Posts Tagged 'Guerneville'

Resorts In Bloom

Casa Panama - Vacation Rental in Jenner

 

Another week has flown by.  I really believe that we have entered into summer.  With the rain going on and on, I was not the only person who thought it might slip back into winter mode.  But now the mornings are warm with blue skies and the evenings are like having a light blanket wrapped around the world.  I love this time of year.  I want to roam the garden in the morning and take it in from the porch in the evening.  It is a great time to show property and I will be doing that today.  

Last Saturday I was given two tickets to a new fund-raising event in the Russian River area – Resorts in Bloom.  It was a great way to spend a few hours with my dear friend, Phyllis.  The advertised concept was to visit the gardens of various lodging options around the Russian River and raise money for local charities.  Being gardening people, we could not pass it up.  We saw some beautiful outdoor vignettes but mostly we saw some great get-a-ways.   

Casa Panama is a vacation rental in Jenner which is where Hwy 116 (the road that travels from Hwy 101 through Sebastopol, Forestville, Guerneville and Monte Rio) ends at Hwy 1.  Jenner is a cute coastal town with a couple of good restaurants and spectacular views of the Russian River and Pacific Ocean.  I remember when the house that is now Casa Panama was on the market a number of years ago.  Wow, what a difference!  The terraced garden is spectacular and the home was reconfigured to give maximum advantage to the views.  You can check it out at www.casapanama.net.    

Russian River from Casa Panama

 

 Equally private and just as beautiful in a very different way is CazSonoma Inn outside of Cazadero.  This establishment has been around for many, many years as the Cazanoma Lodge.  Don’t let the bumpy dirt road deter you from making it out to this delightful oasis in the redwoods.  It is nestled up against Kidd Creek and offers in lodge rooms and private cabins.  The restaurant is open May through Thanksgiving for dinner and Sunday Brunch.  Thought provoking and informative talks from astronauts to filmmakers are offered throughout the summer.  This is a hidden West Sonoma County gem.  Learn more at www.CazSonoma.com.  

The Deck at CazSonoma Inn

 

 The gardens at the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville were beautiful, labeled and informative.  We were sorry to see that the rose garden in front is replaced with a lawn.  We rose people are just that way!  Applewood Inn has lovely grounds and a great feeling of privacy.  Oh, I could go on.  But then what would be the incentive to come and stay at one of the wonderful places?  You can learn about Resorts in Bloom at www.resortsinbloom.com.  I bet that it will be happening again next year. 

We finished out tour with a wonderful lunch at Howard’s Cafe in Occidental.  Since moving to Joy Road, I am now a frequent eater at Howard’s.  Great place to get a super breakfast or tasty lunch.  The summer is starting out to be a great one.  

Driving Up to CazSonoma Inn

Efren Carrillo’s Fiesta

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Fiesta at the Guerneville Veteran's Building

Friday night was a big bash in Guerneville.  A fiesta in support of Efren Carrillo, 5th district supervisor for Sonoma County, brought out the town.  Well, more than the town since we were there from Forestville and we even saw some Sebatopolians and Santa Rosans.  I believe that all the living past 5th district supervisors were in attendance – all looking much less stressed than when they were in office.  There was a contingent of activists sporting T-Shirts asking that the landfill remain in the hands of the county.  (There is a proposal that the landfill be sold to a private company who would then get all of the garbage from Sonoma County.  It is a long story and can be read by googling “Mecham Landfill Sale”.)  Generally the 300+ people were there to thank Efren for representing the community in the multitude of issues that effect us – use of the Russian River, building codes and land use are just a few that are on the minds of Russian River residents.

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Sveta Lynch with the Kitchen Help

The event was held at the Guerneville Veteran’s Memorial Building.  Food was provided by  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”by “>Taqueria La Tapatia, the almost famous Mexican restaurant of Guerneville.  The kitchen staff was a mix of politicos and fun loving people.  Oh, maybe they were all some of each.  The margaritas were small and the wine was plentiful.  The beverage people all seemed to be my old cohorts from the Frank Howard Allen office in Guerneville.  The Mariachi band was loud and authentic.  It was great to see everyone having a good time.

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Efren Carrillo helping in the Kitchen

The Q3 Real Estate Report is Out

Every quarter we wait for the quarterly report to see if the numbers agree with how the market seems to be from an activity perspective.  It is always interesting to read how the number crunchers interpret the data.  For Q3 there is a mixed bag for Sonoma County.  As a whole, year to year comparisons are that the prices are down and the activity is slightly down.  But that is only part of the picture.  For Sebastopol, Forestville and Guerneville, the volume is up 38% from Q3-08 to Q3-09.  2008 was a very slow year in Forestville but 20 homes were sold in the last 3 months.

