San Marin Neighborhood Garage Sale, 9-1pm, Saturday, 09/17

Santa-Ana-garage-saleThe Annual San Marin Neighborhood Garage Sale sponsored by San Marin Improvement Association (www.SanMarin.org) is schedule for 9am-1pm, Saturday, September 17.

Same as in previous years; please email your garage sale to me at Sylvia@SylviaBarryRE.com by Friday, September 16, 2PM, and I will put you garage sale on www.SanMarinGarageSale.com as well as include it in the Garage Sale Map I will print out for bargain hunters.

Please note that Novato Disposal stopped Fall Clean Up date this year.  Instead, homeowners can call Novato Disposal for special pick ups four times a year.  Please call Novato Disposal (415) 897-4177 for details.

Please come back for updates.

Thanks!

San Marin Improvement Association

Sylvia Barry

sylvia@SylviaBarryRE.com

cell/text (415) 717-0293

San Marin Garage Sale Table

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Update on the State of Novato Real Estate Market

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The following article first appeared on Novato Patch: Update on the State of Novato Real Estate Market :

On this Labor Day weekend, I thought I will provide a quick update on the Novato Real Estate Market since my last blog post on Aug. 21 to the end of August.

Below are statistics of Single Family Residences (SFR) and Commen Interest Developments (CID/Condos) that are either new on market (Active), under cotract (Contingent), Pending (All cotingencies removed) and Sold during the 10 day period.

I also included breakdown of single family residences that are new on market or sold during the 10-day period by price range.

A quick glance at the statistics on 08/31/2012 supports a strong sellers’ market.

Fun facts – The lowest price SOLD single family home during the period is a small Black Point home with a private hill top setting, closed at $270K. On the other spectrum, a beautifully top to bottom, completely redone single story home, 4 bedrooms, 2 and half baths, 2358sf home sited on close to 1/5 acre lot on Mill Road, priced at $699K, quickly went into escrow with multiple offers and closed in 20 days at $800K; an all cash purchase. A Bel Marin Keys on the water house closed at $865K and a single story Country Club home on the Golf Course closed at $915K, both homes are nicely updated; while a Stonetree Home, 4700+sf, one of the hard hit areas by the depressed market, closed at $1Million, was the highest priced sale of the period.

Have a Wonderful and Safe Labor Day Weekend!

Novato Real Estate Market Activites
08/21/12 to 08/31/12
SFR CIDs
Actie 16 6
Contingent 21 6
Pending 9 3
Sold 21 7
Single Family Home Activites
Price Range NEW SOLD
$0-$500K 3 9
$500,000 – $600K 3 4
$600,001 – $700K 3 2
$700,001 – $800K 6 3
$800,001 – $999,999 1 2
$1M – $1.25M 1
$1,25M – $1.5M
$1.5M+
Total 16 21
Novato Real Etate Market Statistics
Week of August 31, 2012
Type # of Total Units % of Total
# Total Units IN Escrow Active
In Escrow S/B
SFRs 170 101 41% 59% S
CIDs 67 49 27% 73% S
All SFR/CIDs 237 150 37% 63% S
SFD by Price Range
$0-$500K 42 34 19% 81% S
$500,000 – $600K 28 18 36% 64% S
$600,001 – $700K 28 16 43% 57% S
$700,001 – $800K 28 13 54% 46% S
$800,001 – $999,999 22 15 32% 68% S
$1M – $1.25M 10 2 80% 20% B
$1,25M – $1.5M 5 3 40% 60% S
$1.5M+ 11 2 82% 18% B
Total 174 103 41% 59% S
% in Contract Type of Market
Less than 25% Buyers’ Market
25% to 40% Neutral Market
Greater than 40% Seller’s Market

Footnote:

(*) Data collected from the local Multiple Listing Services (BAREIS – Bay Area Real Estate Information Service).

Refinance while Underwater? HARP Expanded to Reach More Borrowers

A ray of hope has just been offered to some homeowners with properties that are seriously upside down, according to the California Association of Realtors.

In order to help a broader range of distressed homeowners and offer relief to the housing market, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on Oct. 24 that the mortgage relief program HARP — the Home Affordable Refinance Program — has just been expanded.

