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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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 Marin Rental House and Back to Basics Landlording 101

by Christopher 20. February 2010 04:38

When should a person ever stop learning?  You all know the answer to that: never. 

But you should especially never stop learning when there are fair housing laws at stake! 

That said, my team and I are always brushing up on our skills to keep moving all these Marin rental homes.  We attend the San Francisco PPMA (Property Managers Association) and SFAA (San Franciso Apartment Association) meetings.  We belong to MPAA (Mairn Property Owner Association).  We take "Landlord 101" classes in our free time.  We read the local MLS rules and regulations.  We chat with our attounry on a regular basis.  We're constantly reviewing and revising our documents and company procedures.  And we never stop asking questions.

But this week, we're really going back to basics and purchasing a few Amazon Landlord/Tenant books meant for beginners.  Yes, you read that correctly...beginners.  I've been in this business about 5 years now, and in that time have rented hundreds of properties.  I've fielded thousands of phones calls and seen thousands of houses.  Yet, sometimes, I feel it's important to take down the barriers - in this case, already learned knowledge - and just get back to basics.  So we're ordering a few books online as if we were brand new landlords looking for info to get started renting a property in Marin.

In trying to decide which books we want to purchase I came across a couple reviews, one of them talking about the use of a rental broker to rent your house.  Obviously, we couldn't agree more:

I would personally recommend that every landlord use a Broker. I see so many landlords that insist on coming in for the showing, and they either like the potential tenant and get over eager, or just say something that scares them off. Using a broker who is calm and will just show them around without emotional attachment is really your best bet. Many times I've heard someone say "I really like the apartment, but the landlord makes me nervous".

If not to find the tenants, a Broker can help you do and provide the proper paperwork. For a small fee, they'll do background checks, credit reports and write the lease for you. A good Broker knows red flags and don't rely on how they "feel" about the applicant. They go on fact. Spending the...bucks is going to be cheaper in the long run then breaking a fair housing law and getting sued for thousands. Or having to pay triple damages when you mishandle their security deposit.

Don't rely on other landlords for "oh, this is the lease I use" or "the addendum I like". Many landlords these days try to include unenforceable clauses. Do you really want to tell the judge "my landlord friend told me it was ok!".

-A.Boston, Amazon Reviewer out of MS

So true, my friends, so true.  While obviously it is in my interest as a Marin leasing agent to support the idea of landlords using brokers, it's funny to see an agent across the country has the exact same experience we do here in Marin.  Some things I guess are just universal.

So, wish us here at the Marin Leasing Team happy reading as we take landlording back to basics!   We'll post our own reviews here in the following weeks. 

And happy Ski Week everyone!

Larkspur's Newest Addition!

by Christopher 2. December 2009 06:00

Comfy, casual and cool - that's Bradley Ogden's new Tavern at Lark Creek. 

Formerly known as Lark Creek Inn, this 2009 re-launched Larkspur restaurant is near the top of my list for the newly relocating to Marin.  You get the trifecta of success: great, local ingredients, stellar service and a not-too-fussy environment.  The Tavern is just as comfortabe for families seeking a burger and fries as it is for a couple looking for ribs and a bottle of bubbly (which is what we had).  Big selling bonus?  The price point is ridiculously affordable (by Marin standards anyway...)  I've had dinner for two including apps and a bottle of wine come in at about $70, and a party of four with the same came in at about $150.  Not bad!

Located walking distance from many of Larkspur's best neighborhoods like Madrone Canyon, Heather Gardens (where we've seen a couple of affordable Larkspur rentals pop up recently!) and anywhere near downtown, this is the type of restaurant that makes my fiance' get on me again abut moving us back to Larkspur.  Whenever we get relocation clients for Marin, we always tell them about Larkspur.  You get great houses in the flats, great California weather, a charming downtown and an easy San Francisco commute - not to mention great schools and plenty of parks, hiking and magnolia trees.

