6 Most Important Considerations When Buying a Home

6 Most Important Considerations When Buying a Home

  • 11/18/21

Purchasing a new home is a decision that impacts nearly every aspect of your life. Regardless of whether you’re moving from one neighborhood to the next or preparing for a cross-country move, buying a new home is a long-term decision, and you’ll want to make sure that you thoughtfully consider the effects of this new purchase! Let’s take a closer look at six of the most crucial aspects you’ll want to consider when buying a new home in Marin County. 

Location, location, location 

Location is one of the primary reasons people often choose to relocate. Being closer to work, family, and your favorite shops are often top of mind when considering your new home. You want to find a community that matches your career prospects, your social calendar, your family size, and your values — and maybe you simply want to get that south-facing kitchen window you’ve always dreamed about. 

Finding the right house in the right community will make all the difference when purchasing your new home. Let’s take a closer look at three Marin County communities you might consider when moving. 

1.  Sun Valley

For families, Sun Valley is an easy choice. This quiet, tree-lined community on the northern edge of San Rafael balances the tightrope between urban and suburban perfectly and provides residents with at-your-fingertips access to amenities while maintaining a relaxed appeal. Sun Valley’s noteworthy school system and area parks and playgrounds make this an incredible location for raising a family, while parents can just as easily enjoy date nights out on their own in nearby San Rafael. With coffee shops roasting fresh beans, alfresco eateries, and a half-hour commute to San Francisco, it’s no surprise that Sun Valley is such a sought-after community. 

2.  Terra Linda

If you’re craving a downtempo getaway from San Francisco’s constant bustle but still work in the city, Terra Linda might be right for you. Tucked between the San Francisco Bay and Mount Tamalpais, Terra Linda is a short thirty-minute drive from downtown San Francisco but with a close-knit population of around 15,000. With farmers’ markets, concert series, and a thriving community center, Terra Linda is brimming with town-wide events that bring residents together. 

3.  Downtown Fairfax

It’s easy to love Downtown Fairfax. With breathtaking views of Mount Tamalpais, plentiful outdoor recreation, and close proximity to Novato and San Rafael, this community is a warm, welcoming reprieve from urbanity. Fairfax’s population hovers around 7,500, meaning neighbors can know each other by name and foster long-lasting relationships. Combining its leafy, residential neighborhoods with a quaint downtown touting an eclectic catalog of boutiques and restaurants, Fairfax exudes an undeniable charisma. Plus, with a plethora of Craftsman bungalows that date back to the 1930s, this community has a timeless charm that’s perfect for anyone searching for a piece of history to call home. 

4.  San Rafael

Marin County’s oldest and largest community, San Rafael is a central hub with everything you could ask for — parks and waterfront expanses, restaurants and shops lining 4th Street, a flair for the artistic, and a rich local history. With highly-rated schools, breathtaking estates surrounded by mature trees, and seaside views, San Rafael is a fast favorite for anyone searching for a suburban sanctuary with urban amenities when making the move from San Francisco.

5.  Corte Madera

Nestled between Mill Valley and San Rafael, Corte Madera is an excellent choice for San Francisco commuters, with only a fifteen-minute commute to the Financial District. This down-to-earth community touts local boutiques and retailers and an array of eateries at The Village at Corte Madera, a weekly farmers’ market, and a packed schedule of town events. 

Working closely with an established local real estate agent like April Smith will make finding the right neighborhood for you, your family, and your lifestyle a breeze. 

The right lot

In addition to the community, be sure to consider the implications of your new home’s specific location. Is it at the end of a cul-de-sac, or is it a corner lot? Additionally, how much outdoor space do you truly need and want? Be honest about your desires and limitations to make thoughtful decisions about the size of the lot you want. 

A sweeping estate among Marin County’s charming communities might be in the cards for you if you daydream of having plenty of room to roam, ample privacy, and a spacious outdoor entertaining area. However, if you prefer to spend your weekends shopping local boutiques and taste-testing Marin County’s one-of-a-kind eateries rather than landscaping your sprawling lot, consider purchasing a property with a smaller outdoor footprint. 

