Corte Madera, CA (10 Minutes North of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge): Excellent Schools, Weather, Location
April 17, 2013
Corte Madera, CA (10 Minutes North of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge): Excellent Schools, Weather, Location. With its excellent schools, central location, and great weather, Corte Madera has become one of Marin County’s most sought-after towns, particularly for families with young children.
“Corte Madera’s got a good variety of housing options, from rentals to townhouses to small single-family homes to larger, almost estate-like properties,” according to one of Pacific Union’s top Marin County real estate professionals. “The town is very family-oriented, and the weather gets much nicer when you go over the hill from Mill Valley to Corte Madera. It’s much warmer with less fog.”
While Corte Madera lacks a classic downtown with “main street,” the town of 9,400 is home to two major upscale malls: the Village at Corte Madera and the Town Center Corte Madera. The town shares various services, including police and schools, with Larkspur, and locals refer to the two municipalities as the Twin Cities.
Corte Madera residents in search of a traditional downtown head to Larkspur’s historic Magnolia Avenue for dining and shopping at small local businesses.
The Larkspur-Corte Madera School District enjoys an excellent reputation and in 2012 earned a state Academic Performance Index score of 919 out of 1,000. Due to swelling enrollment, the district is building a new school in east Corte Madera, scheduled to welcome 325 students in fall 2014.
A small number of east Corte Madera children attend the highly ranked Reed Union School District in Tiburon. The Tamalpais Union High School District serves Corte Madera’s high school students.
Town Park, a large park with tennis courts, a recreation center, sport fields, lagoon, and skating area, serves as a gathering place for the community.
“It’s very much a focal point for Corte Madera,” our real estate professional said. “You will find youth soccer games and basketball and baseball and kids’ parties — half the little-league teams have practice there.”
Corte Madera homes for sale range in price from $650,000 to $3 million for single-family residences, with the majority in the $1 million zone, he added.
Homes on the west side of town tend to be a bit costlier than those on the east side, where popular neighborhoods include Madera del Presidio and Mariner Cove. Chapman Park, Lakeside Drive, and Christmas Tree Hill, with its winding streets and sweeping views, are among the most popular west side neighborhoods.
Like much of the Bay Area, Corte Madera has experienced a shortage of homes for sale amid increasing demand from buyers in recent months. In March the number of single-family homes for sale were down 62 percent from a year earlier, while homes sold shot up 100 percent, according to MLS data.
“The moment a reasonably priced listing goes on the market in Corte Madera, it goes into contract,” our real estate professional said.
April 3, 2013
Welcome to 2 Polhemus Way in Larkspur, a short 2 minute drive through the magical redwoods of lower Madrone Canyon with sweeping views out to San Francisco Bay. As you enter the privacy gate into the front yard, you will immediately recognize the careful and thoughtful design of the custom fencing with bamboo accenting. Attention to detail is reflected by the quality of the hardscape and landscape materials, lighting scheme, and plantings. This home is priced at $1,549,000 | 3 Beds | 3 Baths | 2,591 s.f.
As you enter the front door from the slate tile patio into the formal entryway, you will encounter high open beam ceilings, random plank hardwood flooring, overhead fan, and a wall of windows highlighting the natural beauty that surrounds the home. This main level level includes the primary living spaces, such as the:
- Living Room
- Formal Dining Room
- Family Room
- Expansive Kitchen with ample storage, pantry, island with range and seating area, and work station
- full bath with ceasarstone counters, Grohe faucet, Kohler undermount sink, step-in shower with frameless glass enclosure, and tile flooring
- most impressively, however, are the views from the custom deck with designer lighting and accents.
