OAK NOTES from Grace Bishop
September 2020


Fire season has started early this year and its scope has been unprecedented: these are the largest fires ever recorded in California, and we haven't yet reached the peak of the season.

By now, most of us have found ways to deal with the smoke - bookmarking our local PurpleAir map and purchasing air purifiers and N95 masks - but are you fully prepared for fires directly affecting your family and home?


Make a plan and share it with your family, know the closest shelter, make accommodations for your medical needs, and collect emergency contact information of family, neighbors, the nearest hospital and police station. Build an emergency kit or "go bag" in your house, or even keep smaller versions permanently in your car. A mobile hotspot, battery backup or generator might also be a good idea. Watch for updates on SF Chronicle's Fire Map & Tracker, @CaFireScanner on Twitter, Alert Wildfire's Map and California Public Utilities Commission's Threat Maps.


PG&E is planning to reduce the number of people affected by the outages, shorten the length of the outage (restored power within 12 daylight hours after severe weather has passed) and provide better information through a variety of media. Sign up for alerts and find local Community Resources Centers and helpful resources

Once you know about a scheduled outage, charge your devices, fill up your gas tank, place perishables in your freezer (preferably with dry ice) and unplug larger appliances to avoid power surges when the power comes back on. During the outage, only dial 9-1-1 if there's an emergency, avoid opening the refrigerator (food exposed to 40+ degrees for more than 2 hours should be thrown away) and stay at least 10 feet away from power lines and electrical facilities.


This may not be the first thing you want to think about, but it is critical in ensuring your home is well-protected. When determining the amount of coverage for a home, insurance companies put the responsibility on the insured, so request a review of your coverage every 1-2 years. This helps keep you up-to-date on the increasing cost of construction and avoid depreciating policies. Make sure you disclose any changes or upgrades you've made to the home.  

We can't control fire or the weather, but we can control how prepared we are. If there's anything you need please don't hesitate to reach out, and most of all, stay safe!




August data reveals that the East Bay real estate market remains resilient, even in incredibly difficult times. Activity bottomed out in April and has been in recovery mode ever since.

The number of sales in August 2020 was higher than last year by 8%. This was partially due to the fact that in 2019, a typical year, August sales were low as many people were on vacation and preparing for the post-Labor Day rush. A similar trend was in effect for prices, where prices are typically lower than usual in August, but this year prices remained strong and were up 14% year-over-year. Homes were selling slightly closer to asking at 8% over list, but that number has been steadily increasing for months. Days on market remained incredibly low at an average of 19.

We have not seen a spike in activity after Labor Day, so typical seasonality is not occurring this year. However, the number of active listings remains stable and strong, and the number of properties under contract is up 42% compared to last year - the most on record since 2016.

It remains to be seen if the fall and winter will slow, as it would in a typical year, or if supply and buyer demand will remain consistent. Drop a line to see how these trends might affect you.


The Fed made some of the biggest changes to its policy in years following an extended review. The central bank has revised its approach to inflation and the labor market in a move that could usher in an extended period of low interest rates and the Fed is now officially moving forward. Central bankers will target inflation that averages 2% over time. This means that following a stretch with low inflation, the Fed might allow inflation to run above 2% for a period of time. Along these lines, the Fed will concern itself less with the strength of the labor market. "A tight labor market is no longer correlated to inflation," said Dan Geller, a behavioral economist and founder of consulting firm Analyticom. This means that rates should stay low for the foreseeable future. 

There has never been a better time to look into refinancing or purchasing a home. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Faramarz Moeen-Ziai (NMLS342090) of CrossCountry Mortgage via fmz@myccmortgage.com or 415.377.1147.

Equal Housing LenderFMZ TEAM Crosscountry Mortgage


It's more evident than ever with intensifying weather patterns, increase of local fires and the state of our shorelines that we need to do what we can to aid our planet. Which brings us to this month's local business spotlight, MudLab, a local non-profit, zero-waste grocery store dedicated to promoting sustainability practices. Even during the pandemic, they are serving zero-waste coffee, tea, boba tea and ice cream as well as personal care products, books, organic produce, bakery items, local art and more. They've partnered with Cotton Basics, Verterra, East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, BLAST, Little Feminist, Community Grains, Fern, and General Bottle Supply of San Leandro to bring you environment-friendly products. If you want you can also join their trash clean up event at Lake Merritt each week. Consider what you can do to better the world we live in by practicing sustainability and using green products. 

440 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610 · hello@mudlaboak.com · Instagram: @mudlabboak · Open Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00am-4:00pm and Sunday, 10am-3pm · Closed Mondays

Grace Bishop
Realtor | #01245471