Lower Your Fall/Winter Energy Bill With Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans for all 4 seasonsIt’s Halloween: November is almost here and many parts of the country are already feeling the chill.  This weekend, a nor’easter dropped up to 20 inches of snow in cities along the eastern seaboard  — a reminder that winter is coming.

Here in Marin County the nights are getting chilly even though we still enjoy warm and sunny Indian summer weather during the day.  This seasonal change in temperature serves as an excellent reminder to reset the blades on your home’s ceiling fans.

Ceiling fans don’t warm or cool air, specifically.  Instead, they circulate air which can have the effect of making a room feel warmer in the winter months, and cooler in the summer months.

When it’s cold outside, ceiling fans push warm air down from the ceiling, balancing the heat within a room.  This can make a room feel 4-6 degrees warmer. Then, during warmer months, ceiling fans push a room’s cold air back into circulation, which creates a windchill effect, of sorts.  This, too, can change a room’s temperate 4-6 degrees.

The secret to a ceiling fan is in the rotation direction of its blades.

  • When fan blades rotate clockwise, the fan makes a room feel warmed
  • When fan blades rotate counter-clockwise, the fan make a room feel cooler.

This Weather Channel video explains how it works.

If your home is without ceiling fans, consider installing one (or more). Ceiling fans are economical and “green”, using the equivalent energy of a 100-watt light bulb, while lowering your home’s energy costs.

Plus, they’re relatively simple to install.  Tutorial videos are available online for the do-it-yourselfers, or just call a qualified electrician for assistance.  Installing a ceiling fan is a 1-hour project.

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Sylvie Zolezzi - www.YourPieceofMarin.com About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County!

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Short Sales in Marin County

Out of 1,220 currently active listings in Marin County, 172 or 14% are short sales.  Many of them will not close and will become REO’s.  They represent a big chunk of our inventory and assuming half of them close within the next six months, will continue to represent an important percentage of our county sales.

Our track record for short sales in Marin is fairly similar to the national trend over the past 4 years: we started with short sales representing 4.3% of all sales in the period January 1 to October 28 in 2008 vs. 3% nationally and are now at 8.6% for the same period in 2011 vs. 8% nationally. 

For more details about short sales in general and the national trend, here is an infographic from www.kcmblog.com:

I am a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and can assist you with the purchase of a short sale or to help you understand your options if you are upside down on your mortgage and are afraid to lose your home.  Feel free to contact me for a free, no obligation, absolutely confidential consultation.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Marin County’s Jobless Rate Still Lowest in State in September 2011

MARIN COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT

According to a Marin Independent Journal article, Marin’s unemployment rate slid to 7.4 percent in September, down from 7.8 percent the previous month, as reported by the state Employment Development Department.

In Marin, the jobless rate was down from 8.2 percent in July, and matched the two-year low recorded in May of this year. A year ago, Marin had an 8.4 percent unemployment rate.

Marin, with 122,700 people employed out of a workforce of 132,500, continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state, followed by San Mateo County at 8 percent and San Francisco at 3 percent.

BAY AREA UNEMPLOYMENT

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Examiner recently reported that, according to the latest State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) report for the San Francisco area, the unemployment rate in the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City Metropolitan District (MD) that includes the West Bay counties of Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo dropped to 8.0 percent in September 2011 – down from a revised 8.5 percent in August 2011 – as most major industries posted job growth over the past year.

In the metropolitan region that includes Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties, “professional and business services recorded a net gain of 2,200 jobs, much stronger than its average of loss of 500 jobs between August and September over the prior 21 years,” said Ruth Kavanagh, a labor market consultant for the employment department.

She noted that seasonal additions at public and private schools “more than offset cutbacks in other local entities and in the federal sector.”

Also, several other major industry groups added jobs, “including the hard-hit construction industry which posted a gain of 200 jobs, better than its prior 21-year average of no change at this time of year,” Kavanagh said.

CALIFORNIA UNEMPLOYMENT

California’s unemployment rate dipped only slightly, to 11.9 percent last month, but has not moved significantly from where it has been through most of the recession.

California added 11,800 nonfarm jobs last month, led by construction, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality

The September figure for the state was down from August’s jobless rate of 12.1 percent and lower than during the same month a year ago, when the unemployment rate stood at 12.5 percent.

