Millworks Novato Grand Opening brings New Dimension to Town!

mw_logo_rgbA controversial project due to the sheer size, the location and what it is and what it is not (a bit vague?  Ask me!), Millworks Novato had it’s grand opening today (April 25th).  What a pleasant surprise the development is!

As a Novato resident and a Realtor; although I missed the design, approval phases of the project; I, as many Novatans,  have watched with great interest and concerns in the progress of the building.   Today, I got to tour Millworks with my friend, Barbara.  We came away quite impressed!

Millworks – According to the developer, Millworks Novato is “Nestled among the North Bay’s rolling hills landscape, charming Old Town Novato is the home to Millworks, and environmentally sustainable and pedestrian-friendly new home community”. 

Millworks Novato

Millworks Novato

The building, sits atop the coming-soon Whole Foods,  located at the east end of Old Town Novato, consists of 124 flats and townhomes.  The homes are designed to be a combination of 1 bedroom/1 bath, 2 bedrooms/2 baths flats and 2 bedrooms/2 baths plus Den Flats. 

Amentities — Other than a few larger units on selected locations; first and second floors are mostly for Whole Foods and parking for Whole Foods and third floor is mostly for residents parking.  In addition, there is a library, a fitness center and a social room for gatherings.


'Roof Garden - Living Roof' on 4th Floor

Roof Garden – One of the Millworks’ most unique design is the rooftop garden on the 4th floor where the interior units all have patios on the ‘Roof Garden’.  This Living Roof – centrally located with open sky courts – have living gardens and flag stone patiors, gives the 4th floor residents a sense of being on the ground floor which is a very appealing, surprising feature!

Views Galore – For outdoor lovers, the floor to ceiling windows brings tons of sunshine and the breathtaking surrounding Novato hill views inside.  I can only imagine how beautiful the night time views will be with the twinkling lights from the distance.

Kitchen and Living Room

Kitchen and Living Room

The Interiors – Millworks have open floor plan where kitchen opens into living and dining rooms (area – depending on plan).  Kitchens have granite slab counter tops, break fast bar, Bosch stainless steel, Energy Star appliances, Kohler sinks and faucets.  Bathrooms have Kohler faucets, Marble slab counters and surrounds on bathtubs.  Dual flush toilets conserve water.   All units are equipped with air conditioners (although I always say that we really don’t need that in Novato – the breeze from the ocean cools down most hot days by night).  Schlage hardware, recessed lighting, sustainable flooring, cable ready.

Green Features at Millworks

Green Features at Millworks

Building and Living Green – Millworks is also designed with ‘Building Green’ in mind as Sustainable is a big concern for environmental minded Marin Residents.  The building is designed with

  • Money Saving features such as emergency efficiencies while determining the direction of the building (South facing), insulation grades,  dual paned windows, doors, Energy Star appliances..
  • Preserving Health – such Cabinet doors are free of formaldehyde, none-toxic and low VOC Materials are used throughout
  • Environmentally Sustainable– Pre-engineered lumber, waste recycling during construction, Build-in recycling centers, sustainable flooring’s and cross ventilation windows are some example of the environmentally friendly design.

The Units and Pricing – One Bedroom / One Bath unit (812 sf to 883sf) starts from the low $400,000s; Two Bedroom / Two Baths Flats (1260 sf to 1360 sf) starts from the mid $400,000s and the Two Bedrooms, Two Bath plus Den Falts (1452 sf to $1595sf) starts from the high $500,000.  

HOA Fees – HOA fees ranging from $393 to $494 monthly.  An interesting chart provided by Millworks compares  HOA fee to the average single-family detached homowner’s regular maintenance cost per year, and of course, Millworks HOA seems more reasonable according to the chart – email me if you are interested!

Keep in mind the price includes standard features, and any and all upgrades will be additional costs to the buyers.

As a baby boomer and looking forward, I thought this will be a great place to retire – low to no maintenance, single story (elevator up/down), walk to town, new, green building, etc.  Having a Whole Foods downstirs works well also.   However, as a  young, single professional living in Chicago many years ago, I also enjoyed staying in downtown highrise for the amentities it provides (Millworks is not close to the 45th floor I was on before).  

Releases – The current plan the developer has is to release 10 homes at a time while gauging the interest ,control inventory and proper pricing. 

Tax Credit – And don’t forget the Federal First Time Homebuyer Up to $8,000 Tax Credit as well as the California State Up to $10,000 Tax Credit for purchasing new contrustions !

