How to buy a home when you have to sell a home in Marin County

I sell a lot of homes. But, my business is about you. Your dreams. Your life. Your vision. And your story. More than anything, I love what I do because every day I help create the desired narrative for my clients’ lives by helping them get what they want, where they want it and when they want it done. I always give my best to bring effulgence through service. I hope you enjoy the following story about how to buy a home when you have to sell a home in Marin County. —Kyle Frazier

Double-Z Ranch


Energetic young Pointe Marin, Novato family with 2 boys in elementary school. A family with an idea.

The Dream

A single-level home in a country setting with lots of yard space for the boys to play, camp out, and generally goof-off in a safe and wholesome environment. They also thought it would be cool to have chickens, dogs, and maybe a barn cat or two. Basically, they wanted a place to live a more grounded life by the time Summer rolled around (9-months out). And they did not want to leave Novato.

The Obstacles

The inventory of country homes with privacy and land was very low. Also, single-level homes were in high demand with extreme competition. Finally, in order to effectuate “Operation Double-Z Ranch,” they had to sell their current house.

The Path (Phase 1 — Produce a Buyer)

After exploring exactly what my clients wanted and how bad they wanted it, I laid out a 2-stage plan and explained how it would work. We would sell their current home so they would have down payment in hand when competing for the downstream home (in competitive situations, contingent offers almost never succeed). Although we initiated serious discussions in October (which is the beginning of the slow season in Marin County), we decided that we would go ahead and place the house on the market in early November.

This was a tactical decision based on the fact there was very little competition in the neighborhood (Pointe Marin) at that time of year. I knew from experience that there are ALWAYS buyers looking for exactly what we had to sell — a newer, well maintained home. Indeed, relocations occur year round and we only had to find one buyer. Simply put, I knew my Simplicated Seller Process would produce a buyer.

After extensive preparations that included removing a tree out front, updating some landscaping elements, staging consultation, accent and touch-up painting, pre-sale inspections and a few hours of handyman time, we were ready for photography. Not only did we bring out one of Marin’s best photographers, but we had him do twilight photography for added pop on the internet. It’s an added step, but it’s an essential element of my Simplicated Seller Process.

Beyond that, my team created an extraordinary stable of marketing materials, including a 3-D tour of the house so that buyers anywhere — San Diego, Saratoga, Sacramento or Santa Cruz —  could tour the home online (you may not know this, but ~95% of buyers in Marin are from California). Over the past two years, we have had several homes sell without the buyers physically viewing the home. Sound crazy? It’s not. Our 3-D tours are amazing and allow full viewing of rooms, floor plans and condition of the home.

Combined with our live action videos about Pointe Marin and Novato, buyers can get a well-rounded feel for the flavor and desirability of any community (I have videos about every town in Marin and several Novato neighborhoods). As we all know, Southern Novato has a lot to offer.

Next, I targeted a focussed buyer pool by partnering with Facebook, Google, and YouTube, in addition to my varied internet distribution techniques. And did we get it sold? Yes. We also negotiated a 60-day rent-back period to give us a chance to find a replacement home with a large down payment in hand — giving my clients a much stronger negotiating position. Thus, Phase 1 was complete.

The Country Road to Success (Phase 2 — Country Rancher)

Once the Simplicated Seller Process worked its magic, it was time to find that Country Rancher. This phase was going to be the tricky one. My clients dreams were very specific and the current MLS options were very limited. We knew there was no guarantee that the perfect home would surface during our rent back period (one of the elements in my plan included negotiating a lengthy rent back period after closing — we had essentially 90 days to find a replacement property).

Time passed and we were having a hard time finding anything on the MLS. My team had released a barrage of personal and digital smoke signals to local agents (dozens of emails, calls, and group posts) and to my insider realtor groups for off-market homes. Because about about 10-15% of homes in Marin sell off market and about 20% of my business is done off market, I knew our odds of success would improve greatly if we could identify and secure an off market property. This is simply because there are fewer buyers with access to that information. Of course, the buyers that are “in the know” tend to be very strong buyers — like my clients now that they sold their Pointe Marin home — so we knew we’d have to strike quickly and aggressively when we found “The Property.”

Being patient people dedicated to their vision, my clients decided to rent for a short while rather than compromise on their dream. “Life is an adventure, Kyle,” they explained with big smiles.

A week later I got a short email from an agent. She’d seen my posts on one of the networking group websites. I immediately called. She told about a home that might possibly work for my clients although it was not a conventional property — it had a couple small rental units on it. Intrigued, we all went out and saw it the next day.

Turns out this property not only had the acreage, but it also had two income producing dwellings in good condition with reliable tenants, a year-round creek, several majestic oak trees, a basketball hoop, a barn, a stable and storage facility, and a main home that met my clients’ needs perfectly! Even better, it was located at the end of quiet cul-de-sac within walking distance to downtown. BINGO!  

The Magical Ending

As their first year at Double Z Ranch concludes, my still-thrilled clients have taken large strides towards their dreamy menagerie of farm animals and equipment. Their adventure continues alongside the local population, which includes red tailed foxes, racoons, turkeys, river otters, deer, hawks and 21 varieties of fruit trees (yep, farm types call that an “orchard”). ALSO, as an added bonus, they are extremely pleased with the financial rewards of the rental units.

Here’s what my clients have to say:

“Kyle made the very complicated and scary process of selling and then buying simple and (actually) fun! He asked the right questions. Listened carefully. Came up with a game plan. Then made it happen. It’s kind of like he willed our perfect house into being when we needed it. We don’t really know if he has supernatural powers, but we wonder sometimes…. ;).”

-Hal & Sandy