Archive for the 'real estate' Category

Showing Appreication – Wine Country Style

FoodLast night was my Client Appreication Party for all my wonderful clients – held at the J. Keverson Tasting Room in Healdsburg. This was the first time that I hosted an event outside of my home and it was a great time – wine, food, a great duo for entertainment and wonderful conversation.

ConversationThere was a lot of history and love that went into this evening. I think the earliest transaction represented was completed in 2004. The 2003 client came down with the flu and texted his regards earlier in the day. The most recent was October of 2014. And then there was the client who is writing an offer today!  It was terrific
to see everyone and we had a wonderful time.  I really enjoyed watching clients meet and converse with each other – and there seemed to be a lively discourse on everything from the real estate market to who should win the Oscars.

jackie

Jackie Tompkins

The J. Keverson Tasting Room is a wonderful venue for any event. Spacious and wine country chic, the room has art and furniture constructed from barrel stays. The decor is fun and the hostess, Jackie Tompkins, is the daughter of a colleague from my life as an engineering manager, Kevin Tompkins. The “Kev” in Keverson is from Kevin. The “J.” represents John Hazlewood. John is the winemaker and was the Realtor who represented me when I first moved to Sonoma County. John owned Fountaingrove Realty and Mortgage for many years. Jackie is pouring Starkey’s Court Zinfandel named in honor of Tim Starkey who was the guy who got me to relocate to Sonoma County.

musicians2

CiCi Wilcoxon and Jesse Boggs

Our entertainment was CiCi Wilcoxon and Jesse Boggs of Honey B and the Pollinators. I first heard the group sing at The French Garden in Sebastopol. I knew CiCi as a Realtor when my office was in Sebastopol but did not know that she has a smooth, catchy voice and plays the bass. They were perfect for this event. Everyone loves their song selections – check it out on their website honeybjazz.com. CiCi now owns West County Property Management and was helpful in getting my son and business partner the rental across the street from my home.

Mike,Lynn,Katherine

Mike and Lynn Lamka with Katherine Radcliffe

My thanks has to go out to Mike Lamka of Stearns Lending who helped with the event and provided some gracious hosting as I was busy hugging and loving my friends.

Next year I will attempt to be closer to home but this venue is going to be hard to beat. And, yes, I am back to writing on this blog. It has been over six months that I have been on hiatus and it is time to change. But I need to find my camera if I am going to get back to my pictures!

setting

Conversation at the Food Table

The Discussions at the Bar

The Discussions at the Bar

Advertisements

2250 Joy Road, Occidental

front house (2)I have been remiss in getting this lovely listing on this blog.  I have no good excuse.  The listing has been promoted every other way that I know and I have let my blog lag.  2250 Joy Road is about a half mile down the road from where I lived before my move into Sebastopol.  The current owner has loved this home and spot but has come to the realization that it is time to move into town.  Does that sound familiar? through the trees (2) While I drove passed this home every day on my way to and from work, I did not know it was there.  Situated on the back half of a 1.18 acre lot, there is a cover of trees and a lovely meadow between Joy Road and the home.  Ample parking is along the driveway and a large paved turn around area at the front of the house that leads to the two car garage.

deck-denThe home has three bedrooms and two baths to the right of the entryway.  The entryway has oak flooring with inlaid detail to give a touch of style to the home.  The oak flooring extends into the hallway to the bedrooms, the kitchen and the den/office.  The living room, dining room and master bedroom open to the sunny meadow with a deck off of the master bedroom for lounging in the sun.  Off of the den is a large deck for shaded afternoon entertaining or just a nap in nature.

Living is easy in this home.  The laundry room and powder room are off of the den which Denis easily accessible from the kitchen, side deck or garage.  The den is currently used as an office but I see it as the place I would live year round with its oak floors, great lighting, slider to the deck and spot for a wood burning stove.   Of course, there is the sitting area in the kitchen with cabinetry and TV unit where I could sit right in the middle of the household activity.

This is a beautiful home on enough land to feel private but not so much that it is a large undertaking to maintain.  I can dream about living here – maybe you can, too,  If you want to see additional pictures, let me know.  Of course, I have them.

kitchen

Phase II of Being a Buyer

Front of Town House - Bessie isn't in the garage because all of my furniture is!

Front of Town House – Bessie isn’t in the garage because all of my furniture is!

