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An Eichler home tour is an excellent opportunity for both owners and enthusiasts to see examples of different models, and the improvements and renovations made by the owners kind enough to let us view their homes. 

The San Mateo Highland Eichler home tour is coming this May 3rd & 4th from 10AM to 3PM featuring 10 homes, a restored vintage Airstream trailer, a historical documentary of the Highlands neighborhood, the film "People
in Glass Houses" (featuring my neighbors Scott and Mona), vintage cars, limited edition commemorative poster (see below), 9 midcentury modern artists, and much more.

The cost for the tour is $55 for a single day and $100 for the weekend.  Lunch is also available for an additional $12 or you can bring your own.  Reservations and additional information are available via www.eichlerhometour.org, and I’d recommend you make them sooner than later because space is limited. 

Enjoy the tour, and I hope to see you there!

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What a difference a door makes…

I want to start this post by saying that I have a massive respect for the integrity of the Eichler home and love properties in original condition.  However, I am also practical and realize that a home needs to accommodate life in the 21st as well as the fact that things just wear out over time. 

I’ve noticed 2 distinct styles of closet doors in the Greenridge neighborhood that I believe define a natural progression in Eichler evolution.  The homes built first in from 1960 to 1962 tend to have the tri-panel doors with a wicker or straw like material with wood trim.  While the homes built later in 1963 (mostly non-flat roof home) have a single burlap panel with metal trim and rails.

When our home had the floors redone, the previous owners neglected to reattach the guide rails so the doors hung flimsily and awkwardly.  They also were the victims of the owners before them having teenage boys full of angst and unfortunately taking puberty out on the doors.  If you look closely, you will notice what appears to be a punch mark.  The condition of the doors made us decide to put in new doors and we had an idea that we thought would be respectful to the Eichler home.

Being in real estate, I’m fortunate to see a lot of homes and benchmark ideas about remodeling.  Recently, I came across some closet doors from the sliding door company that I thought would be perfect for an Eichler home and anyone considering an upgrade or sensible remodel.  As you can see by the photos, they add a dramatic difference, yet compliment the original design with a clean and precise aesthetic.  Andria and I couldn’t be happier and feel strongly about adding value to our property.  Please visit www.theslidingdoorco.com for more information, ideas, and styles. 

Before & after photos:

















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New Greenridge Eichler listing coming soon!

Hi folks!  My newest listing is coming and it’s a wonderfully original and incredibly clean Eichler in Greenridge. The property is in the process of being prepped for market and we are doing some great upgrades and improvements for the new owner(s) while keeping with the Eichler aesthetic. The property is in a great location on the hill and this is the first time it’s been on the market since 1965.

Watch this space for full details and a link to the website when the property is listed, or  feel free to contact me for further information on this wonderful opportunity for you or your friends to join the Greenridge Eichler neighborhood!

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The Greenridge neighborhood definitely has a season when it comes to real estate, and this is the time of the year that we start seeing listings.  With that said, it’s my pleasure to announce that 5293 Greenridge Road will be coming on the market on January 31st with our first open houses being on the weekend of February 4th and 5th.

This classic 4 bedroom, 2 bath Eichler is believed to be the model home for the Greenridge development.  Rumor has it that the model home always had the nicest lot and this theory is supported by the fact that the home is situated on a massive, sprawling lot of over 36,000 square feet.  Lots of great features including a large open remodeled Ikea kitchen, updated high-efficiency water heater/boiler, and recently lined swimming pool. You can also contact me directly if you have any questions or like to set up a private showing.

**UPDATE: the website is up!  Photos and more information including Open House times are available here.**

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Don’t be fooled by looking at the market in black and white.  Last year was a very interesting year for real estate to say the least, and some very profound things were happening here in Greenridge.  Not all Eichlers are created equally, and the condition of the property both physically and financially will make a huge difference in regards to price.  For example, in 2010 we saw multiple sales in the mid-$600k’s while most of the Eichler sales landed in the mid-$500k’s, and one as low as $505,000.  Looking at this on paper can be disturbing for owners and exciting for potential buyers.  


