The Marks Report
December, 2014

The National Association of Realtors recently released its economic and housing forecast for 2015 and 2016. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the NAR, forecasts existing-home sales this year nationally to fall slightly below 2013's 5.1 million sales to 4.9 million, and then increase to 5.3 million in 2015 and 5.4 million in 2016. Yun expects the national median existing-home price to rise 4% both next year and in 2016.

"The increase of median prices for existing-homes has leveled off, representing a healthier pace that has kept affordability in-check for buyers in many parts of the country while giving more previously stuck homeowners with little or no equity the ability to sell," says Yun.

Leslie Appleton-Young, Vice President and Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors,
reports that home sales will rise modestly in 2015 and prices are expected to flatten out, marking the slowest price gain in four years.

And forget about that rumored rise in mortgage interest rates. During the trade group's recent 2015 California Housing Market Forecast, Appleton-Young projected only a slight increase to 4.5% from 4.3% this year. "The forecast is always for higher rates," Appleton-Young said. "Our look next year is that we don't see (long-term) rates going up very much."

Here's what you can expect: a better year for first-time home buyers, fewer investors, more inventory, and a friendlier environment. It could be a great mix of variables for you to make your next real estate move.

If you'd like to keep track of the market in your neighborhood, you can sign up for free automatic abbreviated reports anytime. Just log onto, then follow the instructions on the left side of the screen. If you have any questions, you can contact me directly and I will set it up for you.  You can also view more in-depth reports for your specific neighborhood anytime you'd like. 

Click here for that link.

As always, if you want to further evaluate your options, contact me anytime:


Articles and Advice

San Francisco Bay Area Home Sales Edge Higher; Price Growth Ratchets Down Again

By: CoreLogic

CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider, released its October San Francisco Bay Area homes sales report. The Bay Area housing market posted another modest uptick in sales during October but activity remained below average as cash purchases continued to taper off and buyers faced a limited inventory as well as affordability and mortgage availability challenges. Home prices appear to have plateaued in recent months, although the October median sale price was still about 11 percent higher than a year earlier.

Click here for article...


Clean Up Your Credit in the New Year

Your credit score has a big impact on just about everything you do, from being approved for a credit card to buying a house. To ensure you enter the New Year with the best credit score possible – or are at least on your way there – follow these six ways to manage home-related spending:



Keep Holiday Spending in Check

The holidays are already in full swing, which means there is a very real possibility that your carefully calculated budget is about to be challenged by seasonal spending temptations.

Click here for article...

Ask Alan
Q: What are smart real estate moves in the month of December?

A: In the midst of sipping at holiday teas, shopping at the mall, and dressing up for The Nutcracker, house shopping and selling is often not the first priority. However, this can be an opportune month for both buyers and sellers.

With the roaring spring real estate rush around the corner, now is the time to take advantage of a slow season for house contractors. If you're even remotely considering selling your house in 2015, now is the perfect time to unclutter, fix and improve. I can help you prioritize if you'd like- just give me a call. Think of it this way - while you make improvements, you're also preparing your house for any holiday parties and dinners as well.

If you're a buyer, this can be a great time to find your next home. Some of the best deals of the year in real estate happen in the slower winter months. Let me know if you'd like me to help you scour the market.

The market will heat up. Be prepared.

Featured Homes
176 Crestview
SOLD for over asking price after less than a week! Stunning custom home with 4+ bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms in 4400+ square feet.  Panoramic views with soccer-sized yard on 1+ acres!  Offered at 2,695,000.
8 Baltusrol
Moraga Country Club
SOLD for over asking price! This beautiful townhome has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and is in a great Country Club location!  Updated and bright with extra windows and a wonderful private patio.  End unit near the end of a private lane! Offered at $739,000.

20 Snow Court
SOLD for over asking price! Wonderful custom home with tons of space, indoors & out. 4200+ sf w/updated kitchen/family room combo. Five spacious bedrooms including a main level master suite w/updated bath. Beautifully landscaped level yard, fenced veggie garden & great outdoor areas on a serene 1/2 acre w/beautiful views! Offered at $1,295,000.
7 El Sereno
SOLD! This beautifully updated ranch style home features 4 large bedrooms, 3 bathrooms in 3800+ square feet and sits on a fantastic lot with mature oak and redwood trees.  It has a wonderful indoor-outdoor floor plan with doors from almost every room opening to the large, park-like yard, gardens and huge patio with an outdoor fireplace.  Situated on a highly desirable street, this home is charming and serene, yet minutes from transportation and downtown Orinda.    Offered at $2,975,000.
 192 Cypress Point Way
SOLD PRE-MARKET! Great detached 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home in Moraga Country Club featuring filtered views of the golf course fairway.  Private creekside setting at the end of a cul-de-sac, with doors that lead out to a trellis covered patio and lovely yard. 
 Adoptable Pet Spotlight

Families going through foreclosure have to make very hard decisions, and sometimes are no longer able to care for their pets. Dogs and cats often end up in public shelters– racing the clock as they hope for adoption. That’s where Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, or ARF, comes in. The ARF team rescues pets who are about to run out of time in these shelters, provides care and comfort, and then finally matches them with the perfect owners.

Check out 1-year-old Scarf!  He's a sweet, 49 pound dog who can be a little shy at first, but will warm right up once he is comfortable. Scarf is a Labrador Retriever, and good with other dogs.

To find out more about Scarf or any of the other pets ARF has up for adoption, please click on the link below.

Events of the Month

Union Square Ice Rink

Through January 15


Oakland Zoolights

December 5-January 4


Celebration at Sea and Old Maritime Christmas

Hyde Pier, SF

December 13


Hanukah Snowstorm at the Jewish Community Center, Los Gatos

December 14, 2014


Bill Graham Menorah Lighting

December 16-24

Union Square, SF


San Francisco Zoolights

December 19-23


2015 New Years Celebrations

December 31st

Click on the link below for comprehensive list of where to go in San Francisco to ring in the New Year!

Wine Group Tasting of the Month

Many of you know that I have a passion for good wine. I’ve even grown grapes and made my own. I’ve also belonged to a wine group for about 20 years. Every month we get together for a blind tasting and then rank the wines we try. 

Click here for this month’s tasting…