Expand Your Real Estate Horizons

Can’t afford the neighborhood you want? Don’t despair, because alluring neighborhoods are out there.

It’s been a long time since Oakland Magazine published an April issue, 2008 to be exact. That year, Oakland was on target to publish 12 issues, but the tanking economy meant ratcheting back, and we ended that year doing 11 issues and ultimately scaled back to a seven-times-a-year schedule.

What a difference six years makes. The economy is better, and Oakland, the town, is hotter than ever, prompting us to add this April issue as well as an October issue to our publishing frequency. And we don’t plan to stop there either—watch this space.

When Oakland started in July 2004, real estate was a frequent coverage topic, but it waned with the crashing market. It feels good to be pondering real estate again in this, our neighborhood and real estate issue.

In “6 Neighorhoods to Know Now,” Susan Kuchinskas, who happens to have cut her teeth writing neighborhood profiles for a daily newspaper, explains the lay of the land for house hunters priced out of the Bay Area’s best-known destination neighborhoods. The heartening news is that the East Bay is awash with charming and attractive substitutions for homebuyers willing to expand their real estate horizons. Can you say Golden Gate or Adams Point? How about Point Richmond?

As a former Rockridge resident who went house hunting a little more than a year ago, I found delightful possibilities in El Cerrito, Allendale, Fruitvale, and San Leandro, fine examples of a few lesser-known hoods. In my home search, I encountered clever real estate agents who used extremely creative sales techniques to get their open houses noticed, another aspect of real estate news in store for readers this issue. In between owning again, I rented just before rent went nuts, the thesis of the final piece in our neighborhood real estate trifecta. Finally, Alameda interior designer Sarah Coombs reports on the latest darling of the horticulture set, vertical gardens, and offers advice for perfect party décor planning.

Let me know how you like—or don’t like—this 2.0 version of Oakland. See you next time.

Faces of the East Bay