Category Archives: Recent Blogs

Subdivision Names

Cortina at Villa Lago at the Promontory
Cortina at Villa Lago
at the Promontory

Espirit at Dublin Station
Espirit at Dublin Station

Windsong at Madeira East
Windsong at Madeira East

One of the things I love about the area that I live and work in is the names of our neighborhoods. Places like Westbrae, Thousand Oaks and Rockridge have these names because they actually mean something (i.e Westbrae is in West Berkeley, Rockridge for actual outcroppings of rock, Thousand Oaks really is oak-studded). Compare this to such places as “El Sol at Palmilla”, or “Villa Lago at the Promontory”, or “Esprit at Dublin Station”, and “Windsong at Madeira East.” Gag me! When asked where you live, how could anyone answer these places with a straight face?

Average Commission Rate in Berkeley

You’ve heard the expression: “It’s not what you make. It’s what you keep that matters.” This is especially true in real estate. It’s not just the sales price that a Seller should care about, but also what gets deducted from the sales price. These are known as closing costs, By far, the single biggest deduction is the agent’s commission.

According to the local MLS, 612 homes sold in Berkeley in 2013, and the average commission charged was 5.34% with an average sales price of $841,000. Since the Realty Advocates commission is, at most, 4.5%, that means the average Berkeley Seller that didn’t list with us lost $7,570 off their bottom line.

Since our founding in 1986, Realty Advocates has consistently delivered the very highest sales prices on our listings along with the lowest commissions. Now that is VALUE! Check out our reviews on

Rare, Architecturally Intact, 1914 Arts and Crafts Style Home in Rockridge

Coming on the market July 18, 2013, and with two public open houses on Sundays July 21st and 28th from 1:30-4:30pm, 5323 Broadway is a stunning 3Br/1.5Ba two-story Arts and Crafts Style home.  Original details include unpainted wood mouldings an built-ins, leaded and stained glass cabinet doors, oak floors and a functioning fireplace. The bedrooms are all spacious and the there is also abundant storage in the basement. Upgrades and/or replacements were made in the last 15 years to the foundation, electrical, plumbing and furnace systems, and there are also french doors leading to a deck and stairs to a lush and private rear yard. The kitchen was elegantly remodeled and featured in the 1999 Rockridge Kitchen Tour.

Please stop by on either of the Sunday open houses and enjoy viewing this beautiful home.

The Inventory is Coming! The Inventory is Coming!

By all accounts, the single biggest factor contributing to the recent (last 6 month) surge in home prices has been the scarcity of inventory on the market. Of course, this is basic economics: when supply is low relative to demand, prices go up.  I believe this is about to change.

Why? Spring and early summer has always been when more homes come on the market. Nothing new there. But this year, I think something else is happening, and that is as homeowners have been hearing about multiple offers and huge overbids on the few neighboring houses that have come on the market, they want to get in on the action too! How do they hear about it? In part because us Realtors are so desperate for something to sell that we’ve been sending out lots of postcards (like one with the image shown) exorting would-be-sellers to get off the fence!

But this seems that this approach will become a self-defeating proposition. Demand is indeed high, but relatively steady. As supply increases, buyers may begin to feel less desperate to buy any one house because there are more on the horizon.  This is likely to lead to lower prices. So hang on buyers: the Inventory is coming!

-Brett Weinstein