A knowledgeable and experienced realtor can make a significant difference in your overall experience. To ensure you find the best fit for your real estate needs, here are some questions to ask potential realtors before hiring one.
1. What’s your experience in the local market?
Ask about their years in the business and how many transactions they’ve completed, especially in your target neighborhood.
Experience in your specific market can be a valuable asset.
2. What’s your business philosophy?
While there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals match yours.
3. Are you a full-time realtor?
Some realtors work part-time or have other commitments.
While this doesn’t necessarily disqualify them, you would want to know how accessible and dedicated they will be during your real estate transaction.
4. What’s your marketing strategy for sellers?
Ask about how they plan to market your property, including online listings, open houses, and any unique tactics they may use to attract potential buyers.
5. How will you help me find the right property as a buyer?
For buyers, know how the realtor plans to help you find the right property.
Ask about their approach to searching for homes, scheduling viewings, and negotiating offers on your behalf.
6. Can you explain the process step-by-step?
A good realtor should be able to explain the buying or selling process in detail.
They should walk you through each step, from the initial consultation to closing, and answer any questions.
7. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction?
The best answer here is a question. A realtor who pays close attention to the way you prefer to communicate and responds accordingly will make for the smoothest transaction.
8. What’s your approach to negotiation?
Negotiation skills are essential in real estate. Inquire about the realtor’s approach to negotiation and their track record in securing favorable deals for their clients.
9. Do you have any designations or certifications?
Real estate professionals have to undergo additional specialized training to obtain these distinctions.
Designations and certifications help define the skills that an agent can apply to your particular real estate needs.
10. What sets you apart from other realtors?
This question can help you understand the realtor’s unique strengths and value proposition.
Look for qualities and services that align with your specific needs.
Choosing the right realtor is a significant decision that can impact the success of your real estate transaction.
By asking these questions, you can make an informed choice and work with a realtor who is best equipped, like Randy and me, to help you achieve your goals.
Additionally, we not only have the knowledge that comes with being a professional realtor and are highly adept at 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.
Also, unique homes require skillful marketing, through our local expertise and Sotheby’s International Realty’s interconnected global network of offices that are dedicated to the extraordinary.
Finally, we strive to provide the highest level of service and build lasting relationships with our clients. Randy and I can be there by your side, protecting the interests that you trust. Call us!
One of the most effective ways to attract potential buyers and secure a successful sale is through home staging. So if you plan to sell your home, here are some tips and tricks of the trade that will help you make your home look and feel its best.
Why You Should Stage Your Home
Staging a home before selling is a strategy used to enhance its visual appeal. This can also help potential buyers imagine themselves living there.
National Association of Realtors®, Nearly half of the seller’s agents (48%) reported that staging a home decreased its time on the market, according to a new report by the National Association of Realtors®.
For both buyers’ and sellers’ agents, one in five (20%) said home staging increased the offer price by between 1% and 5% compared to similar homes on the market that weren’t staged.
Staging Tips and Tricks
Clear out the clutter:
Seeing your collectibles and storage will prevent buyers from imagining themselves in your space.
Hence, leave only the necessary furniture, keeping in mind that you want the space to look clean and spacious.
Freshen up the style:
Aim for a style that most buyers will like. Furnishings that seem homey and comforting.
Also, neutral colors work best: creams, light greys, and white.
Small furniture equals big space:
Downsize your furnishings to upsize the room. If the room looks tight to you, it likely will to potential buyers as well.
With this in mind, take some of the furniture out to create a more visual space.
Play with texture:
Wallpaper, pillows, rugs, blankets, baskets, and other tactile accessories can add texture to the look of any room.
Don’t forget the details:
Set the table. It’s easy to do and makes a significant impact. Buyers walk in and instantly feel welcome as if they’re coming over for dinner.
Moreover, light non-scented candles and place plush towels and fancy soap in the bathrooms.
Also, set out a breakfast tray on the bed or a pretty book on the coffee table with fresh flowers in the living room.
Clear the kitchen counter of appliances, spice racks, towels, and cooking utensils.
So leave only a few things, like a cookbook, a shiny teakettle, and a bowl of lemons.
Set up small “scenes” that help buyers visualize their potential life in this home.
This can be a quiet reading space with a comfy chair in the bedroom or a lounge chair under a tree in the backyard.
Doing so gives buyers some thoughtful ideas as they walk the property.
Don’t forget the outdoor areas:
Those spaces add as much interest for the buyer as the interior rooms. Add an outdoor rug, a small table and bistro chairs, and a few plants to your backyard. Remove all dead plants and trim all overgrowth.
