Archive for the 'Country Property' Category

Wine Country and Snow (and Horses)

filed under: Country Property, Horses and Wine Country, Wine Country Living posted on December 19th, 2008

Good friend and photographer Robbin Satterlee was able to capture a range of photos from the Sonoma County Wine and Horse country outside Santa Rosa, with dramatic views of snow covered Mt. Saint Helena in Napa and towards the mountainous Geysers of Lake County to the north. Vineyards, horses and snow covered mountains. Not bad. The snow has melted now as warmer rains have come in but enjoy. We have these snowstorms at the higher elevations (1500 to 2000 feet) a couple of times each winter.

Snow on hilltops

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Open August 24 1-4 pm: An ideal West County Country Property on 2.83 acres

filed under: Buyers, Country Property, Horses and Wine Country, Sebastopol, Wine Country Living posted on July 27th, 2008

Please come join me today at 5850 Gilmore Avenue in Cotati, my latest listing and a fantastic country property that is well-thought out, secluded yet convenient and very up to date. img_1057.JPGYou and your family and critters could just move right in. When I looked for my img_1009.JPGcurrent country property home I wanted a property like this–lots of usable land, nice house, really cute second unit and most importantly I wanted scenic beauty and a really peaceful location away from traffic so my cats and dogs would be safe, not to mention humans as well.

I also wanted to be convenient to town and services, and to commute to the Bay Area. Don’t be mislead by the Cotati address on this cool property–it is actually on the west side of 101, north of 116 on the way to Sebastopol. Don’t get me wrong, Cotati is a neat town with lots of fun shops and restaurants, but this location on Gilmore would just as easily appeal to someone wanting Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Penngrove or Petaluma. This little country pocket in Cotati is peaceful, has lots of horse propertiesimg_1039.JPG and small farms as well as vineyards surrounding it, and many of the neighbors have been here for years. My clients have owned the property since 1977 and their meticulous care and updating shows. Yet this home is about5 minutes to 101 so it is a great commute location that feels miles away.

It is my experience that people looking for Sonoma County country property don’t first think of places such as Rohnert Park/Cotati or Windsor, but you can uncover some gems by searching and thinking a little outside the box. Come see for yourself today. This property could accommodate horses (and does with a 2 acre pasture (+-), stalls and tack room. It also is home to roller pigeons and has two coops and a small aviary. There is a img_1059.JPGshop for painting autos with air compressor and 220 power plus another shop (called the “man” building) for hanging out. Plus a cute 2002 small modular with kitchen, den, bedroom and bath, all in its own fenced in,img_1044.JPG redwood lined yard at one corner of the property for privacy. There is only one home past this property on a sleepy lane, and many bigger parcels surround it, with viewsimg_1054.JPG of the hills, vineyards and trees. See you soon!

posted by Pam Buda // 2 Comments »

Tour Talk: New Country property listings in Sebastopol

filed under: Country Property, Sebastopol, Wine Country Living posted on June 18th, 2008

It was a glorious sunny day for touring West Sonoma County and seeing the latest properties to come on the market for the Sebastopol MLS. I am continually amazed at the breathtaking beauty of our back roads and the incredible variety of terrain, vegetation, trees, views and micro-climates that make up Sebastopol and Graton. So many nooks and crannies offering everything from 1910 farmhouses to contemporary estates and Tuscan style villas, vineyards, horse properties, garden paradises (where was the experimental farm of Luther Burbank?), apple orchards, organic farms, dairies –both cow and goat–and idyllic country retreats. Not to mention redwood groves and ocean views. And this was just today’s tour! 😉

Today we started with a delightful end of lane listing at 8349 Lewanna, off of Elphick. For $699,000 you can have a 1232 sf home on just under an acre. A modest home which could use updating but the views are spectacular:a panorama of the SE Santa Rosa hills and the home looks directly over a sprawling vineyard. Properties don’t come up often on this lane and the setting is truly unique. With a property like this you have the benefit of what I call “borrowed acreage” –you can look at it and pretend it’s yours but you don’t have to take care of it or pay for it. Small parcels bordered by little ones can be delightful in this way.

