Category

Marin Real Estate News

Just Listed! 490 Ridge Road, Novato $788,000

By | Marin Real Estate News, Novato Real Estate

 

 

Down a quiet country lane, you will be a world away! Situated in a sunny spot in the flats of the Eastern edge of Indian Valley, this 3 bedroom/2 bathroom property shows tremendous pride of ownership and many tasteful updates. The premium oversized 0.43+/- acre lot offers southwestern exposure, privacy and a huge flat backyard for indoor/outdoor living, entertaining, playing. Kitchen and baths have been updated and are move-in ready. Oversized terraced backyard offers lots of space for gardening, vegis, even a bocce ball court. Big 2-car garage and lots of additional off-street parking. All of this, and only minutes to town and 101. The perfect home base for your active Marin lifestyle!

Click here for more information on 490 Ridge Road in Novato.

Just Listed! 60 Propsect, San Rafael, $799,000

By | Marin Real Estate News, San Rafael Real Estate News

60 Prospect

You’ll be a world away and still close to everything at this charming mini compound!  The 2BR/2BA vintage cottage shows exceptional pride of ownership with many period details.  Outbuildings include a studio, workshop, potting shed and detached garage.  You will enjoy exceptional privacy and casual indoor/outdoor living on the oversized lot amid the lovely gardens, paths, patios.  Bamboo floors, vintage Wedgewood stove, lots of sun and terrific light.  The lower level utility room adds plenty of extra storage space.  Only blocks to vibrant downtown San Rafael, the perfect home base for your active Marin lifestyle!

View more information about 60 Prospect here.

Marin Association of Realtors – Top 5 2014 Accomplishments and Farewell

By | Marin Association of Realtors, Marin Real Estate News

Good day MAR members!

Wow, that was fun!

Happy Holidays to all of you! And a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy 4th day of Kwanzaa and Merry Festivus. Everyone got along at our house, I survived and I’m hopeful that all of you did as well. What a beautiful past week we’ve just enjoyed! For me, the happiest thing is that the days are once again getting longer. At our house in Cascade Canyon, this time of year the sun maxes out (minuses out?) at going down around 3:00 behind the ridge. That was a little over a week ago, and we’ve already got about 10 minutes more afternoon sun due to sun angles, slope angles, and other physics phenomena that I don’t totally understand.

As you may have gathered these past 12 months, sun indeed makes me happy! I even learned in college in Utah that on cold winter days you can still sit and be warm in the sun if there is no wind. It’s not particularly productive to try to race home by 2:00 so you can have an hour in the sun, but whatever it takes, right?

And it’s my last Monday memo of the year, and a bit of reflection is in order. Thank you in advance for your indulgence.

My little MAR odyssey started in 2010 when Dick D’Augustino, a Frank Howard Allen colleague, called me to tell me he was retiring and sought me out to replace him on the MAR Local Candidate Recommendation Committee. After thinking about it for a moment or two, I enthusiastically agreed and so it began.

In the summer of 2011, Dave Smadbeck called me and suggested that I consider being on the MAR Board of Directors. After initially opting to pass on the opportunity, I decided it would be an honor to serve.

In the spring of 2013, David saw me at an open house and invited me to attend CAR Legislative Day in Sacramento to witness the work of our statewide association first-hand. I really loved that perspective, and I had the opportunity to get to know some of our other CAR leaders in Kay Moore, Kathy Schlegel and Katie Beacock.

Later in the summer of 2012, Dave again called me, and asked me to consider becoming the President-elect in 2013, which would lead to the Presidency in 2014. That was nearly 2 1/2 years ago, and it’s been a marathon ever since. After wavering initially, I ultimately decided that the extra work would pay off for my career in the long run.

What a run it’s been!

Now it’s my turn to hand the gavel over to MAR’s 2015 President Matt Hughes. Matt and I joined the board at the same time in 2012. Matt is incredibly dedicated, and I know he’s going to have a terrific year as President. Congratulations Matt Hughes!

As the clock has wound down on 2014, reflecting on my year as President has occupied my thoughts through this holiday season.

MAR 2014 TOP 5 LIST

So what did we get done? Well, lots of items were on our radar, but I’ll net it out with the following list:

1. Hiring Andy Fegley as CEO of MAR. We started this process in September of 2013, when our previous CEO Edward Segal moved to Los Angeles to take over the much-larger Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of REALTORS®. After a long process, we met Andy and offered him the job in late January of this year. His first day at MAR was March 1. Andy has upended the operations of MAR, in a very good way, and his impact on the organization is still unfolding. All processes have been streamlined, and as a result we passed a budget last month that reflects a 6% reduction in operating costs while at the same time having more money allocated to member services next year. We also reformed MAR’s health care benefit plan, with substantial savings. In recognition of the MAR staff’s impact on the organization, Andy and his team were awarded with the MAR Making a Difference award earlier this month. MAR is being run as a business that takes itself seriously.

2. MAR focused on support of local control with planning decisions. This has been the dominant story in the county the last two years, and I saw the light early in 2013 during the Plan Bay Area wars. Before the IJ came out against it, and really before it became fashionable, I introduced a motion early in the summer of 2013 that MAR be opposed to Plan Bay Area because it circumvents local control over planning decisions. The MAR Board of Directors agreed, and it passed unanimously. Thus we began MAR’s policy leadership on this subject, going to numerous community meetings and ultimately testifying before multiple California Assembly and Senate committees in MAR’s successful support of Assemblyman Marc Levine’s AB1537, which passed this summer and lowered the minimum density in Marin from 30 units per acre to 20 units per acre for affordable housing projects. MAR also authored a housing policy for the association in 2014.

3. MAR successfully worked with the City of San Rafael to reform its Residential Resale Inspection process. This problem was at a fevered pitch during the first third of this year. Personnel changes in the San Rafael building department resulted in an organization that was completely out of synch with what was reasonable and what they were chartered to do. Again, I give Andy a lot of credit here, as his behind-the-scenes lobbying of the senior officials at San Rafael opened a new way of doing business at MAR. After lots of meetings, and much collective heartache for our entire membership, San Rafael passed a new policy this past summer which has improved the process substantially. I was getting 5+ calls a week on San Rafael in the spring last year, and I’ve not had 5 calls in the last quarter. I’ll call that progress.

4. Re-engaged a dialogue between MAR and BAREIS. No, we’re not holding hands and singing holiday songs together, but it’s difficult to describe or overstate the change in the tone of the conversation between these two organizations. To put it mildly, last year at this time, the organizations were barely speaking. Our prior CEO had been “dis-invited” from attending BAREIS board meetings. MAR’s members’ feedback and occasional cries for help were met with little reciprocation. We started 2014 with our third BAREIS Class B Director in three years, with great concern from previous Directors that our feedback went nowhere.

