OAK NOTES from Grace Bishop
Jul 2019


Ivy Winston worked long hours while her five-year-old daughter stayed at home. Feeling that her life was off-balance and unable to help educate her daughter while working so much, Ivy decided to make a change. She quit her job and began spending more time with her daughter while tutoring other children through the use of art and music. Soon after, Ivy started BrightFutures to foster children from preschool through high school in low-income situations, providing a multitude of programs including early childhood education, after-school enrichment, mentoring programs, performing arts and youth summer employment.

This past June, the Red Oak Opportunity Foundation (ROOF) donated $40,000 to BrightFutures. The money was raised through donations from Red Oak agents, staff and others in the real estate community.

Ivy stated that never has she experienced a company that has sincerely stood by their commitment. Completely surprised and humbled by the donation, Ivy exclaimed, "I'll never forget and am forever grateful."

As part of BrightFutures' commitment to "leave no child behind," Ivy and her team make in-house assessments to discover what each child needs to succeed. Then BrightFutures works with and holds accountable each person in the child's life to ensure the child's success. This practice has attributed to BrightFutures' 99% graduation rate (noting that the child accounting for the 1% found success before graduating and transferred right into a prominent art school then went straight into his field). The BrightFutures programs have helped close the achievement gap with 70% of children going to college or trade schools. Participants have been inspired and taught how to advocate for themselves, giving these young adults the tools they need to flourish outside BrightFutures.

Ivy noted the success of one of her students, Ivan, who thrived in the program at only six-years-old. Through the music and dance programs, he's performed on multiple stages including the Bay Area Got Talent, Oakland Got Talent, the halftime show for the Lakers versus Warriors NBA game in Las Vegas, as well as other events. 

Red Oak is honored to support this amazing nonprofit reinforcing youth education in our communities.

For over 30 years, Red Oak agents have donated a portion of their commission to ROOF. Along with Red Oak partners and vendors, ROOF has granted more than $1,287,000 to East Bay charitable organizations that do not receive significant funding from other sources. Donate to ROOF now! 




The summer slowdown may have started a little early this year. The number of transactions that closed in the month of June was down an average of 19% across the East Bay.

With schools recently shifting to an earlier calendar in the East Bay, family vacation schedules may be happening earlier in the year. This could impact both the number of homes on the market as well as the number of active buyers. It will take a few seasons to determine whether this theory is actually a trend.

In the meantime, sale prices continue to rise - although not at the pace of previous years - up 2% overall in the East Bay. It's not surprising to see Richmond on the list of those cities with an increase in median sales price as high as 8%. The launch of the Richmond Ferry service has commuters to San Francisco now considering Richmond as a city to call home, and may be starting to drive up demand in that area.


The FED surprised market watchers at their last meeting by announcing that they were not only NOT raising rates this year, but that they were actually considering up to two potential rate cuts over the next 12 months. After the press conference meeting, FED Chairman, Jerome Powell, stated that the global economic slowdown, specifically in Europe and China, and increased risk of a trade war between the US and China are concerns. Powell also indicated that inflation pressure remains muted and that the FED will act appropriately to sustain the expansion. All eyes are now on the July 31st FED meeting where many analysts expect to see the first of these rate cuts. The bond markets reacted favorably to the news and we saw rates dip below 4% for 30 year fixed loans for the first time in two years. Freddie Mac published a study indicating that 35% of the loans that were originated in the past two years are now eligible for a rate reduction refinance based on the difference in rates.  

If you purchased a home or received a new loan on your home in the last two years and want to find out if refinancing makes sense, please contact Faramarz Moeen-Ziai of Commerce Mortgage at fmz@commercemtg.com or 415-377-1147 for a free mortgage analysis.



Mark your calendars for Red Oak's annual free Montclair Outdoor Cinema! On Saturday, August 17th, we'll be showing the summer classic, Jaws. In 1976, this film won the Academy Award for Best Sound, Best Filming Editing, and Best Music and was nominated for Best Picture. 

Seating opens and music by Hammerslag Sound starts at 7:00pm. Bring your beach chairs and picnic blankets and claim a spot as we project the movie for all to enjoy. Now's your chance to see Jaws on the big screen. Don't miss out!


If you've wandered around the Grand/Lakeshore District, you've probably caught a glimpse of this historical Oakland theatre. Originally built in 1926 by the Reid Brothers, Grand Lake Theatre opened its doors offering vaudeville shows and silent films and eventually talkies. 

Today, while maintaining its original vintage charm, this theatre now plays a select few of the latest movies all week long. Outfitted with the same classic snacks and drinks, you can enjoy an incredible and affordable experience that's unlike most modern theatres. Attend on a Friday or Saturday evening and you might even catch the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ being played before select shows. Buy your tickets, grab some popcorn and enjoy this classic theatre experience.  

Grand Lake Theatre is one of 12 images featured in Red Oak Realty's 2019 "The East Bay From Above" calendar. Watch for more about each month's aerial photograph throughout the year. Call or email for a complimentary copy of the 2019 calendar.


This local restaurant was started by chef/owners Sergio Emilio Monleón and Emily Sarlatte who may sound familiar to you from local food festivals, weddings or other private functions. They now bring their creative Spanish cuisine to the East Bay with a great menu for sharing and enjoying - lots of great tastes without the guilt.

This is the perfect Happy Hour spot, you get to select a drink with a complimentary choice of tapas. There are so many items to choose from and something for everyone, including vegetarians. Paella is enough for 2-4 people, which allows a little extra time for your made-to-order specialty to be prepared. 

The restaurant is casual and the vibes are friendly and low key. It's great if you want to bring a date or larger group too. If you are struggling with the multitude of food options, just ask the staff, they are always willing to share their favorites. 

La Marcha Tapas Bar is located at 2026 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley. Open 7 days a week from 4:00-10:00pm for dinner. Happy Hour daily from 4:00-6:00pm and 10:00p-midnight. Book your next reservation online or call 510.647.9525.

Grace Bishop
Realtor | #01245471