Home sales in Marin County rose in February from both the previous month and a year ago. The luxury market continues to gain momentum! 44 properties sold for more than $1 million last month, up from just 29 transactions a year ago and 33 the previous month. The number of $2 million-plus sales also rose in February to 11 transactions from 7 last year.Good news for buyers, the median sale price for a luxury home in Marin did decrease to $1,322,750, down 4.1% from last year and 14% from the January median price.
Another indication of the improving housing market was homes sold in an average of 143 says, down from 205 last year and 150 days the previous month. As far as list price, sellers are receiving on average 96% of their list price, up from 93% last year. Although we have been seeing in many situations that listings are receiving multiple offers. Follow our 5 point strategy to win in a multiple offer situation and you are likely to be very successful.
The real estate market in Marin County is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon– and we are just about to head into spring buying season. The rapid growth of tech companies, recent IPOs, low interest rates, and higher consumer confidence are all contributing to this hot hot hot market.Demand is continuing to grow, for sellers there couldn’t be a better time to think about listing their home. If your thinking about buying or selling in Marin county or worldwide, contact Jimmy at (415) 990-8990.
Residential prices in San Francisco and in 19 other US cities have dropped at a slower pace in January than in years and months past, hinting to stabilization in the real estate market.
Property values in 20 cities fell 3.8% from a year earlier, matching the median forecast of 32 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, after decreasing 4.1% in December. Prices were little changed in January from the prior month, the best performance since July.
Property values are steadying as a strengthening labor market underpins housing demand, which will allow the industry that precipitated the recession to contribute to growth this year. Nonetheless, the recovery in sales may be restrained by short sales that are putting more properties onto the market. In Marin there are currently 298 contingent properties, of which 55% are short sales!
We are beginning to see a slightly less-negative picture, and we are starting to see some slight progress from very depressed levels. Home prices adjusted for seasonal variations were little changed in January from the prior month.
Economists’ estimates for the annual change in the home price index for December ranged from declines of 4.5 to 3.3%. The Case-Shiller index is based on a three-month average, which means the January data were influenced by transactions in November and December.
16 of the 20 cities in the index showed a decline from the prior year’s level, led by a 15% drop in Atlanta. San Francisco dropped 5.9%. Detroit showed the biggest increase, with prices rising 1.7% in January. Recovery is on its way.
The Marin Real estate market is Real Competitive. More than 44.5% of properties in Marin county are in contract, meaning 1 out of every 2 houses for sale is in contract! Buyers are motivated, and are offering great terms. Interest rates are beginning to climb once again, so don’t waste your time looking for deals. Look for properties that everyone wants now as they will appreciate better over the long term.
- Currently there are 455 active properties, of which 90% are not short sales
- Currently there are 298 contingent properties, of which 55% are short sales!
- Sales for the last two months are 75% regular sales and just 25% distressed.
The number of short sales is Marin Real Estate is declining, which is a great sign of improvement in our economy. For more information on how to win your dream property in this competitive real estate market, contact Jimmy at (415) 990-8990.
The Marin Real Estate Market is hot– 29 properties sold last week! 3 properties sold over list price, and 3 properties sold for full list price. The markets in Marin and San Francisco and throughout the San Francisco Bay area are turning rapidly into a sellers market. Buyers are now facing intense competition for the best well priced properties. With a recent .5% rise in interest rates we are seeing buyers flooding the market of the newest listings.
Wondering how to succeed in a Multiple Offer Market? Click here to learn about 5 simple steps to help you succeed in this hot hot hot Marin and San Francisco real estate market.</a>
With all of the recent and soon-to-come IPOs, The Wall Street Journal posted an article speculating what changes are coming for the San Francisco and Marin real estate markets. Hint: Different than that last IPO boom-time. While the previous generation of techies opted for traditional “fancy” neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, or tony Peninsula suburbs like Atherton, the current tech titans are opting for more modest abodes in “up-and-coming” neighborhoods.
It’s is definitely a cultural shift. The new generation of tech executives don’t want to be tied down by an expensive mortgage, many prefer public transportation to cars, and they want to be a part of the city and its culture. Neighborhoods in the South San Francisco are seeing the most action because of the network of tech shuttle buses traversing the area. A location close to an Apple/Google/Facebook shuttle bus line often increases a property’s sales price substantially! Finding a property with a close proximity to bus lines, flat streets for bicycle riding, food trucks and dive bars– is an example of a neighborhood that may benefit from this new IPO buzz.
