Many Sebastopol homeowners will be planning to list their properties this spring because it’s when future home sales would be expected to peak. Historically, at least, spring is when a sudden crush of prospects usually arrive on the scene. But this year, the upward drift in mortgage interest rates might have would-be sellers worried. After all, it’s common sense that any rise in home loan rates would put a damper on buyers’ enthusiasm.
Sometimes common sense and reality don’t go hand in hand. When we try to estimate the strength of Sebastopol’s future home sales, it could be a case in point.
That’s one way to look at the conclusions drawn by a pair of studies released last week. Both were focused on examining how rising interest rates are likely to affect future home sales. If you assume that higher mortgage rates automatically dampen home buying activity, that in itself could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For Sebastopol homeowners currently deciding whether the prospects for future home sales are on the decline, that could be a factor in their decision about whether to list their own properties.
John Burns Real Estate Consulting examined the “common sense” idea about the dampening effect of rising mortgage interest rates—and found historical evidence that put the kibosh on it. They looked at ten separate periods since 1975 during which rates rose by 1% or more, and found little or no impact on sales if the underlying economy was strong. Apparently, the public optimism that accompanies a roaring economy offsets the effect of higher monthly mortgage payments.
Another study by market research journalist Greg McCarriston summarized a late-2017 Redfin-commissioned survey. More than 4,000 people were polled in late 2017 about their own homebuying plans. Surprisingly, only 6% of those quizzed said they would cancel their own homebuying plans if mortgage rates passed 5%. A surprising 46% said that would either have no effect on their plans—or that it would actually increase their urgency to buy since rates might rise further.
Common sense or not, if both studies prove out, the strength of recent economic news could energize this spring’s Sebastopol future home sales activity—despite a creeping rise in interest rates. That will be good news for homeowners who decide to sell, and for buyers who are planning on the traditional spring flood of new properties entering the market. If you are thinking about joining either group, we hope you’ll give us a call!
I’m sure it has happened to you in your home search, you meet one of us to walk you through a home that interests you, as you enter, you notice right away that the home is staged or may even be completely empty. When buying a home, there can be many reasons why a seller may have already moved on, some may be positive for your buying process.
Several positives to buying a vacant home can range from the obvious to the surprising. When a home is empty, the true details of the home can be seen and absorbed. All of the charm and intricacies of the property are plainly seen. This can help to reduce any surprises at the inspection and closing. The closing period of these homes tend to be simpler as well. When waiting for a family to vacate the property, closing periods can run into complications or setbacks. With vacant homes, these unforeseen personal incidences can be reduced.
Our Bones Road property in Sebastopol is currently vacant and holds a number of positive and exciting attributes that you should come and see.
There are many reasons why homes may become vacant at the point of a sale. Life circumstances such and marriage, divorce, or the passing of an elderly family member, or even a change in financial stability can cause a homeowner to sell a home after it has been emptied. These circumstances, although unfortunate, can translate to gained value to a buyer. Often times, the owners of vacant homes are motivated to sell and may have already severed emotional ties to the property, making for a faster process for you!
If you are interested in discussing these concerns and opportunities further, whether you are buying or selling a vacant home, please reach out and ask. We are here to share our expertise to help you make the best decision for your family.
Dear Sonoma County,
I have called you home for most of my life. I have learned so much from you and the people who call you home. As we look back at the past year and think of all that has happened, I cannot help but be grateful that your strength and the deep roots we have growth will be the support for a future of recovery and growth.
My family roots lie in Sonoma County. The love I have for this place began in my childhood. So much of who I am is because of the areas in and around Sebastopol. In 1890 my great-grandparents came from Italy and built the famous Union Hotel, located in the quaint village of Occidental near Bodega Bay. My family were settlers, who saw something special in Northern California. They were the first land developers in the area, so you could say real estate runs in my blood. Somehow they knew, this place would one day be the spectacular place it is now.
Every single day, I am driven by my joy in sharing the beauty of Northern California to people who have been here and those who are just arriving. The dreams and desires of this place mirror my own. Historically, Northern California was a place of hope and dreams of prosperity. It was, and still is a place where those who sow their seeds, have a desire to reap the harvest and share it with their community. That is what drives me every day, that the hard work I put into every endeavor, and the knowledge and love I have of this special place, will reap rewards that will infiltrate every corner or our community.
Best wishes to each and every one in this holiday season!
Officially, it may not be winter in Sebastopol yet, but the end of November is more than a signal to turn to the last page in 2017’s calendar. It’s definitely time for Sebastopol residents to secure their domiciles against the mercury drops Mother Nature will be providing sooner or later.
Even in places where a November heat wave makes it hard to focus on the inevitable onslaught of chilly weather, there are some household winter preparation tips that apply equally to all areas of the country. Here are four tips to benefit just about every Sebastopol household:
- Tune up the heating system. Instead of hoping that the heat pump or furnace will make it through another year on its own, a preventive tune-up will result in lower fuel bills all winter—not to mention saving you from becoming 15th in the repair line when it fails on the coldest night of the year (when else would that happen?).
