Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Perfect for the Holidays--

If you're planning ahead for holiday parties for the office or home, consider the Berkeley City Club. It was the setting for the Tea Collection Holiday catalog, so it must be perfect.....

I'm President of the Club this year, and with our stellar new general manager just arrived from Napa County, Laura Bourret, we're ready to meet your every need.

Contact me at kennedy@maureenkennedy.net or Laura (at 848-7800) to schedule your holiday event or to house your holiday guests in Julia Morgan's "Little Castle."

Calling All Gardeners---

The Merritt College Plant Sale is coming up October 1st and 2nd! They have great stuff--I got some marionberry plants for Inverness from the spring sale.

Search "Bay Area Fall Plant Sale" for upcoming sales at UC, the SF Arboretum and beyond. Bay Nature has not published its list this fall!

If you're reading this before my October quarterly newsletter, consider a run to Bolinas this weekend for the fall tea and plant sale to benefit the Inverness Garden Club (I'm secretary of the Scholars Fund of the IGC). It's scheduled for Saturday the 17th of September--tea available in the afternoon--and is located as you enter Bolinas.

The Furnace Filter Story---

Literally, I've been driving around town today thinking, "there must be a killing to be made on self-filtering furnaces. Everybody needs new filters and no one installs them." (Did you know your furnace efficiency can go down 25% with a dirty filter? I found that out. I wasn't thinking that.) "It's just like the old 'pierce with metal funnel and make a mess' oil cans before someone came up with the self-funnel idea--messy, dirty, but essential. And look at that elegant fix. I bet that guy is a quadrillionaire now." But I've found the next best thing to a self-filtering furnace.

Last week I sat down and made a couple of home maintenance appointments--had Harry Clark come and service my furnaces, and scheduled Gorilla Gutters to clear my gutters and downspouts. Every inspection I've been involved with (unless the furnace is new and the asbestos is gone) concludes that the filter is dirty and the furnace should be serviced. Tell me straight. Is your furnace filter clean?

Harry Clark replaced the filter in our basement furnace (disgusting....), but didn't have the unique filter for the attic furnace. It's like that line from What Movie Was It?? Sex and the City? where someone says, "but I hired her as my personal assistant. She's supposed to deal with this stuff. And at the end of the day she comes to me and says 'I don't know how to find an [insert your essential item here]'? UGGHH. I don't think so."

Do you know where to find a 12" by 30" by 1" pleated furnace filter? Not at Ace. Not at Home Depot (they have 10" and 14" but not 12" by 30"....).

Then I ran into a client at Mulberry's--she said, "I change my filters regularly. I get a reminder from my filter provider! I order on-line." Now that's a revolutionary idea! The internet making life immeasurably better.

So I went to AirFiltersDelivered.com just now and ordered the right filters for both furnaces and paid no shipping, and will have fabulous air quality for at least the next three years. And then I'll get reminded by my air filter provider to buy more and replace them. Amazing. Try it!

How Much Energy IS that Refrigerator Chewing Up?

I'm providing feedback to the NorCal Solar Energy Association on its Resource Guide, and noticed a cool feature they reference in their energy efficiency discussion. Click here to get to a cool lookup function for your refrigerator. Enter the make and model number, and you can see the kilowatt-hours your refrigerator is estimated to consume annually. My SubZero I'm sure consumes way too much compared to the American average (reconfiguring the kitchen would have cost much more than just putting a new SZ in the opening from the old), BUT, I can see that a 2000 model consumed about 80% more energy than our 2004, and it consumes about twice as much as the latest model.

Maybe the best approach is to check your fridge's usage, and then do a quick check of your favorite on the web. Across the state, 20% of total residential energy usage is related to refrigeration--

Emergency Prep Month---

I used to update my trash can/earthquake barrel every year or two, but with two of the boys off at college, I don't have the image of kids with too-small pants up to their knees and open at the waist to spur me. But that barrel is just waiting for me to do the update; I know it. If you're in the same situation, or if you don't have a barrel yet, you have two options:

--contact my colleague Nina Johnson (simply-organized@sbcglobal.net), personal organizer extraordinaire, and ask her to help you get organized on the emergency prep front. Or,

--click here for detailed notes from her wonderful blog to drive your own gameplan.

We haven't had an emergency around here for a while, but you can't be too prepared!

Emergency Prep Month--Let Nina Johnson Help You--

I don't know why but it's been a few years since I updated our trash can with earthquake supplies. I used to be focused on taking out the too-small clothes for the boys and putting new-old ones in the barrel, but now with two of them at college, it's almost a non-issue. But those barrels do need updates. If you don't have one at all yet, you have two options:

-talk to my colleague Nina Johnson, personal organizer extraordinaire (simply-organized@sbcglobal.net), to have her help you get organized; or


Friday, July 15, 2011

2Q11 Piedmont Real Estate Update

Recall that in early April, I reported that the market got off to a slow start this year (one sale at $699,000 in all of January) but finished with a bang (10 sales in March, averaging $1.502 million).

Our historically active second quarter continued that trend:

42 homes sold during the 2Q11 (compared to just 25 in 2Q10). They sold in an average 20 days, and for $1.539 million, or $482/sf. The final sales price was just a tad over the average asking price (though the range went from 80% of original asking price to 124% of asking price).

A year ago, the average home in Piedmont sold for $1.395 million, and in a still-short 18 days. During both quarters, homes sold all along the price spectrum--this quarter we saw seven homes sell for more than $2 million. One home was a short sale, one high-end sale was bank-owned, and two sold for all-cash.

Contact me for more details (adjusted for credits) on this quarter's sales.

Berkeley's market bounced back compared to last quarter's drop: A total of 170 homes sold for an average $672,600, a bit above the average asking price of $666,400. they sold in an average 30 days. Five homes sold for more than $1.5 million, and 14% of sales were bank-owned (triple the Piedmont rate). Recall that while the average sale price in 1Q10 (fifteen months ago) was $660,000, last quarter the average dropped to $570,000, with distressed properties comprising roughly a quarter of all sales in Berkeley earlier this year..

Turning to Oakland, 853 homes changed hands during 2Q11. Nearly a third sold for all-cash, and for an average $347,600 (compared to $299,000 last quarter). The average home took 54 days to sell.