You should be investing in your homes’ livability first, not value. What are some cost-effective ways to improve the livability of your house? Read below.
1. Walk-in pantry instead of kitchen cabinets
Kitchen cabinets are very expensive. Half of them are to high up on the wall– so they’re hard to reach. The wall space they take up could be better used for windows. A pantry takes up less space, stores a lot more, and costs less to build.
2. Comfortable shower instead of big bathtub
Replace your old big bath tub with a comfortably sized shower that people actually use every day! Showers takes up less space, use less hot water, and is far more sanitary than a big tub.
3. Group windows together facing best views instead of scattering them around the house
Got a great view somewhere? Bring it into the house with lots of glass!! Utilize your view of Mt. Tam or gorgeous Marin scenery by taking excess windows from bedrooms and bathrooms and using them to connect the inside of the house with the outside. Views sell houses.
4. Keep ceiling heights reasonable for the room size
“Volume” ceilings do not automatically make better rooms. They just make taller rooms, rooms that are harder to decorate and more expensive to heat and cool.
Instead, focus attention on a view, a large fireplace or other element– and away from the ceiling height. Use wall trim and multiple paint colors to break up the volume of the room and create the illusion of height.
5. Spend more time planning, and less money building
Carefully design new bedrooms, keeping the furniture placement in mind. After renovations, rooms easily accommodate furniture comfortably.
6. Consider the simple elegance of the box-form house
The simple box-house is a classic American form that’s survived 150 years of stylistic changes. Greek Revival, American Four-Square, Tidewater Georgian… all simple boxes. Great proportions, great details… done. It’s also cheaper to maintain!
7. Share part of the master bath
This isn’t for everyone, but it really tightens up the budget and the floor plan. Make the toilet and a sink in the master bath accessible to the rest of the house, instead of building a separate half-bath– it won’t be used much by you during the day, and rarely by guests at night.
8. Compartmentalized bath– two baths in the space of 1 1/2 baths
Each kid doesn’t need a personal bathroom, but does need privacy and room to share. A compartmentalized bath puts two sinks in one room and the toilet and tub/shower in another, so three kids can use the bath at once and keep a little more harmony in the family home.
Click above to view the eBrochure for this property
This outstanding 3 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom, private San Anselmo home has been thoughtfully remodeled throughout with attention to every detail. The main level entrance opens to vaulted ceilings and beautiful eco-friendly hardwood floors and a stone surround fireplace. The adjacent Kitchen is graced with new granite counter tops and Bosch and GE stainless steel appliances. The Laundry Room is centrally located on the main level—perfect for busy families.
All three spacious Bedrooms are en-suite and Baths have been styled with fashionable tiles and quality finishes. The Master Suite showcases vaulted ceilings and an elegant bathroom complete with a Jacuzzi tub and shower.
The Outdoor Deck opens up to a large level lawn perfect for entertaining, gardening, or a play space.
Conveniently located just minutes away from nearby parks, award-winning schools and shops.
- 3 En-Suite Bedrooms
- 3 Bathrooms
- Completely Remodeled
- Vaulted Ceilings
- New Bosch and GE Stainless Appliances
- New Granite Counter Tops
- New Bamboo Hardwood Floors
- Freshly Painted Inside and Out
- Large Level Lawn
- Private Yard
- Professionally Landscaped
- 6+ Car Parking
Changes recently implemented by HUD will increase the cost of upfront and annual mortgage insurance premiums for FHA insured loans with case numbers assigned on or after April 9, 2012. A second round of increases will go into effect for jumbo FHA loans assigned on or after June 11 with loan sizes ranging above $625,500 up to the maximum loan size of $729,750. These increases are geared to replenish the FHA’s mortgage insurance fund, which was recently assessed at having a 50% chance of falling to a zero balance, potentially requiring a tax payer bailout.
The FHA does not make loans. Rather, it insures loans that meet its guidelines, which are extremely lenient with respect to a borrower’s credit worthiness. FHA loans allow for credit scores as low as 620 and require minimal down payments of just 3.5% that can be gifted by a family member. There are no reserve requirements and higher debt ratios are permitted than by conventional loan programs. These lax requirements have earned FHA loans the moniker of “new sub-prime.” As of December 31, 2011, 9.6% of FHA loans were deemed seriously delinquent and defaults had increased 18% over 2010 levels.