The upstairs Master Suite is a private retreat unlike any other currently on the market
- the views are extraordinary and the private deck makes you feel like you are alone in nature with views to the Bay and beyond,
- there are soaring ceilings with open beams, a fan, surround sound and sitting area,
- you will also find two walk in closets,
- the Master Bath — completely remodeled with deep soaking tub and shower, dual sinks, ceasarstone counters, custom cabinets, and gorgeous tile floors
On the ground level are:
- a large bedroom with Anderson slider to a private deck
- a second large bedroom, which is currently set up as a gym with separate office area
- freshly remodeled bath with ceasarstone counter, custom cabinets, and glass enclosed shower and tub
- laundry area
- storage area
The home sits on an oversized and completely fenced, parcel and is blessed with sun-oriented back decking scheme, soaked in year round sun. Throughout the home you will also note many custom enhancements carried out by the current owner. For example:
- Literally dozens of track lights were added throughout the home and many are on dimmers. Many of the lights are directional and can be trained on adjacent walls and spaces to highlight art and other displays
- Overhead fans were installed in many rooms
- Sconce lighting can be found in several locations
- Exterior lighting, hardscape, and plantings were added and/or replaced
- Walkways have been upgraded and/or installed to maximize aesthetics and convenience
- Newer lateral line
- Newer roof & decking
- Solar water heating system with newer 120 gallon holding tank
About Madrone Canyon Neighborhood, Larkspur
Madrone Canyon in Larkspur is a truly magical neighborhood, which is characterized by the towering redwoods that grow right through the street as you enter the neighborhood on Madrone Avenue. As you drive up past the redwoods, a glorious expanse of natural beauty takes hold. At the end of Wilson Way, about 1-minute from 2 Polhemus Way, you can access virtually endless hiking and biking trails and open space, including the King Mountain Loop and Ladybug Trail. Larkspur is a truly ideal commute location for those who work in San Francisco, just minutes north of the Golden Gate. This upscale, highly desirable neighborhood is located in a sunny enclave outside of the fog belt.
Exclusively listed by Kyle Frazier, Broker Associate, Pacific Union International Real Estate — (415) 350-9440, [email protected].
March 22, 2013
Marin County real estate is experiencing an incredible run-up in pricing. Even off-market listings (if marketed correctly) are receiving multiple offers.
Out of Pacific Union’s 63 closed sales which were placed into the MLS so far in 2013 (I have 8 of those sales):
- 34 were OVER asking price
- 12 were at asking price
- 17 were under asking price
- Average Days on Market was a LOW, LOW 25 days
- Average sales price vs. list price was 103.79%
These numbers are incredible. In fact, I have noticed a farily large number of realtors have begun selling their homes as they see a seller’s market quite unlike anything we have seen for years. Prices are zooming back 2007 highs in some neighborhoods. In the past three weeks, I have written numerous offers for buyers and EVERY home had multiple offers (6 of these homes had 10 or more offers). I call that red hot!
If you have so much as a whisper of a thought about possibly selling your Marin home this year, please call me. I have all systems in place to get your home sold for a premium price and with minimum inconvenience. Moreover, due to the market environment, sellers are frequently requesting and being given months to rent back the home so they do not have to find a place to live right now. It is really quite a fortuitious time to sell. Please call me for a discrete and confidential review of your situation.
- Kyle Frazier, J.D.
- Broker Associate, Top Agent Network & Marin Platinum Group
- (415) 350-9440
March 4, 2013
Known for its East Coast feel, beautiful tree-lined streets, and elegant homes, San Rafael’s Dominican neighborhood also offers great walkability and convenience.
The neighborhood, sometimes called Black Canyon, surrounds Dominican University of California, from which it gets its name. Its convenient location just east of Highway 101 gives residents easy access to the freeway, the Montecito Plaza Shopping Center, and lovely open space areas.
“Dominican is a lovely neighborhood with some of the most beautiful, stately homes in Marin,” one of Pacific Union’s top San Rafael real estate professionals said. “It’s a convenient neighborhood and people love being near Dominican University.”
Though its history dates back as far as 1850, the school that eventually became Dominican University arrived in San Rafael in 1889, expanding to a junior college in 1915 and a four-year institution in 1917. Today, the university offers many perks to its neighbors, from access to the Conlan Recreation Center with a pool, gymnasium, and tennis courts, to various on-campus talks and activities.
In 2010 Dominican landed in the spotlight when it hosted a gubernatorial debate between then-candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman.
Dominican homes for sale range from around $800,000 to $3 million and beyond, our real estate professional said. Styles include ranch homes and turn-of-the-century Victorians, which tend to carry heftier price tags.