Next we drove way out Burnside Road to view Cary Fargo’s latest cool listing at 4910 Burnside Road. This is the quintessential old farmhouse with fir floors and a tilting chimney, spring and tiny studio and pond. Lots of chamomile and herbs tumbling around and we spotted a doe and fawn leaping away. The spring has a hand dug 10 foot deep well and tiny well house covering it. Not much as been done to this house except for some blue tiles that appear to date from the 70’s in the kitchen and a massive open beamed ceiling in that room. Lots of wainscoting and original character and KILLER views of Mt. St. Helena.

The 3 plus acres appear to be very usable and Cary said there are some potential building sites on the property so that perhaps the cute farmhouse could become a granny unit and leave room for a larger main home. Check with Sonoma County PRMD on that and any other building possibility. DEFINITELY a great property for someone with vision, taste and skills, and priced at $689,000. One of two extremely special properties today.

There were a number of really interesting properties today depending on your needs–from a lovely contemporary style home on a lane off Tilton Road with lovely gardens and just over 2 usable acres, great views and a garage with a studio/office with bath above for $837,500. Nearby, an extremely artful 2993 sf home on yet another lane off Tilton on 3.39 secluded acres. An 80’s home that shows beautifully, with several levels, stunning contemplative gardens and oaks, raised vegetable beds. $1,200,000.

The most unique property was Steve Prandini’s new listing on Facendini Lane. This 14 acre property sits on one of the prettiest lanes you will ever see and is balanced between wooded acreage with meandering paths and a manicured apple orchard currently managed by Dutton Ranches, according to Steve. The 2200 sf contemporary style home is 2 BR and 2 BA with some lovely outdoor seating areas, great for orchids and people. Plus more fabulous views of the eastern Santa Rosa hills. This would be a great retreat or family getaway property, idyllically situated between Sebastopol and Occidental and near Graton. The big limiting factor for this property is the fact that this is a water scarce area, so agricultural pursuits and much building expansion would probably be limited. But for the right people (and for $1,300,000) this is an enchanting and peaceful property. There is more to talk about on this week’s tour, feel free to email or call me with questions about these or any other Sonoma County properties.

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Sonoma County going to the Dogs?

filed under: Buyers, Country Property, Sebastopol, Wine Country Living posted on April 13th, 2008

I was surprised to note how many of the people who visited my open house last month at a cute farmstead in Sebastopol were looking for property for their dogs! This property was in a great location at the end of a private lane well away from main roads and neighbors who might be disturbed by the occasional bark.

Well I shouldn’t be surprised since one of the main reasons I moved to Sonoma County was to have more room for my two dogs (Vizslas) and the horses as well as the humans of course, yet still be within an hour of the Golden Gate Bridge. Finding a safe property off the main thoroughfares was a key priority to me, and is to many of the buyers of Sonoma County real estate I meet.

Friend Sandy Lurins, was so on top of the trend that she founded the very successful Fetch (thepaper) in her copious free time (not!) while not working at her day job at Autodesk.

Sonoma Pets is a print publication and on-line pet directory for Sonoma County published by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. There are many excellent small animal and equine veterinarians in the county, so much that many pet owners from the Bay Area will travel here for specialty care.

Vizsla owners need country property for their dogs to stretch their legs

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Leaving the Bay Area for Greener Pastures (Literally)

filed under: Buyers, Country Property, Horses and Wine Country, Market updates, Wine Country Living posted on January 31st, 2008

Horses at rest on a sunny Santa Rosa Sunday morning

Last Sunday I held open a wonderful country property in Sebastopol, listed by my good friend and colleague Izetta Feeny. It is a great value, a four bedroom house on nearly two acres withing good commute range of San Francisco. The family that currently owns the house home schools their four children there and there is an assortment of goats, chickens, geese and two miniature donkeys and four big dogs that round out the family. The house is nicely situated on a knoll with 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside and hills. This morning I bet they can even see snow on some of those hills.

