Whether you are a potential homebuyer, seller, or
investor, keeping informed about current developments in real estate is crucial for making informed decisions. Below are a some of the latest trends in the market and a few predictions for the rest of 2023.
Median sales prices this summer for homes in Petaluma as a whole are currently $996,000 with the West Petaluma median price at $1.1M. Penngrove's median price is currently $1,372,500. This marks around a -4.1% decline from last year’s Petaluma area median as per data through June 30th. Low inventory and high interest rates are to blame for declining home sales, but nearly every area in the U.S. has experienced similar or worse year-over-year declines.
One sign that the market is currently healthy is that properties are spending fewer days on the market month over month. Petaluma’s average median days on the market to pending this summer is thirteen days, whereas it was taking considerably longer to get properties into contract in the pre-summer months.
Balanced Market Conditions:
The U.S. real estate market is gradually moving towards a more balanced state,though Petaluma and Penngrove remain a seller’s market currently, which means that there are more people looking to buy in this region than sell.
“Although the market has favored sellers for several years, buyers are gaining more leverage in negotiations,” says Timo. “Sellers must be prepared to price their homes competitively and consider strategies to ensure that their listings.
REAL ESTATE PREDICTIONS FOR
THE SECOND HALF OF 2023
As interest rates remain high, it’s unlikely the market will change significantly in the next few months. The current average interest rate for a 30-year mortgage is close to 7%. “While forecasts indicate that interest rates should start to drop and hopefully settle close to 5% or less by the end of 2023, it will take a significant drop in rates to impact buyer demand by any large amount,” says Timo.
Call for Affordability:
Throughout the remaining months of 2023, an increased demand for affordable housing is to be expected. A combination of stagnant wages and high living costs in the Petaluma/Penngrove area pushes buyers into a narrow search for homes that they can realistically afford. “These properties are hard to come by, but having an experienced real estate professional on a buyer’s side is essential.” Timo says. “Being prequalified and having all the various ducks in a row is a must in this market.”
If you or anyone you know is looking to sell, purchase or invest in property, contact Timo today 707-477-8396
Our local North Bay Animal Services organization is turningfive years old this week. As animal lovers and rescue petowners, the Rivetti Team is delighted to support an event atthe Petaluma Animal Shelter, at 840 Hopper Street onSaturday, August 5th, 2023 from noon to 4pm.
Please join the team and volunteers at the shelter for celebratory Open House packed with fun activities for all ages. From exotic animals to games for kids, there’s something for all animal lovers. Adorable, adoptable companions will be available to meet you too. You might just find your forever fur-buddy.
The City of Petaluma is dedicated to helping customers save water year-round. By transforming your lawn to a drought-tolerant mulched landscape, you can greatly lower your annual water use. Mulch Madness is a FREE turf conversion program for residents and businesses who want to sheet mulch over their lawns. This program includes free sheet mulching supplies(compost, cardboard, mulch) and delivery.Qualified customers can also set up a free garden consultation with the Sonoma County Garden Sense program to discuss a plan for a water-wise mulched landscape
To qualify, single-family residential and multi-family residential water customers must first sign up for a Water-Wise House-Call, another great free program offered by the City of Petaluma. A trained Environmental Services Technician will evaluate your turf area and determine if you qualify for the program. Commercial accounts must also call first and have a representative from the City visit their site to evaluate the landscape. The Mulch Madness program runs year-round.
Upon being qualified by the Technician, you will be provided with the contact information for the vendors whom you will be coordinating with to receive your sheet mulching supplies. City of Petaluma vendors will be providing you with mulch, compost, cardboard, and a drip irrigation conversion kit. (Kits only available to single-family residential accounts).
In order to qualify for the Mulch Madness program, applicants must:
• Own the home or business and be a Petaluma water customer. Non-property owners must provide written consent from the property owner to be eligible to participate in this program.
• Have a minimum of 500 square feet of high water-use turf landscape that is actively irrigated or has a recent water account history of irrigation. Lawns that have already been removed and areas of non-turf (weed or dirt patches)are not eligible for the program. The site must have in-ground irrigation.
