How To WIN IN a seller's market
I know you've read and heard over and over what a highly competitive market we are in. The Bay Area always has been a very desirable place to live, and with low inventory, high demand and lots of buyers out there (both all cash and financing buyers), this truly is a strong sellers market. Having said that, a buyer can compete and win. Read on!
When working with a buyer, many of us put in offers for our clients only to find we are in a multiple offer situation, repeatedly... and this can cause all of us, clients and agents, to feel stressed and anxious.
So, what is the best way to navigate the market? I find the best thing I can do is, right from the beginning, be completely honest with my clients by giving them all the facts, realistic possibilities and expectations and by running different scenarios by them. I even role play with them so they know what kind of things could happen after putting an offer in.
This also means we learn by doing and that means you have to ask yourself question "how will I feel if I don't get this property?" If the answer is that you want and must have that property, you have to be prepared to possibly, if not probably, offer over the asking price, consider a shorter escrow period, a free-rent back to the seller or even releasing certain contingencies with the offer. If you are financing a purchase and want to shorten the escrow period, you must make sure you can by checking with your mortgage professional. New lending laws went into effect recently that will affect closing timelines. Additionally, lenders are now responsible for certain document preparation that previously the title company could handle. Obviously these things put a lot of pressure and risk on a buyer. Sometimes a buyer can do much of their due diligence prior to writing an offer, but the phrase, "Buyer Beware," certainly comes in to play in this scenario.
Also, we have to think about who is selling the house. If it is someone who is simply flipping it, it may be all and only about the price they can get, with the best terms. On the other hand, if it is a family or family members selling a much loved home, offering top dollar, great terms and a hand written letter and even pictures can help to win the deal! I recently represented a Seller who chose the offer they wanted based on three things: the price offered, the quick escrow and pictures the buyers children did of themselves playing in the fruit tree in the backyard. My sellers had lived in the home for 35 years and raised 4 children there and it really spoke to them that these particular buyers' children loved the property!
I had another recent experience, where my buyers noticed at the Open House that the seller had dogs. With our offer, my clients wrote a letter about themselves and included a picture of themselves with their dog. There were 5 offers on the property and ours was chosen. The seller later told us that not only was it the dog in the picture that sealed the deal, but the letter my buyers wrote talked about one of them being in an occupation that the Seller greatly admired and wanted them to have the property!
So back to the question, "how do I get the property I want?" It simply means that both the buyer and the agent must, must, must do their homework, be fully prepared to make some quick decisions, make sure if you are getting a loan for your purchase that you know exactly what your purchase limit is and needed lending timeframe, and most importantly, keep the faith and don't give up. When I have a buyer whose offer isn't chosen, I tell them "that just means there is a better property out there for you and we will find it." And, I mean it.
If you would like more information about our market or just want to chat about real estate, Marin County or the the Bay Area, give me a call (415)640-0336.
I just attended a very important informational meeting about wildfire preparedness put on by the San Rafael Fire Department: Evacuation: In Case of Wildfire What You Need to Know!
The very recent devastating and nearby "Valley" fire made us all realize that it CAN happen in our neighborhoods, just like it did in theirs. During the presentation, the fire department put up a burn map showing the area that just burned in Lake County. They then took that same map and put it over a map of Marin County. It was beyond shocking to see if that fire had occurred here, much of the populated areas of Marin would be gone now. More on this below.
Being prepared is he name of the game. One of the most important ways to protect your property is to create defensible space around your house....clear grasses, leaves, tree branches, if you have Eucalyptus trees think seriously about getting rid of them (they explode in fires), etc. Clean debri from your gutters and roof.
Being prepared also means have a plan in place for evacuation. To start, take an index card and on it list all the things you would grab if you had only 10 minutes to evacuate. Put that card in a place that is easy to grab...then get yourself in gear and take the steps to prepare yourself and your family.
Make copies of important paperwork (home insurance, life insurance, mortgage statement, birth cetificates, passports....) and put them together. I keep mine in a bright plastic 9 x 11' envelope that is easy to grab out of my file cabinet.
If you don't want to make copies, then scan/diigitize all those important documents and important photos that you don't want to lose. Put it on a flashdrive.