As the house is set at the end of a series of country lanes, I was curious how people found me. It turns out that all of the eight parties or so who came by had found about the open house via our on-line ads. People had driven from as far as Fremont and Oakland with their children to see this one house, and one person came with her realtor. We had a great time chatting and comparing notes. In 1998 I was doing the same thing, driving up to look at properties on weekends from my home in the East Bay.

Like me many of these people were looking for a different lifestyle, but concerned about what they might give up by being “so remote”. I had to laugh because I certainly don’t feel that way any longer. Seems like a lot of people want more room to roam, either for themselves, their children or their four legged friends.

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Setting: the Wild Card in Country Property Values

filed under: Country Property, Horses and Wine Country, Wine Country Living posted on October 29th, 2007

Pricing residential country property is very challenging-there are so many variables to consider beyond beds and baths, square footage and age, location and condition. The size and condition of the septic system, the condition of the well and its capacity and water quality, zoning, expansion possibilities and more. (If you would have told me back at Swarthmore that I would become reasonably expert in any of these issues –especially septic–I would have doubted your sanity. Since a good 70 percent of the properties in Sonoma County are on well and septic, one of the most valuable services I can offer my clients is my ability to work with them, along with a team of experts  to carefully ensure that a property will be suitable for their needs, now and the foreseeable future. There are many great resources and people available to assist in the process, and an agent knowledgeable in country property can streamline the search and buying process for their clients, and help them to avoid pitfalls.

But the true wildcard in valuation of country property is the setting. An exceptionally private, serene setting with pastoral or dramatic views, in a tranquil location of (name your pick) wild hills and orchards, vineyards, horse farms, quaint farmhouses, redwoods or oak-studded hills, or various combinations of these, have a perceived value to the buyer that is very difficult to value.  It seems that many out of town buyers coming to a wonderful destination such as the wine country of Northern California, all want the proto-typical vintage farmhouse with wrap-around porch in a scenic setting.  They dont’t want to see or hear neighbors close by, and they’d probably like to see (or own) a vineyard or two.

 Is the setting wild card factor worth $20,000 per acre, or more? Will a property be so gorgeous or secluded that someone will “overpay” by six figures?  Is it really over-paying if a willing buyer puts the money on the table?

A client and I  viewed a property priced at $1.1 million the other day that perfectly met my buyers’ needs for a weekend home in Sonoma county. By all rights, and based upon extensive touring, the property, in my opinion and the opinion of many agents I know, should have been priced under $1m, possibly closer to $950Kor $925K, even if in perfect condition. However, it was exactly a kind of property that would be a perfect weekend retreat for someone from the city, with privacy and views on a less than 2 acre parcel that would be difficult to match. The property was in apparently poor condition with an older septic system, unknown pest issues and in a low water area.   I told my client that even though the property was extremely overpriced, someone could come in from SF or the peninsula with an out of town agent and pay the premium, since, as one friend said, you can hardly buy an outhouse in Palo Alto  or SF for a million dollars, so what is the big deal if it meets the intangible need for peace and quiet on Sunday morning.

This is every sellers’ secret fantasy:  that Brad and Angelina (or a Google couple flush with exercised stock options) will fly in on their jet and fall so in love with their property that they will throw caution to the winds and over bid.  Sadly, that almost NEVER happens, and the property sits.  I guess every once in a while the exception proves the rule, though. Back to the country retreat I mentioned above.  This summer I have seen almost everything that meets that description in Sonoma County, and sold several country properties to buyers from the Bay Area and elsewhere, some for weekend homes and some for folks who moved up full time from San Franciscio, Belmont and the East Bay.   As we were preparing to write an (perhaps insultingly low) offer on the aforementioned shangri-la, the listing agents informed me that his sellers had accepted a one million plus offer from the SF buyer and his SF agent, and they were “going to take the money and run”.    The property is still in its contingent period, and the price may be negotiated down further once all the inspections are complete, but I learned a lesson–you can never truly put a number the intangible value that a fabulous setting brings to a country property.

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