Bay Area California Real Estate Blog and News

Are Mortgage Prospects Improving for Marin and Bay Area Homebuyers?

In contrast to some of the lowest mortgage rates ever is the stark fact that millions of borrowers liken the process of securing financing to being run through the meat grinder. Thus the question I am frequently asked by prospective borrowers, "Is it getting easier or harder to get a mortgage?" As is generally the case with complicated topics, there is no easy answer and the reality is a bit of both.

Lending guidelines and underwriting requirements are far more demanding today than just a couple of years ago. Stated income loans are virtually non-existent and anyone seeking 30-year fixed money at less than 5% must be able to fully document their income and assets. And, within a couple of weeks, current debt-to-income ratios will become more restrictive making it harder for many borrowers to qualify for a mortgage. If you've been pre-approved for a mortgage and are still shopping for a home, you should verify with the lender that your approval is still valid....

Holiday Gift Ideas for Mid-Century Modern / Eichler Home Owners

With the holidays upon us, I wanted to offer a few timely "stocking stuffer" gift ideas for fellow fans of Eichlers & other mid-century modern homes. 

Since the holiday shopping rush is on, I'll start with a few inexpensive books that I've read and would recommend to fellow modernists this holiday season:

RANCH HOUSES: Living the California Dream
Released earlier this year, this book was written by two Bay Area Architects and features some fantastic "California Modern" ranch homes ranging from Cliff Mays to...

San Francisco Modernism & Art Deco Holiday Sale

Next week one of my clients, Peter & Deobrah Keresztury, will be hosting their annual Art Deco & Modernism sale in San Francisco.   Held twice a year for the past 25 years, this wonderful event occurs the first weekend of June and also the first weekend of each December.    The December sale is known as "Deco the Halls" and will be held next weekend (December 5-6, 2009).

Deco the Halls 2009

The Deco the Halls Art Deco & Modernism Event in San Francisco will feature furniture, accessories, art, pottery, books, jewelry, vintage clothing and collectibles from the 1900s to 1980s.   While the theme is predominantly art deco & mid-century modern, you'll also see other genre's represented including art nouveau, moderne, vintage western and mid-century.    

Event and Venue Details are as follows:

What:  ...

Another Tax Credit to Consider for Marin Home Owners & Marin County Home Buyer

In the current Marin Real Estate Market, the hot topics for housing bargains are usually Marin Short Sales, Marin Foreclosures, REO's (Real Estate Owned or Bank Owned), or the Homeowners Tax credit of up to $8,000 for new homebuyers and up to $6,500 for repeat Home buyers.

One sometimes forgotten way for new home buyers or existing homeowners to save is the available tax credit for making your home more energy efficient, usually by installing replacement windows or installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems. This is not only an immediate benefit but a savings for the life of the home on utility bills and will help with its resale value.

Here is an explanation from the IRS website:


October 2009 Marin Home Sales & Market Update

Typically as we enter into the fall season in real estate, the number of home sales decline from the peak of spring and summer. In Marin, we saw a reverse in this fall cycle. Comparing October 2009 to October 2008, the number of single family homes sales increased by 40% and the number of homes going into contract increased 121%.

Supply decreased by 13% over this same period.  The number of months supply of inventory decreased by 61% to 4.6 months of actual inventory. This number represents a more balanced market.  Last year’s supply of inventory enlarged to  11.7 months which represented an extremely strong buyers market. A seller's market is around 3.5 months of inventory.  At the moment, buyers are buying up the inventory and not a lot of new inventory is coming on the market. We're seeing that most sellers that are selling right now need to sell.
The median sales price was down 14% to $755,880....

35 Woodside Way, San Rafael - SOLD!


This stunning contemporary 4  bedroom, 2 bath home is situated at the very top of the highly sought after San Rafael neighborhood of Glenwood.  Featuring views of the rolling hills of China Camp, access to trails, gorgeous chef's kitchen, remodeled bathrooms and a beautiful backyard.

This home just sold for $894,000.  I assisted my clients in securing this property within 12 hours of them viewing this home.  There was another offer on the home at the time, and I negotiated an offer on my clients behalf the seller could not refuse.  With a lot of efforts on both the listing side and buying side, we were able to successfully close escrow today.

If you are interested in learning more about the ...

12 Del Haro Way, San Rafael - JUST LISTED Eichler Home!

I'm pleased to present my newest listing, an updated Eichler home located at 12 Del Haro Way in San Rafael.

Built in 1959, this 4 bedroom / 2 bathroom atrium model Eichler is located on a quiet and low traffic street in Terra Linda.   This is a bright, sunny, and well maintained Eichler home which features:

  • 4 BR / 2 BA with multi-purpose room (1,794 sq ft per tax records),
  • Remodeled bathroom with jacuzzi tub,
  • Tasteful, lush landscaping with beautiful stonework and hardscaping,
  • Excellent outdoor space with views of the surrounding hills.  Built-in BBQ and spacious yard for relaxing or entertaining.
  • Foam roof,
  • Working in-floor radiant heat (copper...

Loft at 128 Morris St, San Francisco - SOLD!

I just helped one of my buyer clients close on the sale of a live-work loft in San Francisco located at 128 Morris Street, #2, San Francisco, CA 94107.   The final purchase price was $675,000.

Located in San Francisco's vibrant South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood, this spacious tri-level property featured 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, high ceilings, gas fireplace, ample storage, deeded parking and all the amenities in a happening and hip San Francisco neighborhood.   This loft development also featured a spacious roof deck which is ideal for entertaining friends and guests.    

Contact me if...

Extension of Conforming Limits Supports Low Rates and Marin County Real Estate

Both chambers of Congress recently passed a resolution extending current conforming loan limits through December 31, 2010.  The resolution, signed by President Obama on November 6th, sets the maximum conforming loan sizes that can be bought or guaranteed by Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  This extension maintains the regular conforming limit of $417,000 and the high-balance conforming limit for Marin and other Bay Area counties up to $729,750.  Without the extension, the maximum conforming loan would have been reduced to $625,500 at year's end.

Because they receive federal support, conforming loans carry significantly lower interest rates, especially for 30-year fixed pricing.  Over the past month, 30-year fixed conforming loans to $417,000 have averaged 4.75% (APR 4.88%) and high-balance conforming to $729,750 have averaged around 5.00% (APR 5.12%).  By comparison, non-conforming jumbo loans average approximately 1% higher in...

Nicholas Ballard - Marin Mortgage Broker & Guest Blogger

As a value-added service to our Marin Modern Real Estate clients, website visitors and guests, I'm pleased to announce that Nicholas Ballard,  a local and well-respected mortgage professional in Marin County with California Mortgage Adivsors, Inc., will serve as a contributing editor to our popular Marin real estate blog.   

As a blog contributor,  Nicholas will share his wealth of knowledge regarding the mortgage industry and also offer timely insights and tips regarding the residential lending market.    You can keep track of his bi-weekly updates by following the Marin Mortgage News thread of our blog.

On a personal note, I can tell you that Nicholas has helped a number of our Marin Modern real estate clients and he consistently receives high marks from them for his professionalism, market insights, competitive rates, and follow-thru (even after the transaction is complete).   

We welcome...