Marin County Real Estate Blog

What to Know About Going Solar

What to Know About Going SolarSolar energy is being touted as a clean energy solution that can potentially save homeowners considerable money over the panel's lifetime. However, is solar the right choice for every homeowner?

Solar panels have become common in communities in California, New Jersey and Arizona. Learn more about solar energy before making the switch to sustainable energy today.

Solar Panels Provide Clean Energy

Traditional sources of energy create chemical by-products and may produce toxic emissions. Solar energy is a clean source of energy that has gained a following in many first world countries, including Germany and Japan. The United States is not only the only country taking advantage of solar panels for residential and commercial use. Solar energy is used in countries around the world to provide an affordable and sustainable energy source. The use of solar panels decreases a home's carbon footprint by approximately 35,180 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

Solar Panels Can Benefit Many Different Lifestyles

Solar power can be used not only by homeowners of traditional homes. Homeowners of tiny homes, apartments, RVs and mobile homes can all incorporate solar power to meet energy demands of their home. Those looking to become completely self-reliant, such as those living an off-grid lifestyle, can pair solar panels with batteries to securely store energy produced from a ...

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage?

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage? | MyKCM

There is little doubt that it is easier to get a home mortgage today than it was last year. The Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI), published by the Mortgage Bankers Association, shows that mortgage credit has become more available in each of the last several years. In fact, in just the last year:

  • More buyers are putting less than 20% down to purchase a home
  • The average credit score on closed mortgages is lower
  • More low-down-payment programs have been introduced

This has some people worrying that we are returning to the lax lending standards which led to the boom and bust that real estate experienced ten years ago. Let’s alleviate some of that concern.

The graph below shows the MCAI going back to the boom years of 2004-2005. The higher the graph line, the easier it was to get a mortgage.

Bubble Alert! Is it Getting Too Easy to Get a Mortgage? | MyKCM

As you can see, lending standards were much more lenient from 2004 to 2007. Though it has gradually...

Homeowners: Your House Must Be Sold TWICE

Homeowners: Your House Must Be Sold TWICE | MyKCM

In today’s housing market, where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values are increasing rapidly. Many experts are projecting that home values could appreciate by another 5%+ over the next twelve months. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal.

If prices are surging, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate, comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that recently closed) to defend the selling price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

Every month in their Home Price Perception Index (HPPI), Quicken Loans measures the disparity between what a homeowner who is seeking to refinance their home believes their house is worth, and an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home.

Bill Banfield, Executive VP of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans urges anyone looking to buy or sell in today’s market to remember the impact of this challenge:


Earn Money Back with Energy Efficient Upgrades with High ROI

Earn Money Back with Energy Efficient Upgrades with High ROIGreen improvements can improve the energy efficiency of a home and attract home buyers willing to pay a premium for valuable upgrades. Many new construction homes now include the option of systems serving to improve energy efficiency but owners of older homes can get in on this growing trend seen in homes across America.

Those with a renovation budget can easily allocate funds to make high ROI energy efficient upgrades before the year is out, whether you're in a San Anselmo home or elsewhere. What are the latest suggestions? Learn which energy efficient upgrades should top your home renovation list today.

Take Care of the “Envelope”

Addressing gaps and cracks can reduce heating and cooling costs, as sealing and insulating a home's exterior can reduce the heating and cooling demand of a home. Homeowners can improve the energy efficiency of a current home by:

  • Adding attic insulation to the floor
  • Filling spaces in the attic floor around areas such as recessed light fixtures, pipes, wiring and chimneys
  • Weather stripping doors and windows

This project can reduce energy bills while keeping a home at a comfortable temperature year round. Gaps and leaks can overwork an HVAC system and allow cool or hot...

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Going Up... Should I Wait to Buy?

Mortgage interest rates, as reported by Freddie Mac, have increased over the last several weeks. Freddie Mac, along with Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, is calling for mortgage rates to continue to rise over the next four quarters.

