Marin County Real Estate Blog

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...

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...

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...

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 (...

Effective Marketing Strategies for Selling a Home

7 Ways to Market a Home for SaleSelling a home requires a solid marketing approach to get a good price without a long wait. When you and all the other home sellers in the market are all competing to sell homes to the same individuals, the right tactics could make all the difference. These tips help sellers determine how to market their homes ideally, to suit any buyer.

1. Hire an Experienced Agent

Although many people will sell a home at some point in their lives, it really is a professional activity. Hundreds of thousands of dollars changes hands in this transaction, which demands an expert hand. Hiring a real estate agent who has experience in the area will help sellers to understand the dynamics of the market in their region and local neighborhood, what buyers in the area expect to see, and how best to approach selling the home quickly.

2. Set Effective Pricing

Part of bringing on a professional to help sell a home is to determine the right price for the property. Homes that are listed too high are less likely to get buyer interest. Sellers that list the home far too low may make buyers wonder what is wrong with the property. Effective pricing ensures that buyers will seek more information once they see the list price, if they think the home may be right for them. An agent can do a market analysis for the neighborhood to select a sale price that is likely to match an appraisal....

The Best in New Building Technology

How New Building Technology Can Lower the Cost of a HomeNew building technology is not only speeding up the pace of construction, it's also making homes safer and less expensive to purchase. Home building is somewhat late to the table when it comes to getting a high-tech upgrade, but there's still been plenty of progress in the field. While certain neighborhoods (and buyers) will adopt the new breakthroughs faster than others, all home buyers should be aware of emerging methodologies so they can make an informed decision before moving forward when building a new construction home.

Drones

One of the most common technologies in building today, drones have the ability to scout out the best locations when it comes to where to build. They can also be used to monitor the construction process as a whole. This not only cuts down on time, it also provides an opportunity for investors and construction leaders alike to get an accurate overview of exactly what's being done as it's being done. The enhanced visibility gives leaders a chance to spot inefficiencies wherever they happen to be so they can be corrected immediately.

3D Lasers

A 3D laser scanner can be used in conjunction with a drone to give information about each building site. A drone will show if a stockpile is present on the property or site, but a 3D scanner can give precise measurements (within 2 millimeters) of the height and width of each object. So if there was a row of bushes or trees that were blocking...

Are You Aware of How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

Are You Aware of How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? You May Be Surprised! | MyKCM

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 675,000 US homeowners regained positive equity in their homes in 2017. This is great news for the country, as 95.1% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

U.S homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all the properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of $908.4 billion since the fourth quarter 2016, an increase of 12.2%, year over year.”

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

Home-price growth has been the primary driver of home-equity wealth creation. The CoreLogic Home Price Index grew 6.2 percent...

4 Major Types of Real Estate Investment

What You Need to Know About Different Types of Real Estate InvestmentDespite ups and downs in the real estate market over the past decade, as well as recent changes to tax laws, real estate investments can still be every bit as profitable as promised for the right investor. Even as megacorporations and billionaire investors snatch up skyscrapers and vacant beach plots, there are still ways for an investor to get their start even without the luxury of endless capital. Before beginning negotiations, though, it helps to learn more about each type of real estate along before determining which property makes the most sense for an investor's budget and lifestyle.

Basic Definitions

The lingo for real estate can be somewhat confusing, with certain terms being swapped out for others depending on the circumstances. For a general overview though, here are a few basic definitions:

  • Residential real estate: single-family homes duplexes, condos, and townhomes (regardless of when they happened to be built.)
  • Co-ops: a type of real estate investment where a corporation buys a multi-unit building or development. Instead of having buyers flat-out buy their unit, they instead invest in shares in the corporation equivalent to what their unit costs.
  • Commercial real estate: buildings used for business purposes, whether it's an office, storefront, or apartment building.
  • Vacant land: refers to buying a plot of land that has not yet been developed in any way.

Rental Properties

With a rental...

Lighting Tips for Different Parts of the House

Tips to Pick the Right Type of Lighting For Your HomeWhether a homeowner is trying to sell a home or simply trying to create a more pleasant environment to live, updating the lighting can have a very big impact on the appearance and functionality of the interior space. These lighting suggestions can help a homeowner who is trying to improve the appearance of their home.

Kitchen

The kitchen is a part of the home where people need a variety of lighting conditions. For example, someone preparing food at the counter can benefit from task lighting, whereas someone cutting vegetables at the table might prefer lighting from all angles to prevent shadows. Providing a variety of light sources including overhead lighting, task lighting and pendant lighting can help prevent accidents like burns, cuts, slips and falls.

