What staging brings to your marketing!

As a Realtor I get asked the questions a lot by potential sellers:  To stage or not to stage?

I understand that staging can be expensive and sellers ponder whether to spend the extra money staging or not.  (I work with many stagers and prices can vary drastically between them).  Marketing starts online and it is easier to visualize yourself in a “lived-in home” than in an empty home.  Think about staring at your computer screen to an empty wall with a window for what is supposed to be a bedroom as opposed to a bed with night stands and lights.  If sellers still struggle, you can insist that “oh yes it is worth it” but i think pictures are worth a thousand words!!

Here are before and after photos of my latest listing.

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Given that over 90% of buyers check all the listings online first which home do you think will attract the most buyers?  Seeing the dramatic difference usually sells the sellers as to the advantage of staging. Were you sold too?

If you are thinking of selling your home in the East Bay or know someone who is I would be grateful for any recommendation you can give me. I promise to take care of you and your referrals with utmost respect, professionalism and results.  That is the way I would expect to be treated by any Realtor.

Best regards,

Catherine Krueger



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Coming Soon in the El Cerrito hills

Let yourself be transported by the fabulous unobstructed panoramic views of the Bay, San Francisco, Mt Tamalpais and three bridges from the one-level ranch-style home at 1729 Arlington Boulevard, El Cerrito. Bask in the sun on the deck, or meander down the large terraced backyard abutting an undeveloped 15 acres of land.


Built in 1960s, this sunlit home combines Midcentury values of openness to nature with very 21st century energy-efficient updates, including solar panels and dual-pane windows throughout. On cold winter days, enjoy warm bamboo floors under your feet and comfortable temperatures throughout, thanks to radiant heat that is all solar generated. If the sun gets too intense for you, at the touch of a button you can lower the blinds and enjoy the comfort of your cool home.

empty LR with view

This delightful home also offers an electric plug in the two-car garage to charge your car, tankless water heaters (one for heat and one for bathrooms and kitchen), and an over-sized kitchen ready to be transformed into an open concept floor plan, with adjacent living and dining rooms. Just a three-minute drive to the El Cerrito del North BART station, shops, and fine restaurants. Offered at $899,000.

Front yard

Agent: Catherine Krueger, Marvin Gardens.  510.813.0970.

Please join me during the open houses scheduled below.

Open Sunday 4/23 2-4pm, Open Thursday 4/27 9:30am to noon, Saturday 4/29, and Sunday 4/30, 2-4:00.




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Homebuyers’ Tax EXEMPTION

Your Tax Deduction Checklist

Here are the homeowner tax breaks you should be taking advantage of during tax time!  


Mortgage Interest


Property Taxes


Home Sale Exemption

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)


Renewable Energy Upgrades

Here is a great resource from Energy.Gov that details energy efficiency tax credits. Use this resource to calculate the home tax deductions you are eligible for with your home improvements.

Home Improvement Loan Interest

Home Office Deduction


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Spectrum award!!

City Beat News is pleased to announce Catherine Krueger earned a 5 star rating and the 2017 Spectrum Award.
Performing to the level needed to earn this recognition in consecutive years is impressive. You and your staff have proven the exceptional service you provide is embedded in your company’s values and mission.
By consistently providing great service, you’ve earned the opportunity to leverage your verified performance into new business. When people see you are a consecutive year Spectrum Award Winner, they won’t have reason to wonder how good your service is—they will know.

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Warning: Unpermitted units!

This is just in from our Marvin Gardens lawyer:

Landlords May Not Collect Rent on Unpermitted Residential Units 

Recently, an Appellate Division of the Los Angeles Superior Court refused to force a tenant to pay rent on a residential unit, which was unpermitted and did not have a certificate of occupancy.  The landlord had served a three (3) day notice to pay or quit after the tenant refused to pay rent.  The Court declined to enforce the three (3) day notice because the unit was illegal. 


If you know anyone renting these please share this info right away.

Best regards,

Catherine Krueger

Your local resource for the East Bay Real Estate Market




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El Cerrito Award of excellence

Catherine Krueger – Marvin Gardens Real Estate selected for 2016 El Cerrito Small
Business Excellence Award
El Cerrito,CA – December 13, 2016 — Catherine Krueger – Marvin Gardens Real Estate has been selected for the 2016 El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Award in the Real Estate Agents classification by the El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Award Program.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each
category. The 2016 El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About the El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Awards Program
The El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding small businesses that serve the El Cerrito area. Each year, our selection committee identifies businesses that we believe have achieved outstanding marketing success in their local community and business classification.  Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. These are small businesses that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the El Cerrito area a vibrant and vital place to live.
The El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Awards was established to reward the best of small businesses in El Cerrito. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to award the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Award Program
El Cerrito Small Business Excellence Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@SmallBusinessExcellence.email
URL: http://www.SmallBusinessExcellence.org


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New laws about secondary units on 1 lot!


