The Next “It” Spot: The Laurel District

By March 20, 2017 @ 7:20 pm

First it was Temescal, then “Uptown” Oakland, and recently West Oakland.  Now it is the Laurel District!  Ok, now I am sure there are those of you who will say that The Laurel District was already pretty cool.  But when food and shopping become an anchor, meaning, a reason to visit a neighborhood, that is when the area really takes off.  Fast forward from 2015 to 2017 and you will see amazing things happening in the Laurel.

I am sure you are reading this and thinking “So what’s coming?”

Ever since Sequoia Diner opened their doors in May 2015 there have been lines out the door.  This little mom-and-pop shop specializes in breakfast and brunch and makes everything from scratch.  They feature home-made breads, pastries, sausages and jam.  The biscuits are AMAZING!!  Definitely worth getting.  The owners have done a terrific job of really incorporating the style and feel of the diner into the neighborhood.  Located at 3719 MacArthur.

4505 Burgers and BBQ is taking their delicious, and wildly popular burgers into the Laurel District.  The bestselling burgers will take over an old school, retro hot dog spot, Glenn’s Hot Dogs.  The location will be at 3506 MacArthur Blvd.

The trendy homegoods and clothing store, “Therapy,” is another new addition to the neighborhood.  Located at 3731 MacArthur this store features everything from small novelty items to retro furniture and clothes.  Rosie and I walked in the other day and were blown away by the selection at this particular location.

Homestead Apothecary has a store in Temescal, and now there is one in the Laurel.  Located at 3807 MacArthur this quaint herbal apothecary provides affordable herbal education and showcases local artists and herbalists.

Opening any minute is Degrees Plato, a taproom and bottle shop catering to community-oriented gatherings.  The locally owned and operated casual dining restaurant will feature craft brews and small bites with a latin-flare.  This spot looks like it will be right up our alley!  Can’t wait to check it out.  4251 MacArthur @ High.

Speaking of beer, the Laurel Beer Garden is getting closer to opening.  There has been some pushback from the local community but looks like they have applied for the beer + wine license and are moving forward.  The beer garden will offer 20 beers on tap and local pub food.  Directly next to the Laurel Beer Garden there appears to be a chocolate gelato cafe, headed by Bramosia Chocolates company, in the works.  The owner of the building for both the beer garden and the chocolate shop is spearheading the project.  The beer garden and chocolate shop are located at 3721 + 3725 MacArthur.

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Coming! Laurel Beer Garden

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Shop @ Therapy

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Novelty Gifts @ Therapy – this is funny! And true.

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Krista + Rosie outside of Sequoia Diner.

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Future home of 4505 Burgers

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Opening soon at 4251 MacArthur: Degrees Platos

 

Three Reasons to Visit Lake Merritt

By March 2, 2017 @ 9:35 pm

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Photo of Lake Merritt, by Krista Miller

Posted by the cool peeps at Berkeley Hills Realty

So you’re thinking to yourself, “What should I do today where I can get great exercise and do some people watching while I am at it?”  Or you think to yourself, “My kids need to get out today and I want to go somewhere that is fun for them and not too draining on me.” Or you may think, “I want to take some beautiful photos and my teen wants to get some great Instagram shots. Where should I go?”

The answer to all of them is..Lake Merritt in Oakland!

Running/Walking/Strolling

Lake Merritt is exactly a 5k all the way around, 3.2 miles and a 45 minute walk. If you are jogging at a normal pace, you can do it in 30 minutes, which is a perfect work out. Best part? You get to see natural beauty, as well as other people enjoying their time along the way. If you park at 7th and Oak street, parking is free and you can add a few blocks of warm up time to your routine. You can also park at 22nd Street near Kaiser Plaza for $12, which puts you two blocks from the lake and running path and you can run to the lake and check out the Cathedral Christ of the Light church for its beautiful architecture.

