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Stea Realty Group

Stea Realty Group

February 20, 2012

Awesome Bungalow in a Prized Location

Filed under: Featured Listings — DanSuich @ 9:54 pm

2508 Woolsey St, Oakland
Offered at $495,000

Classy Home on the Rockridge/Elmwood Border

Original hardwood floorsand handcrafted built-ins give this delightful 2 bed / 1.5 bath Craftsman of nearly 1,400 square feet a peaceful, sunny charm. It features an open floor plan with French doors leading from the dining room to the lovely rear deck — creating a unique “indoor / outdoor” living experience perfect for summer entertaining. Lovingly maintained and “lightly lived in” by its conscientious owners for the past 14 years. Located on a tree lined street in a vibrant neighborhood on the Rockridge / Elmwood border. With a “walk or roll” score of 97, it’s just a stroll away from College Avenue shops and restaurants! Smart location close to BART, public transit, and Highways 13 and 24.

Open Sundays 2-4:30pm.

Features:

· Location, location: “walk or roll” score of 97!
· Well maintained 2 bed / 1.5 bath home with nearly 1,400 sf of living space
· “Lightly lived in” by its conscientious owners for the past 14 years
· Just a stroll away from College Avenue shops and restaurants
· Close to BART, public transit, and Highways 13 and 24
· Oakland legal / Berkeley postal

Video Tour:

Location and Contact:

Contact:
Daniel Stea, Broker/Owner
DRE #01452156
(510) 867-4094
daniel@pbgrealestate.com

January 27, 2012

15 Ways to Green Your Home

Filed under: Uncategorized — DanSuich @ 1:55 pm

We’ve all heard about green homes and green building practices, but what are the practical steps each of us can take to save energy, reduce indoor air pollution, increase the comfort of our homes, and reduce our impact on the Earth? Here is a distillation of the best changes, upgrades, and improvements that will make the biggest difference to you and the planet:

solar panel grass house

1. Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) types to reduce your power consumption by at least 4-fold. Each CFL lasts up to 10 times longer than incandescent, LED even longer. Have a dark area in your home because there is no place for a window? Install skylights and solar tubes for natural light. Bring the light in from above, and save energy on lighting.

2. Replace old appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers & dryers, and hot water heaters with new, energy-efficient appliances. Older appliances use much more energy than newer ones. Energy Star® products additionally meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and Department of Energy, thereby using even less energy than a conventional new appliance.

3. Plant native vegetation and irrigate minimally. Native plants are not only easier to maintain, but also reduce the need to water and fertilize as much compared with non-native plants. Reduce irrigation levels to the minimum necessary for the plants chosen, and irrigate between 1 and 5 am, when the sun is down and the soil is cool, to minimize evaporation and get the most out of the water you do use.

4. Add energy-efficient windows. Double-paned windows are the new standard, providing much more insulating capacity than single-paned windows. They will also make your home much quieter inside. Low-emittance (Low-E) glass windows can keep heat out of your home in the summer and inside your home in the winter. Be much more comfortable, and save money too! Installing windows with these features can save 20% on your energy bill. Window replacement is not at top of the list for energy savings due to their relatively high cost. Tip: avoid metal frames, and opt instead for windows with wood, vinyl, aluminum-clad wood, or fiberglass frames.

grass smiley house

5. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that evaporate at room temperature, and are one cause of indoor air pollution. Installing low-VOC carpets, using natural wood flooring instead of synthetic products, using formaldehyde-free insulation, and applying low-VOC paint indoors are all good ways to reduce emissions of harmful VOCs inside your home. Vacuum out debris from the attic and crawlspace to reduce toxic materials, particulates, and dust in your home.

6. Use OSB wood, FSC wood, recycled wood & engineered siding and lumber. Oriented-strand board (OSB) is an engineered wood product that can be used to sheathe roofs and walls, reducing the need to cut down trees. Hardie board siding, made from cellulose-reinforced concrete, can be cut with a circular saw, painted, and lasts 50 years. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization that sets standards for certification of wood products, to ensure that they come from sources that manage forests in both an environmentally and socially responsible way. Engineered wood beams and structural members are stronger and waste less wood than traditional ones.

