Signs of a Shift in the Tides of Sonoma County Real Estate Continue

filed under: Buyers, Sellers posted on September 17th, 2012

Five Years Later A Shift of the Tides in Sonoma County Real Estate

In case you are wondering why I have a video of the San Francisco Bay Model embedded here–it is a throwback nod to my first blog post in 2007, when I used the Bay Model as an analogy to explain Sonoma County’s relationship to the Bay Area Real Estate Market. Well, just as our market seems to have a fresh start–so does the Bay Model–which completed a two year refurbishment earlier this year–you can take a look above! As I said in that earlier post, the Bay Area real estate tide eventually floats Sonoma County’s real estate market boat. We used to say that our market was about 18 months behind the Bay Area market but I believe that is changing for certain marquis properties–country estates in Healdsburg and Sonoma for example, or very stylish homes in walking distance to the Plazas of either of those towns. That is where the Facebook effect is being felt here, as multimillion dollar homes or vineyard and equestrian properties are being snatched up by cash buyers.

What does this mean for you as a home buyer today?

You must have your ducks in a row to be competitive in this market. There are multiple offers at most price points and thirty percent of buyers (also at most price ranges up to millions of dollars) are cash buyers. That means full pre-approval if you are applying for a mortgage. Proof of funds if you are paying cash. If you need a referral to a good lender, I know some great lenders that I trust who can work with you to understand your options. Let me know if I can refer you. You cannot write a serious offer to buy a property without pre-approval from a lender and proof of the funds needed to close.

What does this mean for you as a possible seller?

The market for your home may be stronger than you think. While prices are not what they once were, you will find a much more active market to sell in to, and you will find great values for the next home you wish to purchase. We are seeing significant overbids for strategically price properties and prices may be coming up a few percent. Activity is strong at all price points. Million dollar plus properties that might have sat on the market for months last year are selling quickly this year. Days on market are half of what they were last year. Even if you get less in the sale of your property than you might have at the peak, it is a lot more pleasant to sell quickly and minimize the stress of showings. Please feel free to email or call. I can help you to determine the value of your home and what your priorities should be for preparing it for market, either now or next spring. It makes sense to get a head start on preparations.

What if Your Home is Underwater?

If you owe more than your home is worth, there is better news now as well. It has taken years, but most lenders are far, far better at working with you and your agent to sell your home in a “short sale”, so the options for you are better than they have been in some time. Please check in with me to discuss your options. I have listed and sold several short sale homes and it is far easier now than it used to be. Most experts feel that the number of actual foreclosures will continue to decline as more and more lenders have improved their short sale processes. They can realize more on a short sale than in a foreclosure. As property values increase of course fewer homes will be underwater. And that is good news.


The San Francisco Bay Model is a 1.5 acre scale model of San Francisco Bay from the Golden Gate to the Delta. It is definitely worth a trip to Sausalito in Marin County to see. I had the good fortune years ago to visit when it was operating and to listen to a talk by a well known yacht racer from San Francisco Bay as he discussed the tactical use of the tides in sailboat racing on the bay. Very cool stuff–before I got back in to horses I spent my weekends racing sail boats on the bay and off shore on the coast, so the tactical tide tips came in handy.

posted by Pam Buda // Comments Off on Signs of a Shift in the Tides of Sonoma County Real Estate Continue