Berkeley: Taking A Closer Look

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If you are considering buying a home in Berkeley and want to find out more about the neigborhoods, its architecture and gardens, there are some great resources on offer.

One of my favorites is a book published by the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) called “41 Walking Tours of Berkeley” (I have no idea why it’s 41).

BAHA has a house and garden tour of the Thousand Oaks neighborhood coming up on May 6.

Another way of snooping around otherwise private, beautiful gardens is to go on the highly regarded “Secret Gardens of the East Bay” tour (which is wonderful — but I am biased as it’s a fundraiser for my sons’ school). It’s on April 29.

Or you could delve into the city’s architectural heritage by attending one or more lectures being organized by the Berkeley Association of Realtors over the next few months. There’s “Beyond The Bungalow” on May 30; “Arts & Crafts Houses in the East Bay” on July 26; and “Bungalows: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home” on September 27. Click here for information.

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The venue for the talks is the Hillside Club (pictured above) which is worth visiting for its own architectural merits.

Finally, for an alternative take on the city visit one of my favorite Berkeley blogs, Walking Berkeley, whose author has pledged to walk every street in the city. The reports of what she finds are often fascinating.

  • http://twitter.com/MYCHBO MYCHBO.com

    Thanks for the new Real Estate tool – It is always amazing to me how many real estate owners have no idea what the true value of their real estate is

  • http://www.aaronfyke.com Aaron Fyke

    Are you guys going to track the variance from the predicted value and the actual selling price? It would be good to see that variance over time to provide confidence bands. The biggest problem I see with any prior method (including home “appraisers”) is that the confidence bands are something like +/- 10%, which is bordering on useless. It would be interesting to know if, given enough data, and the knowledge of recent purchasing history, those bands could be narrowed to a 5% spread (ie, +/- 2.5%). That would be pegging a $700k home within $35k of the actual sales price. That would be something.

  • BKI

    Last Wednesday (5/1/13) I looked up my homes value and got
    the following:
    Low: $467k
    Avg: $559k
    High: $650k

    I also noted that the criteria used to determine that was comps that have sold in the last 3 months, are within 15% in size, and under 0.5 miles away and that you
    can use filters to change this criteria (though I did not change it).

    Now when I look at my saved estimate on my own page it still shows the same low and high ($467k & $650k) but when I click on the link it gives me the following:
    Minimum: $440k
    Current Estimate: $500k
    Maximum: $555k

    This is a $59k drop (>10%) based on the new valuation method. Was the old method that overvalued even in a rising market?