Good morning MAR members!
Let’s go Giants!! It was great to get out to AT&T Park last week to see our San Francisco Giants back in action! 2014 is an even-numbered year, so let’s keep the tradition alive with another Championship parade down Market Street next fall!
So much to write about, so little space…another busy week at MAR.
MAR was saddened to learn last week of the passing of MAR member and Novato community icon Mike Di Giorgio. I had the pleasure of serving on MAR’s Governmental Affairs Committee the last few years with Mike, who always had the unique perspective as an elected community leader. Sometimes as the rants on a local issue would reach a fevered pitch, Mike would be there with levity reminding us that these elected leaders generally are doing the best they can to satisfy many disparate interests. Mike was at all three Government Affairs meetings this year, and none of us had any idea about the extent of his illness. A true pro, and serving to the very end, Mike was there for his community. He will be sorely missed at MAR, Novato, and all of Marin.
To that extent, MAR member Denise Athas asked me to share info about the memorial service celebrating Mike’s life. It will be held at the Novato City Hall on May 5th from 11AM-1PM. Denise has been asked to speak at the service about Mike’s business career, especially real estate. She is seeking anecdotes and personal stories that MAR members might have about Mike. For those of you who might have a good story to share, Denise has asked that you contact her via email at DAthas@aol.com.
On to the business of MAR.
First of all, I hear you. We hear you.
Several weeks ago I mentioned an unnamed municipality whose resale inspection process had seemingly run amuck. It’s our good friends and neighbors at the City of San Rafael. I hear you, MAR. Honestly, I think I’m hearing from just about everyone getting a resale inspection in San Rafael this spring. The story I hear goes something like this: the seller of a house bought the house 4/6/8 years ago, and a resale inspection was conducted, with no problems noted. Now they are selling their house, and San Rafael is coming out and finding loads of inadequately permitted work from before the seller purchased the home, and is demanding as-built permits, penalties, remediation, fines…it goes on and on. I hear you. It’s a big mess, and something has changed in the compliance requirements of San Rafael. Or at least the enforcement of those requirements.
MAR CEO Andy Fegley has met individually with both City Manager Nancy Mackel and Mayor Gary Phillips in the past couple of weeks, and has shared MAR’s frustration. Both Andy and I are meeting this week with Nancy Mackel and her team in the building department to give examples and share our members’ frustration with San Rafael.
Over the past couple of years MAR has crafted a policy called Fair Principles of Resale Inspections (you can read it here ). I encourage you to print out and read this, and also to print out a copy for your frustrated clients. It’s a number of common sense principles, and most any reasonable person will think they sound pretty reasonable. If our clients start quoting from this document as they work with San Rafael, it will lend more credence to our position. We pushed back very hard at another town last year with this Fair Principles document, and issues in that town have quieted down to almost nothing.
I will report back on this next week.
Now, the Big News of the Week.
On the Friday before last, MAR CEO Andy Fegley was summoned to meet with the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin (SASM). This is an advisory group with no direct authority but which seeks to steer the agenda of each of the smaller sewer boards in the general Mill Valley Area. SASM is considering a model ordinance that among other things will mandate point-of-sale sewer lateral inspections…just like our friends in Sausalito have.
MAR, CAR and NAR are strongly opposed to additional point-of-sale requirements. If you think the occasional water heater strapping requirement is a nuisance, imagine having to replace a sewer lateral before you can close an escrow.
Furthermore, it’s not a effective solution. Did you know that it takes 47 years to turn over the housing stock in Mill Valley? What SASM is suggesting is a 47-year-long solution to a current problem.
MAR supports coming up with a solution to this problem. Point-of-sale just isn’t the way to do it. Standard of care for our members has most of us doing sewer lateral inspections right now anyway.
To that end, MAR has provided SASM with a 10-year plan to resolve this problem. A real plan. They know where we stand. There is a SASM board meeting this Thursday night, where they were planning to vote on this model ordinance. Late last week, after learning of our strong opposition and what we plan to do to promote that opposition, MAR was told that the vote “might not come up at the next meeting.”
Stay tuned, MAR! We may need your help to get our position heard loudly and clearly. MAR has been successful in pushing back on sewer lateral point-of-sale inspections in the past, and we will do so again.
MAR’s Lunch and Learn Series
With the help of our valued affiliates, MAR is launching a lunch and learn series to aid our members with timely and useful info that you can use in your business today. First up is Peter Posert of Sun First Solar. On Monday, April 21st Peter will be presenting “Pathways to Solar Power, All You Need to Know about Solar Power for your Clients”. Click here to sign up for this event , and look for more Lunch and Learn sessions throughout the coming year.
Finally, I also want to make good on a promise I made to MAR member Andy Falk a couple of weeks ago about a cause he is passionate about. Andy has been working with the homeless and precariously housed people in San Rafael. Right now, he is working with the Downtown Streets Team whose members could really use some bikes (and locks). Mobility is a big issue for indigent people, as taking the bus can be expensive for minimum wage people. He has asked for us Realtors to be on the lookout for unwanted bikes at our listings. You can contact Andy directly at 415-250-8025 or email@example.com and he will arrange for pickup and dropoff. Every bike will help, and it might just be another step in de-cluttering our listings!
That’s it for now!
I wish you a safe and prosperous week.