Fixer-upper or fit for a king?

Understanding your priorities when buying a new home in Marin County is pivotal because it can mean the difference between choosing a fixer-upper that needs a little TLC or primarily shopping for properties with only the latest and greatest in design and technology. Of course, there are perks to both options! 

If you dream of a charming estate with its own unique character, you’re in luck. Marin County is brimming with historically rich architecture, like darling shingle-style vintage property at 5 Snowden Lane and Craftsman keepsake at 3 Echo Avenue. With an older home, you can often expect to see slightly outdated appliances you might want to replace, walls that could use a fresh coat of paint, or HVAC systems that need a boost. Making these fixes will take time and money. However, you’ll also benefit from signature features from the past, such as original hardwood floors and delicate hand-crafted details. Purchasing a property that needs a little elbow grease allows you to infuse the house with your personal style and create a space as unique as you are. 

Fortunately, if your dream home has all the bells and whistles, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for here as well. Sleek, contemporary homes are not unusual here, such as 410 Albion Way, where oversized windows allow for ample natural light. Modern builds or recently renovated, turn-key estates take the pressure off you as you settle into your new home. 

A floor plan you love 

Aesthetics are one thing, but when you purchase a new property, you also want to make sure that the layout matches your needs because not all homes are designed equally. It’s important to keep in mind the way you wish to spend your time at home while browsing properties for sale. One might prioritize square footage in the grandiose master bathroom but leave something to be desired in the living room, while another might skip the formal dining room but have a bonus space upstairs that’s perfect for the kids. 

If you love to cook, make sure you aren’t cramped in the kitchen. If your family always hosts the Super Bowl party, search for a home with plenty of square footage in the den. By understanding your priorities, you and your Marin County real estate agent can browse properties that cater to your specific needs. 

Nearby shopping, dining, and entertainment

When you buy a house, you’re not just buying a home. You’re putting down new roots. This means that in addition to finding the right neighborhood, the right in-house amenities, and the right layout, you’ll also want to make sure that the community you’ll be joining is well-suited for your lifestyle. 

For instance, buying a house for sale in Sun Valley puts you within reach of San Rafael’s culinary options, like the organic, nourishing menu at Cafe del Soul, upscale pub favorites at Flatiron, and French fares at Le Comptoir. If you’re a movie buff, you’ll love catching the next summer blockbuster at Fairfax Theater or heading to downtown San Rafael to the Smith Rafael Film Center

Making the move out of San Francisco doesn’t mean you’ll be completely estranged from the city’s happenings either. Many Marin County communities are within an hour’s drive of San Francisco’s shimmering skyline, and if you don’t want to trouble yourself with finding a parking spot downtown, ferries from bayside communities like San Rafael and Corte Madera charter residents to and from San Francisco! 

A breath of fresh air

April Smith is well-versed in the transition from vibrant, bustling San Francisco to the slower-paced, close-knit communities found in Marin County, and it’s not uncommon to see buyers who crave more space as their families grow and seek solace from the urban hustle. 

When buying a home, be conscientious of your proximity to outdoor recreation opportunities, such as hiking trails, cycling circuits, and yacht clubs. Residents in bayside San Rafael and Corte Madera can make the most of the open waters by joining Marin Yacht Club, while Fairfax residents have hiking and biking trails at Cascade Canyon Preserve and Mount Tamalpais Watershed mere minutes away. 

When you’re ready to learn more about Marin County real estate, whether you decide to search for Sun Valley homes for sale or luxury homes in Terra Linda, reach out to April Smith today. She knows better than anyone that there’s no place like Marin. 



Work With April

April was honored with the California Association of Realtors Rising Star Award. She has succeeded in a multitude of varied sales positions throughout her professional career, garnering top awards at both Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller, family-operated businesses.