Looking only at the 72 sales in Oakland-94611 (roughly Montclair, and including condos), the average sales price was $581,200 (compared to $539,000 last quarter). Homes sold in an average 49 days, and about 1% below the asking price on average. About a quarter of single-family home sales in Montclair were distressed (I informally excluded condos, most of which are closer to Piedmont Avenue, and of course have been hard hit in this market).

The market urgency seemed to slow as June wound down--for example, a buyer for one of my listings decided against an offer at the last minute--he was concerned about the economy. But if you check the Bureau of Labor Statistics stats for the San Francisco-Oakland market, you'll see that trends locally are much stronger than they are nationally or across the state.

We have one new development likely to affect the market this fall: At the end of September, the ''conforming'' loan limit will go down from nearly $730,000 to $625,000. Conforming loans, guaranteed by the federal government, offer lower interest rates than non-conforming loans (though the margin has gotten very narrow these last several months, suggesting that this weaning process may go off without a hitch). Nevertheless, now's a great time to re-fi or buy if you'll need a loan between those two figures. Loans must close by the end of September, so you'll want to be in contract or on your loan officer's radar by the end of August. Contact me if you'd like my list of five great local loan officers.

Here's the usual NYT link to the Case-Shiller graphic (most recent info, through April).

Tour Frank Lloyd Wright's Buehler House in Orinda July 30th!

From the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association:

In 1948 Maynard and Katherine Buehler began construction on the house designed for a large property in Orinda, California. The land included striking contours, mature trees and two streams. Maynard Buehler, an inventor and business owner, required a large workshop.

Wright designed the three bedroom house with one of the most dramatic living room spaces created for a Usonian. The octagonal room is covered by a square roof dramatically cantilevered off of columns encased in lapped redwood board that grow outward as the boards build on each other. The craftsmanship was initially exquisite and the home has just been completely restored to very high standards.

The breathtaking gardens were designed by Henry Matusatani, designer for the Japanese Gardens at Golden Gate Park, with bridges over the streams. There are also several auxiliary buildings, including a greenhouse and tea house. Daytime tours include the house and immediate grounds. The entire garden will be open for the Saturday evening tour and reception with wine and appetizers served on the terrace.

Registration is $125 for the tour and reception / $50 for the tour only and is open to the general public. Proceeds to benefit the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy

For more information,click here.

But First--Mid-Century Modern in Montclair

But First--Mid-Century Modern in Montclair
Just up Colton Boulevard from the Village in the flat area of Montclair, 6924 Ridgewood Drive is a mid-century modern gem! A balance of original architectural details, attractive energy-saving updates, and the rare flat backyard so rare in Montclair, the three-bedroom, two and a half-bath home is a great value.

Few true mid-century homes come to market, and the owners of this home have retained the classic elements of mid-century modern design. The entry walls are sawn redwood, emphasizing the connection between the interior and exterior in classic Cal Modern fashion; the sliders along the rear bring the outdoors in. The thoughtful split-level layout, particularly when combined with the long views to the rear, injects a real feeling of spaciousness.

From the inviting entry landing, a master suite, two additional bedrooms and a second bath are upstairs, and the open-plan living room, dining room and kitchen are just a few steps down. Rear decks on both levels expand the living area: With the living and dining rooms sliders open and the adjacent deck just a couple of steps above the flat yard, entertaining is a breeze. The larger kitchen offers counterspace for breakfasts or homework with a TV room adjacent. In addition, the owners fitted out the garage as a large play room. The home lives and feels as if it’s much larger than its 1907 sf (excluding play room)!

The home’s first owner was a builder, so the systems and foundation were the best the era had to offera big improvement over the East Bay’s typical shallow foundations, small bedrooms and too-few baths. The current owners have continued to maintain and improve the home (see List of Improvements). The yard is fenced and pet-ready, and raised beds are already planted!

Located close to the East Bay’s famous parklands and Montclair’s excellent public schools (per API score), 6824 Ridgewood Drive is convenient to the Sunday farmer’s market, and excellent restaurants and theaters on Piedmont and College Avenues. Route 13 links right up with Rt. 24 through the Caldecott Tunnel, with Rt. 80 to San Francisco or Berkeley, with 580 to Silicon Valley (where an owner currently works), and with SFO and OAK. To see the house, be sure to pass Ridgewood WAY and continue on Colton Boulevard one more block to Ridgewood DRIVE in Montclair. And be sure to enjoy the stunning Bay views on the way back down to the Villagethose views could be yours!

Open this Saturday and Sunday 2-5 pm, and next Sunday, 2-4:30 pm.

For more info and photos, click here!

Offered at $720,000.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Short Stories from the Front this Quarter

OK, I'm Cranky

My Home Is Unique

I always say "Your home is unique, and requires a unique marketing blueprint." And then I develop a unique marketing blueprint for each home I market. You've heard about the persimmon muffins and the rosehip tea bread (for homes with great gardens to hype), the Renovator's Open Houses lauded by the SF Chronicle (for "fixers" in Piedmont and Berkeley), the Highland Avenue home I had open during the CSL Home Tour this year and even marketed directly in the CSL Home Tour book, the postcards delivered to cyclists at Redwood Park (for a home high up in Montclair with a massive garage). In each case, it was the first time that strategy had been created in the local market, and others have gone on to copy these strategies.

But you should trust your agent when s/he says "your home is not unique-er than anyone else's." All homes benefit most from the widest exposure to the buying market possible (assuming highest price is more important than family privacy or some other factor). Whether it's a backyard pool, or a special architectural pedigree, or an incredibly tiny yard, the goal is to identify potential buyers, given the attributes, and make sure we reach those buyers through our marketing. We'd rather draw in 100 buyers interested in a backyard pool than 1000 buyers, none of whom can live with a pool.

Not Even a Phone Call?

I spent a few days six months ago working with a couple in the area who wanted to downsize. We spent hours discussing minor repairs needed for the house, whether to update the kitchen for sale, pricing, sample marketing strategies, handypeople who could take care of the work, transfer taxes and other seller costs, and so on. They said, "We've decided you'll sell our house, Maureen."

In the end, they decided to postpone their move-down purchase and the corresponding sale of their current home. Six months later, their home was on the market with an out of area agent (at more than 5% brokerage fee, I might add....). What's that about?

