The Marks Report
April, 2014


April is here - and anyone in real estate knows that means we are due for a spring surge. The market begins to pick up as the holidays have passed and the weather warms. However, according to the National Association of Realtors, there is not quite the same amount of activity as last spring - in fact, there is a 9% drop in sales activity nationwide from last year at this time. Three current conditions help explain this:

  1. Inventory: there just are not enough homes on the market. New homes are needed to entice homeowners to buy up and sell their current homes.
  2. Affordability: last year prices climbed substantially and buyers are now slower to act.
  3. Mortgage requirements: while rates are rising, the criteria for qualifying are still stringent.

Despite this, prices are still predicted to rise and the level of activity on the market will still "surge" in the months to come - just not at the same speed we saw last year. This map from the Realtors Confidence Index is a good overview of their findings.

Remember that real estate is local. The San Francisco Bay Area down through the Silicon Valley is still experiencing multiple offers that drive up prices. Where the economy is strong, statistics are skewed.

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

"Gen X" and "Gen Y" Homeowners Search Using Mobile Devices

By: Inman News

Most “Gen X” and “Gen Y” home buyers are using mobile devices when they search for homes, but when it comes to choosing an agent, buyers of all ages are much more likely to rely on referrals from a friend, relative or neighbor than to end up with an agent they find online.

Click here for article...


Spring Cleaning 101

By: Jeannette Brown

Springtime is here and as the weather gets warmer it’s time to start the annual tradition of sprucing up your home and getting your living space in its best shape. But before you start, if you want to get your entire house sparkling and address all those forgotten nooks and crannies, then you might want to consider these tips to get your spring cleaning ritual underway.


It's Easy Being Green

By: Heather Skylar


Green or sustainable living is an attempt to reduce our impact on the earth. It’s an effort to be careful with our natural resources, so there will be some left for our grandchildren and the generations beyond.

Click here for article...

Ask Alan

Q: Is there any way to clean motor oil off of a flagstone patio?

A: You can typically remove oil from stone by making a poultice to draw the oil out. But first you’ll need to clean the spot thoroughly with hot water and a strong soap to remove as much of the residual oil as possible. 

Next, you'll need to buy some fuller's earth, a clay product that is used in things like kitty litter. It’s a powder available from some cosmetic and chemical retailers, or online. Mix the powder with hot water to form a thick but spreadable paste, and spread it over the stain. Cover the poultice with plastic with a few holes poked in it, so the poultice can dry out. Leave it overnight, then scrape it up the next day with a plastic scraper and rinse with water. Depending on the stain, you may need to do this multiple times. 

Also, do your best to keep the poultice only on the stain, and not the surrounding patio stones. You might try this on a scrap piece of stone first, just to see how it will react.

Featured Homes
2 Lloyd Lane
SOLD! Meticulously maintained 3+ bedroom, 2 bath home near town with easy commute!  Updated throughout with gleaming hardwood floors, beautiful living room with fireplace, eat-in kitchen, family room could be turned back into 4th bedroom.  Offered at 849,000.
460 Camino Sobrante
SOLD! Beautiful, modern 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home in Orinda Country Club! Gorgeous kitchen/family room combo with wet bar, master suite with attached bonus room - perfect for office or nursery! Basement could become additional bedroom w/ensuite bathroom.  Offered at $1,295,000.
179 Crestview Drive
SOLD! This gorgeous custom home has 6+ bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms and sits on a private knoll top surrounded by 20+ acres.  It features an amazing kitchen, and is sunny and bright with a great floor plan. Private with beautiful views! It's irreplaceable at the price of $1,795,000.

6 Linda Vista 
SOLD! This 2 bedroom cottage is full of charm! Situated on a great lot, it's ready to move-in, renovate, or tear down and start over. Offered at $499,000.

 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 Chaco, the one-and-a-half-year-old Boston Terrier.  What a face!  Chaco loves to play and exercise.  He's also a smart guy, and would like to learn some tricks!  He's 36 pounds of fun.

To find out more about Chaco or any of the other ARF pets looking for a home, click on the link below.

Event of the Month

Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival and Grand Parade

April 12-13 and April 19-20

Japantown, San Francisco

Welcome Spring at the 2nd largest Cherry Blossom Festival in the US!  The festival wraps up on Sunday, April 20th with the Grande Parade.

Click here for more information

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…