A survey of businesses showed nonfarm jobs in the state totaled 14.1 million in September. California reported 2.1 million people without jobs, roughly the same as the previous month.

California has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, behind Nevada’s 13.4 percent. The national rate is 9.1 percent.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.



Mortgage Market Week in Review – October 28, 2011

MORTGAGE WEEK IN REVIEW

Interest rates continue to hover around historic lows but they did move slightly higher this week when the EU announced an agreement on a European Debt relief plan. Also, the third quarter US Gross Domestic Product came in higher than expected at 2.5% — which means the US economy has now had 3 quarters of increasing GDP (this is GOOD news!)  Next week we have two big events that rarely occur in the same week.  A Fed Meeting and a Jobs Report and the pair could have a strong impact on the next trend direction in interest rates.  Stay tuned…

CURRENT INTEREST RATES | OCTOBER 28, 2011

CONFORMING RATES
($200,000 – $417,000) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.250% (4.323% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.447% APR) 
 
JUMBO RATES
($625,501 – $2,000,000) 1 POINT
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.750% (4.89% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.125% (3.26% APR)
CONFORMING (HIGH-BALANCE) RATES
($417,001 – $625,500 cap by county) 0 POINTS
• 30 Year Fixed: 4.50% (4.56% APR)
• 5/1 ARM: 3.375% (3.435% APR)
 
RATE TRENDS
Rates are UP compared to last week.
Rates are UP compared to last month.
Rates are SAME compared to one year ago

INDUSTRY NEWS

US Government Announces Harp 2.0 Refinance Program

On Monday the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced key changes to their refinance assistance program called Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).  Terra is a direct lender and we will be offering this refinance program to our clients on or after December 1st. I will follow with details as they become available (we expect more on Nov. 15th), but for now, here are some of the criteria that we do know:

  • In order to participate in this program your loan must presently be owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  To see if your loan is owned by either check here:     

                 Fannie Mae:  http://www.fanniemae.com/loanlookup/
                 Freddie Mac: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate/ 

  • HARP refinances are available for single family dwellings and condos as well as owner occupied, second homes and investment properties.
  • Loan amounts must be within current conforming limits (no jumbos)
  • Borrowers must be current on their mortgage payments with no late payments in the past 6 months and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.
  • Your loan must have closed on or before May 31, 2009.
  • Your loan balance must be greater than 80% of your home’s value.
  • If your new HARP loan is a fixed rate loan, it doesn’t matter how much your loan balance exceeds your home’s value.
  • You must be current on your existing loan, well… relatively current which means no late payments for the past six months and a maximum of one late payment in the past 12 months.
  • You can only refinance a first mortgage into new HARP loan. You can’t combine a first and second mortgage, but you can subordinate your existing second mortgage behind a new HARP first      mortgage (caveat: the second mortgage holder must approve it).
  • Your new HARP loan won’t require mortgage insurance unless your existing loan already had mortgage insurance.
  • You DO NOT have to use your current mortgage servicer (who you currently make your mortgage payments to) for your Home Affordable Refinance unless you currently have private mortgage insurance.

If you have been turned down for a Home Affordable refinance because of a low appraised value and you otherwise qualified – this is your second chance. Stay tuned!

Courtesy of Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage

Copyright © 2011 Gina Kemsley, Terra Mortgage Banking, All rights reserved.

Gina Kemsley

gkemsley@terramb.com
Office: (415) 464-3144
Cell: (415) 828-0218
Fax: (888) 449-0329
DRE License #: 01121768
NMLS #: 291780

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Detroit Leads All Case-Shiller Cities In Home Price Improvement

Case-Shiller Annual Changes August 2011

The August 2011 Case-Shiller Index was released this week. On a monthly basis, 10 of 20 tracked markets worsened. On an annual basis, valuation degradation was worse.

Only Detroit and Washington, D.C. posted higher home values in August 2011 as compared to August 2010, rising 2.7% and 0.3%, respectively.

However, the index has been moving in the right direction. Since bottoming out in March of this year, the Case-Shiller Index is up nearly 4 percent.

As home buyers and sellers , though, we have to remember that the Case-Shiller Index is a flawed product; its methodology too narrow to be the final word for housing markets.

The Case-Shiller Index has 3 main flaws.

