For New Avenue, 2011 started with nearly 500 people attending our first open house in Berkeley and by year-end we were working on 15 new homes that will help 26 families enjoy a new and better lifestyle.
Why are there nearly twice as many families as homes? Because when a homeowner hires New Avenue, we change their single family house into two homes that two families can share.
The stories about the families and friends that hire us are the most important part of what we do. Having an old best friend, a new good neighbor, a parent, a child or grandchildren nearby creates an almost endless list of benefits.
Here are three stories from our 2011 clients that illustrate who our clients are and a few examples of the benefits of their new lifestyle.
Three Generations in Orinda
Our first client in 2011 is a grandmother whose daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren moved to a beautiful hillside property in the Orinda Hills. The grandmother helped buy the home and then moved in with them so she can be an active part of their lives. The property had an asbestos filled, run down and literally collapsing guest house that we tore down and in place rebuilt a beautiful new cottage. Now this family is living comfortably, with privacy, but together in the same place. The grandmother sees her two grandkids every day and shuttles them around to summer camps, school and other activities. The children are enjoying a beautiful home with space for their kayaks, woodworking hobbies and hosting big family get togethers. With the grandchildren now attending Orinda schools, they may be the greatest beneficiaries of this new family compound.
Flexibility in Berkeley
The second client is a parent in Berkeley with a daughter who just had her first child. The daughter, son-in-law and grandkid will be splitting their time between Lebanon, where the son-in-law is originally from and currently works, and Berkeley, where they will eventually be moving into the main home that the daughter grew up in. Thinking of her growing family, then looking at the old garage full of junk, this new grandmother decided to replace the garage with a cute, 2 story cottage tucked away at the end of their driveway. In the immediate future, this new home will provide some income as a short term rental, will be a guest house for the children and grandchildren on their extended stays. In the distant future, when the daughter, son in law and grandchild move into the main home, this will be grandma’s cottage.
An Annuity for College/Retirement
The final story is about rejuvenating a great old home. This Berkeley client lives in the Elmwood Neighborhood in Berkeley and inherited what was once a beautiful carriage house in the backyard. Over several decades the early 1900 construction wore down and rotted into an unusable structure that was unsafe and barely fit for storage. However the space is perfect for a second unit, between several trees with a large yard extending to the main house. We worked with them to give it new life, in compliance with the zoning rules, keeping some of the original walls and building a new eco-efficient cottage in place of the old. This home is a pure investment strategy for the owners. With three bedrooms and two baths it will be a prime rental apartment for UC Berkeley students or young professional couple. The monthly financing cost for this home will be approximately $1,500 per month, while the rent for similar apartments on this block is over $3,300 per month. For this family the cottage will be a great annuity that will help with the tuition bills for two soon to be college students.
We’re looking forward to working with many more families in 2012 and helping more homeowners transform their properties from one home into two.