OAK NOTES from Grace Bishop
Dec 2018


It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have the daily conveniences of fresh food, clean water, a roof over our heads and the safety of our families and communities. We are blessed. 

In this season of giving we are reminded of just how much a difference one person can truly make. Below are a few shining examples of people who faced the tragedy of the Camp fire but reached out to others and are making a difference.

Helping kids: Sheri Eichar is a third-grade teacher who invited her 24 students to attend school in her home after their own homes had burned. 

Finding a home: Woody Faircloth, a Denver, Colorado resident, decided to donate his own RV to a family who had lost their home in the fire. He has since matched 30 donors with people who lost their homes, including some of the firefighters who fought the blaze. “People have the capacity to be amazing. I just never really knew it until now,” said one of the recipients.

Saving pets: Sandy Doolittle, the Director of North Valley Animal Disaster Group, lost her own home in the Camp fire, but she was lucky enough to save her pets. She and her organization have taken in hundreds of cats, dogs, and rabbits - not to mention birds and reptiles - to reunite them with their owners and support them through transitions. 

Keep on playing: When Forest Lake Christian School faced Paradise Adventist Academy in a volleyball semifinal game, Forest Lake gathered donations at the gate for Paradise families, provided brand new personalized uniforms and knee pads for the players, and gave them each a $300 gift card and a meal following the game.

Making a connection: After Eric and Heather Lofholm adopted a family that lost their home in the fire, they set up a Facebook page to make it easier for others to help. The page connects families in need with those who want to help, ensuring that donations go directly to the families, be it clothing, furniture, household items, or money.

As you see, it’s not necessary to have deep pockets to contribute when others are in need. As we celebrate the holidays and all of our blessings, look for opportunities where you can shine some light into someone else’s world. You’ll be grateful for the experience, as will they.

Warmest wishes for a peaceful, happy holiday season!

For suggestions of local organizations that need help over the holidays, go to the Red Oak Realty blog.

View More


Each November, the real estate market begins its seasonal slowdown as buyers and sellers focus on the holidays and hide away from the winter weather.

In November 2018, slightly more homes sold when compared to the previous year. Buyer demand continued to be strong, which reflected in median sale price increasing 2.9% to $875,000. However, the pace of competition slowed and homes sold closer asking price at 7.4%.

While sales were strong in November, the market became more balanced in the second half of the year, with some homes missing offer days and taking price reductions. We expect the market to continue to slow through the holidays in December and be relatively quiet through January and February. We will get a better picture of the state of 2019 in March.


Mortgage bonds have been rallying for the past month after FED officials started to scale back their aggressive posture on rates. Market watchers will be keeping a close eye on the December meeting. Besides the Fed hiking rates, which is almost certain, the Fed’s messaging on future hikes will be the most important thing to watch for. Some believe this is the last hike in the cycle. We know the Fed will not hike in January, which means the earliest they could hike again would be March 21 …so time is on their side. The net gain for consumers on rates since early November is about .25% in rate. To see if you’re eligible for a no-cost rate reduction or if you’re interested in getting preapproved to purchase a home, contact Faramarz Moeen-Ziai of Commerce Home Mortgage – fmz@commercemtg.com / 510-542-2061. 


The Julia Morgan Theater, built in 1910, is home to Berkeley Playhouse, which was founded in 2007. The intimate 328-seat theater is a real treasure, enabling viewers to enjoy performances in a very personalized, yet professional setting. Offering two divisions of productions, Berkeley Playhouse runs both professional and youth productions, as well as offers camps and classes for children and teens that range from beginning actors to advanced skills-based instruction. They have a variety of programs to meet all interests. Their current professional season includes The Wizard of Oz, with West Side Story and Pippin starting in the new year. The performances are outstanding, at a fraction of the cost of any production in San Francisco. This is truly one of the East Bay’s best kept secrets!

The Berkeley Playhouse is located at 2640 College Avenue in Berkeley and is one of 11 local venues featured in Red Oak Realty’s 2018 "East Bay Screen & Stage" calendar.
Call or email for a complimentary copy of the new 2019 calendar, "The East Bay From Above," featuring the amazing aerial images of photographer Stephen Loewinsohn.


With all of the new restaurants popping up, sometimes it’s comforting to know a spot that has endured over the decades remains in business, with many of their standby signature dishes firmly in place. Rick and Ann's opened in November 1989, serving breakfast and lunch daily. There are days when comfort food just hits the spot, and Rick and Ann’s pancakes with syrup and fresh hot coffee does just that. They also have gluten-free options and their scrambled eggs, which are custardy in texture, are prepared much like the French cook them. Another favorite is the bacon, cheese and spinach omelette. Looking for a place to grab a bite while solo? Look no further. They'll make you feel right at home at their community table. The catering department offers fantastic platters with satisfying morsels that are tried and true. The deviled egg platter and crispy portobellos are crowd pleasers; even people who say that they do not like mushrooms devour them. The dining room with open kitchen and simple wood tables, chairs and benches await you. It’s the perfect spot to meet a friend for lunch, grab a bite on your own, or take the family for a delicious weekend breakfast.

Rick and Ann’s is located at 2922 Domingo Avenue, Berkeley. (510) 649-8538. They are open Monday through Sunday from 7:30am to 3:00pm. Their catering menu is updated seasonally.


Grace Bishop
Realtor | #01245471