The first Case-Shiller Index flaw is its relatively small sample size. Although it’s positioned as a national housing index, Case-Shiller data represents just 20 cities nationwide, and they’re not even the 20 most populous U.S. cities. For example, cities like Houston (#4), Philadelphia (#5), San Antonio (#7) and San Jose (#10) are excluded from the Case-Shiller Index findings.

By contrast, Minneapolis (#48) and Tampa (#55) make the list.

A second Case-Shiller Index flaw is the way in which it measures home price changes. The Case-Shiller Index formula ignores all home sales except for “repeat sales” of the same home. New homes don’t count for the Case-Shiller Index. Furthermore, the index ignores condominium and multi-family home sales, too. 

In some cities, condos can account for a large percentage of sales.

And the third Case-Shiller Index flaw is that the data is reported on a 2-month lag. Next week marks the start of November, yet we’re still discussing data from August. A lot can change in two months (and it often does).

As a monthly release, the Case-Shiller Index does more to help people with a long-term view of housing, including politicians and economists, than it does for everyday buyers and sellers who negotiate prices based on current demand and supply.

For local Marin County and up to date real estate information on recent trends in our market, read my Marin County Real Estate Market Update and contact me (415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com) to find out which homes have sold in the last 7 days, and at what prices in your neighborhood.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


The Government’s Revamped HARP Program For Underwater Homeowners

Yesterday, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced announced big changes and enhancements to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), and extended the program until Dec. 31, 2013.  HARP is meant to give “underwater homeowners” an opportunity to refinance.  The changes are designed to expand the number of borrowers with little or negative equity who can qualify for refinancing. 

With average, 30-year fixed rate mortgages still hovering near 4.000 percent, there are more than a million homeowners nationwide who stand to benefit from the program overhaul.

WHO?

To qualify for the re-released HARP program, you must meet 4 basic criteria :

  1. Your existing home loan must be guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac
  2. Your home must be a 1- to 4-unit property
  3. You must have a perfect mortgage payment history going back 6 months
  4. You may not have had more than one 30-day late payment on your mortgage going back 12 months 

Most notable about the new HARP refinance program, though, is that the government is waiving loan-to-value requirements on HARP loans (which means you could owe more on your home than its current market value and still be eligible). Homeowners’ participation in the program  are no longer restricted by their home’s appraised value.  In fact, the new HARP doesn’t even require an appraisal, in most instances.

WHEN?

According to the government’s press release, pricing considerations for the new HARP program will be released on or before November 15, 2011; and lenders are expected to be offering the program as of December 1, 2011.

HOW?

If you think you may be eligible, first confirm that either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac is backing your loan and then talk to your mortgage professional.  Both groups provide a simple, online lookup.

If your loan cannot be located on either of these two sites, your current mortgage is not backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and is not HARP-eligible.

The FHFA’s official press release contains an FAQ section. In it, you’ll find minimum qualification standards, as well as information related to condominiums and to mortgage insurance.

The HARP program is meant to help a wide group of homeowners, but each applicant’s situation is unique. For specific HARP questions, be sure to talk with a loan officer or contact me for a referral to a trustworthy Marin County mortgage professional.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Good news for Marin County home buyers: Senate votes to reinstate high conforming loan limits

If you are not in the process of buying or selling a Marin County home, you may have missed the fact that the maximum FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac conforming loan limit declined to $625,500 beginning Oct. 1, 2011, from the previous $729,750 limit in Marin County. 

 As explained in my recent posts, the conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) can buy or guarantee.  Non-conforming or jumbo loans typically carry a higher mortgage interest rate than a conforming loan and require a higher down payment, increasing the monthly payment and negatively impacting housing affordability for home buyers in high cost areas such as Marin County.

On Friday, the senate approved the addition of an amendment (reinstating the hold high balance limits) to a funding bill which is under review.  If the senate approves the funding bill it will go to the house for approval and later to the president for his approval. 

This is by no means a done deal, but is unquestionably a step in the right direction…and could be heralding very good news soon if you are thinking of buying a home in Marin County for under a million dollars.

Stay tuned for more news on this topic!

In the meantime, if you need a proactive agent to help you find your dream home and/or a referral to a trustworthy mortgage professional in Marin County, please contact me at 415-505-4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceofMarin.com

Civic Center, San Rafael

 

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 


Marin County Real Estate Market Update – September 2011

Fall is well under way with our typically gorgeous Marin County Indian summer weather: hot days and cool nights, clear air and beautiful light. Trees seem to be changing color earlier this year…it is so beautiful, I love it!