• Program participants have one year from date of program qualification to schedule delivery of sheet mulch materials and pick up drip irrigation equipment. After one year, participants will have to schedule an appointment and be re-qualified to participate in the program. No deliveries will be made during wet weather, no exceptions.
For more info visit:
To schedule your site evaluation to see if you qualify please call Water Conservation at (707) 778-4507 or email
Owning one’s own home is an exciting milestone, for sure but homeownership also comes with a slew of financial responsibilities.Although it's natural to invest in a new space,it's vital to spend wisely and avoid unnecessary expenses. Lots of new homeowners fall into common traps, wasting their hard-earned money on things that don't add a lot of value or benefit to their new home.
Some common financial mistakes to avoid:
1. New Furniture and Decor
Overspending on furniture and décor by packing each room with brand-new pieces may be tempting, but will quickly drain a modest budget. Focus on the essentials and source second-hand or refurbished items, which can save you a significant amount of money without compromising on quality. Petaluma has a wide range of antique and thrift stores selling quality furniture at a lot less of a price than online with the big stores. Look for listings in the area for nearly-new furniture and appliances.
2. Yard Services
New homeowners are usually enthusiastic to spruce up yard and home exterior immediately after closing. You may be able to do most of the things that yard services advertise with an investment in some basic tools and elbow grease. On-line website can assist with manageable instruction, ideas and tips.
Building an expensive addition to your home immediately after moving in isn't recommended. Prioritize improvements with a high return on investment, such as energy-efficient upgrades, or focus on smaller items that will improve the functionality and appearance of your home before you launch into a major remodel.
4. Impulsive DIY Projects
As we’ve all found out at one time or another, DIY projects may be a great way to save money, but they often lead to costly mistakes if not approached carefully. New homeowners may get carried away and tackle complex projects without the necessary skills or experience. It’s a little like coloring your own hair, but more expensive to fix with pricy repairs or hiring professionals to fix the mistakes. Before embarking on any DIY project, thoroughly research and assess your abilities, and begin with small, manageable tasks.
Blackberries are super juicy and abundant here in Sonoma County this month. Take a stroll down a country lane with a tub to pick and enjoy the bounty that is all around. An alternative to making pies and jams is this tasty recipe to add to your summer menu.
·1/4 c. water
·2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
·1 tbsp. sugar
·2 tbsp. cold butter
·1 tbsp. whole-grain mustard
·4 chicken thighs
·Kosher salt and black pepper
·Fresh, flat-leaf parsley
·6 ounces fresh blackberries
Heat grill to medium. Combine blackberries,white wine vinegar, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, mashing occasionally, for 18 to 20 minutes until liquid is reduced to around 2 Tbsp. Stir in whole-grain mustard and butter. Transfer half the glaze to a bowl and reserve.
Pat chicken thighs and drumsticks dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill, skin-sides up, covered, 15 minutes.Uncover, baste with half of the glaze and grill,turning and basting occasionally, until cookedthrough, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with freshflat-leaf parsley and serve with remainingglaze
Timo decided to try his hand in real estate in Sonoma County in his late thirties after a career in marketing and the music business in the UK and California. He and Frances were expecting their third son in the fall of 1998 and it was time to settle down into a business that would sustain a young family of five in Petaluma.
“I wasn’t sure at first that real estate would be for me, but our agent and friend, the late Jim Stauffer insisted I would take to it like a duck to water,”says Timo. Twenty-five years later Timo’s still going strong and can’t imagine a career that would have been more suited to his social and energetic nature and stellar negotiating skills.
It didn’t take long for Timo to settle into the business of selling homes, land and other properties. He was rookie of the year following his first year with Frank Howard Allen Realtors, after hitting the ground running.
“Dominic, our youngest son was born in the September after I had studied and passed my real estate exam that summer,” he says. “With three sons and Frances then working part-time as a freelance writer, I had plenty of incentive to make sales.”
That first year, 1998 to 1999, Timo sold thirty-nine homes. He estimates he has sold over 1,000 homes in his quarter century so far. When he started out, the median home price in Petaluma was around $172,000. Today that same home will set you back around $1 million.
“I still enjoy working with first time buyers as much as I do love working with high end property hunters,” he says.
