First time home buyers, as well as seasoned buyers, need to be prepared when entering the real estate market. Terms can change over the years and processes adopted. Finding an agent you feel comfortable working with is essential to a successful real estate transaction. Even working with an experienced realtor can leave you with some unanswered questions, you may feel awkward asking your professional. We have compiled with over 15 helpful pages on our website to alleviate this issue. We explain the entire Buyers experience in detail from deciding to purchase a home, the neighborhood, finding a realtor, finding a home worthy of your investment, and the lending and closing processes. Click here to see them all, and feel free to come back and visit anytime, we add more all the time. We love to help people better understand and navigate through the real estate process. Give us a call if you wish to speak to one of us personally about your real estate goals.
Our new office in the heart of downtown Sebastopol gives us a unique perspective on the overall activity in our thriving town. We watch the consistent pedestrian traffic of shoppers, workers, and tourists, coming in and out of various places of business; children playing on the plaza square, and bicyclists riding along our newly dedicated bike lane. There is a gentle hum of activity throughout the day that is pleasant to witness and be a part of. Our real estate market mimics this buzz of activity.
The Sebastopol real estate market has always been competitive and seems to hover around a slight Seller advantage. The current market is no different. While the Market Action Index shows some strengthening in the last few weeks. Even though average prices have settled into a bit of a plateau, we anticipate things to start increasing shortly due to being in a Seller’s market. When the advantage is to the seller, however slight, prices are likely to resume their climb. Current trends show the median list price for a Sebastopol home is $960,000 with a price per square foot of $529.
By measuring the rate of sales versus the inventory we can see there is a slight Seller’s advantage. With the Market Action Index (real estate supply and demand) at 34, it is showing an increase over last week of 32, indicating an increase in market activity.
There are a variety of homes, land, and business opportunities on the market right now. Currently, Heidi and I have listed an amazing wine country property on Harrison Grade Road in Sebastopol. Situated on a quintessential Sebastopol road of gentle curves and picturesque landscapes of vineyards, apple orchards, and homes, this listing does not disappoint.
We have a number of exciting listings in Sebastopol. Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Willow Creek, and Camp Meeker as well. From a fabulous retreat style home, an equestrian property, a 400+ acre property, to a commercial development opportunity and a legal/permitted cannabis grow site, there is never a shortage of unique and inspiring real estate in Sonoma County.
It is exciting to see the growth in our community from year to year. We can always count on this market to keep things lively. We welcome all your questions about the market. We also offer a no strings attached, free estimate on any property’s value. It is always interesting to see where your property might fall in our diverse and growing market. Give us a call or email us directly by clicking here.
Randy and I have been very fortunate over the years to represent some pretty amazing homes and estates throughout Sonoma county. Some have been filled with history, or architecturally significant. Some have been sprawling wonders of luxury, and some just made us feel good upon entering. Our newest listing on Harrison Grade Road in Sebastopol is one of those homes that evokes a warm and inviting atmosphere, along with a tie to an old wine country family and offers many modern luxuries buyers have come to expect in a home.
This Craftsman home offers a comfortable and relaxed environment while holding on to its original roots established by an esteemed wine family from the 1920s. The four-bedroom, three-bath home provides present, and future generations with all the modern comforts found in a luxurious home without compromising its history.
Built to last and encapsulate the cherished memories of all its inhabitants this timeless home features hardwood plank floors, large picture windows that bring the natural light inside and beautiful views in every room. Renovations to the original house were designed up by the current homeowners alongside Sebastopol architect, Lars Langberg. Hand-hewn redwood logs span its circumference as part of the foundation, ensuring the roots of this home are healthy.
Entertaining is a breeze in the chef’s kitchen featuring granite and quartz countertops, a 6 burner Electrolux gas range, stainless steel appliances, pantry, wine and beverage refrigerator and easy access to the outdoor spaces. The great room with open floor plan and wood burning fireplace offers cozy comfort for many or just one.
Awaken to cheerful sunlight in the master suite. Ample storage space and a spa-like ensuite celebrate the modern amenities we all enjoy. You will find views from every room in the home to enjoy until your heart’s content, and mind is at ease.
“We bought this house to free ourselves from the city. We wanted to raise our family in the country.” Both family and house received a full restoration.
