Here Comes Spring: Hot Rental Homes Coming to Marin this Season

by Christopher Barrow 4. March 2011 12:21

Spring is almost here in Marin and the home rental market is heating up.  We had a busy February with several rentals deals coming together off-market.   We've got some great new listings coming this month - a 4,000+/- sq ft home near downtown Mill Valley for $15k, a sunny, hillside home in Winship park in Ross for $4500, and a new luxury Tiburon rental at 8 Hillcrest just listed for $12,000 per month with a wine cellar and movie room.

We've also got some exciting new programs coming to our company this spring - stay tuned!

My team and I specialize in the Marin rental market - call or visit us online anytime at

Christopher Barrow



Foundation Rentals Listing Featured in SF Chronicle's "What You Can Rent" Column

by Christopher Barrow 30. January 2011 07:35

As one of the Bay Area's top resources for rentals in Marin, my team and I were contacted by the San Francisco Chronicle this month to see if we had any "interesting" homes for rent in Marin.  The answer is always "Yes!".  We submit two or three of our current favorites.  Below see the link to the home they selected to feature: our new 3bd+bd listing on Sunnyside, a fresh Craftsman remodel just a stone's throw from downtown Mill Valley, available for lease at $7,995 per month. 

See the article here: What You Can Rent in the Bay Area for $8,000

If you read the comments from around the country below the article they are pretty funny: no one can seem to believe anyone actually rents a home for $8,000/month (even though the mortgage on a $2 million to $3 million home would easily cost a buyer $15k or more per month)...I wonder what they would have said if the columist had selected one of our $4 million or $5 million listings that rent for $12k and up?  Such is the price we pay for life in Marin - but that's another story.  The featured home is one of my personal favorites and is shown by appointment. More info about the property can be seen at

Happy Sunday, Marin!

Christopher Barrow


Foundation Rentals and Relocation, Inc


Unique $7,000 Luxury Rental in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood

by Christopher Barrow 9. December 2010 05:36

If you are considering San Francisco as well in your rental home search, consider checking out this unique luxury property for rent in Upper/Castro and Noe neighborhoods.

Here is the virtual tour for this custom home for rent - check it out and let me know what you think!

And here is the main website for this San Francisco rental:

Located just blocks from public transportation, parks and great restaurants, this home is really worth viewing if you're considering renting in this neighborhood.

Christopher Barrow, Broker

(415) 507-9600

Marin Rental Company in the News! That's us!

by Christopher Barrow 22. November 2010 03:15

As we've launched our new Marin rental company at Foundation Rentals and Relocation this year, this holiday season my wife Darcy and I are especially thankful for the love and support we've had from our friends, family and our colleagues and clients here in Marin.  It's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of rentals and a growing business, but when the San Francisco Chronicle intervewied us for this piece last month, we were reminded yet again how lucky we are to be here and to be healthy.

A big thank you to Louise at the San Francisco Chronicle for asking great questions and writing such a nice piece about us:

Happy Thanksgiving, Marin and SF!

Christopher Barrow, Broker

Foundation Rentals and Relocation, Inc


Home Ownership in Marin - A Dying Dream?

by Christopher Barrow 11. October 2010 03:24

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:

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 Barrow 6. October 2010 03:47

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!


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New Marin County Rental Office Opening This Week!

by Christopher Barrow 13. September 2010 07:27

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 Barrow 4. June 2010 04:37

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 Barrow 20. February 2010 03:38

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 Barrow 2. December 2009 05:00

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.

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About Marin Rental Broker Christopher Barrow

Born in San Francisco and raised in Marin, broker Christopher Barrow comes from an educational background in communications, with previous work experience in sales and client management.  Together with partner/wife, Darcy Alkus Barrow, the two run Foundation Rentals and Relocation servicing all of Marin County's rental property needs.

Even as the owner of the company, Christopher works every end of the Marin rental spectrum from one bedroom apartments for $1,000 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.  

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 their two dogs, enjoying all the great outdoor life Marin has to offer.

Contact Christopher anytime at CA DRE Lic# 01722834

Areas served include: Sausalito rentals, CA, USA - Mill Valley rentals, CA, USA - Tiburon rentals, CA, USA - Belvedere rentals, CA, USA - Corte Madera rentals, CA, USA - Larkspur rentals, CA, USA - Greenbrae rentals, CA 94904, USA - Kentfield rentals, CA, USA - Ross rentals, CA, USA - San Anselmo rentals, CA, USA - San Rafael rentals, CA, USA - Novato rentals, CA, USA - San Francisco rentals, CA, USA‎ Rentals


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