Montclair Elementary honored as a National Blue Ribbon School

Although those of us in the know would beg to differ, a good number of East Bay home buyers with kids avoid searching for a home in Oakland because they don't think the schools are good here.  One Oakland school was just recognized for academic excellence, which is just one example of the many great public schools in here.  Huge congrats to our neighbor Montclair Elementary School from your friends at Pacific Union!

Photo courtesy of http://montclair-compost.blogspot.com/


The Struggle is Real

People in the East Bay, particularly in Oakland, struggling to deal with rising rents and home prices, I see you. 

When I started this blog, my main goal was to show lovely images of homes and neighborhoods in the East Bay with a smattering of nuts and bolts info on the real estate market for prospective buyers and sellers. I also love showing off our sweet listings, you know, house porn.

But I must take a moment to acknowledge the very real issues that so many people, including people who are my friends and in my community, are really struggling with housing right now.  I see it from afar on Facebook, I hear it from them when they tell me about their struggles to find rental housing, and often they come to see me looking for a home or exploring their buying options while facing an owner move-in eviction or huge rent increase.

It’s not always easy to be a small business person in these current times in Oakland.  While we work with people from many walks of life, we are also of this place and the pain that many in our community experience here is our own.  Within my Realtor community, we often lament what seems to be an unsustainably rapid rise in home prices. And I just wanted to break from the usual shiny real estate blog fare to mention the Bay Area’s housing affordability crisis and how it affects my friends. 

Homes are lovely and décor is an extension of our personal style. Or course I’ll keep posting gorgeous photos and marketing lovely East Bay homes.  But know that just as I work with all areas of residential real estate, I also deeply care about and work to help people secure affordable housing. 

As a CAR Board member I haven’t been to any of our periodic meetings where housing affordability hasn’t been one of the major topics. Our magazine often addresses this issue, our economist warns of the negative effects of low inventory and rising prices, our website provides a search tool for local assistance programs and we raise money for housing affordability programs.  I am very proud to see that the leadership and policy making arm of the Realtor community in California is taking up this issue and I’m glad to be a part of that.

To everyone out there in California, we know we have to have our emergency preparation kits but just as important, we need to be financially prepared to deal with emergencies, including and especially, our potential housing emergencies. I say this out of love. It’s not easy to save money here, it’s expensive to live here in the first place and when you add student loans and maybe kids, saving becomes super difficult.  If you never have to use the money you save for housing, then it will come in handy either for other emergencies or for retirement.  And know, that there are also people like me and programs out there that can help lend support as you navigate our very difficult housing landscape.

I see you and you are in my heart. 

Sunset Magazine is Moving to Oakland!

Oakland just keeps getting cooler and cooler.  It's not just people that are moving here, businesses are also seeing the light and coming to Oakland.  

A few months ago, news broke that Millennium, the legendary San Francisco vegan restaurant, was leaving its San Francisco location and moving to Rockridge. Now Sunset Magazine is the latest Bay Area business to announce a relocation to Oakland. 

Here's a blurb from the magazine's blog

Though we will all miss the gorgeous campus and gardens we have called home for so long, the move is consistent with Sunset’s longtime mission to reflect our readers’ lives and aspirations. In 1951 when Sunset moved from San Francisco to the south Bay, people all over the United States were leaving cities for the wide-open suburbs. Now the trend has reversed and Westerners—young people starting careers and empty-nesters alike—are opting to live where we can walk, bike or take public transit to work and experience new restaurants, shopping and culture out our front doors. We’ve documented this migration all over the West, from Denver to Portland, Seattle to San Francisco, Phoenix to LA. And now we’re part of it. 

The magazine is moving to Jack London Square and will be in the same building as a new artisan food market that is slated to open in 2016.