NATIONAL REAL ESTATE MARKET

During the third quarter of 2011 the national housing market continued its decline with average sales price and volume down from levels one year ago. It’s uncertain if record low mortgage rates and the Federal Reserve’s commitment to maintaining these low rates will provide enough support to pull the housing market out of its doldrums. The challenging economic environment and resulting poor consumer confidence, together with tightening underwriting standards and low appraisals, continue to be the biggest obstacles to a full recovery of our market. Many argue that the real estate market will continue to bounce along and that an improvement in housing fundamentals will not occur until sustained and substantive economic growth returns and unemployment declines.

WHAT ABOUT MARIN COUNTY?

As is very often the case, Marin is bucking the regional and national trends, along with other Bay Area submarkets.  Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Menlo Park, along with San Francisco and parts of Marin County, continue to defy all other residential real estate markets locally and nationwide.  These microcosms continue to receive multiple offers and sales over listing price.

Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and other significant local companies are in the midst of the largest hiring expansion in their history.  These newly hired employees are relocating and want to be near where they work.  With little inventory available, and even less land to build, plus historically low interest rates, it is definitely a seller’s market in several lucky Bay Area locales.

Here in Marin County, I’ve noticed a surge in buyer interest after a flat summer.  Open houses are very well attended with serious buyers, especially in the lower end segment of the market.  The trend continues to be the preference for remodeled, turnkey homes in excellent condition and great locations. 

As reported in my August market update, our fall real estate season typically runs from Labor Day to Thanksgiving with an increase in inventory after everyone has returned from vacation and children are back in school.  Inventory did increase from 944 active listings on September 1 to 1,042 on September 30, close to where we were in the middle of June (1,049 active listings).  But with October the number of active listings has started declining slightly: on October 15 we were at 1,066 active listings. 

The pool of sellers continues to be limited to those homeowners who have a compelling reason to sell or people who just want to move on with their life. Today’s seller has to be willing to accept today’s changed market conditions and lower prices.

Despite the stubbornly low inventory, buyers are taking advantage of the low interest rates and high affordability: on September 30 483 homes were in contract, the highest number of “pending listings” we’ve seen all year.  Year to date, sales are up as well, and at the highest level they have been since the bubble burst in 2008, demonstrating a slow, but steady recovery of our market.  As of October 15, year to date Marin County homes sales (including all categories) were at 1,954 compared to 1,834 in 2010 and 1,599 in 2009. 

Unlike sales, prices are trending down slightly, with both the median and average price of single family homes lower this September than last year at the same time.

FORECLOSURE NEWS:

New foreclosure actions, according to ForeclosureRadar, a California based company that tracks foreclosure on the West Coast, surged in August to return to levels in line with prior months during September. “…we fully expect to see more volatility [down the road] like we saw in August as banks continue to work in fits and starts through robo-signing and other issues,” said Sean O’Toole, founder and CEO of ForeclosureRadar. Which means that the shadow inventory of distressed properties will continue to hit the market and to put downward pressure on prices.

ACTIVITY BY PRICE POINT

Activity varies greatly with each segment of the market, with the 0 to $999,000 segment continuing to significantly outperform the higher end segments.

 

CITY BY CITY REPORT

 

Novato is leading the pack with 48.69% of its inventory in contract, closely followed by Corte Madera and Greenbrae, with almost half of its inventory in contract. After several cool and foggy summers, buyers seem to be gravitating more to homes that provide a great commute, top performing schools and enjoy warmer weather and less fog in Central Marin. Southern Marin homes, despite their breathtaking views of the Bay, seem to have lost a bit of their appeal to today’s discriminating buyer.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR TODAY’S BUYER AND SELLER?

Sellers: The effect of consistently low interest rates has done little to stimulate demand, especially in the upper end of the market, as seen in the chart above.  The market is more price dependent than ever, and smart sellers are pricing their homes to sell in today’s market and investing in staging and small upgrades to attract today’s finicky and demanding buyer.  If you are waiting for prices to go up, you may be disappointed, as prices are not forecasted to be heading up for the foreseeable future. Take advantage of today’s low inventory level which gives you an edge before the market is flooded with lower priced distressed properties.

