from Barbara Hendrickson

Rudy Gonzales and I are ready to bring 1613 Sonoma Avenue in Albany onto the market in early March, before our next newsletter comes out so we want tell you all about it now.

The spacious living room and dining room, have all of the Craftsman features, including built-ins highlight this beautifully maintained California Craftsman that discerning buyers will love.

This well located California Craftsman, initially remodeled by architect Glen Jarvis, has  four bedrooms (one level-in) and two and half baths. The upstairs west bedrooms have a view of the bay. There is a large sun-filled “cooks kitchen” with all of the features necessary to cook, bake and enjoy entertaining. Steps from the kitchen and the adjacent sun-filled breakfast room, with built-in seating and bookshelves, lead to the back yard with the most beautiful Heritage Oak tree. There is room for room for a garden, a dog run or both. A huge basement and a separate garage provide space for all of the storage one might want. And many more features including hardwood floors, a period fireplace and plans for a third bathrooms. Contact me for the exact dates of  open houses and private showings. The listing price is $1,685,000


Protecting Yourself from Cybercrime

ROHDE & SCHWARZ
 

It’s no secret — cybercrime is on the rise. We hear about it almost every day. From attacks on confidential US government information to credit card numbers stolen from major retailers and hotels worldwide, everyone is susceptible. Malware-infected apps can get downloaded onto cell phones and malicious codes can be concealed within photos, documents, videos, and music files. One particularly nasty type of malware is the remote access Trojan, or RAT, which is often hidden surreptitiously in games and gives the attacker complete access to the victim’s system. This “creepware” can be especially harmful to kids and teens, who may be less cautious when downloading apps or files and then feel too embarrassed or frightened to tell their parents about it. Once private information is compromised, not only are files and contacts vulnerable but so are passwords to any platform you access.

So how can you protect yourself? Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your computer’s antivirus software and operating system up to date.
  • Refrain from clicking on links that seem suspicious or lead to ambiguous destinations.
  • Talk to the young people in your home about the risk of downloading files and apps through links and common websites. Search for “rat victims” on YouTube to show them examples of how others have been harmed and teach them the importance of staying cautious and alerting an adult if they suspect their smartphones, computers, or tablets have been compromised.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of any software installed on your computer. You can use Automatic Updates in Windows to automatically download and install Microsoft security updates or Apple’s App Store to keep up on macOS updates.
  • Change your passwords every 30 to 90 days.
  • Cover your computer cameras.

Red Oak takes privacy seriously and has created a custom webcam cover for clients and friends. Please email your mailing address if you’d like one!

www.redoakrealty.com will be down for scheduled maintenance 2pm Saturday, February 11 through the morning of Sunday, February 12. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Recent Transactions

Market Update: January 2017 vs. 2016



 

In January 2017, the median sales price continued its year-over-year decrease in more than half the cities surveyed. Inventory remains tight, as there are fewer listings entering the market than usual for this time of year. While the number of units sold increased in Berkeley (up 58%), Albany (up 150%) and El Cerrito (up 200%), they continued their year-over-year dip in the rest of the cities. If January is any indication of the year to come, it looks as though there may be a softening in the percentage difference of the list-versus-sale price in the typically hyper-competitive 6-city market. But with only one month of data, it’s too soon to tell what this will mean for the spring 2017 selling season.     


Mortgage Update: The Calm Before the Storm?

On January 31, the Federal Reserve decided to leave the overnight rate, also known as the federal funds rate, unchanged. As a result, the prime rate, which tends to follow the overnight rate, remains at 3.75%. That means credit cards and home-equity lines of credit — those credit instruments that use prime as their index — will hold steady for at least another few months. Phew! If the Fed, as many people assume, increases the overnight rate at one of its next two meetings, on March 15 or May 3, that’s when you’ll notice an increase to your minimum monthly payment amounts on those revolving lines of credit.

Mortgage rates are only secondarily affected by Fed decisions. Mostly it’s the activities of Wall Street — the buying and selling stocks and bonds — that impact long-term fixed rates. Supply and demand for different types of investment vehicles change daily and sometimes quickly. How much of an appetite for conservative, long-term fixed investments like bonds does the market have when there are greater gains to be made in speculative stocks? If investors aren’t buying bonds because they’re buying stocks, then bond rates rise to make them more attractive to investors. Mortgage rates follow bond rates.

Fortunately, mortgage rates have relaxed from the highs we saw at the end of 2016. Conventional 30-year fixed rates are in the very low 4s, with 15-year fixed and ARM rates still in the high 3s. The capital markets are still assessing what new fiscal, tax, and regulatory policies the new administration will pursue and how those policies will affect inflation. We’re in the “wait and see” cautious first quarter of the year. Homebuyers and those wanting to refinance before the next uptick will benefit from this calm before the storm.

If you’d like a free mortgage “tune-up,” please contact Julia Demeter or Melissa Milton at Commerce Home Mortgage.

Melissa Milton: mmilton@commercemtg.com 510.542.2061
Julia Demeter: jdemeter@commercemtg.com 510.520.9700

Commerce Home Mortgage


Ghost Ship Fire Fundraising Update



 

We’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation’s online fundraiser for the Oakland Ghost Ship fire, which raised $19,361 in December. Our goal was to give the funds to charities whose work directly supports the victims of the fire and their families, as well as the first responders who regularly risk their lives to protect our communities.  