Part of the neighborhood’s charm is its walkability. The university’s manicured grounds offer pleasant walking routes, and there are plenty of trails in the open spaces to the east and the north and at Barbier Park.
“Dominican is truly a walking community,” 35-year resident Suzie Pollak told Marin Magazine. “People stroll with their dogs through the campus both morning and evening; it’s how we meet and find out what’s going on.”
More than 50 restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are located within a 30-minute walk of the neighborhood in downtown San Rafael and other areas. A Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s are also located nearby.
The neighborhood’s Marin Tennis Club boasts 12 courts, eight of which are lit for night play. The facility also has an exercise room, swimming pool, saunas, and a full-service cafe.
Marin Ballet is also located in Dominican.
With the neighborhood’s great proximity to Highway 101 and easy access to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, it’s no surprise that Dominican residents have one of the shortest commutes in the U.S. — most spend less than 15 minutes getting to work.
For more information on real estate in San Rafael’s The Dominican neighborhood, please call Kyle Frazier, J.D., Broker, CRS with Pacific Union International Real Estate.
February 21, 2013
21 Toussin Ave., Kentfield (Marin County, CA) Exclusively Listed By Kyle Frazier, Pacific Union International. Nestled minutes from HWY 101 and sitting on ½ acre, this 3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath custom home distills the essence of the Marin lifestyle — the extraordinary setting provides virtually complete privacy and the orientation of the home, pool, and sun deck render a magical experience with Mt. Tam and Ross Valley framed in the distance.
As you enter 21 Toussin Ave., the home’s style and grace will inspire you. You will find an imported, copper Biffar front door and marble floors and shelf in the entryway. You will note random plank oak flooring and an 18’ foot ceiling in the Living Room, which features a 10’ x 10’ picture window, custom stenciled ceiling, sliding hardwood Moroccan window screens, wet bar, stained glass, multiple skylights, and a large fireplace.
The Chef’s Kitchen features oak counters, commercial range, double ovens, exposed beam ceiling, large pantry, lighted display case, and ample storage.
In every direction, further evidence of great care and pride abound. From the luxurious grace of the arched doors with banker glass leading into the Dining Room (which features wonderful views of Mt. Tam), to the climate controlled wine cellar, to the artisanal quality of the custom stair rails as you reach the second floor, character and substance characterize this one-of-a-kind luxury home.
Upstairs, you will find 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, including the large Master Suite and associated patio with absolutely breathtaking views of Mt. Tam. The Master includes a large living space with room for a sitting area and a light-filled bath with large sunken shower, skylight, and dual vanity.
Outside, you will find a sparkling dipping pool alongside an expansive sun deck oriented perfectly below the vista of Mt. Tam. The privacy level is unparalleled.
Please note: chandelier in Dining Room is excluded from the sale.
Below is a Video Profile About Kentfield, CA
By Kyle Frazier, Broker & Top Agent, Pacific Union International, (415) 350-9440. Please call for more information or a private tour of this one-of-a-kind luxury Kentfield view home.
February 1, 2013
Things To Do | Bay Area | February 1-3, 2013
Below are some fun things to do in the Bay Area before and after the 49′ers win the Super Bowl this weekend.
7th Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theater
Fri, Feb 1 – Sat, Feb 2. 6:30pm / For All Ages / Price: $30 includes dinner & show
@ Tamalpais Valley Community Center – 203 Marin Ave Mill Valley, CA 94941 / Phone: 415.388.6393
“Murder At The Tammy Awards” You the audience are the detectives who will solve the crime.
Watch as the ceremony collapses in the wake of hilarious miscues and disasters. Don’t miss the fun.
Doors open 6:30 PM. Curtain at 7:30 PM
This is the link for tickets. Go to “Register”, then “Theater”. Select Murder Mystery Dinner Theater and then
the date you want to attend and purchase tickets. For more info go to http://www.tcsd.us/
Fri, Feb 1 – Sat, Feb 2. 10:00am to 5:00pm / FREE for All Ages / Phone: 415.451.8119
@ Art Works Downtown – 1337 Fourth St San Rafael, CA 94901
This exhibit features three prominent, women artists from Marin: Kay Russell, Patricia Ancona and
Claudia Tarantino, whose work explores the past, memories and emotions. “Shadows” was chosen
as the title to reference the things that lie behind us that we may not always have time to stop
and examine on such an intricate level.
