Marin County Real Estate Blog

3 Charts That Shout, 'List Your Home Today!'

In school, we all learned the theory of supply and demand. When the demand for an item is greater than the supply of that item, the price will surely rise.

SUPPLY

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently reported that the inventory of homes for sale stands at a 3.8-month supply. This is considerably lower than the 6-month supply necessary for a normal market.

DEMAND

Every month NAR reports on the number of buyers out in the market looking for homes, which is also known as buyer traffic. As seen on the map below, buyer demand in March was strong or very strong in 42 out of 50 states nationwide, and Washington, DC.

Many buyers are being confronted with a very competitive market in which they must compete with other buyers for their dream homes (if they are even able to find a home they wish to purchase).

Listing your house for sale now will allow you to capitalize on the shortage of homes for sale in the market, which will translate into a better pricing situation.

HOME EQUITY

Many homeowners underestimate the amount of equity they currently have in their homes. According to a recent Fannie Mae study, 37% of homeowners believe that they have more than 20% equity in their homes. In reality, CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report tells us that 78.9% actually do!

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Selling a Home With a Large Lot

Home on Big AcreageFor home buyers, a large lot can seem like a a benefit or a burden, depending on the way the lot is maintained and presented. Emphasizing the benefits of your large lot and keeping the landscape simple can help you stage your home and boost curb appeal during the home selling process.

Maintain the Fence

Many home buyers are reluctant to buy a property with a labor-intensive repair project like repair of a fence. A poorly maintained fence may cut into your profits when the house sells. Before putting your home on the market, check the fence that lines the property. Look for problems like peeling paint, rust, rotten wood and other problems. Make any repairs that need to be made. 

If the fence has been stained, you'll be able to tell whether or not the fence needs to be re-stained by the way the wood absorbs water. Spraying the fence with a jet of water from hose, a fence that needs to be re-stained will soak in the water. A fence that does not need to be re-stained will repel the water, and droplets will roll off without being absorbed into the wood. 

Hire a Gardener

During the home selling process, many home owners become caught up with keeping the house clean for showings and packing their belongings to move. This can make it hard to maintain a large yard. Allowing the grass to grow too long or neglecting...

Buying a Home After Water Damage: 4 Questions to Ask

Guidelines and Steps for Buying a Home With Pre-existing Water DamageAfter the home inspection, buyers may learn that the home they want has sustained damage from water in the past. For buyers considering homes with water damage, consider these questions to help determine if the house has been sufficiently repaired and is ready to buy.

What Was the Extent of the Damage?

The type of damage that home flooding can cause depends on the location, nature and severity of the flood. A burst pipe in the winter that never led to water in the house is a very different kind of damage than a flooded river or a water heater that dropped hundreds of gallons of water in a basement. If the seller’s insurance covered the incident, there should be a detailed property claim estimate of the damages with recommendations for repairs or replacement. Ask to see this list because it will identify precisely where damage occurred and all structures, systems and equipment involved.

Which Repairs Have Been Completed?

With the list of recommended repairs, buyers must also check to see which of them were done to specification. In some cases, homeowners try to save money or time by repairing something themselves. They may simply not get around to replacing things that did not seem particularly damaged. Since everyone...

The Anlyan Report 4.16.17. Marin County February Home Sales, Prices Down From Year Ago

According to Core Logic/Data Quick, a real estate news service, the number of homes sold in Marin County in February, 2017 was 164, down 9.9% from February of 2016. The median sales price of a Marin County home was also down 4.7% in the same period.

Here's how it broke down:

City           Feb'17 #Homes Sold  Median$ Feb'17   Median$ Feb'16  Difference  

Mill Valley            28                     $1,260,050            $1,009,500             +24%

San Rafael          41                      $  791,050             $650,000               +21%

Novato                46                      $ 664,000             $675,000                 -1.6%             

The Data Quick report notes that, Bay Area Wide, it is normal for the number of housing units sold to increase about 2.8% from January to February in any given year. However Marin home sales declined 11.4% in the 1st two months of 2017, with 185 units sold in January and only 164 sold in February. Median prices during that period did increase very slightly from $810,000 to $815,000, a gain of .06%. Prices in Mill Valley and San Rafael Increased significantly and other Marin cities (Belvedere, Greenbrae, Larkspur, and San Anselmo) experienced wide swings to the minus side, however with relatively small numbers of sales, the individual...