He moved on from Frank Howard Allen in 2001, settling with ReMAX Marina for seven busy years, balancing being a top producer with coaching youth soccer, hobby winemaking and other community activities. “Those were fun years filled with hard work, community and family time,” he says. “We are so grateful for all of the wonderful friends, neighbors and teammates in Petaluma who have invited me into their homes as they’ve moved from one house to another and yet another over the years. Long time clients, their families and referrals have been remarkably loyal and I couldn’t be more appreciative of this trust.”
Timo moved to Keller Williams in 2008 and enjoyed a long stint with the company until switching back to ReMAX Gold in 2019 with a central downtown office in Petaluma’s Theatre Square. “I love being downtown and back in the heart of our community,” he says. “Our sons, Rocco, Luc and Dom have successfully grown and flown the nest so I’m enjoying a new chapter with more time to golf, walk, hike and enjoy the outdoors around my work."
Timo has no plans to retire for a few more years. At the peak of Sonoma County real estate activity, he sold 52 sides in one year. There have been somebumpy years in real estate during the recession and afterwards but Timo’s client base has remained robust in its activity and trust in his services throughout.
“People ask me if I’m still motivated to work that hard. My answer is yes, absolutely! I have to thank my executive assistant Renee Waters for over 14 years of fantastic team-work. We’re here for all of our clients and their referrals with any and all residential and commercial needs.”
“I’ve seen tremendous change in Petaluma over the past 25 years,” Timo says.“There are so many great things happening in our community, it’s an honor to help make so many dreams come true for individuals and families looking to settle or relocate. I know the area so well that it’s a good feeling to be able to impart my knowledge and couple this with my proven sales skills to get people into the perfect property for their needs.”
Meeting and getting to know folk from all walks of life is Timo’s greatest pleasure. “So many people we consider friends and family, it’s remarkable,” he says. “It’s been hard to say goodbye to wonderful clients who have sold and moved out of the area over the years, but with social media, we’ve kept intouch.”
A 25th anniversary gathering is in the works this fall. More to follow after the busy summer travel months.
If you have any real estate questions for Timo, don’t hesitate to get in touch. 707-477-8396 or email Timo@RivettiTeam.com
Summer is here and if you’re using an air conditioner, reduce your energy bills by setting your thermostat to 78 degrees or the highest degree you are comfortable with. Here are some more tips for reducing energy use year round.
Laundry Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev
With the average price of a home in Sonoma County currently at $790,000, homeownership goals have become extremely difficult for most first-time buyers without significant assistance.
Burbank Housing, a nonprofit who has been creating affordable housing opportunities in the North Bay since 1980, has just secured $14,000,000 from the
California Department of Housing and Community Development to expand homeownership opportunities
by providing down payment assistance loans for eligible properties throughout Sonoma County.
Details of the program are as follows:
For more information, and to apply for the program, visit the Burbank Housing Homeowner Down Payment Assistance Program website and/or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
The fireworks have popped, but we’re still celebrating summer and the warmer months are stretching out ahead. We love a simple cocktail that takes us back to Italy. Campari, prosecco, sparkling water and orange juice combine for the perfect, easy-to-make refresher.
Add the Campari and the orange juice in a glass and fill with ice. Pour prosecco and sparkling water over the Campari and stir gently to combine. Garnish with an orange wedge and a cherry.
Drink Photo by Ruslan Khmelevsky
This summer’s housing market may be shapingup as more robust than previously expected.Despite the economic slowdown of recent months, experts are looking to a prospective leveling off or a drop in mortgage rates to increase real estate buying affordability.
Summer is generally an ideal time to buy or sell a house, the weather is more conducive for curb appeal and showings and there’s usually a big push for families to settle in before school starts.“Here in Petaluma and Sonoma County as a whole supply remains tight,” says Timo.“This has kept the market buoyant and I would expect we’ll see a summermarket that is better than was previously anticipated.”Home sales have been greatly affected by fluctuating mortgage rates, but as long as inflation continues to ease, we are hoping for mortgage rates to continue downward through the remaining months of 2023.”
Did home prices bottom out in Petaluma? “Renewed pressure on the market with tight inventories and pent-up demand have led to competition picking back up and I am now seeing some homes selling for significant over asking figures once again,” says Timo.