7. Reduce carpeting by installing hard surface floors such as bamboo, linoleum, cork, or concrete instead. The weight of carpeting increases 4-fold over its life due to absorbed dust, debris, moisture, pet stains, grime, grease, etc.

solar panel cartoon house

8. Install solar panels and take advantage of incentives available to lower the cost. Photovoltaic (PV) panels have a payback period of 7-15 years. The price of installation is actually cut in half by available subsidies. For homeowners, there is a state of California rebate of 20% and a federal tax credit of 30% on the whole cost. One requirement is that homeowners work with a contractor approved by Energy Upgrade California. A list of these contractors can be found on their website: www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org. Information about rebates, tax credits, and benefits of a home energy upgrade can also be found on the website or by calling the Bay Area Energy Upgrade California Hotline at (855) 464-8484 from 8 am to 4 pm.

9. Insulate the attic of your home in the rafters or the roof plane. Insulating in the rafters above the ceiling is a cost-effective way to save money on heating and cooling costs. Even better, insulating in the roof plane turns the attic into conditioned space through which ducts can be run. Not only is it cheaper than insulating in the ceiling joists, but it is safer, as you will not be placing insulation around wiring. Insulation in the roof plane can cut your energy bill by 20%, saving you at least $120/year. When insulating in the roof plane, open-cell spray foam or fiberglass bats are best. Both of these are permeable to water, so that any roof leaks are obvious, and they can be removed and replaced if there is a leak.

10. Reduce, reuse, and recycle construction materials. Recycle as much of the house and construction materials as possible during a remodel, because less transportation is needed, thereby providing an energy savings. In addition, less landfill waste is produced, saving money on disposal fees.

green bar graph house 3D

11. Get a home energy audit by a reputable company. The key part of the audit is a performance test, in which air is pushed through the house, and the total amount of air leakage is calculated from the total pressure drop measured. Air leak locations are identified with “fake smoke”. A typical home performance evaluation costs about $700.

From the results of this testing, all points in the house that are leaking air, including windows, doors, and fireplaces, can then be sealed properly, and the air flow can be balanced based upon the measurements and calculations. If the heating and A/C ducts are leaking, they should be sealed well with mastic, not just tape, to stop the leaks completely. The end result of the testing, repairs, and adjustments is energy savings and improved indoor air quality.

12. Tankless water heaters, which supply hot water on demand, can be very efficient and convenient when paired with recirculation pumps that get the hot water flowing when you enter the room. Open the tap, and the water is hot! These recirculation systems utilize a motion sensor to turn on, take 15-20 seconds to bring the temperature up, can be retrofitted into an existing system, and cost about $800-$1000. They do require an electrical outlet.

When choosing a hot water heater, also consider condensing storage water heaters and power-vent water heaters. Like a high-efficiency furnace, these water heaters condense water from the flue gas to recover the maximum amount of energy possible. The power-vent type provides cool exhaust which can be run through common PVC pipe over a long, non-linear run, and is a good choice for retrofitting older homes.

13. Install a “cool” roof to reflect heat back and keep your attic and home cool in the summer. Because high heat also dramatically shortens the life of a roof, cool roofs last much longer than a traditional roof as well. These roofs can simply be a lighter-colored traditional roofing material, or one of the new spray-on materials developed at Lawrence Berkeley Labs. The spray-on material is very long-lasting, but is intended only for flat or shallow-pitched roofs.

Because the original bright white color is effective but not very attractive, a new line of “cool colors” that are easier on the eye has been developed and is now available. When making your decision, consider not only their appearance to you, but to your neighbors as well, and you will maintain their happiness and property values as well as yours! For more steeply-pitched roofs, consider installing radiant barrier roof sheathing or long-lasting metal roofs that look like traditional composite shingles.

het toilet

14. Install water-efficient toilets. Toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home, accounting for nearly 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Older, inefficient toilets also happen to be a major source of wasted water in many homes. Switching over to water-efficient plumbing fixtures could save the average household as much as $50 to $100 a year on water and wastewater bills. Older toilets typically used up to 7 gallons per flush, then they ‘evolved’ to a more efficient 3.5 gallons per flush, and again to 1.6 gallons per flush.

