Mill Valley Listings: The Tale Of A First Time Home Buyer

Posted by Annalise Demuth on Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 at 12:09pm.

If you're planning on buying a home in Mill Valley, you'll appreciate the insight this blog has to offer.  It's long, but there's lots of good information.  It's the story of a first time home buyer purchasing a home in Mill Valley in November 2013.

I recently met a young couple with two small children at an open house.  Living in San Francisco and both working, they quickly decided on Mill Valley due to the proximity to their work locations.  

At our first meeting we covered the house buying process (steps from beginning to end), how to be ready for buying (get pre approved), and what to expect in terms of bang for buck in Marin County.   I set them up for email updates, and when a house interested them they would ask to see it.  

The first house we saw was a 3/2 in the hills of Mill Valley.  It had a street to street lot and a separate  garage.  It was two stories with one bedroom and bath upstairs the downstairs had two beds and a bath.  Although the house was advertised as a 3/2, the third bedroom doubled as a family room.  The garage need 100K to fix it, and it only held one parking space.  The street was so narrow it couldn't accommodate another car, so the second parking space was at the bottom of the lot with 70 steps to the front door.  

Frankly, after experiencing this house, the enormous amount of steps and the parking situation, I suggested to the buyer that I preview homes for them before they shlep the kids out to see a house that might not work.  

The second house was a 3/2 in the Tam Valley area.  After previewing it and suggesting they come and look at it, the end result was it just wasn't big enough.  The kitchen was tiny and the yard was accessed through one of the bedrooms.  But only 10 steps!

The third house was also a 3/2 in the Homestead Valley area.  This house was the house they ended up buying.

Now, here's how they managed to do it; they believed me when I told them most houses in Mill Valley under 1M$ will have a host of issues, including structural.  They also believed me when I told them that the kind of house they were looking at doesn't come along very often.

240eliseo_view1_650The pros of the house - It was a 60s house (very solid) with all wood floors, floor to ceiling windows, two covered porch decks, one HUGE deck, a two car carport, master bed and bath, walking distance to town and a great school system.  

The cons - there was no real yard, it needed some drainage work and lots of landscaping to help prevent the top soil from sliding down hill, a new roof, a new sewer lateral, a tree removal, some section 1 pest work and a remodel.   

Even though the buyer took an aggressive negotiating stance and attempted to get the buyer to reduce the price, I remember exactly what the buyer said when they decided to buy it.  They said, 'let's quit dilly dallying around and buy it.'  I took this to mean they understood the value of the house in it's current condition and that buying a home in Mill Valley for under $1M is not easy to do.  

It is my belief that this buyer saved 10s of thousands of dollars by buying this winter instead of the spring and summer of 2014.  It is also my belief that this buyer had low expectations of their first home and ultimately that's why they got into a home so quickly.  They did a great job of looking at the home buying decision as a business decision rather than an emotional decision.  They understood the financial implications of buying and the cost to repair the home.  

At the moment, they are doing the structural work and a little remodeling.  They will be moving in February of 2014.  

Finally, I have to say I really admired this buyer.  This home was a lot to take on for a first time home buyer, but they saw the value in buying now and fixing it up over time.  

If you're looking for a home in Mill Valley or any other city in Marin and Sonoma County, feel free to call me.  I'm happy to sit down and chat with you about what your looking for and how to get it done in a timely manner. 
Annalise Demuth is a licensed Realtor with Marin Modern Real Estate.   Contact Annalise for assistance buying or selling homes, condominiums or multi-family dwellings in either Marin County or the East Bay.

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