While the market is not tanking, summer’s heated market is not likely to grow out of control. “Although inventory remains low, price premiums are not all that likely,” says Timo. “And I don’t anticipate a housing market crash since strict borrowing guardrails have been put in place since the 2008 scenario.”Median home price in the state of California exceeded $800,000 in May, for the first time in six months.
If you’re thinking of buying and selling this summer or after, call Timo today.
Deep and meaningful connections in real estate have led to many trusted,long-term, legacy clients in Timo’s business over the past 25 years.
“Listening is key,” says Timo.“Knowing and respecting my clients and communicating effectively narrows down the field to find the perfect home or sales strategy for whatever stage of life or situation that should arise.”
Homes are personal spaces. “Authenticity and genuine relationship building has been my number one priority in growing and maintaining my real estate business over the past quarter century,” says Timo. “I’ve recently closed my sixth transaction with a terrific Petaluma couple, one of many, treasured legacy clients.”
Timo’s clients trust and appreciate his sincerity and professionalism and in return he relies on their referrals for any new business, preferring to stay focused on providing stellar service to a client base that will last a lifetime.
“Thank you to all my longtime clients for your loyalty and for any referrals in the future,” he says.
Summer officially kicks off June 21st, but don’t wait to start readying your home for summer. Prepping our houses and yards for warm weather is key to enjoying the summer season to the full.
Make a to-do list including the following items:
1.Empty standing water frequently. Keep mosquito populations down. Even asaucer of standing water can become a breeding ground if left unchecked.
2.Stash sunscreen, reusable water bottles, hats, shades and bug repellent in a container or basket near the door.
3.Install or repair screen doors and window screens to keep bugs out.
4.Hang a clothesline for summer energy savings & beach towel drying.
5.Reorganize kitchen with outdoor entertaining supplies.
6.Make room for summer crafts and activities.
7.Organize school supplies and papers to be stored away.
8.Lighten up décor.
9.Close shades during the heat of the day.
10. Plant bee-friendly flowers.
11. Check irrigation systems.
12. Clear out shed or garage.
13. Sort out camping and beach gear.
14. Update emergency kits and first aid supplies.
15. Clean gutters and downspouts.
16. Schedule outdoor projects.
Crush garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Add the pine nuts & pound to a coarse paste, thentear in the basil & mint, pounding until they’ve broken down. Stir in the oil & cheese, taste for seasoning – add more cheese to taste. Set aside
Heat oil & butter in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the Zucchini,sprinkle in chili flakes & nutmeg & season with salt/pepper. Fry for 3-5 minutes. until golden & softened. Add spring onions & lemon zest , stir for a minute or two. Tip in the rice & stir to coat in the oil until translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add wine & cook for a couple of minutes until mostly evaporated. Add a ladleful of stock & stir until absorbed. Continue adding a ladleful at a time for 20-30 minutes, stirring , until all of the stock is absorbed.
Stir in blanched fava beans (& flowers, if using) & warm through for 2 minutes. Remove from heat & stir in parmesan. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, then swirl through half of the pesto. Any remaining pesto will keep in the fridge for upto two days. Divide risotto between bowls & scatter with extra basil leaves, extra cheese & another spoonful of the pesto.
(Photo by James Garcia on Unsplash)
Mortgage demand is picking up this month as rates dropped in April — an indication that home buyers are highly tuned to the fluctuating market. Rates may be headed below 6% in the next few months as inflation eases, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
“Falling mortgage rates open new doors for many buyers, bringing down the monthly payment of a home loan,” says Timo.“Even at 6%, this makes the median home price far more affordable.”
The housing market should hit its peak mid-summer. Buyers who are on the fence are strategizing whether to jump into the market before it returns to its normal full buzz here in the Petaluma area or wait. In the bigger picture,waiting for the rate to drop to 6% or below may cost a buyer in the long run if prices go up. “There’s always the option to remortgage with an adjusted ratelater,” says Timo. “But the sale price is always the sales price and that may not stay where it’s at right now.”
Freddie Mac reported the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending April 13, 2023:
· 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 6.27%, dropping from last week’s6.28% average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 5%.
