Marin County Real Estate Blog

7 Tips for Buying a Second Home

Owning Two HomesPurchasing a home is one of the most exciting times in a person's life. Yet some people don't stop with only one property.

You may be considering the prospect of buying a vacation house or rental property in addition to owning a main residence. Yet, before you go house hunting or place the down payment money on the closing table for the seller, there are several things you should first consider before getting a second home.

Check out these 7 tips to make the process easier for you.

What are Your Current and Future Goals?

Why do you want a second home? Do you plan on having it as a small vacation house in a faraway destination, or want to generate revenue by renting it out to tenants?

Your goals in wanting to purchase a second home will influence the size of the house you buy, where the house will be located, and how it will be used now as well as in the future. You may decide to purchase a second home to rent out now until you hit retirement, then move into the house later to spend your golden years as the first property will be given to your adult children to live in. This is one of many reasons for buying a second home - it is important to understand why you want to buy, and then discuss with your real estate agent.

Check Out Real Estate Market Conditions

This aspect is very important if you plan to sell the home in a few years, and if you are only purchasing it as investment property. A real estate agent can investigate the current and future real estate trends...

Tumbleweed Roam Free Moves to New Space at 570 San Anselmo Avenue

Tumbleweed Roam Free, the innovative and fun, family-owned and run boutique that we featured back in June has continued to flourish and evolve. The shop recently moved to 570 San Anselmo Avenue, former site of Beach Bella, and just up the street from the original location. Owner, Kacey Gardner says that the space works much better for their needs. Kacey, along with her husband Tim, daughter Sophie, and sons Duncan and Quinn have worked tirelessly, with love and creativity, and the results speak for themselves! They offer a constantly-evolving selection of  unique, interesting, high quality items for both women and men. They focus on local products but also travel to shows in LA, Las Vegas, or even New York to find just the right items for their eye-catching displays. Merchandise is ordered frequently in small batches, so the inventory is ever-evolving. If you're not familiar with this spot, take a look at our original blog post for details and then head on over for a personal visit; you're assured a warm welcome. And if you've already visited, but haven't seen the new store, you're in for a pleasant surprise next time you drop in.


The Life Cycle of a Mortgage

Mortgage Application and ServicingAs you search for a mortgage, you may think that your lender will be your loan provider and mortgage servicer for the life of the loan. The truth is more complicated, with many entities having some control over the process at various stages.

With this guide, you will gain a better understanding of every step of your mortgage, from the beginning of the loan process, to the final payment. To better understand how different mortgages will work within your personal situation, speak with a lender or financial advisor.

1. Researching Lenders

Before applying for a mortgage loan, home buyers often decide on a couple of lenders they would like to consider. Shopping around is more likely to give you better rates and terms, and to help you understand what is available with your income and credit. Unfortunately, about half of home buyers only seriously research one lender, and 77 percent of home buyers apply to only one lender.

2. The Difference between a Mortgage Pre-Qualification and a Mortgage Pre-Approval

Home buyers shopping for a mortgage should know the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and a pre-approval. In most cases, a mortgage pre-qualification is simply taking the information you provide and placing it into a mortgage calculator to determine if you have enough income to buy a home and your approximate...

2209 Mulberry Terrace, San Rafael. Just Sold!

My clients wanted an Eichler and there were almost none to be had.  We were fortunate to find this off-market, For Sale by Owner home in Lucas Valley, and they are now the very happy new owners! With 4 Bedrooms and 2 Baths, it is the perfect size for them, and it backs up to open space too. Needs just a few cosmetic touches to look and feel like home! The original radiant heating system still works and there is a brand new boiler.

If you're looking for a home to buy, getting ready to sell, or both, I'd love to help. Call, email, or text; I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Fred Anlyan

Fred's personal video

BRE 01336593



5 Home Inspection Issues Buyers Should Never Ignore

Home Issues Buyers Can't IgnoreThe home inspection process is a critical part of the home buying process. If no serious defects are found by the home inspector, buyers can feel that their choice of a home was a good one and allow themselves to move confidently forward toward closing and home ownership.

If, however, one or more serious flaws are found during the examination of the structure, a home inspection contingency allows buyers the opportunity to ask the seller to address serious issues in some fashion or choose to exercise their contingency by opting out of the real estate contract.

If you are a buyer who is about to enter the home inspection phase of the purchase process, you may be interested to know more about some of the serious issues that are sometimes found during a home inspection. Here are five findings that you should never ignore:


Mold is a serious issue that should never be ignored when found during a home inspection, or when a prior mold problem is disclosed by the seller. Known to cause significant health risks for the occupants including respiratory issues and headaches, mold growth often occurs in dark or hard to reach areas of the home and can be present for long periods before it is found.

The process of successfully removing all traces of mold from a home can require significant renovations and expense, so buyers should always pay serious attention to any mold issues found during the home inspection...

JUST LISTED - 6 Westward Drive, Corte Madera

Calling all the HGTV enthusiasts!  Here is a great fixer upper in a premium location.  Customize this home into your dream home and enjoy all the nearby amenities of gorgeous bayside walking trails, Nugget Market, The Village at Corte Madera and Town Center Shopping Mall.  Quick and easy access to Hwy 101 for commuters!  This 4 bedroom, 2 bath home is over 2200 sq ft and situated on over a quarter acre.  There is also a bay view to enjoy.  Watch the ferry come in and out of Larkspur all day long.  Also, this neighborhood is in the Tiburon Reed School District.  Hurry up...this one won't last.  There is real upside potential!

