Marin County Real Estate Blog

Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming

Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming | 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 7.7% over last year.

How will this impact buyers?

More inventory means more options. Danielle Hale,’s Chief Economist, explained this is good news for the housing market - especially for those looking to buy:

"It's not spectacular construction growth, but it's slow and steady in the right direction. Eventually, the pickup in single-family home construction will mean [buyers] will have more options. Especially with the limited number of sales right now, more options are really needed."

How will this impact sellers?

More inventory means more competition. Today, because of the tremendous lack of inventory, a seller can expect:

  1. A great price on their home as buyers outbid each other for it
  2. A quick sale as buyers have so little to choose from
  3. Fewer hassles as buyers don’t want to “rock the boat”...

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | MyKCM

According to a survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.

After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.

“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.” gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. in order to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | MyKCM...

Curb Appeal: It's All in the Details

How to Get the Most Out of Your Curb AppealOn a listing, a property that offers an updated gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and a jetted tub in the bathroom may seem like a total catch. But if an interested buyer drives by the home to find overgrown landscaping or a brown yard rather than lush, green grass, those interior upgrades and effective staging tricks are not going to matter. Curb appeal is one of the most important factors in a seller's ability to list their home for the highest price possible and sell it in the shortest amount of time.

According to, curb appeal can boost a seller's property value by up to 20 percent. On the surface, it may seem like curb appeal requires a well-manicured lawn and a nice looking exterior, but there's actually a lot of details to consider when improving the curb appeal of a property that is going to be listed on the market.

5 Small Details that Make a Big Impact on Curb Appeal

  1. The Mowing Lines. Most sellers know that they need to mow their lawn regularly when their property is on the market. However, many do not realize that their mowing technique can have a big impact on a buyer's impression of their home. Sellers should make an effort to mow straight lines, as this gives the home a clean, crisp and tidy appearance. In a desirable community like Larkspur, buyers may even expect this level...

USDA Loan Guide: What You Need to Know

Understanding USDA Home LoansEven if you're not a farmer, you may qualify for a zero down, low-interest mortgage loan that is 90 percent government guaranteed. It is just one of a broad range of programs that offer resources and assistance to rural communities and there are options for building new, buying existing properties or refinancing existing loans. Most of the USDA loan programs are designed to assist low to mid-income families in rural areas, but you meet some stringent guidelines prescribed by the Rural Housing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

What is a USDA Loan?

The Loan Program was initially designed to assist farmers and foster community development, and was administered by the Farmers Home Administration (FHA). Today, it is the keystone of a single-family loan program that helps hard-working Americans build or buy modest housing. The program limits income to no more than 115 percent of adjusted area medians.

The income limit can vary greatly from one part of the country to another. For instance, in some parts of California, the authorized income is more than $140,000. Some suburban areas, known as revitalization zones, have been temporarily approved under the program. One such zone is Half Moon Bay, located just south of San Francisco; the community is in an area known for its "urban farming" activity, although the big city is...

Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2018

Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2018 | MyKCM

Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and The Mortgage Bankers Association are all projecting that home sales will increase in 2018. Here is a chart showing what each entity is projecting in sales for the remainder of this year and the next.

Home Sales Expected to Increase Nicely in 2018 | MyKCM

As we can see, each entity is projecting sizable increases in home sales next year. If you have considered selling your house recently, now may be the time to put it on the market.

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


5 Reasons to Sell This Fall

5 Reasons to Sell This Fall | MyKCM

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing, and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market.

This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six, but that number has jumped to an average of almost nine years since 2008. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t...

Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream

Report: Homeownership Is a Precondition of the American Dream | MyKCM

Hearth just released their 2017 State of the American Dream report which showed that Americans still see homeownership as an integral piece of the American Dream. The report confirmed that “all generations–including millennials–agree homeownership is very important to achieving the American Dream.

Americans ranked “owning a home I love” higher than any other options (including “starting a family” and “finding a fulfilling career”) as an important part of the American Dream.

Despite some claims that homeownership’s importance to the American Dream is in decline, the report found that the dream of homeownership remains strong.

