BUDDY's Race Against Cancer: Racing for Colon Cancer Support!

by Christopher 14. November 2010 06:32

As many of you know I am a two-time Stage III Colon Cancer survivor.  Originally diagnosed at age 28 back in 2004, I joined the ranks of the many young Colon Cancer patients who had no idea they could ever be at risk.  So, too, did our friend Alex Apking (former manager at local restaurant and Marin favorite Buckeye Roadhouse).  This month he celebrates his 1 -year milestone since his diagnosis and to celebrate after a year of surgery and chemotherapy, this weekend he's riding in the Thompson Cancer Survival Center's BUDDY race.

Alex is honoring me and my survival as well by riding with my name on his jersey.  I'm honored - and our Marin rental and relocation company is thrilled to support his ride.  Join me in wishing Alex a big congrats on getting through this last year and in wishing him luck this weekend!!!

Read more about Alex and his story or make donations here: http://tcscfoundation.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&eventID=500&participantID=1955

And just a word to everyone out there - the most common symptom for colon cancer is no symptom at all.  Know your risk factors and your family history - and if you're concerned push for answers no matter what your age.   More information available at www.colonclub.com

Christopher Barrow


Foundation Rentals and Relocation



Home Ownership in Marin - A Dying Dream?

by Christopher 11. October 2010 04:24

I recently read an article in a September issue of Time magazine about America's dying dream, home ownership. But does this hold true in Marin? 

I forwarded the article to my younger brother who, after becoming a San Rafael fire fighter is really amped on the idea of owning his own home.   Who can blame him? Owning a home has been ingrained in us since we were kids. It is an opportunity to invest in your future and the future of your family all while providing a sanctuary for you grow memories around birthdays, holidays and family get togethers. It is an opportunity to increase the equity in your "nest egg" so you can retire and grow old without worry of having a place to live or finances.  Additionally, American home ownership comes with billions of dollars of tax credits every year you simply can't get with a rental in Marin.

Then there's the emotional reward.  When you buy a house you also get a degree of independence - no longer do you have to get permission to re-paint a room, plant a garden, knock out a wall etc. Thriving neighborhoods are symbolic of a thriving job market and stable households and good schools- who wouldn't want to be in that club?

At least that was what we were taught. The reality these days appears much more grim.

The fact is, home ownership/ the home lending industry has placed a multi trillion dollar burden on US citizens and the foreclosure rate is sky rocketing. People got into the housing market with great hopes of building their future only to find out that they were spending too much of their income to own a house that is losing value everyday. People are walking away from their houses at an alarming rate, creating a vicious cycle of short sales, challenging purchase processes (short sales can take as long as 6 months to a year to complete) and epic price devaluation in neighborhoods across the nation.

Have I re-thought owning a house?

Yes, but not in ways you may think. I still want to buy a house with my wife, but will do it in way which is financially responsible for us. My take is that irresponsible credit lending practices combined with that "American dream" desire to own a home no matter what got us into this mess. It was far too easy for people to get their hands on money that they, for all intents and purposes, couldn't afford.

My strategy will employ the grit and patience that my grandparents had and focus on where we want to live,  buy what we can afford, support the neighborhood we live in and plan on staying a while.  I'm advising my brother to do the same - I'll keep you posted what he decides to do.  For now, it's Marin rentals for the both of us!

My team and I specialize in the Marin rental market and are happy to assist anytime:  www.foundationrentalgroup.com

Christopher Barrow

Broker, Foundation Rentals and Relocation

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New Marin Rental COMING SOON: Looking for a fabulous outdoor entertaining space?

by Christopher 6. October 2010 04:47

This new Marin rental coming soon in Novato offers:


-outdoors bbq kitchen

-huge yard

-hot tub

...and a luxury home to boot.  Listing at $4500 per month.  Call our local rental office today to hear about this new rental coming soon.  (415) 507-9600.  We are Marin's expert rental team!



Marin Rental Homes RENTED this Week

by Christopher 21. September 2010 06:19

In addition to the opening of our Kentfield rental office here in Marin, my team and I have had a busy week renting Marin!  Withing the last week  or so we closed on the following rentals:

 -4bd home in San Rafael for $5,000

-3bd home in Larkspur for $5,500

-2bd home in Mill Valley for $5,000

-2bd in San Rafael for $2,300

-1bd in Tiburon for $1,995

We are bringing offers so far this week for a $6,000 4 bd in Marin and $7,500 for a Mill Valley home.

We also have a VIP Marin contact looking for a stellar pad in Cow Hollow/Marina area up to about $8k if anyone knows of any great rental coming up!