It could be that we realtors don't adequately explain proper etiquette in these circumstances, so here goes:

--We realtors work for a living: We do our work, and we get paid for it. We often (some of us more than others) invest our time and resources in advance, hoping and assuming that when the client goes to sell, we will get the phone call, and after more excellent work, we will get paid. On a million dollar sale, I will typically earn about $20,000, of which a large portion goes to taxes, benefits, and expenses. If I don't get the call, I don't get the $20,000.

--Hire whom you like, whether you think they will do the best job, or if you feel you "have to" for some reason. If possible, interview three agents, and just mention you are talking to others. We will be impressed.

--Change your plans if, over time, you become close to a different agent, or feel the first agent is not at the top of his or her game. If you go to market within a couple of years of asking for more than an hour of exclusive personal service from the first agent, drop him/her a note saying that you're now "heading in a different direction." Most will understand.

--If you buy a home in a different area (that is, outside Oakland/Berkeley/Piedmont), ask your agent for a referral to a great agent in that other area. We know we serve our clients best by not pretending we can be all things to all people in all areas.

--If the agent who helped you buy your home in Pleasanton or San Francisco suggests that s/he help you here, politely decline. They shouldn't have asked, and you shouldn't feel you have to say "yes." See the story below for more on why.

--If the agent who did all that preliminary work for you did and does great work, by all means don't say to yourself "these guys asked; let's go with them. Our first agent will understand." And definitely don't give his/her thoughtful work product to the new guys to use. It's just not fair. Instead, say, you know, so and so did that great work for us last year. S/he understands the house inside and out. We trust her. We owe it to her.

Why Not to Hire an Out-of-Area or Low-Cost/Low-Service Realtor or "Go Bare" with No Realtor

You've heard the story about my clients who made an offer on a house the tax record said had a garage, that in fact didn't have a garage.

Piedmont is very picky about its garages. They must be there, or there must be a permit for a prior demolition (at least since the '80s). You can't get a water heater installed in this town if your garage was demolished without a permit.

Knowing that, my clients had the sellers pay for their new $80,000 two-car garage. Because I know how Piedmont works. An out-of-area agent doesn't know that that's how Piedmont works, and buyers who make offers on their own have no idea.

More recently, I saw disclosures for a house with suspicious cracks in the stucco. The pest inspector noticed it too, and suggested test holes to determine whether there might be dry rot in the framing, under the stucco--often a $60,000 fix. No further inspection was done by the owner.

A buyer relying on a rebate realtor (one who rebates 80% of the brokerage fee back to the buyer) made an offer on the house and got it. The realtor did a little work and was paid his little fee. I recently drove by and saw that the stucco has been taken off the house. How would a realtor in Milpitas know there was dry rot under the stucco? Exactly.

But all of us local agents knew, and we never would have let a client buy that home without doing that test drill in the stucco .....

I'll Let You in on a Secret----

Actually, it's never been a secret to my clients, because I always walk them through the whole thing.

Realtors often mention that the "standard" brokerage fee is 6%. In Piedmont, it's actually 5%. Only 8 of the 56 transactions that have closed in Piedmont since 1/1 involved a brokerage fee above 5%. I always say to my clients that I feel 5% on a million-plus transaction is fair enough, that I work very hard and won't work any harder for an extra percent (only a small portion of would make its way to my pocket), and the last thing I want to do is start out our relationship by having a fight about brokerage fees.

By the way, the 5% flows through to the listing agent's brokerage, which in turn splits it with the buyer's agent's brokerage, and each brokerage, in turn, splits that fee with the agent who was involved. The percentage "split" between brokerage and agent varies based on sales volume, as you can expect, but with so many fewer transactions, many at an incrementally lower sales price, all our incomes have been hit in the last few years.

So don't ask your realtor to market your home at a super-low rate--you can't afford that strategy. On the other hand, know the facts before you negotiate the brokerage fee--

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Head to Head Competition

Yes, I have a competitive streak. Tonight I took a few moments to examine how things have gone for the two top firms working in Piedmont since the beginning of the year.

We've had 52 successful transactions (or 104 "sides," as each has a buyer and a seller). Of the 52 homes, just over 70% were marketed by Pacific Union or Grubb--54% of these by Pacific Union, and 45% by Grubb.

Across the board, the Pacific Union-marketed homes garnered a higher price per square foot ($503/sf) than did the Grubb Co. listings ($488/sf)--this could be because the Pacific Union homes were nicer, larger, and so on.

A more interesting figure, however, is the final price relative to the original asking price: How appropriately was the home priced to begin with, how well did the listing agent gauge true market value, and/or how convincingly did s/he convey that true market to the seller prior to going to market?

About 60% of the Grubb listings sold below the original asking price, while 60% of the Pacific Union listings sold above the original asking price. Typically, homes that sell above the asking price garner competition, and go into contract promptly after the second open house, while those closing below the asking price stayed on the market for a longer time.

Which group would you prefer to be in?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

After Bird Calling Is Over, Go to the Bird House Gala!

Support the arts in Piedmont schools while having a great time. Each year the gala showcases the work of Bay Area artists as well as our own student artists who donate original works that range in style from elegant to whimsical, humorous to political.

The pieces (bird houses, paintings, prints, sculptures, etc…) are sold through a lively auction which is held in a lush Piedmont home garden, and is a sell-out event each year with attendance of 200+ people. The P A I N T S gala has grown in popularity due to its unique character as a fun and original arts event where the art, wine and food are all first rate. To top it all off, the Piedmont High School Bird Calling contestants make a brief appearance to regale us with their calls. Organizer Karen Stanton says there is no more popular party in Piedmont, and I agree! Tickets are $75 at the door, and if you are the first to email me (Kennedy@maureenkennedy.net) I'll give you a free ticket (I'm an annual sponsor of the event). For more info and photos from past events, click here.

Rare Centennial Home in Central Piedmont--35 Highland Avenue

Filled with graceful proportions, high ceilings and classical lines, 35 Highland Avenue, on nearly a quarter-acre was handcrafted in 1906, before Piedmont's 1907 founding. Its private entry is on the side of the home, as is so often the case in the Golden Rectangle neighborhood.

Outside a lush wisteria vine graces the arbor and an allée of cherry trees marks the path to the rear of the garden and grassy play area. Raised beds at the rear and perennials in the front yard are fruitful and gorgeous year-round.

In fact Kevin Numoto of famed Ace Garden says “this garden is like a fabulous, favorite sweater. Relaxed. Comfortable. Inviting. I would describe it as informal with classic elements, the pergola for example. Romantic. English country garden. Sun drenched. Versatile, poised for either sumptuous flowers or serious vegetable production. This is the kind of garden that Martha Stewart would love--contemporary, but rooted in tradition.''

