Marin Real Estate News

What’s happening in Marin real estate?

Lots of price reductions and lots of old stale stuff going away. The numbers below reflect activity from Saturday, October 27-Saturday, November 3 for Marin single family homes and condos.

# of New Marin Home Listings this week 69
# of Marin Homes Back on the Market (fell out of contract) 21
# of Marin Home Listings with Price Reductions 85
# of Marin Homes that went under contract 50
# of Marin Home Listings Expired or Withdrawn (not sold) 91
# of Marin Homes Sold 45

*Information pulled from BAREIS MLS.

What was he smoking? They priced it at what???

Smoking Fish$%^&*($-A$$&^($. That is what I often think when I see a new home on the market that is significantly over priced. What is that agent smoking? Why didn’t they TELL their clients that the house wasn’t worth that much money? Are they unfamiliar with the neighborhood? Or did they just take the listing at that price to get the listing?

Nothing makes me angrier with some of my fellow agents than this practice. Don’t they know that by over pricing a home at the starting gate, the home will actually sell for less than it would if it was priced right at the get go?

Don’t hire an agent who will tell you what you want to hear. SERIOUSLY. If they agree with everything you say, why do you need them?

If you tell an agent you think your house is worth 1.5 million, and they agree, make sure they have statistical data to compare it to. You could be dead on, but it is highly unlikely. Numbers don’t lie, people do. 99% of home sellers think their house is worth more than it actually is because they have an emotional connection to the home. (Don’t feel bad, most agents over price their own homes when they go to sell them too).

Hire the person who has the guts to tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it (and often times you won’t even listen to it). That person will be the person who looks out for your best interests even when you may not agree with each other. They will stand by you every step of the way and work hard to help you reach your goals. I have said this before and I will say it again- the first impression may be your only impression. Don’t work with someone who will let you throw it away.

One last thing-if an agent is too scared to tell you– their client- the truth, how do you think they will negotiate on your behalf? Will they negotiate or will they be too scared?

The Bottom of the Market? Don’t Wait!

Pin Your Tail on the Bottom of the Real Estate MarketMany people I know are waiting for the bottom of the Marin real estate market to purchase a home. “If I hold out, perhaps I can get a better deal,” they say.

Well, I wouldn’t pin your tail on it. Fellow real estate blogger Tracey Thomas in Calabasas, CA just wrote a fabulous post about waiting to buy at the bottom of the real estate market. Tracey has a great visual to demonstrate the bottom of the real estate market, versus prices going back up.

In Marin County, people who wait too long to purchase real estate may find prices and demand are on the upside- this means negotiations are not going to be as favorable to the buyer.

A lot of buyers are sitting on the fence right now. If you are a buyer sitting it out, think about jumping back in before the other buyers do. Increased demand=increased prices. If you can find the right home, now is a great time to buy in Marin.

Bugs and Beetles, oh my!

BeetleLike that natural, unpainted look for your shingles? You are not alone – in Marin County it is a common look. Nature is a good thing, but not when it comes to protecting your house. According to NBI, unpainted homes are at least 10 times more prone to beetle infestations. Beetles cannot infest in painted or varnished wood. Treating beetles can be very costly- so keep the critters away by maintaining your shingles and keeping them painted or varnished!

Sellers- Reach For Your Goal

You must have long term goals to keep you from being frustrated by short term failures. – Charles C. Noble - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more In many occupations, we write down our goals along with our business plans. It is always said that writing goals down is the first step to achieving them. Selling a home is typically not an easy process. It has been a lot easier in the past few years as buyers have thrown their money at sellers, but in general, selling is home is complicated. You can’t just throw a sign up in a yard and expect a home to sell. It takes preparation and a specific plan.

Sounds crazy, but it is true- as seller of real estate, you should have written goals to go along with that plan. Margaret Woda explains why in her post Why Home Sellers Need Written Goals. As Margaret says, if you are working with me, I also will write them down for you. I also create a specific plan to reach the goals. Your plan will be unique, because your goals are unique. If you are not working with an agent or if you are working with an agent who hasn’t completed a plan and specific measurable goals, write them down for yourself.

As Anthony Robbins says, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible to the visible.”

Write them. Achieve them.

The broom closet is not a bedroom

I was out on Broker Tour today, and was very excited to see one particular house- 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, under one million dollars in Southern Marin California. Very exciting!

As I walked in, I thought- this is great!! The house made a great first impression. The living room was a little dark, pop a skylight in there and it would be very nice. Pretty backyard, remodeled kitchen, decent master, one bedroom (with a dirty cat box- come on, put it in the garage!), and WAIT…where is the other bedroom? I look at the flyer, it says 3 bedrooms. I look around, go back and count. There is a small room that you have to walk through a bathroom to access but a twin bed couldn’t fit into it. Nope, not a bedroom. Did I miss a hallway somewhere?

So I ask the agent where the third bedroom is. He tells me it is the room off the bathroom. He says the tax records call that a bedroom. I don’t care what the tax records call it. If you can’t fit a small bed in it, it’s not a bedroom (and don’t advertise it as such).

Students Saving the Planet

Students in our local schools are learning how to save the planet. So much so, the Wall Street Journal caught it in this story, Inconvenient Youths. Kentfield’s Bacich Elementary Principal Sally Peck was quoted in the article saying “We have a responsibility to educate our children.”

Sally Peck is right and Bacich Elementary practices what it preaches. 100% of the school’s electricity is provided by a photovoltaic system.

Real Estate- A Bad Investment?

News You Can’t Use“A home is where the bad investment is.”

-San Francisco Examiner, 1996

If you would have gone against the advice of the San Francisco Examiner and purchased a Marin home in 1996, you might have spent around $417,324 (the Marin County average in 1996). Based on appreciation rates, that same Marin home sold today would be worth about $1,100,000.

Sound like a bad investment? Worth believing everything you read in the newspaper?

My neighbor is driving me crazy!

binoculars.JPGEver had one of those neighbors who just drives you crazy? The neighbor who parks their car in front of your house every day, or watches your house from their window? What about the dog barking incessantly next door?

Neighbors can make the neighborhood or break it. Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, has some great tips on dealing with nuisance neighbors, as well as tips to find out exactly what the neighborhood is like – before you purchase.

My advice- walk the neighborhood, morning, mid-day & evening, week day & week end. The people and the traffic patterns can vary greatly depending on when you go.

Stop the Credit Companies from selling YOUR Information

Credit CardDid you know that when a credit report is pulled, the credit companies sell your information to telemarketers within 24 hours? You could be getting unwanted calls almost immediately. Crazy, but it is legal. You can opt out by calling (888) 5-OptOut or by going to By opting out, you also opt out of unauthorized credit checks. Any bank can request your credit history without your authorization and then “pre-approve” you for a credit card. When you opt out, banks can no longer prescreen you. This can be a great protection against future identity fraud as well.Information courtesy of Sofia Nadjibi, Union Trust Mortgage