Designed for water conservation, high efficiency toilets (HETs) have been defined by the plumbing industry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as those that use at least 20 percent less water per flush than the industry standard of 1.6 gallons, i.e. 1.3 gallons or less. The WaterSense label is used on toilets that are certified by independent laboratory testing to meet rigorous criteria for both performance and efficiency.

There are two basic kinds of HETs: Gravity-fed single-flush toilets operate the same way as any standard toilet, but they use less total capacity per flush. Typical flush capacities that are available for these models are 1.1 and 1.3 gallons.

Dual-flush toilets are designed for light and heavy flushes, with light flush capacities from 0.8 to 1.1 gallons, and heavy flush capacities from 1.3 to 1.6 gallons per flush. These toilets typically operate with a handle that can move up or down, or a two-button system. One direction or button will activate the lower flow flush, while the other will activate the higher flow flush. These dual-flush types are a bit more expensive than regular toilets, starting at around $300.

Rebates are available from EBMUD to homeowners who install HET toilets: EBMUD HET rebate program

15. More information about green building practices and home energy conservation can be found in the green building section of my website: http://www.dansuich.com/green-building

January 19, 2012

Private Sewer Lateral Program Begins in the East Bay

Filed under: Uncategorized — DanSuich @ 5:50 pm

Beginning January 16, 2012, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) will be phasing in a Regional Private Sewer Lateral (PSL) Ordinance in The cities of Emeryville, Piedmont, Oakland, and those in the Stege Sanitary District (SSD) – El Cerrito, Kensington, and Richmond Annex.

The goal is to replace old, cracked sewer pipes to keep water from infiltrating them during storms and flooding the wastewater treatment plants that discharge into the bay. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board are requiring EBMUD to reduce discharge of untreated waste into the bay.

sewer lateral connection

The sewer lateral is the pipe that connects an individual residence or business to the sewer main in the street. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain the sewer lateral. Residential and commercial property owners will be required to obtain a certificate that shows their sewer lateral is in good condition, and is connected properly to the property’s waste pipes and to the sewer main in the street (which is maintained by EBMUD or SSD).

For affected homeowners, the requirement to bring the property’s sewer lateral into compliance is triggered by sale of the property, building or remodeling in excess of $100,000, or changing the size of the water meter. If your sewer lateral has been fully replaced in the last 10 years, then you are exempt from the requirement.

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Sellers of property must obtain a compliance certificate by fixing the sewer lateral, if necessary, and then having the sewer lateral inspected by EBMUD prior to transferring title to the new owner. Should the seller and buyer agree to pass the responsibility for the repair on to the buyer, the seller should apply for a time extension of 180 days. A deposit of $4500 must be submitted with the application prior to transferring title, which is returned to the designated party once the work has been completed and a compliance certificate obtained.

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change meter size icon

For those owners remodeling in excess of $100,000 or changing their water meter size, the procedure is to obtain a compliance certificate prior to final permit sign-off or water service application submittal by having the sewer lateral repaired if necessary, then inspected and approved by EBMUD.

The cost will be $150 for the EBMUD compliance certificate, approximately $450 for inspection and testing by a qualified private company, and roughly $4000-$12,000 to replace the sewer lateral, depending upon site conditions and the exact methods used. For more details, visit the website at www.eastbaypsl.com, or contact EBMUD directly at 1-866-40-EBMUD or by email at: psl@ebmud.com.

September 1, 2011

Safe Fish Dining and Shopping Guide

Filed under: Uncategorized — DanSuich @ 11:27 am

Have you ever wanted to know when dining out or shopping for dinner, “what kinds of fish are okay to eat?”

