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KICKING OFF 2016
January Marin sales (126) were higher than January 2015 (115), but there was still a sense that not much was happening. Nothing on the market, nothing to sell, buyers not awake yet from their holiday slumber... what was going on? Perhaps it was the small interest rate increase by the FED. Maybe it was the stock market scare that had stocks plunging to record drops. Maybe it was the El Nino storms. Who knows? But, the market is starting to heat up with 43 new listings coming on as of February 1 versus 22 the week of January 18. Some people say it's "after the Super Bowl" that things pick up. This year, because the Super Bowl was in our own backyard, that may be true. There's an excitement about what's "coming soon" and a promise of more choices on the way for buyers.

Buyers are pre-approved and ready to pounce as soon as they see the home they like (or kind of like). Sellers are still pushing the market, wondering just how far they can take it from a price standpoint. Many buyers are holding their boundaries, not wanting to get caught in a feeding frenzy. Some are finding that hard to do where a seller’s market with frequent multiple bids make an at-asking offer highly unlikely to succeed. 
Since this really is the same old story, we thought you might enjoy this list of Nine Elements of an Ideal House, created by the National Association of Realtors, based on national statistics. We agree that they can make living easier and add value to your home. 
  1. Single Story: easy to navigate and more efficient to heat or cool
  2. Tall Ceilings: (9’+) make a room feel larger and grander - A National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) survey shows a preference for tall ceilings among homebuyers — about 65% of respondents say they prefer a house with 9-foot ceilings over a similar house with the standard 8-foot ceiling.
  3. Southern Exposure: good for houseplants, passive heating, solar panels and the soul.
  4. Outdoor Living Spaces: in California, it’s all about indoor/outdoor living. And,  patios and decks are easier and less expensive to add than enclosed living space.
  5. Maximized Insulation: You can’t see it, but you’ll feel it. And you’ll save money on your heating and cooling. Don’t forget attic and under house insulation.
  6. Separate Master Bedroom: Some  separation is a great way to give everybody peace and quiet.
  7. Low Maintenance Exterior: Siding that never needs to be painted – that’s popular across the U.S. But in our neck of the woods, be careful not to go cheap, or look cheap.
  8. Great Storage: Speaks for itself. Considering adding some with built-ins, under stairway closets or shelves, or garage cupboards. 
  9. Ergonomic Features: Universal Design (UD) is usually associated with mobility issues and disabled access and ease. But it’s smart design that works for anybody. Wide doorways, levers instead of knobs on doors, curbless showers, large rocker electrical switches, good task lighting and reduced trip hazards make life easier for all ages and abilities.  

Single Family Houses Sold in January 2016 vs January 2015

FUN FACTS:
  • The most expensive single family home listed in January is in Tiburon and priced at $13,500,000, or $3,000/sqft. It has views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown San Francisco. 
  • The least expensive sold was a bank owned home in Novato. The dilapidated 4 bedroom home on a generous lot sold at auction for $514,000, or $300/sqft.  
  • And the least expensive condo was a Below Market Rate (BMR) TownHome near Hamilton Field in Novato. The 3 bedroom 2.5 bath condo sold for the pre-determined price of $227,606. There were 20 offers. Buyers must have family income that does not exceed certain guidelines, and multiple bids do not drive the price. When they sell, the price is restricted and pre-determined. 
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