Featured home: 1599 Hillgrade Avenue in Alamo

A historic home with sweeping views

Where: 1599 Hillgrade Avenue, Alamo, CA 94507 (listing)

Set atop 2.1 acres and built in the early 1900s, this home has been impeccably maintained and undergone a beautiful restoration. Rumored to have been the site of a hunting lodge built by one of President William Taft’s cabinet members, this home’s rustic roots are shown in the original architectural features that still highlight it. These features include hewn log posts, rock walls, stone and hardwood flooring, and other artisan-crafted accents. Though rich with history, this home has been smartly transformed with state-of-the-art art amenities such as the sound system wired throughout the home and exceptional security system.

The “log cabin” living room, as it’s been called, is the warm and inviting heart of the home, offering a 12-foot wood-burning stone hearth fireplace for friends and family to gather around. The kitchen offers an ample space and is the perfect place for chefs to entertain guests, who will also approve of the impressive wine and tasting room.

A major bonus to this home is its layout, which includes private spaces and public areas perfect for social gatherings. The four en-suite bedrooms each open to their own balcony or patio and serve as their own personal getaway. With views spanning across Mt. Diablo to the Delta, an abundance of amenities, its convenient location near Alamo and Walnut Creek and its historic background, this resort-like estate is a standout in Contra Costa County.

The 4,288 square-foot home and property include:

  • 5 bedrooms
  • 5 baths
  • 3-car garage and carport
  • 3 fireplaces
  • Wine and tasting room
  • Demonstration kitchen and pizza oven

Listed at $2,200,000 by Debra Trevarthen of the Orinda office.

Experience this stunning property for yourself at our open house this Sunday, September 17 from 2 to 4 p.m.

View more homes for sale in Orinda | Learn more about the Orinda community.

 

 

 

 

What do low interest rates for the foreseeable future mean for Bay Area real estate?

Agents SOUND OFF

 

Hazel Carter
Tiburon / Belvedere
415.730.9445
hazelc@apr.com

Question: What do low interest rates for the foreseeable future mean for Bay Area real estate?

Answer: It is a relief for buyers to hear that interest rates are holding for the time being. However, when buyers think rates could be on the verge of escalating, it does motivate them to purchase. Sellers are certainly relieved, comforted by the concept that money is relatively easy to come by and should continue to keep buyers motivated.

Conversely, when I first began my career in real estate, interest rates were 18 percent — a good reminder that it is important for those considering buying to take advantage of these current rates.

Read more opinions on SFGate.

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Alain Pinel Realtors Hosts Luxury Consumer Summit

Top luxury experts and real estate professionals come together to discuss working successfully with today’s luxury consumer

Alf Luxury Event

Alain Pinel Realtors (APR) hosted The Luxury Consumer Summit last week, an event that educated real estate agents and managers on how to increase their business with the luxury consumer and effectively deliver outstanding customer service experiences that set them apart.

Held at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, real estate professionals from San Francisco, Marin, and beyond came together for an intimate luncheon that featured Alf Nucifora, the Chairman and Founder of The Luxury Marketing Council chapters in San Francisco and Las Vegas, as the keynote speaker, as well as two panels.

Nucifora spoke on the topic of today’s luxury consumer and what they are looking for in their customer experience.

In his presentation, Nucifora said, “Let’s look at the product. What do our affluent customers demand? The most important thing they want is the ‘experiential’ halo over the product or service. Every category you can think of, it has to be experience driven.”

The Luxury Consumer Experts Panel followed Nucifora’s presentation. Moderated by Rainy Hake, APR’s Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, panelists shared experience from industries outside real estate, offering a fresh perspective on how the luxury consumer can be approached.

Larry Altschul, Senior Vice President of Customer Development at MGM Resorts International, joined the event from Las Vegas and spoke on his experience working with “whales,” high net-worth gamblers, sharing several stories of his clients’ outrageous requests. Greg Minor, General Manager of Ferrari/Maserati of San Francisco, spoke specifically to the Bay Area marketplace in terms of who the luxury consumer is and how to capture their business. Sharon Osen, Chief Marketing Officer of Perricone MD, provided insights into what agents can be doing with the resources they have to find client information, organize it in a manageable way through a CRM tool, and put it to use in order to generate more business. David Friedman, President of Wealth-X, emphasized the crucial nature of compiling this information and how to use specific data to target groups of potential clients.

The second panel was moderated by Michi Olson, SGMS, APR’s Vice President of Global Business Development & Relocation, and was geared specifically to real estate. The panel consisted of top agents from all over the country, including Jeff Hyland from Hilton & Hyland in Beverly Hills, Pat Choi from Choi International in Honolulu, Brian Lewis of Halstead Properties in New York City, and Quetzal Grimm from APR Woodside. All the panelists echoed the theme of treating the luxury consumer like a real person rather than an exotic spectacle, being authentic and true to yourself in all that you do, and going above and beyond to make their wishes a reality.

“As a luxury brokerage, it is crucial to stay relevant and understand the needs of our affluent clients so that we are able to provide them with the exceptional customer service they have come to expect from Alain Pinel Realtors,” said Hake.

Interest rate hike delay means what for Bay Area buyers, sellers?

Agents SOUND OFF

 

Tom Dreyer
Mill Valley
415.412.3443
tdreyer@apr.com

Question: Interest rate hike delay means what for Bay Area buyers, sellers?

Answer: If the Fed continues to hold rates at present extraordinarily low levels, it should support and enable the hot local sales market. Low rates provide a clear incentive for all types of buyers as they are able to leverage additional buying power — and are able to borrow more without dramatically increasing their expected payments. With a stable rate, buyers willing to hold a property for at least five years can increase the chances of making money on the eventual sale.

That said, a small, incremental increase in rates by the Fed over several quarters typically will create a spike in buyer activity, while they fear their “buying window” may be closing. Over the long term, it also may price out some buyers until the market becomes more balanced.

The past weeks’ volatility in the stock market, should it continue, is a greater concern to me insofar as consumer confidence is concerned. If consumers do not feel financially stable, it can have a large impact on the real estate market.

Read more opinions on SFGate.

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Home warranty: Good idea?

Agents SOUND OFF

 

John Jenkins
Saratoga
408.741.1111
jjenkins@apr.com

Question: Home warranty: Good idea?

Answer: Home warranties are often an inexpensive way to give recent home buyers peace of mind.

The relatively cheap plans will protect homeowners from having to cover the cost of repairs to most major appliances.
Additionally, the warranty will handle all aspects of the repairs — meaning no headache of dealing with different vendors.
However, as with any insurance plan, there is always the possibility you will not need it, and there can be other limitations.

Home warranties will not cover issues determined to be pre-existing. Depending on your plan, they often may choose to repair appliances rather than replace them — no matter how out of date the appliance is.
It might sound simple, but one of the most important elements to getting worth from a home warranty is remembering its value and using it. If you have a problem and try to fix it yourself before calling in the issue, that can void it being fixed through the warranty.

It’s important to look at the specifics of the plan and the condition of the home you are purchasing when assessing if a home warranty plan is for you.

Read more opinions on SFGate.

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