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

Hotel Mac ~ A Point Richmond Treasure

The Hotel Mac in Point Richmond, was built in 1911 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. For Point Richmond residents it is a happening place! Read More

The Ubiquitous Meyer Lemon

As an East Bay real estate agent, I often joke with my buyer clients that it is mandatory to have a lemon bush in the backyard, as it is actually rather difficult to find a home that does not have one. The popularity of the Meyer lemon is well-known, but few may know  from whence came this sweet lemon variety prized by celebrity chefs for its delicate, not-too-tart flavor. As a kid growing up in El Cerrito, I made money selling fresh-squeezed lemonade in Dixie cups to construction workers on summer days during the 1950s building boom, unaware that my Dad’s Meyer lemon had such an interesting history.  It all begins with Frank Nicholas Meyer, a man with a passion for exploring the farthest corners of the earth on foot to discover plants of economic value. Read More

Berkeley Hills Realty Spotlight on Realtor ~ Mykah Larkins

Berkeley Hills Realty has an amazing team of Realtors who work together to help all of our clients. We are casting the spotlight on Mykah Larkins this month as she is celebrating her 15th year as a Realtor.  Read More

Introducing Lisa Hedrick To the Berkeley Hills Realty Team

Berkeley Hills Realty is proud to announce the addition of Lisa Hedrick to our real estate team. Lisa brings many years of investment property expertise to our brokerage, and we welcome her passion for helping buyers and sellers in Berkeley and the East Bay area. Read More

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 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 or visit us at Read More

A Toast To The Newest Agent At Berkeley Hills Realty: Janesta Downey

Since earning her real estate license in 2004, Janesta Downey has demonstrated a knack for taking on challenges and creating positive results. Can she find the perfect home for a group of nuns in West Oakland? Yes, she can! In fact, she did. As a result of the friendships formed during that transaction she became fundraiser, board member, and general cheerleader for St. Martin de Porres School in Oakland. “You’ll hear a lot about this school from me,” she warns, “I believe education is the key to overcoming so many social challenges.” Janesta has a solid history of turning her passions into her daily routine. Her love of meeting the needs of her clients created 20 successful years in computer industry corporate sales. Her love of wine-tasting and California helped her make the move from the East coast to the East Bay– “The best place in the world!”– after she earned her B.S. in Business Management from Rivier College and B.S. in Social Sciences from University of New Hampshire. She recently teamed up with former co-workers to shape, a blog for exploring and reviewing wines. You’ll often find her whipping up a meal for friends and, occasionally, for her son and daughter. “They both work in the Bay Area,” she declares with a hint of triumph. You can be sure the Greek chicken she’s preparing for them tonight will be accompanied with the perfect wine. The pairing of an agent with the right brokerage is essential to success. What draws Janesta to Berkeley Hills Realty? “It is such a nurturing group with a reputation for ethical business practices. When you tell the truth your life is so much simpler. I seek out people who share the same commitment to trustworthiness and kindness.” For her clients, Janesta’s consulting and listening skills make the difference: “I believe people tell you exactly what they need. If you are talking too much you miss it.” Janesta is strong enough to support clients during periods of high emotion while being analytical and thorough about the details. These skills coupled with support from a welcoming brokerage make Janesta Downey and Berkeley Hills Realty the perfect pairing for your real estate needs. Janesta Downey   DRE # 01402391 Office: 510.524.9888 x57 Vm: 510.524.1700 x57 Cell: 510.301.5323 About The East Bay Specialists 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. We are proud of our excellent reputation throughout the East Bay community and among our colleagues in real estate. At Berkeley Hills Realty, we strive to promote that reputation through specialized service and local expertise. With small-town ethics and a big world view, we combine digital push with personal pull to advance in the market without losing sight of the individual. Berkeley Hills Realty is locally owned by two longtime agents. We are committed to nurturing a successful partnership with our clients, our associates, our staff members, and our real estate colleagues throughout the East Bay. Our associates are a select group of less than twenty-five agents. Our ongoing mission is to ensure the client’s best interests are of the utmost importance. That mission includes a dedicated effort to place the best and most polished tools available into the hands of our associates. With highly competitive commission earnings and exceptional support services, we take great care of our agents so that they can take great care of their clients. For more information, call 510-524-9888, or email 1714 Solano Ave., Berkeley CA 94708  ·  510.524.9888  · Read More