Architectural Integrity

35 Highland Avenue is rich in architectural details! The public rooms offer high ceilings with coving, plate rails, boxed beam ceilings, leaded glass windows, extensive wood trim, unique matchstick parquet flooring, and deep crown molding. And there’s plenty of room for the grand piano!

Invite guests into the large foyer and through grand pocket doors to the living room or stunning dining room--French doors then lead to a spacious deck with Bay views and steps down to the lush garden and grassy play area. Freshly picked flowers from the garden can grace your table every day!

Upstairs off the generous landing is the layout so highly sought after in Piedmont: Five bedrooms on one level, with two bedrooms en-suite and two others sharing a “Jack and Jill” bath. The large master suite provides deep walk-in closet space, a sitting room and sumptuous spa-style bath. Relax with your favorite novel, with Bay views to distract you.

Move-In Ready

The current owner has taken meticulous care of the home, from renovating the kitchen and baths to creating a master suite with sitting room and walk-in closet to building the extensive deck to updating the foundation and replacing windowsall with permits of course!

The roof and water heater were recently replaced and a home warranty provides additional peace of mind. Zero Section 1 pest at closing!

With a family room on the main level, and a recently renovated rumpus room (and full bath) below, everyone has a place to relax. There’s plenty of easily accessible storage on the lower level, as well as a sizeable workshop/garden prep area to keep your projects or hobbies on track.

Move in and enjoy the restful, private and quiet views!


A more convenient location would be hard to find! Just a couple of blocks to rebuilt Havens Elementary School and two more to the middle and high schools, your mornings will be a breeze. With plenty of staffed cross walks and child-friendly drivers, playdates and games of catch or Frisbee are easy to organize!

Mulberry Market and convenient internet-equipped express buses and casual carpool are a short distance away; the typical commute for Piedmonters is only 27 minutes.

Stroll to Piedmont Avenue for a Michelin-star meal at Commis, followed by an arthouse movie at the Piedmont Theater. Restaurants and shopping in Rockridge, Montclair and the Elmwood are just a short distance away.

San Francisco, Berkeley, Emeryville and the Lamorinda/Tri-Valley area are all a convenient commute on Rt. 580/80 or Rt. 24, as are SFO and OAK.

The Community

Piedmont is one of the East Bay’s most sought-after communities. Offering wonderful views of the Bay and San Francisco beyond, San Francisco magazine declared the town the “best place for kids” in a 2005 article. Its school district offers excellent public schools (the high school is currently 73rd in the nation according to US News and World Report), and locally controlled emergency services and police are based a few blocks from the home.

Open this Saturday and Sunday, 2-5 pm, and Sunday the 22nd, 2-4:30 pm.

For more info and photos, see 35HighlandAve.com; for a google mashup see this link.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Heart of Piedmont, with All the Modern Conveniences

If friends or colleagues have been searching for a home with all the modern conveniences that typical Piedmont homes just can’t offer, see 221 Highland Avenue! Situated in the center of town, 221 Highland Avenue offers gorgeous space, architectural integrity, convenience and eco-friendly systems and features:


Unassuming from the street, the home opens up with light and space as you move from formal rooms to informal rooms to the rear terrace and big fenced backyard.

Including its major 1999 expansion, the home encompasses 2744 square feet, including a master suite with two spacious walk-in closets and a home office area, a master bath with separate steam shower, a second master suite, and two additional bedrooms on the upper floor. The 4-bedroom/3-bath arrangement on the upper floor is a rare find in Piedmont.

On the main level, enjoy tranquil views of the park-like lot next door through the home’s signature banks of south-facing windows. The East Bay’s famous sunshine floods into the open kitchen, dining area with banquette seating, and family room. Entertain indoors and out, with easy access through French-door sliders to the rear terrace and big, flat, and extraordinarily private backyard beyond.

And then there’s the garage--constructed at the time of the 1999 expansion, it provides room for all the camping equipment, kayaks, bicycles, and woodworking equipment you might have in mind. Currently set up with a wall-mounted television, it does triple duty as an indoor gym, or play area protected from rain.

Architectural Integrity:

Originally built in 1924, 221 Highland Avenue seamlessly blends the woodwork, hardwood floors, gracious bannisters, and crown molding you might expect, with up-to-date fixtures and contemporary layout.

The owners have carefully extended these architectural elements throughout the Christopherson/Graff-designed addition. Built-ins abound. And one of Piedmont’s oldest Victorians offers additional architectural interest toward the rear of the home.


A more convenient location would be hard to find! Just a block to rebuilt Havens Elementary School and two more to the middle and high schools, your mornings should be a breeze. With plenty of staffed cross walks and child-friendly drivers, playdates and games of catch or Frisbee are easy to organize!

Grab a latte at Mulberry Market and take casual carpool to the Financial District; take the internet-equipped express bus back, pick up kids at Schoolmates after-school care, and stop by Mulberry’s again for a gallon of milk.

San Francisco, Berkeley, Emeryville and the Lamorinda/Tri-Valley area are all a convenient commute on Rt. 580/80 or Rt. 24, as are SFO and OAK. And Piedmont is a perfect jumping off point for weekend cyclists heading for the East Bay Hills!


Older homes too often sport drafty windows, soft foundations, and roofs in need of replacement. Not this house! The rear of the home, from foundation to roof, from kitchen to master bath, was newly built in 1999, and the original baths have all been beautifully updated.

The owners relied on trusted vendors such as Kohler, Grohe, Thermador, Dacor and Amana to source their fixtures and appliances. Whether it’s energy-efficient lighting, double-paned windows, efficient radiant heat, water-efficient fixtures, seismic upgrades from bolting to shearwalling, drainage systems or insulation, this home has it.

These improvements translate into lower utility bills and greater comfort--a winning combination.

The Community:

Piedmont is one of the East Bay’s most sought-after communities. Offering wonderful views of the Bay and San Francisco beyond, San Francisco magazine declared the town the “best place for kids” in a 2005 article. Its school district offers excellent public schools (the high school is currently 73rd in the nation according to US News and World Report), and locally controlled emergency services and police are based a few blocks from the home. Restaurants, movies and shopping in Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue, Montclair and the Elmwood are just a short distance away.

