowell, her longtime business partner. And Damm says there is no one he and Mueller would rather turn the company over to. “Bill and Tracy are a highly experienced, dynamic team,” he says. “Bill is rock solid, smart, and diligent. Tracy has great energy, imagination, and tech savvy. Both are terrific with people and devoted to protecting their clients’ interests.” For Damm and Mueller – who have no plans to retire – the sale means starting a new phase of their active work life. “When we took over the firm in 1996, we agreed that we would do this for ten years,” he says. “Well, thirteen years have passed, so it’s time to step down as owners-managers, but continue working with clients and helping mentor younger agents.” The two are now what Mueller jokingly calls “brokers emeriti.” Tracy Sichterman grew up around real estate, as her mother owned a firm in Wisconsin. “One of the great things Mom taught us was how to be good to people and take care of their interests as a first priority,” she says. Though trained as a painter and sculptor, Sichterman found she loved the family business. Among other things, she was surprised to find how creative real estate work can be. She enjoys every step of the process, she says, from getting a house ready to sell and publicizing the sale to helping buyers deal with inspections and financing. Whereas Sichterman came to real estate from art, Bill McDowell’s background was in retail. “I’ve had two main jobs in my life,” says McDowell, who grew up in the East Bay. “First I managed a sporting goods store, and then I decided to become a realtor.” After years in retail, McDowell moved into real estate in 1988. He initially went to work for Mason-McDuffie, but his impressive skills and background earned him a berth at Berkeley Hills Realty. “When Peter and Nancy bought Berkeley Hills in 1996, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he says with a laugh. Says Nancy Mueller: “We had great respect for Bill’s ability and integrity, and we wanted to make him the third member of our management team.” Though McDowell moved into management, he continued dealing with clients, and often found himself working on projects with Sichterman. “Tracy could always add a creative element to my listings,” he said. “She would take some bare-bones ad I had written – something like, ‘Rockridge, 2BR, 1BA, $350,000’ – and give it style and appeal.” In time, Sichterman and McDowell formalized their business partnership, and in 2005 they became co-owners with Damm and Mueller. By now becoming sole owners of the firm, they are raising their partnership to a new level. Berkeley Hills Realty has long been recognized as one of the market leaders in East Bay real estate. Founded as Berkeley Realty, the firm has more than fifty years of experience with residential properties in Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, Kensington, Piedmont, El Cerrito, and Emeryville. For more information, call 510-524-9888 or visit the firm’s web site at Contact Information Tracy Sichterman: 510-524-1700 x27; 510-520-0076 (cell); [email protected] Bill McDowell 510-524-1700 x30; 510-282-4673 (cell); [email protected] Peter Damm 510-524-1700 x13; 510-915-9147 (cell); [email protected] Nancy Mueller 510-524-1700 x20; 510-541-0552 (cell); [email protected] Read More

Berkeley Hills Realty is a Certified Bay Area Green Business

Berkeley Hills Realty is certified as a Bay Area Green Business! On site verification inspections have taken place, and all standards were achieved as of May 14, 2009. As a Green Business, Berkeley Hills Realty has achieved exceptional pollution prevention and conservation of resources. In addition, BHR has met environmental compliance requirements. Berkeley Hills Realty is a locally owned company committed to our community. We are green and our chain of ownership is clean. Rest assured, there are no larger corporate entities with questionable environmental practices behind the curtain! Furthermore, some of our Realtor Associates have obtained a Green certification, and several of our agents are on the Berkeley Association of Realtors Green Council. This deeper commitment to environmental education and advocacy benefits our clients in the pursuit of their green housing dreams. Contact a Berkeley Hills Realty Realtor at 1.800.Hi.Berkeley. Read More
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