Per FHFA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have helped approximately 9 million families refinance into a lower cost or more sustainable mortgage product, approximately 10 percent of those via HARP. HARP is unique in that it is the only refinance program that enables borrowers who owe more than their home is worth to take advantage of lower interest rates and other refinancing benefits.

One of the biggest hurdles for borrowers who are current on their home loans and are considering refinance is the fact that the equity on their house is too low to qualify for a refinance. Until now, Fannie Me and Freddie Mac would only allow fixed-rate mortgages if the borrower’s property stays under 125 percent loan-to-value.  This requirement prevented many upside-down borrowers from refinancing to take advantage of the current low interest rates that they desperately need.  The enhanced HARP guideline lifted that restriction.

Other HARP program enhancements effectively reduced certain fees associated with the refinance as well as eliminated the need for a new property appraisal if the FHFA has a reliable automated valuation model estimate.  Both allowed cash strapped borrowers the ability to refinance without the steep fees a refinance might require.  The HARP program, schedule to expire at the end of 2011 has now been extended until the end of 2013.  New federal guidelines for the HARP changes should be released to mortgage lenders and servicers by Nov. 15.

According to the California Association of Realtors, the basic eligibility requirements for an enhanced HARP loan are as follows:

  • Existing mortgage loan must be owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  Borrowers can check whether they have a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan by going to http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/get-assistance/loan-look-up/Pages/default.aspx.
  • Existing mortgage loan must have been sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before June 1, 2009.
  • Existing mortgage loan cannot have been refinanced under HARP previously (except for Fannie Mae loans refinanced between March and May 2009).
  • Current loan-to-value (LTV) ratio must be more than 80%.
  • Existing mortgage loan must be current, with no late payments in the past six months, and no more than one late payment in the past 12 months.

Words of Caution:  Remember my previous blog about SCAMs – Too Good To be True, Then Beware? There are a lot of scammers out there to take advantage of distressed homeowners at their most vulunable stage.  Before engaging services that promise to modify your loans or save your home from being foreclosed on, make sure you check out the FTC Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule that outlaws advanced fees and false claims and requires clear disclosures from the servicers.

More Information About HARP:

More information about HARP is available from FHFA.

Other Resources for Distressed Homeowners:

Marin County Property Tax Deadline is Friday, December 10th

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Are you like most of the other property owners who like to wait until the last day to pay your property tax?

The deadline for payment of the first installment of the 2010-11 county property tax bill is 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10.

Payments must be postmarked by Friday or delivered to the tax collector’s office at the Civic Center no later than 5 p.m. that day to avoid a 10-percent penalty.

Property taxes may be paid online at http://www.co.marin.ca.us/paytax or by phone at 800-985-7277 with either a credit card or electronic funds transfer.

The second tax payment is due April 10.

For more information, including programs helping those who cannot afford their tax bill, call the tax collector’s office at 499-6133 or visit http://www.co.marin.ca.us/taxes.

Fannie Mae Offers New Buyer Incentives on Homepath Homes

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New Buyer Incentive on Fannie Mae HomePath® Homes

Fannie Mae is offering buyers up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance on HomePath properties through December 31, 2010.

Buyers must meet the following qualifications to be eligible for the incentive:

  • HomePath property sale must close on or before December 31, 2010 and close within 60 days of offer acceptance
  • Only owner occupants purchasing a HomePath property as their primary residence will receive up to 3.5% in closing cost assistance
  • the initial offer must be submitted on or after September 23, close within 60 days of offer acceptance and close on or before December 31, 2010. No bonus will be given for investor purchases.
  • Buyers must request incentive upon submission of initial offer in order to be eligible.

Note: Offers submitted after November 15, 2010 may be difficult to close by incentive deadline of December 31, 2010.

Terms & Conditions:

  • The 3.5% seller contribution is to be used towards closing costs, including a home warranty, if desired and available.
  • Retail and public entities are eligible for the incentive however pool and auction sales, and sales to investors are not eligible.
  • Fannie Mae reserves the right to remove any property from promotion or end the promotion at any time. Any dispute over the payment of a bonus shall be resolved by Fannie Mae in its sole discretion.
  • Buyers should consult their lenders for guidance on financing. Lenders and mortgage products may impose their own limitations on the use of the 3.5% incentive. For example, the lender may consider the incentive a Seller Contribution and limit the amount to 3.0%. In those instances, the remaining 0.5% will no longer be available to the buyer.

