Marin County market flowing nicely.

The big rains in December brought gorgeous January waterfalls.  Just follow Fairfax Bolinas Road to the first hairpin curve after the damn. It's a short hike with huge rewards!

Cataract Falls in Marin. The big rains in December brought gorgeous January waterfalls. Just follow Fairfax-Bolinas Road to the first hairpin curve after Alpine damn. It’s a short hike with huge rewards!

We find ourselves in what is typically the slowest time of the year with the phones ringing more than usual.  It’s a pretty even mix of buyers and sellers, which always helps to create a balanced and nicely flowing market.

Market activity in Marin County remains fairly strong. Good homes that are well priced are still moving quickly everywhere, albeit at a somewhat slower speed than past Summer and Fall.

As of earlier this month, inventory is average, with 662 homes available for sale in Marin. And 41%, or 277 of them, are already in contract. And the mid-level price range is the hottest. For homes from $750,000 to $1,500,000, 47% are in contract. Under $750,000, 41% are in contract. And for homes over $1,500,000, 26% are in contract. Lots of crazy high prices these days. The $4 to $6 million house is almost a norm.

The California Association of Realtors predicts the median home price to increase 5.2% next year in the state, less than this year. More homes will become available as Sellers realize rising prices make it possible and desirable to sell. Many have been waiting for a reason to get off the fence.  More supply will slow down price increases.

We expect a similar trend in Marin. We expect continued appreciation, but not at the rates we have seen for the last 18 months.  That pent up demand, some of it going all the way back to the bank crash of 2008, has tapered off.  Leading economists predict only a slight rise in mortgage rates, to 4.5% for a 30 year fixed mortgage. Marin typically runs higher than state average (don’t we in everything?) so rates for the County could be higher.

Recent stock market flip flops, civil unrest and inter national concerns have made everyone a little more cautious. But tech in SF is booming. Demand for Marin from young couples — usually when expecting a baby or shortly after having one — will remain the steady migration it has long been. And it’s a one way migration, too. We have never known anyone to move back to the city. One you get to Marin, you know there is no better place to be.

Have an amazing 2015. Let us know if we can help.

Pat & Bob Ravasio

All stats from Bareis MLS. BROKER is Coldwell Banker, Larkspur. CalBRE#01394550. Find us on Facebook @ Bob & Pat Ravasio’s real estate page.

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Home selling strategies: Plan ahead, go early!

417S_DuskPatio207FinalThe early bird often catches the worm in Marin County’s real estate market.  Every year about this time, we can almost feel the pent up buyer demand. Qualified buyers who worked hard last year — maybe even writing one or more offers on properties, only to be outbid — are coming back soon.

These buyers will be more determined than ever, and smart sellers looking for a competitive edge will be ready for them.

Traditionally, the opening of the Spring real estate market in Marin County is the Monday after the Superbowl. Why this is we are really not sure, but the Superbowl has become the grand finale of the holiday season and the start of a new real estate market.

Smart sellers get their real estate agents on board early, before their repairs and staging are even started. Why?  Because the sooner you hire us, the more work we can and will do for you.  Our commitment to property preparation has grown over the years. Today, we have an excellent team of contractors to do the work, and we can also provide sellers with experienced project coordinators who manage the entire process, start to finish.

On our first visit, we discuss with the seller all the things we do to help sell properties for top dollar, and then look around to determine what maintenance, repair and upgrade projects are most worth doing. A budget is established. Fresh paint, landscaping, floor refinishing and new fixtures are often at the top of the “worthwhile” list. Working within our client’s budget, we then estimate and coordinate subcontractor schedules for desired improvements and staging. Our project managers then supervise every detail to make sure the work is done professionally, quickly and economically.Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 4.02.58 PM

Because we use many of the same contractors regularly, and have a good working relationship with them, we know them to be reliable, and they tend to give us a great value and excellent service.

By prepping homes with fresh finishes, new fixtures, and other relatively inexpensive upgrades, we can create the best possible first impression as we bring them to market. Our sellers agree this is an excellent investment to make in your home.

If you are a home fix-up whiz and would like to be considered as a project manager on our team, please contact Pat at 415-845-1927. If you are a seller looking for a competitive edge in the upcoming Spring market, call Bob at 415-378-1414.