Bathroom

Like the kitchen, the bathroom should come with a variety of different lighting types in order to reduce the chance of accidents. The bathroom is a place where people commonly slip and fall. Lighting can help people see the hazards in the bathroom to prevent these slips and falls from taking place.

Recessed lighting over the shower and toilet is especially important because these are two areas where accidents commonly occur. In addition, pendant lighting over the vanity and mirror make it easier for the bathroom user to arrange hair, put on makeup and examine themselves in the mirror.

Dining Room

...

A New Housing Bubble Forming...Not Before 2024!

A New Housing Bubble Forming…Not Before 2024! | MyKCM

A recent report by CoreLogic revealed that U.S. home values appreciated by more than 37% over the last five years. Some are concerned that this is evidence we may be on the verge of another housing “boom & bust” like the one we experienced from 2006-2008.

Recently, several housing experts weighed in on the subject to alleviate these fears.

Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac Chief Economist

“The evidence indicates there currently is no house price bubble in the U.S., despite the rapid increase of house prices over the last five years.”

Edward Golding, a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center

...

Competition is Coming, Are You Thinking of Selling Your Home?

Competition is Coming, Are You Thinking of Selling Your Home? | MyKCM

The number of building permits issued for single-family homes is the best indicator of how many newly built homes will rise over the next few months. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Residential Sales Report, the number of these permits were up 7.4% over last year.

How will this impact buyers?

More inventory means more options. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, explained this is good news for the housing market – especially for those looking to buy:

“This rise in single-family housing construction will help tame home...

5 Things You Need to Know About Home Insurance

A Short Guide to Home InsuranceHome insurance tends to be just one more box to check off on an extremely long to-do list when buying a home. After being bombarded with down payments, closing costs, and fees when buying a home, new homeowners have a tendency to opt for the lowest possible premium. But there are a few things to know about homeowner's insurance before going this route, and thankfully they don't have anything to do with that 100-page policy full of technical jargon and subclauses.

Homeowners May Cover Certain Repairs

Expenses for homeowners may go far beyond the standard $1,000 deductible. There are certain major catastrophes where homeowners are expected to pay a certain percentage of the fees before their insurance will step in. The more dangerous of an area the homeowner lives in, the higher the percentage will be. For example, hurricane-prone Florida insurance companies expect homeowners to pay up to 10% of the home's total insured value first. So if the home is insured for $100,000 and the damage is $20,000, a homeowner will need to pay half of the total damages or $10,000.

The Claims Process Matters

Some insurance companies are known to have very stringent requirements in terms of when they will pay out on damage, whether that means they will delay the process or deny claims that don't meet their criteria. It's extremely important to sign up with a company who has a...

Selling Your Home In a Buyers Market? These Tips Can Help

How to Sell Your Home In A Buyer's MarketA buyer's market is what happens when there are many attractive homes on the market and not enough buyers to purchase them. This type of market creates conditions where home prices are low and buyers have their pick of many desirable houses. Selling a home under these conditions can be a challenge, because sellers have to take additional steps to ensure their home stands out to buyers. Homeowners who wish to sell their property in a buyer's market must do what they can to make their property stand out. These tips will help you attract buyers and make your Greenbrae home more competitive.

Boost Curb Appeal

First impressions are lasting impressions. Sellers who boost curb appeal before they sell can often increase their home's sale price by as much as $10,000 or $15,000. There are many ways to improve curb appeal and make your home more desirable. A few tips include:

  • Plant colorful annuals
  • Clean up yard debris
  • Clean or paint your home's siding
  • Trim your grass regularly

Many home sellers choose to hire a professional gardener during the home selling process. Hiring a gardener can help ensure that the yard will be in good condition even if the seller becomes too busy to maintain the yard personally.

Stage Your Property

Staging a home before putting...

The Ultimate Mover's Checklist

How to Handle Your Moving DeadlinesThere's really no way to completely avoid the stress of moving, but it is possible for people who have just purchased a home to lessen the chaos when they have the right plan in place. Making a checklist and sticking to it can be a lifesaver when buyers are in the thick of the chaos of moving to a new home. Buyers can use these tips to bring everything together so they (and their belongings) can get through it all in one piece.

At the Beginning of the Moving Process:

  • Sort through possessions
  • Research mover's quotes
  • Track correspondence
  • Order boxes/tape/bubble wrap

Ideally, these are the things buyers should do as soon as they know they're moving. Waiting to sort through and throw things away can be an overwhelming task when buyers also have to deal with the stress of finalizing real estate transactions, packing, and meeting with agents, lenders, and real estate attorneys. Make sure to keep all moving information (receipts, schedules, etc.) in either a physical or electronic location. When it comes to estimates from moving companies, make sure to get on-site written estimates rather than over-the-phone quotes to ensure that the quote will be honored.