We decided to donate to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts and two programs run by the California Fire Foundation, Firefighters on Your Side and the Daniel A. Terry Scholarship. The Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has raised more than $900,000 to provide the victims of the fire and their families with housing, clothing, counseling and financial support. You can learn more about the organization and make an additional contribution here. Firefighters on Your Side provides fire-safety education to communities prone to injury and death from preventable fires, creating campaigns specifically targeted toward underserved and minority communities. The program will hold its next outreach effort in Oakland later this year. The Daniel A. Terry Scholarship provides college scholarships for children of fallen firefighters who died in the line of duty.

Thank you again for your generous financial support. This is what makes the Bay Area such a special place to live — it’s filled with people who care deeply about their community.  


2017 ROOF Grant Recipients Announced


RED OAK OPPORTUNITY FOUDATION
 

The grant committee of the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (ROOF) chose the recipients for its 2017 grants on December 7, 2016. After reviewing 40 applications, the committee, which is made up of Red Oak agents, decided to give out 37 grants for a total of $100,000, including $10,000 for a Community Excellence Award to Patricia Reedy, the founder and director of Teaching & Learning at Luna Dance Institute. Patricia founded Luna Dance Institute 25 years ago in Oakland. Now located in Berkeley, the nationally acclaimed dance education organization is dedicated to bringing creativity, equity and community to every child’s life through the art of dance. The complete list of 2017 grantees is below.

2017 ROOF Grantees: Albany FilmFest, ARM of Care, Bay Area Alternative Press, Bay Area Community Land Trust, Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, Berkeley Food Pantry, Bright Futures Growth and Development Center, Cantare Con Vivo, City Slicker Farms, CoachArt, Community Education Partnerships, Community Resources for Science, Earth Circles Counseling Center, Game Theory Academy, Hip Hop for Change, Lake Merritt United Methodist Church (LMUMC) Food Pantry, Loved Twice, Masquers Playhouse, Mercy Brown Bag Program, Oakland Youth Chorus, Pacific Center for Human Growth, Parents Resources and More, People’s Community Medics, Point Richmond Music, Preventing Euthanasia Through Rescue (PET Rescue) dba Maine Coon Adoptions, Read-Aloud Volunteer Program, Rebuilding Together East Bay-North, Scientific Adventures for Girls, SPAWNERS - San Pablo Watershed Neighbors Education and Restoration Society, The Body Positive, The East Bay Center for the Blind, Inc., Upward Roots, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, Wheelhouse Academy of Baseball, Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center, WriterCoach Connection, Youth Mountain Bike Adventures


East Bay Epicureans: February 2017 - The Candy


STACY VENTURA
 

The Candy is one of 12 local businesses featured in Red Oak Realty’s 2017 East Bay Epicureans calendar. We’ll include more about each month’s business throughout the year. Call or email for a complimentary copy of the 2017 calendar.

Want to give your significant other (or yourself) something sweet this Valentine’s Day? Skip the mass-produced boxed chocolates and opt instead for delectable artisan candy made right here in the East Bay. Christine Pirrone, who describes herself as a “queer, artmaking, crafting, candy-making one woman show living in Oakland,” makes her confections in small batches using only the finest ingredients. Her jewel-colored pate de fruits ($8) are made with locally sourced organic fruit and natural, non-GMO fruit pectin, and you’ll find organic butter in her pastel-hued cinnamon buttermints ($6). Chances are you’ve never tasted marshmallows ($7) in flavors such as rooibos vanilla bean or ginger, or ones made with kosher, grass-fed gelatin. Forget those styrofoam puffs from your childhood, Pirrone’s versions look like works of art. They taste delicious, too.

Available for pickup locally, online or at:

  • Market Hall Foods, 5655 College Avenue (inside Market Hall), Oakland (510) 250-6000.
  • Oaktown Spice Shop, 546 Grand Avenue, Oakland, (510) 201-5400.

More at www.itsthecandy.com.


Restaurant Review: Assemble



 

At the end of Harbor Way South in Richmond, right on the Marina Bay Trail, sits the old Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant. It's from this history that the restaurant Assemble gets its name. Opened in 2013, Assemble is off the beaten track, but its unique location, bay view, and history make it worth the trip. Located next to the Craneway Pavilion and the Rosie the Riveter visitor center, Assemble brings industrial chic to the Richmond waterfront. The restaurant serves “re-tooled American classics” — an eclectic mix of comfort food dishes such as ribs, roasted chicken, mac ’n’ cheese, baked eggplant and various salads. The food is tasty and the portions are generous enough to share. Assemble is a great place to enjoy lunch on a sunny day, take in some local history and enjoy a walk along the bay trail. 

Assemble - 1414 Harbor Way South, Richmond, (510) 215-6025. Open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11am-2:30pm, and for brunch Saturday and Sunday, 10am-2:30pm.



BARBARA HENDRICKSON
Realtor — CalBRE #00780582
510.708.3800