At the beginning of 2014, I was getting about 5-10 calls a week with feedback on our MLS partner. And none of the feedback was to tell me how great they were doing. Much has changed this year. MAR CEO Andy Fegley has met with and created a two-way dialogue with his staff counterparts at BAREIS. Andy and I attended the BAREIS Strategic Planning session last spring, and we shared a lot of frank feedback with BAREIS. Dave Egan has done a great job as MAR’s new Class B Director on the BAREIS Board, and much of BAREIS’ fine structure has been revamped in our members’ favor. It’s not perfect, as members are still frustrated about getting credit for off-market sales and the ongoing issues regarding the BAREIS exclusion form. But it’s a new era, and the dialogue is much more bi-lateral. My phone has quieted down considerably on MLS matters.

MAR has no direct authority over BAREIS, but I’ve worked to raise the profile of the importance of the upcoming BAREIS Class A Director election. For the first time in a while, we have a contested Marin election, with incumbents Frank Soda and John Hassler up for re-election for their two seats against candidates and MAR Members Brent Thompson and Larry Paul. Ballots for this election will be mailed out early next month, and I strongly encourage MAR Members to pay attention and vote for the two best candidates.

With MAR’s successful effort to get the Palsson injunction repealed last year, for the first time in a generation, Marin brokers control their own destiny as it relates their MLS partnership. This control is slowing reaping improved relations with BAREIS. There is lots of work still to be done, but open and partially responsive communications is a big start.

5. Member communications. We can always do better, but both I and MAR staff have worked hard to keep the membership informed of what we’re working on and what to be thinking about. I’ve tried to respond to every email and phone call…sorry if any fell through the cracks!

2015 AND BEYOND

I’ll let 2015 MAR President Matt Hughes set his agenda and priorities for next year. I’ll still be on the board for one more year, but Matt is your top MAR Warrior starting on Thursday. There is still much work to be done on the various sewer lateral ordinances. Matt is very focused on Member Services, and you’ll see the first fruit of that focus in the soon-to-be launched new MAR website. Matt’s fingerprints are all over that initiative, and many others. You’re in good hands.

So I’ll leave it at that.

It’s been a huge, gigantic, monumental, thrilling honor to serve as your President of MAR this year. I’d like to thank Matt and the rest of the 2014 Executive Committee, Treasurer Arun Burrell, Secretary Yoko Kasai, and Past President Jack Wilkinson (a true MAR warrior, someone who has given so much to the organization for much of the last 30 years). And to the rest of the 2014 MAR Board of Directors, thank you, thank you for your support through this rewarding year.

To the MAR Membership, thank you for giving me this opportunity, and thank you for staying in touch. Your feedback has changed my perspective on various issues, and that feedback is so very important. When something was up, I generally got a finger on the pulse of the Association’s collective thinking very quickly. The membership was curiously consistent in its feedback, whether in support or concern for a subject.

Keep those cards and letters coming to Matt Hughes in 2015. Matt is going to do a great job, and I leave you with a very competent successor. As for me…woo hoo…back to civilian status!!

I wish you a safe and prosperous week, and a super-successful 2015!

Blaine
Blaine Morris
2015 President

Marin Association of Realtors – Top 5 2014 Accomplishments and Farewell

By | Marin Association of Realtors, Marin Real Estate News

Good day MAR members!

Wow, that was fun!

Happy Holidays to all of you! And a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy 4th day of Kwanzaa and Merry Festivus. Everyone got along at our house, I survived and I’m hopeful that all of you did as well. What a beautiful past week we’ve just enjoyed! For me, the happiest thing is that the days are once again getting longer. At our house in Cascade Canyon, this time of year the sun maxes out (minuses out?) at going down around 3:00 behind the ridge. That was a little over a week ago, and we’ve already got about 10 minutes more afternoon sun due to sun angles, slope angles, and other physics phenomena that I don’t totally understand.

As you may have gathered these past 12 months, sun indeed makes me happy! I even learned in college in Utah that on cold winter days you can still sit and be warm in the sun if there is no wind. It’s not particularly productive to try to race home by 2:00 so you can have an hour in the sun, but whatever it takes, right?

And it’s my last Monday memo of the year, and a bit of reflection is in order. Thank you in advance for your indulgence.

My little MAR odyssey started in 2010 when Dick D’Augustino, a Frank Howard Allen colleague, called me to tell me he was retiring and sought me out to replace him on the MAR Local Candidate Recommendation Committee. After thinking about it for a moment or two, I enthusiastically agreed and so it began.

In the summer of 2011, Dave Smadbeck called me and suggested that I consider being on the MAR Board of Directors. After initially opting to pass on the opportunity, I decided it would be an honor to serve.

In the spring of 2013, David saw me at an open house and invited me to attend CAR Legislative Day in Sacramento to witness the work of our statewide association first-hand. I really loved that perspective, and I had the opportunity to get to know some of our other CAR leaders in Kay Moore, Kathy Schlegel and Katie Beacock.

Later in the summer of 2012, Dave again called me, and asked me to consider becoming the President-elect in 2013, which would lead to the Presidency in 2014. That was nearly 2 1/2 years ago, and it’s been a marathon ever since. After wavering initially, I ultimately decided that the extra work would pay off for my career in the long run.

What a run it’s been!

Now it’s my turn to hand the gavel over to MAR’s 2015 President Matt Hughes. Matt and I joined the board at the same time in 2012. Matt is incredibly dedicated, and I know he’s going to have a terrific year as President. Congratulations Matt Hughes!

As the clock has wound down on 2014, reflecting on my year as President has occupied my thoughts through this holiday season.

MAR 2014 TOP 5 LIST

So what did we get done? Well, lots of items were on our radar, but I’ll net it out with the following list:

1. Hiring Andy Fegley as CEO of MAR. We started this process in September of 2013, when our previous CEO Edward Segal moved to Los Angeles to take over the much-larger Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of REALTORS®. After a long process, we met Andy and offered him the job in late January of this year. His first day at MAR was March 1. Andy has upended the operations of MAR, in a very good way, and his impact on the organization is still unfolding. All processes have been streamlined, and as a result we passed a budget last month that reflects a 6% reduction in operating costs while at the same time having more money allocated to member services next year. We also reformed MAR’s health care benefit plan, with substantial savings. In recognition of the MAR staff’s impact on the organization, Andy and his team were awarded with the MAR Making a Difference award earlier this month. MAR is being run as a business that takes itself seriously.

2. MAR focused on support of local control with planning decisions. This has been the dominant story in the county the last two years, and I saw the light early in 2013 during the Plan Bay Area wars. Before the IJ came out against it, and really before it became fashionable, I introduced a motion early in the summer of 2013 that MAR be opposed to Plan Bay Area because it circumvents local control over planning decisions. The MAR Board of Directors agreed, and it passed unanimously. Thus we began MAR’s policy leadership on this subject, going to numerous community meetings and ultimately testifying before multiple California Assembly and Senate committees in MAR’s successful support of Assemblyman Marc Levine’s AB1537, which passed this summer and lowered the minimum density in Marin from 30 units per acre to 20 units per acre for affordable housing projects. MAR also authored a housing policy for the association in 2014.

