Marin County Real Estate Blog

Want to Sell Your House Faster? Don't Forget to Stage! [INFOGRAPHIC]

Want to Sell Your House Faster? Don’t Forget to Stage! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Profile of Home Staging.
  • 62% of seller’s agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market.
  • 50% of staged homes saw a 1-10% increase in dollar-value offers from buyers.
  • 77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own.
  • The top rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.

Contact the Marin Modern Team, your Marin County real estate connection, for assistance buying or selling a home in Marin County California.

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New to Homeownership? Buy These Tools to Keep at Home

Which Tools Are Best for New Homeowners?New homeowners spend a lot of time making repairs, assembling furniture and making home improvements. Having the right tools for the job is very important. Homeowners who buy a new home with tools already on hand can get started with their home improvements on day one. These tips can help new homeowners decide what kind of tools to purchase when escrow closes, so they can be prepared upon move in.

Hammer and Nails

Everybody needs to have a good hammer on hand, and many homeowners need more than one. There are a variety of different types of hammers that can serve different purposes around the house. Most homeowners own at least one curved claw hammer for hanging pictures, installing shelves, assembling furniture and other common tasks around the house. When choosing a curved claw hammer, look for one that is between 16 and 20 ounces for most DIY projects.

Other hammers that homeowners often find helpful include the ball peen hammer (with a rounded end that can be useful for removing dents) and a sledgehammer for demolition work. On a related note, many homeowners also keep mallets on hand for pounding items that might suffer damage under the hard surface of a standard hammer.

Homeowners also need nails: lots and lots of nails. While nails have a way of accumulating in the house over...

4 Kitchen Projects with Excellent Returns

How to Get Better Returns from Your Kitchen ProjectsSprucing up a kitchen isn't just a popular project for the cook of the family, but for everyone who lives under the roof. No matter how a person feels about preparing food, everyone has a relationship with the feeling of Saturday morning breakfasts and midnight snacks. When it comes increasing the resale value of the home, experts say to think small for better returns. Major kitchen remodels net about 63% of the initial while minor remodels net up to 80%. Because there are some kitchen projects that are ultimately more profitable than others, learn more about how to get the most from your endeavors, whether you make renovations yourself or hire a professional.

Upgrade Your Appliances

For many years, it was common to walk into a kitchen and find a white refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher against white or cream walls. It's no wonder people started opting for stainless steel and black appliances instead of the standard machinery of yesterday. When upgrading appliances, keep in mind both the form and the function of each piece selected. Not only will homeowners want their microwave to have relevant technology options, but they'll also need that microwave to fit the decor of the rest of the kitchen (and the home itself).

Replace the Counters

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Millennial Home-Buying Myths: What Is the Truth About Generation Y?

Millennial Home Buyers Now Outpace all Other GroupsThere's a new generation in town, and not all you've heard about these younger buyers in true. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, were born during the last two decades of the 20th Century. Generally, they came of age in the new century, and their interests and attitudes have been shaped by the internet, technology and world events.

In some ways, Millennials are a new breed, full of confidence and new ideas, and exploring new paths. Aged 18 to 35, some are beginning to find their way in a work environment and culture not of their own design, while others are just now exploring options and opening their eyes to a world that is rapidly changing.

Most might be the first to tell everyone that they have little in common with their parents. But those who are now entering their mid-thirties are, in some ways, becoming more like their parents with every passing year.

Millennials Dominate the Real Estate Market

In March of 2018, Millennials represented the largest share of the home-buying market, for the fifth consecutive year. Less than a decade ago that some analysts predicted this would be a generation of perennial renters. That assessment, it turns...

Parents Say Kids' Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home

Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home | MyKCM

A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll and released by SunTrust Mortgage found that “55% of homeowners with a child under the age of 18 at the time when they purchased their home said that the opinion of their offspring played a major role in their home buying decision.”

When the results were broken down by the parent’s age, millennials (those 18-36) led the way with 74% of homeowners saying that their child’s opinion was a factor in choosing which home to buy. Eighty-three percent of renters believe that their child’s opinion would be a deciding factor when looking to purchase a home.

So what features in a home are most important to kids?

Parents Say Kids’ Opinions Matter Big When Buying a Home | MyKCM...

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April | MyKCM

According to recently released data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median number of days that a home spent on the market hit a new low of 26 days in April, as 57% of homes were on the market for under a month.

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, had this to say,

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace. Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.”

Strong buyer demand, a good economy, and a low inventory of new and existing homes for sale created the perfect storm to accelerate the time between listing and signing a contract.