Despite high default rates and pending mortgage insurance increases, FHA loans will remain a boon for millions of borrowers, who will still enjoy the best long-term mortgage rates available. While certain borrowers with limited down payment funds or poor credit may have no loan option other than FHA, others may wish to weigh the increased costs against conventional financing options. Here is a breakdown of the pending mortgage insurance increases.
Currently, the FHA requires an upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1% that can be rolled into or financed by the new mortgage. In addition, there is an annual premium, pro-rated and collected monthly, of 1.1% of the mortgage balance for fixed mortgages with loan-to-value ratios (LTV) of 95% or less. LTVs above 95% carry an annual premium of 1.15%. (FHA loans with terms of 15 years or less and LTVs below 78% are exempt from the annual mortgage insurance premium.)
Changes Beginning April 9, 2012:
Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium, All FHA Loans:
Increase from 1% to 1.75%.
Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium:
Terms Greater Than 15 Years
Any loan amount up to 95 LTV: 1.20% (increased from 1.10).
Any loan amount above 95 LTV: 1.25% (increased from 1.15).
Terms Less Than 15 Years, LTV Above 78%
Any loan amount less than 90 LTV: .35%.
Any loan amount above 90 LTV: .60%.
Changes Beginning June 11, 2012:
Annual Mortgage Insurance Premium
Terms Greater Than 15 Years
Loan amounts from $625,501 to $729,750
Up to 95 LTV: 1.45% (increased from current 1.1).
Above 95 LTV: 1.50% (increased from current 1.15).
Terms Less Than 15 Years, LTV Above 78%
Loan amounts from $625,500 to $729,750
Up to 90 LTV: .60% (increased from .35).
Above 90 LTV: .85% (increased from .60).
With the first round of mortgage insurance changes on April 9, FHA borrowers’ monthly payments will undergo moderate increases. The biggest change will be the upfront premium increase from 1% to 1.75%. After June 11, and especially for borrowers needing loans above $625,500, the cost for FHA loans will be far more dramatic. For example: a borrower with a $729,750 loan above a 95 LTV would see their monthly mortgage insurance payment increase from $699 per month to $912.
5 Simple Steps to Succeeding in Multiple Offer Situations:
How to Succeed in a Multiple Offer Market in Marin
1. Get pre-approved
2. Identify your target criteria so you don’t waste your time
3. Scour the market for both on and off market properties
4. Be aggressive by viewing properties ASAP
5. Write offers to WIN! Great terms, great price, and most importantly have a great team representing you
Give Jimmy a call (415) 990-8990 if your thinking about writing an offer.
Top 3 Ways to Turn a Buyer Off: If you’re a seller courting buyers, here are 3 faux-pas to avoid:
1. Hanging out when buyers are viewing your home: Buyers stalk properties online and off, checking obsessively for price reductions and the like. But buyer-side home stalking is unobtrusive to sellers. On the other hand, buyers can feel personally stalked and stifled in their ability to fully explore or verbally process their impressions of a home when you, seller, hang out inside your home while it’s being shown.
As soon as a buyer sees you in the house, it instantly becomes much more difficult for them to”
(a) envision themselves living there (it’s your house, after all),
(b) be comfortable opening up drawers, closet doors, etc., and
(c) express their thoughts about how this house might be exactly what they’re looking for, if they can knock out that wall and get rid of those cukoo murals you so lovingly painted in your children’s rooms.
Sellers: If you want to sell your home, it’s best to not be around when buyers are looking. Give them some breathing space and a chance to truly walk around and consider what they like and/or dislike about your home without lurking and looming (and, let’s be real – eavesdropping) nearby.
2. Showing a messy house: Life gets hectic, and it’s easy for things like laundry, dishes and other house cleaning tasks to fall by the wayside. It’s also difficult to keep the home in which you and your 4 kids, 3 gerbils and 2 Labrador Retrievers live perfectly spotless for months at a time, while you’re waiting for an offer. But when you decide that you’re going to sell your home, it’s imperative that you make a pact and a plan with yourself and your family that the place will be in tip-top shape when buyers come knocking.
Remember: your home is competing with dozens of others, as well as with buyer’s HGTV-infused visions of what their next home should look like, so first impressions really count.
Sellers: Stuffing the closet is not the answer. (Buyers will be opening that closet door, after all.) Pack up your personals like you were moving (best case: you are), and put all but the essentials in storage, if needed. Get the carpets cleaned, do the dishes, make the beds, mow the lawn, dust, sweep and mop. Ask your agent to give you a gut check on whether your idea of clean is clean enough (better yet – ask them for the number of a house cleaner who you can engage to get the job done to showable standards).