3. MAR successfully worked with the City of San Rafael to reform its Residential Resale Inspection process. This problem was at a fevered pitch during the first third of this year. Personnel changes in the San Rafael building department resulted in an organization that was completely out of synch with what was reasonable and what they were chartered to do. Again, I give Andy a lot of credit here, as his behind-the-scenes lobbying of the senior officials at San Rafael opened a new way of doing business at MAR. After lots of meetings, and much collective heartache for our entire membership, San Rafael passed a new policy this past summer which has improved the process substantially. I was getting 5+ calls a week on San Rafael in the spring last year, and I’ve not had 5 calls in the last quarter. I’ll call that progress.

4. Re-engaged a dialogue between MAR and BAREIS. No, we’re not holding hands and singing holiday songs together, but it’s difficult to describe or overstate the change in the tone of the conversation between these two organizations. To put it mildly, last year at this time, the organizations were barely speaking. Our prior CEO had been “dis-invited” from attending BAREIS board meetings. MAR’s members’ feedback and occasional cries for help were met with little reciprocation. We started 2014 with our third BAREIS Class B Director in three years, with great concern from previous Directors that our feedback went nowhere.

At the beginning of 2014, I was getting about 5-10 calls a week with feedback on our MLS partner. And none of the feedback was to tell me how great they were doing. Much has changed this year. MAR CEO Andy Fegley has met with and created a two-way dialogue with his staff counterparts at BAREIS. Andy and I attended the BAREIS Strategic Planning session last spring, and we shared a lot of frank feedback with BAREIS. Dave Egan has done a great job as MAR’s new Class B Director on the BAREIS Board, and much of BAREIS’ fine structure has been revamped in our members’ favor. It’s not perfect, as members are still frustrated about getting credit for off-market sales and the ongoing issues regarding the BAREIS exclusion form. But it’s a new era, and the dialogue is much more bi-lateral. My phone has quieted down considerably on MLS matters.

MAR has no direct authority over BAREIS, but I’ve worked to raise the profile of the importance of the upcoming BAREIS Class A Director election. For the first time in a while, we have a contested Marin election, with incumbents Frank Soda and John Hassler up for re-election for their two seats against candidates and MAR Members Brent Thompson and Larry Paul. Ballots for this election will be mailed out early next month, and I strongly encourage MAR Members to pay attention and vote for the two best candidates.

With MAR’s successful effort to get the Palsson injunction repealed last year, for the first time in a generation, Marin brokers control their own destiny as it relates their MLS partnership. This control is slowing reaping improved relations with BAREIS. There is lots of work still to be done, but open and partially responsive communications is a big start.

5. Member communications. We can always do better, but both I and MAR staff have worked hard to keep the membership informed of what we’re working on and what to be thinking about. I’ve tried to respond to every email and phone call…sorry if any fell through the cracks!

2015 AND BEYOND

I’ll let 2015 MAR President Matt Hughes set his agenda and priorities for next year. I’ll still be on the board for one more year, but Matt is your top MAR Warrior starting on Thursday. There is still much work to be done on the various sewer lateral ordinances. Matt is very focused on Member Services, and you’ll see the first fruit of that focus in the soon-to-be launched new MAR website. Matt’s fingerprints are all over that initiative, and many others. You’re in good hands.

So I’ll leave it at that.

It’s been a huge, gigantic, monumental, thrilling honor to serve as your President of MAR this year. I’d like to thank Matt and the rest of the 2014 Executive Committee, Treasurer Arun Burrell, Secretary Yoko Kasai, and Past President Jack Wilkinson (a true MAR warrior, someone who has given so much to the organization for much of the last 30 years). And to the rest of the 2014 MAR Board of Directors, thank you, thank you for your support through this rewarding year.

To the MAR Membership, thank you for giving me this opportunity, and thank you for staying in touch. Your feedback has changed my perspective on various issues, and that feedback is so very important. When something was up, I generally got a finger on the pulse of the Association’s collective thinking very quickly. The membership was curiously consistent in its feedback, whether in support or concern for a subject.

Keep those cards and letters coming to Matt Hughes in 2015. Matt is going to do a great job, and I leave you with a very competent successor. As for me…woo hoo…back to civilian status!!

I wish you a safe and prosperous week, and a super-successful 2015!

Blaine
Blaine Morris
2015 President

Housing Element Update, Broker’s Open House Times & MAR Installation Luncheon

By | Marin Association of Realtors, Marin Community News, Marin Real Estate News

Good day MAR Members!

Rain, Rain, go away…

No, dear rain, it’s actually ok to stay for a while.

Personally, I like the rain. But in general, I tend to like the sun a little better. We’re climbing back towards the black on year-to-date rain totals. This morning at the rain gauge for MMWD, which is at Lake Lagunitas, as of today we’re at 6.01″ against a ‘normal’ amount of 8.02″. That’s about 75% of normal. Last year we were at 2.62″ at this point, 32% of normal, and it took us until early February to where we are right now. It sounds like clear sunny sailing through the Thanksgiving holiday, and then more rain on tap for next weekend.

Perhaps by the time I write again we will be near a ‘normal’ level for the year-to-date, which MMWD starts counting on July 1. The only time we’ve been anywhere near ‘normal’ over the past three years or so has been the first days of the year when the normal is ‘zero’. Zero was pretty normal.

It is nice to see the hills turning green right in time for Thanksgiving. Another ‘normal’ event that has been absent the past few years. There are even some creeks starting to flow. But while it rained over an inch at Lake Lagunitas on Friday night and Saturday morning, the ground barely even got wet up in Calistoga where we spent part of the weekend. They’re only at 42% of normal in Santa Rosa, which is another good example of the extraordinary water source that Mt. Tam provides. But Mt. Tam water only goes so far and we get much of our water from the Russian River in Sonoma. So until we get the green light, let’s keep conserving our water MAR Members, and encourage our friends, family and clients to do the same.

MMWD ROSS VALLEY ELECTION RESULTS

Speaking of our water supply, the ballot counting appears to have drawn to a close from the election earlier this month. One of the more interesting races in Marin was between MMWD appointed incumbent Lisa Crosse and Fairfax Vice Mayor Larry Bragman for the Ross Valley seat on the Marin Water Board. With virtually all the votes counted, Bragman extended his lead and appears to have won with 51.6% of the votes.

Part of the election hinged on the question of using herbicides on the Mt. Tam watershed to control invasive and hard-to-control weeds like Scotch broom. While Crosse was open to continuing to explore the notion of using herbicides, Bragman’s position was ‘never’.