Interested in Checking out Millworks? – I enjoyed my visit to Millworks with Barbara.  Let me know if this stirs up your curiosity.  Please give me a call (415) 717-0293 or email me at sylvia@SylviaSellsMarin.comif you want to check out Millworks.  I would love to come with you and get your input about the building that changed the face of Old Town Novato, For Better For Worse, and hopefully, since it’s already here, we will make it ”For Better’ because that’s the only way we can all benefit! 


California Issues New Construction Tax Credit for Qualified Homebuyers

americandreamIn order to stimulate purchases of newly constructed homes as well as encouraging home ownership; the State of California has issued a (up to) $10,000 tax credit for homebuyers of new contruction properties.
Here are the details of the plan:
1)  This credit only applies to new homes that will be used as a primary residence and is limited to the first 10,000 new home purchases.
2)  The credit is for $10,000 or 5% of the home’s price, whichever is less.

3)  There is no down payment requirement to receive the $10,000 tax credit.
4)  There are no maximum income limitations so any buyer purchasing a new home can qualify.
5) The $10,000 tax credit is just that, a credit, not a loan, so if the home remains your primary residence for two years, you do not have to pay any portion of the tax credit back. If you sell the home in less than two years, then it has to be paid back at time of sale.
6) The new home cannot be located outside of the United States and it cannot be inherited property or a gift.

Spring Hiking in Marin County

marin-hikingApril 2, Thursday, hike a moderate/easy 1A hike in Muir Woods, via Fern Creek and Camp Alice Eastwood. Meet at 9:30 at Miller and Locust in Mill Valley (at the bus stop). Back by 1.30. Share carpool costs. Rain cancels. Sponsored by the Marin Group Sierra Club.

April 3, Friday, the Marin Bushwackers Hiking Club presents a two-hour, “exhilarating and educational, off-the-beaten-track hike for in-shape hikers.”?  Meet at Tennessee Valley Trailhead gate at 5:30 p.m.?  For more specific directions and information, call John at (415) 331-0100.

April 4, Saturday, Two-hour  hike on moderate trails with md-hike wine and cheese sevrved overlooking the pacific, followed by optional dinner and socializing at the Mt. Home Inn. Meet at 4:30 p.m. in the parking area across from the Inn on Panoramic Highway in Mill Valley. Cost is $15. Sunset Hike and Dine Club. To reserve a spot, call (415) 331-0100.

The Fairfield Osborn Preserve offers Saturday hikes through May 16 so visitors may observe the diverse fauna and flora of the popular nature preserve on Sonoma Mountain operated by Sonoma State University. Tours are appropriate for families, friends and individuals. Visitors should be able to hike two to four miles over uneven ground. Sturdy shoes, long pants, drinking water and a snack are highly recommended. General admission is $3. Visitors 12 and younger are admitted free.

Hikes are held every Saturday at 10 a.m. There will be no hike on April 18. The Fairfield Osborn Preserve is located at 6543 Lichau Road in Penngrove. For more information or directions, call (707) 795-5069 or e-mail or visit online, www.

On Thursday, April 9, hike nine miles from Mill Valley towards Sausalito. Discover this 1A easy Bay path from East Blythdale Avenue in Mill Valley along the Bayside towards the Bay Model, guided by a docent . Meet at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Maria Maria restaurant at 651 East Blythedale Ave. in Mill Valley. Return by 1:30 p.m. Rain cancels. E.mail-rgwatson@pacbell .net. or call (415) 461-9255.

Sunday, April 12. Angel Island picnic and hike. An easy 2A hike with 360-degree views of all the bay, and to see results of the Angel Island fire. Hike to the top of Mt. Livermore and then have lunch on the beach. Bring liquids and a potluck dish for 6 to share. Meet at 9:45 a.m. at the Angel Island Ferry dock in Tiburon. $13.50 fare. Back by 4 p.m. Rain cancels. E-mail or call (415) 461-9255.

Thursday, April 16. China Camp. Explore the Shoreline Trails of China Camp in San Rafael. An easy 1A hike. Meet at 9:30 at the Civic Center Post Office on San Pedro Road in San Rafael. Back by 1:30 p.m. Share carpool costs. Rain cancels. E.mail-rgwatson@

Thursday, April 23: Ocean view trail. A moderate/long 1A hike from Rock Springs to the Top of Cataract Falls with a view of the ocean and Stinson Beach. Carpools from Miller and Locust at the Mill Valley bus stop at 9:30 a.m. Back by 2:30 p.m. Rain cancels. E.mail rgwatson@pacbell. net or call (415) 461-9255.

