Marin Madness: The Second in my Series, “Only In California”

Folks, puchasing a home In Marin County, California, is not unlike running for Public Office.

First, buyers, like candidates, must begin raising obscene amounts of money for a down payment which is imperative before embarking on running for a house. Fundraising (also referred to as begging) typically begins with assistance from your closest allies and supporters..(i.e., your family.) To fund your campaign to run for a house, large amounts of cash must first mysteriously appear in your bank account and need not necessarily  be traceable (kind of like Nixon’s slush fund) so as not to alert the “Underwriters.” They, like the PRESS, are scouring your past credit for dirt including even teeny minor indiscretions and no stone will be left unturned, not even the one from Hank’s Hangover Pizza Joint back in College to whom you gave a phony credit card number. It’s all there for the digging and dig they do with deft, diligence and determination. They can sniff out an unpaid late fee like a bloodhound.

Pandering to the voting audience is a must, (in this case, it’s the Listing Agent), to whom you must make a stellarly good impression to even be considered for the honor of making an offer and takes on a bizarre, ritual, as well. Oddly similar to the Electoral College, whereby, offers are only accepted on an approved date, while nobody knows who offered what and by some mathematical anomaly, sellers select their favored, yet, not necessarily, their highest offer.

The home price, is, say $860,000, (already an insanely inflated price), but is business as usual in Marin County for a 2 bedroom 2 bath 1200 sq ft. home here.) It may or may not include a garage or yard, but it does not actually matter, as the clamoring of buyers has already begun.

What happens next is a buyers’ frenzy similar to a BUY/ ONE/GET 2/FREE cashmere sweater Sale at Macy’s on BLACK FRIDAY.

Here’s a brief timeline: Your realtor alerts you to the new property listing along with its price. You shit your pants. You quickly regain your composure and accompany your realtor to the home and offer your first born to live here.

Sorry, not so fast. You must next make an appearance at the “Broker’s Open House”, where the Listing Agent is in attendance, holding court. This is your opportunity to make a good impression, a curtsy, perhaps just for good measure, a gesture indicating your lowliness, but a great time to seriously suck up to her/him and to succumb to intense scrutiny. A good first impression is positively of utmost importance, and sometimes requires the borrowing of a baby, held fast to the breast, to reinforce your family’s wholesomeness.

In the unlikely event the agent should take a shine to you, or at least, pity you, you may be suggested to the “Sellers” as a potential buyer. A “Letter” may also be encouraged, personally written by you, to the Seller, to submit your worthiness, and to beg for the privilege to submit an offer. Everyone is shrewdly aware of this silly charade, and the buyer wouldn’t dream of suggesting an offer below asking price, or even AT asking price, as, the Listing Price, YOU DOLT, isn’t really the price at all, just a teaser price to get you into the house, decide you will die if you cannot live there, mortgage an insane amount of money, and live on spam for the next 30 years.


This is like reading “The Inquirer” with all the Seller’s house’s sordid past details and revealing all its imperfections, hidden secrets, crappy insulation and seediness for the public’s inspection. It can get ugly.

A new sewer lateral.….What the hell is that?

Termites….? You cannot be serious… this price??!! Eww….where are they?

Cracked foundation….well….it’s still standing…so what’s the biggie?

It’s all good, you decide, as your Realtor informs  you there are 92 other offers being presented. Yours needs to “Look Good.”

You eagerly submit an offer like a dog drooling over a steak $100,000 over the already hideously inflated asking price.

By now, however, the price has increased to a cool 1 million.

Wait….WHAT”!??  Welcome, folks as you have been drafted into the “Bidding War.” It’s just as rough and brutal as combat, but without actual blood, rather, with grisly amounts of cash hemorrhaging.

You offer an overly indulgent price despite the Seller’s refusal to address…(repair),  any of those pesky “disclosures’ issues.” After all, you reason, you can learn to love termites.

You wait 3 days whilst the seller mulls over the multiple offers and you chew your nails down to bloody stumps.

Finally….! You are notified by your Realtor…….. The house has gone to a HIGHER BIDDER.

You shit your pants.

Buying/Sellng a home here is not for the faint of heart, nor for anyone who actually has a heart, unlike the politicians. It’s brutal, so prepare yourself for battle and wear your thickest skin and your highest boots along with an extra change of underwear.

You will be needing them.





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