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Breathtaking Vistas

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner


Some properties have a certain draw, a way of capturing your imagination and not letting it go. Often times, a home has one characteristic, the main focus, that runs through every aspect of the property, setting it apart from all of the others. Moments after stepping foot on 4059 Burnside Road, one can easily identify this stunning property’s unique signature.

With awe-inspiring views of the majestic Mount Saint Helena ridge tops, Sonoma County vineyards, redwoods, and valleys below, this Spanish-inspired home will capture your heart. Enjoy the privacy and seclusion on approximately 7.35± acres, nestled in the hills of the beloved West County. This home features exquisite architecture that was thoughtfully designed to capture the breathtaking views in each room and frame the artistic distinction of profound natural beauty outdoors. 


The 4,182± square foot home includes 3 bedrooms and 3 full bathrooms. The outdoors is brought in again through the use of materials found in the natural environment. Faux wood beams mimic the forest found outside the back door and are matched to the rich wooden-frame windows found throughout the home. The floor tiles and stone are a warm earthen brown, with rustic, old-world, and rich colors mirroring the hues found in the surrounding hills, easily seen through the many large windows.

This home’s architecture is meticulously calculated to maximize the view from every location in the home. The whirlpool tub is set in a large bay window, helping you wash the day away while bathing in the setting sun. The luxury kitchen is oriented so that entertaining friends and family are simultaneously comfortable and awe-inspiring.


Enjoy pursuing your culinary goals while enjoying the incredible views in this gourmet kitchen complete with a Thermador 5-burner gas cooktop and warming drawer, granite kitchen island, dual under mount sinks, built-in wine rack, informal dining area, custom cherry wood cabinetry, and a built-in refrigerator.  Bring your wine up from the naturally temperature-controlled, 800± bottle wine storage closet – built below the frost line – to your kitchen in the classically charming dumbwaiter.

Many details of this home bring not only comfort but also an appreciation for the artistic design of the home. Renowned Marvin windows with low-E-tinting frame the landscapes outside. A locally sourced, custom-forged iron staircase banister welcomes you upstairs, as well as the custom solid wood doors and crown molding, with Peldaño Portuguese tile throughout. The entire home is wired with Cat5 ethernet, built-in security system, and custom doorbell chimes.

The master bath is a spa-like escape with the Aquatic Century whirlpool hydrotherapy bathtub with reheating element, steam shower and Japanese Toto toilet with bidet, all in the tranquil master bathroom adorned in travertine tile, vessel sinks and views of the valley and vineyards below your mountain top retreat.

Additional amenities include a 20 x 20 upstairs office complete with built-in desks, bookcases, and stunning views. A dedicated laundry room with Corian counter space which is plumbed for both gas and electric. There is an on demand hot water heater with recirculating pump and a dual-zone heating system.

The property includes 7.35± acres of lush countryside overlooking the Mount St. Helena ridge tops. From the property, you can gaze upon vineyards, redwood forests, and the peaks and valleys that make up our beloved Sonoma County.

Outdoor amenities include a total of (5) 2,600± gallon water storage tanks housed under the deck. 4 tanks are reserved for irrigation and are sourced from the roof’s rainwater runoff, and 1 tank contains filtered water from the well.  Also included is an underground fire suppression water tank.

The 557± square foot garage can occupy 2 cars and the outside decking measures approximately 1,960± square feet.


There is something about the view at this property that begs you to come back and gaze at the great expanse in front of you. Everything in this home and in the property that surrounds it is dictated by that stunning view. Windows become picture frames and decks become platforms for the imagination. Come and take a look for yourself and see why we think this property is truly spectacular.

 

For Sebastopol Sellers, a Pre-Sale Checklist

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner

© Kiosea39 | Dreamstime.com

Selling your ​Sebastopol home is the kind of major undertaking that has so many facets just deciding where to start can delay liftoff. Since there is no actual “right” place to begin, like other mammoth projects, just digging in anywhere will do. The happy truth is that when you’re selling a home, once momentum gets going, the rest of the pieces tend to fall into place.

To get the ball rolling, here is a pre-sale checklist of major activities that selling your Sebastopol home will entail. To get started, pick any one:

  • Nagging problem elimination. Very few of us attend to every home maintenance problem as they gradually develop. If there were a reliable poll on the subject, I’d guess that 95% of Sebastopol homeowners have at least a two or three areas that we’ve learned to live with—but which will need to be attended to before we get very far toward selling our home. Identifying them is a pre-sale first step…then fixing them is the action item that transforms the idea of selling your home into reality. 
  • First impression inspection. Any time you return from an outing you have the opportunity to get started on what will become your marketing approach. Do this by stopping and seeing what kind of first impression your property makes on someone setting eyes on it for the first time. What seems least fresh and appealing? Is it fencing that could use a quick coat of paint? A planter that needs colorful blossoms? The numerals on the mailbox? Selling your home starts with favorable first impressions.
  • Lights! Camera! Action! An essential element to get prospective buyers clamoring for a tour is the photography that highlights your Sebastopol listing. To start preparing for that, pick a room—any room—and stage it: clear it of unneeded objects, furniture, etc (to see a complete staging tip list click this link). This will entail figuring out where to store the objects that you want to keep, but which clutter up the visual appeal…and once you’ve identified where they will be stored, you’re seriously on your way to selling your home.
  • Getting down to business. Educating yourself about the competition means taking a look at this spring’s area listings to get a feel for where the market is. Which comparable homes have just sold, and which haven’t moved for months? Your home may not be ready for market for a while, but the earlier you start familiarizing yourself with today’s local real estate market, you better the odds that your listing price will be right. 
  • Exit strategy. (Our favorite of all) Be prepared to move! Any action you take in this direction, be it checking out reliable moving companies or beginning the hunt for your next house makes selling your home that much less of a long shot.

