Archive for the 'Buyers' Category

The Best of Healdsburg and Sonoma County–visit our Open House on the web

filed under: Buyers, Healdsburg, Real Estate 2.0, Wine Country Living posted on July 18th, 2008

My wonderful client Jill is an excellent horsewoman. She and I met riding on Fred MacMurray’s beautiful Twin Valleys ranch on the border of Healdsburg and Forestville. It is only fitting that her wonderful classic Healdsburg bungalow be the subject for an innovative open house this Sunday from 1-4 PM. Jill get’s what were doing so she was very excited to allow Trulia and me to set up a live webcast on Trulia’s blog for the first open house at her home at 414 Piper Street. Only concern she had that it would be like the Truman Show.

We thought this home and its fantastic close to the Healdsburg plaza location would appeal to the type of people who would be watching the Trulia blog who may be frequent visitors to Sonoma County and appreciate the finer things that a community such as Healdsburg has to offer. While Healdsburg is about 80 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge, it is a very sophisticated community with country charm. Since the early 80’s when I used to visit good friends Joan and Larry Franceshchina, I fell in love with the wine country of Sonoma and eventually made a home here.

Since 414 Piper Street would make a great weekend getaway or fantastic tele-commute location I thought it would be a great fit for the folks on Trulia to see and appreciate.

So tune in Sunday from 1 to 4 pm or thereabouts. Maybe you will fall in love with 414 Piper Street, Healdsburg.

FYI, this property has an excellent walk score of 83, meaning many amenities and services are available with a block or three or four. Just park your car and enjoy.

posted by Pam Buda // 4 Comments »

Upcoming Horse Properties in Sonoma County, Heard on the Grapevine

filed under: Buyers, Horses and Wine Country posted on June 20th, 2008

One of the benefits we offer our buyer and seller clients as realtors is the marketing and networking we do with each other prior to the actual date when properties are “launched” on the MLS. Buyers who are most actively looking and ready to buy are generally working with a local agent who is keeping abreast of not only the current homes and country properties on the market, but those that are coming up in the next month or two. As a seller, this networking and advanced marketing is a benefit to you because it can shorten your time on market and maximize your exposure to the most qualified buyers.

So my curiosity was piqued yesterday at our local meeting in Santa Rosa of Coldwell Banker agents from around Sonoma County (over 110 total–thought not all were there). There were approximately 4 new country properties suitable for horses annouced as up and coming, which is a pretty healthy amount and not typical. One is in Glen Ellen and sounded interesting due to the proximity to some great riding at Annadel and Jack London State Parks. (See my post on the miles of trails in Sonoma County.)It sits on 4 usable acres with a 4 BR 2 BA single story home of about 2200 sf.

Another is in NE Santa Rosa on 2 horseable acres with a 2500 sf home. This latter is a pocket listing–it will not go on MLS any time soon but is available to be seen and priced at $1.2 million.

If you are looking for 4 acres and a view home and granny unit in Sebastopol there will be a new listing meeting that description in the Sebastopol countryside coming up in a week or two. The home is about 2600 sf with 4 bedrooms and the granny (guest) unit is about 840 sf. According to the agent this is a horse property as well and will be priced at about $1,175,000.

Another up and coming property on the Sebastopol border with Santa Rosa has 4 level acres and a 2000 sf house and will be priced at $1,095,000. I know of a couple of other pocket horse property listings and have a couple of my own upcoming that are or will be suitable for horses. I will be checking all of these out as they come up, because, as a horse owner, my definition of suitable for horses may vary from an agent who is not a horse person. All land is of course not equally usable, and it depends on your riding discipline, number of horses, etc.

There is another NE Santa Rosa country property suitable for horses coming up in a couple of weeks in the very horsey and beautiful Riebli Valley (horse and wine country par excellence!). Also four acres and priced in the $1.1 to $1.2 million dollar range.

