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Top 6 Obscure Tips for Coping with Sebastopol’s Weather

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner

 

The heat of summer is upon us. The extreme temperatures of late caused us to rummage for a few useful tips for coping with Sebastopol’s hot weather. Most everyone can guess the commonsensical ones, like the NAR’s number one Home Showing Tip in Hot Weather: “Keep the house cool;” or the lead safety tip from the National Weather Service: “Stay out of the sun.”

Seriously, here are some ideas that don’t appear often. Some are only applicable in special instances, but all of which make a lot of sense:

Comb your fins. 

This tip for coping with Sebastopol heat spells has nothing to do with keeping any tropical fish well-groomed: it’s about your air conditioner. You’ve probably noticed that the sharp metal ridges that populate the exit side (the “fins”) are easily bent: just brush up against them, and they crumple. The problem is that when bent, they retard airflow. What you probably didn’t know is that there is actually a tool called a “fin comb” to straighten the condenser fins. 

Sub-tip: turn off the power before you comb.

Vacuum the pollen. 

This tip for summer pollen is already applicable here in Sebastopol, where springtime pollen is equally evident. The idea is to vacuum the front door flashing and window jamb crevices where pollen lurks, eliminating lingering allergy or asthma issues.

Rethink expensive suntan lotions. 

We can’t vouch for this one (we don’t have the lab equipment to test out CR’s findings)—but was surprised that Consumer Reports says that WalMart’s in-store brand (“Equate”) tests highest for effectiveness and lowest in price (less than half of some). If true, it might be practical to leave those fancy French-sounding versions in the shade.

When the house is empty, don’t turn the A/C off. 

Instead, set the thermostat up a few notches so that the place doesn’t absolutely bake. Sub-tip: when you enter a too-hot home, resist the temptation to set the thermostat ‘way cold: it won’t cool the house any faster.

Plant for shade. 

This is a strictly long-term tip, yet it’s one that’s probably the most valuable of the lot. Sebastopol homeowners whose roofs and walls are shaded by majestic trees and plantings have the best of it: lower cooling bills and the pleasure of shady porches and yards. When you are thinking about improving your Sebastopol home’s landscape profile, this is the tip to remember! 

Visit the grocery store. 

A lot. The wikiHow site explains that not only are grocery stores air conditioned (they are here in Sebastopol, though that’s not universally true)—but for extra chill, you can “visit the freezer section and peruse for a while.” 

All right—we admit we threw in wikiHow’s tip to round out the half-dozen. Another summertime tip that you could take advantage of right now, before Sebastopol’s summer ends: give us a call if you’re ready to plan your next real estate venture!  

This Land is Your Land

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner

Land purchases are sought out by buyers for different reasons. Sometimes, land can be a great, low-maintenance investment or it can be the start of a client's dream. The spectrum of reasons for buying land is just that far-reaching. This spectrum makes finding the right land for the right person, so interesting! We love matching motivations to parcels and feel like we are really helping to set in motion something special for our clients.

Some of the reasons buyers seek land are universal, regardless of what their ultimate goal for the property may be. There is a huge opportunity for increased property value when buying land, after all, they are not making any more of it. This opportunity is compounded by the fact, land can be very low maintenance. Whether you are investing to one day resell, or build your dream home, when there are no existing structures of maintenance issues to impede your vision, the possibilities are endless (and less expensive). Also, in the competitive market, we often find ourselves in, here in California, land purchases may be a way to relieve some of that tension. Often times, buying and selling land is less stressful and buyers often reap the benefits of that fact.

All of these benefits can be found at our listing at 3500 Sweetwater Springs Road. This property has breathtaking views, one of those perks found more often when buying property versus neighborhood homes.  Gently rolling ridge top features open sunny meadows, natural springs and incredible views of the Russian River Valley, Mt. Saint Helena and beyond. The views continue to sweep through the entirety of the 480± acre parcel. This property is the perfect canvas awaits to create your dream estate with vineyard potential. There are multiple building sites on this property that will provide the idyllic backdrop, your dream in wine country has always deserved.

 

What Luxury Real Estate Means in Sebastopol

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner

Luxury real estate is at the apex of the homeownership experience. All around the world, luxury homes are coveted, not only for their superior structures, but also for the lifestyle they provide to their occupants. In places like Sebastopol, Ca the luxury home market is a contrast, yet beautifully interwoven into the charm of this Northern California paradise. The atmosphere of this place, and the lifestyle it provides, can go hand-in-hand with the home of your dreams.