Moreover, we have free seller reports that offer a unique insight into the selling experience. Click here for home-selling guides.
Staging your home for a successful sale is a combination of art and strategy. Remember that the goal is to make your home as appealing and neutral as possible.
Additionally, having a professional real estate agent like Randy and Heidi by your side, guiding you, negotiating on your behalf, and protecting the interests that you trust, will make the process of selling a home easier.
Finally, as your real estate agent, we are happy to further extend our services by offering our list of local, trusted service providers to you. Call us about your particular needs, and we can give you a personalized recommendation of a qualified service provider in our area to assist you.
As the flowers start to bloom, the real estate market is getting ready for one of the most active real estate seasons: spring. The spring real estate market can be very competitive, with more buyers and sellers entering the market. If you plan to buy or sell a home this season, it is important to be prepared.
Start preparing for the Spring Real Estate Market
Here are some tips to put you in the best position this season. Whether you are buying or selling a home, the spring market can be a great opportunity to achieve your real estate goals.
- Start planning early: The earlier you start planning, the better prepared you will be. If you are planning to sell your home, start decluttering and cleaning out your home. If you are planning to buy a home, start researching neighborhoods and determining your budget.
- Find a reputable real estate agent: A good real estate agent can help you navigate the competitive spring market. Look for agents like Randy and Heidi who are experienced, have a good track record of success in the local market, and know the local sales trends. Read more on About Us to get to know us.
- Get pre-approved for a mortgage: If you plan to buy a home, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting. This will give you an advantage in a competitive market and show sellers that you are a serious buyer.
- Price your home correctly: If you are planning to sell your home, make sure you price it correctly. A real estate agent can help you determine the appropriate price based on comparable homes in your area and current market conditions.
- Make necessary repairs and improvements: If your home needs repairs or improvements, make them before listing your home. This can help your home sell faster and for a higher price.
- Stage your home: Staging your home can help it sell faster and for a higher price. Hire a professional or use online resources to stage your home and make it more appealing to buyers. Check out Home Staging Success for staging tips and tricks.
Michael Hyman, NAR Research Data Specialist, Housing Affordability Conditions Improved in January 2023 for the Third Consecutive Month, at the national level, housing affordability rose in January compared to the previous month, according to NAR’s Housing Affordability Index. Compared to the prior month, the monthly mortgage payment decreased by 3.3% while the median price of single-family homes declined by 2.4%, making home buying more affordable in January. The monthly mortgage payment decreased by $62 from last month.
Sonoma County Housing Market
Redfin: In February 2023, Sonoma County home prices were down 4.9% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $745K. On average, homes in Sonoma County sell after 48 days on the market compared to 29 days last year. There were 226 homes sold in February this year, down from 332 last year.
Work with experienced real estate agents
The real estate market is busy during the spring season as many houses are put up for sale. Unique homes require skillful marketing, and we can help you make your home stand out and be marketed effectively. If you are planning to enter the real estate market this season, give us a call!
As most of us believe, selling a home in Sonoma County during the winter months can be challenging. After all, it is widely known that spring and summer tend to be the most active real estate seasons. The fall and winter seasons are when the number of sellers drops off, resulting in fewer total sales. Is that enough of a reason not to list your home right now?
There are some advantages to selling a home during the winter season that is often overlooked. Sellers can benefit from the fact that there are fewer listings on the market at this time of year, meaning buyers have a limited supply and less competition. Furthermore, with the upcoming holidays, both sellers and buyers will have more leave from work, resulting in more opportunities for showings and open houses.
Additionally, sellers get motivated buyers. Those who start looking for a house at this time of year are more likely to be determined to find one. With this in mind, here are a few strategies to help you sell your home during the winter.
Check the price: Ask your agent to perform a comparative market analysis and look through the current listings and the recently sold properties; it is beneficial to compare your prices. Your real estate agent can assist you in determining the appropriate price for your home.
Improve your online listing: Many home buyers have opted to look for a home online before visiting. It is essential to showcase your home with professional pictures that are well-lit, clean, and staged. This will help you emphasize your home’s best features. Keep in mind that your online listing should contain all of the information they require about the house, the neighborhood, and the market.
Hire the right agent: Make sure you have a knowledgeable real estate agent like Randy and Heidi on your side. Because real estate is a local business, it is important to speak with an experienced real estate agent in your area who is familiar with local sales trends.
As lifelong Sonoma County residents, we are pleased to provide you with neighborhood-specific sales data so you can make an informed decision about when to list your home. Our focus is to listen and understand the goals you want to accomplish, offer our professional guidance by discussing alternatives, and establish a plan of action to achieve your personal real estate goals.