The town home closed one day early – June 3.  You would think that I would immediately announce on this blog and revel in the giddiness of being a homeowner once again.  No instead I had a panic attack!  You think I am joking but I really did.  I did my walk through (that is when you go through the property before close of escrow to make sure that everything was as you remembered it when you wrote the offer) while the tenant was still in tenancy. It looked just like it did before – lots of furniture and stuff.  When I went

Water Central in my Kitchen

Water Central in my Kitchen

in after close of escrow – which means that it is now mine – there was the interesting thing sticking out of the kitchen floor.  What in the world is it? Most people said “oh, you have radiant floor heating!”  But I knew that I didn’t.  What seemed like a lifetime later (it was about 2 days), I got a plumber out who explained to me that this was the  manifold for all the water in my home.  There was no “moving” it if I wanted water.  I fretted – I called the listing agent and said that I was going to get  a bid to reroute the water supply as I planned to put my refrigerator where it is located – I had my panic attack.  A couple of discussions later with the benefit of pinot noir, I came to my senses and decided that I would build a cabinet around it to display my dishes and move the refrigerator the 6 inches that is needed to avoid the plumbing.  I so appreciate what my clients go through when they find something that should have been disclosed.  I need to call the listing agent and let her know that I have come to my senses.

Toolbox for the single female homeowner

Toolbox for the single female homeowner

My agent did not give me a closing gift (yes, that was me and I am getting new flooring!) but Gail brought over champagne, a home made pizza and flowers.  What a great friend she is!   Then a client (can a call her a client when she has never been in contract?) gave me a tool box with everything one needs to deal with a new home and a bouquet of roses.  I was so touched by the thought and will use it regularly.  So I do not feel deprived at all.

Living Room and Stairwell Before Updating

Living Room and Stairwell Before Updating

Last Wednesday the floors in the downstairs were torn out in preparation for cork floors to be installed.  Rob from Naturlich in Sebastopol says “why didn’t I see that?” when he saw the pipes coming out of the floor.  “Because they were hidden,” I cry.  I was still in my panic mode.  With the help of pinot noir, I am now quite sanguine on the matter.  You can take that however you wish.  Thursday all of my heavy furniture was moved.  It was a long day but at the end of it, I have my bedroom completely functional.  This is very easy as it is exactly the same dimensions and  orientation as my bedroom on Joy Road.  The rest of the furniture is in the garage.    The pots and plants that I intend to keep from Joy Road are in the back.  It is a very small yard – the width of the town home and not too deep.  I may have brought too many things.  I will work that out.

Backyard After a Day's Work

Backyard After a Day’s Work

Believe it or not – I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  That is real work that pays the bills not work on the move.  Monday was the first day of painting.  only the downstairs and the upstairs hallway are getting a facelift.  Bedrooms and upstairs baths are just going to have to wait for another time.  Today is Thursday and I now have painted walls and cork flooring.  The living room is red, the stairwell is beige and the kitchen is robin egg blue.  The Benjamin Moore colors are Spanish Red, Shaker Beige and Tranquil Blue for those of you who care about these things.  There are still things to be done.  My TV armoire did not make it up the stairs.  Not sure what I am going to do there.  I signed up for Comcast internet and then forgot to get an ethernet cable when I was at Joy Road last night.

Yes, I am living between two places.  My bed is in Sebatopol but my TV, Internet and kitchen is still at Joy Road.  Last night I was on the blow up bed in my old bedroom.  Tonight I am in Sebastopol using my Verizon hotspot and getting a good night’s sleep.  I planted six roses today and my back is complaining.  My goal is to be settled by June 24.  I am a positive thinker.  Whether I am totally settled or not, I am inviting all those who have helped me move to celebrate that evening.  Did I mention that I am easy walking to Fiesta Market, Mombo’s Pizza and Sebastopol Hardware?

Living Room and Stairwell Tonight

Living Room and Stairwell Tonight

Experiencing a Purchase from a New Perspective

What I am leaving!  This is the hard part of moving.

What I am leaving! This is the hard part of moving.

In my last post I mentioned that I am in escrow on a home.   This is no minor perturbation to my life and I am having many mixed emotions.  I am excited – I am overwhelmed – I am scared!  The real description of me is I AM A CLIENT!

The process started when I realized that I could probably purchase a home this year.  I have the income substantiated by my tax returns and I have money for a down payment (as modest as it might be).   Fortunately my credit scores are up in the area that makes me a “good bet” for paying things off.   The banks are starting to lend money to normal people again and the interest rates are so low that it is hardly a factor.  The prices of homes are going up rapidly and I have seen people delay their purchase until they can no longer afford to buy.  Those were the easy things to see.  The time to purchase is now.   The difficult part is that I do love where I currently live.  However, it is pretty far from work and I do not have a garage, dishwasher or bathroom large enough to turn around in.