In luxury real estate, the sale price defines the term. Ranging from $1 million (in certain locations) to the upper limit of home value possibilities, luxury means different things in different places. On average (globally), luxury real estate is values at around $2.2 million. This average incorporates ranges in price that are as diverse as the styles, locations, and amenities they afford.  

Here, we offer fresh perspectives on how macroeconomic factors are impacting luxury home prices, inventory, and sales globally. This year (defined as 11/15 - 11/16) in Sebastopol, there were 79 luxury homes for sale and eight of those homes sold in that same time frame. Sebastopol is seeing growth in this sector of real estate. In the first quarter of 2015 (September to November of 2015), there were 18 luxury homes for sale and one home sold in that same period. Although price per square foot and overall home price has seen a slight decrease during those same months the number of luxury homes for sale and sold homes increased over the year. In the first quarter of 2016, there were 25 homes for sale and three sold. Luxury home inventory and sales grew from 2015 to 1016 by 40% and 200%, respectively. Another important statistic to note which speaks to desirable location and lifestyle, is the number of days homes are on the market. Luxury homes were on the market for a total of 218 days in the first quarter of 2015, and decreased by 23% to 168 days.

In Sebastopol, luxury real estate has changes in the last year. Some demographics of success have increased, while others have waned. The last year say over 70 listings of luxury real estate and 8 sales of luxury properties. This means that luxury home inventory and sales grew from 2015 to 1016 by 40% and 200%, respectively.

The trends seen in Sebastopol, are not uncommon. Home inventory is indirectly proportional to the price of the homes in the area. Still, luxury homes are very desirable and the need for these properties is on the rise in the area, as seen in the general market trends. The luxury home market in Sebastopol is because its richness in property and lifestyle.

See yourself lounging pool-side in your own Northern California luxury property? Give us a call and see which properties will help your dreams be realized.

The Year One Sebastopol Thanksgiving Was Not Enough

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner

 

If you have been looking forward to celebrating your Sebastopol Thanksgiving this Thursday, you’re probably confident that on Friday you’ll be able to put all the Thanksgiving paraphernalia away until next year. If you have plates or cups festooned with Pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys, back they’ll go into the cupboard until 2017—because Thanksgiving comes but once a year. 

True—except for that one year. That was the time when there were two Thanksgivings. 

If you haven’t heard this story, gather ‘round:

The year was 1939. On November 23, President Roosevelt ceremoniously carved a turkey, then took to the airwaves to wish his fellow citizens a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. The problem was, in many states across the country, radios were probably being clicked off because, for them, Thanksgiving wasn’t going to happen until a week later. If any turkeys had been aware of the situation, the lingering threat would have been more alarming than usual.

The anarchy had been years in the making. Presidents have the power to decree when the national day of thankfulness is celebrated. Ever since Honest Abe Lincoln had proclaimed it a national holiday, the last Thursday had been “it.” When Roosevelt began his presidency in 1933, he had come under pressure from business interests to move Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday—but he’d had resisted all attempts to overcome tradition.

But in 1939, the calendar again showed a five-Thursday November. The reason business hated such years was because they had to wait until December to launch their Christmas sales. After all, Americans didn’t even think about the holidays until they’d shaken off their calorie-induced Turkey Day stupors—everyone knew that! With the Great Depression still digging the economy an ever-deeper pit, The Chief reluctantly gave in. Early in 1939, FDR proclaimed that the fourth Thursday, November 23rd, was to going to be Thanksgiving.

No big deal, you might think. Wrong! Whenever any tradition is upended, some people are bound to get upset. Not to mention the calendar publishers, who reportedly had to scrap all the calendars they had printed in advance. School holiday schedules had to be redrawn; annual Thanksgiving football game dates changed—in short, in addition to the whipped cream on their pumpkin pies, states who went along with FDR had an extra dollop of chaos.

We haven’t been able to determine whether California was one of the states that refused to budge, but 23 of them crossed their legislative arms and issued their own counter-proclamations. And sure enough, lots of people put off the carving until the last day in November. Oh—wait! This just in: Colorado and Texas celebrated both!

In today’s more practical America, we have prevented two Thanksgivings from ever troubling us again by starting Christmas sales right after Halloween. We don’t know about your household, but in ours, one Sebastopol Thanksgiving is both welcome and sufficient. Here is hoping your holiday finds everyone healthy and properly thankful for the blessings we pause to remember.