Here's to another great week,

Christopher Barrow

Broker, Foundation Rentals and Relocation



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New Marin County Rental Office Opening This Week!

by Christopher 13. September 2010 08:27

This has been an exciting summer for my Marin rental team and I over here at Foundation Rentals and Relocation. 

After getting married in May my wife Darcy and I started Foundation Rentals and Relocation in June.  Together she and I have been focused on building the corporate name, image and team and the business to support it.  (BTW I am still looking for that 25th hour and 8th day if anyone ever finds them...the term "blood, sweat and tears" has never meant as much to me as it does now!)

This experience has been a reflection of what my vision is for Foundation Rentals and Relocation: a team-focused environment where everyone is committed to one another's personal and financial growth and success.  Our Marin rental team has grown to six full time agents with backgrounds varying from team management, business development,  hard money lending, website development and real estate to name a few. Our goal is not only to strengthen our presence in the Marin rental market, but within the next year to introduce a few new services in to Marin rental market to help better serve our clients.

We are just wrapping up the remodel of our new Kentfield office - our team's anticipation and excitement grows everyday as we approach the launch.  I am fortunate to have a father with an incredible artisian design and construction background who created the vision for the office, a brother who gave up weekends to help us build it and the support of my wife and family to give me the time to, shall we say, get my hands dirty.

At Foundation Rentals and Relocation, we believe progression and agility are keys to success in this fast evolving economic environment.  Our team has the perfect combination of energy, experience and dedication to make our team the go-to name in Marin residential leasing.  Sit tight for more updates coming soon!

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Your Luxury Rental Home in Marin: Psychology Counts!

by Christopher 23. August 2010 03:51

For those considering renting their Marin County luxury home (including those who are pulling the home off the sales market while that sector rebounds) it may be useful to discuss some of the more elusive elements that experience tells us often results in maximizing a property’s performance once it’s placed on the market for rent in Marin.  Although much of this summer's residential real estate activity has remained relatively quiet, some cornerstone principles continue to bring results in one area of the market. That’s the luxury home market.

Often overlooked (or unspoken) is the key importance Marin luxury home owners play throughout the process. Let’s face it: not only do you belong to a group that expects the best, you’re also accustomed to calling the shots. If you aren’t currently the Big Boss in your own field, you’re darn close to it. Not surprisingly, in order to appeal to your target audience, you have to remember that they are peers. It’s very likely that they, too, are accustomed to calling the shots, and will be puzzled (or worse) if confronted with situations where they are prevented from doing so.

Chances are, their time is valuable and closely guarded. Often a luxury home buyer (or in this case, a luxury home tenant) may need to make unexpected changes of schedule or last-minute showing postponements. Adept luxury home sellers quickly learn to accommodate this inevitable inconvenience, and strive to make it possible for their property to be available to show on a moment’s notice…though only when a duly-qualified tenant is at the other end of the line.

Since luxury homes often take a good deal longer to rent than less expensive ones, it’s important that this kind of disruption not sour the seller’s attitude. Experience teaches that an oft-delayed showing does NOT signal disrespect for the property and its owners – the fact is it probably indicates the opposite. After all, these potential luxury home buyers really want to see the place, but at the same time, their schedules are really tough to crack!

Throughout the process, the most important part of the showing is the state of the property, no matter when or how it comes about. If you have done your due diligence, you will have selected an agent accustomed to representing and renting homes at your price point in the Marin rental market. No matter how experienced that agent may be, he or she needs to show an absolutely spotless property. Any potential tenant will be disproportionately affected by the initial impression, which needs to be free of distracting miscues.

It is very rare to find a luxury home tenant who intends to expend a great deal of effort to bring a property up to snuff. As a consequence, even minor lapses in maintenance can have an outsized impact on an otherwise truly outstanding residence. The finer the property, the more attention-grabbing any overlooked maintenance issue is likely to be. It’s not fair; it’s not even reasonable – but experienced agents and the luxury home owners they represent all know it’s true!

My team and I represent some of the most selective rentals and clients in Marin.  We specialize in the Marin County rental and are happy to assist.  Contact us anytime at (415) 507-9600.





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New Marin Rental Office in Kentfield Coming Soon!

by Christopher 3. August 2010 13:07

The walls have been torn down - and rebuilt.  The skylights re-visited.  The Ac re-situated.  The old carpets have been torn up.  The new flooring is on its way in. 

But don't pop the champagne just yet!  We've got a ways to go before our new office space is ready for the rental public this September - but when it is get ready for improved access to rental listings, easy-to-reach local rental agents and an easy place to go for all your Marin county rental needs!

