Bay Area California Real Estate Blog and News

2012: Is Now the Time to Buy a Home in Marin?

Many of our clients have a New Year's Resolution which includes "Buying a New Home in 2012" however I know many folks are still uncertain about the market.   For those curious about the overall real estate market and whether or not now might be a good time to jump-in, I'd encourage you to preview the following articles which just ran in this past weeks USA Today.  

If you just want the Cliff Notes, here goes:

  • Rents are dramatically increasing (double-digit increases throughout the Bay Area),
  • Mortgage Rates are at record lows
  • Unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve been in 3 years (note: Marin County consistently has the lowest unemployement rates throughout California)

You can read the full articles here:

Finding a Home With Charm and Character in San Rafael

When Clint and Kim started their search over a year ago for their first home, they didn't want a cookie cutter home.  They were looking for charm, character, something a little unique. They weren't disappointed!  The house that captured their imagination was located in Central San Rafael and had been owned by Dr. William Galeno, the largest collector of Japanese armor in the west. Remnants of the past could still be found in the house.   The heirs, who were selling, the house clearly were not tuned into the market conditions or realistic about the house and all the deferred maintenance.  This listing held the record for the most days on the market in Marin - 841!

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Then Clint and Kim came along...... and after a protracted negotiation, they struck a deal and the rest is history.  Clint...

Oakland Art Murmur-First Friday Art Walk

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On the first Friday evening of every month, over 20 art galleries in Oakland's Uptown District leave their doors open a little bit longer for a growing event for local supporters.  The Art Murmur - Art Walk brings out hundreds of art dealers, collectors, and enthusiast.

One of this week's highlights includes an exhibition by Berkeley artist Mary Curtis Ratcliff where she celebrates feminist movements from the past and present.

More info:

Oakland Art Murmur - First Friday Art Walk - 6-9pm

oaklandartmurmur.org

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The New York Times names Oakland #5 in Places to Visit

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In today's Travel section of The New York Times, Oakland is ranked between London and Tokyo as #5 in "The Places to Go in 2012". 

The article sites the Fox Theater as one of the Bay Area's top music venues, upscale cocktail bars, restaurants featuring top-rated chefs, and Jack London Square as reasons Oakland scored high on the list.

See link below......

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Which would you choose - Marin, CA or San Francisco, CA?

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I recently answered a forum question about moving to San Francisco, CA vs. Marin, CA and what would be best for this family. What I know is the dad is in sales, based out of Petaluma with a territory that heads south toward San Francisco.  What I garnered from his posted question was they wanted the urban life of San Francisco, "think tattoos, Buffalo exchange and single pour coffeehouses" his words, "with the ease of family friendly walkable neighborhoods and excellent public schools".

Does this place exist in San Francisco or Marin? If it does, I want to be the mayor. When I think tattoos and single pour coffeehouses, my mind goes straight to Sacramento. Not an option for them.

After a few back and forth exchanges, me trying to paint a picture of the difference in lifestyles of SF vs. Marin, I came to the conclusion that what may best suit their style is Petaluma.

More diversity than Marin, more house for the $$'s than Marin or SF, definitely single pour coffee houses and a "Tattoo,...

Just Sold! 1935 28th Ave, SF

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Just Sold! 1935 28th Ave - I helped some first-time buyers get a excellent deal on this 2+bedroom/2bathroom house in the Parkside neighborhood of San Francisco.  This challenging transaction finally closed last week after three months of manuvering through numerous obstacles that arose during the escrow period.  My clients were very happy to have been able to purchase this property for only $512,000 which is an amazing price for a single family home in this part of the City. 

This deal was extra tough for many reasons: the seller was a bank, the property needed cosmetic upgrades & the first-time buyers were obtaining not only a primary loan, but also a second loan in the form of financing assistance from the City of San Francisco's DALP program (a City sponsored home-buyers program). We had to work closely with the Mayor's Office of Housing to get simultaneous loan approvals & a final property condition approval. It was a lengthy complex process; ...

97 Lakeside, Corte Madera - Just Sold!

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What a great way to begin the new year!  I am pleased to announce my client's successful purchase of this lovely 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with bonus room on the Madera Garden's Lagoon.  The final sales price was $1,299,000 and sold on December 30th, 2011. 

The lagoon location is one of the most desirable locations in West Corte Madera.  Although the lagoon is not attached to the bay, bay water flows in and out of the two landlocked lagoons in Corte Madera.  Every year, residents have a 4th of July party on the water.  You can swim right off your own dock, fish, kayak and canoe too!  I look forward to be included in my client's fun summer parties on the lagoon.

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Lastly, did you know that Madera Gardens is so centrailly located that kids can walk or ride their bikes to all the public schools in the Twin Cities?  There are parks, shopping centers and bike paths nearby too.

If you are interested in learning more about Corte Madera or Marin real estate, feel free to ...

Marin Real Estate Forecast for 2012

I don't have a crystal ball and would never be so presumptuous as to predict the future. Instead I'll defer to the expert, Karl Case, co-creator of the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, considered the Dow Jones Industrial average of real estate.

In a recent article in the New York Times, it said the relentless decline in the Case-Shiller home price index since the financial crisis has many experts predicting a further decline in home values in 2012.  "People are discouraged and fearful," Mr. Case said. "They thought home prices would never go down and now they think they'll never go up."  Even though home prices on average are where they were in 2003, Mr. Case thinks the data masks signs that point to recovery.

The 20-city composite index of home prices hit bottom in March 2011 according to the New York Times article and have improved modestly since.  Signs pointing to recovery according to Mr. Case are "household formation is increasing, vacancy rates are dropping and housing starts are at a 60 year low and have been there for three years.  That's unheard of."

The final take away from ...