If I can provide any information for you about these or any other horse properties, please let me know!


posted by Pam Buda // 1 Comment »

Tour Twitter heard on the Grapevine–mixing metaphors and maybe technology

filed under: Buyers, Market updates, Sellers posted on June 17th, 2008

It is going to be a gorgeous day to check out the latest West County new listings (Sebastopol MLS tour) tomorrow–I will have on my walking shoes and sunscreen, and James the trusty navigator on my TL will be well rested so he can plot out the best driving strategy for me and Izetta and hopefully another pal or two so we can economize on gas. (author’s note:  I had hoped to Twitter my way through tour but that didn’t happen this week, maybe next time.)

Hopefully there will be some good munchies provided by the hosting agents since for some reason there are a pile of properties this week when there have been very few the last week or two. It is important for listing agents to incent their peers to tour their new listings, especially in a crowded field.

At one property last year (a country property listing of mine in Sebastopol) had so much going on that in order to convince agents to wait around and smell the roses, i.e. learn all the property had to offer, I had a masseur doing chair massages in one room, a lender pouring hot-mulled wine and apple cider in the kitchen, and bagels, lox and cream cheese for all. Two of us directed traffic and parking as well. I lost my voice after hours of tour-guiding. It was worth the effort because we had 3 offers the first week and sold for over asking to a buyer who is now very happy in his new country home. This in last year’s down market. What kind of creative broker tour incentives have you seen?

Anyway, I will report on the latest new West Sonoma County properties after tomorrow’s tour.

Heard on the Grapevine: In Healdsburg, I know of a great new listing coming up in early July–a classic Craftsman bungalow walking distance to the Healdsburg plaza. About 1600 sf with a new roof and paint, new deck and some interior updating, but a lot more room to improve (including the stand-up full length attic), or liveable and rentable now. It will be very competitively priced on a street with some gorgeous vintage homes. More info in the coming weeks.

Enjoy the lovely summer solstice week and tune back in for the tour and gravevine reviews and news. I also just received the latest Sonoma County Real Estate market stats so I plan to have a busy week of writing ahead. Headline: Sales continue to rise on the entry level of our market. Investors and first time buyers, and some first time investors (!) are out in force. Every day I receive an email report on the number of offers on bank-owned (REO) properties. Lots of multiple offers out there on the best ones with the best locations and best bones.

posted by Pam Buda // Comments Off on Tour Twitter heard on the Grapevine–mixing metaphors and maybe technology

Entry Level Sonoma County Real Estate Market Hopping!

filed under: Buyers, Market updates posted on June 2nd, 2008


Please click on the image above to see one that is actually readable!
The trend we first noted in February is continuing in Sonoma County Real Estate Sales, led by our entry level market of homes under $500,000. Not only is the number of new CLOSED sales up to the highest point in over two years, the number of newly opened escrows (UNDER CONTRACT above) is increasing even more rapidly, on pace to close next month.

Many of these homes are bank-owned (REO’s) or short sales and the buyers consist of investors and first time buyers or folks who are down-sizing. The number of newly opened escrows in this category is up 274% over last year at this time. While buyers think they can offer considerably lower than asking, that is not necessarily true. I just opened escrow for a client in this price range and we were able to get a great property that had been on the market for some time (not a foreclosure) and ridden the price trend down. The perils of overpricing in this case benefited my buyer who is in contract to purchase this home for 33% less than the original asking price, and 15% under the most recent price. But the REO’s are now priced to sell for the most part and attracting multiple offers. One of the best deals I saw in Montgomery Village last week at under $320,000 had four offers within a few days of coming on the market and still the bank had not selected which cherry offer to pick. But even if this property sells for slightly over asking, it is a great solid home (in need of much TLC) on a prime street and lot with surrounding homes that will love to see this one fixed up!