Buyers: While prices may contract further in the next year, it is very unlikely that affordability will significantly improve. Borrowing costs are predicted by most economists to trend up in the coming months, and underwriting criteria are being tightened by banks. You should consider buying a home for the long term, and not only as an investment but as a place to raise your family, create memories and enjoy life in our marvelous Marin.  That being said, it is a great time to buy investment properties as rents in Marin have increased significantly in the past year. If you find the right house now, buy it and take advantage of our amazing interest rates.

Now could be the best time to buy a home!  But don’t take my word for it.  Both the Wall Street Journal and Forbes have recently touted the benefits of buying versus renting: “The previous declines in house prices and the more recent drop in mortgage rates to record lows have created an unusual situation in which the median monthly mortgage payment is more or less the same as the median rental payment.”

Why is this important? Last week, Forbes explained to their readers: “If rents simply kept up with inflation at a 3.2% annual increase, a $1,500 rent payment would cost that renter nearly $900,000 over the next 30 years. The same $1,500 payment made to their mortgage would be only $540,000 (because the payments don’t increase with inflation).”

For more quotes, read KCM’s Blog entitled: It’s Time to Buy a Home.

Food for thought, isn’t it?  If you, or someone you know, is thinking of buying or selling Marin County real estate, make sure they contact me to take advantage of this great window of opportunity. I look forward to be of service.  Until next time, enjoy our beautiful fall weather…

Lagunitas Rd. in the Fall, Ross

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.


Tips for selling your Marin County home before the end of the year

I often am asked by sellers whether or not they should keep their house on the market during the holidays.  When considering how long to keep your home listed through the holidays, experts suggest looking at the rates of sales activity in your market. Some areas can be pretty bleak, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no chance of selling.  Here’s why:

MOTIVATED BUYERS
There are some key factors that may help sell your home.  While the number of buyers may be reduced as we head closer to the holidays and many people simply don’t want to juggle the holiday rush and house hunting, there will be some serious buyers looking for a very nice holiday gift for themselves. If they are out shopping in dreary weather or nearing the holidays, it could be because they’re extremely serious about making a purchase before the end of the year. Remember that some people may even have tax reasons and need to purchase before the end of the year.

DRESS YOUR HOME TO KILL
With this in mind, be sure to make your house sparkle and shine. Don’t let things slide with the upkeep of your home because you are juggling selling a home, working, attending holiday functions and taking care of the kids.  Selling your home in the fourth quarter must be a priority and the closer to the beginning of the quarter the better.

This is a time of year when homeowners tend to bring out a lot of things that may be very appealing to them and have sentimental value–pumpkins, turkeys, holiday and religious ornaments–but those things don’t always impress buyers.  In fact, they can be distracting and make the house seem cluttered. This is not to say you can’t have some nice seasonally appropriate decor, it should just be limited to a few pieces and enhance your home.

The fourth-quarter sale requires a good strategy like using an expert stager. If there are a reduced number of buyers seeing your home, make the most of each showing by having a spectacularly staged and clutter-free house to show off.   Staging always provides a competitive advantage.

INTEREST RATES REMAIN HISTORICALLY LOW:
Another reason this fourth quarter may see more buyers is that interest rates remain historically low. The potential threat of a rise in mortgage rates could have more buyers eager to lock into an excellent rate, even if it means a move during the holidays.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO MOVE DURING THE HOLIDAYS:
You can negotiate the sale and make arrangements so that you can still stay in your home for the holidays and make the move after the first of the year. 

THE PERFECT SETTING FOR AN IDEAL SALE:
Finally, don’t overlook another effect of the holidays: buyers tend to be more emotional and may spend more during this time of year.  Couple that with fewer homes on the market and you may have the perfect setting for an ideal sale.

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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.

 

 


Frequently Asked Questions about Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Since July 1, 2011, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act (Senate Bill – SB 183) has required all single-family homes with an attached garage or a fossil fuel source to install carbon monoxide alarms within the home by July 1, 2011. Owners of multi-family leased or rental dwellings, such as apartment buildings, have until January 1, 2013 to comply with the law.

I frequently receive questions about the correct location of these devices.  The California Fire State Marshall has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions resource which I have reprinted below. 

You will also find a plethora of tips and resources at www.safetyathome.com  and a great guide at www.indoor-air-health-advisor.com (see below).