“We will miss the moonlight through the palm tree, grand skyscapes ever-changing, geese flying by, foxes trotting along our footpaths, the occasional coyote chorus and echoing owls. Juicy peaches from the two spindly trees, the cool fog that rolls in after a hot day and how surprisingly good the water tastes. We will remember the outdoor kitchen, the gardens, the fireplace, and bocci ball. The sound of 100 frogs in our pond every spring, the masses of Robins and Starlings gathered high atop the redwood trees and how free our children lived here and how they grew into adults. Our local Occidental community has also provided us with so much nourishment over the years, like Howards for breakfast, coffee at the Union Hotel, and drinks at Joe’s Bar. We take with us a lifetime of happy memories, full bellies, and light hearts.”
The best way to see the home is through the eyes of those that have lived here before. They can suggest the best parts that you cannot see or feel on your first tour. Things like: the southwest corner of the kitchen is the best window to read the morning paper in the sunshine or to watch the birds drinking from the fountain.
Retreat to an estate that is saturated with wine country roots.
Come and see for yourself where your true wine country lifestyle fits right in.
Did you ever notice that trends have their way of circling back? One such trend is a family compound. Defined as a group of buildings in an enclosed area, having a shared or associated purpose, such as the houses of an extended family, a family compound is a trend more families are bringing back into popularity for a variety of practical reasons.
Land in California is scarce, especially property in which to build new homes on. Purchasing a piece of land suitable for multiple dwellings such as our Sweetwater Springs listing in Healdsburg resolves this issue. Breathtaking views sweep through this 480± acre parcel with spectacular panoramic view options for future building sites. Gently rolling ridge top features open sunny meadows, natural springs and incredible views of the Russian River Valley, Mt St Helena and beyond. The perfect canvas awaits to create your dream estate or family compound with vineyard potential. Russian River and Sonoma Coast AVA. Includes two separate parcels with 5 certificate of compliance. This property is currently offered at $2,995,000. Give us a call to show you around and discuss the possibilities.
Finding affordable housing is tough in California all across the state. Sonoma County is no different. The lack of space to build new homes, the recent devastating fires, and an already tight housing market have all made it even more challenging to solve one of humans’ most fundamental needs, a place to live. Creating a family compound makes sense in solving this dilemma. Building a more significant purchase together as a family and developing individual housing on the property for each member becomes a lot more affordable and helps equalize the burden of cost to each individual.
Finding the right property to create your ideal family compound can have it’s challenges too. If 480± acres is too big for you, we also have an incredible property that is ideally suited for a compound and holds multiple dwellings onsite already. Our Bodega Avenue listing is a tranquil and private 80± acres located in desirable West Petaluma. This flag lot would make a great family compound boasting main house, guest house, and caretakers’ quarters. An ideal property for raising crops with vineyard potential. Suitable for horses includes 3 large barns, outbuildings and spring fed pond. Close to wine country, fine dining, and coast. Currently offered at $2,999,999. This property is a unique spot, give us a call to walk through it and learn more about the multiple opportunities it offers.
The idea of a family compound is not a new one. In the 1900s and earlier it was commonplace to have multiple generations of families living on the same property and sometimes under one roof. The benefits vary. When the kids are small, grandparents are nearby to help; when the grandparents are too old to be alone, they have family nearby to care for them. Sharing expenses and helping each other out. Another possible advantage is the closeness the family feels by living so close together and supporting one another through the challenges and successes we all experience in life.
Contact us today if you are interested in walking through either of the above listings. Both properties offer multiple possibilities for a family compound, potential income, and a harmonious lifestyle.
1. Ethical treatment.
Every REALTOR® must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. As a REALTOR®’s client, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. The first obligation is to you, the client.
2. An expert guide.
Buying a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other technical documents. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes. Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved, so you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.
3. Objective information and opinions.
REALTORS® can provide local information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They also have objective information about each property. REALTORs® can use that data to help you determine if the property has what you need. By understanding both your needs and search area, they can also point out neighborhoods you don’t know much about but that might suit your needs better than you’d thought.
4. Expanded search power.
Sometimes properties are available but not actively advertised. A REALTOR® can help you find
opportunities not listed on home search sites and can help you avoid out-of-date listings that might be showing up as available online but are no longer on the market.
5. Negotiation knowledge.
There are many factors up for discussion in a deal. A REALTOR® will look at every angle from your perspective, including crafting a purchase agreement that allows enough time for you to complete inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase.
6. Up-to-date experience.
Most people buy only a few homes in their lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS® handle hundreds of transactions over the course of their career.