The chart below shows the median days on the market from April 2017 to April 2018:

Days on The Market Drops to New Low in April | MyKCM...

4 Best Roofing Materials Rated By Cost and Durability

4 Top Roofing Materials by Price and DurabilityChoosing the best roofing materials for a home requires careful consideration of a number of factors, but cost and durability are two of the most important. Homeowners generally want to invest in roofing materials that will protect their home and family from the elements for years to come, but they may not want to take a big financial hit when doing so. The price of materials can vary drastically depending on the type when replacing your roof, but costs will also reflect their quality.

One of the most important quality factors considering durability and longevity is the material's standard impact rating. Because durability can directly effect energy-efficiency, buyers should also factor in any potential long-term pros and cons when creating a roofing budget. To ease the decision making process, here are four popular roofing materials ranked by cost and durability from lowest to highest.

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice for homeowners for two primary reasons: their affordability, and their reputation for lasting up to three decades with proper care in moderate climates. However, durability will depend on the products impact resistance and hail rating. Unfortunately, manufacturers aren't required to disclose hail ratings as with impact ratings, and those who don't could be reluctant to admit their product...

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Cost of Renting vs. Buying [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
  • Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (28.8%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (17.1%), the choice becomes obvious.
  • Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!

Contact the Gold Country Modern Team, your Amador County real estate connection, for assistance buying or selling a home in the Gold Country.

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How to Save Money With a Home Insulation Upgrade

Guide to Home InsulationA cold house can be frustrating, especially when it feels like the HVAC system is always running to keep up. Insulation plays a big role in temperature control around the house, so in homes that are excessively cold in winter or warm in the summer, insulation could be the problem. These tips will help homeowners to determine whether or not their home needs more insulation, and if so, what they can do about it.

How Can You Tell If Your Home Needs More Insulation?

There are many different ways to tell when a home needs more insulation. Some of the most basic warning signs include:

  • Cold or hot spots. There may be rooms that are always cold or rooms that are always hot; this could be a warning sign of poor insulation.
  • Ice dams. Ice dams occur when "hot spots" in the attic cause ice and snow to melt early; installing more attic insulation can fix the problem.
  • Drafts. Drafts can occur when the home has not been properly sealed.

A good way to check on your own if a home needs more insulation is to peek into the attic. There should be insulation between and covering the floor joists. If the insulation does not rise high enough to cover the floor joists, this is a sign that a home needs more insulation in the attic.

Another way that homeowners...

San Anselmo Downtown gets Beautiful Hanging Flower Baskets

Today, Downtown San Anselmo was dressed in its summer best by a group of Downtown merchants, friends, and relatives, all assisting Kacey Gardner (on truck, with flowers!) of Tumbleweed with her inspiring beautification project.

Kacey, her husband Tim, sons Duncan and Quinn, and daughter Sophie, opened the store in 2015 after being inspired by shops they had seen during a year-long sailing trip around the Caribbean (see my original blog post).

Kacey and her family embody the concept of creative energy; it's obvious if you've met them or been to the store. They're full of great ideas and are always thinking of ways to improve their shop, their town, and to help their friends. So when Kacey looked out on the street this spring and thought it could use some more color, she went to work looking for a project that would add some of the more colorful aspects of towns she had enjoyed most in her travels, particularly St. Barth's, Bellagio, Carmel & Nevada City. She remembered their flowers, growing "along pathways, up buildings, down poles, along alleyways", and she thought that flower garden baskets hanging from the vintage Downtown San Anselmo light poles would add a striking look to San Anselmo Avenue. After formulating some plans for the project, she approached the Town, who were quite supportive of the idea, but unable to take it on from a financial point of view. Looking for other ways to fund the effort, Kacey decided to try a broad-based approach that would involve as many local residents and merchants as possible, and she settled on ...

Keep Pests Out Through Good Home Maintenance Practices

Tips to Protect Your Home From PestsPests like insects, mice and small animals are often attracted to homes where maintenance problems go unaddressed, so homeowners who want to protect their house from pests can do so by staying on top of certain home maintenance practices. These tips can help homeowners who wish to manage their home maintenance and avoid pest infestations.

Seal Holes

Pests of all kinds can enter the home through holes in the roof and exterior siding. Sometimes these holes are very small, allowing small animals and insects into the house. Other times the holes are very large, and allow larger animals to gain access to parts of the home like the basement or attic.

Homeowners can avoid these problems by periodically walking the perimeter of their home and looking for cracks and other ways that animals can access the house. Getting regular roof inspections can help, as some animals will create holes by chewing through boards or screens that protect attic vents.

