Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rebuilding Together Oakland Rebuilds

The Piedmont Community Service Crew, comprised of Piedmont High students, finished their spring project about a month ago. See this link for a Mercury News story about their project. For more about RTO, joining the Crew,or joining me to financially support the Crew, email me at Kennedy@MaureenKennedy.Net.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

520 Cragmont Hits the Market: "Killer" Bay View and Sun-Drenched Garden.

If you crave a “killer” Bay view, and want to live in a Gardener’s Eden, take a look at 520 Cragmont Avenue!

While the 1935 Monterey Colonial home is easy to miss from the street, you’ll realize it is uniquely sited as soon as you step inside: The Golden Gate and City view is unobstructed by neighbors’ trees and buildings. Moreover, surrounding neighbors have gorgeous gardens soaking up the abundant southwestern light—the lot feels truly massive in size, and private. Enjoy your morning coffee looking out over it all, every day!

The home’s interior offers fabulous architectural details—ceiling beams, gracious wrought iron banisters, and wide plank peg floors. Plan to entertain—with an open floor plan among the large living room with stone surround fireplace, central dining room and the spacious viewing deck. You can organize dinner for 12 or cocktails for 40. The owners have hosted Thanksgiving dinners and a wedding on the deck!

Just as important are the four large view-laden bedrooms upstairs--the master with its en-suite bath--and their spacious closets so unusual in a home of this age. Together with the largest hallway bath this agent has ever seen, the upstairs spaces can be used very flexibly to meet your needs.

If you’d like a private home office (or separate room for an in-law), the space downstairs is ideal. On one side is a large family room (called the “Social Hall” in the original blueprints) with original fireplace, and adjacent full kitchen; on the other is a bedroom and full bath, all with exterior access—to that fabulous garden!

Both the private front garden (gorgeous from an east-facing living room window) and the carefully curated rear garden have been tended for years by the current owners. Filled with a weeping birch, dogwoods in bloom, calla lilies, fruit trees, and a calliope of roses, the rear garden can easily include vegetables, and more!

When your body needs a break from tending the garden, head over to Tilden Park just a couple blocks away. The world-class photographer Galen Rowell said in Bay Area Wild, “we bought our Berkeley home a block from [Tilden] so we could run, hike, ride, and bike the extensive trail system through this section of a thirty-mile greenbelt that rims the back of the East Bay hills from Richmond to almost Hayward….No other major metropolitan center in the world boasts such an extensive system of wild greenbelts…. For years we surprised out-of-town guests by taking them on wildland walks along our favorite trail, frequently seeing deer, foxes, and coyotes at dawn or dusk.”

The original owner, a sea captain, erected a flagpole in the yard so that he could see his home as he entered the Golden Gate.

Owned and loved by the same family for 30 years.

Join us for open houses:

Saturday May 22nd, 2-4:30 pm: Renovator’s Open House, featuring designer Jacquelyn McCormick and contractor Bruce PaoliSunday May 23rd, 2-4:30 pm: Open House
Thursday May 27th, 10-1 pm: Broker’s Tour (open to the public)
Sunday May 29th, 2-4:30 pm: Open House


--A spectacular Golden Gate and City view
--2702 square feet of living space (per public record), and a sun-drenched 6750 sf lot that feels three times as big
--Beamed-ceiling living room with stone surround fireplace
--four bedrooms and two baths upstairs, plus a 1/1 in-law downstairs
--spacious eat-in kitchen with a four-burner range and a double JennAir grill
--family room
--just installed high-efficiency furnace and ductwork, newer roof insulation
--washer and dryer
--roof replaced in 2007
--freshly painted
--a couple blocks from a public playground and the 67 bus to Berkeley BART, and around the corner from Step One preschool.

All less than a mile from Kensington shopping and less than 1.5 miles to the top of Solano Avenue.

For more information:

Maureen Kennedy, DRE#01446878
Pacific Union
MLS #: 40467529

For more photos:


For a Google mashup:

click here.

Increasing Capital Gains Rates? Sell Now or Sell Later--

A client pointed out that if the tax law does not change, long term capital gains taxes are likely to go UP after the first of next year.

That means that if you sell your long-held home this year, you may pay 15% in federal capital gains taxes (after your $250K or $500K exclusion, and after subtracting your ''basis'' from the sales price), while if you sell next year, you might pay 20% in federal capital gains taxes. (See this link for good information about this issue, and of course check with your accountant and legal advisor before making any decisions....). Depending on your circumstances, this could make a big difference in your taxes, or just a small difference.