Time to Buy a Home in Marin?
Some of our Marin buyers have asked, “Is this is a good time to buy?” Looking at the long range picture of home values in Marin, we think this is not only a good time to buy but an opportunity for buyers.
These are confusing times for home buyers. Some economic indicators are not great, and the media continues to support a pessimistic view. While some Marin house prices are coming down–we think of this as an adjustment to a previously runaway market–others are not. This is definitely a great time for buyers!
A Strong Market for Marin Buyers
As the summer progressed, the Marin real estate market grew increasingly favorable for buyers. The Marin Heat Index, which uses MLS sales records to estimate real estate market conditions, shows that only Corte Madera and Greenbrae have balanced markets—favoring neither buyers nor sellers. For all other cities, the market strongly favors buyers. This means more houses to choose from, lower sale prices, and longer times required to sell.
Thoughtful Sellers Can Do Well
Marin home sellers can sell in this market if they follow these guidelines:
- Make your house attractive to the largest number of buyers. A beautiful, updated house can sell easily. Often investing a modest amount can bring very good returns. We can help you with this. Also, see our July 8, 2010 blog, “To Stage or Not to Stage,” to learn what is involved in preparing your house for sale.
- Price your house realistically. We are no longer riding the crest of the real estate wave, but Marin homes are holding value well. The peak of the market was in 2007. If we look at summer sales, for July and August, the median price of single family homes dropped 22% from 2007 ($799,000 versus $1,028,000). If you can adjust to this reality, you can sell your home in a reasonable time. We can advise you on your specific needs and how to best price your house.
The fall market is a good time to sell before the holidays and winter weather. Call us!
The Big Picture of Home Values
If you look at the history of prices of Marin homes, home values increased steadily (and often dramatically) from 1965 tom 2007. The first significant drop was in 2008, then again in 2009. However, prices have recovered in 2010:
Average sale prices for Marin homes (from the Marin MLS):
2010 (so far) $918,000
This is an 8% increase over 2009!
Factors in this increase appear to be the diminishing number of low-cost foreclosure properties and the sale of more high-value properties.
Marin remains one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, and people want to live here. Coupled with little new construction and expansion of the market, Marin homes should remain good investments for many decades.
Madeline Schaider is an Expert on Eco-Homes
Madeline Schaider is a certified EcoBroker®. Madeline can help you take advantage of energy efficiency and environmentally sensitive design for your home and investment properties. Please ASK Madeline about ways to save energy in your home!
Energy Tip 1: Buy Energy Star Appliances
Buying Energy Star Qualified appliances can save a significant energy compared to your present appliance:
- Washer/Dryer, 50%
- Water heater, 50%
- Dishwasher, 25%
- Refrigerator, 15%
Energy Tip 2: Not All Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs are Equal
Compact fluorescent bulbs can save 75% compared to standard light bulbs. If you order bulbs online, you can discover a much better selection and better prices that you find at any of the local stores. You can buy a wide range of sizes and wattages from the equivalent of 10 to 600 Watt, standard light bulbs.
Compact fluorescent bulbs come in a spectrum of colors. You are not limited to the dull color that you associate with many compact fluorescents. Color is measured in degrees Kelvin and ranges from warm or soft white (2700K to 3000K) to brilliant (daylight) white (5500K). For reading you may want a daylight bulb (about 5000K) but for the bathroom or dressing area a soft white (3000K) or cool white (3500K).
- Avoid most dimmable fluorescent bulbs. One of the better brands is Ushio.
- Look at the dimensions of the bulb. Some are smaller and may be a better fit in your lamp or light fixture.
- Look for quick-starting bulbs.
- Here are brands that are generally recommended: Sylvania, N:Vision, TCP, and Eiko