- Check the “overhead” (that is, the roof, gutters, vents, and chimney). Clearing leaves, pine needles or anything else up there can reveal spots vulnerable to leaks—or breaks in flashing seals. Water damage is much more costly to correct than are small-area roofing fixes.
- Mow any remaining leaves. If your yard still has leaves, mow rather than rake them. University studies have proved that leaves cut into dime-sized pieces (which takes several passes) will settle among the grass blades, nourishing them throughout the winter.
- Eliminate drafts. Every winter, Sebastopol homeowners lose truly astonishing amounts of heat due to air leaks. In addition to testing windows for rattles and door jams for gaps, the Department of Energy recommends an exterior walk-around to inspect all areas where two different building materials meet. With a caulk gun handy, also check cable and phone line entrances and where dryer vents pass through walls.
Based on a prediction for low sunspot activity, this year’s Farmers Almanac calls for a chilly winter—while NOAA concentrates on the 70% chance for a La Nina (which might bring normal precipitation except in the drier South).
In other words, Sebastopol’s winter weather outlook is anybody’s guess.
The foolproof solution is, as always, to be well prepared. In addition to anxiety relief, a side benefit of a consistently well-maintained home becomes evident when you put it up for sale—which is also when you should give us a call!
As we discover more about ourselves, our family, and our community, through trials and tribulations, recoveries and triumphs, we understand more fully our needs and how to live our most full life. As Maya Angelou said, “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place we can go as we are and not be questioned.” In this blog, we highlight a few properties that we are proudly representing that are ready for you and yours, to start building your life, here in Sonoma County.
If you are looking for a sturdy family home, with room to grow, the home at Bones Road may suit your family perfectly. With 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, there is enough room for the whole family and their privacy. With acreage this property has room for horses, gardens or agriculture and almost 3,000 square feet of living space, all residents can spread out to their ultimate comfort. The wood beam ceilings and super spacious shared living areas, give this home the space the family needs even in times of togetherness. This home is ready for you and your imagination. Bones Road is a vacant property and a clean slate. It is ready for your final touches with a solid concrete foundation, giving it the structural support to hold your dream home. The home has been well-maintained and all it needs is your vision.
Everything about this home is grand and spacious. Nestled in the hills of West County, the architecture is designed to capture the breathtaking views from each room, spanning the property’s 7 acres. The home is spacious, modern and move-in ready. There is a bath for each bedroom, giving the 3 bedrooms privacy and individuality. There is a spacious bonus room with vaulted ceilings and warm, wooden beams, giving this home over 4,000 square feet and creating an open feel for life and entertaining.
There is room for the whole family at this exceptional property. This is the ideal property for raising crops or horses boasting 80± gently rolling acres in a serene setting with gorgeous views. There does exist the potential for quality wine grape production. The property includes five different living spaces. These structures include the main house, the original farmhouse, a caretaker home, three large barns and half acre spring fed pond. The possibilities are endless at this family compound, full of potential for the whole family, including the horse, of course.
The properties that we are highlighting today are designed for life. They are built for families, and friends to be in and share time with those we care about. These homes are all ready for you and yours to call home. Let us know if you have any questions about how these homes could suit you, or if there are any other properties you would like to see.
When news of the Equifax hack first broke, the credit rating giant scrambled to minimize fallout from this massive personal information breach. After an initial embarrassing misstep (they tried to have affected consumers sign off on Equifax’s liability), the company moved to ameliorate the hack by offering free ID protection to consumers.
Sebastopol homeowners and potential home buyers had reason to do more than shake their heads at yet another electronic pratfall. In one way or another, most Sebastopol real estate transactions involve creditworthiness appraisals that are managed by the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax is one). That means that among the 143 million consumers it admits could be “potentially impacted” are certainly a lot of current and future Sebastopol home buyers. The stolen information includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses—and for hundreds of thousands, credit card numbers. Even some California driver license data figured in the Equifax hack.
Given the obvious potential for identity theft, the company’s Chairman went online to make an unprecedented offer: his firm will furnish a comprehensive package of credit file monitoring and identity theft protection to everyone. Literally.
To every consumer in the United States. For a year. For free.
With few exceptions, it was left to us to take the initiative to take them up on the offer. That factor might shrink the size of the undertaking, but even so, delivering on this scale was unlikely to be accomplished without a few hitches.
Hitch #1: when this many millions of people try to check in on any site, no system can handle it all at once. So contacting this Equifax Trusted ID Premier link results in varying lengths of delay before enrollment can be confirmed.
Hitch #2: because it is now obvious that sophisticated thieves are active in the credit reporting industry, it will be doubly necessary for Equifax to make certain that you are who you say you are. That makes multiple email confirmation back-and-forths unavoidable.
It’s a cinch that Sebastopol residents who decide to sign up for the free protection should also be extra vigilant in monitoring their financial transactions. An additional step is also possible: you can contact any one of the three credit agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, or Experian) to request that they place a 90-day “fraud alert” on your file. It’s free, and whichever agency you contact is required to notify the other two. Fraud alerts obligate any lender to contact you before they issue credit in your name. You can renew the alert as many times as you wish—and cancel at any point.