This is also the information that appraisers will review to determine value in the market when purchasing or refinancing a home and in my opinion can be misleading and actually hinder well-qualified buyers from getting a loan.  Facts need to be taken into consideration that don’t translate when reviewing the listings on MLS, Redfin or any other website.  It takes experience and physically seeing the properties and reviewing the disclosures, including but not limited to the pest report, transfer disclosure statement, and seller questionnaire.  I have fortunately been to every property that’s been sold in the neighborhood in the last 3 years and because I know Eichler homes and believe I have a strong sense of the market, I can honestly say that in my opinion the Eichler market in Castro Valley has been status quo for the last 2 years, even with overall sales being less in 2011 than 2010.


I don’t want to oversimplify, but the truth of the matter is the homes that sold in 2011 needed more attention than the homes that were sold in 2010.  The homes sold in 2010 were more finished and didn’t need as much of an out of pocket expense for repair, remodeling or restoration when the new owners took possession.  Don’t get me wrong, the recent sales are all great homes and the new owners did get an excellent value, but you need to take into consideration all aspects of purchasing a home including immediate needed repairs.  This is especially important when it comes to things like boilers/heating and roofs because not only are they expensive and essential, but these must be in working order to get an FHA loan funded.   Repairing the Section 1 damage listed in the pest report is another requirement now for FHA funding and a couple of the homes most recently sold had substantial Section 1 damage. 


Repairs can be negotiated during escrow but it is much more difficult to get them done when working with distressed properties such as short sales and bank-owned properties (also known as REO’s).  They will at times give credits or price reductions, but the buyer is still going to have to take care of the issues when they take possession of the property.  Short sales also take time to complete and there are a lot of factors that will determine the length of the process with the most important being that all conditions of the contract, including price, are to be approved by the lender (or in most cases, the multiple lenders), and it’s not uncommon to take 6 to 9 months from ratification to possession.   I can talk about distressed properties at length but I will save that for another posting or personal conversation.   I am a distressed property specialist and I think they can be excellent investments and incredible values, but it is important for buyers to keep in mind every aspect of the purchase from beginning to end and beyond.


So where is the market headed?  Well, the most recent sales have been distressed properties and the latest was almost $600,000, making owners feel a little better and buyers perhaps more anxious.  The last 2 properties also garnered multiple offers, which make me believe there are more buyers than Eichlers for the right property.  Fortunately for the neighborhood the new owners of the properties that were sold are investing time and money in their homes to make them better and adding value to Greenridge.  There is also another property in escrow that I believe will be an excellent indicator of the market returning to stronger numbers for owners, yet still lots of value for potential buyers.

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San Francisco AIA Home Tour Features Gorgeous Moderns

They may not be Eichlers, but there will be 10 stunning modern homes available to tour September 17 & 18 in the city at this year's American Institute of Architects Home tour.

General admission tickets are $85 (discounts available for AIA members, students, some teachers & bicyclists!) and include a cocktail reception on the 17th.  Tickets & full discount details here:  http://2011aiasfhometours.eventbrite.com/


View the full list of homes and learn more about the program here:  http://www.aiasf.org/Programs/Public_Programs/Home_Tours/Fall_homes.htm


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We know everyone loves a peek into some lovely examples of mid-century modern homes. The first-ever Sacramento MCM home tour will take place on Saturday, June 26 and features over 20 beautiful examples of some of the best that our state capital has to offer. I'm hoping some of those fantastic river-side Strengs are part of the mix. Tickets are now on sale for $20 each - more info and some sneak peeks of houses on the tour are here. The event is being organized by our friends over at Eichlerific, who've sent a few folks our way here at GreenridgeCV!

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The Greenridge Eichler Community website is generously underwritten by your neighbor & local Realtor:
Thomas Westfall
Cal BRE license # 01833889
+1.415.889.7608 (m)