We all know that certain fish can bio-accumulate toxins like mercury and PCB’s, some are endangered due to overfishing, while others are being farmed with methods which use antibiotics or release harmful toxins or microorganisms into the marine environment.

So which fish are currently seen as “safe” to eat from both a health and an environmental point of view? Here is a list compiled by the folks at GreenAmerica.org:

salmon rosemary

·Anchovies
·Calamari
·Clams
·Crawfish
·Dungeness crab
·Flounder (summer)
·Haddock
·Hake
·Herring
·King crab
·Lobster (spiny/rock)
·Mid-Atlantic blue crab
·Northern shrimp (US-farmed)
·Oysters
·Alaskan salmon (wild)
·Perch
·White shrimp (US-farmed)
·Sardines
·Bay scallops (farmed)
·Sole
·Spot prawn
·Stone crab
·Tilapia
·Whitefish

A second, or “caution” category should be eaten no more than once per month, due to toxin levels:

·Blue mussel
·Bluefish
·Bonito
·Channel (wild) catfish
·Cod (except Atlantic)
·Eastern oyster
·Gulf Coast blue crab
·Lake Trout
·Lake whitefish
·Mahi-mahi
·Pollock
·Porgy
·Rockfish

A third list of those fish to avoid completely includes catfish, cod, tuna, salmon, shrimp, and swordfish, among others. The full list can be found here as a PDF that can be printed out to keep in your wallet for future reference.

August 31, 2011

Eco-Friendly Designer Berkeley Condo with Exquisite Craftsmanship

Filed under: Uncategorized — DanSuich @ 7:08 pm

1406 San Pablo Avenue Unit C, Berkeley, CA 94702

Offered at $329,000

Remarkably upscale and eco-friendly 2-bed/1.5-bath condo with extraordinary finishes, lofty ceilings and SF Bay views. Modern and open living spaces are flooded with natural light, showcasing the stunning walnut hardwood floors and gallery-like atmosphere. Designer finishes include Electrolux stainless steel appliances, Maybeck walnut cabinetry, Carrera marble and limestone tiling in the bathrooms, Blomberg aluminum windows, and much more.

This exclusive and exceptionally-crafted 8-unit development built in 2006 and designed by Berkeley architects, Rempel & Lau, is conveniently located near Gilman Street amenities, renowned Acme Bread and Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, popular 4th Street and Solano Avenue shopping and eateries, North Berkeley, Cal campus, freeways, and BART. Walk Score 89!

Call for a private showing.

Features:

· Two generous enclosed bedrooms with SF Bay views
· One and a half luxuriously appointed baths
· Approximately 1,160 square feet
· Gorgeous Maybeck walnut flooring
· Recessed lighting throughout
· Chef’s kitchen includes Maybeck solid walnut cabinetry with under cabinet task lighting, stainless steel Electrolux appliances, Jade Gas range and oven with Faber hood system, striking granite counter tops
· Aluminum Blomberg windows with custom tint
· Unique rolled ceilings on second level w/recessed lighting
· Deluxe bathtub with Hansgrohe fixture, limestone tiling and low rise, efficient Toto toilet
· Glass enclosed walk-in shower with custom surrounds
· Abundant closet space with custom built-in shelving systems, extra storage beneath stairwell
· Eco-friendly and durable Ipê hardwood stairwells, decking and exterior siding.
· Secure deeded parking space – #9
· HOA Dues – $361 per month

Location and Contact:

Contact:
Tracy Palma, Realtor
DRE #01802420
(415) 305-6726
tracy@pbgrealestate.com

Sophisticated and Light-filled Top Floor Elmwood Condo

Filed under: Uncategorized — DanSuich @ 5:55 pm

2525 Ashby Avenue #3, Berkeley, CA 94705

Offered at $399,000

Elegant one bedroom, one bath condo in well-maintained fourplex in the heart of Elmwood, this unit features hardwood floors, formal entry, generously apportioned rooms with period details, original built-ins and spacious closets. Banks of windows showcase views of the Berkeley Hills and allow for natural lighting throughout.

