Author: Pam Buda

Water and Country Property in Sonoma County

[caption id="attachment_1473" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="70 % of Sonoma County Homes get their water from Private Wells"][/caption] 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 the specific country location you are interested in will impact the scope of what you can do with your property, either from a building and development standard or in terms of livestock and agriculture. The vast majority of country properties here in Sonoma County get their water from wells, although I have sold a few properties which had no well but extensive, well producing springs. I have seen some cool spring houses and catch systems for spring water and oddly they can be a few hundred yards away from properties that barely produce any water from their wells. This is really common for example, along Westside Road that stretches from Forestville through Healdsburg. When you buy a home on well water in Sonoma County you need to know about a few different topics: What is the Groundwater Classification Area for the property? How many Gallons per Minute (GPM) does the well yield? What is the condition of the well pump and related equipment and storage, if any? How is the Water quality? Now don't let this list scare you. Most of these items are treatable, except lack of water of course. If you write an offer on a country property, your realtor will be able to arrange to have qualified professionals inspect the water systems. The cost of the inspections are typically the buyer's responsibility. I think sellers should provide as many of these inspections up front as they can, these inspections especially IF THERE IS ANY QUESTION or concern or doubt about water scarcity or quality in a given location. An experienced country property realtor can also give you a heads up if any of the properties you might be considering could have water "challenges" for your use. If you are...

Begin with the End in Mind: How to find your Dream Wine Country Home

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 for you! That said, it is possible to find a special property within an hour's drive of the Golden Gate Bridge (more or less) that can give you years of pleasure and rejuvenation. So where do you begin in your search for a wine country home?...

What Holiday Break? January 2012 Sonoma County Real Estate Market Off to a Fast Start

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 the holidays! I am not complaining, not by any means. I think it is a good sign that the market is so active. Other agents I know are very busy, home inspectors are booked solid and there is a decided hint of optimism in the air. Now I realize that there are lots of challenges and difficulties in our economy and the real estate world. About 30% of homeowners owe more than their homes are worth. We are not heading in to a dramatic turnaround anytime soon. By the same token though buyers don't seem to be waiting on the sidelines and sellers with equity also have decided to get back on the playing field. With interest rates ridiculously low, this bodes for a busy January. Welcome to 2012! We will be back this week with a more detailed look at the market for real estate in Sonoma County. Until then, Happy New Year!...

The Most Beautiful Time of the Year in Sonoma County Could be Now

Typically we think of springtime or summer as the most beautiful time of the year but for all of October and now November  here in Sonoma County wine country of Northern California it feels like right now is the best time of year.  We had some early rain (after six typical dry months) in September.  The grass has gone from golden brown to emerald green.  The vines and trees throughout the county are turning red, gold and orange.  The skies have been brilliant blue and the weather has been delightfully warm but not too hot.  LOVE IT.  Maybe that is part of the reason why the real estate market has been so active this fall.  Much busier than the typically busy summer months.  Perhaps it is 30 year fixed rate mortgages at 4 percent?  Ten year fixed jumbo loans at 3.75%!!! Perhaps it is health of many tech companies and startups in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.  Who knows for sure but it has been a great time to be showing and selling property and out and about on these beautiful days.  Has kept me away from the blog for a bit.  I apologize, and I am back! [caption id="attachment_1326" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="A brilliant November day and old vine zinfandel in the Russian RIver Valley appellation of Santa Rosa, Ca"][/caption]...

One person's artistic vision is grounded in Graton

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600" caption="Hollynn D'Lil in her Graton Garden courtesy of the Press Democrat"][/caption] My friend HolLynn D'lil is like many of my friends and clients who have moved to Sonoma County from successful lives elsewhere. She had a vision, a feeling, a sense of the possibilities that her new life could be in our pocket of country paradise a short hour north of San Francisco. She wanted room to garden and a studio for painting and a home environment that nurtured her creativity. More so than many, she did not allow a bare flat patch of dirt and a dated home deter her from realizing her vision. Now she lives in a creekside sanctuary in the heart of the small Sonoma County community of Graton. I first walked on to HolLynn's property for a dinner party last fall, which was my first meeting with her as well. Within five sentences I said to her--have you ever thought of having your home on the West County Garden Tour ? (a benefit for Food For Thought in Forestville). She said--I have always wanted to do that but didn't know who to approach. This May 15th she was one of eight gardens and homes in West County featured on the tour. Yesterday, the Press Democrat newspaper did a feature story on HolLynn's journey. I thought I would share it with you as a wonderful example of the creation of a dream in Sonoma's West County....

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