All Blog Entries by Muriel Ballard

Found 23 blog entries published by Muriel Ballard.

How to recover after losing out in a multiple offer situation.

It’s September 2016.  You are trying to buy a house in Marin County.  Inventory is low.  But so are interest rates, and your finances are right, you’re pre-approved and ready to go!  Your Realtor has told you September is a great month because there will be an uptick in inventory, so you’re getting out there.  And, yes, you’ve found a home (or two) to love!  The problem is, the houses that you are attracted to seem to be the same houses that everyone else is interested in, and your well-considered, generous offers aren’t cutting it.  You’ve been the recipient of that horrible call telling you that you didn’t get it, with the seriously annoying explanation of why.

This may have happened

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Classic mid-century homes incorporate clean lines, exposed beams and oodles of indoor/outdoor elements, such as huge windows, optimizing light and nature!  This home is not "modern" but it embodies many of the qualities that architects were incorporating into homes in the middle of the 20th century.


209 San Marino Drive, located in the prestigious Peacock Gap area of San Rafael, is abundant with desirable features and details.  This four bedroom, two and a half bath home is perfectly sited on a sunny, huge lot just eight minutes from the 101 Freeway.  The long driveway leads to a faux-bronzed gate which increases both safety and privacy.


Once inside the gate, a beautiful citrus garden boasting limes, lemons and oranges greets you on the right, and

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Just past the town of Tiburon there is a stone tower on the water’s edge. I have stood in this tower and never knew its origin, simply assuming it was a decorative relic installed by the town’s forefathers.  This curious structure was actually erected by a private landowner, with a vision toward creating a planned community, “Lyford’s Hygeia”, dedicated to “healthful living”.  Hygeia means “Goddess of Health”.


Dr. Benjamin Lyford was the man behind the vision, a civil war veteran and physician who made his fame through the invention of an exceptionally effective embalming technique. 


Dr. Lyford gained great wealth through his marriage to his patient, Hilarita Reed.  Hilarita’s father was John Reed, the first white settler in Marin.  He

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For those who have yet to complete a real estate transaction, here are some terms you should be aware of as you proceed:


A Pre-approval Letter is an essential and primary component of a real estate transaction.  They are acquired through banks or Mortgage Brokers.  They summarize your qualifications to purchase a home, based on an analysis of your job history, income, credit and reserves.  Your Pre-approval Letter will accompany your offer when you’re ready to buy.


A Mortgage Broker works specifically to find loans for home buyers, whether for an original purchase or for re-financing.  Many consider working with a Mortgage Broker, versus a bank, to be desirable because they have a greater range of

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I am always inspired at this time of year to point out to my clients the potential of doing real estate transactions in the dead of winter, in the middle of the holidays.

Time has proven that the spring is the most active time of year for buyers, with another burst of activity in the fall.  Sellers know this and often hold off on listing their homes until spring, hoping that people will all jump on board to buy at the same time, thus driving prices up.  This is a great strategy for the seller, but not a winning proposition for the buyer. 

For some buyers timing the market is irrelevant because their buying power allows them to afford whatever they want, and one of the things they want is a wider selection of inventory.  Other buyers absolutely

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 Most of what we take for granted as normal amenities in a home are actually very new historically, including such basics as separate bedrooms, a hot shower and temperature control.

 In Ken Follit’s outstanding book, Pillars of the Earth, he writes about the expansion of the field of architecture through the lens of the growing wealth and power of the church.  It was normal for the people to live communally in town, or for the farmers and peasants to come into town to conduct business and for all to sleep in a communal hall together.  “In the communal societies of the Middle Ages, the concept of privacy simply didn’t exist. There was strength in numbers and to keep the community strong, people within a community centered their life and livelihood in

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I love selling properties where the pride of ownership shines through!  Some people have so much integrity around their homes, they treat them like a valuable asset and make sure to keep everything in fine order.  This gem has been well-cared for and it shows.  In fact, the whole complex seems meticulous.  The shower house by the poolside is positively sterile!

This is a two bedroom unit with one full and one half bath.  It's an end unit, so no neighbors on three sides! There is a large tree offering greenery and privacy to the west, and a planted hillside greeting the owners as they come and go.  One of the owners is an artist.  I just LOVE what she did to adorn the master bed:mcp_master_-_copy_423

Come check it out, this Sunday, 9/27, between 1-4.

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A rare opportunity to own a real waterfront property in Marin for just over a million dollars. This vintage duck hunting lodge has been home to one owner for 32 years and is an EXCELLENT FLOATING HOME ALTERNATIVE. There are 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a huge deck and your own private dock. The house is temporarily split to accommodate roommates, but could easily be reintegrated. Or, enjoy the mortgage relief by renting out the studio apartment (currently getting $930/mos).  Here is your view.2_beach_mktg_500

There is SO MUCH to do from here. Kayak, paddleboard or fish from your private dock, entertain on the deck, mountain bike in nearby China Camp, kite surf at the hottest site in the county just minutes away. Stoll over to the trendy new Strand development where

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Real waterfront property is very rare in Marin, and AFFORDABLE waterfront is almost non-existent.  This uber-cool vintage cottage is located on an inlet in a desirable San Rafael neighborhood. This location is a popular Plein Air painting site, moments away from the hottest kite-surfing destination in the county, mountain bikers paradise, strolling distance to the trendy new Strand Development where there will be a gourmet grocery, a waterfront restaurant, dry cleaners and more.

This house was built in 1937 and was originally a duck-hunting lodge.  There are three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.  Some of the cooler features include a large deck with a boat dock perfect for launching a paddle board, kayak or small boat, and an awesome

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According to, San Rafael is the 31st most livable small to mid-sized city in the United States as of 2015.

My business name is “Love Living in Marin”,, because I truly do love living in Marin.  I have within me a compulsion to constantly seek out better opportunities.  It is for this reason that I have traveled to 49 of the 50 states (I’m not planning to go to Nebraska because it feels more fun to skip one).  My curiosity always drives me to peek around the next corner, to make sure that I am living my best life.  After all, we only get one that we know of!!

My family recently did a driving tour of the Pacific Northwest, an area

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