Luxury Rentals in Marin County

If you are looking to relocate to the Marin area and not purchase a home immediately there are a number of high end rentals available.  As of July 1, 2014 there are 13 single family homes for rent ranging from $8,000 to $15,000 per month.  You can email me for details and I will send you a list.


07 2014

New on the Market in Marin County




Beautiful 5 bedroom home in Novato.  Hardwood floors throughout main level, multi-sport athletic court, and stunning un-obstructed views. 




Beautiful 3 bed home in the Dixie school district in San Rafael.  Refinished hardwood flooring, new paint inside and out and stunning views of the surrounding hills.



Gorgeous bayview home in Belvedere.  Views of the Pacific from nearly every room in the house, plus an observation deck overlooking the Bay.



Click Here to view more info about the above listings, or, Click Here for info on more recent Marin County listings.




05 2014

Housing Affordability Improves as Mortgage Rates Continue 4-Week Slide

The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 4.14 percent this week, down from an average of 4.20 percent a week ago, according to a Thursday report from mortgage giant Freddie Mac. The report marks the fourth straight week in which the average rate for a 30-year home loan fell, alleviating concerns about housing affordability. Rates also fell for 15-year fixed and 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages this week, while the average rate for a one-year ARM was unchanged at 2.43 percent.


Housing affordability has fallen off considerably in recent months as prices steadily rose and mortgage rates climbed from record lows set last summer. The issue is particularly disconcerting in the San Francisco market, where home values have surged to all-time highs in recent weeks. Some observers have even predicted that San Francisco is on pace to completely price out the middle class within the next ten years. While the recent downward movement of interest rates will alleviate the affordability problem somewhat, the issue may still be a pertinent one until there’s another housing crash to reduce values.


05 2014

Existing Home Sales Surge in April

The National Association of Realtors reported Thursday that the US housing sector finally showed signs of a spring buying season in April as existing home sales rose 1.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized pace of 4.65 million units. Of course, sales are still down nearly 7 percent from last April as higher mortgage rates and property values have simply priced lower income buyers right out of the market. The pace is also still well below the total of 5.1 million US homes purchased in 2013, and almost a million units behind the 5.5 million unit pace considered healthy for the US market.


Last month’s sales gains came primarily in the volatile multifamily market, as sales of condos and townhomes rose7.3 percent from March to April. Sales of single-family homes, meanwhile, rose just 0.5 percent nationally. Sales have been on the slow side since last summer, when mortgage rates began rising after the Federal Reserve started tapering stimulus measures. At the same time, declining inventory and heightened demand from investors has depleted inventory, driving prices higher and putting a dent in affordability for the middle and lower classes. The median price paid for homes sold in April was $201,700, up 5.2 percent from the month prior.


05 2014

Bay Area Home Prices and Sales Nearing Pre-recession Levels

The Bay Area housing market is all the way back to pre-recession levels, according to a string of recent reports.  A report issued Wednesday by real estate information provider DataQuick shows that median sales prices reached post-recession highs in several Bay Area counties last month, including Contra Costa and Alameda, while prices in Santa Clara County reached an all-time high in April.  Sales in the region, meanwhile, shot up more than 10 percent from March, though they were relatively flat when compared to the previous March’s numbers.  For the entire nine county Bay Area region, the median price paid for homes sold in April was $610,000, the highest that number has been since November 2007, and a 16 percent improvement year-over-year.  Sales, meanwhile, rose almost 20 percent between March and April, prompting numerous housing insiders to proclaim the San Francisco market as the best-improving in the nation.


05 2014

San Rafael Chamber Holding Health & Wellness Event for Seniors

The San Rafael Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to hold a free health and fitness event for seniors next Wednesday.  Organized by the Chamber’s health and wellness group, the event will be held at the Drake Terrace Senior Living Community Center, May 28th from 2 to 4 PM.  There will be a handful of health professionals on hand to offer advice and information, plenty of literature for seniors to take home with them, and healthy foods for participants to sample.  The Drake Terrace Center is located at 275 Los Ranchitos Rd in San Rafael.  For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at (415)491-1935.


05 2014

1st Marin County Tesla Outlet to Open Saturday

Marin County is set to get its first Tesla store this weekend as the electric automobile maker is opening a location at The Village of Corte Madera. The store will be the seventh Tesla location in the Bay Area, and the 55th in the US. The Tesla store will not be a typical outlet for an automotive company, as the company won’t stock cars to sell to the public. Instead, visitors to the Tesla outlet are treated to an educational experience about the environmentally-friendly cars. There will be two Model S cars in the store, as displays, plus a bare drive train from the Model S used to illustrate where the car’s batteries go. Those looking to buy a Tesla will be able to learn about the company’s various options and even order their car in the store, though delivery time is expected to be from three to six weeks.


While Tesla currently only sells one model, the Model S, it offers myriad options that can drive the price tag up from a base of $70,000 to nearly $130,000. The company offers a total of nine exterior color schemes in addition to seven different interior packages. That means that while there’s only one model, there are 63 different combinations from which customers can choose. The company is also working on its second model, the Model X, which is an electric crossover SUV set to debut next year.