Now with the addition of the Tavern at Lark Creek, you also get comfortable, fuss-free food! 

Now if we could just find ourselves a great rental in Larkspur....  :)

My team and I specialize in Marin rentals and relocation - including Larkspur rentals and Larkspur relocation.  We offer consultation packages for Marin's landlords and relocation tour packages for Marin's relocating tenants.  Contact us anytime with questions:

Happy holidays.

Finding Short Term Furnished Rentals in Marin

by Christopher 5. June 2009 09:34

We get a lot of calls on our office line about short term, furnished rentals in Marin.  Sometimes the calls are from tenants looking for rentals; sometimes it's owners wondering what the current market is like for furnished rentals. I am happy to help with six month and longer furnished leases; that's generally the minimum my partners and I work with, though there are always exceptions.  My partner Darcy just leased a 3 month fully furnished rental in Larkspur for $4250/month, and I just leased a three month rental in Mill Valley for $7500/month.  There are usually a variety of options out there in Marin if you're looking for temporary housing.

When a tenant calls me looking for furnished options, I first need to know how long they would like to lease the rental.  Recently, a woman from Florida called.  She wanted a luxury two week rental, with the option to transition to a two month rental after that.   Unfortunately, our leasing company doesn't handle very short term 2-week, or two month even, rentals like that.  Not because we don't want to help, but because we're just not set up to handle the turn over of such short term vacation rentals.  If you're looking for a two month or shorter lease in Marin, your best bet will be a website like  These are rentals posted by owners themselves - Darcy and I use it all the time when we're considering our own vacations.  Another option for short term rentals in Marin is International Quarters.  We send a lot of business their way when we can't handle the short term request ourselves!   If you have pets, a lot of local families in Marin end up at Marin Suites in Corte Madera.  They have a great central location, are pet friendly, and can be one of the most economic options.

If you're looking for a three month or longer furnished lease, my leasing team and I have a couple of listings that are great for those executive-style temporary properties.  One my rental listings is on the water in Novato in Bel Marin Keys.  It is fully furnished with gorgeous water views.  I have another furnished rental in Belvedere - also turn-key fully elegantly furnished and ready to go!  The nice thing about both of these rentals is that they are simple to move right into....just bring your suitcase and your toothbrush!

Feel free to call me if you have any questions about Marin Rentals and Marin Relocation.  Christopher: 415.637.8934 or

Relocating and Leasing in Marin; an Ongoing Conversation

by Christopher 28. June 2008 19:00

Welcome to Marin's Relocating and Leasing Blog

Written by Christopher Barrow, broker and owner of Foundation Rental and Relocation Inc, the purpose of this blog is to discuss various issues surrounding rentals and relocation in the North Bay.  Born in San Francisco and raised in Marin, Christopher can tell you first hand about his experience with this great county.  He knows equally well what Marin County brings to the table for the single professional relocating for work, the newlywed couple transitioning from city life, or the family looking for the ideal place to raise their children.  People flock to Marin knowing that they can live in a safe environment and send their kids to a great school, yet remain close to San Francisco or the East Bay for work, and all the while enjoy local getaways in Napa and Sonoma, or a cruise on Mt. Tam on their bike on the weekends.  This is a blog for all those considering relocating or leasing in Marin.

About Christopher:

Born in San Francisco and raised in Marin, Christopher comes from an educational background in communications, with previous work experience in sales and client management.  Christopher works every end of the rental spectrum from one bedroom apartments for $1,500 to high-end, executive-style rentals renting anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000+ a month.  A working relationship with Christopher brings round the clock dedication and true client focus.  While his specialty is on Marin rentals and relocation, Christopher does on occassion service clients in San Francisco and parts of the East Bay. 

When not working--which is rare if you ask his friends and family--Christopher spends his time at the Bay Club in Corte Madera, or at home in San Rafael with his wife and business partner, Darcy and their two dogs and cat, enjoying all the great outdoor life Marin has to offer.

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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

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.

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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.