For more info and thirty photos: Click here.
For a Google mashup,click here.

Four bedrooms, three and a half baths. Open Friday and Saturday during the Children's Support League Tour (10 am-4 pm; tickets available at Better Homes in downtown Piedmont) and Sunday 2-5 pm.

Offered at $1.595 million.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Risk Management Covers the Waterfront----

Was at our semi-annual risk management seminar in San Francisco today; this is when our fabulous in-house counsel walks us through a range of new laws and regs, and tells us cautionary tales his latest travails--the non-refundable deposit that was refunded, eventually; the short sale situation that went awry, and so on.

A few quick notes:

--Before a home sale can close, the home must have appropriate smoke detectors and double strapping on the water heater. These rules have been in effect for years. New this July is a requirement for carbon monoxide detectors. Unfortunately, there's currently no clarity on how/where to install them, and how many a home should have. That should get worked out by the time you go to sell your home, but meanwhile, consider buying at least one when you're next at Piedmont's Ace Hardware--they cost about $25 each and plug into a standard outlet. Note that your garage (if any--hey, this is Piedmont after all) and your hot water heater are the classic sources of CO.

--Also new this year is EPA training for painting professionals in lead paint safety, and requirement that whenever a professional paints more than six square feet (etc. etc.) a trained professional be used (homeowners are to some degree exempt). As a corollary, then, is the agent's disclosure as to whether any painting was done, and if so, if it met the extent standard, was done by the owner, and was done by a professional.

--I didn't realize that there are 2007 rules regarding kid-safety features for pools at private homes (I just knew about the community pool requirement regarding a "fix" to counter the suction effects at typical pool drains). If you have a pool in your backyard, ask your pool servicer for an update.

--Finally, as noted in an earlier post, the CA Energy Commission is trying to effect change in one of the more wasteful parts of California living--your home. The Commission developed the Home Energy Rating System (HERS), and has issued an informative booklet for buyers and sellers at http://www.energy.ca.gov/HERS/booklet.html.

The Energy Commission created this booklet, so I immediately thought, "even though it's not required by the Dept. of Real Estate, must we all provide this to our buyers? Has the standard of care just changed?" And sure enough, my firm(unlike others in the area) now requires that buyers and sellers receive the booklet with their earthquake and lead booklets, and maybe in a few years, sellers might hear "we want to reduce our offer by $25,000 because the HERS rating is only 120 (out of 250)."

Because I'm an EcoBroker, I've been paying for the HERS evaluations for clients using a home inspector who is also HERS-certified--they get a standard home inspection, plus an energy evaluation of the home and advice on where the next most cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements might reside.

I give my sellers an EcoBroker checklist of "green" features so we can highlight them in our marketing, as appropriate, but I'd note that with our older homes and single pane windows, my sellers' homes rarely would rate high up there on the HERS rating--so I best represent my seller (after all, that's my job) by staying mum.

(Back in 2007 when John McComas did a HERS evaluation of my 1908 home, we ranked 72 out of 100 points on the then-standard scale. The real disappointment was the suggestion that our rating could go up to seventy-six points out of 100 if we implemented all recommendations.)

But the effort will be powerful. Did you hear today that EBMUD has to change its cost structure because East Bay'ers have been installing too many water-saving devices and thus EBMUD isn't distributing enough water priced at a point that covers its costs? That's the effect of one-toilet change-out every 20 minutes!

I'll be collecting contact info for HERS-certified inspectors (there are very few this early in the game)--let me know if you want a referral!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Open This Sunday and Next--7180 Buckingham Blvd., Berkeley

Rare Two-Level Living in the Claremont Hills--7180 Buckingham Blvd., Berkeley

Live comfortably on two levels in an open floor plan. The kitchen, with nearly new appliances, opens up to the family room, with the dining and living rooms beyond. The cathedral ceilings add to the feeling of spaciousness while the hardwood floors convey warmth. A bedroom and full bath on this level are perfect for guests or as an office.

The home's large master suite and additional bedrooms and bath are on the lower level. Enjoy a sauna after a weekend of skiing. Or a nice long soak in the master bath Jacuzzi. An en-suite fireplace keeps things nice and cozy! Walk-in closet--of course!

Great Indoor-Outdoor Feel

Sizeable decks adjacent to the living, dining and family rooms, and each bedroom, create a wonderful indoor-outdoor flow, expand the functionality of the home, and create spaces in which to enjoy the privacy, peace and quiet and canyon views. The protected banana-belt location mean you can really put those decks to use!

With its south-facing orientation, this home's big windows and numerous skylights bring in the famous East Bay light.

A No-Worries Home

Carefully maintained by its current owners (see the List of Improvements), the home has been seismically improved. Air conditioning, so rare in the East Bay, reduces allergens. With towering redwood trees rather than a lawn, there's no grass to mow!

The big two-car garage can handle your sports toys, and there is additional storage below the home. A security system provides peace of mind, and the neighborhood offers a real sense of community.

Homes in this area of Oakland bear Berkeley mailing addresses (though owners pay lower Oakland taxes, and can attend the highly rated neighborhood elementary school rather than participate in Berkeley's school lottery).

Convenient Location

Hear birds, not traffic! Just a block off the classic cycling route to Skyline Boulevard and Grizzly Peak, the home is just a short distance to the mountaintop’s many parks and preserves. The current owners have walked out the front door and enjoyed a long day of hiking! Imagine returning to the master-suite sauna and dinner on the deck.

Commutes are a breeze, whether to San Francisco (via Rt. 24 or Rockridge BART), the South Bay (via Rt. 13) or Berkeley/Oakland/ Emeryville. Avoid the Caldecott Tunnel entirely and commute to Lamorinda and the Tri-Valley area up and over Fish Ranch Road--the secret "back way." Perfect for households with split commutes.

The home is in the catchment area of highly ranked Kaiser Elementary School, and is near Bentley and the Hiller Highland Country Club's pool, putting green, gym and facilities (monthly fees). Domingo Avenue, College Avenue, and Orinda shopping and restaurants are surprisingly closeby.

For photos and more, see this link.

Piedmont Market Update

After a very slow start, the quarter is ending with a bang. Only one home sold (that is, the transaction ''closed'') in January--a two-bedroom/one-bath home for $699,000. Five homes sold in February, some of which were homes that had been on the market through the slower portion of last year. These sold in an average 89 days, and for $1.117 million.

