Fire Season Is Underway – Resources to Protect Your Home and Loved Ones in the East Bay

East Bay residents are still reeling from a horrific wildfire season where since the beginning of the year, there have been over 8,100 wildfires which have burned well over 3.8 million acres in California. Everyone is now very familiar with the term AQI and most likely have personal photos of orange skies and red sunsets. Read More

We’re Here To Help!

Dear Valued Clients and Neighbors, Our offices will remain closed to the public during this time of SiP and social distancing surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.  We are however actively working from home.  Please visit our “Agents” page to meet agents virtually. Read More

How could CoronaVirus Affect Real Estate in the East Bay?

There is a significant amount of fear and genuine concern around the coronavirus/COVID19 lately, as it continues to spread around the world and now, here, in the East Bay. People are increasingly affected by the illness and worry for their loved ones. Our hearts go out first and foremost to families that have experienced a loss. We also feel for our communities suffering from the emotional or economic impacts of the virus. If you are feeling fearful, we find the following facts useful: (source: Coronavirus: How to Keep Things in Perspective, by Ignacio López-Goñi for World Economic Forum)       We know what it is We know how to detect the virus The situation is improving in China 80% of cases are mild People heal Symptoms appear mild in children The virus can be wiped clean Science is on it, globally There are already vaccine prototypes Antiviral trials are underway Health and emotional concerns notwithstanding, Berkeley Hills Realty is here to be your real estate resource and we provide the following economic points for your consideration: 1. Real estate is a long game, the virus will have a short tail. If you are wondering if you should continue your home search, remember, real estate is a long game. Whether you ascribe to the optimism of a seasonal virus or carry the concern of a worldwide pandemic, this hardship will end. Although not soon enough for the 5% most severely afflicted, a vaccine will come. The median duration of homeownership in the United States is 13.3 years. The world and local economies will be back on track before your next move. Don’t put off life entirely for a short term fluctuation. 2. Forecasts have been downgraded, but economy may still expand. From the California Association of Realtors, “Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for global economic growth by 0.1%, but is still calling for an expansion in 2020, albeit at a slower pace. Similar orders of magnitude have been forecast for the domestic economy, with groups like Wells Fargo and others expecting GDP to grow by 10-20 basis points slower than their pre-Coronavirus forecast. Growth is expected to be slower, but the economy is still expected to grow.” 3. Stay calm and carry on. Shelter in place still needs a shelter. Whatever the circumstance, people need housing and will continue to need housing. Homeownership is the safest way to establish a permanent shelter. We see this necessity manifest in the throngs of people still attending weekend open houses. 4. Amid stock market woes, real estate provides a safe harbor for funds.  The Dow Jones stock index dropped 12% in value last week illustrating the fact that there is plenty of dread surrounding the potential impact from the virus. However, even though the overall stock market had its worst weekly declines since the 2008 financial crisis during the week of February 24-28, it rebounded on March 2 to 1,294 points or 5.1%— with its largest one-day point gain ever. Then it fell at the beginning of the next week, rallying some again by March 10th as world leaders developed a global plan. The stock market is volatile. We have seen this before, and know where savvy investors moved their funds. They moved towards real estate. Losses in the stock market may sideline some buyers who have lost liquidity. Others may look toward moving money out of the stock market entirely and place it into real estate holdings until the world economic dust settles. 5. Interest rates are dropping! The Federal Reserve issued an emergency 50 basis point cut to their target interest rates, and guidance suggests that the Fed may be open to future reductions in order to counteract the negative impacts to financial markets. This week, mortgage rates fell to an all-time low level of just 3.13%. That is down from 3.80% at the start of the year and represents significant cost savings over the life of a 30-year loan. Lower interest rates don’t just lower monthly payments. Lower interest rates can increase the amount of house and square footage you can purchase to meet your family’s needs. As the California Association of Realtors stated, “Short-run risks to the economy exist but are arguably offset by long-run benefits of lower rates at the individual level.” 6. Local economies will be hurt, but real estate is likely resilient. From event producers to gig workers, our local East Bay economy will experience an economic blow from shuttered doors and CDC recommendations to avoid crowds. Unfortunately, our lowest-paid workers from Uber drivers to wait staff may feel the brunt.  This puts homeownership further out of reach for some members of our community, but may not do much to decrease real estate values. The sad truth is that we have already seen our market price out pace most hourly employees. Other sectors will be more resilient. Tech jobs, for instance, will be more flexible and allow workers to work remotely from home. There may be a small short term blip as people adjust to the new normal of caution in crowds and increased handwashing. However, this won’t be an affordability equalizer as those who have been able to buy homes are likely to have more resources to weather this storm. 7. Foreign investment may be curtailed. Per the California Association of Realtors, “Reduced economic growth in China, specifically, could stifle demand for California real estate this year. However, foreign buyers represented just 3.9% of California’s home sales last year, so the impacts statewide will be muted compared to 6 years ago, when foreign buyers represented 8.0% of the market. In addition, because domestic buyers typically finance their homes in much larger proportions to their foreign counterparts, low rates could stimulate more domestic demand that would help to offset the impact to foreign buyer demand.” 8. It is an election year and local and federal politicians are motivated to protect the economy. This is an election year.  Local economies will be […] Read More