Each of these is a step that begins to transform the idea of selling your Sebastopol home from a looming cloud of uncertainty into a doable certainty. We didn’t even mention the easiest and surest pre-sale checklist item. It’s one certain to get the ball rolling: 

Call us!     

Sebastopol Housing Market: Some Common Pushes and Pulls

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner

This spring’s Sebastopol housing market continues to reflect most of the trends that have held sway across much of the nation. There is good news, not-so-good news, and (happy to report) no really bad news at all. In fact, it’s the absence of threatening factors that makes our housing market a welcoming one for those looking to buy or sell in Sebastopol this spring or summer. Here’s the brief run-down: 

Prices: look as if they will continue to trend higher, but more slowly than they have for the past couple of years. The consensus of expert opinion calls national average residential prices to climb 4%+, which is about 1%-2% more slowly than in 2015. Of course, every Sebastopol property (and neighborhood, for that matter) fares slightly differently, so those generalities are only helpful in the context of the actual Sebastopol “comps” (the comparables).

Rents: where Sebastopol rentals sustain the kind of vacancy rates that are being seen just about everywhere in the U.S., rates have nowhere to go but up. Property managers are reporting that they’ve raised rents in 88% of localities, which has had a push-pull effect on housing markets. On one hand, every increase nudges renters to more seriously consider the not-so-abstract monetary advantage home ownership produces. When owning is actually cheaper than renting in monthly cash flow terms (not even counting the long-term investment aspect), every month’s rent check is a new spur to investigate that option. That’s the push. The pull is that those expensive rental dollars spent make it that much harder to save for even a nominal down payment.

Mortgages. No news here: mortgage interest rates just don’t seem to want to rise—no matter how certain the financial experts are that they have to do so. Actual recent history has chastened those forecasts, though, so at this point, most local borrowers probably expect that rates will stay below the 5% mark throughout 2016. Still, with many quotes for last week’s 30-year fixed hovering in the high 3%s, the incentive to take advantage of today’s rates remains a strong point.

Inventories. With few exceptions, the reason why all those incentives to buy have not created an explosion of real estate activity is the shortage of homes on the market—the inventories. That is an additional incentive for Sebastopol owners to list, since it means limited competition channels more potential buyers to their own property. 

As the spring selling season gets going in earnest, we’ll see if Sebastopol’s housing market behaves the same way the broader national real estate trends indicate. For an immediate micro-update, just give us a call anytime! 

A Fresh Perspective Helps Beef Up Curb Appeal

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner

The way the ‘curb appeal’ phenomenon applies to a home for sale is explained simply enough. Like the packaging on a store shelf item, its mission is to break through the competition—to strike a responsive chord with potential buyers. 

That is the goal, but no Sebastopol home that’s up for sale can possibly ‘bat a thousand’ when it comes to curb appeal, since buyers start out with differing mental images of what constitutes an ideal home. For some, it’s a well-kept ranch; for others, a clean-lined contemporary. Today, most house hunting begins with the online Sebastopol listings. Each offering is introduced via its exterior glamor shot…making it possible to form quick impressions of the whole gamut of properties for sale in Sebastopol. Those pictures comprise today’s first pass at curb appeal—the photographic kind. For homes that pass that first hurdle, the next test is the three-dimensional, pull-up-to-the-curb experience. Making the most of that first impression can shape all that ensues. 

A survey of hundreds of landscaping and photography “tips” for maximizing curb appeal for the most part confirms what common sense would tell us anyway: cut the grass; plant more flowers or shrubbery; keep everything neat and clean…and one even recommended “planting more shade trees—certainly the least practical ‘tip’! 

Of course, as showings become imminent, every homeowner will hose off the walkway, sweep the porch, broom out the cobwebs. But before that stage—before the listing photography is done, it’s a worthwhile exercise to step back and take in the overall impression that first-time visitors are going to get. Step out front—then take the same walk your visitors will be making, but seeing it the way they will. 

If the siding isn’t really fresh-looking, it’s worth considering whether a professional power wash or exterior paint touchup might make a substantial improvement. Getting rid of even traces of grime can subtly turn an ‘okay’ impression into a strongly positive one. A fresh doormat is a simple addition; likewise, scouring or replacing tarnished or pitted hardware (like address numerals, doorknobs, locks and door knockers) can subtly transform many a first impression. 

When you allow yourself to abandon your everyday perspective, fresh ideas and energy have a way of materializing. Putting your house up for sale is also infinitely easier when you have an experienced local real estate professional helping out from the very start—giving us a call early on is the first step!