Opening to be announced this fall.

In the meantime, here's a peek at our conference-room-in-progress! 


My team and I focus on the Marrin rental market and we're happy to help.  Contact our office anytime with questions: (415) 507-9600.  Or visit us on-line at http://www.marinrentalgroup.com/


Marin Rental Agencies - How to Select Your Agent

by Christopher 19. July 2010 04:45

As the broker at our new rental agency - the Marin Rental Group at Foundation Rentals and Relocation - I encounter this question almost every day from new potential landlord clients. Once a property owner has decided to list with a Marin rental agency, the question becomes which one?  By the time I meet with a client, they've usually already googled us, checked out our websites, and are already interested in hearing more - which is a great thing.  We love to see owners out there doing their homework. 

But the question that comes next is: why you?

We have a lot of answers to that question - just ask my partner/wife Darcy who is a fountain of information about the Marin rental market, and the pros and cons of our various competition: namely, who is doing what, why and for how long?  She likes to joke that she has all this otherwise useless information in her head about the Marin rental market and it's got nowhere to go but out.  The short answer is that we as a Marin rental agency are commited to raising the bar in the Marin rental market: we perform at a high level, working nights, weekends and holidays for our clients, consistently delivering executive-level service no matter how large or small the property.  We have high expectations of our agents, continually improving our marketing, our on-line presence, our networking, always growing and improving, thinking outside the box.  As such, we tend to set the trends in the local market, and we like to think, raise the standards for Marin rental agencies.

The most common mistake we see from Marin rental property owners?  Hiring a rental agent who does not know the local Marin rental market.  An agent new to Marin, or who perhaps is very experienced renting properties in San Francisco but doesn't know Ross from Ross Valley, or an agent who primarily sells real estate - rather than rent it - are the easy qualifying questions to spot.  It doesn't mean this agent is a bad agent - but if you're serious about your rental property, you do need to list with a Marin rental agency that knows the ever-changing Marin rental market.  It may not seem like a big deal, but experience and local market knowledge can be the difference between another 30 days on the market or not - and that can be a big deal.

At Foundation Rentals and Relocation we're in this business for the long haul: we want everyone to succeed.  As a Marin rental agency, we're here to build successful relationships with our clients, our tenants, and yes, with our competitors.  So if you want to know what your Marin rental agency is doing well (and what they're not doing!), give us a call and we'll be happy to offer advice.  Our goal is to see the Marin rental market handled by professionals, whether it's our rental agency or another, becuase at the end of the day working with other professionals makes our job easier!   

Have questions about Marin rental agencies?  Looking help with your Marin rental property?  My team and I specialize in the Marin County Rental Home and are happy to chat anytime: http://www.marinrentalgroup.com/ or call our office (415) 507-9600.


Aging Homes May Be Greener Than You Think!

by Christopher 4. June 2010 05:37

There are a few surprising facts about the relationship of some of Marin’s older homes to Mother Earth, Over and above the altruistic reasons for seeking to conserve the planet’s limited resources, everybody, no matter how green-minded, is keenly aware of the practical dollars-and-cents reasons to monitor the energy our homes require.

The problem is, some of us who covet older homes -- especially the true antiques -- have begun to think we ought to feel a little guilty about that preference. Especially when we read about some of the new ultra-green, ecologically-advanced housing projects…or hear from their unabashedly vocal boosters.

But take heart, ye owners of aging homes! There may yet be a reason or two for you to stop cowering in the shadows. Here in Marin, especially in areas like Kentfield, Belvedere and Ross where home were originally built as summer homes for San Francisco's elite, homes that have been around for a while commonly incorporate a host of built-in energy conservation features that even the newest homes could be hard-put to match.

Energy efficiency in older residences did not come about by accident. Some of the most basic structural elements in traditional homes were developed over centuries as practical features that saved costly fuel or maximized the comfort of the inhabitants.

The white-painted clapboard or board-and-batten siding on standard colonial or federal homes, for instance, uses the high reflectivity the light color to hold down the interior heat during the summer. Mature trees, planted where they will provide maximum shade value, are evidence of a landscaping solution common in the days before air conditioning.

Homes in modern housing developments are often designed to take advantage of the cost and production efficiencies of multiple unit construction – definite plusses in the campaign for sustainability. But there are some eco-downsides, too. Because they are designed for duplication on multiple sites, the positioning of any home on its lot is likely to be made in consideration of practical aesthetic considerations. Older homes, on the other hand, are commonly oriented to make the most of that land’s available sunlight. You can see how its windows are positioned to gather the greatest amount of solar energy during winter’s short daylight hours.