For more info go to http://artworksdowntown.org/1337-gallery-current-exhibit/blog
Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show
Saturday, February 2. 8:00pm / For All Ages / Price: $35-$50 / Phone: 707.546.3600
@ Wells Fargo Center for the Arts – 50 Mark West Springs Rd. Santa Rosa, CA 95403
“A devilishly good show” – San Francisco Examiner
They were style with substance, swing with swagger and a non-stop party that everyone wanted to attend. Now audiences can experience this critically acclaimed, hugely entertaining theatrical production which includes exciting new arrangements of the classic songs everyone knows and loves
and spot-on impersonations of the Rat Pack—Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop and
Dean Martin! For more info go to http://tickets.wellsfargocenterarts.org/single/EventDetail.aspx?p=847
Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour
Sat, Feb 2. Sun, Feb 3. 12:30pm to 3:30pm / Ages: Kids & Up / Price: $50 / Phone: 415.332.6608
@ Sausalito Wooden Boat Tour – PO Box 124 Sausalito, CA 94966
Stroll the Docks of the Bay – 5 Star Trip Advisor rating.
Visit historic house boat communities, Liberty ship yards, art studios, wooden boat center.
Tour ends with tea and cookies at the boat lettering shack next to the WWII shipways. Get the history
and local waterfront lore from an insider’s perspective.
For more info go to http://www.sausalitowoodenboattour.com/
January 28, 2013
The decision to sell your home may come after many months of deliberation, but once you’ve made the decision and have talked with a real estate professional, give yourself some additional time to prepare the property.
Spending a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to spruce up your home – from a thorough cleaning to repairs, painting, and staging – can add many times that amount to the final sale price.
It’s Cleaning Time
The first and most important task in preparing a home for sale is a top-to-bottom cleaning.
Wash the walls and the windows. Clean the bathroom and put out fresh towels. Close the lid on the toilets and make sure the bathroom mirrors sparkle. Open the windows and let fresh air in – few things are less inviting to a prospective homebuyer than the smell of cat litter boxes or old dog beds. Or old dogs.
If rooms are painted garish colors, repaint them in subdued hues with broad appeal. Replace dirty drapes and window blinds.
If It’s Broken, Fix It
If the plumbing or electrical systems need repairs, get it done. Is the doorbell broken? Fix it. Stop toilets from gurgling. Fix leaky faucets.
Repairs to larger systems, such as a furnace or air conditioning, may be a negotiable point with the buyer, but not minor repairs. Evidence of slipshod upkeep will drive buyers away.
The importance of clearing clutter cannot be emphasized too strongly. Move all unnecessary items into storage. A house or apartment with minimal furniture looks bigger than it really is.
And put away family photos and personal items. You want a prospective buyer to imagine themselves at home there instead of feeling like they’re intruding in your space.
Water and mow the grass, trim bushes, remove dead leaves, and plant flowers. A trim and tidy yard adds immeasurably to curb appeal.
Hire a home stager
Most real estate professionals recommend home staging. It can be something simple like putting out fresh flowers or rearranging furniture for better sight lines, but consider an outside opinion from someone who makes it their business to make homes more attractive to buyers.
If you have the time and resources, consider moving to a temporary residence and allow a professional stager to present your home to its best advantage, with furniture and furnishings chosen to complement your home’s design possibilities.
And talk with your real estate professional. He or she has been through the vagaries of home preparation many times before and is working on your behalf. Together, you’ll make a winning team.
January 18, 2013
San Anselmo’s Sleepy Hollow | Ideal for Families and Nature Lovers. Not to be confused with “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” San Anselmo’s Sleepy Hollow is a family-friendly community nestled in an unincorporated sliver of San Anselmo at the Fairfax border.