When a hole or crack into the home is discovered, it must be properly covered. Caulking can be used to seal cracks, while hardware cloth can cover larger holes. Hardware cloth is especially helpful in parts of the home where proper ventilation is important.

Fix Leaks

Leaks can attract pests in a variety of ways. Pests seek out leaks because they need water. When leaks are left unrepaired for a long time, the resulting wood rot can create an inviting environment for wood-eating pests. ...

Moving Up to Your Dream Home? Don't Wait!

Moving Up to Your Dream Home? Don’t Wait! | MyKCM

Mortgage interest rates have risen by more than half of a point since the beginning of the year, and many assume that if mortgage rates rise, home values will fall. History, however, has shown this not to be true.

Where are home values today compared to the beginning of the year?

While rates have been rising, so have home values. Here are the most recent monthly price increases reported in the Home Price Insights Report from CoreLogic:

  • January: Prices were up 0.5% over the month before.
  • February: Prices were up 1% over the month before.
  • March: Prices were up 1.4% over the month before.

Not only did prices continue to appreciate, the level of appreciation accelerated over the first quarter. CoreLogic believes that home prices will increase by 5.2% over the next twelve months.

How can prices rise while mortgage rates increase?

Freddie Mac explained in a recent Insight Report:

“In the current housing market, the driving force behind the increase in prices is a low supply of both new and existing homes combined with historically low rates. As mortgage...

Guide to Home Security Systems

Home Security Information for HomeownersNot all homeowners choose to install a home security system, but those who do often appreciate the feeling of safety and peace of mind that they get when they leave their home. Home security systems can take different forms, so homeowners who are thinking about getting a security system for the first time must decide what type of security system is right for them and their San Geronimo home.

Who Needs a Security System?

Many homeowners who seek a home security system are those who live in areas with high crime rates. Other homeowners choose to install a home security system because they live alone, feel vulnerable, or simply have a lot of valuable possessions that they would like protect. Some homeowners choose to install a home security system because it will lower their homeowners insurance rates. Every homeowner must decide for themselves whether or not a home security system will be beneficial and meet their needs.

Monitored Versus Non-Monitored

In the world of home security systems, there are generally two types: monitored, and non-monitored. Monitored home security systems are connected to a home security office. The office sends someone to the home in the event that an alarm or sensor is triggered. Homeowners pay a monthly fee for their home security system to be monitored, and often pay a fee every time a security guard is called to the home.

Another type...

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running | MyKCM

Every year, Gallup surveys Americans to determine their choice for the best long-term investment. Respondents are given a choice between real estate, stocks/mutual funds, gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

For the fifth year in a row, real estate has come out on top as the best long-term investment!

This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26%. The full results are shown in the chart below.

Real Estate Tops Best Investment Poll for 5th Year Running | MyKCM

The study makes it a point to draw attention to the contrast in the sentiment over the last five years compared to that of 2011-2012, when gold took the top slot with 34% of the votes. Real estate and stocks took second and third place, respectively, while still in recovery from the Great Recession.

Bottom Line...

Home Safety Hazards to Watch Out For

How to Make Your Home SafeHousehold safety is important, but oftentimes can be overlooked by busy homeowners. Household hazards can cause illnesses, accidents and even injury. Homeowners who watch out for household hazards can better maintain their property and protect the members of their household. While there are many potential hazards, these are among the most common hazards are found in many homes.

Bad Electrical

Often bad wiring can be difficult to identify because wiring is hidden in the walls. However, some electrical problems produce warning signs homeowners can see. For example, an overloaded circuit may produce heat behind the outlet. An overloaded circuit may also cause the lights to dim when large appliances come on. Since an overloaded circuit can cause a fire, this should be investigated by an electrician.

Mold

Mold is common in homes with high humidity, leaks and condensation. Mold often grows on walls and ceilings, and can sometimes be found growing on carpet or upholstery. It can be green, gray, brown, white or yellow. Mold causes illnesses, respiratory problems and allergy-like symptoms, so remediation must be sought as soon as a problem is identified.

Wobbly Hand Railing

A wobbly hand railing, particularly on a high-up walkway or deck, can be a serious problem. Young members of a household and seniors both are likely...

What You Need to Know About Mold Remediation

Five Steps to Take for Better Mold RemediationWhen excess moisture starts to build up in the home, it reacts with the chemistry of the air surrounding it. Mold remediation is the process of removing mold from a home and treating its root cause. Because there are so many types of mold, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for homeowners, but learning more about general mold safety and removal can be the key to safeguarding the home from future infestations.