In-unit laundry, gated and deeded parking space plus convenient location steps from College Avenue’s gourmet restaurants, outdoor cafes, trendy shops, historic theater, and much more make this condo an A+. Walk Score of 95! The four-plex has been recently condo converted and has seismic upgrades, a newer roof and is RECO and sewer lateral compliant. Close to BART, UC Berkeley and wooded parks.

Open Sundays 2-5 pm.

Features:

· Spacious one bedroom, one bath condo approx. 1000 sqft
· Sunny, top floor unit in well-maintained fourplex
· Hardwood floors, elegant crown moldings and built-ins
· Formal dining room can be used as office or den
· In unit laundry hook-ups
· Gated and deeded parking space
· Monthly HOA Dues: $250
· Desirable location with Walk Score of 95
· Built in 1920

Location and Contact:

Contact:
Tracy Palma, Realtor
DRE #01802420
(415) 305-6726
tracy@pbgrealestate.com

July 30, 2011

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Now Required in CA

Filed under: Uncategorized — DanSuich @ 2:20 pm

Just a quick note to remind you that as of July 1st, carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are required in all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source such as a fireplace, gas-fired furnace, oven, or range.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

The California State Fire Marshal requires a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of the home, including the basement, within ten feet of each bedroom door, and near or over any attached garage. It is recommended that CO detectors be replaced every five to six years.
Owners of rental properties have until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law.

CO detectors are relatively inexpensive and can be found at most home improvement and hardware stores. These are an important safety device that provides a warning when the level of carbon monoxide gas reaches dangerous levels. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that, in low doses, causes flu-like symptoms, and in high doses or prolonged exposure, can cause death. On average, carbon monoxide kills 170 people a year in the U.S.

Information courtesy of Star Inspection Group: www.stargroup.com

July 19, 2011

A Very Rare Find in Lafayette, New Price!

Filed under: Uncategorized — DanSuich @ 11:06 pm

1059 Via Alta, Lafayette, CA 94549

Offered at $1,195,000

This lovely and spacious home is located in one of the most convenient and beautiful locations in Lafayette! This unique house sits on a secluded corner lot with panoramic views of Mt. Diablo and the nearby reservoir, yet is only 1⁄2 mile from Diablo Blvd. and BART. The large lot is nearly 3⁄4 of an acre and includes an intimate yard with a swimming pool — an inviting setting for fantastic outdoor entertaining.

Inside, across a marble floor, is the entrance to this 3,200 sq. ft. home. A dramatic candelabra-accented staircase leads to a large master bedroom and sitting area. An upstairs living room with expansive windows and magnificent views of the hills and reservoir is crowned by a dramatic box beam ceiling and two-way wood burning fireplace which provides an open and rustic feeling.

Downstairs, a large sunlit kitchen with a pleasant eating area is perfect for intimate dining. A spacious formal dining room shows off views of Mt. Diablo. French doors lead out from the dining room to the backyard, accessing the swimming pool. A library/study area with built-in shelves and an attached hobby room offers many possibilities.

Features:

· Unique 4 bed/2.5 bath home with 3181 sq. ft. of living space
· Wonderful indoor/outdoor living experience—perfect for entertaining
· Large windows overlooking private pool and beyond to Mount Diablo and Lafayette Reservoir
· Ample space for home office
· Private 32,200 sq. ft. private lot
· New hardwood floors
· Close to Diablo Blvd. and BART station

Video Tour:

Location and Contact:

Contact:
Yon Soon Yoon, Realtor
DRE #01701230
(510) 673-7333
yonsoon@pbgrealestate.com

July 14, 2011

Rebates for Energy Efficiency Improvements

Filed under: homeowner information — DanSuich @ 12:23 pm

How would you like to get $4,000 for making improvements to your home that will lower your monthly bills as well? Well, now you can, thanks to a new California program that came into effect recently to allow homeowners to make significant energy efficiency improvements to their homes.