If you don't already have an emergency bag for each of your cars, now is the time to prepare one and get it in there.....flashlights, radio, cash, food/water kits, pet food, medicines, goggles, heavy gloves, space blankets, shoes and socks, a compass, whistle and so much more should always be in that bag (see http://readymarin.org/ for complete lists of what you need).
A really helpful list of action items, from the meeting I attended, that can take you to links for checklists, resources and a CalFire Video can be viewed at http://www.dominicanareanews.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Evacuation_Preparation_For-PDF.pdf. I highly encourage you to take some time and go thru all 13 headings. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, one of the slides that really hit home is the one that shows the acreage that burned in the Lake County "Valley" fire and then the next slide shows that same burn map over Marin County. As you can see, most of where we all live would have been destroyed. Scary stuff, but necessary stuff to see.
Another important thing to do is to register your phones with the Marin Emergency Alert System. They system has been upgraded and expanded, and now includes cell phone numbers, so please go to http://www.alertmarin.org/ and make sure you are in the system.
During the meeting they showed footage of the Oakland Hills Fire....when that fire raged folks weren't prepared and seeing the chaos and gridlock of cars filled with families trying to get out of their neighborhoods, cars catching on fire from flying embers and debri was horrifying. Fire department folks were yelling at people stuck in cars to get out and run. Seeing the after footage of the burned out cars along neighborhood streets, right across the bay from us, in Oakland, will be with me forever.
The information given by the San Rafael Fire Department was so important that it made me want to share it with everyone I know because as one of the slides shown said, "Park Your Denial At The Door," and get prepared (it is not a matter of IF we will have a wildfire in Marin, but WHEN we will have one).
Looking for a short trip to somewhere fun for the whole family? How about a 2-hour drive to Glass Beach on the Mendocino Coast in Fort Bragg? Glass Beach is thought to have the most sea glass of any place in the entire world!
Why do some folks call glass on beaches “Sea Glass, “ and others call it “Beach Glass?” “Sea glass” is technically the name for the pieces of glass found on ocean beaches and “beach glass” is found on the shores of fresh water beaches.
Where did the glass come from? The 1906 Northern California earthquake flattened downtown Fort Bragg’s buildings. Prior to the quake, the folks of the area disposed of their trash by burning it in their yards. After the quake, there was so much debri and trash the locals realized was way too much to burn, so they began dumping it into the ocean. They continued to dump into the ocean until the 1960’s! They all thought it would float away….but it didn’t leave their little cove area! The formations of rock under the water kept the currents from taking it out to sea and instead kept it crashing over and over against the rock formations and then setting it back onto the beaches!
In 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board created a new dump away from the ocean. Since then, Mother Nature has reclaimed (and cleaned) the beach. The years of the different kinds and colors of glasses tossing in the surf and sand have created sea glass that ranges in quality and colors. You might even get lucky and find some different colors that have fused together…this is known as “fire glass,” and is pretty special and rare!
As if that weren’t enough, Glass Beach also has a great variety of tide pools for all to enjoy! Tide pools constantly change, but you will surely see all kinds of life in them….best times to see the tide pool goodies is at low tide.
Please do be aware that part of this area is a CA State Park and they request that you do not take any glass from their area. You are allowed to take a few pieces from the area that is south (left turn at the bluffs) and down the walking path to the beach.
It’s Spring. the time when many come out to any of the many Farmer’s Markets in Marin County. Although some run year-round, others are seasonal.
The markets offer local and nearby grown fresh produce, flowers, bakery goods, local food trucks, music, as well as arts& crafts and kid zones…not to mention the great and eclectic mix of shoppers! It’s a fun place to run into old friends and make new friends while strolling the markets, munching on free samples and just being outside!
Since you can find a market every day of the week, I’ve assembled the list below for ease in finding ones you’d like. I invite to try them all throughout the season!