This might all seem obvious, but agents and buyers alike are constantly amazed at the condition of some of the homes they walk into. Take my word for it; I’ll spare you the ‘ewww’-inducing stories.
3. Overpricing your home: Buyers already have lots to do before making the largest purchase of their lives. They have to wrangle their finances into order, jump hoops to qualify for a loan, collect the cash for down payment and closing costs, and invest sometimes hundreds of hours into market research and house hunting. With all of this already on their plates, the prospect of trying to negotiate down a crazily high asking price is just too much work (and too outside their comfort zones) for most buyers to deal with. The average buyer won’t even bother looking at your home if the asking price is clearly high and off base compared with other similar, nearby homes for sale; they’d rather sit tight and wait .
Sellers: Price to sell from the beginning. Work with your agent to determine a price that is supported by the data on how much nearby homes have recently sold for. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and anguish and get a lot more legitimate bites from serious, qualified buyers.
Top 3 Ways to Turn a Seller Off: Buyers, if you want a home’s seller to play ball, best practice is to avoid these 3 pitfalls:
1. Unjustified, extreme lowball offers: It’s no secret that buyers have the upper hand in many markets right now. (To be clear, I said ‘many’ – not ‘every’ – your agent can help you understand what the dynamics are in your market.) But let’s be realistic, here. No seller can afford to give away their home at a price far below what it’s worth on today’s market. Lowballing a seller at a price far below the recent sales prices of similar homes in the neighborhood on the ‘let’s-take-a-stab’ plan, is highly likely to turn them off. And that, in turn, will cause the seller to view your offer – and you – as disrespectful and wasteful of their time.
Not only will they turn down your offer, but they may not even bother with a counteroffer, rendering your efforts at securing that particular home dead in the water.
Buyers: Review the recent sale prices of similar homes in the neighborhood (aka “comps”) with your agent before you make your offer. Also, ask them to help you factor in other market data, like the average list price-to-sale price ratio and the average number of days neighborhood homes stay on the market. It’s all right to come in lower than asking, if the market data supports such an offer; just be sure your offer is based on reality – and not your fantastical hallucination about scoring the bargain of the millennium.
2. Buyer-side mortgage fails: Plenty of employed buyers with decent credit and cash in the bank have been turned down for a mortgage these past few years. That means buyers can’t assume (a) that they’ll be approved for the amount of loan they need to buy the house they want, or (b) that they’ll be approved for a loan at all. Your inability to get approved for a home loan can create all sorts of problems not just for you, but also for your home’s seller. The average seller’s worst case scenario is that they accept your offer only to find out a few weeks, or months, later that you can’t get the loan you need to close the deal.
Buyers: It’s not overkill to start working with a mortgage professional as far as six months or a year in advance of starting your house hunt to get pre-approved for a loan. Make sure you get a clear understanding of the amount you qualify for, then work with your real estate agent from there to determine the price range you should house hunt in. And whatever you do – don’t buy a new car, open new credit cards or even change your line of work before your escrow closes, unless you consult closely with your mortgage professional before you make that move.
Tip for Sellers: Work with your agent to vet buyers before you sign a contract. Factor in their down payment and earnest money deposit, and feel free to counteroffer these items, not just the offer price. It’s not overkill to have your agent contact the buyer’s mortgage broker to see how reliable the buyer’s pre-approval really is.
3. Bashing the seller’s home: Home bashing happens when buyers start bad-mouthing (aka “trash talking”) the place and/or the neighborhood in hopes of getting a lower asking price. Examples: pointing out all the foreclosures in the area, saying the house down the street just sold for much lower than the asking price on this house, saying you’ll need to rip out the entire kitchen before you even consider moving in – saying any of these things to a seller who happens to be at home during the showing or the inspection is probably one of the fastest ways to turn them all the way off.
Buyers: Bad-mouthing a house or neighborhood won’t work to get you a lower price. Instead, it only serves to irritate the seller and motivate them to come up with all sorts of reasons why they shouldn’t sell their home to you! Remember: homes hold incredible emotional experiences for owners. Make an offer you’re comfortable with and keep the negative comments to yourself.
If there are legitimate, factual reasons underlying your decision to make an offer at a price the seller might see as a lowball, ask your agent to respectfully communicate those facts to the seller’s agent.
Buyers, sellers, agents: What are the biggest turnoffs you’ve encountered during home buying or selling?