Perhaps the big thud we heard in Sonoma County last winter was the sound of the market hitting bottom. We shall see. More stats and opinions to come on other segments of the Sonoma County Real Estate market this week.

posted by Pam Buda // 2 Comments »

Open May 18 1-4PM: A Panoramic Country View Property in Sebastopol

filed under: Buyers posted on May 17th, 2008

As a 10 year resident of Sonoma County, one of the only things I really missed when I moved up here from the San Francisco Bay Area in early 1999 was my fantastic 3 Bridge SF Bay view with spectacular sunsets every night from every room in the house. It was a great way to transition from a busy day by enjoying the sunset in the evening. My current home is not situated to take the western views in, although when I feed the horses, that is my sunset viewing time.

That is why I love the listing at 2210 Pleasant Hill Road in Sebastopol, and offered to Pamela Bernier, the listing agent, that I would hold it open this Sunday May 18 1-4 PM in the hopes that I might introduce the property to some folks looking for a lovely 2.6 acre parcel, home and small horse setup set way back near the end of a peaceful country lane. The entire home faces the rolling western hills of Sebastopol with panoramas of vineyards, orchards and distant redwoods. The acreage is very usable and would accommodate horses or livestock, an avid gardener or grape grower or just some folks who want to kick back on the decks at sunset and unwind in a their very own Shangri-la.

Come visit tomorrow and learn about this or other properties on the market, as well as current Sebastopol and Sonoma County real estate market trends. This last week I toured 11 new property listings on the market in Sebastopol, as well as others around the county, so I can fill you in!

Sebastopol Country home on acreage with spectacular views and nice horse setup

posted by Pam Buda // Comments Off on Open May 18 1-4PM: A Panoramic Country View Property in Sebastopol

Sebastopol and Sonoma County Real Estate Market Update

filed under: Buyers, Market updates posted on May 17th, 2008

Since I have been looking at the foreclosure market in Sonoma County, I decided to switch gears back to country property and take a look again at the health of that market. Tomorrow, May 18th, I am holding open a 2.6 acre country property with a spectacular view setting, usable for horses, gardening, grapes or getting away from it all. So I decided to look at the Sebastopol market trends for properties in a similar price range, $600,000 to $1.1 million dollars to see how prices and inventory are doing now, and over the last year. Some of my previous posts have covered this topic in the past. Here is a chart of Market Trends for the $600K to $1M price range for real estate in Sebastopol for the last year. The median price through April has risen from $735 to $765. With such a small sample size this number can fluctuate widely but the really startling number is the amount of listing inventory, which has declined from 93 last May to 63 now. Have the sellers been scared away? The number of accepted listings versus sales inventory is also a good indicator that this upward trend could continue. Perhaps it is because the foreclosure and short sales are in short supply in Sebastopol. That is why all real estate is local, and buyers and sellers alike can benefit by looking at market trends for their particular area. I heard a good reference the other day which stated that looking at national or statewide real estate trends to figure out what is going on in your market is like trying to predict your local weather by referencing a national average temperature of 57 degrees. Kind of hard to do. If you have questions on this data or would like to slice it a different way, please email or call me, or visit tomorrow at 2210 Pleasant Hill Road.

Sebastopol Real Estate Market Update May 2008

posted by Pam Buda // 2 Comments »

Drilling down to look at the foreclosure market in Sonoma County

filed under: Buyers, Market updates posted on April 26th, 2008

Sonoma County Foreclosure Active Listings by Area

Of the 404 active foreclosure listings in Sonoma County today, here is a snapshot overview. For a more detailed look, and information on specific properties available on your own private web portal, please contact me directly and I will email you a report.

Of the 404 properties available today, the average number of days they have been on the market is 63 days. Buyers on top of their game are jumping on the best properties in the best locations (surprise, surprise) and many are subject to multiple offers, but generally under asking price. Banks are sometimes offering concessions such as credits to closing costs for certain repairs, but it really depends on the property and the competitive landscape. Of these properties, the minimum price is $101, 200. The maximum price is $1,249,000. The median price is $309, 975, well below the median sales price for the county.