* San Rafael-Year round @ Marin Civic Center parking lot, 8a-1p
* Sausalito-June to Nov. @ Dunphy Park , 10a-2p
· Novato-May to Sept. @ Grant Ave. (downtown), 4p-8p
· Ross Valley Farm Stand-June to Oct. @ Marin Art & Garden Ctr., 1p-7:30p
· Tam Valley-May to Nov. @ 219 Shorline, 3p-7p
· Corte Madera-Year round @ Town Center Shopping Ctr., 12p-5p
· Fairfax-April to December @ Bolinas Park, 4p-8p
· San Geronimo Org. Farm Stand-June to Oct. @ SG Valley Comm. Ctr, 1p-7:30p
· Ross Valley-May to Oct. @ Marin Art & Garden (on SFD), 3p-7p
· San Rafael-Year round @ Marin Vets Memorial Auditorium parking lot, 8a-1p
· San Rafael-April to Sept. @ downtown 4th St. (bet. Lincoln & B St.), 6p-9p
· Bolinas-Year round @ 95 Olema-Bolinas Rd., 2p-6p
· Mill Valley-Year round, CVS Parking lot on Blithedale, 9:30a-2:30p
· San Anselmo Org. Farm Stand-June to Oct. @ SA Town Hall ,, 11a-7:30p
· Larkspur-Year round @ Marin Country Market, Larkspur Landing, 9a-2p
· Marinwood-Year round @ Marinwood Plaza, 9a-2p
· Point Reyes-June to Nov. @ Toby’s Feed Barn, Hwy 1, 9a-1p
· Woodacre Org. Farm Stand-June to Oct. @ San Geronimo Valley Dr., 9a-5p
If you would like more information about Farmer's Markets in our area, homes in Marin or just Marin County in general, just give me a quick call or send me an email...I'm always happy to help!
As we enter March, spring is just around the corner. Don’t forget to to spring your clocks forward on Sunday, March 8th and start enjoying the longer daylight hours!
Here’s a few more things to do and take care of in March:
Wow, it’s officially March and that means it is time, if you haven’t already, to get serious about Summer Camps for your kids, ages 2 to 18! Marin County offers a diverse array from sports to cooking to tutu & dancing to sailing, art, adventure to overnight camps and just about anything else in between that will excite your child! A very thorough list of camps with links to the individual ones can be found at www.marinmagazine.com/camps.
Marin Theatre Company
Like the music of Bob Marley? From March 7-15th, Marin Theatre Company is presenting a play called Three Little Birds that was inspired by and uses the music of reggae guru Marley. The story is set in Jamaica and tells the tale of a character named Ziggy who has many fears and is forced to come out of his home and face life and the sun! See www.marintheatre.org or (415) 388-5208 for more information.
Indoor Antique Market
March 21-22 the Marin Center Exhibit Hall hosts an Indoor Antique Market, where you will find fine art, antiques, estate and vintage jewelry, decorations, glass, prints and even postcards! Information can be found at www.goldengateshows.com (415) 383-2252.
Marin Women’s Hall of Fame
Each year, the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame honors Marin women who make a difference. This wonderful event began in 1987 and remains a joint project of the Marin and SF YWCA’s. This years nominees are Colleen Hicks, Olga Murray, Kate Kain and Barbara Salzman. These women will be inducted and honored on March 26th at the Peacock Gap Event Center in San Rafael. For more information on each nominee and the event, please go to https://www.ywcasf-marin.org/marin-womens-hall-fame.
Marin History Museum
Faces in Marin Histor is a very special exhibit that runs now thru October. It is chock full of rare and rarely seen portraits, photos and stories from past and present Marin residents. For more information, go to www.marinhistory.org or call (415) 454-8538.
Want to know about real estate and housing in Marin? Just give me a call, (415) 640-0336.
Are you looking for some fun things to do around or close to Marin this month?
I've found some interesting events, films, walks and talks you might want to partake in!
