Berkeley Homes
Ira & Carol Serkes
Pacific Union RE
Berkeley, CA USA


Buyer/Seller Form
Site Map

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Berkeley's Rose Walk Path

Every Thursday Carol & I have the pleasure to go on the Berkeley Multiple Listing Service real estate broker's tour. We see some extraordinary homes, and the sights and sounds of Berkeley!

I always enjoy seeing some of Berkeley's intriguing paths... and Rose Path is one of our favorites! It's just steps from Berkeley's Rose Garden and Codornices Parks... and a short stroll to UC Berkeley.

According the Berkeley Historical Plaque (lower part of the photo), Bernard Maybeck was the Designer and Architect along with Henry Higby Gutterson, Architect "Rose Walk is Berkeley's only pedestrian pathway where the buildings were designed to create an ensemble integrating the walk with a planned development."

Many of the paths were put in to make it easier for North Berkeley, Berkeley Hills, and Thousand Oaks home owners to walk from their homes to the Key Route Street Car.. and get to work at UC Berkeley, Oakland, or San Francisco.

Come to think of it, that's what they still do!

Interested in learning more about Berkeley's unique houses? Surf to the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) web site and learn more about Berkeley's landmarks, and their events and publications

Want to live near one of Berkeley's Paths? We've created neighborhood links to homes listed in the Berkeley Multiple Listing Service so you can see what Berkeley homes are for sale right now.

North Berkeley Homes

Berkeley Hills Homes

Thousand Oaks Homes

Elmwood/Claremont Homes

The Berkeley Path Wanderers Association created a marvelous maps of all the paths in Berkeley.. and we knew that one of them led from the end of Vincente up to The Alameda. The photo is of Indian Rock Path, which takes you from the top of Solano Avenue to... Indian Rock!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Exciting Week At Casa Serkes

It's been quite a week at Casa Serkes.... lots of great things came together this week

Successfully working hard for our clients!

We negotiated long and hard for our clients, and were able to get our buyers everything they wanted!

They competed against 4 other buyers and we got their offer accepted... with an inspection contingency to boot! The inspections turned up serious foundation problems.

And we went to work for them... and got them everything they wanted!

So.. if you're selling.. give us a call, and we'll let you show you the steps you need to sell your home with the fewest problems. And how to avoid the renegotiations like the ones we just described!

And if you're buying... we'll show you how we go to work for you!

Get The Best Deal When Selling Your Home
That's the title of my new book... and after working on it for several years, I finally put the finishing touches on the manuscript this morning. Should be out this fall!

The Buyer Agency Council
Published my article on how we've so effectively worked with both sellers and buyers to give them each what they need in a real estate transaction.

Photo Voltaic & Long Time Friends
Our system went completely live.. PG&E installed their "Time Of Use" meter and the engineer in me already has graphs and charts.. it's a real treat watching that meter run backwards.

PG&E showed up to install the meter at the same time as I came home with my friend Ron Hoffer... I met Ron at The Bronx High School Of Science... then were in Grad School at UMass Amherst together. It's such a pleasure getting together with long time (not old) friends.

The Wall Street Journal
Oh.. did I mention that I was quoted in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Make Me an Offer: Buying Unlisted Homes

What an exciting day! In January, I spoke at the Inman Real Estate Convention in NYC. In the audience was a reporter from The Wall Street Journal.

And today, 22 Aug 2006... I was quoted in The Wall Street Journal!

Bob Hagerty wrote about one of the creative ways we find homes for buyers - sending postcards in the neighborhood asking "Do you have a home for our buyer?"

My good friend, and fellow CyberStar, Margaret Rome from Baltimore was also quoted. Margaret hosts the superb "Sell your home with Margaret Rome" blog.

Oh.. and do you subscribe to the WSJ? You can read the article online.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Solano Stroll Is Coming!!!!

The Solano Stroll is usually the first Sunday after Labor Day. It's an incredible event.... attracting 250,000 people or more every year.

This year's stroll is Sunday 10 Sep 2006.

Wonderful Ambience, great food, pleasant music in the background.

Music, neighborhood groups, food, performers and more on the first Sunday after Labor Day. It's a delightful, mile long block party!

It's on Solano Avenue between The Alameda and San Pablo Avenue

The parade starts from the top of Solano at 11 am.

This year's theme is "Send in the Clowns"

Want more information? Just visit the Solano Avenue Association Web Site

Solano Avenue is one of the East Bay's best shopping streets.. and is a delightful place to live. We've been in the Thousand Oaks Neighborhood since the early 80's and love living here.

Berkeley's Northbrae Neighborhood is just to the south. The City of Albany is to the west, and Kensington is to the North. Albany has one of the highest rated school districts in the area.

Interested in buying a Thousand Oaks or Northbrae Berkeley, Albany, or Kensington home? Check out our web site to see what's on the market right now!

Thousand Oaks




Friday, August 18, 2006

Berkeley Real Estate Market

The Berkeley Real Estate Market

It's still an interesting market!

Our clients competed with 4 other buyers and because of our home buying strategy... got their offer accepted. So, an interesting home, well priced, can generate lots of interest - even in the middle of August.

Another home, only a few blocks away, had a $100,000 price drop!

Pricing really matters!

We just put a romantic cottage at 47 Canyon, near UC Berkeley on the market. It's only steps from UC Berkeley... yet seems like light-years away from South Campus intensity.

Have a son or daughter attending Cal? Want a terrific 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 fireplace home for them to come home to? Be sure to visit our open house at 47 Canyon Road, just up from Cal Stadium

Then this private cottage is perfect! It's one of four detached homes in a wooded complex.