Sunday, April 26. Lakes and waterfalls hike to Bass Lake/Alamere falls. A 2A moderate hike from Palomarin trailhead. Bring towels if desired for an optional dip in Bass Lake. Meet at Fairfax Parkade at 9:30 a.m. Rain cancels. E.mail or call (415) 461-9255.

Thursday, April 30, hike the Dipsea Trail and Muir Woods. A moderate 1A/B hike on the Dipsea trail and through Muir Woods. Meet at Miller and Locust in Mill Valley (at bus stop) at 9:30 a.m. Return by 1:30 p.m. Share carpool costs. Rain cancels. E.mail rgwatson@ or call (415) 461-9255.

May 3. Sunday. Drakes Estero. A moderately paced and a most charming 2B tour to the ocean of the beautiful Drake’s Estero area on Point Reyes. Carpool at 9:30 a.m. from Fairfax Parkade (opposite Fairfax Theater). Back by 5 p.m. Bring lunch and liquids. Share carpool costs. Rain cancels.

May 7. Thursday. Blackie’s Pasture. A very easy 1A from Blackie’s Pasture. Hike from the parking lot at Blackie’s Pasture towards Tiburon and back, stopping at a yummy bakery with a fabulous San Francisco view. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at Blackie’s Pasture on Tiburon Boulevard. Back by l p.m. Bring your taste buds.

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Luxury Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frank Howard Allen Realtors

SERVING MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA – FOR ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa.

Novato Real Estate Market Overview, April 01, 2009

Millworks Novato

 Millworks Novato (going strong with a lot of interest -check with Sylvia to see)

Novato Real Estate Market started to pick up after the gloomy winter – Yes! (by the way, is there such a thing as gloomy winter in Marin?  – we are so spoiled, when there are more than a drizzle and a little bit of wind, we complaint about the weather and then secretly congratulate ourselves for being in such a wonderful place – there is a premium there :-))

Thanks to the press, both prnt and online and yes, the Obama Stimulus plan, the buzz out there is this is a great time to BUY in Marin county.  Finally, we have affordable prices (o.k. affordable is a relative term), but more affordable houses here in Marin.

The condo/townhome cotinue to pick up pace, as well as the below $500K single family homes.  These are the ones that went thru the worst downturn and were the ones who led the short sale / foreclosure pact, but are now being recognized as the best purchases in town.  

Many former renters find it costs them less to own than to rent; in the mean time, they are able to enjoy the write offs from owning a home. 

That buzz drives the market right above it to go up.  ‘Starter’ homes up to $700,000 saw across board increases in % Pending.  Being able to sell the condos and entry level homes means they can also move upward.  

This allows the $500K – $700K homes to see the biggest surge in % pending. 

The $800K and up range still lag behind – many are waiting for lenders to come up with the policy for Super Jumbo (between $625K and $729K) pricing structore.  Other move up buyers have their homes on market, are relunctant to ‘buy contingenty upon sale’ are hoping to sell and move into upper end houses here in Novato.  

Overall inventory starts to climb, as we expect it to be in Spring.  Homes for sale went up 25 homes, from 305 to 330 in a month (March to April). With the slower release of foreclosures, the inventory is not growing as much as we thought it would.   

Make Sure You are not waiting for the ‘bottom’ of the market. Remember, that is always hindside, by the time you look back, the bottom has already came and went. 

Call Sylvia now to discuss the market and the trend, get familiar with the buying process, and start hunting.  It’s never too late to get ready.     

Give me a call at (415) 717-0293 or email me at for inventories on the market, whether REO, Trust Sale, start home, luxury homes.. I will be very happy to find the best house / investment property for you! 

It will be my pleasure to serve you!  

category   Total Units/ In Escrow   % Active   % Pending % +/- since 09/10/08
All SFD’s and CID’s   330/120   64%   36% (N) +1%
SFD’s   231/75   68%   32% (N) +2%
CID’s   99/45   55%   45% (S) +0%
$0 -$500K SFD   64/34   47%   53% (S) +2%
$500,001-$600K   35/15   57%   43% (N) +15%
$600,001 – $700K   27/10   63%   37% (N) +9%
$700,001 – $800K   28/7   75%   25% (N) -2%
$800,001 – $999,999   35/2   94%   6% (B) +2%
$1M – $1.25M   18/2   89%   11% (B) -2%
$1.25M – $1.5M   14/3   79%   21% (B) +3%
$1.5M+   10/2   80%   20% (B) -13%
  • Buyer’s Market  < 25%
  • Neutral                25% – 40%
  • Seller’s Market   > 40%