The buzz in the news is that there is not going to be that huge glut of foreclosures this next year.  The number of foreclosures in California have leveled off instead of escalating as predicted earlier in the year.  According to information on California released by MDA DataQuick on Tuesday, 50,013 homes were foreclosed upon in the three months ended Sept. 30, down from 79,511 for the same period in 2008.  They report an increase in default notices but the banks are attempting to keep people in their homes if at all possible. 
 The bottom of the market is being bought up by investors and first time home buyers as quickly as it enters the market.  While looking at properties in San Jose yesterday, we had to juggle around other Realtors and their clients while looking at homes priced for multiple offers.  This is happening throughout Northern California.  This is making the purchase of a home for first time buyers difficult as any reasonably nice single family dwelling is receiving cash offers.  An FHA borrower cannot compete against all cash.  The strategies to get into contract are more than price and it takes real perseverance to be successful.

Meanwhile, we are seeing a renewed interest in higher end properties.  This is good news for everyone as it signals an increase in comsumer confidence.  I am certainly feeling more confident about the real estate market – but that could pass!

Look for the Q3 Market Report for Sonoma County within the next week.  If you do not receive one, email me with your current address.  If you would like to get the Q3 Market Report for another Northern California area (like San Francisco, Contra Costa or Santa Clara counties), just ask.  I am happy to send them along.

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A week in Sonoma County

This last week has been really full of Sonoma County fun.  It started on Monday with a party at the home of some friends outside of Forestville whose daughter is leaving for Madrid to get her MBA.  Katherine is a beautiful, vivacious young woman who seems to know everyone in West County.  It is not often that we find ourselves in a crowd of 20-somethings.  Great food (there were a good number of local chefs in attendance), a tango demonstration and beautiful scenery.  Why is she going to Madrid?  Wednesday I was sitting at my desk and my phone started beeping – I had forgotten that it was Wednesday!   Wednesday is my afternoon to play golf with EWGA.  That stands for Executive Women Golf Association.  We meet up around 4:30 at Oakmont East golf course and play 9 homes.  Oakmont EastOakmont is a planned community with two golf courses.  Oakmont West is an 18-hole regulation golf course.  Lots of views and some challenging holes.  Oakmont East is a par 63 executive course.  It is a lot of fun because none of us take ourselves too seriously and we just play to have a good time.  After our nine holes, we meet up at the clubhouse and have a glass of wine and a few nibbles before we all go home for dinner.  I cannot believe that I got so involved in work that I almost missed it!   Thursday is our day to have dinner with my friend, Phyllis, who I know through the rose society.  This Thursday was so busy that we decided to meet at a local diner on Fulton Road in Santa Rosa, Louie’s.  We were pretty quiet but had great down home food – Tom had liver and onions, Phyllis had the cheese omelet and I had a chicken taco salad.  Friday was a long work day for me.  After visiting a couple of past clients with magnificently remodeled homes, I headed for San Jose to show property.  I got home around 11.  Saturday was six hours of work and then another party.  This party was  outside of Guerneville on a hill that has views forever.

Looking over the pool at Pool Ridge

Looking over the pool at Pool Ridge

  It was the 70th birthday of our host and was quite an event.  Not many 20-somethings but there were about 12 kids under age 8.  We headed out to the river early and just hung out in Monte Rio and Guerneville before we went up to the party.  Interesting people and more great food.  I was the designated driver so I skipped the array of wines but one really doesn’t always need wine!   Sunday was the Redwood Empire Rose Society annual picnic.  This year we had our luncheon at Western Hills Nursery and Garden outside of Occidental.  It is an exceptional botanical garden with some exotic plants that you will not find in other gardens.  We wandered the garden and enjoyed the company.  It was a spectacular day.  To top the whole week off, my compost pile was around 125 degrees F.  Not bad for a hand turned compost pile.  Now it is another Monday.  No great party tonight but after last week, I need a quiet night at home.

Walking down Memory Lane, Guerneville

Memory Lane is a short street on the most eastern side of Rio Nido.  The street is one way and climbs up above the road and comes out onto Canyon One near the entrance to Rio Nido.  There are a number of very nice homes on this lane and the one in these videos is up with the best.  It was built in 2004 and is currently on the market for $289,900.  There have not been many sales in Rio Nido since the market began to slow in 2006.    This is a special one.

Outside:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y68nwkOrrCA

Inside:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq5yQR0UuPo

New Listing on Canyon Three in Rio Nido

With the high demand for properties under $200,000 in the Russian River area, I was delighted to see this new listing come on the market today. The asking price is $199,000 and I think that it is priced right! Here are two videos: one is of the outside and neighborhood and the other is of the inside. Enjoy!

