The Oakland neighborhoods and California real estate blog by Kristen von Bargen.

Retaining Walls: Tips and Ideas for Your Yard or Garden

Retaining walls are a landscaping necessity for many homes in California’s East Bay – because basically we all live on a big hill. Although it can make landscaping more complicated, they keep our yards and gardens from crumbling into the street, driveways, and sidewalks…and, in some cases, the hillside itself from easing on down the… {Read More}

Drought Resistant Plants and Landscaping

Going green can look more like: 50 Shades of Green to Grey! You’ve probably thought about changing your landscaping in the past, but, like any major change, it can take something to force you to do it. The lack of water here in California is now making more eco-friendly landscaping less of a choice and more… {Read More}

Home Conversions and the Tiny Houses Movement

Making the most of square footage, and converting spaces to make them all the more livable and luxurious is trending among homeowners and real estate enthusiasts right now. And I get why! With inventory low and home prices soaring, space is at a premium.  Lots of folks are interested in small/economized living spaces – sort… {Read More}

Home Design Space Saving Ideas

The subject of saving space has been a hot topic of discussion amongst design magazines lately – and with good reason! Climbing real estate prices all over the Bay Area combined with city regulations (like set-back rules, which limit just where you can build on your property), make taking advantage of space practically a necessity!… {Read More}

Delayed Financing Mortgages: Clever Californians are Paying First, then Getting Paid

California – especially the Bay Area – doesn’t always play by the same rules as the rest of the country. So it’s no surprise to see Fannie Mae’s Delayed Financing Rule being used in our real estate market for, well, re-purposed purposes than it is in the rest of the country. Fannie Mae enacted this rule… {Read More}

San Francisco Bay Area: Where the Weather, Water and Air are Priceless

For those of you who read my blog posts regularly, you might realize pretty quickly that I’m a huge fan of the San Francisco Bay Area, especially the lovely East Bay. For those of you who don’t share my level of affection for this beautiful slice of earth, you are probably not living here. (If… {Read More}

Tax Benefits of Homeownership: 4 Reasons We Should Celebrate Tax Season

This is the only “holiday” season that doesn’t conjure up images of fun parties and tasty cocktails. I say we change that! As homeowners we have many reasons to celebrate and pop open a special bottle of champagne. The many tax benefits of homeownership are just one more reason to love your home, and one… {Read More}

Selling Your House in the Winter? Here’s How…

Kristen von Bargen’s California’s Real Estate Blog: Selling Your House in the Winter It’s no secret that the most popular time to list your house has traditionally been during the spring or summer, but if you are selling your house in the winter, there are buyers! (Think: “Open your house and they will come!”) The… {Read More}

Mission Accomplished: A Trifecta of Bay Area Projects Done, Done and Done!

As we come to the end of 2014, I want to take a little time to reflect on three major “maintenance” projects finally completed in the Bay Area. We are all very fortunate to live in this beautiful slice of the world. That being said, it takes a lot of work to keep this beautiful,… {Read More}

To Remodel or not to Remodel, that is the Question! Tips from Kristen and Stager Extraordinaire Cora Sue Anthony on Preparing your Home for Sale

To remodel or not, that is the question! Clients are always asking about ways to prepare a home for sale and increase its value. Should they paint? Re-do the entire kitchen or just do the countertops? And how about adding a beer garden (complete with garden gnomes)? (Naturally Frau von Bargen says yes to that… {Read More}