Taps – Click the image to view the video

For many years I’ve attended Memorial Day Observances – and hope you’ll be able to attend one too.

There are Ceremonies around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno


The Presidio in San Francisco


Yountville Veterans Home


Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland


Several years ago, we said farewell to my Uncle Maxwell.  He was among the greatest generation who fought for our freedoms in Africa, Italy & Korea.

Thank you Maxwell.

Click on the image below to see my Memorial Day Photos


We went up to Inn Kensington for breakfast … and saw the Kensington Car Meet at the Chevron Station.

I visited it a few years ago … lots of great cars!

Click for the entire photo portfolio.


“Thanks, Ira and Carol. I checked, and our present did indeed arrive. Happy Birthday to me and Happy 2nd Retirement to Sandy. You did such a wonderful job, along with NurtureSource Designs. The outcome was truly beyond belief.”

Linda & Sandy’s home was in the family for over 60 years.

Linda & Sandy’s home was in the family for over 60 years … and today was Linda’s 60th Birthday!

I called her to let her know that her present was all wrapped up … and would be delivered (by wire) within a few hours.

You see … today was the day we closed escrow on their family home.

Gary Faber of Nurture Source Designs carried out a remarkable transformation of their family’s home.

And though it backed onto Albany’s Cougar Field … and was next to the El Cerrito BART tracks … we were able to generate 27 offers for Linda & Sandy.

The sale just closed.

And they received the highest price ever reported in the MLS for an El Cerrito home of its size … ever!

Imagine what we can do for all your friends and neighbors you refer us to!

Ira & Carol


We work hard for our clients … so are always thrilled when they honor us with wonderful testimonial letters.  Howard and Cindy Cheuk, our 2014 Hearst sellers, just sent this to us:

A great job well done!

We spent several months in finding a broker prior to putting our house in the market. 

We were looking for a broker who is honest, trustworthy, experienced, knowledgeable, and expert at local real estate market.  We were so fortunate to find two of them – Carol and Ira. 

We first met Carol and Ira in an open house event at a condo unit that is similar to our town-home in North Berkeley.  We decided to select Carol and Ira as our agents after speaking with them on two separate occasions.  The outcome of the sale of our town house evidences that we made the right decision to select Carol and Ira as our representatives. 

In the selling process, we were absolutely stress-free despite some unexpected issues, and we were fully informed via telephone and/or email of the progress with all the details while we reside in the South Bay. 

We have observed that Carol and Ira are well-connected with the reputable staging artist, the hardworking cleaning mate, the most responsible plumbers in town, the experienced agents in the title company, and the charming public notary who was eager to accommodate us on the weekend, just to name a few. 

These connections are deemed important for the quality of jobs to be done effectively and efficiently. 

We received 5 offers on the offer accepting date and they all exceeded the asking price! 

Our Berkeley town house was sold for a price that it was way over our expectation and, believe it or not, in only 7 days!  Carol and Ira have made real estate history! 

Carol and Ira have demonstrated their strong abilities, responsibilities, integrity, and professionalism in the fields of real estate business.  We highly recommend Carol and Ira for all your real estate needs. 

Howard & Cindy Cheuk


I’m surrounded by wonderful people

by Ira Serkes on April 12, 2015

I read “The Moral Bucket List” by David Brooks this morning.

“ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.”

And it make me think of Rocky Turner, who is in Kenya right now.  She founded Mothers Fighting For Others “Mothers Fighting For Others is dedicated to providing orphans and vulnerable children with opportunities their parents would have provided, if they only could; a loving and nurturing environment and a quality education, so they can learn, thrive and achieve their highest potential.”

It’s her 18th Trip.

And I also thought of Nick Cooper.  Nick co-founded “Home For A Home

“When someone uses a ‘Home for a Home’ agent to represent them in the purchase of a property, the agent donates a portion of their commission to fund the construction of a home for a family in need.

The houses are simple, yet solid.

They provide a huge improvement from the conditions most of our recipients are living in before receiving one of our homes.”

In Berkeley, we not only think globally, we act locally.

The Berkeley Humane Society has been helping 4 legged children for a long time!

As it turns out, just a few days ago we contributed to each of these organizations … via PayPal to Mothers Fighting For Others and Home For A Home, and our Infiniti Q45 Auto to Berkeley Humane Society.

It felt good.

Join us!