I struggled with the decisions that must be addressed.  I cannot afford to buy much and less in Sebastopol than if I went to Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park or Windsor.  But I decided that being close to my friends and the places I love is more important to me than the size of the home, size of the lot or about anything else for that matter.  So like a good client, I made my “must have”  list.  I must have a garage.  I must have a dishwasher.  I must be located in Sebastopol, Forestville or Graton.  (Sorry, Occidental.  It is just too much of a drive right now.)  I must have a normal bathroom with a vanity counter.  I must have two bedrooms and a second bath would be fantastic.   I want at least 1200 square feet of living space.

With my list in mind, I started my search.  Realization #1:  There are no detached  homes in my price range.  Ramification #1:  a townhome in Sebastopol is the best that I can do.  What is the difference between a townhome and a condo?  They look the same but the townhome has minimal liability from the homeowner’s Association and therefore has lower HOA dues.

I made an offer on a home off Bodega Avenue.  I loved the exterior space and could live with the interior.  I adjusted to Realization #2: I am going to have a two story home.  This home was in my price range and move in ready.  There were seven offers and it went for $55,000 over asking with an all cash offer.  Realization #3: I may need to spend more than I want to get my “must have” list.  This was very disappointing.

Then I told myself what I tell my clients.  There is something better for you out there.  You must be patient.  I reacted about the same way my clients do – Sure, Barbara, I will spend every spare minute on the Internet looking for something better.  Call me every day so that I don’t spend my down payment on a new car to cheer myself up since I will never be able to afford anything.

But within a week another unit came on the market.  The outside space is not as good – in fact it is a tiny yard and a pretty drab exterior – but the interior space is dynamite.  I could see where my furniture would go.  Not quite move in ready but close enough to make it possible.  Better location than Bodega Avenue.   I immediately wrote my offer and got it submitted.  I offered $5,500 over asking.  And then the wait began.  I gave three days to respond.  At three days, no response.  I am getting nervous.  The rooms are getting smaller.  The stove is getting older.  The floor plan is getting less desirable.  Day 4 and still no response.  By now I am thinking – I really don’t like this place after all.  It is dingy and miniscule.   When clients call me asking if there is anything they can do to get a response sooner, I tell them that they need to be patient as the only real options we have are to wait until the seller responds or withdraw the offer.  This usually elicits a sigh of disgust.  I am now sighing – heavily.  Day 5, I get my answer.  My offer is accepted.    To me it seemed over 10 days.  I now have so much more empathy for my clients.

Gal pals are great for letting you know if you are doing the right thing.

Gal pals are great for letting you know if you are doing the right thing.

I immediately asked if I could go back to see the house and take Gail and Katy – before I even have inspections.  Clients do this all the time.  We walked into the living room and it was WOW!  Other than painting and that I want different flooring, the place is move in ready.  The stove is just fine and my furniture will all fit.  I am delighted.

How did I get this home over the other many offers?  I offered a bit higher than asking (it has appraised at that amount), I took less than 10 days to remove my inspection contingencies (I have the best inspectors), I accommodated the tenant and have a long escrow (71 days to be exact) and I have a reputation of getting the escrow closed.  Whatever really made the difference, I don’t know but I believe that I was meant to move to Sebastopol and live in this lovely home.  I am now 33 days from home ownership and delighted with the prospects of settling in.

Real Estate Market in Sonoma County – Many Offers and Cash is King

On October 1 I entered 152 Firethorn Drive, Rohnert Park into the MLS.  After a week of constant showings and a well attended open house, I received 10 offers on October 8.  We accepted a full cash offer from a party that was willing to do inspections during the period of review for a preapproved short sale with Bank of America.  The sale closed on October 30 with no hitches.  This home was a fixer but was in a great location and had good “bones”.

Yesterday I learned that an offer we submitted on a major fixer in the Rincon Valley area of Santa Rosa was not the winning bid.  They received 17 all cash offers and ours was the only one for an owner occupant.  The asking price was $229,000.  I believe that the final contract price was around $255,000.  We will not know until the property closes.  What is a “major fixer”?  The roof was caved in at one spot and the floor boards underneath were rotted through.  Read the article below and you will learn that this is not an unusual scenerio.