The other issue in the water board race related to our local water supply. Crosse was open to exploring a pipeline across the Richmond Bridge to tap state water supplies. Bragman was against this as well, contending (1) that we need to live within our water means here in Marin, and (2) that in dry years the flow of water could quite possibly flow the other way…from Marin to the East Bay. Remember, in spite of our local drought, Marin is doing far better than most of the state, and pipelines flow both ways.

MARIN COUNTY HOUSING ELEMENT, LATE 2014 UPDATE

In the weeks leading up to the election, one of our prominent local newspaper columnists privately predicted Bragman’s victory over Crosse, noting that it might be partly affected by the housing debate at the Marin Board of Supervisors, for whom Ms. Crosse works as an aide to one of the Supervisors. I don’t know about that, but I sure did see a lot of Bragman signs when I was in Kent Woodlands showing property before the election. You don’t usually see signs for Fairfax council members in Kent Woodlands…

As the days to the election were winding down, the Marin County Planning Commission was putting the finishing touches on the newest version of its housing element. Last Monday, the Planning Commission voted to approve a housing element with up to 419 dwellings. That’s down from the original number of 502, but still well above the minimum of 185 units mandated by California state regulations.

The process has been largely transparent, with regular items in the local papers. I’ve heard about it from MAR members and members of the public, but the outcry has been much quieter than the Plan Bay Area wars of the summer of 2013.

The housing element now goes before the Board of Supervisors, who coincidentally will be hearing a report tomorrow (Tuesday) from local economist Robert Eyler of the Marin Economic Forum about the economic impact of the Marinwood Plaza project. That project, along with the WinCup development in Corte Madera, has been ground zero on the housing element debate. As has been the case throughout this debate, my understanding is that Eyler’s report will identify plusses and minuses of the project. Incoming Supervisor Damon Connolly has said that “the best answers to guide this development come from the community.”

Strike one more for Marin advocating for local control. This will continue to be interesting as it unfolds.

BROKER’S OPEN HOUSE TIMES

Earlier this year, I took the lead from several MAR members and reminded all of us about Wednesday and Thursday broker’s open times. There was a large and unanimous “thank you” from the members in my email inbox, and to me directly when I saw you. Several of you have asked and I think it bears mentioning again.

Years ago, there was a blue ribbon panel assembled at MAR to look at this very subject: conforming broker’s open times to increase the productivity of everyone. Many members of that task force thanked me for bringing up the subject again.

To summarize, what the panel came up with is as follows:

Novato: Wednesday morning, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM.

Southern Marin: Wednesday 10:30 AM-2:00 PM

Central Marin: Thursday 10:30 AM-2:00 PM

This arrangement seems to have largely worked for many years. Having said that, I continue to see the abbreviated broker tour. The most common deviation from the schedule above seems to be quitting at 1:00. The 11-1 broker’s open is a very popular option.

To which I say: it’s not all about you, Mr./Ms. Broker’s Open host.   Broker’s open attendees have schedules and lives too. Sometimes there are inspections and they can’t get out until noon…or whatever.

Members often have to make hard decisions at 12:30 about which open house to cross off the list to make it to the important one that ends at 1:00. Or having to drive across the county to make one before it closes. It’s not as tough now that we’re in the quiet season of the Holidays, but I assure you that once the Super Bowl is over and we’re heading into the busy season it will become troublesome again.

So, please, try to stay open until 2:00 the first week. And a special thank you to those of you who have been staying open until 2:30 for your outlying and hilltop broker’s open houses.

As we gather with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s remember how blessed we are here living and working in beautiful Marin. If you’re traveling, be safe! And thank you MAR, for the opportunity to serve as your President this year.

MAR INSTALLATION LUNCHEON

Another reminder before we enter the busy Holiday Season about MAR’s annual Installation Luncheon onTuesday, December 9th. We will be installing Matt Hughes as our 2015 MAR President, along with the rest of his leadership team. CAR rising star Imran Polodi will be officiating the installation, and he is always a super interesting speaker as the Chairman of CAR’s Young Professionals Network forum. Plus we will have MAR Member Kevin Patsel as the Master of Ceremonies. Marin’s Women’s Council of Realtors will also be joining with us and installing MAR Member John Zeiter as its 2015 Marin WCR President.

Click HERE to register, and please help us spread the word about this terrific event.

Sign up HERE for December 9th Holiday Party.

 

That’s it for now!  Happy Turkey Day.  Gobble Gobble!

I wish you a safe and prosperous week.

Blaine

Blaine Morris

2014 President

Housing Element Update, Broker’s Open House Times & MAR Installation Luncheon

By | Marin Association of Realtors, Marin Community News, Marin Real Estate News

Good day MAR Members!

Rain, Rain, go away…

No, dear rain, it’s actually ok to stay for a while.

Personally, I like the rain. But in general, I tend to like the sun a little better. We’re climbing back towards the black on year-to-date rain totals. This morning at the rain gauge for MMWD, which is at Lake Lagunitas, as of today we’re at 6.01″ against a ‘normal’ amount of 8.02″. That’s about 75% of normal. Last year we were at 2.62″ at this point, 32% of normal, and it took us until early February to where we are right now. It sounds like clear sunny sailing through the Thanksgiving holiday, and then more rain on tap for next weekend.

Perhaps by the time I write again we will be near a ‘normal’ level for the year-to-date, which MMWD starts counting on July 1. The only time we’ve been anywhere near ‘normal’ over the past three years or so has been the first days of the year when the normal is ‘zero’. Zero was pretty normal.

It is nice to see the hills turning green right in time for Thanksgiving. Another ‘normal’ event that has been absent the past few years. There are even some creeks starting to flow. But while it rained over an inch at Lake Lagunitas on Friday night and Saturday morning, the ground barely even got wet up in Calistoga where we spent part of the weekend. They’re only at 42% of normal in Santa Rosa, which is another good example of the extraordinary water source that Mt. Tam provides. But Mt. Tam water only goes so far and we get much of our water from the Russian River in Sonoma. So until we get the green light, let’s keep conserving our water MAR Members, and encourage our friends, family and clients to do the same.

MMWD ROSS VALLEY ELECTION RESULTS

Speaking of our water supply, the ballot counting appears to have drawn to a close from the election earlier this month. One of the more interesting races in Marin was between MMWD appointed incumbent Lisa Crosse and Fairfax Vice Mayor Larry Bragman for the Ross Valley seat on the Marin Water Board. With virtually all the votes counted, Bragman extended his lead and appears to have won with 51.6% of the votes.

Part of the election hinged on the question of using herbicides on the Mt. Tam watershed to control invasive and hard-to-control weeds like Scotch broom. While Crosse was open to continuing to explore the notion of using herbicides, Bragman’s position was ‘never’.

The other issue in the water board race related to our local water supply. Crosse was open to exploring a pipeline across the Richmond Bridge to tap state water supplies. Bragman was against this as well, contending (1) that we need to live within our water means here in Marin, and (2) that in dry years the flow of water could quite possibly flow the other way…from Marin to the East Bay. Remember, in spite of our local drought, Marin is doing far better than most of the state, and pipelines flow both ways.