Buying in Marin County this Spring? Be Prepared for Bidding Wars

Traditionally, spring is the busiest season for real estate. Buyers come out in force and homeowners list their houses for sale in Marin County, hoping to capitalize on buyer activity. This year will be no different!

Buyers have already been out in force looking for their dream homes and more are on their way, but the challenge is that the inventory of homes for sale in Marin County has not kept up with demand, which has lead to A LOT of competition for the homes that are available.

A recent Bloomberg article touched on the current market conditions:

“It’s the 2017 U.S. spring home-selling season, and listings are scarcer than they’ve ever been. Bidding wars common in perennially hot markets like the San Francisco Bay area, Denver and Boston are now also prevalent in the once slow-and-steady heartland, sending prices higher and sparking desperation among buyers across the country.”

Sam Khater, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic went on to explain why buyers are flocking to the market in big numbers:

“In today’s market, many buyers think the trough in [interest] rates is over. If you don’t get in now, it’s just going to be worse later. Rates will be higher, prices will be higher, and maybe inventory selection will be lower.”

In some markets, “thirty-five percent of properties are selling within the first week or two of hitting the market.” Homes are selling at a rapid clip in places like:

  • Oakland, California
  • Denver
  • Seattle
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • ...

What is the Home Building Process Like?

What you need to know about building a new homeBuying a brand new home is a significantly different experience compared to buying an existing home. This guide walks you through the process of buying new construction, with tips on what you can expect at each stage.

Stage 1: Purchasing

The first thing you need to do is prove that you can afford the home you want to buy. If you are going through a builder, you may only need to get mortgage pre-approval and then select a lot in the subdivision where you want to live. Buyers who are planning to have a much heavier hand in the process may have to apply for a construction loan first. This provides the money for the architect, designer and various contractors to receive pay for their services. Once construction is complete, you can often refinance the construction loan into a regular mortgage.

Stage 2: Site Preparation

With a complete design and the knowledge that you are ready to build the home, it takes a few weeks to prepare the property and lay the foundation. This involves a number of smaller steps, such as clearing trees and other vegetation, digging space for a basement, and pouring the concrete for the foundation. The concrete needs time to cure, and the space must be given waterproofing before contractors can start to build the home.

Stage 3: Construction

Although the ...

Selling a Home? Improve Your Odds of Success with These Affordable Updates

cheap home renovations to help sellHomeowners who are planning to sell their home soon are likely hoping for lots of buyer interest, good offers, and a fast trip to the closing table. But sellers who take the time to make some updates in their home may be able to increase their chances for this type of success. Want to know more? Here are some of the most affordable updates proven to have real impact on getting a home sold. 

Make Bathrooms and Kitchens Shine

The two rooms most likely to grab buyer attention are the bathroom and the kitchen, and even modest updates in these rooms can really pay off. Some affordable improvements to consider for these rooms are: 

  • replacing worn, discolored caulking around tubs, sinks, showers, and vanity areas
  • making these rooms feel new with a coat of fresh paint on both ceilings and walls, using colors that will help these rooms look larger and more attractive
  • removing dated wall coverings and replacing it with updated wall paper or paint
  • painting dark kitchen cabinets white or another lighter color to make the kitchen seem new and welcoming
  • replacing worn or ugly cabinet door knobs and drawer pulls with vintage or whimsical ones to draw buyer attention and add more appeal 
  • adding inexpensive under-cabinet lighting to brighten kitchen work spaces
  • removing harsh light bulbs in bathrooms and replacing them with bulbs that cast warmer, more flattering...