 

Ways that Sebastopol Location, Location, Location! Affects Value

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner

“Location, location, location!” is one of the few proclamations which needs no verb, no adjective, no preposition to fully communicate its message. Everyone in Sebastopol understands—and usually agrees with—its meaning: The location [of something] is all-important.

In the commercial context, it used to mean “your store better be situated somewhere that gets a lot of the right kind of traffic.” Today, in the same context, that “traffic” can be clicks on the web rather than auto or foot traffic. Either way, location, location, location! stands for a truism that’s inarguably valid.

What’s interesting about the Sebastopol location, location, location! axiom when it’s invoked in a residential real estate context is how true it remains—though for different reasons. When it comes to buying or selling a Sebastopol home, location isn’t vitally important because of its being visible or easy for prospective buyers to find. This meaning of “location” points to a property being more or less desirable for a variety of reasons:

  • Accessibility offers easy access to local places of business, recreation points, etc.
  • Inaccessibility provides an oasis of privacy.
  • Position offers superior orientation: for instance, receives more (or less) sunshine.
  • Geography takes advantage of superior land features: for instance, is on a hilltop, by a stream, in a vineyard, etc. 
  • Exclusivity it’s in a respected, physically safe neighborhood.
  • Community offers desirable schools, lower tax rates, well-kept parklands and the like. The Brookings Institution finds that living near a high-scoring school can increase a home’s value by $100,000—or more!

Needless to say, another facet of location, location, location! in Sebastopol is how important it can be in dollars and cents. It isn’t just that houses are listed for different prices depending greatly on their neighborhoods and even locations within the same neighborhoods, but the ease of buying and selling can also be location-dependent. The “comps”—estimated values assigned by reports of sales of similar properties—are assembled taking into account how near or far they are, as well as the characteristics of their neighborhoods. 

For the most part, people tend to agree on the value of those location, location, location! characteristics—but in case you aren’t one of the crowd, the financial repercussions can be noteworthy. If, for instance, your ideal degree of privacy makes you value a home that’s considered to be too far out of town for most people, the asking price could be at a considerable discount from the same house closer in. If you prefer cool, shady backyards over more open and sunny ones, your offer might be accepted by an eager owner who’s not had many other takers.

Location, location, location! may be a cliché, but it’s been around forever for a reason. When you are house hunting—especially if you are new to Sonoma County—it’s important to give special attention to local neighborhood characteristics that may not be obvious at first glance. In Sebastopol, it’s another good reason to count on a knowledgeable local real estate specialist…like us!

Sebastopol Homeowners, Tax Deductions Add Major Value

by Randy Mack and Heidi Faulkner


Sure, even the idea of homeownership is appealing for all of the traditional emotional and lifestyle reasons. Having proprietary control over your family’s center of operations is a goal for most Sebastopol residents—just as most of us would consider it a necessary evil if professional obligations make frequent moves unavoidable. Travel may be broadening, but most rolling stones (no matter how moss-less) eventually hanker to settle down.

But aside from the lifestyle aspects, another major advantage to settling down and owning your home gets its turn in the limelight at least once a year. This advantage is anything other than abstract. The time of year is April 15, when the concrete financial benefits are tallied up in the very welcome form of homeowner tax deductions.

Tax advice is not our specialty—for that, you should always defer to your qualified financial advisor, whose full time job it is to do all that’s humanly possible to keep track of the ever-changing Federal Tax Code. But even non-specialists know that some of the most beneficial provisions in the Code’s 75,000 pages do relate to the range of significant homeowner tax deductions. 

In the National Association of Realtors’ periodical houselogic, writer Dona DeZube recently surveyed some of the major ones—tax tips that deserve to be investigated by any Sebastopol homeowner who will soon be charting out their own mid-April strategies. 

The list was headed by the most obvious one, the mortgage interest deduction, which applies to interest paid on a loan secured by the place you live in. That doesn’t have to be a house—it could also be a trailer or a boat. As long as you sleep and cook in it,  interest paid for its purchase falls into the category. 

Likewise, there is the prepaid interest deduction. Prepaid interest (aka “points”) you pay in when you take out a mortgage or refi can usually be deducted in the year it is originated. An exception is when you refinance and use the proceeds for other than home improvements, in which case the deduction is spread out over the life of the loan. If you refinance again, it gets a little more complicated (may be time to ring up that qualified advisor again).

Another hefty deduction is the one for Sebastopol property taxes you have paid. If your mortgage lender required you to insure repayment through private mortgage insurance (PMI), if your income is less than a set amount, the premiums may be fully deductible (otherwise, a reduced deduction will apply). Even more complicated rules apply to government insurance premiums (qualified advisor time).

More homeowner tax deductions can be applicable, too, with varying degrees of complication—particularly those which relate to Sebastopol vacation homes. And there are also tax credits for things like energy-efficient home systems.

The bottom line deductibility of many aspects of homeownership can be a major reason why April 15 gets many Sebastopol renters to do some serious examination of their residential futures. We are here to help with any of your own real estate plans!    

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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