Febr. 16th: President's Day Paddle at McNears Beach Park in San Rafael-A paddleboard race for everyone with different courses that will fit your tastes and abilities! Bring your paddleboard, canoe or kayak! Weather permitting! Information: (415)897-0618 marincounty.org
Febr. 16-20: Imaginary Worlds: Witches, Wizards, Knights & Princesses-A winter camp at The Bay Area Discovery Museum where imagination is the word! Information: (415)339-3900 baykidsmuseum.org
Febr. 16: Nature for Kids: Roy's Redwoods-Come to Roy's Redwoods Open Space in Nicasio to see forest life in a redwood forest during the rainy season. See ferns, mosses, insects and interesting animals. Information: (415)893-9508 marincountyparks.org
Febr. 19-20: Art Attack-A fun and messy winter art camp! Your kids can express themselves thru paint, sculpture, natural objects, recycled materials and more! Held at Bay Area Discovery Museum: (415) 339-3900 baykidsmuseum.org
FOR ADULTS: Febr. 5: The Art of Photographing People-National Geographic photographer Catherine Karnow will share tips and her techniques for grabbing the best shots of personality & qualities when photographing subjects. The Image Flow (415)388-3569 theimageflow.com
Febr.10: Lost Bohemia- A film taken over 8 years of artists (from dancers to writers) that had to fight to preserve their studios for future artists. Josef Astor, Filmmaker and resident of Carnegie Hall Studios. Bay Area Discovery Museum (415)332-3870
Febr. 27-March 1: SF International OCEAN Film Festival-Indie films that are all ocean related at this 12th annual event! Ocean topics range from conservation to ocean exploration. Some documentaries, some are animated. Cowell Theatre (SF) (415)561-6251 oceanfilmfest.org
Ongoing: The SF Gourmet Chocolate Tour-Take this 3 hour walking tour from the SF waterfront to Union Square with delicious tastings at 7 stops en route! Yum! Starts at Justin Herman Plaza. Information at gourmetwalks.com
Ongoing: Mark Twain Walking Tour of Napa and Sonoma-A local actor named George Webber transforms himself into Mark Twain as he takes you thru the past history of these towns. Information: (707) 694-5097 georgewebber.com
There's so many great things to do in and around Marin...from theatre to dance to music, galleries, museums, events, films, restaurants and opportunites to volunteer, that I invite you to pick a few new ones and have a great time!
Marin County is a great place to live! If you'd like to know more, just give me a call or drop me an email! Cell: (415)640-0336 Email: Pam@MarinModern.com or Pbtheroux@gmail.com.
Marin County is 521 square miles in size. Eighty percent (80%) of the county is comprised of wooded lands, parks, water and watershed. There are 11 cities and 270,000 people living in Marin. We've had a tough couple of drought years and we've all pitched in and done our part to conserve water. Well, the rains are back. Thank goodness the rains are back....right?
The first storms of this winter caused some flooding, slick roads and a few mudslides. As the winter rains continue, it is a good reminder to make sure we are all prepared for the unpredictable! If you have taken steps to be prepared already---great! If not, this is a good time to give yourself and your loved ones a gift---the gift of planning and being prepared! Assembling supply kits for home and cars and developing family communication plans are important steps we should all take. There are different decisions we will have to make, depending on the kind of natural or man-made situation, but with some planning and common sense, you can be prepared.
Marin County has an Office of Emergency Services (OES) which is manned 24/7 by a staff of 75. Should an emergency occur, they will jump into action, but even so, you need to be able to take some steps to keep yourself, your family and your pets safe. Get Ready Marin (http://www.getreadymarin.org/) is a fantastic website filled with important information and how-to's. I strongly recommend you click the link read it all...from planning, to packing kits or information on the Get Ready 2-hour class you can take. It's all good stuff!
So whether it is upcoming winter storms, an earthquake or other natural occurance, don't delay, get prepared n-o-w!
If you'd like more information about getting prepared or about our Marin County Real Estate market, give me a call or send me an email...I'd love to chat!
With over 100 folks coming to the Sunday open house, we had tons of interest and prospective buyers wanting to make offers as soon as it hit the market! We received multiple offers and it sold for over the asking price.... my Seller was very, very happy!
Thinking of selling..or just wondering what your property could sell for? Give me a call, I'm always happy to oblige!
1832B Novato Blvd., Novato
Super, Super Cute and completely remodeled 2bed/2bath (2 Masters) bungelow on almost 1/3 acre..all flat. All new windows,hardwood floors, brand new kitchen, back deck, ceiling fans and great outdoor entertaining spaces. Novato Blvd. address but house is up a long driveway, past front house and thru gate. Tons of expansion opportunity!
OPEN SUNDAY 2-4PM!
Come on by!
Adorable 2 bedroom, 2 full bathroom bungalow on almost 1/3 acre in northern Novato is coming soon! All remodeled, this little gem boasts a brand new kitchen, 2 remodeled bathrooms, hardwood floors, huge walk-in closet, a great deck for entertaining, ceiling fans, wood stove, a private side yard for relaxing .....and there's plenty of room to expand even more! Parking for 5 cars too! Priced to sell quickly at $495,000.
For more information contact Pam @(415)640-0336, Pam @MarinModern.com
I hope you find my posts interesting and informative…let me know of any special subjects you'd like to read about!