Autumn Sun Valley Reporter

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Real Estate

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! We have so much concern for our loved ones, our community and the world during the pandemic and it is easy get caught in so much worry that we forget to look around at the beauty of fall leaves in brilliant colors all over the valley reminding us to appreciate the seasons of nature and the place we call home. As with every fall season in Marin, I can’t help but notice the number of wild turkeys wondering our streets. I always think that’s a brave move right about now While our holiday celebrations will be different, I hope they will still feel festive and be filled with smiles on zoom, good phone conversations, and lots of good memories. In our house we’re still going for it with table decorations and the full traditional meal with leftovers for picnics. Chris says I’m in charge of decorations (which he could take or leave) which is fine with me since I’m a terrible cook!

 A few weeks ago, Jim Rubin, our Sun Valley Neighborhood Association President, organized a conference call with neighbors who wanted to learn more about Firewise, a program to help neighborhoods prepare for fire prevention and safety as well as evacuation preparedness. It was informative and a reminder to stay vigilant, even in small ways, to make our homes as fire safe as possible. A few tips I learned: There are vent screens that are made to prevent embers from getting into attics and crawl spaces that can easily replace your current vent screens. Keep trees and bushes away from the house structure and roofline and gutters free of leaves and debris as they act as kindling. Rake leaves and pine needles often to keep a clear ground surface free from debris that can catch flame. There are neighborhoods throughout Marin that are creating evacuation plans to efficiently handle traffic in the event of a disaster, and they are talking about the evacuation maps for the greater Sun Valley area. For more information:

 It’s with a heavy heart that I talk about the loss of Tom Unterman of West End Nursery. He will be missed by Sun Valley residents and beyond for his generosity, kindness, knowledge and steady presence in our community. It makes me smile to think of the conversations that strayed from the veggie garden to a little gossipy laugh to sometimes more poignant topics, always with his casual style. We have been enjoying Tom and his garden advise for 30 years and appreciate it so much. Our hearts go out to the Unterman family and to the community who will miss him and remember him for years to come.

 2020 has been an intense year with so many “new norms” like wearing masks, and shopping for groceries and essentials online with the serious hope that toilet paper is in stock! (Last night’s Costco shopping order revealed they were out). Which leads me to a reminder for all of us to check in with neighbors who might be especially at risk and not venturing out these days to see if they need anything. A small grocery run? A prepared meal dropped off?

While many of our restaurants are closed to indoor dining, they are doing a great job of curbside pick-up and delivery. My hat’s off to the creative ways businesses have found to accommodate customers in this constantly changing environment. I am happy to live so close to both downtown San Rafael and San Anselmo to benefit from all they offer in the way of shopping & services and providing an uplifting atmosphere in an unsettling time. Thank you restaurant and shop owners!!

The Real Estate Market continues with a flurry of new listings followed quickly by multiple offers. Interest rates bounce a bit, but within a very tight margin of historic lows. Several buyers have locked into rates as low as 2.65-2.85%. That is just incredible! When I started selling real estate in 1989 rates were 11%. I remember being so excited when my buyer locked into a 10% interest rate. And when they went down to 7%, everyone was scrambling to refinance. With covid-19 restricting us from holding open houses, we rely on terrific photographs and videos more than ever which means listings should look their very best. Paint, staging, landscaping go a long way to attract a buyer. And pricing is so important. It is tempting to price your house to the last highest comp. But it’s very important analyze how they got there. Did they “value price” to attract multiple offers, therefore, pushing the price up? Or had the house been on the market several months before finally receiving an acceptable offer? It’s important that every listing is approached with a seller’s price and personal timing goal in mind, along with the current market value and trends and the overall timing of the market season.

 Happy Thanksgiving! Have fun cooking! I wish you and your family the very best of health and safety as we enter this holiday season.