Realtors’ 2012 Housing Survey:

Competition Is the Name of the Game in California

A highly competitive market pushed California’s housing recovery into high gear in 2012, forcing homebuyers into bidding wars for available homes and rewarding sellers with the strongest prices seen in years.

A new report — the California Association of Realtors’ annual Housing Market Survey — helps explain the dynamics of today’s market.

The survey found that 57 percent of home sales received multiple offers in 2012, the highest in at least the past 12 years, with each home receiving an average of 4.2 offers, up from 3.5 in 2011. Lower-priced homes – typically short sales and bank-owned properties known as REOs – attracted more offers than equity sales. Seven of 10 short sales and REO sales received multiple offers, while only half of equity sales received more than one offer.

Such a competitive housing environment has led to more properties selling at or above the list price, with 41 percent of homes selling without a markdown from the asking price, the highest since 2005 and up from a long-running average of 32 percent.

Additionally, homes sold faster in 2012, with equity sales selling in 32 days compared with 67 days in 2011. REOs took 30 days to sell compared with 50 days in 2011, while short sales took 90 days compared with 141 days in 2011, reflecting the still-difficult process.

Many regions in the Bay Area saw even tighter markets.

“San Francisco saw a higher percentage of multiple bids than the statewide average,” said Patrick Barber, president of Pacific Union International’s San Francisco region. “A solid majority of homes here are selling at or above the asking price.”

Chart showing the share of home sales with multiple offers.

The share of California home sales with multiple offers is the highest in at least 12 years.

In the East Bay, nearly 70 percent of home sales received multiple offers in the third quarter, and many homes went into contract within two weeks of coming on the market.

Across the state, the competitive market is being fueled by favorable home prices and record-low interest rates combined with pent-up demand and a severe shortage of available housing.

“Well-qualified buyers are recognizing the once-in-a-generation opportunity to purchase a home in California and are jumping into the market,” C.A.R. President LeFrancis Arnold said in a statement accompanying the survey. “However, the fierce market conditions have forced many buyers to compete with all-cash offers and investors, setting off multiple offers and bidding wars, making it even more difficult for first-time buyers to become homeowners.”

Other findings from the survey:

  • The percentage of homebuyers making all-cash purchases has more than tripled in the past 11 years, from 9 percent in 2001 to 30 percent in 2012.
  • Demand for investment properties and second homes remained strong in 2012, with investors accounting for 16 percent of sales and second-home buyers for 7 percent. The remaining 77 percent purchased homes as a primary residence.
  • International buyers accounted for 5.8 percent of sales in 2012, relatively unchanged from 5.7 percent in 2011. Buyers from China, Canada, India, and Mexico made up the vast majority of international buyers at 39.1 percent, 13 percent, 8.7 percent, and 8.7 percent, respectively.
  • Reflecting tighter lending standards, very few homebuyers have a second mortgage. The share of home sales with a second mortgage has fallen dramatically from a high of 43.4 percent in 2006 to 1.8 percent in 2012.

The C.A.R. report was based on a questionnaire sent to a random sample of 15,000 real estate agents  throughout the state.

 

Open Houses in Sonoma County

417 N Main Street, Sebastopol

Tomorrow (yes, that is a Wednesday) 417 N Main Street in Sebastopol will be open from 9:30 AM until noon.  Agents and individuals are welcome to visit.  There is no sign outside this home and it is not listed in the MLS – but it is for sale with an asking price of $450,000.  This sale is not a short sale or a bank owned property.  Real people are selling their home of many years.  Specifics on the home are:

Modern bathroom has vintage style

  • Built in 1903 and many original details are still intact
  • Addition which includes Family Room with gas fireplace, bathroom, laundry area and two bedrooms was completed with permits in 2005.
  • 4 bedrooms with 2 baths
  • Granite countertops in Kitchen
  • Hardwood floors in Living and Dining Rooms
  • Ceramic Tile in Kitchen and Family Room
  • Parking in Back with Alley Access

New ceramic tile floor in kitchen

The updates to this home have been done with attention to the style of the era in which it was built.   The latest improvement to the home is a new ceramic tile floor in the kitchen.  It was much needed and makes the kitchen shine.  When you visit, you will see pictures of this home when horses and buggies were the mode of transportation.  Today it is tucked back from Main Street but clearly across the street from Safeway.  While many folks comment on the busy street, my clients have loved sitting on the porch sipping coffee and watching the hustle and bustle of Sebastopol life.  There isn’t a better location to watch the Apple Blossom parade and no excuse to not have all the ingredients for a spur of the moment special meal or dessert.