7. Your rock during emotional moments.
A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. And for most people, property represents the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you.
Randy and I are fortunate to call Sonoma County our home. We have built a strong professional foundation rooted in our love and respect for the area as well as the people who call it home. We joined Sotheby’s International Realty over ten years ago not only for the worldwide brand recognition and quality of service but because Sotheby’s has a profound respect for the people that work within the organization. This commitment ultimately benefits the people who hire a Sotheby’s agent to represent them. We are honored to serve Sonoma County residents to find their ideal home and be an ambassador for Sotheby’s International Realty brand. Give us a call today and learn more about how we can help you reach your real estate goals.
Real Estate can be an overwhelming topic. There is a lot of information and misinformation that can be confusing. One of our favorite resources for condensed and accurate real estate information is Realtor Magazine. We recently rediscovered some articles illustrating various topics. As a result, we are posting them in a series we are calling Real Estate Unpacked.
We will cover a multitude of topics including but not limited to:
- Top Reasons to Own a Home
- Top Reasons to Work with a Realtor
- House Hunting
- Preparing to Purchase a Home
- Tracking your Budget
- Improving your Credit Score
- Choosing a Lender
- Creative Financing
7 Reasons to Own A Home
1. Tax benefits.
The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. While home prices have appreciated nationally at an average annual rate between 3 and 5 percent, depending on the index used for the calculation, home value appreciation in different metro areas can appreciate at markedly different rates than the national average. Here in California, the average annual rate of increase is 4% and according to some experts and projected to rise on up to almost 7%.
Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax. The only stipulation here is you must have lived in the home for two years out of the last five years.
Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.
Heidi and I are here to answer any questions you may have, just give us a call!
The holidays have passed, and most of the decorations have come down. It is the time of year when Heidi and I start reflecting on the previous year and plan for the next. Taking stock gives us a good picture of what is to come before the spring real estate rush.
What was the most significant impact on real estate last year?
Both Heidi and I agree that the 2017 & 2018 fires altered the housing market in Sonoma County. The slow and painful rebuilding process will continue for years to come. Then the horrific Camp Fire in Butte County happened. The choking smoke and powerful fear for all affected caused us all to take a significant pause.
What impact have the 2017 fires played in the real estate market this year?
The biggest change is what our clients ask us when looking for a home. Now the most significant concern is how they would evacuate if another tragic fire came to their house. This question is difficult to answer and one we often have asked ourselves. Our best advice is to prepare. Know your exit routes, practice those routes, pack an emergency kit and sign up for alerts from SoCo.
Sonoma County residents have the potential to face some natural disasters. Fires, earthquakes, floods, and mudslides are all a part of living where we live and must prepare for as best we can.
What do you see as being the most significant impact this year?
No matter how you stand politically, there is a backlash into our communities. Some initiatives have caused a decrease in consumer confidence. In the past, this has foreshadowed a slower year in real estate.
What factors play the most prominent role in Sonoma County real estate?
Preparation is key.
If you are selling your home, make sure it is at its best. Make the repairs needed, paint inside and out, declutter, clean up the curb appeal, and have a plan in place.
If you are looking for a new home, get your documents ready ahead of time. Contact your lender and find out how much you can afford. Get a verified lender letter. Have your 20% down payment. Finally, come knowing what your must-haves are and what your deal breakers are.
What is the most positive thing you can tell someone about buying real estate in Sonoma County?
This is plain and simple. Sonoma County is the most beautiful place to live. The weather is incredible, the landscape is remarkable, and the people are welcoming. There is no other place we would prefer to live.
What is the biggest tip you can give clients about real estate in Sonoma County?
When purchasing your “forever home” buy the location. Almost anything else is changeable.
What do you see as the biggest trends to come in 2019?
Biggest design trend is graphic white on white interiors. There are many shades of white. White on white allows the accessibility of using pops of color for dramatic effect. White is clean and unobtrusive.
In landscaping, fire-resistant landscaping is another big trend. For obvious reasons, this remains a considerable concern for buyers.
What is changing in Sebastopol specifically that may affect housing this year?
More country inventory and lack of in town inventory, the shift is to move into town.
When does the new office open? What impact will this have on your clients and business?
We are looking at a soft opening of February 1. Our clients can look forward to an open office in the heart of downtown Sebastopol.
What made the biggest impression on you in 2018?
