Archive for the ‘Greenbrae’ Category

New Ross Valley Sewer Lateral Ordinance Means Substantial Cost for Many Home Sellers

January 12th, 2015 By George Crowe


Selling a home in areas served by the Ross Valley Sanitary District got a little more complicated as of January 1st. Thanks to the new Ordinance 66, when you list a property in Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Ross, or San Anselmo you now will have to have a pressure test performed on the sewer lateral if the home is more than 20 years old or the lateral hasn’t been replaced in the last 20 years. Then if the line doesn’t pass the test it will have to be replaced, and as they are saying that pretty much any older sewer lateral will fail that test, basically it’s going to mean that everyone selling a home with an older line in the RVSD will need to replace it or negotiate with the buyer to take on that responsibility. This testing requirement is also triggered by any remodeling project that costs $75,000 or more or involves adding a bathroom.

This is a big deal. Replacing a sewer lateral is often a $6,000 to $10,000 job, but can be more than that if it’s a long run or a complicated situation. And to make matters worse for some sellers, the ordinance also says that shared laterals are no longer acceptable, so if your property shares a line with a neighbor you will need to create a whole new lateral, which could get really messy if that means you need permission to dig up your neighbor’s yard and there is no easement in place.

Sellers should keep in mind that RVSD has a lateral replacement grant program under which they will pay for half the cost of replacement up to $4,000, as long as money is available in the fund for the fiscal year. Since this new ordinance will mean a lot more people will be taking advantage of that program, it might be wise to get a jump on applying if you’re going to be selling a home with an older lateral and you’re considering just doing the work up front.

While we applaud efforts to fix faulty sewer lines and think it’s an important health and environmental issue, we’re not fans of placing the burden on homeowners at the time they go to sell their property. There should be a better way to handle this than making it a point of sale requirement.

As of this writing there is no info on Ordinance 66 on the RVSD website, which is a little surprising, but here is a link to the FAQ they have made available. We have a feeling you’ll be hearing a lot more about this issue in the coming months. Feel free to get in touch with us if you need advice about the best way to approach dealing with the issue when selling your home.

For Now, Multiple Offers Are the New Normal

February 27th, 2013 By George Crowe

We’ve been posting for a while now about how hot the Marin housing has market has become, and how we need more sellers to bring homes on to satisfy the incredible demand. All of last year we saw low inventory and lots of buyers competing for those few homes for sale. Well, it’s gotten even crazier so far this year. We haven’t seen anything like this since 2005, and even then I’m not sure it felt quite like this. The whole county is experiencing the effects of the high demand and low inventory, but in especially popular areas like Corte Madera and Greenbrae it’s getting kind of ridiculous.

In Greenbrae for example, as of this writing there are zero active listings for sale. None! There are five properties in escrow, and a few have closed so far this year, but if you’re shopping for a home there right now you’re probably frustrated, and with good reason. Corte Madera has had a little more inventory, but with exceptions here and there everything is selling right away, with up to twenty offers in some cases. And looking a little farther north, just this week we’ve seen homes in San Rafael and Novato receive nine offers each.

Here’s a look at the absorption rate for all residential properties in Marin County, which is a good measure of how hot the market is. It’s measured as the percentage of the active listings that go into escrow per month, and it was up to a whopping 68.6% in January. That’s compared to 36.7% one year ago, and 15.2% back in January 2010.

This means that by definition prices are actually going up rather quickly, as each home that closes substantially over the asking price becomes a new comp for the next listing. It can’t go on forever, and a surge of new inventory this Spring will hopefully even things out a little, but for the moment we are in one of the hottest, most competitive markets Marin County has ever seen. It’s certainly great for sellers, but overall a little more balance would be nice.

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,, or by calling (415) 259-2949.

Hal Brown Park in Greenbrae, one of our new favorites

October 11th, 2011 By Stephen Pringle

I know it reopened in February, but we just finally took the kids by Hal Brown Park (formerly Creekside Park), across from Marin General, and the renovation is impressive.  It has great play structures, a large grassy area for playing soccer, an awesome loop for kids to ride their bikes around, and really sweet views of the lagoon and Mt. Tam. Great spot to picnic or have a kids birthday party. If you haven’t made it by it’s worth checking out while the weather is still nice.

Marin Luxury Homes Sold Year to Date

October 20th, 2010 By Ginger Wilcox

There have been 50 Marin homes over three million dollars sold since January 1, 2010.  In the same time frame last year, there were 37 homes over three million dollars sold in Marin. Yes, despite the mortgage mess the overall luxury home market has actually improved since 2009 in terms of number of sales.

As you can see in the chart above, the town of Tiburon tops the list of the most homes over three million dollars sold.  The bulk of the luxury home sales are still under 3.5 million.

