Monthly Newsletter


The Winds of Change Are Brewing In The Southern Sonoma County Real Estate Market By Frances Rivetti

The winds of change are brewing in the Southern Sonoma County real estate market as affordability challenges and buyers fatigue continue to soften the steady median price increases of the past four to five years and create a saner market.

And buyers and sellers are unsure of what 2019 and 2020 may hold for home sales.

"We've seen a period of rapid climb in residential prices during the economic recovery of the last few years and what's been happening since late summer 2018 is a return to a more sustainable housing market in this still, highly desirable region of the North Bay," says Timo.

Lending standards are much higher after the major debacle just over one decade ago in December 2008 when the sub-prime mortgage crisis reached fever pitch. Home values across the United States were recorded as having dropped by an average of 18% causing some four million recession-strapped American homeowners to foreclose.

"Throughout my 20 plus years in real estate I have always guided my clients to purchase a home to enjoy life, not primarily to make a fast profit," says Timo. "If you're in it for the long term, either as a primary home owner or as a rental property owner, buy and borrow responsibly and you're still making a solid investment in the Petaluma/Penngrove/Rohnert Park area today."

According to MLS statistics for the Bay Area in general, some 80% of homes listed in September/October of 2018 saw a price reduction after sitting on the market prior to recorded sale. "Sellers have been reluctant to take on board the fact the days of the infamous bidding wars with multiple offers are largely over for now," says Timo.

On the other hand, buyers have grown tired of overpaying in the aforementioned bidding wars and may expect a lot more leverage going forward into the next couple of years.

"I expect to see prices staying more or less where they are and appreciation slowing to a more steady rate," says Timo. "Unless interest rates go through the roof, I don't think we will see housing prices dropping dramatically in Southern Sonoma County, where, as we all know, there is a serious housing shortage. Sellers will have to adapt to pricing their home to sell and to be prepared for a listing that sits on the market more than a few days."

Millennials are coming of age, growing their families and looking to buy into the limited entry-level inventory, which makes for the fiercest competition in this particularly important housing segment in the Petaluma area, where the median home price was recorded at $695,000 in December 2018. expects U.S. Millennial will account for 45% of mortgages with 37% going to Gen Xers and 17% to baby boomers in 2019.

"At the other end of the housing chain, many of my Baby Boomer clients are deciding whether to downsize now, or sometime in the future, or, instead, to make modifications to their properties to age in place," says Timo. "With limited inventory in the area for downsizing, it is all the more vital for clients to have their ducks in a row." If you are looking to downsize in the next few years, Timo recommends you sit down with an accountant/and or financial advisor and mortgage broker to maximize retirement income and establish a strategy for housing, mobility, health and financial needs. "Once you have a solid plan in place, it's time for us to start investigating this still very competitive local market together."

The old-fashioned, personal touch is all-important to Timo when it comes to working with established and new clients. "Going forward into the housing market of 2019 and 2020, online search engines, virtual tours and social media continues to grow, though, for me, face to face, personalized and experienced service is every bit as vital as staying on top of the technical tools."

"With a slower price appreciation across the board, incomes finally have a chance to catch up," says Timo. "Ultimately it's a good thing."

Call Timo with any real estate questions at 707-477-8397 or email him at


What to Eat in Sonoma County in February By Frances Rivetti

Don't let the winter blues get you down. February is the perfect month for savoring winter warming soups stews and casseroles by candlelight. Winter vegetables such as kale and chard, beets, squash and sprouts are in abundance on farm stands and in our back yard gardens, as are radishes, cauliflower and cabbage and our favorite, juicy mandarin oranges, served with freshly cracked walnuts. Seafood is a plenty, be it oysters, Dungeness crab, salmon, scallops. Spring's bounty is on its way, but February's offerings are equally enticing. Comfort food does not have to be overly time consuming. So, invite a friend or two to join you at table and crank up the stove . . .

Recipe: Roasted Sonoma County Cauliflower Soup

  •    1 head cauliflower 
  •    4 garlic cloves 
  •    Quarter of a finely chopped onion
  •    4 tablespoons olive oil
  •    1 teaspoon salt
  •    1/2 teaspoon ground blk pepper
  •    2 tablespoons butter
  •    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  •    4 cups organic chicken broth
  •    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  •    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •    1/4 teaspoon cayenne  pepper 


1.      Preheat oven to 450 Degrees F. Chop cauliflower and drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, toss and lay the cauliflower on an oiled baking tray with garlic cloves. Roast for a half an hour until golden brown, stirring half way through.

2.      Sauté onion in a little olive oil in a small frying pan.

3.      Melt butter in a soup pot or Dutch oven over a steady heat. Sprinkle in flour and stir. Reduce heat and gradually whisk in chicken broth, thyme, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Add cauliflower, onion and garlic and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.

4.      Puree with an immersion blender. Pour back into pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Pair Soup with the Perfect Petaluma Gap Vintage ...

February Home Trends By Frances Rivetti

Why wait until Spring to take on a new color scheme or to transform your living space to better suit your spirits?

Interior designers predict a continued move away from all-white kitchens in 2019, with saturated colors such as dark green making statements on partial cabinets and walls with wallpaper motifs and the modern take on the classic floral making a big comeback, especially in small spaces. Look o graphic tiles for pop and punch. Expect to see darker counter tops making a comeback.

Warm up a room with beautiful plants and containers for an instant boost.

According to Elle Decor, everything you invest in for the home should have a purpose. Yes, it's the time of to ditch any unnecessary clutter that has built up over the fall and winter months.  “For 2019, there is greater interest in biophilia–emphasizing the relationship between humankind and nature, and the connections between the two. Natural, organic materials–such as wood floors, stone, and daylight and plant life–remind us of the exterior and brings the outside and nature, in. We are machine- and technology-driven society, but nostalgic about past processes and handiwork, so opportunities for custom Millwork and crafted materials are very important.”—Angie Lee of FXCollaborative.

Blush, dusty pink and bronze are big on the interior color scene for 2019 along with light colored walls, perhaps a move away from the cooler, grey tone neutrals. 

Bold, dark, sultry bathrooms are apparently IN - evoking the spa experience 

Contact Us for Previous Monthly Newsletters & Recipes!