Archive for the ‘Fairfax’ Category

Thinking About Selling in the Spring? Maybe It’s Time to Rethink that Strategy

January 8th, 2013 By George Crowe

Looking back at 2012 the big story the whole year was the incredibly low inventory level. It started low in January and never really ticked up much, and more buyers kept jumping in the market, sensing they had missed the bottom and had better buy a home before they missed the boat. The problem has been there just haven’t been enough houses for all of these buyers to buy. This has meant that correctly priced, desirable homes coming on the market have been getting tons of attention, and multiple offers have become common–almost a given in many cases. It’s been a great market for sellers and unless something changes dramatically it’s going to continue to be as we head into 2013. Here’s a look at all residential properties in Marin under $1.5 million (the most active segment of the market) over the last five years.

The light green bars that get lower and lower show the number of homes for sale each month, the dark ones indicate the number of homes closing each month, and that blue line that dips down to the floor at the end…that’s the number of new listings coming on the market. What does that say? We need more homes for sale!

And below is a look at the months supply of Marin County homes under $1.5 million, based on how quickly they’re going into escrow. It was down to 1.2 months in December! How bad is it? I just checked and there are only four active listings in Corte Madera right now–three single family homes. Three. This is not normal. There are only seven listings active in Fairfax right now. This is very unusual.

Now Real Estate 101 says you should bring a home to market in the spring when the weather is nice, the flowers are blooming, and a young man’s fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love, etc. And there are reasons for that of course. But if everyone else is thinking the same way then a bunch of homes will come on about the same time, so we get the big spike in listings like clockwork in April and May each year, as you can see in the first chart above (though 2012 was not quite a typical year).

On the other hand, if you go against the conventional wisdom and bring your property on in January or February, when there isn’t as much competition, you stand out more. And in a market like this with so little inventory and so many buyers chomping at the bit for a good house, going against the grain can be a solid strategy. Of course it helps if the weather cooperates and you’re not trying to sell your home in a monsoon, so there is that to consider.

If you’ve been thinking about putting your home on the market we’d be happy to help you figure out the best strategy for your situation. Email me at george@sfnorth.com, or give me a ring anytime at 415-819-3342.

 

A Great Time for a Hike to Cascade Falls

December 22nd, 2012 By Stephen Pringle

With all the rain we’ve had over the last month Marin’s waterfalls are roaring along. One of our favorite spots is Cascade Falls in Fairfax. It’s a 15 minute hike to get to the falls and the walk is beautiful. You walk along the river the whole way and it’s a good way to get the kids out of the house during the holidays. Parking can be tough at the end of Cascade Drive where the trail starts, so keep this in mind but there is usually some parking down the road a bit if it gets full at the end. One of the main reasons we live in Marin is our close connection and access to natural beauty, and there’s nothing like waterfalls in the winter.

Ross Valley Sewer Lateral Replacement Grant Program on Hold

March 6th, 2012 By George Crowe

We’ve talked before about the cool program the Ross Valley Sanitary District has had in place for the last few years, where they’ll pay for half the cost (up to $4000) of a new sewer lateral for homes in the district that qualify. Unfortunately the money has dried up for now. I talked with someone at the office who said to keep checking back as they think they’ll have funds again sometime before July, so it sounds like this might be a temporary situation.

You can get more info at their website, www.rvsd.org, or by calling (415) 259-2949.

The New Good Earth is Now Open in Fairfax!

February 16th, 2012 By Stephen Pringle

The wait is over and Fairfax has its fancy new natural foods store, with the Good Earth location at 720 Center Blvd. having its grand opening yesterday. We stopped by this afternoon to take a look and it’s impressive. They did a really nice job and the place is huge, especially compared to the old spot, and it was packed– both with shoppers and those just curious to check it all out.

While it’s a great addition to Fairfax and it’s very cool to have such a nice, big market in town, it’ll be interesting to see how it affects the vibe of the area. With all the traffic and cars in the parking lot it sure looks like it’s not going to be the same for the many cyclists who’ve been accustomed to having a mellow and convenient place to meet up, with easy parking. We’re wondering what happens when people want to keep parking there while they go on rides. Will the market have to end up monitoring the lot, and citing those who aren’t shopping?

Celebrate Thanksgiving with the Fairfax Turkey Ride

November 21st, 2011 By Stephen Pringle

Mountain bikers won’t want to miss this year’s annual Turkey Ride in Fairfax. It’s a 3-4 hour Thanksgiving Day ride out along the Pine Mountain Loop. Started in 1975 and celebrating the birthplace of mountain biking, this ride is an epic way to work up an appetite before you stuff yourself with all that turkey and mashed potatoes. Meet at Java Hut between 8-9 am for the start, and then end the ride at the Gestault Haus and top it off with a frosty pint of German beer. Last year we had something like 1,000 riders. Gobble, gobble!