Carbon Monoxide Detector Location Guide

To insure all occupants safety, your carbon monoxide detector location must be considered carefully. At the very minimum a detector needs to be installed outside all sleeping areas in the home. In todays rambling floor plans a number of detector locations may need to be considered. Beside the sleeping areas it would be prudent for a co detector to be placed in the basement near your utility room or of course if a bedroom is in the basement.

If there are bedrooms on different levels of the house or in different areas of the same floor a co detector must be near all sleeping areas. Also consider detector placement near your furnace and water heater if they are non-electric. Learn more about installations here….

Frequently Asked Questions

The California State Fire Marshal has created this frequently asked questions (FAQ) on carbon monoxide devices to provide the citizens of California with information on this important matter.

1. What is Senate Bill No. 183 (SB-183)?
SB-183 is also known as the “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act”
This senate bill requires that a carbon monoxide (CO) detector be installed in all dwelling units intended for human occupancy.

2. What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced from heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, and many types of appliances and cooking devices. It can also be produced by vehicles that are idling.

3. What is the effective date for installing a CO device? For a single-family dwelling, the effective date is July 1, 2011. For allother dwelling units, the effective date is January 1, 2013.

4. Where can I find a list of all CSFM listed carbon monoxide devices?
Click on the link titled “List of Approved Devices”.
http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/strucfireengineer/strucfireengineer_bml.php

5. What is the definition of a dwelling unit?
A dwelling unit is defined as a single-family dwelling, duplex, lodging house, dormitory, hotel, motel, condominium, time-share project, or dwelling unit in a multiple-unit dwelling unit building.

6. Where should CO devices be installed in homes?
They should be installed outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home including the basement. The manufacturer’s installation instruction should also be followed.

7. How many types of CO devices are available? 
There are three types:
(i) Carbon Monoxide alarms (CSFM category # 5276)
(ii) Carbon Monoxide detectors (CSFM category # 5278)
(iii) combination smoke/Carbon Monoxide detector (CSFM category # 7256 or 7257).

8. What is the difference between a carbon monoxide alarm and a carbon monoxide detector? A carbon monoxide alarm is a stand alone unit which is tested to Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standard 2034 and has its own built-in power supply and audible device. These units are typically installed in your single family dwelling. A carbon monoxide detector is a system unit which is tested to UL Standard 2075 and is designed to be used with a fire alarm system and receives its power from the fire alarm panel.

9. Are CO devices required to be approved by the State Fire Marshal?
Yes. SB-183 prohibits the marketing, distribution, or sale of devices unless it is approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal.

10. If someone has a CO device that is not listed by the State Fire Marshal prior to the law, can they maintain it or does it have to be replaced?
The law required that CO devices to be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal. It does not prohibit someone who already owns the device prior to the effective date of Senate Bill (SB) 183.

11. Where does one obtain a copy of a California State Fire Marshal (CSFM) listing of CO device? Copies of CSFM listing of CO devices can be found on the State Fire Marshal website by logging on the following:
http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/licensinglistings/licenselisting_bml_searchcotest.php

Under “Category”, click on the sort by “Number” button, then go to the drop down menu (right down arrow) to select “5276-CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS” or “5278-CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS”. Then Click on “Search” and it will list all CO alarms or detectors that are currently
approved and listed by the California State Fire Marshal (CSFM)

12. Where can I go to receive further information on Carbon Monoxide?
You may go the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL-FIRE) web site at  http://www.fire.ca.gov  and click on Carbon Monoxide under “Hot Topics”.

13. Who can we contact at CAL-FIRE/CSFM for additional information?
Questions regarding carbon monoxide devices may be addressed to Deputy Mike Tanaka at (916)-445-8533 or mike.tanaka@fire.ca.gov
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About the author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I specialize in residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

My goal is to provide you with a home buying or selling experience that is comfortable, educational and financially beneficial to you… and that ultimately culminates in a lifelong relationship.  My business is solidly based on proven systems and cutting technology, which paired with my optimism and passion for my profession, guarantee a positive outcome for my clients.

I am a long term Marin County resident and home owner.  I strongly believe our quality of life is extraordinary and practically unmatched.  I love our community, quaint towns and vast open space and never tire of their breathtaking beauty.  My knowledge of, and passion for, Marin County are equaled by my commitment to helping you enjoy the same home ownership benefits.     I know the neighborhoods, the schools, the amenities; I know where you want to live.  I know and love Marin County! 

I service the following towns in Marin County: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield,  Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato.