Posted by: Julie in Marin | May 13, 2013

Leitzell Named to IJ Editorial Board as Citizen Member

IJ Editorial Board CROPPED jpeg

It’s an important time in Marin County, with decisions being made at a fast clip regarding projects resulting from the state’s mandates for high density building. Do we want dozens of large developments in Marin and the traffic they will generate? City councils and the Marin Board of Supervisors have just weeks to make a decision on long-term policies handed down from the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Speak now — too late when the bulldozers roll in.


1.5 to 2.5 market from 2010 til now

The light green bars are homes that have come on the market. (the inventory) The red line is the number of homes going into contract, which dipped a bit in April.  So what does this mean to you? I predict the wild bidding wars will quiet for higher end homes, at least for the time being.

Posted by: Julie in Marin | April 27, 2012

San Francisco Homebuyers Flocking to Marin

Holding open a lovely Sausalito home last Sunday, I noticed that nearly all of the 30 or so couples who came through were from San Francisco.  Even for the busy spring homebuying season, it seems like quite an exodus this year.  Many of the buyers are giving up on the market there:  low inventory, multiple offers, higher prices.

But perhaps the hurdles of living in the city are becoming too numerous.   Check this out:    Muni buses are now videotaping license plates of cars they pass.  Even  if you  have pulled over to the side of the road to pick someone up, or take a call, as this reporter did, you can be taped, and ticketed via mail if you are there during a ‘no parking’ time.   Big brother just got bigger:

Mulitple offers are back in the Marin County real estate world, and some buyers are wishing they would have been more serious when the rest of the world wasn’t looking.  I was quoted in the Marin Independent Journal last week about the market shift, but most of the information I passed along wasn’t included.

Here’s the scoop:

  • Not everything is being sold quickly or with multiple offers
  • Homes that are priced too high are still sitting there, and buyers have an opportunity to pick up that ‘steal’ once the prices are dropped
  • Homes that are not remodeled are still hurting in this market:  buyers are informed and know exactly how much new kitchens, baths, and roofs cost
  • It’s even more important to have a trusted realtor working with you if you’re a buyer.  You get previews of new listings, and you will see that your realtor has an excellent sense for what will sell quickly, and at what price
  • If you’re a seller, a good realtor will save you from the pain of watching your price drop after a debut that falls flat
Posted by: Julie in Marin | February 16, 2012

Peeved About Pics

Yesterday I found myself once again trying to ‘fix’ really bad photos of an absolutely gorgeous home before I sent them to a prospective buyer.  The agent had obviously taken them himself.   Even if an agent isn’t going to spend the funds for a professional photographer, is it too much to ask that the lights be turned on or the toiletries be put away for the photos that are so important in the buyer’s decision on whether they’re going to view a home?   Sheesh….  I’m spending more time on them than some of the listing agents.

I’ve pasted a photo below created by one of my favorite photographers on an off-market listing I have.  No expense is spared.  Even on lower-end properties that are not staged, I can show you an amazing before-and-after on how just a little effort can create warm, inviting photos that will bring the buyers in!

Posted by: Julie in Marin | February 3, 2012

Must-See for Kids of all Ages

Must-See for Kids of all Ages

Check out the Disney Museum in the Presidio. We spent hours there the last time I went, and we didn’t have a kid with us! Park right in front for free on a Saturday morning, and enoy the multi-media and interactive demonstrations, and really coming to know the great man who was Walt Disney.

Posted by: Julie in Marin | January 26, 2012

Rare homes in Downtown Larkspur: 2 Available!

There are SO many people who are deciding to choose a ‘large’ lifestyle instead of a large home.  Downsizers who want to walk to restaurants and shops, families who want their kids to walk to school.   That’s why I will be watching with interest the 2 townhomes that came on the market at the same time.  They’re in Rice Stable Court, a sought-after shingled-townhome community with rare turn-over.   Priced at $849,000 and $899,000, it’s a low price to pay for enjoying the Larkspur lifestyle.

Picco, Left Bank, Rulli’s and the Tavern at Lark Creek are just steps away…but these are private and quiet homes with small gardens & 2-car garages!    These homes are not my listings.   Pease call Marin County real estate agent Julie Leitzell if you would like to view them.   415-309-7074Image

Posted by: Julie in Marin | August 14, 2011

Tips on Purchasing Bank-Owned Homes in Marin

After just completing what the listing agent called ‘the most difficult transaction’ she’d ever undertaken as a seasoned REO agent, I have a few tips for those who have the stomach to venture into purchasing a distressed property of any kind.

First, your own agent has to be someone who has the work ethic and persistence to stay ‘on it’, even if the lender is not responding.  Second, the listing agent should be experienced not just in REOs, but in working with the particular lender(s) and servicers who are involved.   If they are not, you should be prepared for a long, frustrating, and possibly fruitless process.

Google the lenders and servicing companies (mine were Ocwen, Altisource and Premium Title) and see what kind of ‘reviews’ come up on real estate sites.   What I found was very telling.

Third, if you find yourself in a position where you are not getting responses from a lender or title company associated with the lender, pull out all the stops in filling out forms to file a formal complaint.  In my case, that’s what got them moving.

Posted by: Julie in Marin | July 23, 2011

Why Nice Agents Finish First

Being nice is a subjective trait.   One person’s nice is another’s patsy.    Being nice is not a good idea during negotiations, particularly when the other side is not being so nice.

However, when you are spending a lot of time with a real estate agent either buying or selling a home, the agent will grow to know you fairly well, and visa-versa.   You don’t want to find yourself having to climb into a car with someone who is truly specious.  You don’t want to be associated with someone who sends colleagues running.   You will be spending at least dozens of hours together viewing homes and depending on that person for accurate advice on price, neighborhood, home inspections and a negotiating strategy.   Buyers and sellers don’t realize that their choice of agents may represent not only their offer or their home….but the choice of agent could send a message that is not flattering.   If it’s someone who is known throughout the community for falsehoods and a lack of integrity, your sale or your offer may not bring the activity you were hoping for. 

Choose someone known for a professional, pleasant personality and a stellar reputation.  It will mean more than you know at critical moments.

Posted by: Julie in Marin | June 19, 2011

A Home is the Place you Spend the Most Time Enjoying Your Life

I’ve had several conversations over the last few weeks with those who are analyzing every angle possible on when to sell, or when to buy.   Sellers who are sure the prices will go up next year so are holding off, and some buyers are sure prices will continue a downward trend, so they’re waiting for the bottom.   In the meantime, the motivated buyers out there don’t have much to look at, and the sellers are watching the prices inch downward.

Downsizers are reluctant to take a bigger hit percentage-wise on the sale of their home than they will realize in gains on a smaller home.   Those who are moving up are dubious that they will be able to capitalize on the softer prices in the higher price ranges.

I think it’s time we all get back to the basics.   A home is a place that you can settle into and a home is a place where you enjoy dinners with your family, you entertain your friends, you de-stress after a hard day a work.   What you should look for is simple:  someplace that allows you to be surrounded by people you love and a place you will be happy coming home to.  You will most likely save money in taxes and you will probably, over time, realize a gain in value.  But a home should not be thought of as a get-rich-quick scheme any longer.  Home is where your heart is.

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