MARIN COUNTY HOUSING ELEMENT, LATE 2014 UPDATE

In the weeks leading up to the election, one of our prominent local newspaper columnists privately predicted Bragman’s victory over Crosse, noting that it might be partly affected by the housing debate at the Marin Board of Supervisors, for whom Ms. Crosse works as an aide to one of the Supervisors. I don’t know about that, but I sure did see a lot of Bragman signs when I was in Kent Woodlands showing property before the election. You don’t usually see signs for Fairfax council members in Kent Woodlands…

As the days to the election were winding down, the Marin County Planning Commission was putting the finishing touches on the newest version of its housing element. Last Monday, the Planning Commission voted to approve a housing element with up to 419 dwellings. That’s down from the original number of 502, but still well above the minimum of 185 units mandated by California state regulations.

The process has been largely transparent, with regular items in the local papers. I’ve heard about it from MAR members and members of the public, but the outcry has been much quieter than the Plan Bay Area wars of the summer of 2013.

The housing element now goes before the Board of Supervisors, who coincidentally will be hearing a report tomorrow (Tuesday) from local economist Robert Eyler of the Marin Economic Forum about the economic impact of the Marinwood Plaza project. That project, along with the WinCup development in Corte Madera, has been ground zero on the housing element debate. As has been the case throughout this debate, my understanding is that Eyler’s report will identify plusses and minuses of the project. Incoming Supervisor Damon Connolly has said that “the best answers to guide this development come from the community.”

Strike one more for Marin advocating for local control. This will continue to be interesting as it unfolds.

BROKER’S OPEN HOUSE TIMES

Earlier this year, I took the lead from several MAR members and reminded all of us about Wednesday and Thursday broker’s open times. There was a large and unanimous “thank you” from the members in my email inbox, and to me directly when I saw you. Several of you have asked and I think it bears mentioning again.

Years ago, there was a blue ribbon panel assembled at MAR to look at this very subject: conforming broker’s open times to increase the productivity of everyone. Many members of that task force thanked me for bringing up the subject again.

To summarize, what the panel came up with is as follows:

Novato: Wednesday morning, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM.

Southern Marin: Wednesday 10:30 AM-2:00 PM

Central Marin: Thursday 10:30 AM-2:00 PM

This arrangement seems to have largely worked for many years. Having said that, I continue to see the abbreviated broker tour. The most common deviation from the schedule above seems to be quitting at 1:00. The 11-1 broker’s open is a very popular option.

To which I say: it’s not all about you, Mr./Ms. Broker’s Open host.   Broker’s open attendees have schedules and lives too. Sometimes there are inspections and they can’t get out until noon…or whatever.

Members often have to make hard decisions at 12:30 about which open house to cross off the list to make it to the important one that ends at 1:00. Or having to drive across the county to make one before it closes. It’s not as tough now that we’re in the quiet season of the Holidays, but I assure you that once the Super Bowl is over and we’re heading into the busy season it will become troublesome again.

So, please, try to stay open until 2:00 the first week. And a special thank you to those of you who have been staying open until 2:30 for your outlying and hilltop broker’s open houses.

As we gather with friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s remember how blessed we are here living and working in beautiful Marin. If you’re traveling, be safe! And thank you MAR, for the opportunity to serve as your President this year.

MAR INSTALLATION LUNCHEON

Another reminder before we enter the busy Holiday Season about MAR’s annual Installation Luncheon onTuesday, December 9th. We will be installing Matt Hughes as our 2015 MAR President, along with the rest of his leadership team. CAR rising star Imran Polodi will be officiating the installation, and he is always a super interesting speaker as the Chairman of CAR’s Young Professionals Network forum. Plus we will have MAR Member Kevin Patsel as the Master of Ceremonies. Marin’s Women’s Council of Realtors will also be joining with us and installing MAR Member John Zeiter as its 2015 Marin WCR President.

Click HERE to register, and please help us spread the word about this terrific event.

Sign up HERE for December 9th Holiday Party.

 

That’s it for now!  Happy Turkey Day.  Gobble Gobble!

I wish you a safe and prosperous week.

Blaine

Blaine Morris

2014 President

Ross Valley Sewer Lateral Update, Upcoming MAR Installation Luncheon and San Rafael Coffee and Codes Meeting

By | Marin Association of Realtors, Marin Community News, Marin Real Estate News, Regulations, Ross Valley Sanitary

Good day MAR Members!

One of my goals for this week’s memo was to not talk about the weather or what I did this weekend. Well, my bad:

What a great weekend! I can’t believe that after nearly 21 years in Marin I just discovered the Big Rock Ridge trail above Lucas Valley. It’s newer-ish, having opened in 2003 after a donation by George Lucas, and as such it was not in several trail guidebooks that I use. Reached by parking at Big Rock, it’s a gentle yet constant climb on the south-facing slope of Big Rock Ridge, and it’s open for both hikers and bikers. Unlike our bustling trails in Ross Valley and Southern Marin, this trail was nearly deserted despite a nearly 70-degree Saturday mid-day. Views to forever, and a very cool glimpse right down over Mr. Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch. Gracie and I had a great walk, before we had to leave her behind to head down to Palo Alto for the big game between Stanford and Utah. OK, it wasn’t THE Big Game, but big nonetheless for me and some friends from school. I won’t gloat, as it was a pretty snoozy game right up until the thrilling double-overtime finish…another win for UTAH.

Thank you, again, for indulging me. Now, a few housekeeping items before the latest Ross Valley Sewer Lateral update.

MAR INSTALLATION LUNCHEON

Another reminder before we enter the busy Holiday Season about MAR’s annual Installation Luncheon on Tuesday, December 9th. We will be installing Matt Hughes as our 2015 MAR President, along with the rest of his leadership team. CAR rising star Imran Polodi will be officiating the installation, and he is always a super interesting speaker as the Chairman of CAR’s Young Professionals Network forum. Plus we will have MAR Member Kevin Patsel as the Master of Ceremonies. Marin’s Women’s Council of Realtors will also be joining with us and installing MAR Member John Zeiter as its 2015 Marin WCR President. Click HERE to register, and please help us spread the word about this terrific event.

WCR ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR CELEBRATION

Speaking of Women’s Council, please join me in congratulating MAR member Katie Beacock for winning this year’s award for WCR Entrepreneur of the Year. An Evening Soiree in her honor will be held this Wednesday evening at McInnis Park from 5:30-7:30 PM. Katie is Past President of MAR, and she is 2014’s Region 4 Chairwoman for the California Association of REALTORS®. A true Marinite, she has served our community tirelessly for many years, and this award is richly deserved! Katie is also one of my go-to spiritual advisors on all things MAR and CAR-related. Her advice is always spot-on, and I encourage all of you to take advantage of her experience and leadership when trying to solve a challenge or seize an opportunity. There is still time to secure your spot by clickingHERE, and I believe walk-ups will be welcomed as well. It should be a great night!

