CLAM to sell affordable home in Point Reyes

David Briggs
A three-bedroom home on a large lot above downtown will be sold to a middle-income family. It’s the the Community Land Trust Association of West Marin’s second purchase property and its latest effort to expand affordable options.  

It was the usual dance for Eric Oldmixon and his young family: spend months hunting for a rental, pack up and move somewhere new, then repeat the process when the landlord decided to sell the house or list it on Airbnb. 

Then, three years ago, the Community Land Trust Association of West Marin helped his family purchase their own home in Inverness at a price they could afford. CLAM retained ownership of the land, while Mr. Oldmixon’s family bought the home.

“They get all the same tax benefits, they are in charge of landscaping and home improvements, and if they decide to sell, they get back all mortgage payments and make a little something too,” CLAM’s executive director, Kim Thompson, said.

The arrangement has proved a success, and CLAM is now using the same model for a home in Point Reyes Station. The nonprofit purchased a three-bedroom residence at 31 Giacomini Road this spring for a market price of of $839,000, with help from donors. CLAM has subtracted the price of the land and then some, thanks to fundraising efforts. The group is now searching for a middle-income family of three to six to buy the house for a total of $384,200. 

The house is part of a subdivision that EAH Housing built in 2004 with the intent of providing low-income housing. Yet due to complications with the project, the house ultimately was sold at market price. Ms. Thompson said CLAM felt it was “important to us to return the house to its original intent.”

She says the idea is for the land to remain in the ownership of the land trust so that it remains an affordable option in perpetuity. For the home in Point Reyes, the nonprofit intends for the final buyer to purchase the home by securing a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. 

CLAM is holding two community meetings to explain the details. The first, for Spanish speakers, will take place this Friday, Nov. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Point Reyes Library; the second workshop, in English but with Spanish translation, takes place on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the Dance Palace from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Applications will be available at the meetings and at beginning Nov. 17. 

“I had to get used to the idea of the land trust model,” said Mr. Oldmixon, who now sits on CLAM’s board. “In some ways, it seems like there are less opportunities... But as I learned more, I realized the differences in ownership were subtle distinctions, and we still have most of the freedom.”

He added: “When you’re renting, you maybe get a few months of warning that you have to find a new place, and a panic kind of sets in. You think, ‘Oh, what if we don’t find anything?’ We don’t have to carry that weight anymore, which so many in this community share. That burden was lifted for us.”