Mill Valley, CA Real Estate News

By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
Most of us favor a high degree of predictability when it comes to things like the interest rates on mortgages. In that realm, “poised” is a bad word. When anything is poised, it means it’s about to do something different: change. For those who like predictability, change is unwelcome.But this week should provide both good and bad news when it comes to change and Marin mortgage rates. For once, a change in the immediate future is pretty nearly a sure thing. Although rates are poised, they’re poised for a comfortingly predictable change.What happens after that is a different story.Up until very recently, the mortgage interest rates offered to Marin home buyers has been an island of calm in a sea of…well, less calm, if the year’s turbulent election cycle is any example. Predictability has ...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
The idea of “fake news” and how to tell it from the real thing has gotten scads of attention lately, so Mill Valley web users are entitled to be more skeptical than usual of news items. Last week, there was one of those “come hither” headlines you run across on the web—but with a byline from The Washington Post, it looked like it would contain actual news.Sure enough, this one was for real: “How to Spot a Housing Rental Scam.” Housing rental scams aren’t totally unknown in California—so dispatches about how to spot any new kind of Mill Valley housing rental funny business figured to be worth checking into. It turns out that the article originated in the Washington Post for a good reason: it centered on a surge in housing rental rip-offs being attempted right now in the nation’s capital....
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
Some breakthrough good news has come to light. It deals with first-time home buyers.Across the U.S., first-time home buyers have been staging a disappearing act for a worrisome long time. The causes were pretty universal across much of the country: a sluggish economic recovery and tight labor market contributed to the national phenomenon. Rises in Corte Madera residential prices haven’t helped those seeking to become new homeowners locally.For Corte Madera homeowners who follow such things, the phenomenon was slowly becoming a worrisome fact—one that didn’t look like it was going away anytime soon. When you own a home, its value as collateral and at sale depends on a healthy real estate market—one that supports sustainable activity. That means that new buyers should appear in numbers at...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
Real estate articles that are really just lists are now being called “listicles”—and there are certainly plenty of them around. The other day one appeared that just had to be read: Bankrate’s “7 things that could turn off homebuyers.”The actual listicle may not have been the product of much real research into houses for sale, but it was amusing. In the best social media tradition, I’d like to add a few thoughts in order to come up with a modified/improved “7 things” (for starters, there are 9):9 Things Bound to Offend Nicasio Homebuyers       Monkeys.       All right, that first requires an explanation. It headed up the Bankrate list, with a picture of a rhesus macaque clinging to a balcony railing. I’d have to agree that monkeys freewheeling around a Nicasio house for sale might drive ...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
You don’t have to be beyond your 40s to begin plotting a direction for your retirement years. Most younger Mill Valley residents know this full well but (truth be told) do precious little about it. For most of us, we’re all so busy tending to career and daily living concerns that most of the time it seems like self-indulgent wool-gathering to go daydreaming about retirement plans. Besides—who has extra cash to be doing more than the bare minimum about financing retirement? It’s so far off in the future…That may be the 21st-century reality for most Mill Valley adults who aren’t close to retirement age, but in fact, some of the real estate decisions we make early on can set the stage for satisfaction in later years. That’s one of the takeaways from the brains at Age Wave, a think tank who...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
 If you listen to the Chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poors-Dow Jones, the nation’s housing market has reached an important milestone—one likely to be appreciated by real estate holders—Stinson Beach homeowners and investors included.The gentleman in the spotlight is David Blitzer, who is the head man when it comes to the S&P Case-Shiller Index, the most widely-respected measure of housing activity.Mr. Blitzer’s comments were aimed at the latest report, released last Tuesday. It covered three-month price averages for the quarter ending in September. They notched a 5.5% higher average residential price over the previous year.Now at this point, Stinson Beach real estate observers might wonder what is so newsworthy about yet another appreciation in residential real estate pri...
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By Rob Spinosa, SVP of Mortgage Lending, Marin County
(Guaranteed Rate, Marin County, CA)
How Bad Is It? As I type this blog post, it's raining outside, pouring actually.  And that's fitting because if you've been looking to get a mortgage since the presidential election, you've been facing your own personal deluge of sorts as well.  Interest rates are higher, no doubt about it, and the worst two week bond rout in the last 26 years has translated into approximately a half percent increase in rates to most programs. So how bad is it? There's a few ways to look at this, and the chart below shows that bond prices are approaching where they were exactly one year ago.  It's not as if we've returned to the Carter administration overnight, of course, and rates are still very favorable from a historical perspective.  In our chart here, note that the lower the lines go, the higher th...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
 If you were one of the brave Nicasio real estate investors who decided a few years back that the real estate meltdown was an awfully good buying opportunity, congratulations on being able to resist any naysayers. The fact that real estate has always lived up to its name (“real”) is easy to forget when prices have hit the basement—especially when the surrounding economic news is dire.Those were days when Nicasio fixer-upper opportunities were available for shockingly low asking prices—and before long, the shockingly low asking prices began to look normal and reasonable. “Bank owned homes” became a hugely popular search term as foreclosure numbers skyrocketed. It’s hard to recall the way it really felt, but any buying into that real estate market seemed like a swashbuckling act of raw co...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
 If you weren’t among those who were surprised by last week’s election outcome, you were among very few. Opinion leaders in every corner of the media are still scrambling to explain why their prognostications had been so wide of the mark. When your job is to help people understand the fine points of current events, it’s just plain embarrassing when you get the big picture 180 degrees wrong!For both Mill Valley homeowners who will be considering putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign within the next year or so—as well as for potential Mill Valley real estate buyers they will need to attract—any shift in the currents in Washington are very likely to affect the market conditions they’ll encounter. There are three areas that can have profound impacts on the strength or weakness of residential home sa...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
Diana Olick is a well-known industry writer. Anyone with an interest in Marin County real estate can usually find something of value when she comes up with a new entry in her CNBC column (the one with the pun-worthy title, “Realty Check”). This month she commented on the rising housing market across the nation and its repercussions in terms of homeowner equity.The piece points out that in the U.S., home equity has doubled over the last five years!It’s hardly news that home values have been steadily on the rise—that’s been a trend long seen in the asking prices in California and our Marin County listings. But the idea of homeowner equity actually doubling could be hard to believe.That’s a claim that sounds a like quite an exaggeration…until you stop to think about what is actually being ...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
The Leasing Team at Foundation Rentals and Relocation just LEASED another property in Mill Valley for $5,000.  Thanks to everyone for a great transaction.  For any questions about Mill Valley property management or buying or selling investment properties in Mill Valley, call Broker Christopher Barrow at (415) 637-8934!