Steps to Take Now To Keep Your Pet Safe in the East Bay

Do you have pets? Do you have a plan in place in case of an emergency or natural disaster to make sure your pets are safe? As you are aware, the East Bay has had its share of “no time to think” occurences from fires to earthquakes and families can suffer their own personal tragedy, like a house fire, where pets are trapped in a home. Here are steps you can take today to provide security for your pet moving forward. Read More

#REKindness – East Bay Kindness and Fun for the Holidays

Many of our neighbors are struggling with food insecurity, along with housing affordability and availability issues making putting gifts under the tree a struggle this Christmas. Our local food banks are always in need during this time of year, and Berkeley Hills Realty invites you to join us in helping fill the pantries while also filling your heart knowing you can help a person or family enjoy a full meal during the holidays. Read More

Berkeley Hills Realty Spotlight on Realtor ~ Jean Brady

Jean Brady is marking her first anniversary of being part of the team at Berkeley Hills Realty by becoming even more active in her community and developing deeper relationships. Jean Is also focusing on helping potential new residents of her hometown of Point Richmond learn more about the area and the East Bay. Although Jean has been a Realtor for only a year, she spent many years in the property management business managing her family’s real estate holdings in Laguna Beach and Dana Point in Southern California. She has always had an interest in the real estate market and furthered her education with an eye on real estate investing in the East Bay. As a longtime resident of Point Richmond, Jean has watched the sleepy town become a desirable area for people who want to live in the Bay Area and enjoy coastal living, without the million dollar price tag. “As an artist, I am constantly inspired by the views of the Golden Gate and San Francisco skyline. The hills in our area remind me of the Laguna Beach landscape with the gorgeous bay views and walking trails to see the local landscape from many angles”, Jean shared. “To be a successful Realtor, you need to know and live the lifestyle that you are selling to your clients or helping them market to potential buyers. By being an art teacher, painter and writer, I am immersed in the wonderful culture of this area.” Jean is an active member in the WWIC – Westside Women’s Improvement Club and their book club and AOPR – Arts of Point Richmond.  She also is an art teacher at Mom & Pop Art Shop in Point Richmond. Jean adds her energy to the community by volunteering through Berkeley Hill Realty’s #REKindness program. She and her team come together to raise funds and lend time to many local non-profit organizations who share the a passion of building housing, educating children, conservation of the environment and care for those in need, including animals. “During the past year, I have taken classes to continue my education about the technical skills necessary to function as a Realtor in this fast paced market and the knowledge necessary to answer questions from my clients that arise about East Bay properties; concerns about foundations, structural issues, flood and earthquake zones etc. Each week I attend meetings so I keep us up to date on city laws, regulations, ordinances, rent control, zoning, and Accessory Dwelling Units. Real estate is complex; it is a huge responsibility to know the laws, and to be diligent in the process involved to help our clients”, Jean stated. Jean credits her co-workers for being a tremendous help during her first year by always being encouraging and a pleasure to work with.  She is enjoying “the fun part of the business” of looking at houses and meeting people.  She has developed mutually beneficial relationships with vendors who are the best in the area and credits these behind-the-scene people as a creative and important part of her team’s success. Jean says that she is just as excited about the real estate business and being a part of Berkeley Hills Realty as her first day.  She fondly recalls looking around the room at smiling faces in the Berkeley office that were to become her colleagues and friends and knew she was in the right place. Jean will be sharing photos, insights, tips and video on her blog “365 Things To Do In Point Richmond” on Facebook and on the web. She looks forward to working with buyers who wish to make the East Bay home or helping sellers find the right buyer and move on to pursue other life goals. Read More

A Special Christmas Experience

Every year my husband and I look forward to the Christmas Eve Jazz Service at the First United Methodist Church of Point Richmond! The 7pm service with the Dan Damon Quartet and Friends is an evening of glorious music and singing. Come early because the church fills to capacity! I hope I see you there – Jean Brady Location: 201 Martina Street (at West Richmond Avenue) Point Richmond. Phone: 510-232-1102 Email: Read More

Berkeley HIlls Realty #ReKindness 2018

Happy Holidays from all of us at Berkeley Hills Realty! Looking back, were you able to achieve your New Year’s Eve resolutions in 2018? Our resolution each year, as a company, is to make a discernible difference in the East Bay community. Our team comes together to raise or donate funds for many amazing local non-profit and faith organizations who leverage our efforts to build housing, educate children, care for animals, and conserve our environment. In 2018, our #REKindness efforts supported the following organizations: Alameda County Food Bank Berkeley Humane Society Boys Hope Girls Hope Center For Sex and Culture Friends of Oakland Animal Services Habitat For Humanity Jelly’s Place New Life Movement Planned Parenthood Save The Redwoods Oakland/Berkeley Association of Realtors Community Foundation Wilson School where we are Book Buddies with a second grade class. As we celebrate Hanukkah, look forward to Christmas and consider New Year’s Day, we know that the giving and magic of the holidays never ends, and the greatest of gifts are family and friends and the people we can inspire to pass the goodwill forward. May kindness fill your hearts in 2019! Read More

Berkeley Hills Hits Wire Fraud Threat Head On

Wire fraud in real estate is one of the fastest growing cybercrimes in the country. The FBI reportedly received 301,580 complaints in 2017 and losses exceeded $1.4 billion, and in the real estate/rental sector alone, more than 9,600 victims lost over $56 million in the same year. Read More
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