Marin County Real Estate Blog

San Anselmo Downtown. Creekside Pizza and Taproom!

Pat Townsley and Janet Abrahamson are set to open Creekside Pizza & Taproom  at 638 San Anselmo Avenue sometime in August. The location, formerly occupied by the much-loved LoCoco's Pizzeria, has seen a couple of short-lived restaurant efforts come and go since Filippo LoCoco retired several years ago, but nothing that inspired the same customer loyalty.  Partners Pat and Janet mean to change that. Both bring a wide variety of experience to the effort--- management of bars, restaurants, clubs, catering companies, grocery outlets, and more. They first crossed paths as employees of New George's, and both were looking for a new project when they decided to become partners in realizing their vision for a unique restaurant in the heart of San Anselmo. They have spent months designing and renovating the space to their specifications with beautiful esthetics, up-to-date technology, and even a separate room for group events. 

The copper-covered bar will offer, on-tap, 30 craft beers, 1 cider, 2 kombucha,  5 wines (including 2 red, 2 white, and 1 seasonal), Coffee Roasters coffee, and bottled wines from Skywalker Vineyards. There's even on-tap root beer for kids and non-drinkers! The new menu will feature pizzas, pastas, and more-- . New ovens are currently on order and slated to arrive soon. Both Pat and Janet attended Tony Gemignani's International School of Pizza in San Francisco to bring authentic Italian taste and texture to their pies, which they look forward to serving their customers, starting very soon.

So if you love...

75% of Homeowners Think Now is a Good Time to Sell!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released the findings of their Q2 Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey. The report covers core topics like, “if now is a good time to buy or sell a home, the perception of home price changes, perceived ability to qualify for a mortgage, and [an] outlook on the U.S. economy.”

The survey revealed that 75% of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, compared to 70% last quarter. This is a considerable increase from more than a year ago when 66% agreed.

Even though homeowners believe that now is a good time to sell, many have not taken the step to list their homes, as inventory shortages still exist across the country. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist, had this to say:

"There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy...

As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth.”

Bottom Line

If you are wondering if now is a good time to sell your house, let’s get together to discuss the opportunities available in our market.

Contact the Gold Country Modern Team, your Amador County real estate connection, for assistance buying or selling a home in the Gold Country.


Tips to Help Boost the Appeal of an Older Home

Staging an Old House TipsLiving in an older home has many advantages, including high ceilings, intricate woodwork, and larger lots with more usable outdoor space. But even homeowners who have loved living in an older home will admit that there may be some challenges involved when selling their home in markets filled with newer construction homes. For the owners of older homes who are preparing it for market, the following list of makeover ideas will help boost its appeal, make it more competitive, and get an older home sold faster and for a better price.

Remove overgrown landscaping 

Since many older homes are situated on larger lots than those of newer homes, there may be more bushes, trees, and shrubbery surrounding the home. If this greenery has not been trimmed recently, it can look shaggy and unkempt, damaging the curb appeal of the home. Since many buyers make snap decisions based on their impressions of the exterior of the home – even in desirable real estate markets such as Belvedere – overgrown landscaping may prevent them from wanting to see the inside of the home, potentially costing the seller a sale.

Freshen exterior surfaces 

Once the landscaping has been addressed, owners of older homes will also want to spend some time freshening up the exterior of the home. Some ideas for this might include: 

  • Making sure gutters are clean and any storm debris, dead leaves,...

Do You Know How Much Equity You Have in Your Home?

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 91,000 properties regained equity in the first quarter of 2017. This is great news for the country, as 48.2 million of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

One million borrowers achieved positive equity over the last year, which means risk continues to steadily decline as a result of increasing home prices.”

Frank Martell, President and CEO of CoreLogic, believes this is a great sign for the market in 2017 as well, as he had this to say:

Homeowner equity increased by $766 billion over the last year, the largest increase since Q2 2014. The rising cushion of home equity is one of the main drivers of improved mortgage performance. Since home equity is the largest source of homeowner wealth, the increase in home equity also supports consumer balance sheets, spending and the broader economy.”

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

According to the Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index (HPSI), more homeowners are beginning to realize that they may have more equity than they first thought.

This is only the second time in the survey’s history...

Understanding Capital Gains Taxes and the Home Selling Process

All About Capital Gains Tax for Home SellersWhen selling a home, there is a potential to sell a home for a significant profit compared to the purchase cost. When a seller is able to complete a transaction selling a home and net a sizable profit, what do they do with the grim specter of tax liability now hanging over their head? Here's everything sellers need to know about capital gains, and how sellers can maximize tax deductions in the year a home is sold.

Why Do Home Sellers Face Taxes?