 

Outside view:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAeRT23sXMg

Inside view:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLy2JqgI7_A

What is for sale on the Russian River for less than $170,000?

Yesterday I visited a home that is listed for sale on Hwy 116 just outside of Monte Rio.  It is located between the town of Monte Rio and the Northwood Golf course.  Not a lot of building in this area due to the terrain but there is an alcove of four homes that are nestled above the road.  The home I visited is a two bedroom, two bath with a garage on the market for $169,900 and is bank owned.

The home is in realitively good shape with newer Pergo floors in the living room and bedrooms.  The lot is spacious and has some sun.  Most remarkable to me was that once inside the home, the street noise was not evident.  Thank goodness for dual pane windows.

Just last October, we listed and sold a one bedroom, one bath cabin with no usable land that looked very nice but needed some foundation work.  It sold for $186,000.  While the low end of the market is very active throughout California, there are still places that the prices are less than a year ago.  Take a look at these videos and see what is listed at under $170,000.

This video is of the outside in front.  The other houses are adjacent along the road but all to the left of the house.   It appears that one of the neighbors may be using the parkings space while it is vacant.  I mentioned not knowing how much of the property is included.  From the country records, it appears that the lot is over 7,000 sq. ft.  so most of the land should be a part of the lot.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1mbSXHDH4A

Inside of the home is very light and has good energy.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggGmzdh27UE

The back yard appears to have been completely fenced for a dog enclosure.  There is a gate at the entrance to the deck that could be closed to provide a fenced area for a dog that includes the back area and the deck with the doggie door at the front door.  Actually this is the only door to get in and out of the house.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeEm4VkZpCM

There are other properties in this price range but they are either deep in the redwoods, have no land or are in terrible condition.  This has been on the market 17 days and so I doubt that it will last very long.   There are often teaser prices put on properties these days.  What is a teaser price?  Pricing a property well below what the current market value is.  Listing agents will do this to get many lookers and hope for a bidding war that drives the prices up.  I don’t think that this is a teaser price as there are 47 active listings in the area for less than $300,000.  In the last 6 months 61 have sold.  14 are currently in contract .  This appears to be priced to sell.

What is a Distressed Property?

There is a great deal of discussion these days about “distressed properties”?  Many people wonder what that means.   A Distressed Property is one that is at risk of foreclosure by a lien holder.   Often the homeowner is unable to pay the mortgage due to a change in employment or an adjustment in the mortgage terms.  It really does not matter what the reason is, the homeowner fails behind on payments.  In past times, the borrower would sell the property, pay off the mortgages at closing and have a bit of change to rent a home.  Today the property is often mortgaged for more than it can bring in with a sale.   If the mortgage is not being paid and the home will sell for less than the mortgages, the home is a distressed property.   There could be benefits to the seller and the lien holder for the home to be sold before it is foreclosed through the process of a “short sale.”  That is where working with an experienced REALTOR comes into play.  There is a class on selling these properties that ends in a designation of Certified Distressed Property Expert.  If you need one, let me know.

Activity is at a 2 year high

It may be hard to believe that some part of the economy is picking up.  But it is true.  Sonoma County properties are going into contract like the good old days.  The difference from the “good old days” is that these days are good for buyers.  They are also good for sellers if the property is priced right.  Multiple offers are coming in on those homes that seen as a good buy.    No more sitting on the market for months without an offer.  All a seller needs to do is get the price to where the market things it is a good idea.  Presto – offers come from everywhere. 

If you are selling your property, get this price down to something that is considered a bargain.  You can get more than the asking price in this market. 

If you are buying a property, be prepared to compete for a property.  Know the value of the property based upon what is going on in the market.  If a comparable home sold three months ago, the house today will sell for less.  Don’t think that a low ball offer will get accepted without a lot of time on the market and hard negotiations.

Wine Country is spectacular!

Today I drove to Napa with a client to look at property.  While I am a huge fan Sonoma County and our wines.  Napa has a definite appeal to many.   The weather is a bit warmer but that brings roses to bloom sooner and cabernet sauvignon to the perfect ripeness.   The report of sales for Q1 was published today.   Sonoma County sales volume is about 4x the sales in Napa County.  Historically the cost of homes in Napa were more than double.   For the first quarter of 2009, the average sales price in Napa County was $386K as opposed to $300K in Sonoma County.  What does this mean if you are looking for a home?   It means that the sales are being made at the low end of the market and there are homes below $386,000 in Napa and below $300,000 in Sonoma.   It also means that not many homes are selling in the higher price ranges.  This is good news for buyers of luxury homes in both counties.  If you are looking for a country getaway or a retirement Shangri-la, come to the wine country of Northern California.  We are experienced REALTORS who can help you find exactly what you are dreaming of.


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