Click the link above to get to a Google Doc which breaks the foreclosure market down by area within Sonoma County. Cotati/Rohnert Park, parts of Santa Rosa, Windsor and East Petaluma are the most effected whereas communities such as Sebastopol and Healdsburg have very few foreclosure properties on the market. Also, the price points tend to be the lower ones with the median price at just over $300,000.

Sunday April 27th Update:

Just popping by to update yesterday’s post with a link to today’s article on the hardest hit parts of Sonoma County by Michael Coit of the Press Democrat.  I guess we are on the same wavelength today.

Foreclosure hot spots
Three of every five mortgage defaults last quarter occurred in three sections of Sonoma County


posted by Pam Buda // 2 Comments »

How Many Foreclosure Properties are for sale in Sonoma County?

filed under: Buyers, Market updates posted on April 26th, 2008

Currently there are 404 active listings on the MLS for Sonoma County that are bank-owned foreclosed properties, also known as REO’s.  Many real estate investors and first time home buyers are seeking out real estate bargains here due to the large number available.  Investors had fled the county for a number of years due to rapid appreciation but the proliferation of bargain priced bank-owned (REO) properties and short sales have attracted them back.  As a realtor, I often am asked by clients where the best deals are, and sometimes they are surprised that not every type of property is a potential bargain, nor are they equally dispersed throughout Sonoma county.

As colleague Marian Bennett on the San Mateo coastal front says in her blog:

Bottom line:  There are foreclosure properties out there, and probably more coming through the remainder of ‘08.  Buying such a property requires research, patience, ready cash…and a bit of a stomach!  Support of your team may be helpful to some and crucial for others (be it contractor, accountant, real estate professional, loan consultant, or parents).

If you’re interested in starting your own online research, I just got this tip from Kevin Boer about  I’ll be tracking it along with where I currently have an account, Realtytrac, to look for San Mateo County trends.  My Realtytrac research has shown their properties to be pretty out of date so I may try to find another one to use as a comparison to foreclosureradar.  If you know of another good one, make a comment to share with everyone.

By the way, colleague Sam Benson at Real Estate 680 in Contra Costa county is opining on the same subject.

posted by Pam Buda // 3 Comments »

Heard on the Grapevine: Cool country property not yet on the market

filed under: Buyers, Horses and Wine Country posted on April 24th, 2008

Just got back from a sneak preview of an upcoming country property in the wine country of NW Santa Rosa on approximately 3 acres at the end of a private lane. 2 story farmhouse style with a wrap around porch and deck, HUGE 2 story shop building, a diversity of trees, a seasonal creek and small setup for horses. Very comfy and could take a nice update. Has the potential to be the quintessential wine country farmstead with endless vineyard and sunset views. Surrounded by horses and wine country! Please contact me for details and an early showing. Price to be determined but in the $1 to $1.2 million range.

posted by Pam Buda // Comments Off on Heard on the Grapevine: Cool country property not yet on the market

Rising Real Estate Sales Trend continues in Sonoma County

filed under: Buyers, Market updates posted on April 21st, 2008


Buyers are out in force searching out bargains in Sonoma County real estate with the number of open escrows (ratified sales contracts for home purchases which have not yet closed) reaching the highest level in over two years. This appears to solidify a trend first noted in this blog in early February. The newly ratified purchase contracts will not close till 30 to 45 days after ratification on average and some will no doubt not close, but indications continue to be positive for the state of this spring’s market for real estate sales in Sonoma County. Many of these sales have been in the under $500,000 market, where first time buyers and investors are feasting on the large inventory of bank-owned or REO properties where some terrific bargains can be found. For a list of bank-owned properties, please email me. Meanwhile, the following chart shows the sales trends for both new escrows and closed sales for the last two years of real estate sales in Sonoma County.

posted by Pam Buda // 3 Comments »