This has caused some purchasers to lament the fact that they may no longer be able to get a rate below 3.5%. However, we must realize that current rates are still at historic lows.

Here is a chart showing the average mortgage interest rate over the last several decades:

ortgage Interest Rates Are Going Up… Should I Wait to Buy? | MyKCM

Bottom Line

Though you may...

5 Tips to Sell Your Home Fast

5 Tips To Sell Your Home FastThe longer your home lingers on the market, the more money and time will be spent on maintaining the property. Getting a home in top shape before listing is one way to get more prospective buyers to consider making an offer on a home in the first few months. What should homeowners be doing in order to increase interest and get offers right away?

Implement the following suggestions prior to selling a home to make the most of every day it is on the market.

Boost a Home's Curb Appeal

Different changes may be suggested by a real estate agent in order to make a house more attractive to potential buyers. Agents often recommend planting seasonal flowers, giving the front door a fresh coat of paint and fixing cracks in the driveway or walkway.

When interested buyers see a property for the first time, it sets up their expectations of what the rest of the home will be like. Make needed repairs, give siding and decks a good power washing and remove any debris or unhealthy shrubs or plants. Some owners may also need to sod a yard if the grass is discolored, as this may be an indicator of a pest problem. A seller wants their home to look well-maintained and move-in ready.

Declutter and Clean

In order to make a home feel ready for a new occupant, make it as inviting as possible. A thorough deep-cleaning and the removal of extra furniture and knickknacks is generally suggested. Removing heavy furniture, family...

5 Reasons Homeownership Makes 'Cents'

 Reasons Homeownership Makes ‘Cents’ | MyKCM

The American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. Recent reports show that the US homeownership rate has rebounded from recent lows and is headed in the right direction. The personal reasons to own differ for each buyer, but there are many basic similarities.

Today we want to talk about the top 5 financial reasons you should own your own home.

  1. Homeownership is a form of forced savings – Paying your mortgage each month allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life for renovations, to pay off high-interest credit card debt, or even send a child to college. As a renter, you guarantee that your landlord is the person with that equity.
  2. Homeownership provides tax savings – One way to save on taxes is to own your own home....

What Is The Contingency Period? An FAQ for Home Buyers

All About the Contingency PeriodOne of the parts of the home buying process is the contingency period. Knowing what the contingency period is and what your role is during the contingency period can help you purchase the home you want.

The contingency period is a period of time that occurs an offer has been accepted and before the close of escrow. The period begins on the day that the offer is accepted, and ends on whatever day is listed in the contract paperwork. During the contingency period, the home buyer is allowed to inspect the home for problems and decide whether or not to proceed with the sale of your dream Port Reyes Station home.

What Can Be Done During the Contingency Period?

The type of inspections that a home buyer chooses to perform during the contingency period depends on the home buyer. Most home buyers choose to get a standard home inspection performed by a certified home inspector. During the standard home inspection, the inspector will look at various systems in the home such as:

  • Plumbing
  • Roofing
  • Electrical
  • Appliances
  • Flooring

In addition to the standard home inspections, many home buyers will also choose to get specialized inspections. For example, home buyers may also decide to have the home inspected for termites. This is not included as a standard part of...

Why Sell Now Instead of Later? The Buyers are Out Now

Each year, most homeowners wait until the spring to sell their houses because they believe that they can get a better deal during the normal spring buyer’s market. However, recently released data suggests that a seller’s best deal may be available right now. The concept of ‘supply & demand’ reveals that the best price for an item will be realized when the supply of that item is low and the demand for that item is high. Let’s see how this applies to the current residential real estate market.


It is no secret that the supply of homes for sale has been far below the number needed for over a year. A normal market requires six months of housing inventory to meet the demand. The latest report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed that there is currently only a 4.2-month supply.

Supply is currently very low!!


A report that was just released tells us that demand is very strong. The most recent Foot Traffic Report (which sheds light on the number of buyers out looking at homes) disclosed that there are more buyers right now than at any other time in the last twelve months. This includes more buyers looking at homes...

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