Children’s Fairyland

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Fairyland Entrance

If you are a parent of a child under the age of 10, you may have heard of Children’s FairyLand. This is Oakland’s answer to where you can take your kids and have fun in a “throwback” park that caters to young children. Arguably the centerpiece of Fairyland is the children’s theater on the southern end and the 61-year-old puppet theater to the north – which still uses marionettes that were costumed by Frank Oz‘s mother, and hosts the oldest continuously run puppet show in the nation.

Insta-Good Photos

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Insta-goodness of Krista’s daughter

So your teenager won’t go out with you in public, but if you tell them there is a great place for them to take selfies, Tumblr photos, and “Instagood” photos, they just may go with you to Lake Merritt. And if YOU enjoy taking photos of local wildlife, including a myriad of birds, as well as reflection photos, this will be a great day for you both. Check out Instagram using the hashtag #LakeMerrittOakland for ideas for photos or take your camera and let life unfold in front of you for photos that capture life. For you garden/flower/landscape nuts, there are no less than five different gardens at Lake Merritt. Check out the Bonsai Garden, the Rhododendron Garden, Torii Gate Garden, Vireya Garden, and the Sensory Garden for fantastic photo opportunities.

The Future

Slated for construction is the Lake Merritt to Bay Trail (LM2BT) Connection which will close a key gap between the San Francisco Bay Trail and Lake Merritt trail systems. It will provide a safe ADA-accessible Class I multi-use pathway that connects BART, AC Transit, and Chinatown to the Oakland Estuary, Amtrak Capitol Corridor, Jack London Square, and the Brooklyn Basin Development for commuters and recreational users.  This will be another place to run, discover with your children and photograph!

Learn more about Lake Merritt’s history and an interesting story about its “Necklace of Lights” featuring 126 lamp posts first lit in 1925.
Krista and Rosie love this community and would love to share more about it with you if you are considering a move. Contact us at (510) 612-5546 or (510) 610-0702 for your home buying or selling desires!

El Cerrito Market Update

By February 9, 2017 @ 2:12 pm

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El Cerrito, population of 24,316

This El Cerrito Market update will blow you away!

Check out what the median price and median rent in El Cerrito has been doing since the beginning of summer last year.

Week Ending Median Price Median Rent
Jun – Aug $800,000 $3500
8/13/16 $751,000 $3300
10/8/16 $722,500 $3150
10/22/16 $730,000 $3150
10/29/16 $730,000 $3200
11/5/16 $755,000 $3200
11/12/16 $752,000 $3150
11/19/16 $752,000 $2950
11/26/16 $752,000 $2800
12/3/16 $752,000 $2800
12/10/16 $768,000 $2800
12/24/16 $785,500 $2900
1/7/17 $809,500 $2900
1/14/17 $809,500 $2900
1/21/17 $815,000 $2745
1/28/17 $815,000 $2745
2/4/17 $817,500 $2650

When buyers and sellers ask us what a house is going to sell for it is very difficult to predict.  This graph shows the unpredictability in the market, and more important, how it changes week by week.  When we meet with a seller 2 months before the house will come on the market there is no way to predict what the price will do when it is time to bring it on the market; conversely, if a buyer is asking what they should offer on a house, it is difficult to give them an answer until just before the offer is due.

The median sales price for El Cerrito just hit an all time high this week.  What has been predictable is the trend: based on historical data over the past 5 years the median price will continue to increase into the Spring and Summer months; by September the median sales price begins to decline, rising again in February of the following year.   If that sales price cycle remains true for this year then expect April, May and June to be the best selling months and October, November and December to be the best buying months.

But look at the rents!  The rental ceiling appears to occur just before the median price starts to decline.   This is important information to know if you are looking to sign a lease.

CHECK THIS: 5 years ago the median price was $425,000.  Compare that with today’s median price of $817,500 and you have some very generous appreciation.