Living Large with Less

by Rebecca Nemeth Anyone who’s looked for their first home in Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, or Kensington (or wants to downsize into something more manageable) has noticed that we have homes in an array of sizes. While most homes here begin at 900 square feet and go up from there (typically up to about 3,000 square feet), we do have a few that are teensy. I’ve seen a few as small as 500 square feet. Why would someone build something so small? Sure, its possible that people just had less “stuff” in 1920 than they have now, but have you noticed that even smaller “tiny houses” are getting increasingly popular now? The historic precedent – Why Albany has some Relatively Tiny HomesIn Albany, for example, the city subdivided some lots into parcels of 3,800 or 3,300 square feet, and even as small as 2,500 square feet. Fortunately builders like Charles MacGregor took on building nice quality homes on these small scale lots in the 1920′s and 1930′s. This allowed people who were probably then “blue collar” homeowners to afford a nicely built home with details like dining room built-in cabinetry, curved archways, recessed niches, and beautiful fireplaces. The layouts follow a typical Craftsman style, with logical layouts that don’t waste space, and that integrate the kitchen, living room, and dining room into more open public spaces than Victorian homes did. These single story homes were usually 850 to 1,000 square feet, huge compared to today’s 65 (yes, 65) to 500 square foot Tiny Homes. Urban planners and environmentalists will tell you, small is beautiful. Here are a few reasons why. Smaller homes make it easier to have strong, interconnected communities. Smaller homes can be built closer together, on smaller lots (such as the semi-urban lots that are common in Albany and Berkeley), making it easier to support something like Albany and Berkeley’s Solano Avenue, an old school type of Main Street with locally-owned businesses, and an array of city parks. You’ll find many neighborhood shopping districts and parks like these throughout the 1920′s era parts of the East Bay. Smaller homes make it easier to have good public transit. Because more people can live closer together, the community can support an excellent, robust public transit network with features like our BART trains and AC Transit buses. Smaller homes are better for the environment. From an energy conservation standpoint, smaller homes use fewer resources to build, require less energy to heat and cool, and the owners will be using furniture and items that serve double or even triple purpose (so they’re buying less furniture, etc.). Smaller homes are easier and more affordable to build yourself (vs. a larger new home).Plans for many smaller homes are readily available online, especially if you’re interested in the micro-size Tiny Homes that have become more popular in recent years. Cheap building plans, designs with an eye to energy efficiency and easy of use, fewer materials needed, and fewer “man” hours needed to build a home = a less expensive home. Smaller homes more affordable to own. A smaller home = a smaller purchase price. That means you may be able to pay all cash and not have a mortgage, or have a very small mortgage. A smaller purchase price = smaller property taxes. And smaller homes also = smaller utility bills. Every heating and lighting dollar can go into usable space instead of that huge atrium or “living room” people don’t actually live in. Smaller homes may be the best fit for the available empty lots and suit what city building codes will allow. In our area, any lot that could be built on in conventional ways has been built on. But you may find some smaller lots, or some that would accommodate a smaller home in part of the lot. Also, most cities limit the amount of living space you’re allowed to have relative to the size of a lot (for example, in Albany that ratio is 55% of the lot size). Many cities also have set-back requirements, which state how far from a house must be from the lot line or the neighbor’s house. For more information check out these articles and blogs on Tiny Homes. Many include plans for building your own tiny house. Yahoo article on “Five Tiny Homes You’ll Love”: House blog: Green Cabins: House Design: Texas Houses: Read More
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