Thursday, September 22, 2005

East Bay Activities: A's vs Angels 9/28/05

Oakland A's vs. LA Angels of Anaheim
Wednesday September 28th, 2005

It's the last home series of the year and we're going to do it up big. Come and join us at the Coliseum, as our hometown A's battle with the dreaded Angels from SoCal for the chance to go to the postseason.

Tickets are only $2 and we're going to tailgate before the game. Everyone reading this is invited. Come on out and show your support!

Related Websites:

Athletics Nation

Oakland A's Official Website

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Berkeley Condo Conversion Ordinance

In the coming weeks, the Berkeley City Council will be shaping a new ordinance to regulate the conversion of rental units to condominiums. While being introduced as a "loosening", a closer look into the finer points reveals tells another story.

Some points of the proposed ordinance:

* A 12.5% mitigation fee on the sale of each condominium unit.

* A 10 year freeze on conversions of buildings where an owner eviction has taken place.

* A 20 year freeze on conversions of a building which has been subject to Ellis Act evictions

* Provides for "inclusionary units" of low cost housing in condo-converted buildings of 5 units or more.

* Provides lifetime leases for tenants remaining in condo-converted buildings.

If you want to make your voice heard, there's going to be a meeting tonight at 7:00, at the City Council Chambers located at 2134 Martin Luther King Jr.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

East Bay Homes: 4629 Meldon Ave. in Oakland

Here's the latest featured east bay property. My friend and colleague Thelma Austin from Keller Williams in Oakland, is the listing agent.

If anybody is interested, I'm available as a buyer's agent; just click on the link below to email me.

Click here for a flickr slideshow

Download a pdf of the MLS listing

Want to schedule a private appointment?

Click here to email me.

Located in Oakland's Maxwell Park neighborhood, this charming tudor style home has 3 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms. With 2,170 sq. ft. of living space on two floors, there's plenty of room to stretch out. On the main floor there's a living room with a fireplace that opens into a formal dining room. In the back, there's a large deck where you can sit and enjoy the picturesque views of the Oakland hills. Upstairs, there's a large entertainment room off of the master suite which could be used as an office, exercise room, or both.

This house now listed at $699,950

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

August Bay Area Housing Numbers

Hot off the e-presses, the August bay area real estate numbers from dataquick are in. Although the volume is down a bit from last year's record numbers, values have continued to climb.

Houses in Alameda county have risen 17.9% & homes in Contra Costa county have risen 21.2% in the past year.

Here's the article.

A few snippets:

Bay Area home prices continued their steady upward climb in August as sales remained at near-record levels, the result of continued demand and unchanging mortgage interest rates, a real estate information service reported.

"We're a bit surprised at how stable the market is in all categories. Usually one segment of the market will be outperforming the others. Right now, though, the same trends apply to all parts of the market from entry-level on up to the prestige market. This stability means that the market will probably stay strong at least through the end of the year," said Marshall Prentice, DataQuick president.

However, one item that the report doesn't take into account is the rising level of inventory.

Within our office, we've been tracking the ratio of pending/contingent listings to active listings. Above 1 is considered a seller's market & below 1 is considered a buyers market.

I don't put much weight into the individual cities' numbers from week to week because I prefer a larger sample size. But one thing for certain is that it is slowing down throughout the east bay. Overall, the ratio has steadily declined from 1.19 on July 12th to 0.81 yesterday.

I'm not entirely sold on the concept of a housing bubble, but the market is slowing and these numbers back it up.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Monday, September 12, 2005

September 11th Photos

Photo Share: San Francisco Embarcadero, September 11, 2005

Embarcadero Slideshow

Housing Bubble Realtor

Immune-Deficient Realtor Forced To Spend Entire Life In Housing Bubble

If you're not reading the Onion, you're missing out on some of the best, spot-on, satire around.

I remember the first time that I picked up a copy during my freshman year at UW. I had never heard about it and thought it was a real school newspaper. After a few minutes of confusion, I finally got the joke.

Created in 1988 in Madison, WI as a way to sell pizza coupons; The Onion is a free, weekly tabloid-style newspaper filled with hilaious spoof articles. The first half is fictional & the second half is a great entertainment section called the A/V Club.

My friend Nate's (whose blog I featured in this post) younger brother Peter Koechley is a writer and has a blog listing his contributions to each issue.