Known familiarly as “the Hollow,” the community has been home to a dairy farm; a secret ammunition storage depot for the U.S. Army; the country’s second-largest play-as-you-go golf course; and a lavish mansion complete with theater, dance pavilion, and many well-attended parties.
Today, it’s one of the best places in Marin to raise a family.
“You get a lot more for your money there,” one of Pacific Union International’s top Marin agents said. “The homes are larger, the schools are great, and it’s peaceful.”
Sleepy Hollow includes about 800 homes of varied styles, such as traditional, modern, Spanish, and ranch, as well as 15 custom-built Eichler homes — something for everyone. Sleepy Hollow homes for sale tend to range in price from about $800,000 to $2.5 million.
Many neighborhood children attend Brookside Elementary School, which earned a state Academic Performance Index, or API, score of 946 out of 1,000 in 2012; White Hill Middle School (API 923), and Sir Francis Drake High School (API 850). There are also several private schools nearby, and the neighborhood boasts its own early-education option, the Sleepy Hollow Nursery School.
Sleepy Hollow is located near numerous amenities. The town of Fairfax, less than a mile away, is home to an eclectic collection of shops and Good Earth Natural Foods, the local organic health market.
The nearby Red Hill Shopping Center features a Safeway and other stores. Downtown San Anselmo offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and the San Anselmo Coffee Roastery, a favorite spot among locals for sipping coffee, chatting, and listening to music.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are numerous hiking trails in Sleepy Hollow and surrounding areas, including the Cataract Falls waterfall hike, particularly spectacular after a rainstorm.
A strong sense of community may be Sleepy Hollow’s most noteworthy quality. Around three quarters of residents belong to the Sleepy Hollow Homeowner’s Association, and the community includes a clubhouse and pool, which is home to the Marin Swim League’s top team, the Sleepy Hollow Sea Lions.
The Boy Scouts of America San Anselmo Troop 50 has called Sleepy Hollow home for the past 60 years. Neighborhood events include the annual 4th of July Parade and BBQ, summer happy hours, and a holiday children’s party.
“It’s like a retro experience,” a second Pacific Union agent said of Sleepy Hollow. “People are walking and riding bikes. Sleepy Hollow is its own little neighborly community.”
Perhaps the only downside to living in Sleepy Hollow is its single access road, the 2-mile Butterfield Road. But not everyone thinks having just one way in and out of town is a bad thing.
As resident Karen Martin told Marin Magazine, “We’re all by ourselves out here. There’s a lot of ‘togetherness’ among us.”
December 4, 2012
Not many suburban communities boast a vibrant downtown with loads of dining and entertainment, a rich artistic history, and extraordinary access to nature. But Mill Valley’s got all those things in spades, along with excellent schools and a tight-knit community.
“It’s beautiful, with a strong sense of community, and the downtown is very quaint,” said Brent Thomson, a senior vice president at Pacific Union International and branch executive of our Marin County region.
And ready “access to the outdoor life” draws hiking, running, and mountain-biking enthusiasts to the area, Thomson noted.
It’s easy to take in Mill Valley’s physical beauty almost anywhere in town, from your home’s deck to the many nearby trails, including Tennessee Valley, the Dipsea, and Matt Davis. In addition, both Muir Woods National Monument and Mount Tamalpais State Park are adjacent to the city of 14,050.
Mill Valley’s connection to the arts runs deep. Well-known residents have included musicians such as Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin and Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Gary Snyder.
In January, the Sweetwater Music Hall reopened with help from the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, paying homage to the original concert venue of the same name, which started hosting performances in 1972. Now in its 56th year, the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival still attracts crowds, and the 46-year-old Marin Theatre Company puts on six shows a year.
Downtown, the 142 Throckmorton Theatre offers film, theater, and music in an intimate setting, and comedian Robin Williams sometimes drops in to practice new material in front of an audience. The California Film Institute’s Mill Valley Film Festival has been bringing independent and world cinema to the Bay Area for 35 years.
The punishing but beautiful Dipsea Race – the oldest trail race in the U.S. – takes place each year on the second Sunday in June.