See link to search for Fannie Mae Homepath Homes

Leisure Stroll on Mt. Burdell, Marin Open Space, Novato, CA

A leisurely stroll on Mt. Burdell, Marin Open Space, on a very fine, early spring day.

Sunny, warm, clear, air fresh, quiet, except for birds chirpping, grasses are green; shining with dew,flowers are budding and tiny leaves peeking out. Water was flowing and Duke happily splashed in the stream.

We can see miles ahead all the way to the bay……

A picture perfect day!

This is from the trailhead in Partridge Knolls …. there are many trailheads for Mt. Burdell in San Marin area, Novato, CA.

Guideline for Mowing Grass on Marin County Open Space District

APTOPIX WILDFIRESHeading into the High Fire Season in Marin County, this seems to be a good time to reintroduce the guideline on how to mow the grass in Marin County, especially the properties that are next to Open Space. 

The guideline was established by the the Marin County Department of Parks and Open Space.

This letter is especially critical at this time of year when fire risk is increasing; especially since Marin county is agian, facing a very dry summer season.

The information below can be found on Marin County website Wildfire Safety Information as well.

Excerpt from Marin County Open Space District:

GUIDELINES FOR MOWING GRASS ON MARIN COUNTY OPEN SPACE DISTRICT LAND ADJACENT TO YOUR HOME

It is extremely important that your clearance work does not start a fire and that you follow the guidelines below:

Confirm that the property you want to mow is owned by the Marin County Open Space District, not your neighbor or another agency. Information on lot lines and property ownership is available at the County Assessor-Recorder’s Office (499-7215, or go to http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/AR/main/index.cfm) and the County Community Development Agency (499-6269, or go to http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/CD/main/index.cfm).

  • Mow only grass. If you wish to cut brush or trees on Open Space District lands, you will need a permit; please call the District field office at 415-507-2816.
  • Never mow under high fire hazard RED FLAG conditions; call 415-499-7191 for current conditions.
  • In the heat of summer, mow early in the morning or during the evening when it is cooler and less likely that you could start a fire. Use extra caution with power mowers or other spark-producing tools.
  • Keep a 5-pound “ABC” fire extinguisher AND a fully charged garden hose at the work site while mowing or other work is taking place.
  • Do not use metal mowing heads on power scythes (weed whips) as they can spark from contact with rocks.
  • Make sure spark arrestors are in place and functioning.
  • Do not lay power tools in dry grass where hot metals may ignite flammable vegetation.
  • Re-fuel tools away from vegetation — on paved surfaces or cleared areas. Store gasoline away from site.
  • If possible, have someone spot you (keep a close watch) while you are working to watch for problems.
  • Watch for hikers and other open space visitors; cease work until they are clear from the work area.

Information on the Open Space District is available on the internet at: http://www.marinopenspace.org.

For guidelines on fire protection, call your local fire agency or check the internet:

_________________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

A Casual Stroll along Mt. Burdell, Novato, in the Magnificant Marin County

Fabulous Mt. Burdell provides a gorgeous backdrop for City of Novato in the magnificant Marin County, San Francisco North Bay, CA. The pictures were taken in the summer, around the very desirable Partridge Knolls neighborhood, overlooking San Marin, showing the ‘golden’ state. During the raining season, the hills turns fresh and than jade, provides a refreshing look throughout the county. Mt. Burdell, being one of the ‘younger’ hills in Marin County, has oak trees dotted in various places, provides a lively and beautiful picture of the hills.

_________________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

Novato Marin Schools in Session, Duke is Happy at Dogbone Dog Park

Novato public schools are back in session, and Duke, our beloved Laborator / Pointer mix is very happy that he gets to go to Dogbone Meadows Dog Park to see his best friend, Hunter, again.  Since Dogbone Dog Park is in the opposite direction of my house in Partridge Knolls, San Marin Area, to my work, Frank Howard Allen Realtors, Duke only gets to go there after I drop my younger son off at the local school which is just a block away from the park.  This means Duke has not been there for quite sometime 😦  

The park is very popular, lots of dogs and their humen go there to hang out with their buddies.  The place can get overwhelming for Duke and I late afternoons after work.  I love going there in the mornings where things are calm, and there are only a few familiar dogs and very responsible dog owners.  We enjoy seeing each other and catching up.  And Duke!  He is in heaven!  You can not find a happier dog (o.k. maybe the other dogs at Dogbone Dog Park).

