When you are buying country property in Sonoma County you will need to plan to spend from $1500 to $2,000 or more on inspections. It is a big chunk of money but in the long run it will save you headaches and might save you a bunch of cash in the future. Smart sellers may provide some recent inspections as part of their presentation of their property, but in general as a buyer you should be prepared to invest in pre-purchase inspections once you and the seller have come to terms and your offer is ratified. ...Continue Reading!
As part of our Wine Country and Horse Country Property Series we have been looking at water. One of the most important items to consider when evaluating a country property is how much water does the well produce? How many gallons per minute (GPM)? Sonoma County's minimum requirement is currently ONE gallon per minute to build a single-family dwelling. Typically when a well is evaluated as part of the pre-purchase inspection, the tap is opened and run for a minimum of two hours to draw down the well and see how quickly it replenishes. When you think...Continue Reading!
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...Continue Reading!
As part of our Wine Country and Horses Country Property Series we are looking at water sources for country properties. One of the important things to know about your country property is which groundwater classification ares it is in. They range from water rich Zone 1 to very water scarce Zone 4. Sonoma County is huge but LARGE areas of it don't have adequate water to support development, which is why you see so much rugged and lightly occupied wild terrain to the west of Healdsburg for example. In Sebastopol you can go from one street to the next,...Continue Reading!
Buying a country property is not like buying a home in a city tract or a subdivision, especially in Sonoma County, where 70 percent of the homes are not hooked in to public water and sewer. Water comes from a well and your sewage is disposed of on site in a septic system. I would never have thought that this liberal arts graduate would have learned so much about well and septic systems, but it is essential knowledge for any realtor who likes to buy and sell country property, as I do. The nature of your well and septic systems and...Continue Reading!
I generally post a whole set of statistic sheets for county wide residential sales in Sonoma County real estate, but wanted to pick one which said it all. This is it. In April 715 homes went under contract to purchase, up from 647 in March, and significantly up over last April and April 2010. The chart below shows the rate of newly opened escrows has been steadily climbing since late last year, and is hitting heights not seen in a number of years. Now granted, not all of these will close, but many of them will, and they are a good...Continue Reading!
Over the last year we have seen a broader range of quality wine country properties for sale in Sonoma County, with sellers who are more realistic about pricing. That combination, and ultra low interest rates, have brought out of the area buyers out in force. In 2011 and 2012 alone I have worked with people from the East Bay, San Francisco, France, the UK, Idaho and Texas for a start. There is a lot of competition for the best properties, and as a smart buyer you will want to do your homework to find the best spot and country package...Continue Reading!
Here I sit on New Year's eve weekend--in the sunshine out by the pool writing some blog posts for the new year. What was going to be a sleepy quiet week between Christmas and New Year's has been anything but! I have written two offers this week and have two new listings coming on the market in the next couple of weeks. Am also getting good activity on some other listings! What gives? Normally this is a pretty quiet time of year in the real estate market but activity has barely taken a breath for...Continue Reading!
One of my favorite local Sonoma County Guide sites, "Sonoma Uncorked", appears to be active again with a nice interactive map guide to New Year's Eve celebrations from Healdsburg to Petaluma. Whether you choose to go out or stay in this evening, here is wishing you the best for a FANTASTIC 2012! from Wine Country and Horses.Continue Reading!
Tucked between Costa Brava, Spain and the cottage country of Ontario is Sonoma County, one of the top travel destinations for 2012 according to National Geographic. Why am I not surprised? I liked it so much that after many years of touristing trips and then horse boarding here, I moved here in 1999 from the Bay Area. Now I help clients and friends from all over the world find the perfect property here. Meanwhile I am constantly amazed at the beauty of Sonoma County, from the one of the most spectacular rugged coasts in the world to...Continue Reading!
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