In March, ten homes sold across the price spectrum for an average $1.502 million ($479/sf), at just a bit over the original price, in an average 21 days. Two of these sold for cash.

Turning to the 18 homes that are pending right now, and excluding the two distressed sales that have been awaiting final closing instructions for months, the average days-on- market has been only 19 (typically, homes that sell within the first 15 days sell at or above the asking price, and we have a number of pending homes that went into contract in less than a week--including 301 Pala in my own Golden Rectangle neighborhood which I understand garnered 16 offers). Some of these homes have sold promptly, after having been on the market during last years prime selling season--without an offer then.

As you know, I'm not one to throw these words around, but most of us in the business would say that Piedmont homes are selling like hotcakes this spring. If you're on the fence about a sale, don't forget that our low-interest-rate government guaranteed loans up to $729,750 will be a thing of the past for homes closing after September 30th (meaning those that go into contract sometime in August). The conforming limit is scheduled to drop to $625K, and policies around broader interest rates and the future of Fannie and Freddie are all in flux now. We think that buyers are seeing those shifts on the horizon too, and have decided that now is the time to literally make a move.

See this quarter's data by transaction below (click on the image to enlarge).

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Way to Age Gracefully in Place

Margie Bowman dropped off material on North Oakland Village--a membership organization based on Beacon Hill Village in Boston. The group offers and organizes around transit to shopping and appointments, home repairs for elders, home health care providers and more. Sounds like a great idea! See www.northoaklandvillage.org for more info.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Crime, and Emergency Prep in Piedmont

Particularly if you live in Piedmont Police District 3 (the Golden Rectangle, north of Blair, and Piedmont-94618), stop by my house on Tuesday, April 5th at 7 pm for brownies, decaf, and a chat with Officer Mather about trends and tips. And personal organizer extraordinaire Nina Johnson will discuss emergency prep. We'll shoot to be done with the core of info by 8 pm, though feel free to stay longer for Q&A.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Great Bible for Home Maintenance

Well, more like a computer game.

This month's Realtor magazine had one useful item: A reference to their new website called HouseLogic. Check it out here. You enter a bit of information on your home and location (I hate it when we get home maintenance lists that start with "bring clay garden pots in to avoid freezing and cracking"). And it generates a great body of information and background on keeping your house in tip top shape.

It integrates some of that "Cost vs. Value" information I keep talking about; it focuses you on opportunities to save money--kind of like a Mint.com for your home.

I've already got a few points from creating a profile, and reading and taking quizzes on a couple of articles.

Now I have to go change my furnace filter------

If Your Home is Cluttered or You're Selling in the Next Year---

My organizer colleague Nina Johnson (click here to sign up for her weekly blog or call her at 482-1619) sent a note about Oprah's March issue on decluttering.

Check out a great list to work through, one chunk a week, at this older article.

If you're organizing donations (for instance, to Dress Best for Less, supporting the Piedmont schools), take a look at the list of Salvation Army values for donations.

Nina, who's a fabulous resource for recycling and reuse opportunities, mentions Bookmark Bookstore in Oakland, a non-profit whose proceeds go to the Oakland Public Library--we brought 60 boxes of books from the East Coast, and that was before the kids became bigtime readers. I imagine we can divert many many of those to the Bookmark Bookstore!

Finally, the February issue of Realtor magazine has two nice pieces on prepping a house for sale here and here. Some of these ideas (spray painting stainless-look paint over appliances (and disclosing it)) won't fly here in Piedmont, but changing out outdated light fixtures, having dark cabinets professionally re-painted, changing out original cabinet knobs and pulls, replacing large frameless bathroom mirrors with framed ones that look like they walked out of the pages of the latest Pottery Barn catalog (yes, all buyers really do want that look), and replacing some tile grouts can make a house look "move-in ready" rather than like a "fixer" in buyers' minds.

And that can mean a huge amount in terms of pricing!

If we're working together, let's make sure to discuss these and other options before you invest.

Update: Check out this article from the NYT regarding how minor changes can completely change a buyer's perception of your home.

If You're Refinancing---

Had a chat with "our Schwab guy" last week, who mentioned infrequent appraisal issues for their bank's refi operation.

I've mentioned before that appraisals have been relatively straightforward these last few months, after a difficult period (difficult because there were too few sales in some cases to provide a basis for cautious appraisers to assess value, and difficult because the appraisal community went through a regulatory overhaul, which led to a variety of transition problems).

One continuing issue is that in trying to avoid inappropriate communication between lender and appraiser ('hey; can we get this value up to $1.5 million? My owner would really like to refi and take out $100,000....'), regulators created intermediaries. Lenders call the intermediary, who in turn assigns an appraiser to the property. Too frequently, the appraisers on the list bid low (with only some of those savings passed on to you), but they haven't been west of Manteca in a year.

We agents or brokers have the right to essentially take a pass on an out of area appraiser assigned to appraise your home. Your refi lender (like our Schwab guy) can't do the same, but you can.

When your appraiser calls to set the appointment, you can probe his/her experience in the area and price range. If you don't hear a good story, you can say "let me call you back." Call your lender and ask for a new appraiser. (They'll in turn call the appraisal management company, and you'll be assigned the next appraiser on the list.)

And don't forget to ask me for comparables, in case your appraiser doesn't realize that Piedmont Avenue is not the same as Piedmont, CA.

Not long ago, my sellers were assigned an appraiser from Sacramento. With trepidation, I called the appraiser expecting to have to take a pass. Instead, it turned out that she had only recently moved to Sacramento, had previously practiced in Oakland, and had lived off Park Boulevard. She did a beautiful job on the appraisal (and by that I don't just mean that she hit the purchase price).

Questions you might ask include: Where are you based? How many appraisals have you completed in the East Bay on this side of the Tunnel in the past year? When did you last do an appraisal in Piedmont? If the answers hang together, you should get a solid appraisal, even if the number isn't as high as you might prefer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Piedmont Connect and Google PowerMeter---

You know, our house in Inverness is in the epicenter of the anti-Smart Meter movement. I have to say I've been attempting to contact PG&E and tell them "please, come to our house and install a Smart Meter!" but I can't find a contact for the program on their website!

Most likely as at your house here in Piedmont, our Smart Meter was installed with no fanfare (notice intentional use of the passive voice). It just--was there. It should be producing some decent data in the next month or so (you can set up an info-account easily at pge.com, and can review your past electric and/or gas usage on a monthly retrospective basis already).