2014 Hearst Avenue #C – Town Home style condo just blocks from UC Berkeley, North Berkeley and Shattuck Avenue Shops.  Photo Portfolio and Details at NorthBerkeleyCondo.com

North Berkeley $780,000 – 3 Bedrooms; 2-1/2 Baths

Built in 1992, this centrally located condo complex is convenient to UC campus, North Berkeley, Shattuck Avenue shopping, movies & restaurants; easy SF commute –- BART & Transbay express bus

Main Level: living room; fireplace & recessed lighting; large kitchen: breakfast bar & dining area; big pantry/storage; stack washer/dryer; stone counters; 4 burner gas GE stove; Bosch dishwasher; refrigerator (appliances included); white cabinetry with roll out trays; large understairs closet; guest half bath

Upper Level: 3 bedrooms; 2 baths; hallway skylight; two linen closets; the master suite looks out over a wooded common area & has two double door closets & one bifold door closet; skylight in bathroom;

Throughout: dual paned windows; flooring upgrade – pale oak on both levels; all is beautifully maintained!

Common Area: units surround a grassy central courtyard with mature trees; entirely fenced with security gate; covered parking for one car in a marked space at south end of the garage; remotely controlled garage gate

HOA: Hearst Commons: Monthly Dues: $525; water; insurance; garbage & common area maintenance are included in dues

Disclosure package is available online

Interior Sq.Ft: 1,413; Units In Complex: 12

Square footage is not verified by agents or seller

Photo portfolio & more info at NorthBerkeleyCondo.com


This small neighborhood shopping district has some of the best shopping in town. Paris might have Rue Cler, but Berkeley has Hopkins Street!

My Northbrae Neighborhood Video shows what makes living here special.  More photos and info at our Northbrae Web Page

The Monterey Market can’t be beat for fresh produce, there’s a nearby fish and meat market, and Espresso Roma for the sheer pleasure of hanging out on a sunny day.

Coffee, Fish, Produce, Meet, Wine, Pizza, Flowers, Cheese, Pastries and more on two short blocks. Heaven!

Berkeley Horticultural Nursery (Berkeley Hort) on Mc Gee is one of the best nurseries around, with a highly knowledgeable staff.

Northbrae is on Hopkins Street (between Gilman and The Alameda). Westbrae is just west on Gilman Street (roughly between Santa Fe and Hopkins). They’re so close to one another, I included them together. These are two of the most affordable of Berkeley’s pleasant neighborhoods. As an extra bonus, they’re both within walking distance of North Berkeley BART and the North Berkeley Library, which was beautifully restored in early 2012.

There’s even a running track, pool, and tennis courts at the King School Park on Hopkins

And did I mention Gioia Pizza, the best pizza west of Lexington Avenue? It’s true! When you stop by, tell the hard working crew that Ira says hello.

These are just some of the reasons that Berkeley’s Northbrae Neighborhood was named one of the American Planning Association (APA) “Great Neighborhoods in America” in 2011.


The 2014 Berkeley Real Estate Market Research Report!



Full Report
Click the above graph or the 2014 Berkeley Real Estate Market Report link to see the details. Here’s a quick summary”.


Price Trends
I researched Berkeley Sales Prices over a 15 year period.

Berkeley homes prices are now greater than 2006 values, and up significantly from the 2011 prices.

The trend shows Berkeley home prices will likely increase in 2015, albeit probably at a slower rate than we saw in the 2012-2013-2014 period.

2015 looks like it will be a good year for selling … particularly if you’re planning to downsize or relocate as so many of our other sellers have done.

Berkeley Fine & Luxury Homes
Over the past 15 years, Berkeley fine and luxury homes (those in the highest 5%) have sold for about twice that of Berkeley’s median price.

What’s interesting is that the difference between the median price and top 5% increased in 2014.

High Net Worth Individual (HNWI) value both time and money, and time is the more precious commodity. Thus, since they have the resources, they’re able and willing to pay a higher price for a home because they’re limited in time.

The Next Step
Thinking of selling? Call us at 510-526-6668 or email serkes@berkeleyhomes.com. We’ll prepare detailed market research and analysis customized for your home, and discuss the options best for you!

Ira & Carol Serkes, Certified Residential Specialists


Read the Full Report
Click the above graph or the 2014 Berkeley Real Estate Market Report link.


The Art Of Downsizing

TweetJoin us for “The Art of Downsizing” The Art Of Downsizing … accomplishing a major life transition when you thought you wouldn’t, shouldn’t or couldn’t … by selling your home for the highest possible price in today’s vibrant real estate market. Is it time for a change? Want to move closer to loved ones, pay […]

Read the full article → Home Price Trends

Veteran’s Day … Thank You!

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