BAREIS CLASS A DIRECTOR NOMINATIONS DUE TODAY!

One final reminder to BAREIS Class A Members that nominations for 2015 Class A Directors are due TODAY by 5:00 PM. If you’re a BAREIS Class A Member, a letter was mailed to you on October 10 outlining the nominating process. Again, neither I nor MAR have any authority at BAREIS, but the Class A Members do have the ability to participate in the nominating process for Marin’s two Class A Directors. MAR encourages you to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in the leadership nominating process at BAREIS.

ROSS VALLEY SEWER LATERAL POINT OF SALE UPDATE

Thank you again to the quarter of our membership who participated in the Call to Action to inform the Board of Directors of Ross Valley Sanitary District earlier this month. The agency has heard MAR’s message, and on Friday RVSD General Manager Greg Norby alerted MAR CEO Andy Fegley that the infamous, mandatory, expensive and frivolous pressure test requirement has been modified substantially. All of us couldn’t understand why this test…which RVSD openly expects 85-90% of the houses to fail…was being mandated by the agency before any other inspection or test was to occur.

In a modest victory for MAR, the pressure test has been moved to the end of the process instead. As I understand it, now RVSD will require a video inspection consistent with other agencies. If that inspection concludes that the lateral needs replacement, a process will be in place to oversee the replacement of that line. A pressure test will now be the LAST step. If the video inspection determines that the line looks good, a pressure test WILL be required to confirm that the line is in good shape. In addition, a pressure test will be required to confirm that work to replace any sewer lateral was correctly performed.

This all needs to be voted into policy by the RVSD board, by the way, at its December meeting.

So there still will be a pressure test requirement at the end. But for the estimated 85-90% of the lines that will fail such a test, we’ve eliminated the frivolous pressure test at the beginning of the process. Thus, we will save the homeowners of Ross Valley $500k per year in frivolous tests.

I still don’t like it, and I still expect this process to be cumbersome, expensive and time consuming. In the absence of hard data, however, MAR is going to work with RVSD to streamline the process and educate our membership on this ordinance’s implementation…however flawed it still may be.

I know many of you are seeking specifics on the choreography of this process. Specifics are still lacking, but my expectation is that in the coming weeks the specific implementation policy will be defined by RVSD. Thank you for your patience.

MAR and RVSD will be hosting a session in December to educate the membership and community on RVSD’s plan for implementation. Details and registration info will be forthcoming. Sorry in advance for the meeting over the Holidays.

CITY OF SAN RAFAEL COFFEE AND CODES MEETING IN JANUARY

Earlier this year, MAR was successful in working with the City of San Rafael on a new policy regarding its resale inspection guidelines. While this reform has been mostly successful, I’ve spoken at length with many of you who still are experiencing substantial challenges working with the City, mostly securing compliance on past unpermitted work.

To San Rafael’s credit, Paul Jensen, the Director of Community Development, has reached out to both myself and MAR CEO Fegley to see how things are going. We are planning for a follow up meeting before the Holidays, with an Association-wide meeting to be scheduled in January to put the City together with MAR’s membership to hear feedback and clarify its policy.

For those of you who have not reviewed the San Rafael Resale Inspection reform policy, you can review the document HERE.

MAR has just embarked on a similar effort with the City of Novato, and we are working to schedule our first meeting.

That’s it for now!

I wish you a safe and prosperous week.

Blaine Morris

2014 President

CAR Update: Economic Forecast and the Impact of the Millennials

By | California Association of Realtors, Marin Association of Realtors, Marin Real Estate News

Good day MAR members!

It’s great to be back in Marin after a week across the street from the Happiest Place on Earth.  We could see Disneyland from our C.A.R. hotel and the Anaheim Convention Center, but things were so busy that looking from a distance was all we could do.  Perhaps that’s not so bad, after seeing all the bleary-eyed parents looking like the walking wounded returning from the park with their kids.

And:  LET’S GO GIANTS!!  Pretty huge cheers went up whenever one of the speakers said that at the meetings…which is surprising because there are way more people in SoCal…and our SoCal friends were licking their wounds after the Dodgers and Angels were dispatched from the playoffs last week.  There sure was a lot of Angels gear for sale in the gift shop of our hotel, but after observing for five days I didn’t see a single item leave the store.

SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY

By now, many of you probably saw the “Alert – Marin Agent Safety” we sent out last Saturday.  If you didn’t see it, you can check it out HERE.  The net is that there is allegedly a person posing as a REALTOR® going around to open houses looking for prescription drugs.  Police have advised members that unless he is actually caught stealing something there is nothing they can do.

One thing you can do is get a “Pill Pod” from the MAR store.  The Pill Pod is essentially a $20 plastic “safe” to store medication.  It’s not an indestructible device, but it is big enough that medication can’t be put in a pocket and walked out with.  It’s an inexpensive, effective deterrent.  For more info, you can just drop by the MAR store and check it out.

In the wake of the Beverly Carter murder in Arkansas, we need to keep a very watchful eye out for “copycat” assaults on agents.  This past Saturday, a 55-year-old female agent in Orange County was punched in the face at one of her listings: ARTICLE

This Wednesday morning at the Novato Tour Meeting, Officers Conrad and Doyle from the Novato Police Department will be attending to discuss agent safety and how the police can be of help.  They would also like feedback from the agent community.  The safety meeting starts at 9:00 and is held at the Novato Youth Center at 680 Wilson in Novato.

Be careful out there!

CAR FALL BUSINESS MEETINGS

As I mentioned, MAR’s CAR Director delegation spent last week in Anaheim at the Expo and Fall Business Meetings.  I’ll do my best to distill the most important info out of my 23 pages of notes I took…it will likely take me a couple of weeks to get through all of it.

Let me first get to the two numbers you need to know for your clients and prospects:  at the 2015 Economic Forecast by CAR Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young, she reported that CAR expects that California unit sales will go up by 5.8% in 2015, and that the median price will increase by 5.2%.  Keep those two numbers in mind, and you will be armed with the freshest data next time someone asks you about the market outlook.

Ahhh, but digging into those numbers is what will make you sound even smarter.  The most startling overall sentiment in Anaheim is how there is a perception of a market slowdown throughout California.  CAR was way off on its 2014 market projections.  Earlier this year, I reported that CAR was expecting total unit sales to INCREASE by 6%.  CAR now expects unit sales to DECREASE by 8.2% in 2014.  That’s quite a miss.  Also, they expected the median price to also go up by 6%, and they now expect that number to increase by 11.8%.

What’s also startling about this is that the 2014 unit and price projections were calculated with an expectation that interest rates would have materially risen with the end of QE, and they expected the rates to be well over 5% by now.  As we know the interest rates have been pretty flat for most of the year.