Happy Thanksgiving!

That Rumbling Sound

by Randy Mack

"That rumbling sound you hear when a group of bikes comes together is not noise sir, it is the harmony of brotherhood coming together for a purpose and cause.”  - Crysta Baker

Volunteering with my local HOG chapter, Redwood Empire Chapter #3494, is something I have enjoyed for decades. Combining my love of riding, helping others, and enjoying our beautiful area is the perfect way for me to spend a day. For the last few years, I have volunteered and recruited SAG (Support and Gear) MOTO (Motorcycle) riders to volunteer their time with me in assisting Tour d’Organics and their event participants during a 16-100-mile bike ride through Sonoma County.

This event doesn’t disappoint. For volunteers and participants alike, riding through the gorgeous countryside, traveling through vineyards, and farms exploring the local produce along the way is an amazing way to spend a day.

Originally envisioned and created by the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center (SCCC), Tour d’ Organics is a West County cycling event unlike any other. The ride is not only an educational experience that combines your athletic pursuits with a wealth of knowledge about our local area, growing practices and practical tips that focus on the health of our bodies and planet, but the food offered is all organic, fresh, and locally sourced.

Our role as volunteers during a race can change depending on the situation. Sometimes we will assist a rider with mechanical issues, motivate a fatigued rider or give directions to a rider who has fallen behind the group. I have assisted the bicycle riders with spare inner tubes, maps, directions and formation policies along the route and report any bikes out of commission ready for pickup.  

I am grateful to have been able to participate in this event over the past several years.  It combines what I enjoy most with great people that value our area, resources, and the planet. It feels good to give back.

 

 

Sebastopol Real Estate Prospects Get Some Clarity

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner


Last week brought June (and the first half of the year) to an end with a lot of happenings—any one of which could have a significant impact on Sonoma County in the months ahead. The biggest event was another unpredicted swoon in mortgage interest rates.

On Wednesday, the first event came when the National Association of Home Builders released their quarterly Eye on the Economy commentary, which projected “little risk” of a financial crisis from the events in Europe. And in fact, global markets did a good job of rebounding from the previous week’s dips, ending the week pretty much in pre-Brexit territory. NAHB’s view of the stateside situation retained its optimistic tone, noting that “housing remains a bright spot for an economy overcoming yet another soft first quarter…” That was borne out statistically, with housing’s share of the economy on the increase.

CoreLogic’s MarketPulse for June supported that view, showing a home price index that rose 6.2% year-over-year, and completed foreclosures down nearly 16%—which put foreclosures at pre-Recession levels. They noted another interesting fact: cash sales as a share of the market fell to 33% of all sales, a level that matched what it was before the housing crisis. That’s the first time that has happened, and could well signify a final end to real estate’s recovery phase.The National Association of Realtors® reported on home resales for the previous month, and it was more good news for sellers. Resales rose to a more than nine-year high, with median house prices soaring 4.7% from the same period in 2015. The annual rate was projected at more than 5 ½ million units, “the highest level since February 2007.”

Next, Harvard University released a State of the Nation’s Housing report, with findings that sounded similar. One standout item might be of special interest to Sebastopol real estate investors with an eye on the rental market. Nationally, the rental market continued to grow in 2015, comprising “the largest one-year increase in renter household” ever. 

But the main news had to do with mortgage interest rates and the hangover from the previous week’s vote on Britain’s exit from the European Union. Trulia’s Chief Economist wrote about what Brexit means for the U.S. housing market: “The answer is no one really knows…”

That view was countered at CBS’ Moneywatch with its bold headline, “Brexit will keep U.S. mortgage rates in the basement.” The opinion was grounded on a “powerful though indirect” correlation between the two factors. Citing Bankrate’s Chief Financial Analyst’s complex reasoning, CBS followed by spotlighting Friday’s market verification: “Mortgage rates are tumbling…to rates not seen since 2013.”

If CBS is right, Sebastopol home buyers could benefit. “Mortgage shoppers are often beneficiaries of market volatility and uncertainty,” according to CBS. Of course, that only comes to pass when the right home at the right price has been found…which is where a timely call to our office enters the picture!

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner
Artisan Sotheby's International Realty
7775 Healdsburg Ave.
Sebastopol CA 95472
(707) 696-6272
(707) 480-4098
Fax: (707) 824-0587