This is an excerpt from SF Chronicle about housing laws:

“California homeowners should find it easier and cheaper to build a second unit on their property, or turn an illegal unit into a legal one, thanks to two laws that take effect Jan. 1.

 The laws, along with a third that took effect in September, will ease or eliminate the off-street parking requirements and often-enormous utility-hookup fees that homeowners face when they create a second dwelling, often called an in-law or granny unit.

One set of rules will apply if the second unit is created within an existing space — such as a bedroom, basement, attic or garage. Another set will apply if the new unit, whether attached or detached, adds square footage outside or on top of existing structures.

Homeowners will still have to comply with local building codes, find a contractor and arrange financing.

The new laws won’t come close to filling the Bay Area’s housing needs. But they could create options for middle-income renters who don’t qualify for below-market-rate housing and can’t afford a market-rate apartment. They also could help homeowners meet their mortgage payments, seniors stay in their homes with an on-site caregiver, and multi-generational families live together, but not too together.

The laws that take effect Jan. 1 — AB2299 and SB1069 — amend the state law governing second units and rename them “accessory dwelling units.”

About two-thirds of California’s cities and counties have their own second-unit ordinances, but the state law is more permissive than most of them. Jurisdictions that have not adopted or amended a local ordinance that complies with the new state law by Jan. 1 will have to follow the state law until they approve a compliant one.

Under the new law, second units are allowed on any lot with a single-family home, but local ordinances can say where they will or won’t be permitted based on factors such as water and sewer services, traffic flow and public safety.

The amended law will allow accessory units up to 1,200 square feet, but allows jurisdictions to impose lower limits and establish standards governing height, setback, lot coverage, landscaping and architectural review.

The state law does not prevent homeowners from renting out the second unit to short-term guests or require them to live in one of the units. But local jurisdictions can require one of the structures to be owner-occupied and regulate rentals of less than 30 days, as San Francisco does.

When a homeowner submits a second-unit application that meets state and local requirements, the local jurisdiction must approve it within 120 days, without the need to notify neighbors.

Some cities are rushing to conform their ordinances by Jan. 1 or soon thereafter. But there are a lot of unanswered questions. “It’s a confusing set of regulations, that, in the opinion of this planner, has a lot of gray zones,” said Neal Toft, Larkspur’s planning and building director.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development plans to issue guidance on the law in a week or two. “We are in a housing crisis,” said Paul McDougall, the department’s housing policy manager. “Local governments should embrace this as a way to create” accessory dwelling units.

For most homeowners, the bill will remove a big impediment to second-unit creation: the need to create off-street parking.

For units created within an existing space, cities and counties cannot require any additional parking.

For units outside that space, cities can require one additional parking space per bedroom created.  However, this requirement is waived if the home is within one-half mile of public transit, within a block of a car-share vehicle, in an architecturally and historically significant district, or if on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the second-unit occupant.

If new parking is required, it generally can be provided as tandem parking on an existing driveway or in setback areas (the space between your home and property line that is supposed to be empty), unless this would not be feasible based on topography or safety considerations.

The law also will let homeowners create a second unit within existing space, such as a garage, that sits within a setback area.

The other big bonus is the reduction or elimination of certain fees. Today, some water and sewer districts levy the same hookup fees on tiny second units that they charge on a full-fledged home. These fees can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.

In the future, on second units built within existing space, utilities cannot require the homeowner to install a new or separate utility connection, nor can they impose a connection fee or capacity charge.

For units outside existing space, they can require a new or separate connection, and can charge a connection fee or capacity charge, but it must be “proportionate to the burden” of the second unit based on its size or number of plumbing fixtures.

San Jose has updated its zoning code to adopt the mandatory provisions of the new state law. “We had already started in the direction of making it easier to build secondary dwellings,” said Jenny Nusbaum, San Jose’s supervising planner. “We wanted to update our code before the the state law kicked in so we could, as much as possible, maintain local control.”  Among other things, San Jose reduced the minimum lot size needed to build a second unit from 6,000 square feet for attached and 8,000 square feet for detached to 5,445 feet for either type.”



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