THE MILLENNIALS, OUR SLOWLY-EMERGING FIRST-TIME-BUYER GENERATION

This disconnect came up at a number of meetings I attended.  The finger kept getting pointed to our new first-time-buyers…the “Millennials”…or “Generation Y”.  More commonly known as “your kids”, and also identified as the largest generation in American history.  With the oldest of them in their early 30s, they’re not buying houses as quickly as previous generations.

Over the past year, starting at last October’s CAR meetings in Long Beach, much of the collective efforts  of CAR can be described as a psychology and sociology study of this generation.  Here are some interesting tidbits, in no particular order.

-Millennials are delaying getting married.  Marriage rates are plummeting.  Less marriages = less homes purchased.

-They’re still living at home.  And I kept hearing that they like their parents much more than we did.  That’s slowing these young adults from “growing up”.  I kept hearing that “90% of Gen Ys have a good relationship with their parents.”  And sit down for this one:  2/3 of adult children living with their parents are “satisfied with the arrangement.”  And you thought it was just you…  They didn’t share whether the parents felt the same way about this arrangement.

-People are simply moving less.  Why?  Kids like their parents better.

-Regarding the plummeting marriage rate, one interesting anecdote was shared by Richard Thornberg, one of CAR’s top economists:  In previous generations, more men went to college, and more men had degrees than women.  Today it’s just the opposite:  More women are going to college than men, and more women have degrees than men.  So what?  Mr. Thornberg offered the following demographic comment:  Better educated men are ok being in a relationship with less educated women, but better educated women are NOT ok being in a relationship with less educated men.  This is a demographic conundrum that won’t go away soon.

-Or, more simply put, Mr. Thornburg asked for the single women in the audience to raise their hands if they’re ok going on a date with an adult man living with his parents.  Not many hands went up.

-Our population in California is becoming more Latino and more Asian.  Latinos and Asians historically live with their parents longer.

-Given our recent housing debate in Marin, how about this:  78% of Millennials would prefer to not own a car and rather would like to walk to everything.

-Millennials want walkability.  Millennials actually ARE buying in downtown LA and downtown Oakland.  Walkability, nightlife and activity in general were cited as the reasons for this.  They don’t care about quality of schools, because none of them are having kids yet.

-As for the decrease in units, investors are not in the market as heavily, and “investors need to be replaced by first-time-buyers” and it’s not happening.

THE PUBLIC POLICY DEBATE ON HOUSING

On several occasions, CAR CEO Joel Singer described housing as “the Achilles Heel of California.”  We’re just not building enough new housing, as he said.  California has 13% of the population in the US, and only generates 8% of the building permits.  The population is still growing, but nothing is being built for them.  The need for reform of CEQA came up over and over again.  CEQA is the California Environment Quality Act, and it makes building difficult.

Plus, it seems that everywhere other than Marin, density is preferred and increasing.  That’s where the Millennials want to live.  So Sacramento is focusing on affordable rentals, not affordable housing for purchase.  Joel Singer said that in a recent conversation with the Speaker of the California Assembly Toni Atkins (who hails from Coastal San Diego County), when asked about housing affordability, she started talking about rental affordability.  She told Joel, “just wait until we’re a 50% renter society.”

So that’s where the public policy debate in Sacramento is focused:  rental affordability.

As for the affordability of housing for purchase, it’s become increasingly unaffordable in California.  At the height of the recession, Joel Singer described it as a “once in a generation buying opportunity”.  Those days are long gone.  The ability to purchase a median-priced home in California has fallen to 36% this year, compared to 60% for the US.  Joel called this “self-inflicted pain” because we’re not building.

I’ll leave it there for now.  There is so much more to report, I’ll pick it up next week.

I wish you a safe and prosperous week.

Blaine Morris

2014 MAR President

Realtor Safety and Housing Density AB-1537 Signed Into Law

By | Legislation, Marin Association of Realtors, Marin Real Estate News

Good morning MAR members!

Now that’s more like it! I’ve got to say, I love the heat. But I don’t love the humidity. This has been a voodoo freaky summer here in Marin…sticky, sweaty, muggy. Finally, we’ve had some of that beautiful, humidity-free fall weather. In years past, I might be taking it for granted, but not this year. I’ve been enjoying every toasty moment. Keep it coming!

And let me get this out of the way right out front: LET’S GO GIANTS!! What a sports weekend, Giants, 49ers. Big win for Cal, sad loss for Stanford. Oh, and let’s not forget Utah’s stirring win over #8 UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. Sorry Kate Hamilton and all the rest of you Bruin fans (my sister included…).

REALTOR® SAFETY

With those light-hearted thoughts out of the way, time to get serious. We just finished up NAR’s REALTOR® Safety Month. So much has been said about the tragic death of REALTOR® colleague Beverly Carter. Horrible, horrible, horrible. This could have been any of us.

The news has hit all of us like a ton of bricks. Last week, it was the talk of our industry. Out on tour, in office meetings, in conversations with loved ones, friends and clients.

On Wednesday, I was previewing a listing of MAR member Beth Brody’s in Mill Valley. She was telling a story from years ago of an incident in Muir Beach where something just didn’t seem right with a supposed buyer. She reported the incident to the police, and a week later got a call from the FBI about REALTOR® murder in Sacramento with a description matching the guy she had reported. We think we’re all very safe here in beautiful Marin, but it happens here too.

As our sales meeting last week, the topic was REALTOR® safety. I reminded everyone that we have a local Marin emergency number that is quicker and better than 911…it’s 415-472-0911. You should definitely put that in your cell phone.

And as an industry, we need to SLOW THINGS DOWN sometimes. Showing homes to people we’ve not met, at empty houses, is simply a bad business practice. There is a tremendous amount of pressure being created by the so-called “on demand” society. At the Inman conference in SF earlier this summer, the founder of a large internet-based broker (one with a color in its name) was smugly boasting about how his business model is simply accommodating a need and expectation by the buyer community for “on demand” showing of real estate. Telling us that if we don’t do it, someone else will. There were a number of his agents at various breakout sessions throughout the day, each telling stories of “out-on-demanding” traditional REALTORS®.

I don’t see this changing anytime soon. There is tremendous competitive pressure to convert leads, often from buyers who want to look at a house right now/in an hour/sometime this morning. Particularly if you’re a new agent or an experienced agent trying to jumpstart your business…the expectation has been created, and if you don’t do it someone else will.

My advice: meet them at your office. These stories of incidents involving REALTORS® are not new, this one with Ms. Carter simply turned around so quickly and tragically it’s got all of our attention. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste…make a commitment to be careful! Here is the link to NAR’s REALTOR® Safety page HERE. Let’s take the attention of this tragedy with a new commitment to being safe.