How I Brought NYC Home

By January 30, 2017 @ 8:05 pm

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NYC, how I love thee!  XOXO, Krista

So I just came back from NYC where I was attending the Inman Connect, a real estate conference where Realtors from all over the country meet for 5 days to talk technology, how to build a better business, and of course, real estate.  I love going to the event because I make some amazing connections and learn a lot of great tools, all while being surrounded by the greatness of NYC.  (During the summer the event is in SF, but since I live in SF that conference doesn’t seem as glamorous.)

You all know I love food, so of course I was constantly scouting out the best eats in food, coffee and dessert.  During a much needed coffee break I took a stroll up 8th Avenue, on my way to Bibble and Sip, where I was going to try out their infamous lavender latte.  I thought that if this latte really was the hit I hear it is, I could learn to make it and offer up guests at my house, something fun and different, and easy to make!

Turns out the lavender latte wasn’t for me…

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Mocha was better

…but the Earl Gray creme puff sure was!

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Creme puff the size of my fist!

While strolling up 8th Avenue I passed a restaurant called Thalia.  I didn’t eat there, but outside they had the coolest light display.  They had strung lights, the kind you see everywhere, but strung them 4-in-a-row along the outside of the restaurant.  And that got me thinking…what a cool idea for someone to do with those old clotheslines you often see in the backyards of many of our homes!

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Coolest clothesline!

While meandering through Greenwich Village on our day off we happened upon a deliciously sexy olive oil shop called O&Co.  They had the most amazing chandelier made out of little bottles of olive oil…so cool!  And I thought: what a fun way to display a collection of shot glasses or tea cups.

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Try the garlic olive oil!

One of my FAVORITE places in Times Square is, well, central Times Square!  It isn’t just the energy, but the red tables.  Oh how I LOVE the red tables!  If you are looking for a fun way to add some color and energy to your own backyard consider getting a brightly colored table and chairs, like the Fermob ones found at The Wooden Duck in Berkeley.

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Fermob! Fermob!

Having a party with kids?  Do as Momofuko does and make a cookie with cereal!!  Some of the most creative cookies come out of this bakery, and I have tried them all!

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cereal cookie!

Lastly, the best way to bring a little NYC into your home?  Think outside of the box with color!  Add a little color to spice up a room – ever thought of putting purple, charcoal and orange together?  Check out these painted brownstones I spotted near Washington Square Park!  Or mix and match the chairs around your dining room table to mimic the seats on the NYC Subway.

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Hubba hubba color!

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Clean and bold subway

Ah NYC, how I love thee!  Some leave their heart in SF, but I left mine in NYC.

 

 

What Kind of Market is THIS

By January 13, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

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Is this really normal?

Multiple offers, oh my!  No contingencies, oh my!  As long as you aren’t in Berkeley, Albany or Oakland, then it might be considered normal.  Normal is defined as a market where buyers and sellers have equal bargaining power.  Yah right, not here!  But all joking aside, even in these very competitive markets we are starting to see some normalcy.  Indeed there are opportunities for buyers to actually inspect and negotiate.  Many buyers who purchased during the 2004-2006 boom are now seeing that they have some equity and might be able to finally move up.

According to Zillow Berkeley confirms that we have a healthy market:

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Rental prices are starting to drop.  A little.

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And prices in 2017 are not expected to change much.

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So it does seem that we are entering a more normal market.  What do you think?

 

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Hi friends! We are Krista + Rosie, the brains behind the East Bay Living website. Powered by Berkeley Hills Realty we are a top producing real estate team working {and having fun} in Berkeley, Oakland and the surrounding areas. From buying + selling to DIY + home decor to plumber + gardener recommendations we are your one-stop-shop for all things real estate.

Recent Posts

Three Reasons to Visit Lake Merritt
March 2, 2017
By Krista Miller
El Cerrito Market Update
February 9, 2017
By Krista Miller
How I Brought NYC Home
January 30, 2017
By Krista Miller
What Kind of Market is THIS
January 13, 2017
By Krista Miller
Calendar of Local January Events in the East Bay
January 7, 2017
By Krista Miller

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