If you plan on listing your home during this winter season in Sonoma County, or would still want to wait for the spring and summer season, no matter how you decide, when you are ready to sell. Give us a call!
The dual nature of Sebastopol real estate agents is unlike most other professions. A medical doctor who is a family physician in the morning doesn’t switch hats and become a surgeon in the afternoon—any more than a lawyer who pleads in court for a defendant can decide to become a prosecuting attorney that afternoon.
On the other hand, Sebastopol Realtors® may begin any single day in negotiations representing a seller, then spend the afternoon escorting a buyer client through a series of Sebastopol home showings. I’m happy to say this isn’t evidence of a split personality disorder. It’s perfectly normal: the California real estate agent’s license I carry specifically permits me to perform as either a buyer’s or a seller’s agent. That’s noteworthy because each of the agencies carries distinct professional obligations.
The subject of the duality of being a real estate agent came to mind this week when I happened across an article on the topic of the 3 things you shouldn’t talk about with a seller’s agent. The author listed the 3 things: how much you like (or dislike) a house; the size of your budget; and (well, the last one wasn’t specifically what not to talk about)—just the advice to buyers to “let your agent do the talking.”
I can vouch for all three, but go it one further: the same real estate agent advice works for sellers, too. Your agent is there to expertly gather and dispense relevant information, at the same time preventing the divulging of any and everything that might weaken your side of the coming bargain. Doing so while maintaining a positive, upbeat tenor is an art—one that sharpens with practice. For sure it’s one place where there is no substitute for experience.
Whether your next Sebastopol real estate role will be as buyer or seller, Heidi and I can be there to serve as your voice—as well to offer our experience, guidance, and advice you can count on. Call us!
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.
The current housing market in Sebastopol California is on par with overall California trends that we’ve seen over the last few years. This last week’s report showed that Sebastopol has an average or median list price of $1,049,000 (ranging from $519K to $12.9M), and an average of $577 per square foot. The slight increase that we saw in the days on market, has held steady throughout this time. At a hundred and forty days this trend is concurrent with what we’re seeing in homes with price decreases, landing a little above 50%. One promising figure is that we’ve had 0% relisted in the last few weeks. Meaning that although we are still seeing a higher than average days on the market number, homes are still selling. This may help since our inventory is little higher than average, and the rental market is on the upswing averaging about $4,400 per month.
We have a few examples of homes that are selling right now in Sebastopol, CA. These homes are quintessential Northern California and they fully facilitate the lifestyle that keeps people moving and living in this fabulous part of the country.
The first home we would like to showcase this month is on Green Valley Road. This particular property was inspired by all of the glorious architecture from the shores of Martha’s Vineyard and is a prime example of the luxury real estate in Sonoma County. This two-story home is the essence of privacy and tranquility, located at the end of a private lane, creating a cozy backdrop to your indoor|outdoor lifestyle. The show-stopper of this property is in the landscaping and beautiful views of adjacent mountain ranges allowing you to feel private yet inspired.
Everything about this home is created to take-in that beautiful landscape. Its open airy feel is highlighted with large windows and bright light that beckons you to grab a warm cup of tea and a book, and just be in the space. Even though this home seems to be created just for the residents’ pure enjoyment and relaxation, bringing friends and family into your curated life is easy with large french doors off the living room into a grand open entertaining space complete with fenced courtyard perfect for family gatherings. From the covered porch where you can gaze upon your own hobby Pinot Noir vineyard to plantation shutters, this Northern California modern cottage house has been fully realized.
The second home we would like to share with you is on Cherry Ridge Road. There is much to enjoy about this modern French inspired farmhouse, located minutes to downtown Sebastopol. Just like the first, this home is nestled at the end of a quiet lane offering plenty of privacy and tranquility. Enjoy the quintessential northern California lifestyle in the home’s spacious open floor plan. The light-filled master suite embraces the outdoor views and creates is a relaxing retreat. Even the bathrooms are designed in a way to add to the clean and calm feel of the space.
The fashionable indoor/outdoor living is made seamless with a deck and patio area with expansive views of the beautiful west county landscape. Enjoy the peaceful walking paths through lush landscaping and vibrant gardens on this gently rolling parcel and escape to the country and tranquility with each step.
The associated and more consequential design news is summed up in one word: flex. A flex room or area is one that has no designated purpose, but which can be configured and later re-configured to accommodate changing needs and lifestyles. Flex rooms are usually sited off the entry hall, near the main living space, generally close to a bathroom (“so they can easily morph into bedrooms”). They have ample electric wiring so they can become home offices or media centers. Or anything else, not yet anticipated.