REALTOR® SAFETY, PART II

Speaking of safety, MAR member Abby Tanem last week reported that she recognized a fake REALTOR® from several years ago who claims to be from Pacific Union’s Mill Valley office…but has no card. Abby remembered him, and called PU to confirm that no one by that name worked there. We all thought this guy was busted for theft a few years back, but he seems to have resurfaced. Please tell your clients to lock up valuables and medication…especially the kinds that lend themselves to abuse.

With that in mind, earlier this year I was approached by a local vendor who has a very affordable solution to medication theft…it’s something of a plastic “safe” with a combination lock. The safe isn’t really bullet-proof, but the form factor…about the size of a cookie jar…simply does not lend itself to popping into a pocket and walking out of the house like a small bottle of medication can. We’ve ordered a case of these for the MAR store, and should be in stock soon. They’re only $20, and will result in piece of mind for us and our clients.

HOUSING DENSITY, AB 1537

Yes! Last week, Governor Brown signed AB1537 into law, providing a huge victory for common sense and Marin’s Assemblyman Marc Levine. AB1537 lowers Marin’s default density for affordable housing projects from 30 to 20 units per acre, and correctly reclassifies Marin as Suburban rather than Metropolitan.

MAR worked quite a bit in advocacy of this bill. We were among the earliest groups to endorse the measure, and both MAR CEO Andy Fegley and myself testified before Assembly and Senate committees in Sacramento in favor of the bill.

It is the right bill, for the right time in Marin’s housing future. It is effective on January 1, 2015, and will run for eight years through a full housing planning cycle.

Congratulations to Assemblyman Levine and his team, along with Supervisor Kate Sears who also worked tirelessly on this bill’s passage.

Finally, thank you to over 100 REALTORS® who attended the Flood Summit at the Marin Country Club last Tuesday. It was a big hit, and lots of very detailed info was shared. The info didn’t really make me feel better, but it did make me feel much better informed. Thank you to sponsors Steve Strickland of JCP-LGS Disclosures, and Kristy Militello of First American Home Warranty, and also thank you to MAR Education Chair Mary Kay Yamamoto for their collective work on this useful event.

That’s it for now, I’m off to the fall CAR Business Meetings and EXPO in Orange County in the morning on a 6:30 AM flight. I and the MAR CAR Director team return on Saturday and we will likely have a couple of week’s worth of reports for you.

I wish you a safe and prosperous week. Be careful out there.

Blaine Morris
2014 MAR President

Flood Summit, SRES Certification and BAREIS SEL Form Update/Correction

By | Marin Association of Realtors, Marin Real Estate News

Good day MAR members!

Tough weekend for Marin sports fans…Giants getting swept, 49ers and Raiders losing, Cal losing on a last second Hail Mary. At least the A’s took two out of three from the Phillies. It wasn’t a total loss for me, however, since my University of Utah Utes went into the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan and came away with a nice win to go to 3-0. But I won’t dwell on that, since no one cares about Utah football other than MAR CEO Andy Fegley, Cyd Gardner and myself.

Busy, busy, busy. Slowly but surely, they seem to be finishing all the road projects out there. The West End of San Rafael has been a bit of a war zone lately, with the main gas line replacement across Second and Third streets wreaking havoc, along with H Street on the edge of Forbes and Sun Valley. What a mess, detour central, and extra time needed for all. Though I don’t relish the arrival of the rainy season, at least the pending arrival of rain should cause all these streets to get closed up. Let’s hope so, anyway!

FLOOD SUMMIT AND SRES CERTIFICATION TRAINING

It’s close to last call for these events, folks. The Flood Summit, with FEMA and others coming to give us an update on the flood zone and flood insurance world, is scheduled for next Tuesday at the Marin Country Club. There are still some seats left for this great event. The cost is $15, and will include a continental breakfast. You can click here to register. Many thanks to Steven Strickland of JCP-LGS Disclosures and Kristy Militello of First American Home Protection for sponsoring, and also to MAR Education Chair Mary Kay Yamamoto for their efforts to put this together.

Also, there are still some seats left for next months’ Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) certification training. All of us should have this certification, since such a large portion of our clients are facing aging-related housing decisions. I got the certification nearly three years ago, and the two days of the course were extremely productive in raising my awareness of these important issues, and also were helpful in making me more well-versed on the conversation itself. The certification training will be held at the MAR offices on October 6th and 7th, and registration closes this Thursday. The cost for the training and certification is $245, and you can click here to register.

BAREIS SEL FORM UPDATE/CORRECTION

As excited as I was earlier this month when informing you about BAREIS’ recent changes to the SEL form policy, I must admit that I passed along some incomplete information about the revised process. Over a period of several months and several reports to the MAR Board of Directors, BAREIS Class B Director and MAR Member Dave Egan had been sharing with us that a “streamlining” of the process was in the works.

It culminated at the MAR Board meeting last month, when the message that I heard…and reported to you in the “Tuesday Memo” after Labor Day…was that BAREIS had made a major and welcome revision to the process. It was my understanding that the much-loved SEL “exclusion” form still needed to be completed, but that your broker was responsible for ensuring compliance, along with all the other legal and procedural items your broker is responsible for. Dave shared that “hundreds” of SEL form compliance emails and phone calls will be “eliminated” or a “thing of the past” or something like that.

That was incorrect. Or at least I reported it incorrectly.

In BAREIS’ announcement of the change in SEL exclusion form policy sent to all of us via email on 8/28, the new process is defined. Yes, you do have to still get the form. Yes, you STILL need to send the form to BAREIS within three business days of taking the listing. You can avoid this step, however, if you SUBMIT the listing to BAREIS on the MLS with a FUTURE “ON MARKET” DATE. Which means you’ll need to totally complete the listing on the MLS, with all fields completed, within those three days.

Yup, that’s it…the “streamlining” of the process: either do what you’ve been doing (or should have been doing, unless you don’t mind paying fines) and send the SEL form to BAREIS within three business days, OR go through the entire process of uploading your listing, and submitting it with a “future” on-market date. This is beyond “incomplete” listing…it’s the whole enchilada.

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. Once again, it’s important for me to remind the membership that neither I nor the MAR Board of Directors have any authority to effect change at BAREIS. That’s up to BAREIS’ Board and its executive leadership. We simply get feedback and share feedback through our Class B Board Member.

From my perspective, this so-called “revision” is just that…a revision, not an improvement nor a streamliningof the process. It’s certainly easier to go fax in the form, just like we always have, than it is to spend 45-60 minutes inputting the whole listing and submitting it as “complete”. Within three days.

I received a few calls this week from agents who misunderstood the “improved” process, and were enlightened by BAREIS. I’ll share this feedback with BAREIS Director Egan tomorrow, who I continue to believe does an outstanding job representing Marin at BAREIS. In the meantime, you can share your feedback yourself with BAREIS by clicking here.

That’s it for now, lots of new listings out there for our clients for this beautiful Indian Summer season, good selling!

I wish you a safe and prosperous week.

Blaine

Blaine Morris

2014 MAR President