Bay Area California Real Estate Blog and News

Better Loan Options as Lenders Expand Offerings

The recent influx of improved financing options for those with limited down payment funds suggests an increasing investor consensus that the housing market continues to stabilize. As an added -and necessary -vote of confidence, private mortgage insurance providers have also relaxed their requirements over the past few weeks. Although getting a loan is still challenging and income requirements remain stringent, the growing pool of lenders competing over expanded offerings will improve financing options for millions of borrowers.

Here are some loan products that were tough to secure just a few weeks ago and are now more solidly supported:

95% Purchase Money for Loans to $417,000 that Compete with FHA.
Although this product has been around for a while now, the terms are now far more attractive. Rates for 30-year fixed loans are extremely competitive and some lenders are now more lenient with debt-to-income ratios, which were previously limited...

544 Whitewood Dr, San Rafael - SOLD Alliance Home

It's been a busy day and I'm pleased to annouce that a second set of my buyer clients closed escrow on a home today, this time a mid-century modern Alliance home in San Rafael located at 544 Whitewood Drive.    

This was a Marin foreclosure listing located in the Terra Linda neighborhood of San Rafael.  The property was a 3 bedroom /  2 bathroom Alliance Home that was built in 1954 and featured an updated kitchen, family room, master bathroom, thermal pane windows, numerous skylights, one car garage parking and a detached studio.    Classic post-and-beam construction with  walls of glass throughout.    Nicely landscaped yard with the home offering convenient access to shopping, public transportation and more.

I was happy to assist my buyers in the purchase of 544 Whitewood for $562,000. 

Contact me if we can help you in any way with your Marin real estate...

80 Corte Baristo in Greenbrae - SOLD!

I just assisted one of my buyer clients with the purchase of a fabulous mid-century home located at 80 Corte Baristo in the central Marin town of Greenbrae.   The home just closed escrow today and the purchase price was $970,000.

Built in 1964, this architecturally unique single-family home was situated on a quiet cul-de-sac and featured a light-filled and spacious floor plan (2,016 sq ft) with dramatic views of Mt Tam.     This very well kept mid-century home featured raised ceilings, walls of windows and glass and a fabulous outdoor patio/deck and level yard for dining, entertaining and relaxation.     Top-notch Kentfield schools...

Heroes of Modern Landscape Design

The first thing I thought about writing for this blog was a brief history of landscape design during the Mid-Century Modern period. Whenever I need to learn - or refresh my learning - about landscape design, I turn to Elizabeth Barlow Rogers' encyclopedic masterpiece, Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History. If it isn't in there, it hasn't happened yet! And even though her website says it took her ten years to write, I secretly think it must have taken twenty - this book weighs a ton, and has over 500 pages of very dense text and hundreds of pictures. If you want to learn anything about landscape architecture, this is your textbook!

My other favorite resource is the remarkable Cultural Landscape Foundation...

2350 Marinship Way #3, Sausalito House Boat for Sale

I wanted to let my clients and friends know ahead of time that I have Pat Kuleto's listing coming onto the market. The floating home, he calls Lillypad, is where he began building his award-winning restaurant dynasty. Located at 2350 Marinship Way #3, Sausalito, this three-level, 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom home designed by Pat, incorporates his legendary charm, provides ample living space and is in a prime spot to spend your days taking in the gorgeous views of Angel Island, Sausalito Harbor and hills, Mt. Tamalpais and San Francisco Bay.

Enter this light and bright home, and you'll immediately appreciate the Koa wood wainscoting and finishes throughout. Enjoy Mt. Tamalpais and the passing yachts as you dine by the floor-to-ceiling bay windows in the dining area--all crafted by Bernard Espinet,...

San Francisco Modernism Show

I wanted to provide a quick save the date notification for this years San Francisco Modernism & Art Deco Event which is produced by Peter & Deborah Keresztury,  both a client and friend of Marin Modern & San Francisco Modern Real Estate.

This years event will be held June 5-6, 2010 at the Councourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco (located at 8th & Brannan Street; see Google Map below).   General admission is just $10 while San Francisco Art Deco Society members receiving a discounted admission price of $8.      The event will be open 10am-6pm on Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday.    

If you are into modernism, this is a fabulous Bay Area event that should not be missed.    The San francisco Art Deco & Modernism Sale features more than 150 exhibitors selling furniture, artwork, art, pottery, books, vintage clothing,...

Robert Leeper Landscape Designer & Guest Blogger at Marin Modern

I'm delighted to announce that Robert Leeper, an established & hip landscape designer, has joined our popular Marin real estate blog as a contributing editor for all things landscape and landscape design related.     

Robert is the founder of Robert Leeper Designs, an award-winning landscape design firm he established in Austin Texas and subsequently expanded to address the needs of his growing clients base throughout the United States.   A resident of Marin County, Robert will share his insights, ideas and knowledge on residential landscape and landscape architecture with our clients, friends, and website visitors.   

While Robert Leeper Designs serves a diverse clientele,...

Lucas Valley Property Sold

My classic mid-century modern Eichler listing in Upper Lucas Valley which was located at 332 Mt Shasta Drive just closed escrow  today.     The home received multipe offers within days of hitting the market and the final sale price was $799,000.

Built in 1962, this Lucas Valley property was a move-in ready, 4 Bedroom / 2 Bathroom Eichler home featuring many original and desirable design elements as well as a number of thoughtful upgrades which enhanced the overall design and function of this classic mid-century modern home.   The home was 1,756 sq ft (per tax records)  and was located on a spacious lot (12,160 sq ft per tax records) with beautiful views of Lucas Valley. 

Recent updates to 332 Mt Shasta included designer concrete...

79 George Ln, Sausalito - Just listed by Marin Modern Real Estate

I'm excited to present my latest listing, a contemporary Zen retreat located in the desirable Turney Canyon area of Sausalito.  

Located at 79 George Lane, this modern 5 bedroom / 4 bathroom home features sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, Angel Island, and the surrounding hills and vistas.   Its Turney Canyon location offers a sunny micro-climate which is ideal for relaxing, sunbathing, entertaining or watching the stars from any of the home's 3 decks.

Property features includes a Chef's kitchen which opens to an expansive and inviting living & dining room.   Surrounding walls of glass provide unobstructed water views.   Hand-crafted Shoji screens and doors add to to tranquil, zen feel of this very special Sausalito home.  

The second level of the home features a Master...

90% Financing to $729,750 is Now Available with Conventional Loans

Private mortgage insurance providers have recently relaxed guideline requirements to allow 90% financing up to the high-balance conforming product’s limit of $729,750. The expanded offering is currently limited to purchase money for the acquisition of owner-occupied, single-family homes. The willingness of mortgage insurance companies to augment their coverage to 90% suggests there is increasing stability within California’s housing market and will likely foster greater competition for properties in the low $800,000 purchase range. Buyers with limited down payment funds can now secure excellent 30-year fixed rates to a purchase price just shy of $811,000 with only 10% down.

Any conventional loan that finances more than 80% of a home’s value requires mortgage insurance and, until recently, most MI providers held the line at 85%. Because a smaller down payment translates to higher investor risk, conventional 90% financing is restricted to strong borrowers whose only limitation is in the amount of down payment...