Safety Basics

Mold usually irritates people's systems in some way, shape, or form, even if that irritation seems like general illness or allergies. If anyone has been feeling unwell in the home, it's time to take them to a doctor. Regardless of how people are feeling though, everyone should be kept away from the mold to ensure they don't become sick. Homeowners should swab a sample of the mold to present to the doctor so they have a better idea of what they're up against.

Test the Mold

Every kind of mold comes with its own dangers, so it helps to have the mold tested. Each kind thrives under different conditions, and an expert should hopefully be able to provide more insight into where the infestation is hiding. They should also be able to identify the original cause of it. Homeowners need to do their research so they hire someone reliable. Some mold potentially can be easily treated, but it wouldn't be difficult for an expert to misrepresent the severity of the danger.

Address the Real Problem

Damaged...

4 Strategies For Selling a Home With Pets

4 Ways To Make Selling a Home With Pets EasierWhen selling a home, owning a pet can make it more difficult than it would be without one, but it isn’t impossible. While some people may recommend getting rid of pets when selling a home, no one should feel like they’re forced to kick their furry friends to the curb just because other people may not like them. Here are four strategies pet owners can use to help sell their home that don’t resort to parting ways with the most important part of the family.

1. Temporarily Relocate Pets During Showings

Having pets at home during a showing can be dangerous for the animal. Not only can they be exposed to people or children who don’t know how to interact with animals, but doors can accidentally be left open for them to get out and get lost. To avoid this, consider taking pets like dogs and cats to a kennel for a day so they’ll be somewhere safe. Or, if this isn’t an option, homeowners may also try asking friends or neighbors if they can watch over the pet until after the showings are over.

2. Hide the Pet’s things

When showing a home, it can be a good idea to go beyond just temporarily removing the pet from the home and also take some time to hide their things like food and water bowls, beds, and toys. This can be helpful because some buyers may think a home with pets is inherently damaged or flawed, even if there’s...

What to Know About Sustainable Home Construction Options

The Many Paths to a Sustainable HomeThe interest in sustainability continues to grow and a there are a number of potential homebuyers interested in learning more about sustainable home construction. Construction companies can build using new materials and passive design, as well as help homeowners retrofit a traditional home. Homeowners and homebuyers may have more opportunities to affordably incorporate sustainable design and materials into a current or future home. What should individuals know about sustainable home construction and how it may benefit them and the environment?

Get more information on sustainable home construction and its many benefits today.

Sell Your Home for More

In some areas, it appears that potential homebuyers are shopping around for a green home. They will often pay more for such homes when they understand the long-term benefits in terms of reduced energy costs, as well as a smaller carbon footprint. One joint study was able to demonstrate that homeowners with green homes sold their property for an additional 9 percent when compared with comps without sustainable features. There are communities in which sustainable home construction is of great interest.

However, those looking to sell or market a sustainable home need to work with an agent experienced with marketing such homes to potential buyers. Not all design or material choices...

What You Need to Know About FSBO Home Sales

5 Reasons FSBO Could Be a Disaster for SellersSelling a home without an agent might seem like a great way to save money. However, it has the potential to doom a sale from the start, or at least generate a lot of extra work for the seller. Here's what people need to know about for sale by owner (FSBO) home sales.

1. Selling Paperwork Is Complicated

Anyone who has gone through a home purchase knows that there is a ton of paperwork. Generally, it is the agent's job to identify the documents needed (which vary by state and the details of the home), help the seller fill them out correctly, and then send them to the buyer's agent for review and signature. Sellers who have no representative must either rely on their own savvy to march through the process and hope that they do not lose the advantage, or pay a lawyer to help them instead.

2. Marketing a Home Requires a Skilled Eye

Like many other business transactions, marketing a home for sale requires a complete package that is attractive to buyers. There are many aspects of the initial listing of the home that may fall beyond sellers' skill and knowledge. Setting the right price is paramount. Homes that are listed too high will languish on the market. Properties listed far too low result in a poorer investment for the seller, and this is common for FSBO. On their own, sellers have to figure out what are the best ways to stage the home for sale, and entice buyers to request a showing for a ...

House Prices: Simply a Matter of Supply & Demand

House Prices: Simply a Matter of Supply & Demand | MyKCM

Why are home prices still rising? It is a simple answer. There are more purchasers in the market right now than there are available homes for them to buy. This is an example of the theory of “supply and demand” which is defined as:

“the amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price.”

When demand exceeds supply, prices go up. This is currently happening in the residential real estate market.

Here are the numbers for supply and demand as compared to last year for the last three months (March numbers are not yet available):

House Prices: Simply a Matter of Supply & Demand | MyKCM

In each of the last three months, demand (buyer traffic) has increased as compared to last year while supply (...