Easy walk to Haas Business School, UC Berkeley.

Nestled in the trees, next to the soccer field, up from Cal Memorial Stadium, it's very near UC, but far from the bustle of south campus.

3 bedrooms 2 baths... and 3 fireplaces.. just perfect for sharing with friends.

Open, airy living room, vaulted ceilings, with a private deck. One fireplace in the living room.

Upper Bedroom - like being in a tree house - windows to the great outdoors, privacy, and serenity

Main level Bedroom - the 2nd fireplace

Lower level Bedroom - and the 3rd fireplace, and private bath!

Stop by... let us know you read about it in the Berkeley Real Estate Blog Cast!

Poudini Ranks "The Illusionist" 4 Paws!

We adopted two beautiful, cute (any other kind?) kittens from the Milo Foundation on Solano Avenue about a month ago.. and it's been a joy to have them.

Lucy The Cat died unexpectedly about a year ago, and it's taken us the better part of the year to mourn her.

And so it was time for us to give two babies a new home!

But what to call them?

For weeks.. Number 1 and Number 2... then Carol came up with "Puddy Maximum" and "Puddy Minimus" .. because they both have Maine Coon Cats in them.. and they'll get big.

But I've not been fond of both the names (I've been lobbying for Thelma and Louise)

But suddenly, one of them revealed her real name!

She jumped on a fence, and after several attempts, climbed to the top!

It was time to put a collar on her.

She got out of the collar in about 2 hours.

Then we put another collar on her.

She got out of that one in even less time.

So I said "This kitten is a real escape artist".... a veritable Houdini!

And Carol said... not a Houdini... but rather a Poudini!

And so we now have Poudini and Puddy Maximus.

We had quite a week, and it was time for me to take Carol to the movies (or did she take me to the movies?)

And we BOTH wanted to see "The Illusionist" at one of our local theaters, the Albany Twin Theaters.

We came home, consulted with Poudini, and she gladly gave it a 4 Paw Rating!

Who else to review a movie called "The Illusionist" than Poudini!

I won't tell you any more, except that if you're looking for an intelligent, interesting, fun evening at the movies (and also happen to be a Paul Giamatti, Edward Norton, and Philip Glass fan, you're in for a treat!

Poudini says to see it right away... before it disappears from your neighborhood theater!

Photo Above - Poudini practicing an escape

Monday, August 07, 2006

Deco In Los Angeles

I belong to several different mastermind and networking groups, and we meet several times each year. That's how I'm able to "stand on the shoulders of giants"... learning from other highly productive and creative real estate agents. We take the opportunity to share ideas, market trends and conditions, and learn how to serve our clients more effectively. I'm one of the techy's of the group, and had the chance to tell others about my very cool digital scanner!

This meeting was held in Los Angeles. Now, I'm not supposed to say this, and I certainly wouldn't want to live there, but I sure do enjoy visiting LA! It has some of the finest Deco structures in California, and it's always a treat to visit new places for the first time.... or "old friends" once again

Hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Family, Photography, and Fun

I had the honor of attending a remembrance for Jack Gelman yesterday. Jack was the official photographer for Sedge Thomson's West Coast Live radio show.... and he attended every show I'd been to.

After each show I'd always made it a point to say hello to Jack & Lucille. Jack was a character of great character. There was something about him which reminded my of my mother Adele, and his amazing spirit and energy greatly inspired me.

Jack loved photography and we always had something to talk about... his monopod (I got one after seeing his), my digital camera, or his zoom lens. I learned that's not all we had in common... Jack was born in Russia (as was my father) and for a time lived on Allerton Avenue in The Bronx... just a few blocks from 2106 Bronx Park East Apt 3D in Pelham Parkway, where I grew up.

Jack died of long life a few weeks ago - he was 93 (that's more than 1/3 more years than I've been around) - his memorial was touching, moving, sad, and joyous.

And the title of this post, "Family, Photography, and Fun".. his family said that was what was important to Jack. What a wonderful way to live your life.

Every once in awhile you run across someone who you simply look up to and admire. Jack was one of those people.

Thank you, Jack, for your inspiration.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Electricity From The Sun!

Here's more on our PhotoVoltaic System!

We're generating electricity from the sun! Our 24 panel photovoltaic electrical system went live a few weeks ago, and we're delighted to no longer be part of the problem!

I've been thinking about doing this for a long time. Last year decided it was time. We called up Sun Light & Power and they did a superb installation on our roof

When I first looked at the meter, it was moving backwards just a bit... and thought "That's not very exciting". Then I realized what I was seeing... we were generating ALL the electricity we needed, and has enough left over to send some back to PG&E!

Are you considering a system? Here's some things which weren't obvious to me:

1: You need to have a battery backup for it to operate during a blackout. If you don't have a battery backup, the system shuts down during an outtage because it would be feeding live power into a short

2: The batteries only work during an outtage. I initially thought that I'd recharge the batteries during the daytime, and draw down at night. That's not how it works

3: Depending on your energy usage, you might have a 10 year payout.. or more.. or less. I figured that the money we save on electricity will pay the interest on a loan to purchase it... and also pay the loan down. If you think you'll be in your home for 10 years or more.. it might not make sense to NOT do it

4: I wanted our system to be as inobtrusive as possible, so was willing to trade off some efficiency for aesthetics. That's a personal choice

Want more information? Call 510-526-6668 or email ira@berkeleyhomes.com