The program, “Energy Upgrade California”, is funded with $300 million sourced in part from federal stimulus dollars and existing surcharges on consumer utility bills. The goals of the program are to reduce household energy use, save consumers money on utility bills, and help create jobs in the “building performance” industry.

Another goal of the new program is to provide a streamlined source of information about all of the rebates and credits available, so that consumers have a “one-stop” shopping resource that helps to reduce confusion.

Buildings account for the biggest chunk of California’s greenhouse gas emissions after transportation. Nearly 70% of the state’s homes were built before energy-efficient building codes were adopted in the 1970’s, so it makes sense to incentivize homeowners with the rebate to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. And homeowners will see an immediate benefit in comfort, improved indoor air quality, and lower monthly utility bills.

So what might a typical energy-efficiency upgrade include? Many of the common improvements are replacing old-single pane windows with new double-paned types, adding insulation in the attic, or replacing an old furnace or air conditioner with a new, energy-efficient one.

Homeowners will need to pay for the cost of the upgrades upfront to receive the rebate. The amount rebated depends on the level of improvements made, and the amount of energy saved. Homeowners that complete a “basic” energy-efficiency upgrade will get a rebate of $1,000, while those owners who choose an advanced package qualify for rebates of $1,250 to $4,000.

Another requirement is that homeowners work with a contractor approved by Energy Upgrade California. A list of these contractors can be found on their website at www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org.

Information about rebates, tax credits, and benefits of a home energy upgrade can also be found on the website or by calling the Bay Area Energy Upgrade California Hotline at (855) 464-8484 from 8 am to 4 pm.

Source: San Jose Mercury News article, “California program offers rebates for making energy-efficient improvements”, 2/28/11, by Dana Hull.

July 13, 2011

Renovated North Berkeley Home with Gorgeous Views! New Price!

Filed under: Uncategorized — DanSuich @ 1:06 pm

57 Fairlawn Drive, Berkeley, CA 94708

Offered at $795,000

This 3-bed, 2.5-bath home features a newly remodeled chef’s kitchen with quartz counters, light cherry cabinets and all new appliances with tile floor and built in micro range hood. The home has all new windows; upstairs it has Marvin Wood windows with aluminum clad exteriors. The decks are amazing, stretching over 70 feet on the upper level and 40 feet on the lower. The home has a great combination of fantastic bay views and a huge flat yard great for gardening and play. The grounds are extensively landscaped with fruit trees, giant redwood trees, camellia, ferns, maples and more.

Its cozy living room has a large fire place and bay view window centered on the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the unique features of the property is the combination of a huge flat yard and tremendous bay views. While most bay view homes are on steep hillsides, this one has a flat front yard with grassy area and perimeter gardens while the back yard is roughly 70 feet long and 30-50 feet wide great for play or gardening.

The home has extensive system upgrades including 200 amp main power and 125 amp sub panel that feeds much of the new wiring in the home. The plumbing supply has also been upgraded with new copper main, supply lines and newer water heater. The home has a newer 90% efficient Trane furnace and is sewer-lateral-compliant. Seismic upgrades to the home are extensive and include structural piers and grade beam, structural grade interior slab, bolting, hold downs and plywood throughout.

The East Bay Hills provide the very best of Bay Area living with easy access to Berkeley’s most desirable neighborhoods and amenities. It is here that you have the luxury of being in the midst of a haven of parks and recreational activities such as Tilden Park, the golf course, Rose Garden, Botanical Gardens and UC Berkeley. Just minutes to the North Shattuck Gourmet Ghetto and popular Solano Ave, BART, and Central Berkeley.

Open Sundays 2-4:30

Features:

· Berkeley 3 Bridge View
· Newly Remodeled Home
· New Kitchen
· Beautiful Hardwood Floors
· Huge Decks with Bay Views
· Large Garden and Yard
· New Systems Electrical, Plumbing and Heating

Location and Contact:

Contact:
Dan Suich, Realtor
DRE #01826113
(510) 910-7265
dan.suich@gmail.com

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