Archive for the 'Building and Remodeling' Category

Lots and Land Sales Report for Sonoma County

filed under: Building and Remodeling, Market updates posted on May 23rd, 2012

Residential Lots near the Sonoma Plaza

Since home prices declined so significantly since 2007, the market for buildable lots and land in Sonoma County has been very slow for the last few years. That has started to change as new construction is picking up again. Also, in Sonoma County, picky buyers from out of the area with specific home design desires are beginning to build their own custom homes again. Again, while the unit sales are slow for lots and land, sales are picking up. These figures do not include commercial lots, but they do include agricultural lots. The market for plantable vineyard land, and existing vineyards of high quality, is rather strong.

Weighing against new construction are ever escalating contruction and building costs, along with city and county regulations. For a post on Sonoma County’s Permit and Resources Department (PRMD) click here. In Sonoma County as well we are seeing an increased impact on building concerning endangered or threatened species such as the California tiger salamander, the Pritkin marsh lily and the bank swallow.

Again, a caution in that the sample sizes here are so small that it is difficult to draw conclusions from them. I really am including these for reference purposes. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sonoma Lots and Land

posted by Pam Buda // Comments Off on Lots and Land Sales Report for Sonoma County

What does a Well Test involve in Sonoma County?

filed under: Building and Remodeling, Country Property posted on May 5th, 2012

As part of my research for the water topic in our Wine Country and Horses Country Property series I googled Nick Brasesco of Ray’s Well Testing, who does most of my well inspections for clients. I found this nice video, courtesy of Robert Ramirez, an agent at Century 21 in Petaluma. It is about seven minutes long but it gives a good overview of all the components of evaluating a well for a basic country property pre-purchase inspection.

(Note: prior to the inspection, it would be smart for the buyer to pull the permit history and try to get the well log (the description of the depth of the well and the soils) so that Nick could review that as well. On a recent inspection for a client we found that the new well had not had the permit finalled by the county, and we asked the seller and the well driller to get that sorted out prior to closing the sale. I am so glad my clients and I investigated the permit history at Sonoma County PRMD. Here is a link to a previous post on PRMD.

posted by Pam Buda // Comments Off on What does a Well Test involve in Sonoma County?

Planning on Building or Remodelling a Sonoma County home? Check out PRMD

filed under: Building and Remodeling, Country Property posted on November 2nd, 2011

Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department

This is a building you or your contractor will become very familiar with if you plan to remodel or build a home in Sonoma County. You should also visit and investigate any property you are thinking of buying. Your realtor should be able to show you around. There is a lot to see and do here.

But why don’t you just start with looking at the county planning department’s website? There is a lot of useful information here and it is a good place to start.

Some of my favorite links:

Online Permit History Here you can see the online records for a property, which is a start, but you really need to go in to the office and have them pull the microfiche of the records to get at the detail. And CAUTION, you may not get all that there is to know about a property. Some of the records were destroyed in a big fire a number of years ago. Some may not have been scanned in. (TIP: other records with conflcting information may be contained at the County Tax Assessor’s office. These are only available to the owner of a property. This little point can be important with a country property where there might be some confusion about how many bedrooms might be officially allowed with that particular septic system.)

Sonoma County Zoning Regulations

This is an important place to look to notice just how many horses or chickens you might be allowed to have. Or whether you can have a home business, or a guest house or granny unit. Agricultural working housing? This is the place to go once you know a property’s zoning.

FAQ’as about septics, code enforcement, you name it.

This is where you start.

Want to know what the permit fees will be for that new home you want to build? or what it costs to have an on-site inspection?

Look at the Fees page here.

There is a lot more to find at Sonoma County’s PRMD website. What is your favorite page?

posted by Pam Buda // 1 Comment »