Along with a lucky dozen or so other Piedmonters, we've taken an additional step however, and worked with the great Piedmont Connect team to install some real-time electricity monitoring equipment in the house.

Based on the notion that you can't change what you can't see, the two monitors (see TheEnergyDetective.com and check out the TED5000) send a stream of KwH usage data to our computer network and to Google.Org as part of Google's PowerMeter effort (see google.com/powermeter/about/index.html--thanks you Google meisters!).

In turn, we get moment-by-moment feedback on our usage and costs. We can turn the outside lights off and see what a difference it makes. We can set them up on automatic timers and see what a difference it makes. A great tool for teachable moments regarding stocks and flows.

But seriously.....

It's been making a difference. Every day I can see, when I choose to go and look at it, a comparison of this Monday's usage compared to last Monday's usage, including a break-out of "always on" energy draws. We can set goals--e.g. stay on track compared to last Monday's usage, or shoot for a 10% reduction (in which case all the data are relative to that target). The impact can be measured by KwH, by $, by pounds of carbon, and by estimated annual utility bill. It all depends on what tickles your toes. You can see that for Type A personalities, this can spin out of control.... But it hasn't; I promise.

What really matters is not the input, or the output, but the outcome, so what gives? Well, in mid-January, our daily usage on our main monitor linked to a yearly bill of about $2200. And now we're seeing annual bills in the $1400 range. And this is likely because our usage reduction has been very high-leverage: The Bay Area has a four-tiered billing structure, and our lowered usage is pulling us out of the top tier and into the cheaper-by-the-KwH third tier.

Check out PGE.com and see what your electric and gas usage are, be shocked as I was, and then spend a bit of time making some adjustments. Get that insulation in the attic, install that programmable thermostat, have a chat about the "always on" use, and save some money!

(I'm assuming that we'll keep our monitors forever, but if you want one of your own, I'll pay to get one of these set up at your house--first come first served!)

Update: The week after the beginning of daylight savings time, I realized our programmable thermostat was still set to PST--so the heat was coming one even though we'd all left for school/work. Take a quick peek and make sure yours is clicking on and off at the right time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Great New Pacific Union Report on the Bay Area's Real Estate--

Maybe the firm has been taking notes on my research and writing---

See this great-looking report on the Bay Area's real estate trends broken down by region. If you're thinking about a move to Napa or Marin or the City, start there!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Selling? Ask for your Marketing Blueprint----

I was talking to a seller-client recently after forwarding her a typical "pricing memo." The memo covered a number of topics all related to value, but her reaction was "when we moved from the City, we didn't get nearly this level of detail and insight on the market, how our home fits into it, and pricing for our home!"

My memos probably are about the best in the local market, but I'm frankly most surprised by information the typical Piedmont agent offers regarding marketing a home they are in competition to sell (as opposed to pricing it).

Fundamentally, most agents or brokers take a "trust me" approach--"here are samples of my past work (flip, flip, flip through a presentation binder); if you sign my listing agreement, I'll do the same for you. I can't really answer too many questions right now because I'm not yet hired to do the job, so haven't spent much time thinking about your situation. And I won't--not until I have the signed listing agreement."

If you've ever worked for an ad agency (as I have) or if you've ever watched an episode of Mad Men, for that matter, you know that's not how advertising agencies get the "deal."

The "creatives" slave away deep into the night trying to clearly understand the product; they come up with concepts, and cast them off, finally settling on the "ah-HA" marketing effort. The pieces all fall into place and the client says "yes, you understand the essence of our product."

And while the ad guys probably won't have a sample ad that's perfect and ready to go to the media buyers, they have enough of a gameplan to let the corporate decisionmaker know with whom he'd like to place his sizeable marketing budget for the next several years (we're still with Mad Men here).

And make no mistake--when you go to sell your million-dollar home, you're putting $50,000 to $60,000 in the hands of your agent for, fundamentally, marketing.* Half will go to the buyer's agent for responding to the marketing and bringing your buyer, and a bit less than a quarter will go to the brokerage to provide back-office support (much of it marketing-related), and a small amount will go to E&O insurance, and to cover time spent in negotiations and while in escrow. But the vast majority of what you're paying for is the marketing of your home--the framing of your home within its market, the marketing ideas themselves, and then their implementation.

I think it's fine for agents to say "trust me" on implementation--the ads, postcards, brochures, e-newsletters, broker open houses, Sunday open houses and so on, assuming they have a good reputation on these fronts. And of course many agents don't realize that real estate is, in fact, not a one-size-fits-all business. (They were taught that marketing a home involves nine nice photos, a bullet list of features (*3 bedrooms *two baths *2100 sf *Lush landscaping *Rich details) and a paycheck.)

But it's what I call the Marketing Blueprint for a home that actually sells it. The blueprint gets inside the head of the buyers for your home, and then feeds them the details they need to make an offer on your home.

So if it's a "fixer" and buyers may be uncertain about how big a job it is, I have suggested a Renovator's Open House (with vendors who can give your buyers the information they need up front). The San Francisco Chronicle thought that was such a cool idea that they wrote a cover story on me in 2007.

If it's a mid-century modern home, I bring my library of mid-century modern books to the open houses, I place the home in the mid-century pantheon, and I've even added a Google Earth shot from above to emphasize the boomerang shape of the home for buyers.

If it's an historically important home in Piedmont, I've had a Piedmont historian at the open house telling stories about how the home fits into the neighborhood and how life was "back in the day."

If it's a great value for the money, there will be plenty of detailed information outlining that fact for value-sensitive buyers.

And so on.

Developing that Marketing Blueprint takes some time, expertise, good punctuation, and risk. I can pull together a fabulous Marketing Blueprint for your home, but if your brother is a real estate agent in Alameda, I may not convince you to hire me (and I'd hope that you wouldn't pass all my hard work on to your brother, but I completely understand the temptation).

Of course the strategy comes into better focus and the missing pieces (OK--how old exactly is that roof?) get filled in once we sign the deal and get seriously working. Nevertheless, I feel sellers deserve to know my gameplan--how I plan to market what's likely their biggest asset--before they hire me.