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
The Leasing Team at Foundation Rentals and Relocation just LEASED another property in Mill Valley for $6,300. Thanks to everyone for a great transaction.  For any questions about Mill Valley property management or buying or selling investment properties in Mill Valley, call Broker Christopher Barrow at (415) 637-8934!  
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
The Leasing Team at Foundation Rentals and Relocation just LEASED another property in Mill Valley for $3,000.  Thanks to everyone for a great transaction.  For any questions about Mill Valley property management or buying or selling investment properties in Mill Valley, call Broker Christopher Barrow at (415) 637-8934!
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
The Leasing Team at Foundation Rentals and Relocation just LEASED another property in Mill Valley for $5,350.  Thanks to everyone for a great transaction.  For any questions about Mill Valley property management or buying or selling investment properties in Mill Valley, call Broker Christopher Barrow at (415) 637-8934!  
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
The Leasing Team at Foundation Rentals and Relocation just LEASED another property in Mill Valley for $5,995.  Thanks to everyone for a great transaction.  For any questions about Mill Valley property management or buying or selling investment properties in Mill Valley, call Broker Christopher Barrow at (415) 637-8934!  
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
 Midway through Marin County real estate’s busy selling season also finds us at the beginning of many a homeowner’s personal vacation season. For those whose homes are on the market, one of the benefits of having a close working relationship with their Mill Valley real estate agent means that they can take off for their out-of-town holiday without having to worry about losing prospective buyers. If my clients instruct me to continue showings in their absence, it’s no problem; likewise, if they’d prefer to hold off until their return, the showing schedule is juggled accordingly.When a house sitter is part of the picture, it’s a low-stress showing situation, as well. Good house sitters keep their client’s property in order on a day-to-day basis anyway, so with the agreed-upon advance sche...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
The Marin listings are one piece of what is now a towering real estate marketing colossus. Our MLS is like the bulletin board at the local supermarket where you pin up your garage sale notice or picture of the old lawn mower you’d like to get rid of in that it’s simple to use and, for the sellers, free. The difference is that today’s Marin listings are on the internet, so instead of just being available to the shoppers in Mill Valley, it’s posted for the whole world to see. Literally.And people from all over the world, instead of just wheeling their carts past it on their way to a parking lot, are increasingly paying attention. The most recent survey had foreign buyers plunking down $104 billion for about 8% of total existing homes sales dollars. In other words, people in China are chec...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
Most Marin County house flipping veterans can look back on their successful projects and place them in either of two columns. Either they were intended to be quick flips—turnarounds where speed was a prime ingredient because of an original tactical decision—or they were not.The quick flips depend on speedy, focused action in three of the four phases a house flipping project entails. In the opening phase— lining up the capital—speed is not important. Of course, nothing else will materialize unless financing for the Marin property is obtainable when needed—but there is no timer ticking away. Once it is likely that funding will be obtainable, that’s when the clock starts.Phase Two—finding, negotiating, and closing on a suitable property—is a real foot race. A quick flip only materializes a...
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
The Leasing Team at Foundation Rentals and Relocation just LEASED another property in Mill Valley for $4,995.  Thanks to everyone for a great transaction.  For any questions about Mill Valley property management or buying or selling investment properties in Mill Valley, call Broker Christopher Barrow at (415) 637-8934!  
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By Christopher Barrow, Is this the year your rental makes PASSIVE income?
(Foundation Homes Property Management & Sales)
Moving Day: for Mill Valley residents who relish order in their lives, this is one day when no amount of preparation is likely to totally quell the feeling that the world is on the verge of chaos. The day (or days, if the move is one that begins or ends outside Marin County) will predictably end with all worldly goods beginning to rearrange themselves in their new settings—but although the outcome is assured, as moving day approaches, rattled nerves require taking a deep breath. Several deep breaths…When you add small children to the mix, strategic preparation is even clearer as the order of the day. Some of the tried-and-true ideas are ones that all parents naturally figure out—such as having kids help put things away at the new house so they feel part of the process (as well as seeing...
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