Whoopi Goldberg Is Selling Her Northern California Victorian

Filed under: Buying, Celebrity Homes

ZillowTraditional on the outside, the 1890 home retains period details inside but has been updated for modern life.

By Natalie Wise

Whoopi Goldberg has eclectic real estate taste. She sold her Vermont estate in 2011, and before that, her Soho loft. Now it’s a Northern California home in Berkeley that’s up for grabs, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Actress, comedian and “The View” co-host Goldberg is listing the 1890 Victorian for $1.275 million. Though the double lot is still small at only one-third of an acre, the property includes the main house, a detached barn/cottage, five garages and plenty of beautiful outdoor living space.

The main house features an updated but subdued family friendly space with three bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. Comfortable but not overstated, the space retains many period details, including woodwork, hardware, a rolling library ladder and plenty of bookshelves.

The barn/cottage is a wide-open wooden space full of vintage charm. There are two fireplaces to keep things cozy in the winter, and skylights for ample natural light.

The outdoor areas really shine, and are perfectly suited to enjoying the Berkeley climate. The porch is well-shaded by mature landscaping, and a curving brick patio invites dining alfresco. There are also open grass spaces for pets and children to enjoy.

Real estate records show the house was last on the market in 1985 and purchased for a mere $335,000, right at the height of Goldberg’s career. “The Color Purple” came out the same year, followed in 1992 by “Sister Act.”

Colleen Larkin of Thornwall Properties holds the listing.

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments

Mortgage Rates Fluctuate But Remain Under 4%

Filed under: Buying, Financing, Refinancing

ZillowThe weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest rate in six-hour intervals.

By Lauren Braun

Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed loans rose this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 3.95 percent, up 2 basis points from the same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 3.82 percent on Friday, then hovered around 3.86 percent before rising to the current rate on Tuesday.

“Rates fell last week due to continued uncertainty about Greece’s fiscal situation and the Fed signaling it might wait longer than expected to raise interest rates, but recovered as negotiations with Greece continue,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “Rates will likely be volatile until a deal between Greece and its creditors is finalized.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.04 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.82 percent.

Check Zillow Mortgages for rate trends and up-to-the-minute rates for your state, or use the mortgage calculator to calculate monthly payments at the current rates.

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments

3 DIY Projects to Try and 3 Times to Call for a Pro’s Help

Filed under: Home Improvement, How To

ShutterstockInterior painting is a project even an enthusiastic novice can handle, though careful prep will yield the best results.

By Abby Hayes

Nearly one-third of Americans are planning a home renovation this year, according to a Liberty Mutual Insurance survey of 2,000 adults. Of those, 7 in 10 plan to do at least some of the work themselves. DIYing it can be a great way to save money, but you have to be careful with the projects you choose to tackle on your own.

Projects that look enticing and easy on Pinterest can easily go awry if you’re an inexperienced DIYer. Even experienced DIYers can have trouble handling some of the more difficult home improvement projects.

So which projects should you tackle to increase your home’s value, and which ones should you hire out to a professional? Master carpenter Chip Wade of “Ellen’s Design Challenge” and HGTV’s “Elbow Room” weighs in.

To DIY

Let’s start with the hopeful side of this equation. You can give your home a boost this summer and save money by doing it yourself. You just have to be careful which projects you choose. Chip’s top three projects for homeowners to DIY include landscaping, seating and interior painting.

1. Landscaping. This can be a huge project, but you can use a few simple tricks to add some curb appeal and comfort to your home. “A tip I always give is for homeowners or renters to start by removing dead plants, or trimming unhealthy plants that may bloom later on in the season,” Wade says. This simple trick can make your home appear more pulled-together. Then, add splashes of color with easy-care perennials in a front garden bed, or place potted annuals on the porch.

2. Seating. If you’re hankering to start hammering something, building multipurpose outdoor furniture is a good place to begin. Boxy, bench-style furniture is a great option for cutting your teeth on carpentry. It’s fairly easy to build, and there are plenty of tutorials online. This easy, versatile seating can instantly update a front porch or back deck, and give you a more personable outdoor space.

3. Painting. The easiest of these projects is probably interior painting, and it can make a huge difference. The right paint can make a space look larger and more finished. Or you can simply update the look of your home by opting for a trendy color, like these in the Benjamin Moore Color Trends 2015 palette.

Not to DIY

When it comes to home renovation, Wade says, some projects are simply best left to the professionals. Certain projects, of course, are downright dangerous. For instance, you don’t want to go around messing with electrical wiring if you don’t know what you’re doing. The top three popular projects Wade cautions homeowners against tackling alone include outdoor pathways, retaining walls and large landscaping.

1. Outdoor pathways. This can seem like an easy, cheap DIY project. Pinterest, after all, is full of cute ideas for outdoor walkways. However, Wade notes, homeowners often skimp on costs by using less expensive materials, which crack in a season and need to be replaced. Plus, ensuring an absolutely level underlayment is essential. Without proper tools and knowledge to level the walkway, even the best materials will crack.

2. Retaining walls. These are similarly difficult to install properly, though they can look effortless. Most homeowners don’t understand the intricacies of properly installing a wall that will last for years to come. Engineering is essential, especially for walls over 2 feet high.

3. Large landscaping. The last project to steer clear of may seem contradictory. Wade did say that landscaping is a great DIY project, right? However, when it comes to planting medium-to-large sized trees, it’s a whole different story. These trees and shrubs need particular care to help them take root. You don’t want to spend hundreds on an ornamental tree only to have it die within a season.

If you decide to hire professionals for some must-do projects this summer, Wade gives some good advice: “A great way to find a professional is to ask friends or neighbors who they have used for their renovations or home projects. Additionally, if you have one trusted professional, he or she may be able to recommend a skilled worker they have worked with in the past.”

DIY projects can be a great way to save on summer upgrades to your home. But you won’t save a dime if you waste money on a project that’s better left to the pros,

 

Permalink | Email this | Comments