Top Ten Most Expensive Homes

The top ten most expensive homes sold year-to-date in Marin are as follows:

Ross 1 Upper Rd Ross, CA 94957 17,500,000 1/15/10 14,000,000
Ross 7 Laurel Grove Ave Ross, CA 94957 10,000,000 1/20/10 8,000,000
Tiburon 3680 Paradise Dr Tiburon, CA 94920 8,800,000 4/2/10 7,800,000
Belvedere 8 Eucalyptus Rd Belvedere, CA 94920 7,500,000 10/19/10 7,140,000
Tiburon 4639 Paradise Dr Tiburon, CA 94920 7,485,000 8/3/10 7,000,000
Tiburon 133 Sugarloaf Dr Tiburon, CA 94920 6,995,000 7/15/10 6,900,000
Sausalito 77 Harrison Ave Sausalito, CA 94965 8,750,000 4/15/10 6,834,000
Tiburon 232 Trinidad Dr Tiburon, CA 94920 7,995,000 3/10/10 6,500,000
Kentfield 65 Rock Rd Kentfield, CA 94904 5,500,000 5/17/10 5,500,000
Mill Valley 401 Lovell Ave Mill Valley, CA 94941 5,695,000 9/26/10 5,500,000

Both the price per square foot and the list price to sales price ratios were almost identical in 2009 and 2010.  What’s to come for the luxury market?  It’s still unclear how the meltdown of the mortgage markets will impact the overall economy and confidence in the real estate market. We’ll be watching carefully to see what’s next.

*information from Bay Area Real Estate Information Services.

Exploring Easter Events Around the Bay

April 1st, 2010 By Ginger Wilcox

Exploring by the Bay

Next stop:  Fun events with kids!

The Bay is brimming with fun events for kids this weekend.  Here are just a few.  Feel free to add additional events in the comments!

San Francisco

The 19th Annual Union Street Spring Celebration & Easter Parade takes place on Sunday April 4, 2010 from 10:00am – 5:00pm on Union Street between Gough & Steiner.  The event is a fun and eclectic San Francisco tradition.  The promo even mentioned roller blading cows!! The celebration features some of Union Street’s best restaurants serving attendees in an outdoor bistro setting along with a variety of activities including large inflatable bounces, kids’ rides and games, a climbing wall, a hands-on children’s activities area, costumed characters, a petting zoo, a pony ride and musical entertainment.

Spring Eggstravaganza takes place on Sunday, April 4, 2010 from 11 am – 3 pm at Stern Grove.  San Francisco throws a giant Easter celebration that’s kid-friendly but open to all ages. Egg hunts, carnival rides, arts and crafts, entertainment, food and giant inflatables will keep you busy. At Stern Grove, 19th Ave. and Sloat Blvd. $5 admission. For tickets or more information, call (415) 831-2700 during business hours.

Big Bunny’s Spring Fling at the San Francisco Zoo takes place every day from now until April 4th from 11am to 3pm. All activities are free with paid Zoo admission and include live entertainment, bunnies to see and learn about from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (weather permitting), photo opportunities with a costumed bunny, crafts, and games to play. Additionally, the Zoo will offer one FREE child’s admission with one paid adult for kids ages 4 to 14 who bring along their favorite plush bunny.


Belvedere– Join the Easter bunny at the Belvedere Community Center’s Easter Bunny Brunch on Saturday, April 3, 2010 from 10 am-noon.  The event includes brunch, crafts, face painting, music and of course, an Easter egg hunt!  To purchase tickets, call the recreation office at (415) 435-4355 or visit the Belvedere Community Center website.

Corte Madera– The  Corte Madera Parks & Recreation will be hosting a Children’s Egg Hunt, Saturday, April 3, 2010 at the Corte Madera Town Park.   The hunt starts at 10am. For more info, call (415) 927-5073.

Fairfax- Fairfax hosts it’s annual Easter Egg Hunt at Bolinas Park Saturday, April 3, 2010 from 10:00 am-12:00.  Call 415-456-5652 for more information.

Mill Valley– The Strawberry Recreation District will be holding their Spring Faire on Saturday, April 3, 2010 from 11:30am to 4pm at the Strawberry Recreation Center at 118 E. Strawberry Drive.  The event features activities for children ages 1 to 8 and will include carnival games, prizes and an egg hunt.  $5 admission per child. Call 383-6494 for more information.

Sausalito hosts their 30th Annual Easter Parade and Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 4, 2010 from 10am -2pm at Dunphy Park located on Caledonia Street and Bridgeway.  The schedule of events includes:

  • 10:00am – Parade led by the Easter bunny!
  • 10:15am – Egg Hunt
  • 10:30am – Live Music
  • 11am – Easter Bonnet Contest- bring your craziest, creative and beautiful Easter bonnets.

More information

San Anselmo– The San Anselmo Parks and Recreation holds an egg hunt on Friday, April 2 from 7:50 pm (don’t be late) for kids ages 8 and older at Memorial Park in San Anselmo. For kids under 7, check out the Children’s Egg Hunt at 11am on Saturday, April 3, 2010 at Memorial Park in San Anselmo.  Call (415) 258-4640 for more information.