In the Middle of the Moving Process:

  • Double- and triple-check dimensions for easy furniture transport
  • Pack rarely used items away
  • Label boxes...

Calm Down! The Real Estate Market is NOT Falling Apart

Calm Down! The Real Estate Market is NOT Falling Apart | MyKCM

There has been tremendous volatility in certain markets over the last few weeks (for example, the stock and currency markets). When this happens, some tend to lump all of their investments together and create an almost ‘Armageddon’ scenario where everything loses value quickly and dramatically. Real estate is an investment that can get caught up in this hysteria. Does the concern about the current housing market have merit?

Financial advisors have been warning us for months that the stock market was ripe for a “correction.”

Experts have been questioning the value of alternative currencies for over a year.

In contrast, here are the opinions of three major players in the residential housing market:

Ralph DeFranco, Chief Economist, Arch Capital Services Inc.

“It’s premature to worry about a housing bubble. The typical warning signs – excessive debt levels, poor quality loans, exponentially increasing home prices, rising vacancy rates and/or poor affordability compared to the past, and a high number of internet searches on house flipping – are not present.”

Liu-Down, Genworth Chief Economist

“My thoughts on many recent discussions of ‘housing bubble’ – the bar for a housing bubble is higher...

What You Need to Know About Home-Buying Contingencies

How Home Buying Contingencies Can Affect YouThere are multiple steps in any real estate transaction that have to be completed before the sale can complete. There are showings, inspections, financing requirements, and so much more, all of which is often written into the purchase contract as a home-buying contingency to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that there's recourse should one party fall through on an agreement. Home-buying contingencies are clauses in the home buying contract that allow the buyer to cancel the purchase or renegotiate the contract under certain circumstances. In a typical contract, there are three standard contingencies that are likely to appear. Familiarizing yourself with these contingencies can help guide you through the home buying process.

Inspection Contingency

The inspection contingency allows a home owner to renegotiate the price of the home or cancel the purchase of the home depending on the findings from the home inspection.

One of the first things a home buyer does after entering into the escrow period is schedule a home inspection for the Fairfax home. The inspector goes through the house thoroughly and uncovers the problems that exist with major systems like the roof, plumbing, electrical system and so on. The inspector writes a report to be reviewed by the home buyer, who then must decide what action...

Millionaire to Millennials: Don't Rent a Home... Buy!

In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: The biggest mistake millennials are making is not buying their first home.” He goes on to say that, “If you want to build real financial security, real wealth for your lifetime, then you need to buy a home.

Bach went on to explain:

“Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters. Now, that first home doesn’t need to be a dream home, it can be a very small home. You might literally have to buy a small studio apartment, but that’s how you get started.”

Then he explains the secret in order to buy that home!

Don’t do a 30-year mortgage. You want to take that 30-year mortgage and instead pay it off early,...

Make the Most of Your Patio: 5 Ways to Create an Outdoor Living Space

Tips for Designing an Outdoor Living SpaceThe most valuable and desirable homes on the market offer buyers more than just beautiful gourmet kitchens with state-of-the-art appliances and bathrooms that are more akin to the spas that are found on resorts. While these indoor amenities are wonderful, many buyers today are looking for luxury properties that also have amazing outdoor living spaces.

Whether a homeowner lives in a quaint, intimate house or a sprawling estate, there are a few easy ways to transform a standard backyard into an exquisite outdoor living area.

Use Canopies to Create Both Shade and Privacy

Whether permanently installed or detachable after the season is over, canopies can transform a standard patio or deck into a private oasis for outdoor living. Canopies increase the comfort of an outdoor area by providing a naturally cool spot to relax in a Dillon Beach home, and they also create an atmosphere that is better for intimate gatherings of family members and friends. It allows people to spend time outside in their backyards, without feeling like they are on display for all of their neighbors at the same time. Canopies also add a stylish design element to any outdoor living space and can offer further opportunities for decorating with lights and other outdoor features.

Invest in Comfortable, Weather-Proof Furniture

Gone are the days when people placed a simple picnic...

If You're Considering Selling, ACT NOW!!

If You’re Considering Selling, ACT NOW!! | MyKCM

Definitely an aggressive headline. However, as the final data on the 2017 housing market rolls in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME!

How did we finish 2017?

  1. New-home sales were at their highest level in a decade.
  2. Sales of previously owned homes were at their highest level in more than a decade.
  3. Starts of single-family homes were their strongest in a decade and applications to build such properties advanced to the fastest pace since August 2007.

And Bloomberg Business just reported:

“America’s housing market is gearing up for a robust year ahead. Builders are more optimistic, demand is strong and lean inventory is keeping prices elevated.”

And the National Association of Realtors revealed that buyer traffic is stronger this winter than it was during the spring buying season...