s a mother with a very active child I needed to be close to playgrounds, walking paths and stores. I also wanted my child to be close to schools either in walking distance or within a 5 minute bike ride. I decided to settle in the Altos section of Mill Valley (near Horse Hill). that area was more in line with what I was looking for and it also offered me the best weather. When other areas of Mill Valley are cold and foggy I always seem to have the sunshine and less fog than other areas.
I am wondering why Tam Valley and Shelter Ridge? Depending on what your financial comfort zone is you could look for homes in Altos or even around Sycamore Park or Homestead Valley. Most people think that all areas of Mill Valley are out of their reach price wise but more Sellers are willing to negotiate, more short sales are coming on the market and there is opportunity for you.
I'd suggest making a priority list first. Is your top priority to be near schools, near shops, walking areas or is the price the only deciding factor. If its price then I'd suggest you have your realtor pull all homes in Mill Valley according to price and then take a good look at the map. I give all my clients a map of Mill Valley with the various neighborhoods and then do a graphic search so clients can see where average prices are in each area. There are so many options in Mill Valley that it might behoove you to check out other areas.
Feel free to contact me if you'd like a copy of the map or the trendsgraphix report that I generate as it might make the decision process much easier. I work and live in Mill Valley and can be contacted at the following:
Alain Pinel Realtors
100 Shoreline Hwy Suite 115
Mill Valley, CA 94941
http://www.HousingMaps.com is a mashup app of CraigsList.org and maps.google.com. Select "SF - North Bay" and...
Zoom in then move south a bit. Change from "Map" to "Hybrid".
This Rental Map of the North Bay is a great tool. You can use it as a FSBO source when buying as well.
http://maps.google.com has a similar capability - different database. Together... You've got it covered.
I recommend adding Sausalito since you're planning on moving again anyway. Then you can find the cutest place available within your price range to begin your quest.
When you're ready to consider buying the MLS, where REALTORSÂ® post their listings, the brunt of the market, http://www.Great Homes.org is the official site but almost every agent/broker has a version on their website - I do.
It still boils down to the various choices and what your buying power is...
1.Single family homes in Tam Valley that are in the flats, sunny, totally child friendly with lovely back yards with outdoor space for entertaining.
2. Up in the hills they tend to have decks with steep drops that are nerve-racking and worrisome to parents.
Ofcourse great ridge views that can be blocked by tall trees and effect your sun exposure, making it colder weather wise.
Shelter Ridge is a whole other life style...condos and townhouse that can be sunny and nice, close to shopping, schools,101 freeway, walking paths, they do have HOA dues and the kids have to be driven to a park or go to the common areas to play. It tends to be more of a singles and couples lifestyle..obviously less conducive to children's needs. But again many childern live there and enjoy it!
It is all good at the end of the day...bottom line you are investing in Marin (great spot to do so) and you are buying a lifestyle that will change you life for ever.
Accordingly, you need to be able to sell whatever it is you decide to buy once you decide you want to move. From that perspective, I strongly recommend that you focus on a single family home, not a condo. Not only are condo prices continuing to fall in general, but we don't know where the bottom is. I think most of my colleagues would agree that we are at or near the bottom at the entry level here in MV. Think sweat equity and embrace the adventure.
BTW, Tam Elementary is top-notch with some of the best test scores in the County. There are some nice and relatively affordable options within easy walking distance to the school.
Certified Residential Specialist & Broker Associate
Morgan Lane Real Estate
Text/Tel.: (415) 350-9440
I recommend that you establish your geographic area of consideration based on commute time. I'm assuming your hubby works in the city and you're a housewife. I am proposing you expand your area of consideration so as to have the largest selection of homes, each of which will be unique, and to increase your choice of communities/neighborhoods, climates and cultures.
In the end your selection will be site specific. Micro climates abound given our mountainous terrain, differences in exposure, aspect and cover can often make significant differences between immediate neighbors. Topography and vegetation, nearby shopping and infrastructure make each home site unique in Marin, It's easy to let interesting opportunities slip by if you depend on generalizations and fail to consider all possible options.
Usually first-time home buyers find that after determining their price ceiling, minimum square footage, bedrooms and baths, etc. their field to choose from is small enough that they can preview all and be assured they've found best value and most complete satisfaction.
If I can help...
Also, as a mom of small children myself, I always counsel my clients to keep the following in mind:
1. Your children will grow up and will need more space and would like to be able to walk places on their own.
2. Hills can be very stroller unfriendly and sometimes you as a mom just want to get out for a quick walk, and having to pack everyone in the car can be much harder than just stepping out your door if you are in a stroller friendly area.
3. If you have more children in the future, your needs will change even more, so keep that in mind. Talk to someone who has small children, older children and more than one children to help you make your choice.
My last thought, I helped a family move to Tam Valley (before they had their first child) and I counseled them that they will likely not like the location once they have children as the house is on a street that is hilly . They ended ups selling again (to move out of state) and she told me that she clearly remembers me telling them that they will likely not be happy on the hillside home once they have children, as it was definitely the case for them. You are welcome to talk to my clients Elvia email if you like, just send me an email and I'll get you in touch with them!
Broker and mom to 2 children