If you're new to the Onion & like what you see, here's a couple recommendations from Amazon to check out. They make for both great gifts, and great bathroom reading.

and the newest one is available for pre-ordering

One more note. If you buy through these Amazon affiliate links, I'll donate all proceeds to KW Cares.

Hey Dustin, thanks for the reminder.

Formatting Problems with Internet Explorer

Just wanted to let you know that the formatting is off when viewing the site with Internet Explorer.

I've been creating & adding new material using firefox, and I haven't noticed the IE problem until tonight. It looks like all the info is there, but the formatting is way off. I'm not a web ninja by any means, so this may take a bit to figure out.

I feel like I've been walking around with my zipper down.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Searching the East Bay MLS for homes

If you're looking for homes, or investment property in Berkeley, Oakland, Albany, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Richmond, San Pablo, or anywhere else in the East Bay, I want to help. By clicking the button on top of the sidebar you can search the East Bay MLS for active listings whenever you want.

Once you register with my free service, you have access to unlimited searches of the East Bay Regional Data (EBRD) MLS. You can also save searches and also have properties that fit your criteria sent directly to your email account as soon as they hit the market.

Of course, searching for a the perfect property is only one part of the whole process. The first step should be to meet with a lender to get pre-approved. After doing this, you should have a good idea of what locations & what price range to focus your search. I work with some great lenders and would be glad to provide a referral, or two, if you'd like.

I'm a full time, experienced REALTOR who's out in the trenches everyday. When you're ready to get serious, contact me. I'll do everything necessary to help you achieve your goals.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

KW Connect...I'm amazed

I haven't discussed too much in this blog because I want to strike a good balance between providing information, having fun & promoting my real estate business; but the company continually amazes me and I just have to share.

When I first started getting into real estate, I was against the idea of becoming an agent. I was a college grad & this was the internet era. I thought that I could teach myself & instantly become successful.

Then I moved to California from Wisconsin & it was a whole different ballgame. The more I researched the subject, the more the name Keller Williams popped up. As I learned more about Keller Williams, the more my pre-conceived notion of not getting my license changed. Eventuallly I ended up driving 17.3 miles (thanks ) from Berkeley to the Walnut Creek marketcenter to get started in the licensing process.

One of the biggest reasons that I decided on Keller Williams was their commitment to education & their newest tool just re-enforces my feeling that I made the right decision.

Keller Williams has just introduced an online training tool that just amazes me. The tool, KWConnect is web based education curriculum that can be accessed anytime, anywhere there's a broadband connection.

I just finished session 1 of the first course offered titled: Your Business is Your Database and let me say it again, I'm amazed.

Today at the office, our broker/owner told me that we had signed up for the program & I couldn't wait to try it out.

So, tonight while I was sitting on my couch, I logged on to the KWConnect site and downloaded the 13 page PDF file that accompanied the first lesson. After looking it over, I launched the streaming video. After a short load, I was off and running.

When I attended the during the 90's, some classes were offered with lectures on local cable television. Almost every single one of these classes were videotaped lectures shot with a single angle & with the occasional still photo. In other words, they were ridiculously BORING.

With KWConnect, the streaming video has good graphics & switches up the format fairly often. The classroom portion features Todd Butzer, VP of Training for Keller Williams International lecturing, but not in a monotonous single camera angle way. It utilizes multi-angle shots & quick cuts to engage the audience.

Throughout the lesson, there are frequent cutaways to roundtable discussions featuring company co-founder Gary Keller & Dave Jenks along with in-classroom Q&A's with other industry experts.

As with many new technologies, there is a drawback and the one that I've found is that you can't currently search within the video. If you miss something, you have to start the video stream over again in order to catch it a second time.

Kudos to Keller Williams to staying on the cutting edge & providing another excellent resource to their associates and thank you for making me feel like I made a wise choice when I decided to hop in my girlfriend's car & begin my journey almost 4 years ago.

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Three Day Weekend

Originally uploaded by andykaufman.
Labor Day 05

My friends Karl & Gina had a few of us over to grill out & watch the A's game. The food was wonderful, I wish I could say the same about the A's.

We also figured out that it was Karl's & my friend Tina's anniversary of moving to California (Karl 2, Tina 4 years). I passed the three year mark a few weeks ago.

