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Classifieds: Real Estate Advertising -- MercuryNews.com
Classifieds: Real Estate Advertising -- MercuryNews.com

Homeowners turn stingy with energy
After yet another power failure darkened his rural Wisconsin neighborhood, a light bulb went on over the head of Michael Richter. ``I saw the need for energy independence,'' said the mid-40s electrical engineer. ``Meaning, if there's a supply disruption, I won't be disrupted.''

House prices stay strong in most markets
You might have seen the scary news reports just before Thanksgiving: Housing prices fell nationwide last quarter -- the first such decline since 1993. Even grimmer, total sales of houses and condominiums plunged by 12.7 percent across the country, compared with the same period the year before.

Mortgage rates drop to lowest since January
Mortgage rates around the country fell this week, with rates on 30-year mortgages dipping to the lowest level since January. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.14 percent, down from 6.18 percent last week. That was the lowest rate since the week of Jan. 26, when 30-year mortgage rates averaged 6.12 percent.

Fantasy home: Town and country living at lovely Los Altos home
WHAT: Custom Mediterranean-style house on one-half acre; 9 years old; 3,600 square feet; designer materials throughout; four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, family room, master bedroom suite with recessed lighting; 1,000-bottle wine room; patios; professionally landscaped grounds; waterfall; separate studio; three-car garage.

Real estate offices get into holiday giving
Real estate offices around the valley have launched their annual holiday charity efforts, and are inviting the public to contribute to help needy families.

Pop singer is hunting for Beverly Hills home
Britney Spears, who filed for divorce Nov. 7, has been house hunting in Beverly Hills and areas close to her old neighborhood in the Hollywood Hills.

WARNING SIGNS
Signs of an energy-wasting home: Mold or persistent moisture on walls or ceiling -- especially in the basement or bathroom. A roof that quickly dissipates frost or snow.

Small changes lighten life for visually impaired
For Martha Templeton, a tour through a model home designed to make life easier for those losing their vision gave her a wish list of ideas on how to cope with her own failing eyesight.

Real Estate Events
Saturday, Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to noon at Washington Mutual Los Gatos Home Loan Center, 575 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos. RSVP to (408) 399-4266 or (408) 399-4267.

HOME SALES
Real estate sales information is from public county records listed three to four weeks ago and provided by California REsource. Listings change weekly. CalREsource records the information after the close of escrow. Sales prices are estimates based upon the applicable county transfer tax. All inquiries should be e-mailed to calresource@aol.com.

Top five transactions
$2.825 million: 433 West Meadow Drive, Palo Alto, buyer West Meadow Oaks, seller Ehmann Trust. Last sale: not available $2.63 million: 15042 El Camino Senda, Saratoga, 5 BR, 4046 SF, buyer I. Lu, seller Etterman Trust. Last sale: 1998; $1,925,000

Homeowners turn stingy with energy
After yet another power failure darkened his rural Wisconsin neighborhood, a light bulb went on over the head of Michael Richter. ``I saw the need for energy independence,'' said the mid-40s electrical engineer. ``Meaning, if there's a supply disruption, I won't be disrupted.''

Town and country living at lovely Los Altos home
WHAT: Custom Mediterranean-style house on one-half acre; 9 years old; 3,600 square feet; designer materials throughout; four bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, family room, master bedroom suite with recessed lighting; 1,000-bottle wine room; patios; professionally landscaped grounds; waterfall; separate studio; three-car garage.

Real estate offices organize holiday charities
Real estate offices around the valley have launched their annual holiday charity efforts, and are inviting the public to contribute to help needy families.

House prices stay strong in most markets
You might have seen the scary news reports just before Thanksgiving: Housing prices fell nationwide last quarter -- the first such decline since 1993. Even grimmer, total sales of houses and condominiums plunged by 12.7 percent across the country, compared with the same period the year before.



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