Both personally and professionally we have both found it hard to see folks leave the area. Some left Sonoma County due to the devastation caused by the wildfires. Some have left from the sheer exhaustion of trying to rebuild. It has been tough to witness but we understand, and they have our most profound compassion.
What is your favorite part about being in real estate?
No two clients or properties are alike. It is exciting to watch a buyer find the home of their dreams. It is just as thrilling to watch a seller be able to move forward in their journey as well.
What are you most looking forward to in 2019?
Helping people find the home and hearth of their dreams and our new office space in the hub of Sebastopol.
Gratitude is a powerful theme during most holiday seasons. For Randy and I, Sonoma County continually evokes a powerful sense of appreciation for its welcoming nature and fruitful land, warm and inclusive people, and breath of fresh air. We are grateful for so much, the people we love, the people we work with, the incredible landscape we enjoy year round, and the relentless “nothing can keep us down” attitude of our community.
Sonoma County’s landscape provides a master class in agriculture, food, wine, recreation, and abundance for all who live here. There is always so much to learn and experience right in our own backyard. For Randy and I, the landscape provides an incredible backdrop to our real estate business. It is not challenging to showcase the benefits of owning real estate in this community, but it remains a very competitive market. We work hard to meet our clients’ needs and goals in each transaction. Real Estate in Sonoma County remains a constant wave of emotions: competitive, satisfying, and generous. We absolutely love what we do and are humbled every day to be able to help clients achieve their dreams in this exciting real estate market.
The last few years Sonoma County has seen some challenges with the national housing crisis and on the heels of coming back from that – have faced some of the worst wildfires in California history. There is a strong sense of community spirit and personal kindness here that is like no other place we have lived. It has been rewarding to hear the stories (and there are many) of people reaching out to one another to lift each other up. This spirit is undeniable in Sonoma County.
Feeling a part of something more significant than yourself is an incredibly important aspect of being a part of a strong community. Randy and I both feel extremely grateful to be a part of this spirit of thanks, energy, and generosity. No matter what your circumstances are in life, Sonoma County has a way of bringing everyone together as a whole and making all feel welcome. Whether it is donating our time through the Redwood Empire Harley Club, leading hiking groups, working with local veterans in finding a new home or working within the real estate community, we are committed to this fantastic group of people encircled by this incredible land in Sonoma County.We are grateful, every day.
Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, Realtor.com, Homes.com are all easily accessible platforms for the general public to look up and shop for their new home. Often times, these sites also provide a free estimation of value for a current property. Although these platforms serve a valuable purpose, by giving people an overview of their current housing market, a Realtor’s experience in the local market still cannot be replaced.
Realtors across the United States are all trying to gain their customer’s attention, whether it be through their website, blogging, social media, mailers, advertising in print or even on the above websites on a profile page. Each agent comes to you with specific expertise in the area they service and in the particular real estate on which they focus.
Heidi and I are experts in Sonoma County. We have lived here for over 40 years. We have hiked the trails, ridden our motorcycles up and down the roads, camped in the parks, attended the festivals, shopped in the stores, and attended community meetings. Involvement in the community is our passion. Additionally, we have worked in real estate for over 30+ years, bringing our love for this place to our craft, all to help you make a home here as we have, in Northern California. We are deeply rooted in this area and extremely proud to represent Artisan Sotheby’s International Realty here.
What all the real estate platforms don’t show you are the hidden gems in a community. You may be able to see the inside of a home on the market from the privacy of your office or home but you can’t see the people in that neighborhood, the best place to get a cup of coffee to go or stay in, the best breakfast spot or the local evening hangout. Heidi and I know these details. We not only have the knowledge that comes with being a professional realtor and are extremely adept in negotiating the best terms on behalf of our clients but we also have a keen sense of neighborhoods, homes and the people we are working with. We strive to build lasting relationships with our clients’ not just sell a property.
The other thing they can’t tell you accurately is how the market is doing within a specific smaller portion of the county. For instance, you cannot search Sebastopol, CA specifically on any platform. Closest you will get is Santa Rosa, two vastly different communities in terms of real estate and lifestyle. Likewise in Santa Rosa, there are hundreds of micro-neighborhoods that these platforms cannot single out and tell you how many homes were sold in that specific area last year, two years ago or give you an educated guess as to what the home will be worth in 5-10 years from that day. Heidi and I can.
We know Sonoma County, we know real estate. Give us a call and we can help you reach your real estate goals.