Welcome to Novato
With its sunny rolling hills punctuated by hilltop estates and the occasional vineyard, there's a little hint of Mediterranean countryside lingering over this quickly-growing, second-largest and most northern city in Marin County. From the luxury waterfront homes by Bel Marin Keys to Indian Valley horse properties to the California suburban neighborhoods in San Ramon, Novato offers a price-point for everyone, with a more affordable median house price and high quality of life than almost anywhere in Marin County. You can feel the buzz from younger families moving increasingly to Novato for the reasonable commute to SF (30 minutes give or take) and the balanced lifestyle, with super-convenient Vintage Oaks shopping (it's not easy to find a Costco, Target, and Marshalls all in one place in Marin) and plenty of local community events from a fabulous Farmer's Market to the Art, Wine and Music festival hosted by the town in the summer.
Stuff people do here
- Pack a picnic and frisbee to take to Pioneer Park with the family. Close to downtown, with paths for scooters and trikes.
- Grab your binoculars and trek into Novato's vast Open Space for some bird watching. Or forget the birds and head out with bike.
- Join Forage SF to hunt for edible mushrooms in coastal woodlands in and around Novato.
- Head to wine country for the day. It's less than an hour away.
- Drive 20 min. from Downtown Novato for Marin French Cheese on your way to visit Point Reyes Station.
All Novato public elementary schools belong under the giant (7600 student) Novato Unified School District. There are seven mainstream K-5 elementary schools, one K-8, and a K-8 charter serving the elementary age group. For such a huge District especially, the schools in Novato are generally high-performing, with a range of success at achieving state and national proficiency levels depending on the school (see above). School enrollment is determined by street-by-street boundary zones (see here), with students overflowed if grade level is full at registration. It's always a good idea to call the District to check on whether your neighborhood school is already full or whether they are accepting new students at a particular grade level. For the higher-performing mainstream elementary schools (Pleasant Valley and Rancho are extremely desirable) there are a large number of applications to transfer into the school from students living outside of the school boundary. There is a District transfer policy allowing each Novato family to apply for one school transfer per year. If the transfer is not available that year because of enrollment, a family is not allowed to apply to another school to transfer. This means that families have something of "one shot" attempt if they are trying to get into a school outside their boundary zone.
Novato Charter (K-8) consistently achieves high test scores and proficiency levels. Novato Charter is a unique, Waldorf-informed environment with an emphasis on nature-based learning, a wholesome lifestyle with minimal "commercial" exposure (they generally prefer students minimize TV and screen exposure at home or eliminate altogether), and a focus on project-based learning which is currently a buzzy and much-talked about concept throughout Marin public school education. It's not for everyone, but many in the community are incredibly positive about the school and it provides a great, different option from traditional public elementary/middle school.
Novato, like most other Marin County school districts, must fundraise to bridge the gap in State funding to meet the cost of a high-quality education. In Novato this happens with a combination of unrestricted PTA fundraising and a District-wide, pooled Novato Foundation for Public Education (aka "School Fuel"). School Fuel raises money in the community for art, technology in the classroom, music, and (at the high school level), college planning. School Fuel works with PTAs in each, individual Novato school to try to coordinate fundraising efforts, but the District/School Fuel do not restrict PTA fundraising. This means that school funding will have more variation across the District than a more heavily regulated PTA/District partnership, but consequently many PTA's will find it easier to fundraise with parents being motivated to give directly to their child's school.
Novato serves a large, diverse community in its middle schools. There is a range of student achievement at the middle school level (see above for links to school proficiency and test scores). Students in Novato Unified continue to have access to assistance for Special Education services and English Language Learners, and there is a GATE program for students who qualify.
There are two mainstream high school options in Novato Unified: Novato High School and San Marin High School.
Choosing a private option in Novato is not uncommon, but most families choose to attend public schools, especially at the elementary level. The most popular private choice is Our Lady of Loretto (Catholic, Novato K-8). Good Shepherd Lutheran (K-8) is another popular choice. For private high school options many in Novato opt to travel to Central Marin (Marin Catholic in Greenbrae is where Novato-native and 2016 No.1 NFL Draft pick for LA Rams quarterback Jared Goff attended high school), for options including Marin Catholic, Marin Academy (San Rafael), Branson School (Ross), or San Domenico (San Anselmo).