Santa Cruz Area

Time for a Sunday drive?  Consider heading down to Felton in the Santa Cruz Mountains for the Eggstraordinary Egg Hunt III on Sunday April 4, 2010 at 2:00pm at Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton.  Kids take the steam train to Bear Mountain to hunt for thousands of chocolate candy eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny in a redwood forest and win prizes. Special Easter crafts and games for families and kids.  Sounds like a blast!

Say it isn’t so! Default notices rising in Marin?

November 11th, 2009 By Ginger Wilcox

If you read the San Francisco Chronicle or, you might have come across a very noticeable article (at least noticeable if you are buying, selling, or interested in Marin County real estate!)  The article even got picked up by a national blog – Calculated Risk – which is widely read by Wall Streeters and investors.

Mortgage distress is rising in affluent areas around the Bay Area, according to a Chronicle analysis of foreclosure notices.

Not very positive, especially when the article mentions Greenbrae and other “high end” zip codes in the Bay Area.  Well, here’s what I’m seeing locally:

So far, so good this Fall.  Asking prices have remained steady and are slightly above price levels from 2006.  Certainly not where we were in 2007, but these seem to be holding well.

What about the number of Greenbrae homes available for sale (a.k.a “inventory”):

Definitely rising….

So yes, markets like Greenbrae are showing trends the don’t exactly jive – you’d expect prices to fall a little with the increased number of homes of the market.

October has been the busiest month in Marin all year for sales, but we are also seeing a buzz in the general market.  Open houses are busier, even my web traffic has been up this month.

It’s never a perfect science but getting in to the details is important.  Real estate is local and you can’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.

Courtesy of Altos Research

Greenbrae’s Value & My Interview on Forbes

August 31st, 2009 By Ginger Wilcox

Forbes recently published their list of America’s most expensive zip codes, most of which have seen very sluggish home sales.  As part of the story, they focused on real estate markets that have tremendous value for being the luxury home market “next door” to the toniest of neighborhoods.  The Marin County neighborhoods of Kentfield and Greenbrae received the majority of the focus in the story which I was interviewed for.

Kentfield has seen prices decline 20% this year while Greenbrae is only down 9% according to stats by Altos Research.

Check out the video here:

View Greenbrae Homes for Sale
View Kentfield Homes for Sale

Kentfield School District Reinstates Teacher Aides

August 20th, 2009 By Ginger Wilcox

I  was thrilled to open an email earlier today from Kentfield School District Superintendent Mary Jo Pettigrew.  In the letter to Bacich and Kent parents, Mary Jo said the school board reinstated 21 classroom aides and approved the hiring of a 5th grade teacher to keep class sizes small.  The funds for the positions are coming from “receipt of federal stimulus monies, a lower projected reduction in categorical funding for 2009-2010 from the state, the continued support of the Kentfield Schools Foundation and the fiscal prudence of the District.”

Despite lower property tax revenues and state budget cuts, the school has been able to keep small class sizes and enrichment programs such as art, music, woodshop, drama and physical education.

In addition to being good news for parents, the news is great for Kentfield/Greenbrae property owners.  The high ranking school district helps keep property values in the community steady.

Interested in living in the Kentfield School District?

View Greenbrae Homes for Sale

View Kentfield Homes for Sale

Greenbrae Real Estate Report

July 3rd, 2009 By Ginger Wilcox

This market profile is a snapshot of what is happening in Greenbrae. Home prices remain flat this week. The number of Greenbrae homes for sale and the days on the market are both climbing. The Greenbrae market action index has improved this week, implying increased demand in the Greenbrae real estate market.

Greenbrae Real Estate Market Update

There are currently 21 homes* for sale in Greenbrae, California. There are 7 homes under contract. (*single family)

Median List Price $1,199,000
Highest Priced Home in Greenbrae (single family) $2,695,000
26 La Cuesta Drive, Greenbrae
Lowest Priced Home in Greenbrae (single family) $799,000
265 Vista Grande, Greenbrae
Asking Price per Square Foot $544
Average Days on Market 122
Percent of Properties with Price Decrease 42%
Percent Relisted 0%
Median House Size (sq ft) 2,168
Median Lot Size 0.25-0.50 acre
Median Number of Bedrooms 4.0
Median Number of Bathrooms 2.4
Market Action Index 16- Cold! Buyer’s Market

The Market Action Index answers the question: “How’s the Greenbrae Real Estate Market?” By measuring the current rate of sale versus the amount of inventory. Index above 30 implies seller’s market conditions. Below 30, conditions favor the buyer.

Greenbrae Real Estate Market Data effective as of June 28, 2009. Data provided by AltosResearch and Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc. Are you a Marin real estate junkie? Sign up to receive very detailed real-time market reports in your email. Just register and let me know which neighborhoods you are interested in. Download a sample report.

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