Of Americans who said they think achieving the American Dream is important, 70% think homeownership is important to the dream, and 41% think homeownership is very important to the dream.

What about Millennials?

Hearth addresses the desires of millennials by explaining:

“Contrary to popular opinion, millennials who want to achieve the American Dream are 5% more likely than Baby Boomers to think homeownership is important. And two-thirds of millennial renters view homeownership as important to the American Dream.

Although millennials are often portrayed as fickle and transient, they actually seek the stability of homeownership even more than their parents.”

Other Key Findings from the...

Looking for Your Dream Home? Know What You Want vs. What You Need

Looking for Your Dream Home? Know What You Want vs. What You Need | MyKCM

In this day and age of being able to shop for anything anywhere, it is really important to know what you’re looking for when you start your home search.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a home of your own for some time now, you’ve probably come up with a list of things that you’d LOVE to have in your new home. Many new homebuyers fantasize about the amenities that they see on television or Pinterest, and start looking at the countless homes listed for sale through rose-colored glasses.

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation project instead of a make-or-break right now?

The first step in your home buying process should be getting pre-approved for your mortgage. This allows you to know your budget before you fall in love with a home that is way outside of it.

The next step is to list all the features of a home that you would like, and to qualify them as follows:

  • ‘Must-Haves’ – if this property does not have these items, then it shouldn’t even be considered (ex: distance from work or family, number of bedrooms/bathrooms).
  • ‘Should-Haves’ – if the property hits all of the ‘must-haves’ and some of the ‘should-haves,’ it stays in contention but does not need to have all of...

VA Loans: What are the Options?

What Kind of VA Loans are ThereOne of the benefits offered to members of the US Armed Forces is the ability to take out a Veteran’s Affair’s (VA) loan when it comes time to buy a home. However, there isn’t just one VA loan that fits all needs, and many veterans don’t realize they have may have options for the loan they want to take out. Here are the different types of VA loans and the different advantages they each have.

VA Purchase Loans

The Purchase Loan is the loan most people think of whenever someone talks about VA loans. With a Purchase Loan, applicants won’t have to pay any closing fees when purchasing a home. However, hey will have to pay a VA Funding Fee that helps the program keep running in the future. The Funding Fee is a one-time payment, and its cost will vary based on the cost of the home that is being purchased. Purchase Loans also typically feature lower interest rates than normal loans as well as 100% financing. 

Native American Direct Loan

As the name might imply, these loans are exclusive to Native American veterans. However, they can only be used if the applicant in question intends to either purchase or build a home on Native American Trust land and has a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to apply for the loan. Native American Direct Loans don’t require a down payment, and the maximum loan limit for most areas can be more...

America Needs Your House!!

America Needs Your House!! | MyKCM

The biggest challenge in today’s real estate market is a lack of housing inventory. How big of a challenge is the housing shortage? Here are what four industry economists are saying on the issue (emphases added):

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist

“The underlying fundamental issue is an overwhelming lack of supply… The supply of newly constructed homes is also sagging, adding to the supply challenges. Over the last eight years, housing demand has increased by 5.9 million, but the net new number of housing units has only increased by 3.5 million.”


What a Home Mortgage Payment Entails

What to Know About Home Mortgage PaymentsMany imagine it as just another bill, but a home mortgage payment is actually a rather complex set of smaller payments that are grouped into one amount. Depending on the type of mortgage one enters into, and the various aspects of their contract, this payment can include four or five separate elements. Let’s break down exactly what a mortgage payment can entail and what other costs are involved in buying a home.

The Basic Components

Two of the more important portions of a mortgage payment are similar to ones encountered when financing a vehicle: principal and interest. In simple terms, a home’s purchase price is what ends up getting paid off after 30 years with monthly principal payments, while the interest is the rate one pays the lender for the ability to borrow money to purchase the home.

Again, just like with auto financing, the trajectory of these payments changes as the loan comes closer to being paid off. Initial mortgage payments will include a large amount of interest and not much going toward the actual loan balance, but as time goes on this changes and more and more of the payment will go toward the principal in the end.

Additional Payments To Consider

Depending on the type of mortgage entered into for your Kentfield home...

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