Marin County Real Estate Blog

Advantages and Disadvantages of Fixer-Uppers

How to Buy a Fixer Upper HomeWhen searching for a home, buyers are likely to find a large selection of homes that are move-in ready as well as fixer-uppers. A fixer-upper can seem like a great deal, but there are many things to consider before committing to purchase one. Here are some advantages and disadvantages all buyers should know when considering a fixer-upper for their next home.


  • One of the best things about a fixer-upper is how much opportunity there is to customize the home. If a home has ugly, outdated bathrooms, the buyer is already going in with the intention to remodel and change things to their liking. 
  • Compared to a move-in ready home, a fixer-upper is usually going to be far more affordable when it comes to the price of just the home. This can make a fixer-upper appealing to almost anyone, but especially buyers who want a certain type of home but don’t have the funds for one that’s completely move-in ready.
  • Homebuyers interested in a fixer-upper will also be able to take advantage of lower property taxes than other similar homes that are move-in ready. This is because a home’s property taxes are based on its sale price, so the cheaper the home, the cheaper the taxes. If the home in question is historic, the homeowner may even qualify...

Selling Your Home? Four Painting Ideas to Help Add Value and Appeal

Energy Saving Upgrades for the HomeGiving buyers what they want has always been the easiest way to sell a home and this remains true even in today's current seller's real estate market. Studies show that energy efficient upgrades are increasingly in high demand among buyers. In fact, according to a survey done by the National Association of Home Builders, the average homebuyer may be willing to pay an additional $7,000 for a home that is likely to result in a $1,000 or more of annual savings on energy bills.

Sellers who want to entice these buyers may want to consider making one or more of the following improvements to their home before putting it on the market.

Adding Additional Insulation

One of the best ways to lower utility bills and corresponding energy usage is to reduce the amount of heat loss in winter and make it easier for the home to retain cool air in the summer. In existing homes that are more than a few years old, adding additional insulation remains one of the most cost effective ways to accomplish this goal.

While most newer homes are now being built to meet more energy efficient standards, older houses may have far less than optimal insulation amounts. In addition to visually inspecting the amount of insulation in attics, crawl spaces...

U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low... List Your House TODAY!

U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low… List Your House TODAY! | MyKCM

Every summer, families across the country decide if this will be the year they sell their current house and move into their dream home.

Mortgage rates have hovered around 4% for all of 2017, forcing buyers off the fence and into the market, resulting in incredibly strong demand RIGHT NOW!! At the same time, inventory levels of homes for sale have dropped dramatically as compared to this time last year.

Trulia reported that “U.S. home inventory has tumbled 8.9% over the past year and has now fallen for nine consecutive quarters.” There is now 20% less inventory than there was five years ago.

Here is a chart showing the decrease in inventory levels by category:

U.S. Housing Inventory Hits a New Low… List Your House TODAY! | MyKCM

Bottom Line


Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW!

Thinking of Selling? You Should Act NOW! | MyKCM

If you thought about selling your house this year, now more than ever may be the time to do it! The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, recently commented:

“Buyer interest is solid, but there is just not enough supply to satisfy demand. Prospective buyers are being sidelined by both limited choices and home prices that are climbing too fast.”

Yun goes on to say:

"Current demand levels indicate sales should be stronger, but it's clear some would-be buyers are having to delay or postpone their home search because low supply is leading to worsening affordability conditions."


Buying vs. Renting: Which Is Right for You?

Deciding Whether to Buy or Rent When Choosing a HomeBuying a home is exciting, but when you have been renting for a long time it can also come with some unexpected feelings and changes. It is important to know what those will be before making the switch, so the transition from one to the other can be as seamless as possible. This will not guarantee there won't be any issues that come up, but it will help make things more comfortable.

Anyone who has been renting for a long time is used to that particular way of life, and it is different from buying in several ways. Considering how they feel about those ways will help them decide if they want to continue renting for longer, or if they would prefer to make the choice to buy and have a house of their own.

