Love Thy Neighbor
Grumpy Cat via Meme Binge 

Love good neighbors. They’re an essential element of a happy home. But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

The worst problems between neighbors often involve personal behavior like noise, criminal activity, trash, and pets. Luckily, physical problems with the properties are easier to address like tree encroachment, boundary location, fence maintenance, parking and drainage flow.

And no matter what you do, refrain from taking drastic action like railroad baron Charles Crocker’s infamous Nob Hill spite fence that he had built around his neighbor Nicholas Yung. On a smaller scale, don’t chop down the offending tree, move the fence, or roast a chicken that wanders into your yard.

If you are a prospective buyer or renter, give some attention to the neighboring properties. Meet some of the neighbors and ask questions, but don’t assume the information is always correct. Gossip is a dynamic in any neighborhood.

If you are an owner, make some effort to have friendly relations while maintaining respectful boundaries. Holding your home as a castle ultimately doesn’t work. Try to resolve any festering problems both for resale value, and simply to enhance your enjoyment of your home while you live there.

You can get a basic understanding of your problem in books and online articles from local publisher Nolo Press. From there your next step should usually be with the neighbors themselves, but here are some suggestions for third party assistance if needed:

  • The landlord or property manager for renters
  • The homeowners association or the management company for condos
  • A neighborhood association if there is one
  • Our East Bay conflict resolution center SEEDS
  • City or county authorities if there are health, safety, or zoning issues
  • Police sheriff for immediate law enforcement problems

Do you have a problem neighbor or a neighborhood problem? It can help to talk through it, and your sympathetic Realtor is ready to listen. Just call and feel free to ask for referrals to specific service providers including arborists, surveyors, contractors and attorneys to fully understand your rights.

Market Update: September

Sales tend to be relatively low in September. That's because few homes were put on the market at the end of the summer. In fact, September marks the fewest number of sales since March, but it doesn't mean competition slowed. In fact, prices increased 21% since last year to a median of $727,944, and homes sold an average of 8.0% over list -- up 5.2 percentage points. Since so many homes were put on the market after Labor Day, October should mark a significant increase in sales. And we expect that prices will continue to increase as well. At this rate, activity may continue to remain strong through the end of the year.

Maker Faire Discount for OakNotes Readers!

As a reader of OakNotes, we'd like to offer you a 15% discount to the East Bay Mini Maker Faire. If you've never been, it's amazing, showcasing a veritable fountain of maker inspiration and expression. From geeky robotics to crafty/foodie homesteader arts to BurningMan kinetic art, our local Maker Faire has it. Plus it has hands-on making for adults and kids alike to try something new. Screenprint a shirt or learn to solder. Co-located on the gorgeous "hidden jewel" grounds of Park Day School and Studio One Art Center in Temescal, the event is a great family day out. 

The sixth annual East Bay Mini Maker Faire will be held on Sunday, October 18th  To get your discount, visit the website here, and upon checkout, use discount code REDOAK15.

Mortgage Update

The new Integrated Disclosures required by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went into effect for mortgages originated  on or after Monday, October 3rd. The new disclosures provide clear information regarding loan costs and terms in a consumer-friendly format and require that final loan terms be provided to borrowers a full three days before they are required to sign.

The new disclosures plus the lessening chance that the Fed will increase interest rates in October are great news for homebuyers. If you have any questions about this, or would like to inquire about purchasing or refinancing a home, please contact Julia Demeter at Commerce Home Mortgage - jdemeter@commercemtg.com

October's Insider East Bay Icon
Cafe Van Kleef by Zoe Kravitz 

In the Red Oak 2015 calendar we feature insider East Bay icons. Locals love these treasures, but their San Francisco friends may not know about them.

Can you guess where October’s photo was taken? Actually, it could not have come at more appropriate time. Cafe Van Kleef became an icon of the downtown Oakland scene in the mid-80s. The decor is an eclectic hodgepodge of movie artifacts and paraphernalia that was distinctly from the mind of co-owner Peter Van Kleef. The establishment became known for its signature drink, a fresh-squeezed greyhound with a quarter of a grapefruit as a garnish (they were known to go through over 400 grapefruits on a good night). Sadly, Peter Van Kleef passed away last month at the age of 65, so let's all raise a greyhound this month in his honor.

Restaurant Review: Drake's Dealership
 Drake's Dealership

It's not as if Oakland needed another addition to drive the masses to its Uptown neighborhood, but then along came Drake's Dealership. Located in a converted warehouse across from the Hive, it's easy to lose an afternoon on the atmospheric patio crowded with dogs, kids and craft beers. It gets ample sun, which these days means it's toasty, but can handle the crossover from lunch to dusk should you decide to keep sampling Drake's inventory of locally brewed beers. The pizzas are thin crusted and come out quickly. The seating creates a community of conversation with cheerful servers who are not only swift but adept at keeping your mug filled.  Try any of the pizzas, ribs or fish and chips, but most importantly try the beer. Drake’s Dealership, 2325 Broadway (between 23rd St and 24th St), Oakland; 510.833.6649; Sun-Wed 11am-11pm, Thu-Sat 11:30am-1am; reservations available.

© Red Oak Realty 2015

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1891 Solano Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94707
6450 Moraga Avenue, Oakland, CA 94611