Typically the drive to the Golden Gate is 30 minutes on a good day.
Hand-Picked Novato Realtors
Well-known throughout Marin County by clients and colleagues as an agent who works exceptionally hard, with some of the highest levels of customer service in the industry. Lisa also delivers results for her clients, and has won numerous coveted awards including, "Presidents Gold Award of Distinction 2013" and "Marin Platinum Group Top 100." A Marin native with established, local family roots deep in the Marin community, Lisa raised children in Novato and is an excellent resource on Novato public and private schools. Lisa works all over Marin County, and she is a top-producing agent for Decker-Bullock Sotheby's in Novato with special expertise in the Marin Country Club and Pointe Marin neighborhoods.
If you’re looking for a real estate agent, think “G” for Great and choose Lisa Garaventa. Lisa will buy or sell your house as if it were her own. She is more motivated in fulfilling her client's dreams than in making a quick sale. After taking the time to really get to know me and what kind of house I wanted, she used her substantial familiarity of the Marin area to fully make the best use of my time in finding just the right house. If I got sidetracked, she would gently remind me of my needs and was tireless in researching houses to make sure they lived up to their billing. She knows the best inspectors in the county and never rushes the inspection process. Every time I walk into my home, I fall in love with it all over again. As I am also selling a house, I can't think of anyone I would rather have steering me through the process in this difficult market. Keeping a finger on the market's changing conditions, she continually stays current on comps and calls me almost daily to make sure that I don't feel forgotten. If you need help getting a house ready for a sale, or keeping one beautiful after a purchase, Lisa knows reliable and reasonable people for any job. Lisa works hard and truly cares. I no longer think of her as my real estate agent but as a friend who is one phone call away.
Not only is Kristie an exceptional, top-producing agent at Pacific Union | Christie's Real Estate in Novato with a stellar reputation in the community, she is a client-focused agent who prides herself on a referral-based business and developing rapport which results in a lasting relationship. Kristie is a Novato-based Mom of three children in public schools, and she knows her way around the Novato School District like the back of her hand, which is a huge plus for any family thinking of buying a home here. A Marin native, Kristie combines her deep insight into this community with 10+ years of experience in marketing and sales before becoming an agent. She is super-savvy on social media and leverages this skill to help her clients in both buying and selling a home. When she's not working hard for her clients, Kristie is volunteering at her children's schools, at community events, and enjoying the fabulous Marin lifestyle!
"Kristie has done an amazing job for us. I couldn’t say enough great things about her. I would highly recommend her! Honest, compassionate, hard working, knowledgable…just to name a few of her great qualities. Having Kristie help you find your home or list your home would be a great choice…one you would never regret! She doesn’t just sell or list your house she builds a relationship with you and lets you use her as a resource for all your real estate needs!"
An entrepreneur since childhood. Miguel would buy NOW and LATERS, Boston Baked Beans and Lemon heads for 10 cents each and turn them around for a quarter. At age 10 he learned the benefits of supply and demand, and by 11, monopolized profitable candy sales at school. In 2003 Miguel purchased his first home in Arizona, and a year later, purchased his second here in Marin County. By 2009 Miguel owned one personal residence and two rental properties. Today, Miguel is a top Novato producer for Holmes-Burrell Real Estate and prides himself on listening and understanding each client's goals, while working tirelessly to get the best deal for his clients. Miguel is a fluent Spanish-speaker and loves the Novato community, having grown up in Novato himself and currently raising his family there. Miguel’s love of real estate, knowledge of the market and outstanding negotiating skills makes him the best realtor to have on your side. He will not disappoint in finding and negotiating the best home for you or selling your home for a top profit.
"It is with great pleasure and esteemed gratitude that I write thanking you for the outstanding service you gave my wife and I in selling our property. Your relentless support of our unique financial circumstance together with your cool-under-fire professionalism is admirable and gratifying. I would recommend your real estate professional services without reservation to anyone in Northern California planning to sell or purchase real estate. Miguel, our sincerest thanks again, for your superior professionalism and vast skill, in representing our residential sales transaction. We will recommend your unique services with everyone we meet in need of a 'Top Gun' real estate agent."
"My passion for real estate drives me to place you at the top of the market." - Miguel Paredes III.