Congratulations to Karl & Gina on the birth of their son, Charles Martin!

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

New commenting & trackback setup

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

New to the blogosphere?

This is going to be the first post in a series of tech tips written by me. I'm not a programmer by any means, but I use the internet extensively and would like to pass on some infomation about things that I've learned and currently using.

First off, quick shout out to my buddy Nate Koechley (), who got me started. At a party last December he told me to sign up with bloglines (along with a few other tips that I'll be passing along) and it has completely changed the way that I use the internet.

Today's subject is Blogs or Weblogs

, or for short, are big parts in the evolution of the internet. Through , blogs form a sort of ecosystem, called the

The first thing you need is a
Aggregators improve upon the time and effort needed to regularly check websites of interest for updates, creating a unique information space or "personal newspaper." An aggregator is able to subscribe to a feed, check for new content at user-determined intervals, and retrieve the content.

I use bloglines as my aggregator. Bloglines is web based, so you can log in on any computer that's connected to the internet & you'll be able to read your feeds through your personalized interface.

To sign up with bloglines,

Once you're registered, on the top left corner under "my feeds" click on Add.

Type in: & click on subscribe

On the next page, you'll occasionally have multiple feeds to choose from. I usually preview a couple & pick the one that I like best. Then hit subscribe again.

Congratulations, you're now subscribed to my blog's feed. Whenever I make a new post, bloglines will automatically notify you that there's a new post to read.

Next subscribe to a few others. Here is a good diverse sample of real estate blogs to start with. Add these feeds and let it grow from there.





When you read blogs, you'll follow links to other blogs. Soon you'll be adding feeds of blogs that you come across that you like.

Try this out and let me know how it goes.

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If you have a little extra time & a computer available, you can help match survivors with friends & family who are looking for them. What we're doing is taking pages of lists of missing person info and rentering it into a centralized database.

Here's a wiki with the details

It's simple: We'd like you to "claim" chunks of raw data about Katrina victims that we're gathering from hundreds of websites, and then enter that data into an online form so people can actually search through one consolidated database and find information about their loved ones.
Just another way that we can help, even though we may not be down there physically.

[update] From New Orleans Network
Due to overwhelming response, we are moving our project to faster servers. Please subscribe to our email list by sending an email to We will only contact you when our servers are up and to thank you for volunteering.

[update] 8:30pm 09.04.2005
We're back in business entering data with a new, brutally ugly but
completely functional entry form at

As before, all reference info is on the KatrinaHelp wiki at

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Real Estate Bloggers Join Relief Efforts

It has been quite an experience watching the aftermath of Katrina unfold online. Television news seems so limited in capability when you can go online, interact, and actually create.

A couple good blogs to check out if you want to see the real estate community mobilize to help victims of Katrina.

The Real Estate Blog Squad

Want to give? Here are a few organizations to consider

General Relief:

The American Red Cross
Donation Link: Click here and select 'Donate Now'.
Relief focus: The Red Cross provides a full spectrum of services to disaster victims. From assistance with shelter, medical care, food, clean water and cleanup efforts, the Red Cross is an organization poised to assist in circumstances such as this.

The Salvation Army
Donation Link: Click here and follow the donate on line link.
Relief focus: The Salvation Army is prepared to provide 400,000 hot meals a day to displaced disaster victims and emergency personnel working to aid those devastated by Hurricane Katrina. They also provide a means for individuals to physically volunteer their time and assistance in the relief efforts.

Real Estate Affiliated:

National Association of Realtors
From NAR President Al Mansell

The REALTORS® Relief Foundation is raising money now to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in those states. NAR has kicked off the effort with two contributions totaling more than $1 million, but we will need a lot more. Won't you join us? EVERY PENNY donated will go directly to help victims of Hurricane Katrina get back on their feet.

Kudos to NAR for eating the administation costs and giving 100% of the donated funds!
NARDonation Link

If you give to the NAR fund, please visit The Truth Laid Bare's Katrina Relief Page and log your contribution. (A little friendly competition between bloggers never hurt anybody)

Keller Williams Cares
Download a Donor Form
Relief Focus: Provide emergency financial assistance to any member of the KW family during times of extreme hardship. In addition, we raise money across the country through KW Cares to benefit charities in the communities where our associates live,
work and play.

Great hurricane charity roundup post on instapundit.

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