Marin and San Francisco real estate are similar beasts, except for one glaring caveat: amazing vs mediocre public schools. Single Family homes in both area’s sell for relatively similar amounts with similar buyer profiles. Given their close proximity and interdependence on each other, both area’s are on the radar of prospective buyers with a major monetary discrepency, you can live almost anywhere in Marin and send your child to a public school that would cost tens of thousands of dollars ($10k-50k+/year, per child) for a similar education at a private San Francisco school.
This is nothing new and an unfortunate result of funding, public schools in San Francisco don’t have the same donors as the private schools which plays out in extremely poor test scores, while Marin has always been a steward of public education*.
When you factor in the extremely high cost of home ownership (purchase price + property taxes) you can see how saving an extra $20-$100k year (depending on how many children are school aged) the incentive to move 15-30min north becomes that much more appealing and financially rational.
All of which leads to an onslaught of prospective young families not only looking out for their children’s best interest but also their bank account/peace of mind. When a single family home becomes available its almost laughable how “hot” a property it is, 50-100 disclosure packages often times being sent out to realtors to share with their buyers in hopes of learning and instilling enough confidence about a property to waive all contingencies and offer well above asking price.
Being a prospective buyer or representing a family looking to own in Marin is often times an exercise in futility. As a buyer you’re going to stretch, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking at a $900k Novato 4/2 or a $2.2M Mill Valley 3/2. Prospective buyers almost always have a cap on what they can afford/stomach and with single digit inventory their really isn’t much wiggle room on negotiations, except to go up. So how did I place two families in their ideal homes (within walking distance to amazing schools) in southern Marin last month?
- Diligence – In both instances the families and I had toured numerous homes over the course of many months, they knew exactly what they were looking for and understood why and what it would take to get into contract.
- Relationships – We trusted each other and knew how to communicate clearly, I shared all the local knowledge I’ve learned by being born and bred in Marin and that translated into their confidence not only in me but in the decision to go after a property with a sound understanding of the market.
- Preparation – We had fully underwritten loans that enabled the selling agent to feel confident in our offers, this is not fluff, one of the homes had an offer from SVB just after it had collapsed, who you bank with matters.
- Tenacity – I have a peculiar disposition and enjoyment in finding things (homes, motorcycles, surfboards, literally anything) for friends and family that are in that market. This has recently been coined “Happy-for-ness” and when these particular homes popped up off-market I sent them over to my clients within minutes of being available, and we had toured them in under 24hrs. This enabled us to get into contract before any other agents or buyers had time to play catch up.
Becoming an real estate agent is easy, California alone has 400k+ licensed agents, now imagine how many buyers there are… That being said, finding and landing a client is hard and getting them into contract on a home they love is even harder. It is also the most rewarding, happy-for-ness is real, which is why I’d love to work with you or at least share what I’m seeing in the market. Things are changing daily and no two homes are alike which is why who you work with really does matter.
*As a product of the Marin County public school system, I had no idea how good I had it growing up. Hat’s off to Andrew for catching my bad grammar…now changed. Keep on reading, keep on keeping me honest!
Homes referenced below:
“Buying or selling a home can bring on both exhilaration and sleepless nights. With a strong understanding of the local market, Bryce is in the best position to help you navigate what can seem like an overwhelming number of options and considerations.“