All Blog Entries by Nicole Gruen

Originally from Germany, I live in the bay area since 1995. I am detail oriented, a strong communicator and committed to detangle confusing information for you, so you feel in control. The most important task for me is to help you make important decisions in an exmpowered way! Owning and managing my own real estate makes me a great partner: for many of you this is the most important decision of your life. Buying or selling your home might overwhelm you. I will help you by being a reliable trustworthy partner every step of the process! 

Found 13 blog entries published by Nicole Gruen.

1 Bed | 1 Bath | 846 SqFt

Congratulations to my buyer who scored big time on this beautiful, spacious 1 Bedroom condo. The building has a secure parking garage and expansive roof deck. It also has free Webpass internet with speed up to 100 Mbps. The location is ideal: 0.4 miles from BART and close to fun restaurants like Drake’s dealership and in walking distance to Parkway Theater and the Korean Market. But the best part is, that my buyer got this condo at asking price!

You thought in such a competitive market you will have to always overbid? Let me help you find a great home at a great price! Call or text me: 415.342.3954 and we can talk on the phone or meet in my office.

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Photo Credit: Eville Eye News 


I've been watching the progress of these beautiful new homes over the last year and finally they seem close to completion!

15 units will hit the market soon. All of them designed with one thing in mind: "inhabit less, live larger'. Atomic City is a net-zero community, producing at least as much energy as it consumes. Solar panels, solar skylights, rain collecting cisterns and solar hot water heaters is only an example of what the Oakland-based design firm MANOU DESIGN GROUP designed and implemented.

Buyers can chose from 3 different floor plans. The location is central, in close proximity to Berkeley Bowl, Emeryville Public Market and the Ashby Bart Station. 

Grand opening is happening on Saturday, August

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Our condo got approved in 2 weeks!

I just helped a VA buyer to close on a condo that needed to get VA approved.

Casey is with the US Coast Guard in Alameda, CA. She lived close to Lake Merritt and wanted to stay in that area. She especially loved the building she lived in.

To buy a condo with a VA loan, the condo complex/HOA (Home Owner’s Association) needs to be VA approved.
In this case, the condo wasn't. But that did not stop us: we requested all HOA documents from the association.  The lender submitted them, together with a personal letter from Casey to the VA administration.

We were impressed how fast the VA went through the approval process (the official time they quote is 4-6 weeks).
 2 Weeks later, the condo was approved!

Casey is now the happy owner of a beautiful

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Emeryville is a small city with not too many food choices. Even though the Public Market is coming along nicely, it’s sometimes hard to know where to go for breakfast. I compiled a list of Emeryville (and Oakland) choices. I am sure there are a couple more, like the black bear diner and Denny’s. I am not a fan of big chains and that’s why I stuck with smaller places

  1. Doyle Street Café is a classical American breakfast spot (says the German…). You will find nice standard breakfast fare and delicious specials. I think their home fries are yummy. I like mine extra crispy. Open Mon–Fri 8AM–3PM
  2. Tribu could use a facelift, but the food is good. I get their breakfast burrito or chicken sandwich. Open Mon–Sun 7AM–8PM
  3. Chile Jalapeno
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Rainfall this winter and spring has been at a record high. The last time it rained that much was in 1997 and I remember one thing that stood out: wildflowers! The best time to see them is mid-March to mid-April.

Here are my favorite spots in the east bay to watch them bloom this spring:

  1.    Mount Diablo State Park
  2.    Sunol Regional Wilderness
  3.    Tilden Park
  4.    Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve
  5.    Lake Chabot Regional Park

But honestly, I think that this year will be spectacular no matter where you will go. So don’t waste any time and plan your viewing now!

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Photos: Leila Seppa

Live in a unique urban setting in high style. This is an exceptional opportunity.

Polished concrete floors, soaring ceilings, industrial details from the original warehouse, and a secluded private garden - highly unusual for such spaces - make this loft a rare gem.

The Brickhouse Lofts, at 201 Third Street in Oakland's popular Jack London Square neighborhood, embody the essence of the classic warehouse mixed-use loft conversion.  Originally a warehouse for W.P Fuller & Company, the building was remodeled in 1997 into classic live-work loft units that maintain a vintage industrial feel with modern sophistication. The building won the prestigious

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Would you like to own your own home? Are you tired of paying rent (or subsidizing your landlords mortgage instead of paying your own mortgage?
There is real estate out there for everyone. It's a matter of starting and staying focused.

The answer to all of these problems is: START NOW.
Your credit isn't what it's supposed to be: start now.
You don't have a down payment: start now.
You haven't gotten pre-approved: I think you know what to do...

Talk to a lender or your bank to find out what it would take for you to qualify for a mortgage.
Talk to a realtor to find out about market conditions and the buying process.

There is so much information you can gather and that will prepare you for buying a house.

I am happy to work with you and to…
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                                                        Photo credit:



Are you currently renting? Are you tired of subsidizing your landlord without building equity? Maybe you would like to own your own place but just don't know where to start. Here is a list that'll get you going!


1.     Start your research now
No matter if you want to buy in the near future or in a couple of years, starting to look at listings and getting clear about the neighborhoods you would like to live in will be an advantage! Check out houses you like and see for what they sell for. Also see how long listings stay on the market before they sell.

2.     Get pre-approved
You need to know how much house you can afford! There is an easy way for you

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Picture: courtesy of Public Market Website

The East Bay has a lot to offer when it comes to restaurants, bars and cafes. I like going out in the East Bay better than San Francisco, because in general, there's less hype, better parking, lower prices and the food is just as good!

One of my easy go to's for casual (but still good) eating, is The Public Market located on 5959 Shellmound St in Emeryville.

It used to be a dated food court but has been undergoing a great transformation. It has been growing and is sporting now a nice selection!

In this rainy weather, I usually go for comforting, warming food and choose Wazwan Indian cuisine for it's beautiful curries or Shiba Ramen for, you guessed it, Ramen!  Koja Kitchen has an new spin on

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photo credit:

Many of my potential first time home buyers aren't quite ready yet to buy. Often I hear: I am working on my credit score. I did some research and here is what I learned:

Credit score is used by lenders to evaluate your credit worthiness. It's between 300 - 850. Your credit score (aka FICO score) influences the height of the interest rate you can qualify for and sometimes also the type of loan. Some loans require a credit score of at least 640. The higher your score, the better.

Factors that influence your credit score:

-       Paying on time! The longer you pay on time, the better.

-       Total amount owed.

-       How high your outstanding balance is on a card in relationship to

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