05 2014

Officials Look to Address Growing “Water Squatters” Problem

Waterfront homes in sunny Sausalito can be quite expensive, at least it is for those living on the shore and paying taxes. Officials called attention this week, however, to a growing number of so-called “water-squatters” living in boats anchored offshore. These Anchor Out residents enjoy the luxury of Pacific Coast living without paying the exorbitant taxes that most residents suffer. That’s because the waters near Sausalito‘s shoreline are designated anchorage, though boaters are subject to local rules and regulations. The problem, many onshore residents say, is that there’s confusion over what rules they must follow and whose jurisdiction it would be to enforce them.


The Anchor Out colony near Sausalito has been drawing boat dwellers for years, with some calling the sea home for as many as 15 years. Some of these Anchor Outs actually attend school or work, while others are simply enjoying life without bills while getting their food from the Pacific. A handful of Sausalito taxpayers actually like the floating colony, though most have become concerned with the environmental damage the Anchor Outs are causing. There is a Richardson Bay Regional District rule that requires boats to move on after being moored for three days, but it hasn’t been enforced because of the confusion over jurisdiction. The District is scheduled to meet tonight, May 14th, to discuss passing a rule that all boats in Richardson Bay be currently registered. The rule might pose a problem for the Anchor Outs, though it remains to be seen which agency would enforce the rule.


05 2014

Home Loans 101 – Understanding Mortgage Terminology

Mortgage is simply a word used to refer to bank loans taken out to purchase a home, yet many Americans view the subject of mortgages as confusing due to the various types of mortgages and the differences between them. Compounding the confusion, the majority of Americans will only go through the process of securing a mortgage once in their lives, and some will never even purchase a home. Every mortgage type can be sorted into one of two main categories, depending on whether interest accrues at one rate for the life of the loan or adjusts over time. Fixed-rate mortgages, in which the interest rate always remains the same, are a popular choice for home purchases, while adjustable-rate mortgages, also known as ARMs, are typically used when a homeowner refinances an existing loan.


Both mortgage types have distinct advantages and disadvantages. With a fixed-rate loan, borrowers have the peace-of-mind that there will be no surprises. Your payments remain exactly the same over time, even if interest rates rise substantially. The disadvantage, meanwhile, is that you will be stuck at the same rate if interest rates drop. With ARMs, however, your initial interest rate might be substantially lower in the beginning of the loan, but that interest rate will adjust based on average rates, so the dollar amount of monthly payments can rise and fall multiple times over the life of the loan. Generally speaking, fixed-rate mortgage products carry longer terms than ARMs, usually 15, 20 or 30 years. Designed to be paid off more quickly, ARMs are normally offered with one or five year terms, though some ARMs are designed to be paid off in 15 years.


Besides being either fixed-rate or adjustable, all home loans are also either conventional or government insured. Conventional loans are those handed out to consumers based solely on their credit qualifications, and are not backed by a government agency. Insured loans might be covered by the Federal Housing Authority or Veterans Administration. The advantage of a government-backed loan is that they’re easier to qualify for, and typically require much smaller down payments than conventional home loans. These borrowers are required to carry mortgage insurance, however, which raises their monthly payments. FHA loans are available to qualified borrowers throughout the general public, while VA loans are only available to active military, veterans and their spouses in some cases.


Another distinction among home loans is conforming or non-conforming, and is based on the actual dollar amount borrowed. Conforming refers to the fact that these loans conform to maximum amount limits set by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Non-conforming loans are also referred to as jumbo loans, in reference to the large amount of money borrowed. Because banks take on considerable more risk with jumbo loans, borrowers usually have to have superb credit histories and come up with massive down payments to qualify, and interest rates are generally higher.


The final type of mortgage is a reverse mortgage, and is unlike any other type of mortgage in that it allows mostly senior homeowners to convert equity into cash to supplement fixed-incomes such as Social Security checks. Proceeds from a reverse mortgage can be paid out in one lump sum, over time in monthly payments, or even as a line of credit. The homeowner is not required to make payments as long as they reside in the house, leaving them more money for monthly expenses. The disadvantage, meanwhile, is that the bank gets the home if the borrower passes away and the estate they leave behind is not enough to cover the balance. The biggest disadvantage to reverse mortgages is that they are often used by predatory lenders, though this can be avoided by making sure the mortgage is federally insured.


Before beginning your search for a new home, you should always take some time to educate yourself on the different types of home loans available in your market. Check with the Better Business Bureau, a real estate agent, and other housing professionals to ensure the lender you choose doesn’t have a history of shady deals. It’s also highly advisable to consult with an attorney before signing any contracts. Different lenders offer different interest rates, mortgage types and quality of service, so it’s a good idea to sit down with several lenders before making your final decision.


05 2014

School Parcel Taxes Approved in Novato, Reed Union Districts

A pair of school tax parcel measures passed Tuesday, paving the way for increased funding for the Novato and Reed Union school districts. The measures were approved by voters using mail-in-ballots, and the results were revealed late Tuesday night. In Novato, Measure A was approved by 81 percent of about 12,000 voters that took part, extending a $251 per year parcel tax for eight more years. District officials noted the tax provides $4.4 million a year in funding, or just over 6 percent of the district’s $70 million annual budget. 78 percent of just under 3,000 voters in the Reed Union district approved Measure B, renewing an existing $370 parcel tax for another eight years while also increasing the tax by $138 in the first year and by 3 percent each year after.


05 2014