New Listing: Sunny and Charming Fairfax Cottage

October 15th, 2011 By George Crowe

This week we brought on this super cute cottage just over the San Anselmo/Fairfax border. It has a flat lawn, tons of charm, and the location is great.  A stone’s throw to downtown and a block from the new Good Earth grocery store, but just far enough from Sir Francis Drake to avoid the road noise. First Sunday open house tomorrow!  www.20willowave.com

New listing alert: 30 Mountain View Rd, Fairfax

August 12th, 2011 By George Crowe

We brought on a really cool new listing in Fairfax this week. An updated, open floor plan, mid-century home in a beautiful setting. Only a couple minutes up the hill from downtown. We’ll have it open both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, Aug. 13th and 14th, 1:00-4:00 pm. www.30mountainviewroad.com.

Lake Lagunitas: a great spot for a large group picnic

June 7th, 2011 By Stephen Pringle

If you’re looking for a good place to get some friends together for a picnic in Marin, then look no further than the Lake Lagunitas Picnic Area, just eight minutes from downtown Fairfax. The kids can go fishing, play in the creek, or ride their bikes around in the parking lot. We like to bring our mt. bikes and ride around the lake with the whole family. We also like this spot because it’s set in a redwood grove with lots of shade, and has good sized picnic tables with large bbq/grill areas.

We usually reserve the large tables and grills when we know it’s a large group, but if you’re just going with a couple of families you might not need to reserve in advance as there are almost always enough tables to go around. A good hike is to make a loop with the kids around the lake…it takes about 30 minutes. In the summer when it gets hot this is the perfect place to hang out in the shade and be with friends. I have to say it’s one of the most beautiful places in Marin.

The picnic area is at the end of the road adjacent to the parking lot.  You’ll find directions and info on reservations here.

A great time to visit Marin waterfalls

March 23rd, 2011 By Stephen Pringle

With all the rain we’re having it’s a perfect time to check out Marin County’s waterfalls, and Fairfax is a good place to start.  One of our favorites is easy to get to and just a 10 minute walk from the road. Park at the top of Sir Francis Drake on the right as you hit the summit out of Fairfax and before descending into Woodacre. It’s a big waterfall and a nice hike for the kids or dog.

Also in Fairfax, Cataract Falls is one of the most popular in Marin and a good hike as well. There are a couple of ways to access it, and you’ll find good directions here.

Also, check out the waterfall at the end of Mountain View Dr. in San Rafael’s Dominican neighborhood. It’s handy as you don’t really have to hike to get there.

And at the north end of the county there’s the Arroyo de San Jose Waterfall on the trail at the end of Fairway Dr. in Novato. It’s also a nice hike and fun for the kids.

And if you’re really into exploring all the waterfalls Marin County has to offer you might want to check out Waterfallswest.com. It’s now a pay site but looks to be the most comprehensive resource.

Big Changes in the Works for the Ross Valley School District

March 9th, 2011 By George Crowe

In order to accommodate rising elementary school enrollment in Fairfax and San Anselmo the Ross Vally School District Board is in the process of redrawing the boundaries that determine which school goes with which neighborhood. It’s part of a process that will also split the two Brookside Elementary campuses into separate K-5 schools.

According to the RSVD website the aim of the changes will be to:

  • Create and maintain four, independent “k-5” schools of similar size
  • Prioritize enrollment for residents who live closest to a school site and within its boundary – taking into consideration natural geographic boundaries – to:
    • enable and encourage walking and biking to school, and
    • minimize the number of people traveling by car.
  • Align with Safe Routes to School for students who walk or bike to school.
  • Maintain accessibility to District-wide programs (e.g., MAP and the Learning Center).
  • Minimize the number of current students who must change schools during the transition phase as a result of these boundary adjustments.

Jack Schreder & Associates, the consulting firm the board hired, has come up with four scenarios for redrawing the boundaries. They say that they’re now going to look at more tax assessor and census data, get input from the Board of Trustees, district staff, and the community, and then do some recalculating before presenting a final scenario.

There’s a special board meeting tomorrow night at White Hill Middle School to discuss the process. The Powerpoint presentation outlining the four enrollment boundary options is available here.  For more info visit the RVSD website or contact the district office at 415.454.2162.

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