Marin County Real Estate Blog

How to Honor a Veteran Today and Everyday

How to Honor a Veteran Today and Everyday | MyKCM

One hundred years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we marked the end of the “war to end all wars.” That day, which was to be observed annually on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, became known as Armistice Day and then, later on, became Veterans Day.

But Veterans Day is not for veterans. They don’t serve for thanks or recognition. Veterans Day sets aside a day for those of us who haven’t worn the uniform to acknowledge those who have.

So today, we honor and remember.

If you ask a military family, ANY military family, how you can help them, they will respond without hesitation, “Make sure my service member is taken care of.”

If you ask a service member, ANY service member, how you can best honor them, they will respond without hesitation, “Take care of my family.”

Don’t know anyone who has served or is serving? More than likely, there are veterans in your midst. Each year, 260,000 military personnel relocate to new communities, and another 230,000 transition out of the military. In total, there are 22 million veterans among us in the world.

For those who relocate through a Permanent Change of Station (or PCS), it can be a pretty stressful time. There isn’t a lot of time to find a new place to live and the timeline is more accelerated for finding a place to call home.

MILLIE is an online community and digital marketplace that...

New Listing! 118 Tamal Vista Drive, San Rafael. $1,250,000

Coming this week, Remodeled, Vintage-1940's 4 Bed/3 Bath home in San Rafael's West End, Santa Margarita Neighborhood . Chef's Kitchen, Private, fenced yard, attached 1-car garage with interior access. Desirable location just between downtown San Rafael and San Anselmo, and accessible to both. Great commute location near 101 and public transportation. Open Thursday, Nov 8 11:30-2:30, Sunday, Nov 11&18, 1:00-4:00 pm.

...

Pre-Approval: Your 1st Step in Buying a Home

In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes outnumbers the number of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.

Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.

Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the ‘My Home’ section of their website:

“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”

One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you through this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”

Freddie Mac describes the ‘4 Cs’ that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:

  1. Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
  2. Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings, and investments...

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained | MyKCM

Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of “Love it or List it,” “Million Dollar Listing,” “House Hunters,” “Property Brothers,” and so many more all in one sitting.

When you’re in the middle of your real estate themed show marathon, you might start to think that everything you see on TV must be how it works in real life, but you may need a reality check.

Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life:

Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them.
Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search.  

Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.
Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes being shown are already sold and are off the market. 

Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.
Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process...

The Cost of Waiting: Interest Rates Edition [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Cost of Waiting: Interest Rates Edition [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Interest rates are projected to increase steadily heading into 2019.
  • The higher your interest rate, the more money you end up paying for your home and the higher your monthly payment will be.
  • Rates are still low right now – don’t wait until they hit 5% to start searching for your dream home!

Contact us for experienced representation when buying or selling a home in Amador County CA.

...

Supply & Demand Will Determine Future Home Values

Supply & Demand Will Determine Future Home Values | MyKCM

Will home values continue to appreciate throughout 2018? The answer is simple: YES! – as long as there are more purchasers in the market than there are available homes for them to buy. This is known as 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. Every month this year, demand (buyer traffic) has increased as compared to last year and for the first five months of 2018, supply (the number of available listings) had decreased as compared to last year. However, a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed the first year-over-year increase in supply in three years.

Here are the numbers for supply and demand as compared to last year since the beginning of 2018:

Supply & Demand Will Determine Future Home Values | MyKCM...

The #1 Reason to Put Your House on The Market TODAY!

The #1 Reason to Put Your House on The Market TODAY! | MyKCM

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the results of their latest Existing Home Sales Report which revealed that home sales declined 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in June from 5.41 million in May, and are 2.2% below a year ago. Some may look at these numbers and think that now is a bad time to sell their house, but in fact, the opposite is true.

The national slowdown in sales is directly tied to a lack of inventory available for the buyers who are out in the market looking for their dream homes! In fact, the inventory of homes for sale had fallen year-over-year for 36 consecutive months before posting a modest 0.5% gain last month and has had an upward impact on home prices.

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

“It’s important to note that despite the modest year-over-year rise in inventory, the current level is far from what’s needed to satisfy demand levels. Furthermore, it remains to be seen if this modest increase will stick, given the fact that the robust economy is bringing more interested buyers into the market, and new home construction is failing to keep up.”

The few houses that are on the market are selling fast!...

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.

...

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 time, many homeowners...

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

The counters are a...

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 out, was far from accurate....

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 is subpar. Those looking...

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.

...

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 can sometimes tell if...

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 rates increase,...

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 of home security...