See the following for info about the very premier Dogbone Dog Park, Duke and his best friend, Hunter!  I still need to take some pictures later in the day when the sky is blue and bright.

—————————————————————————————————————–Dogbone Meadows Dog Park in Novato, Marin County, located en route to Stafford Lake and West Marin, dogs often bring their people when they are on the way to the beaches.  The dog park is right accross from Novato Chase luxury homes, is probably the best dog park in Marin County, or maybe even California.  Due to the great location and the natural surroundings, there are talks of starting the first community garden in Novato next to the dog park. 

Built by dog loving volunteers (or shall we say, slaves of dogs), the property is around 1 acre, with tracks for dogs and human alike, toys and exercise stations (the hoops, loops, bridges, jumps, tubs, etc) for dogs only.  The volunteers planted trees for shade, put down benches and , water fountains, , porchesThe backdrop is Open Space, part ofO’Hare Park, great hiking, horseback riding trails.

This is a morning with unusual heavy fog from West Marin, a beautiful background for the dog park. 

Duke (black with white spots, rescued from 2nd Chance Rescue) and Hunter (Golden, dapper with his red bandana – he has a whole collection of those) love to come here in the morning – Duke, after dropping his brother off at local high school, and Hunter, after dragging his mom for his daily 2 hour walk and play (can’t say Hunter does not have a GREAT life, even Duke is envious of him!) – Hunter will chase the tennis ball and Duke will run along Hunter.

Makes Happy Dogs and Happy people when their dogs are tired the rest of, the day!   

It’s a foggy morning, but I thought it’s interesting, so I snapped the pictures.  

 

Duke and Hunter waiting for Hunter’s mom to throw the ball.

Time to chase the ball!

Duke’s best friend, Hunter, whose only passion is chasing the tennis ball!

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Luxury Real Estate 
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
 
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

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.

Singing Praises to 101 Freeway Widening Project in Central Marin

101 Freeway WindenedI hesitate to jump on the bandwagon to sing praises to the improved 101 traffic in Marin County since they opened the lanes on a stretch of San Rafae in first quarter, 2009. 

It amazes me to see people who hardly drive on 101 filming the traffice at 6:00AM while reporting how great the traffic is 😉 

As a Realtor, commuting during traffic hours is not the norm as I have the priviledge to schedule appointments away from traffic hours and that is what I normally do.

I feel that for reliability, I have to wait until I actually have the chance to drive during traffic hours regularly before reporting with confidence about the improvement, if any. 

Well, my younger son signed up for classes at Cal.  The classes start at 8:10am / 9:10am; and I have the priviledge of driving him to UC during traffice hours every morning for the last two weeks.

So far, I am very impressed by how much traffic has improved.

During the height of construction period, it took me up to 1 hour  to inch from North Novato to just befroe Central San Rafael.  This includes finding all local detours (which many don’t know) to avoid the heavies 101 traffic depending on how each stretch of traffic is moving at the time.

And now, I can be on the Richmond bridge in just over 20 minutes and be in the middle of Cal campus (which includes driving through the famously painful Unversity Avenue) in abuot 35 minutes. 

O.K. I have to admit that I took advantage of the car pool lane with my younger son in the car.  However, I was able to observe the heavier part of traffic when I drove by.  There are still stretches where the traffic slows down but the stretch is much shorter – just before St. Pablo and right after that exit.  The traffic, although slower, is not that bad.  The cars still move along nicely isntead of the agonizing stop and go.

In addition, I also surveyed my clients who commute to the city for work.  The reports are a resounding YES! on how much better the traffic is now.  A client told me the improvement is anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes driving the 101 stretch in Marin county.  I am pleased to hear that. 

So, my overall report on the 101 widening project in Central Marin, although slow in coming, is – Yes, A Great Improvement!   

 _________________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.