Offer price $1,100,000

OPEN HOUSE Thursday, Jan 12 10:30am - 2pm & Sunday, Jan 14 1-4pm for more information or call Enrica Ramm 415-471-6205 for a private showing.


What is a Home Warranty?

Umbrella Over House Indicating Protection

What is a home warranty vs. homeowners insurance? Homeowners insurance is a type of property insurance that protects the home against damages to the physical structure, to the owners possessions and it offers liability protection for incidents on the property or in the home itself.

A home warranty is a service contract that covers the homes major systems, i.e. electrical, plumbing inside the home, the heating system and the appliances.  Any breakdown on any of these systems can be very expensive to repair, so what a home warranty does is make the repair or replacement, way, way less stressful. This is especially true for a new homeowner as they've had to put so much of their money into the purchase of the home, the last thing they want is any unexpected financial surprises! The way a home warranty service contract works is that when something breaks, you contact your home warranty company and they send out a licensed, bonded repair person.  There is a flat fee service visit charge, generally about $65 per incident, that the homeowner will pay the repair person when they come to the home.  In return, the system or appliance will be repaired or replaced if it is unrepairable.   If it needs replacing, there are generally 2 options:  1) they will replace the broken item with a brand new like-quality, like-featured one, or 2) you may take a cash out price and buy and have installed what you want.  The cash out price is a set “contractors” price and there is no negotiating on it. 

If your newly purchased home came with a 1-year warranty, you have the option of renewing it or not, at the end of the year.  To that end, if you decide not to renew, but a year want one again, you can obtain one.  Likewise, you can...

Marin County Home Sellers; Avoid This Common Pitfall!

After the initial offer and negotiation, one of the most important facets of any real estate transaction is the inspection process and negotiations around the findings. Trial lawyers have an old addage that admonishes them never to ask a question to which they do not already know the answer. They don't like surprises! Similarly, as a Seller, it is not in your best interest to let  buyers embark on the inspection process with your home when you don't know exactly what they're likely to find. They'll most likely ask for compensation in the form of closing credits or price reductions for any conditions they discover which were not known or disclosed in advance. And it can get expensive! Buyers I have represented have received credits in excess of $100,000 for conditons discovered during inspections. The results of their inspections have to be disclosed to any subsequent potential buyer, so moving on to the next prospect is not necessarily an effective strategy.  Next to this, the fees for advance inspections seem like quite a bargain! And I recommend using the best inspectors, not the bargain guys who come out and do the pest and general inspections at the same time. Get the top local inspectors, the tough ones. Then make the inspections a part of your pre-offer disclosure packet. That way, the defects revealed are considered to be figured into the offer you receive. I recommend obtaining the following inspections, at a minimum: 1. General Home Inspection 2. Pest Inspection 3. Sewer lateral inspection and 4. Fireplace/Chimney inspection if applicable. If any of these reports recommends further inspection, prudent sellers may want to heed that advice; it's actually cheap insurance! Most buyers and their agents will still want to perform their own inspections and sure, they'll find a few things,...

Marin’s secluded treasured paradise for the 55 and over community

Are a wonderful community of people, tranquility, and nature qualities that you are looking for in your next home? That is exactly what you will find and more if you choose to live in the community nestled in the hills of southern Novato overlooking the San Pablo Bay within the Marin Valley Mobile Country Club (MVMCC).

With the average price of a home in Marin County hovering around $1,000,000, Marin Valley Mobile Country Club provides a wonderful alternative to residents 55 years old and over where homes are priced well below the county average.  The views that surround the park are of rolling hills, pastures, wetlands, San Pablo Bay and even to the East Bay hills. The wildlife is as diverse as the views ~ your neighbors will include quail, wild turkey, coyotes, deer and many species of birds to name a few.

Buying a home in this community provides more than a roof over your head, you are buying into a community of wonderful people and amenities. The Clubhouse at MVMCC boasts some of the best views in the park and hosts wonderful weekly events such as exercise classes, meditation, dance parties, game nights, poker, crafting, dinners and a pub night every Friday. There is a gym filled with top of the line exercise equipment, saunas, a pool and a spa tub that rivals most gyms in Marin. Whatever your pleasure, the card room and billiards room with four pool tables, full library and the fireside lounge provides entertainment for all. The walls of the clubhouse feature work of artists in residence of the community, and the koi pond is filled with gorgeous fish surrounded with native plants.  Whistlestop comes...

Honoring our Fiduciary Duty to our Clients

Honoring our clients – How seriously do Realtors take their fiduciary duty?

A Realtors fiduciary duty to the client is a serious commitment and also like walking through a mine field. We are constantly faced with new and surprising challenges and how we handle them can make or break the success of a transaction.

There are several variables at play in each transaction and all effect the outcome. Our morals, our clients best interest, the agent on the other side, our broker, the client on the other side, lending, title, legal, and financial requirements, environmental issues and apparently all the other agents in our market because as I found out yesterday they will talk about you when they don’t prevail.

With all of these entities to consider the most important and first in line should always be our clients and our fiduciary duty to them. The problem with this crucial duty is there is no rule book. There is no step by step guide on how to always make the right decisions, while battling all the other forces.

Yes, there are guidelines about disclosures and other issues but there isn’t a book that instructs you what to do when your client has special circumstances that are effecting their lives, when you have to consider everything else that your client is experiencing on top of buying or selling a home.   It’s something you have to figure out as you go and the story varies with each transaction because in each transaction you have all the other variables at play and you never know what is going to be thrown at you. Transactions are like snowflakes, no two are alike.

I take my ...

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