Likewise, it’s not uncommon to find the rooms and windows in older homes specifically positioned to maximize the cross-ventilation available from that lot’s prevailing afternoon breezes. Studies have shown that many older windows perform as well as modern vinyl replacements, especially when they have been properly weather-stripped and caulked. And of course the heavyweight construction materials built into homes which have stood up to the elements through the years are a considerable asset in energy conservation.

Many homes with traditional radiator systems find out that their antique fixtures are worth maintaining because of their superiority to modern lighter-weight replacements. Although any truly ancient boiler can’t match a modern replacement’s core efficiency, some of the newly-developed electronic add-on governors are relatively inexpensive yet can provide fuel savings of as much as 30%.

In an ever more green-conscious world, where recycling and reuse are prized as key ingredients in the movement toward sustainability, one major characteristic of older homes is perhaps the most eco-friendly of all. It is the underlying fact that the greenest home is, after all, the home that’s already built!

Interested in chatting more about homes or homes for rent in Marin?  My team and I specialize in the Marin Rental market and would love to help.  Contact me on my mobile anytime: (415) 637-8934.  Cheers, Christopher


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The More Things Change....

by Christopher 2. April 2010 06:47
As in so many realms of American life today, the process of finding homes for rent in Marin calls for new tools and methods that weren't available even a dozen years ago. Many of the tried-and-true pathways our parents relied upon are no longer practical -- while others no longer even exist!


Yesteryear's preferred route for finding homes for rent - especially in relatively small comminuty like Marin - was simple: word-of-mouth. If any of the neighborhood's families were even thinking about putting up their homes for lease, Shirley down at the end of the block would be sure to know all about it. Later, families as became more mobile and communities less static, the neighborhood grapevine began to wither. Next the local real estate company's "for rent" sign in the front yard became the leading way to find homes for lease in Marin.


But in today's rapidly-shifting commercial and cultural environment, word-of-mouth is just about gone as the route to search out homes for rent, and the realty sign, while still a valuable advertising medium, has fallen to second or third place. The reasons are multifold, but many stem from the average 21st Century American's willingness to switch careers and the communities they call home.


A potential tenant looking for a Kentfield home for rent, for instance, may launch the search from a living room in Willow Springs, Missouri, where his firm's headquarters are located. Shirley at the end of the block no longer knows which homes in Kentfield are up for lease, and even if she did, she's never even heard of Willow Springs. Homes for rent in Sausalito might draw a hot lead from Dayton or Dubuque when a Ohioan's grandchild is accepted for a new job in San Francisco – well removed from the sign in the Californian landlord's front yard.


Marin homes for rent can now even pop up on mobile devices. The 'Homes for Rent' apps for cell phones, iPads, even iPod Touch users are emerging in markets large and small. Coupled with geo-location capabilities in some of the devices, a search can be narrowed or widened, mapped or redrawn with the push of a button or two.


All this is true and noteworthy, and has changed the process of finding Marin homes for rent almost beyond recognition. But despite all the pace of change and head-spinning technical developments available to the potential house-hunting public, there still remains a not at all replaceable human component.


Identifying some prospective homes for rent is one thing, but finding all of them is quite another. And identifying the ones that fit a variety of specific requirements is quite another still. In this respect, no engineer has quite been able to duplicate the services of a reliable and knowledgeable real estate professional, whose business it is to be familiar inside and out with the homes for rent in the entire area, and how best to deal with state, city, and local neighborhood ins and outs.

The more things change, the more some things remain stubbornly the same!

Looking for help with your Marin home for rent?  Relocating and need guidance?  My team and I specialize in th Marin rental and are happy to help.  Call our Marin Leasing Office anytime: (415) 507-9600.

Happy Easter!



List Your Property

Thanks for visiting my blog.  My team and I specialize in leasing homes for rent in Marin.  As the broker and owner of Foundation Rentals and Relocation, I am happy to discuss your property anytime.  Call me directly at (415) 895-0102, or visit us online at www.foundationretalgroup.com.

Christopher Barrow, Broker

Successfully RENTED in Marin

Here are a few of our local successfully rented properties here in Marin.  My team offers complimentary consultations, so let us know if you'd like us to view your property as well.

Tenant Services

A great rental broker saves you time and money - anything less can waste both.  If you're a well-qualified tenant serious about finding a great home to rent in Marin you have come to the right place.   We offer Tenant Services as well starting at $375; follow the link or call our office to learn more about putting our team to work for you and gaining premium access to our off-market listings. (415) 507-9600.