Nearly everything bought and sold in the United States faces some kind of taxation. In business, people are required to pay taxes on the money they get for the products and services they sell, minus the amount of money they spent to create the products. Selling a home makes home owners akin to a short-term business owner. As such, sellers are expected to pay capital gains taxes on the amount of money they received for the sale of the home minus the amount of money paid for it. If the seller received the home as a gift, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will calculate the difference based on the adjusted cost basis or fair market value of the home at the time of the gift.

How Are Capital Gains Taxes Calculated?

The amount of money sellers have to pay in an effective...

Homeownership Is a Good Financial Investment!

According to a recent report by Trulia, “buying is cheaper than renting in 100 of the largest metro areas by an average of 33.1%.” The report may have some people thinking about buying a home instead of signing another lease extension, but does that make sense from a financial perspective?

Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s Chief Economist explains:

“Owning a home is one of the most common ways households build long-term wealth, as it acts like a forced savings account. Instead of paying your landlord, you can pay yourself in the long run through paying down a mortgage on a house.”

The article listed five reasons why owning a home makes financial sense:

  • Mortgage payments can be fixed while rents go up.
  • Equity in your home can be a financial resource later.
  • You can build wealth without paying capital gains.
  • A mortgage can act as a forced savings account.
  • Overall, homeowners can enjoy greater wealth growth than renters. 

Bottom Line

Before you sign another lease, let’s get together and discuss all your options.

Contact the Marin Modern Team, your Marin County real estate connection, for assistance buying or selling a home in Marin County California.


FHA Loans: An Informational Guide for Home Buyers

FHA Loans for First-Time Home BuyersShopping for the right home loan can be nearly as important as shopping for the right home. Failing to compare the benefits and limitations of each type of loan option can mean paying unnecessary costs and fees associated with obtaining the home loan as well as higher interest rates over the life of the loan. Since the Federal Housing Administration was created as part of the National Housing Act of 1934, it has provided home loan options for millions of buyers and continues to offer benefits to thousands more each year.  

What is an FHA Home Loan?

FHA home loans are not actually issued by the Federal Housing Administration. Instead, these loans are issued by approved banks and lending institutions and insured by the FHA. If a home owner defaults on their FHA home loan, the Federal Housing Administration pays a claim to the issuing lender. This practice allows lenders to make loans to more borrowers while incurring less risk.

Benefits of Using an FHA Loan

FHA home loan programs can benefit home buyers in a number of ways. Some of the most popular benefits include: 

  • Low or no down payment options, usually no more than 3.5% of the purchase price of the home
  • An ability for buyers with lower credit scores to obtain an FHA loan
  • A stringent appraisal process to ensure the home is in good condition and buyers will...

69% of Home Buyers are Wrong About Down Payment Needs

According to a recent survey conducted by Genworth Financial Inc. at the Annual Mortgage Bankers’ Association Secondary Market Conference, 69% of mortgage professionals say that first-time buyers still believe a 20% down payment is necessary to buy in today’s market.

Nearly 40% of mortgage industry professionals surveyed believe that a lack of knowledge about the home-buying process is keeping potential buyers on the sidelines. Saving for a down payment is often cited as a huge barrier for first-time homebuyers to make the leap into homeownership.

If homeowners believe that they need a 20% down payment to enter the market, they also believe that they will have to wait years (in some markets) to come up with the necessary funds to buy their dream homes.

The greatest source of confusion cited in the survey results centered around down payments. The results are broken down in the chart below:

Rohit Gupta, CEO of Genworth Mortgage Insurance had this to say,

"While first-time homebuyers continue to drive the purchase market, we believe many are staying on the sidelines due to the misconception that a 20 percent down payment is required to secure a mortgage.

There are various low down payment options available today that allow prospective homebuyers to reach their dreams of homeownership sooner. It is crucial that, as an industry, we proactively educate eligible borrowers about solutions that will enable them to buy a home when they're ready....

Landscaping Before Selling: Is it Worth It?

When to Landscape Before SellingEveryone has heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover.” However, no matter how many times it’s said, people will continue to do so, and the phrase rings just as true for home buyers as it does for readers. No matter how beautiful the inside of a home, a buyer’s first impression will most likely be either through photos on an MLS or by visiting the home in person. Seeing an overgrown, unkempt exterior can stop some buyers from ever setting foot inside.

Landscaping doesn’t have to require spending thousands of dollars and dozens of hours of labor, though. Here are a few quick and easy tips to boost a home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank.

Prune Overgrown and Dead Plants

Large bushes have a tendency to grow out of their boundaries and get in the way of sidewalks or push into other plants’ space. Doing a quick prune to bring them back down to size can help open up a space and make it look cleaner. The same goes for other plants that like to sprawl out rather than stay in one designated spot.

Like getting rid of excess branches, don’t be afraid to completely get rid of dead and dying plants. While some plants might be salvageable, dried up flowers and brown shrubs can detract from the parts of the garden that are full of life and color.

Keep it Low Maintenance

Not everyone enjoys gardening or can dedicate multiple hours every week to maintaining vast gardens. Extra...

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