The Marketing Blueprint is the rough equivalent of the specs you expect from a contractor giving you a bid for a new kitchen, or the roofer giving you a bid for a new roof. You'd never accept "trust me" from those vendors; why would you say "yes, I trust you; just go and sell my house" from a real estate agent?

Instead, you should expect each to say, "this is how I suggest you position your home; this is how I would propose to do so; this is what I am planning to do; and this is what I anticipate you will net."

When you go to sell, expect each of the three agents (or better yet, brokers) you interview to give you a Marketing Blueprint. Your house is unique; doesn't it deserve a unique Marketing Blueprint?

*$100,000 to $120,000 for a $2 million home......

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Missed the Boat on Low Interest Rates? Not.......

If you were concerned about low appraisals or were waiting for rates to hit bottom, you're about to miss the boat. Email me at Kennedy@MaureenKennedy.Net for a list of five great local lenders to call and discuss your situation.

Speaking of Inverness....

An acquaintance is hoping to garner a private offer on a gorgeously finished home with beautiful hill and forest views (just a few steps to killer Tomales Bay views)--the main house is a spacious 2/1 I believe and the guest house was recently finished. Here's the link to photos that look professionally shot. Let me know if you'd like to get in touch (he notes the guest house is available for vacation stays at VRBO.

Prices Essentially Even During 2010

Buttressed by low, low rates and a stabilizing economy, prices in Piedmont dropped only about 2% over the course of 2010, based on both average prices and price per square foot. The average price of a Piedmont home sold in 2010 was $1.401 million, down from 1.432 million in 2009, according to the MLS. The typical price per square foot was $513, down from $522.

A range of other measures supported the positive outlook: Total sales increased to 99 (from 76), typical days on market declined to 29 days (from 44), the number of distressed sales (bank-owned and short sales) remained very low at under a half dozen in each year.

Fifty-five homes were pulled from the market for various reasons, similar to the number from 2009, though lower on percentage basis given higher overall sales this year.

Given that homes sold in the fourth quarter typically went into contract during the unsettled period in August and September, it's comforting that the quarter's figures were quite strong in the end: 25 total sales (compared to only 19 in 4Q09) averaging $1.413 M (compared to $1.216 M in 4Q09).

Prices during the year ranged between $479,000 and $5.15 million, and within the quarter ranged between $479,000 and $3.4 million, suggesting good activity all along the price spectrum. The typical home sold for 4% less than its original asking price. (See detailed info at the bottom of this post.)

Oakland sales totaled just over 3200, a drop from last year's torrid 3700 pace, while total sales in Oakland 94610 and 94611 (roughly Montclair and Crocker Highlands) increased from 307 last year to a total of 445 this year. The average price across the city increased from $296K to $350K, an increase of 18%. Don't forget that this average is affected by the proportion of lower-priced homes in distressed circumstances that were on the market last year (and remain to a large degree this year). In fact the median (half of properties sold for figures above the price and half below) is only $194,000, suggesting a huge presence of low-priced sales in Oakland.

Berkeley's sales figures also increased, from 424 to a total of 528 sales in 2010. The average price increased about 5% compared to 2009 (from $667.5K to $712.4K), though the median is much closer to the average than is the case in Oakland. The typical days on market in both Oakland and Berkeley was about 35 days.

Communities typically considered our competitors--Lamorinda and Mill Valley--fared well. Lamorinda sales were up 20%, and prices inched up from $957K to $961K on average. The typical home sold in 55 days, a tad fewer than in 2009. And Mill Valley saw a 4.6% rise in prices in 2010 compared to 2009, though the median price declined gradually during the course of 2010. The total number of sales was up about 10%, and the typical home took about three months to sell.

(See this link for more on the pattern of defaults and foreclosures in Piedmont--while I'm sure more of us are having a tough time making payments and may be underwater on our mortgages, Foreclosure Radar reports only three foreclosures in town through November, 2010. One of these was represented on the MLS.)

The Region

The New York Times interactive graphic examining home price trends (through September) across 20 MSAs can be found here. The San Francisco MSA is the ''strongest market in the country,'' they say. S&P just released the October data--it shows the San Francisco MSA's index is up 38% since 2000, down 1.3% (seasonally adjusted) in October compared to September, and up 2.2% over the course of the year.

The State

The Ca. Assoc. of Realtors, meanwhile, has data through November: Total sales (#) across the state were up nearly 10% in November compared to October, though down about 9% from November 2009 to 2010. Median prices were down about 2.5% across the state during the same window.

The proportion of REO sales was down through the year, while short sales (meaning direct negotiations among the seller, his/her lender(s) and a buyer) were up--perhaps lenders are realizing they will do much better to take a market-based offer from a straightforward seller and buyer than to incur all the costs and risks associated with a foreclosure, empty house, and bottom-feeding distressed sale specialists. The proportion of ''discretionary sales,'' the new moniker for non-distressed sales, was up from 38% of total sales to 47% through late July, '10.

The scale of unsold inventory has been stable and consistent with trends over the last few decades--6 to 7 months. Interest rates were about a half point lower in November compared to the previous November (but have now increased about that much through the end of the year).

(Click on the photo to enlarge and review it.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Half of HOAs Struggling Financially

I always advise condo buyers to carefully review homeowner association documents carefully before closing a purchase, and now more than ever! Too many homeowner associations in the region have delinquent HOA dues accounts (some with owners still in place and some with bank-owned properties where the bank hasn't decided to pay arrearages yet), high proportion of renters (which can affect bankability for new buyers), and low reserve accounts. Of course I'll help you navigate these shoals. For a story describing the situation nationwide, ask me for an article from this month's Residential Specialist magazine (the magazine of the Council of Residential Specialists, of which I am a member) or read the source press release here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm Heading Out to the Hardware Store-----

We're not in Connecticut, but I know this house is drafty. After reading this story in today's Times, I definitely need to get some insulating tape for the (interior) garage door, the ski closet (basically a conduit to the garage space), and the 1908 casements at the front of the house. And though our living room fireplace works, we never use it--I want to see if these fireplace plugs are permanent or not. PGE has plenty of resources to help you evaluate your electric and gas usage, by comparison to regional norms and goals, and I'm happy to refer you to a state-certified home energy usage evaluator. And our newly installed Smartmeter data-collecting meter will generate useful findings in another couple of months.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Message from the CEO of Christie's Great Estates, Kay Coughlin

Take a look at this video from Kay, discussing the advantages with working with a firm with important national and international reach, discretion and expertise.