I have no expectation for the open house tomorrow.  It is on a Wednesday – it is not advertised in the MLS.  I am prepared for whatever comes.

152 Firethorn Drive, Rohnert Park

This weekend I held an open house at my listing in Rohnert Park.  152 Firethorn Drive is a 4 bedroom single level home in need of much tender loving care.  The list price is $299,000 which is within range of many buyers.  I knew that I would have a good turn out.  The crowd was amazing – at least 40 people visited – I could not keep up my count and answer questions both.  Yesterday I received 8 offers.  Today we will compare the submissions and chose a buyer.  The market is HOT!   Buyers who are trying to do it on their own without an agent, are at a disadvantage.   Even with the internet, they do not have access to everything on the market or all of the details that are in agent’s comments on the MLS.  Of course, I would love to work with  more buyers and sellers.  If you know anyone, have them contact me.

Open  houses are a great way to see how the market is.  As one person put it to me at the open house, “This is a real wake up call.  I thought we were in a buyer’s market.”  Prices are still affordable but not as low as last year.  Interest rates are at an all time low – FHA is at 3.25% with a 3.5% down payment.  If a home is priced well, it will have offers in a few days.  Short sales are getting more reasonable in timing.

What a great time to be in real estate!

Blogging and Living – are they compatible?

Image2012 has not been my best year for blogging.  After a couple of years of getting at least one blog a week done – I have been getting about one blog a month written and it has been something that must be said.  As I sit in my easy chair with a terrible cold (yes, I am thinking it may be bronchitis at this point), I ponder on what the differences are between 2012 and years prior.  Two things pop out immediately – the real estate market is very active which has translated into my business being active and I have found myself at home less for both personal and professional reasons.  But I must be honest here – I have plenty of time to write a quick blog.

When I started this journey of blogging, I was intent on writing about real estate and the wonderful reasons for living in Sonoma County.  I took it very literally and struggled with the content.  Then I saw the movie,  Julie and Julia, and decided that I was taking the writing far too seriously.  I started writing about what I did that was fun and whatever came to mind.  Blogging was no longer a chore but an outlet.  Last night I saw that movie, again. (Yes, when you are sick enough that moving is a painful experience, TV is a great pastime.)  While I saw the movie through different eyes, I got the same bottom line.  I need to get back into putting it down on the screen and stop keeping it all in my head.  I need something that puts me out there and that is about me.  So welcome back, Barbara, and may your readers enjoy the ride.

So what have I been doing?  As I said before, business is booming in Northern California.  Does that mean that prices are skyrocketing? No.  But it does mean that there are lots of buyers out there and at a bargain (compared to 2007) price homes are selling like hotcakes.  I hear about homes that are getting 13 to 15 offers in 3 days.  These are at the lower end of the market but I have had multiple offers at the $1M price point.  My goal is to have 3 listings at all times and I don’t mean the same three!  I have a short sale listing that is now going on it’s 9th month.  I keep holding out hope that this is the month that the stars align and all of the lien holders, sellers, buyers and new lenders are ready and in agreement at the same time.  It is a challenge but I know that it can happen.  The home on Chileno Valley Road should close on October 1 and I have a new listing in Rohnert Park that you should be able to view on this blog in the next week or so.  I know that it will sell quickly – great location – right price point.   I am looking for the replacement listings for these three so that I keep the well primed.  I could possibly handle more than three at a time but I don’t know how to give less service so there is a limit to how many I can take.  On the other side of the business, I am working with a number of buyers who are ready to buy but need to find that special property whether it is $120,000 or $2,500,000.  I love showing property so bring on the challenge.

ImageIn the midst of this real estate frenzy, I have been out of town for about half of August – some business – most pleasure.  Early in the month I drove to Los Angeles to a real estate event to catch up on the latest in marketing and business techniques.  It was inspirational and tactical – just want I needed.  Katy went with me and we stopped at my sister’s home in Cambria, visited Hearst Castle and spend some time at Disneyland.

Home for four days and then I was off to Seattle (the opening picture is from the Chihuly exhibit in Seattle by the space needle) and an Alaskan cruise.  The scenery was spectacular.  The cruise wonderful.  Business was conducted at the ports of call.

Looking forward to doing more posts when I am feeling better.  Cheers.


Calendar

July 2019
S M T W T F S
« Feb    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Categories

Previous Posts

Other Topics Covered

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 737 other followers

Advertisements