There Will Be Added Responsibilities

When someone rents and a pipe bursts, they call the landlord. The same is true for a water heater that quits working, or an electrical outlet or appliance that doesn't function properly. It can be nice to just call someone up when something breaks and not have to pay to have it fixed. That's easy to get used to, but it is not the reality when you own a home. Shifting from renting to buying means you no longer have that personal handyman to correct problems for free, and paying for anything that breaks is no longer someone else's responsibility, which is also something that homeowners should consider when they're choosing whether to ...

Homeowners: Your Home Must Be Sold TWICE

Homeowners: Your Home 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, as compared to an appraiser’s evaluation of that same home.

Bill Banfield, 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:

“While a 1 or 2 percent difference...

8 Things You Must Have to Show Your Home

Home Showing Tips to Better Sell Your HomeWhen you show your home for sale, there are several things that go into the sale. Your home showing will run much more smoothly if you take the time to make sure these elements are in order. Here's what to do.

Home Information

Anyone who comes to visit a home is likely to ask a lot of questions about the property. The seller will not be there, so the burden is there to have all the relevant details available for the buyer’s agent to answer. If possible, include this information in writing for easy reference, including square footage and data about improvements to the home and property over time.

Equipment Documentation

Just like the structure of the home, buyers want to know all about the equipment and systems. A house full of old technology might be less enticing than a home with relatively recent upgrades. Gather information about appliances and their upkeep, where applicable. Be sure to include heating, air conditioning, water heater and water softener, if one is present.

Cleaning Station

No matter how clean the home is when you list it, sellers will have to do spot-checks right before a showing. Create a cleaning station with everything necessary to go from one room to the next. Make sure that the system in use, be it a rolling cart, tub or caddy, is easily portable to...

How to Paint a Room: Tips for Painting Interior Walls

Different Methods of How to Paint a RoomWhether fixing up a home in preparation to sell or personalizing one that was just purchased, a fresh coat of paint can bring your Bolinas home together and give it a new look. Here’s a glimpse at what it takes to get the job done on a standard interior wall.

The Paint

All paint is not created equally. One gallon of paint can range from $10 to $120, depending on the brand and finish. Fortunately, a high price tag doesn’t mean a paint is the highest quality. A $30 paint can work just as well, if not better, than the expensive stuff.

Aside from price, one important factor to consider when buying paint is the type. For the average wall in a bedroom or living room, an eggshell finish is always reliable, but there are other finishes to consider as well. There’s also the decision between oil and latex paints. 

Lastly, for most interior walls, getting a paint with the primer already mixed in will save time. These paints may be more expensive than the ones without primer, but they can result in fewer coats, which means fewer gallons to buy.

Prep Work

Now that the paint...

Be Thankful You Don't Have to Pay Mom and Dad's Interest Rate

e Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Mom and Dad’s Interest Rate | MyK

Interest rates have hovered around 4% for the majority of 2017, which has given many buyers relief from rising home prices and has helped with affordability. Experts predict that rates will increase by the end of 2017 and will be about three-quarters of a percentage point higher, at 4.5%, by the end of 2018.

Last week’s Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey revealed that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have fallen to their lowest mark this year, at 3.88%. This is great news for homebuyers looking to purchase and homeowners looking to refinance.

The rate you secure greatly impacts your monthly mortgage payment and the amount you will ultimately pay for your home.

Let’s take a look at a historical view of interest rates over the last 45 years.

e Thankful You Don’t Have to Pay Mom and Dad’s Interest Rate | MyK...

NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell!

We all realize that the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and the supply of that item is limited. Two major reports issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) revealed information that suggests that now continues to be a great time to sell your house.

Let’s look at the data covered in the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index and Existing Home Sales Report.


Every month, NAR surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions.” This month, the index showed (again) that home-buying demand continued to outpace supply in May.

The map below illustrates buyer demand broken down by state (the darker your state, the stronger the demand is there).

NAR Data Shows Now Is a Great Time to Sell! | MyKCM

In addition to revealing high demand, the index also mentioned that “compared to conditions in the same month last year, seller traffic conditions were ‘weak’ in 24 states, ‘stable’ in 25 states, and ‘strong’ in D.C and West Virginia.

Takeaway: Demand for housing...

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