Your credit score is a vital ingredient when it’s time to look for favorable home loan offers, so even before the Equifax hack, it’s always been well worth protecting. Give us a call when questions about this or other Sebastopol real estate matters come up!
Last weekend’s regular California news should have been promoting all the usual upbeat feature stories about the onset of football season, the start of a brand new school year, the finals of tennis’ last grand slam tournament and the like—but Sebastopol readers would have gotten eye strain trying to find any of them. Instead, the dark clouds brought by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey cast dense shadows across the region and the nation’s news. It was certain, too, that even after the terror of their actual passages had subsided, the fallout would continue to reverberate—expensively—for a very long time.
What was covered was how the prayers of millions not directly affected were being answered by many thousands of Good Samaritan volunteers. That uplifting story was joined by another, too; a piece of hurricane-related real estate news. Too bad it was all but drowned out by the fury of the storms and their tragic aftermaths.
Nonetheless, for Harvey-stricken Houston area homeowners with home loans backed by FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the announcement came that evictions and foreclosures would be suspended immediately. Added: the same government-backed entities would forego demands for monthly payments for at least 90 days (along with hints that “in some cases” that relief might be extended for up to a year).
As for those just beginning the climb out from Hurricane Irma’s destruction, I think it would be all but inconceivable that the same relief won’t be swiftly forthcoming for those homeowners—even if the size and cost of that will eclipse the cost of defraying the Harvey-affected loans. The small print has it that interest will continue to accrue—but Sebastopol onlookers will probably agree that the immediate granting of this relief is more than welcome at this juncture.
It’s really too soon to be able to concentrate on what happens in the months and years to come—but the future of the American story is entirely predictable. This year we may have lost focus on traditional late summer sports, but in the championship ring of our real world and our real communities, we don’t suffer knockdowns easily. In U.S. history, there are no true KOs; there won’t be this time, either. The communities Americans rebuild will be better than ever!
We are very passionate about what we do. We love to help people. Typically that looks like helping you find the perfect home for your family. Yet, there are other ways our team helps our community be the best it can be: philanthropy. Bill Gates once said, “Effective philanthropy requires a lot of time and creativity – the same kind of focus and skills that building a business requires”. We have honed our skills helping to find our neighbors, old and new, homes and we then extend that expertise and additional resources to the Northern California family, at-large.
Another area of philanthropy we are passionate about is supporting our veterans. We enjoy working with the unique situations veterans face in finding properties to suit their needs. We like to honor the sacrifices they have made and continue to make, for the country we all hold so dear. This help can take many forms and we would be happy to discuss the ways in which we support our local veterans with you if you are interested in getting involved or in direct support.
Philanthropic giving, of time or resources, is one of our favorite things to do. It shows our community how much we appreciate their support and allows us to give back and show all our gratitude. This small town makes us who we are, and together we can help house the future!
If you are just about to commit to buying or selling a home in Sebastopol, the first important task before you comes with identifying the best Realtor® to assist your effort. That comes first because although you might begin by combing through the current Sebastopol listings or driving through the neighborhood to spot what’s going on, there is always a possibility that acting without delay will be important. If that happens to be the case, zeroing in on the best Sebastopol agent takes first priority.
How you ultimately select that best real estate agent for you involves a selection process that’s a lot like any business person’s procedure—except that it’s easier to identify the candidates. You won’t have to post “help wanted” ads since the candidates (us included) are all actively looking for you! We are the prominent Sebastopol brokers and agents whose names you see on the web and on our “FOR SALE” signs. They’re all over the place.
The true lion’s share of the work of identifying your best “hire” will come in the conversations you have with the leading candidates. Whether you call them up or drop in on them at their office (or run into them at an open house), it’s important to bear in mind that these conversations, whether casual or not, are actually employment interviews. You’re the boss; the agents are applicants—and the hiring decision is a very important one. During these interactions, if you can determine that the agent you’re speaking with is strong in these five qualities, you’ve found your agent:
1. Accessible. The best Sebastopol real estate agent for you is easy to talk to—the kind of person you connect with automatically; who puts you at ease. The best agent will be someone who is engaging and enjoyable to talk with.
2. Professional. At the same time (it onlyseems to conflict with the above), the best agent is a professional at all times. After all, some of the most durable friendships wind up being with people we’ve “been through the wars with” in business!
3. Sympathetic. A lot of the business at hand will consist of pinpointing your personal tastes and leanings and prioritizing them correctly. The best Sebastopol real estate agent for you will be keenly aware of your preferences—which won’t be the same as everybody else’s.
4. Authoritative. That best agent knows Sebastopol inside and out; is personally familiar with the current crop of area listings; is known and widely respected by her or his Sebastopol real estate colleagues.
5. Dedicated. Your best partner in the upcoming campaign will be committed to the real estate profession—not just for this week or for this transaction, but for the long haul. The best Sebastopol real estate agent will be there for you the next time, too!
Needless to say, when you are narrowing the field for who you want to become your own best Sebastopol agent, we hope you’ll call us for a chat!