A community gathering space, the Depot Bookstore & Cafe is located on the main plaza. Other popular businesses include restaurateur Tyler Florence’s El Paseo, Vasco, Piazza D’Angelo, and the Buckeye Roadhouse.
Dive bar the 2am Club has been around in one form or another since 1906.
The city continues to attract young families and professionals with its strong schools and proximity to San Francisco. In 2012 the Mill Valley School District earned an overall state Academic Performance Index score of 944 out of a possible 1,000. Tamalpais High School received an 864.
Mill Valley homes for sale vary in style, but many have a craftsman influence. Homes in the hills tend to offer decks with astonishing views, while those in flatter areas like Sycamore and Tamalpais parks and Strawberry may feature yards.
“Mill Valley homes make good use of indoor and outdoor space — that’s one of the draws here,” Thomson said.
In October the average sale price for a single-family home in Mill Valley increased 12 percent to $1.4 million, up from $1.2 million a year earlier, according to MLS data.
At the same time, buyer demand has been growing. The months’ supply of inventory plummeted 59 percent to 2.5 months in October, compared with 6.2 months in the year-earlier period.
“We’ve seen multiple offers and not nearly enough inventory — it’s a highly desirable area,” Thomson said.
December 3, 2012
Here’s a look at news this week of interest to homebuyers, home sellers, and the home-curious:
BAY AREA NO. 1 FOR HOME PRICE GAINS
The Bay Area leads the nation in rising home prices over the past three-and-a-half years, according to statistics the Wall Street Journal compiled from the monthly S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
Home prices in the San Francisco metropolitan area were up 9.6 percent in July compared with January 2009. That’s far better than the national average over the same time period, during which home prices fell 3.7 percent among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas.
The Journal chose the odd time frame of three-and-a-half years in an effort to answer the politically charged question of whether the U.S. housing market is in better shape after nearly four years with Barack Obama as president.
The Journal noted that home prices are up from one year ago but remain narrowly below the recent peak set in May 2010, when tax credits fueled a brief burst of sales.
Trailing San Francisco in rising home prices were Washington, D.C. (8.4 percent) and Denver (4.6 percent). The biggest declines were in Las Vegas (24.7 percent), Atlanta (18.5 percent), and Tampa (12.1 percent).
The San Francisco metro area includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties.
PRICES CLIMB 5.3% IN ONE YEAR
Speaking of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, the Bay Area housing market continues to pick up momentum, with the latest proof coming from the aforementioned monthly index.
Home prices in the San Francisco metropolitan area rose 0.5 percent in August from the previous month and 5.3 percent from August 2011, Case-Shiller reported on Tuesday. Only five other metro areas topped San Francisco in year-over-year sales gains: Phoenix (18.8 percent), Detroit (7.6 percent), Minneapolis (7.4 percent), Miami (6.7 percent), and Denver (5.5 percent).
On average, August marked the fifth staight month of rising home prices across the nation.
The Case-Shiller index lags two months behind the current statistics, but it remains one of the most closely watched gauges of housing market health – one of several gauges that have turned upbeat in recent months. New and existing home sales have gained strength, inventory of homes for sales have fallen, and developers have stepped up building activity.
HOME OWNERSHIP RATE REMAINS LOW
Americans remain wary of home ownership as the nation slowly recovers from the housing market collapse, acoording to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The agency reported Tuesday that the nation’s home ownership rate was 65.5 percent in the third quarter, down from 66.3 percent a year earlier. But the rate was unchanged from the previous quarter, a sign that the drop in ownership may have hit bottom, as record-low mortgage rates lure consumers back into the housing market.
Today’s ownership rate is well below rates near 70 percent reported during the housing boom.
NEARLY $2 TRILLION IN EQUITY LOST
Foreclosures have drained nearly $2 trillion in home equity from surrounding neighborhoods across the country, according to a report from the Center for Responsible Lending.
The report determined that residents who live close to foreclosed properties have lost $1.95 trillion in property value. The cost does not include the total loss in home equity resulting from the foreclosure crisis, estimated at $7 trillion, and also does not take into account the equity lost by families who are actually foreclosed on.