· 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 5.54%, falling from last week’s 5.64%average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 4.17%.
(Photo by Precondo CA on Unsplash)
Home prices continue to hold strong in the Petaluma and surrounding areas market and there are signs that they may be back on the rise since stabilizing last June. Real Estate experts share tips with MarketWatch as to various strategies home buyers may consider to bring down the cost of buying a home.
1.Buy Points on Your Mortgage: this is one way to lower a monthly payment, in effect, pre-paying by paying a fee to a trusted mortgage lender to compensate for current rates.
2.Don’t obsess over rollercoaster mortgage headline news and instead, focus on the home as opposed to the rate.
3.Commit to the hunt. Don’t give up on your dream. You may need to switch lenders. And if you or someone you know is losing out on their home bids due to lack of inventory, make sure you are working with an experienced agent such as Timo.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, U.S. Millennials have had a challenging time establishing themselves as homeowners. The April real estate news story reported on the Americans who were born between 1981 to 1996. and have been saddled with student debt and economic uncertainty.
The oldest of this cohort faced the housing crisis and the Great Recession of the late ’00s, whereas the youngest didn’t get a break having graduated from university directly into the throws of the pandemic. Consequently, the majority of Millennials have been renting, at least until recently.
The report states that, according to a nationwide study, in 2022, millennial homeowner households actually become a majority among the generation, at51.5 percent. While millennials still own fewer homes than older generations,about seven million have become homeowners over the past five years.
"That’s more than triple the gains of Gen X (born 1965 to 1980), which added two million new homeowner households, for a total of about 24 million,”states the NYT. “Baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964), still own the most homes, about 32 million, but lost around 350,000 homeowners during the same time period."
The average Millennial bought their first home at age 34 years old, later than their parents or grandparents as the idea of the American Dream becomes more and more expensive.
“Still, Millennials are figuring out how to make it happen,” says Timo. “Many young people moved back to family shared housing during the pandemic and saved money. With savings and/or downpayment help from family members, we’re seeing Millennials in the market looking for homes that have reached a more stable price range.”
“Though home prices in the Petaluma area remain out of reach for many young perspective buyers, I advise my home hunting clients not to lose heart.I’ll find them something in Sonoma County that will work. Thinking out of the box is my strategy,” says Timo.
A Federal Housing Administration loan is insured by the government. A buyer can get an FHA loan if they plan to live in the home they are buying as primary residence for at least a year. Requirements for credit scores are lower as well as the down payment amount. If you, or someone you know would like to buy a home in Sonoma County or surrounding area, call Timo for mortgage broker recommendations and to strategize today.
(Photo by Hans Isaacson on Unsplash)
Heat the grill on high. Boil potatoes in a pan of cold, salted water, around five minutes, until tender. Add asparagus tips for one minute. Drain.
Heat oil in an over proof frying pan and add onion. Sautee for around eight minutes until soft.
Mix eggs with half of the cheese and season. Pour over softened onion and scatter over potatoes and asparagus. Top with the rest of the cheese and place under grill for five minutes or so. Cut into wedges after it is golden and cooked through. Serve with arugula.
Following the most sluggish start for a new year
in a decade, the typically competitive Petaluma
area housing market is gradually picking back
up. The North Bay in general remains amongst
the most positive in home value growth out of
the Bay Area’s nine counties.
After dropping in January from a November high, interest rates climbed again in February. “Buyer demand has rebounded slightly, despite the fluctuation of interest rates,” says Timo.“Open house traffic is a good indicator that there are buyers circling the wagon. The number
of offers and time it takes to sell a home show that buyers are still cautious as we move into Spring.”
This February, home prices in Petaluma were up 2.6% in comparison to the same month last year and although the number of homes sold locally in February was down from 31 to 26, the most desirable properties have been selling slightly above list price. “March through May is generally a busy time in Sonoma County real estate,” says Timo. “So, this next couple of months will be revealing as to where the market really is.”
Since 2008, various markets have ebbed and flowed with the number of new listings in the area coming onto the market. The pandemic brought a huge surge and the migration of remote and hybrid workers continues to strain the housing stock. “Records show that the last year represents the lowest number of new homes coming onto the market in Sonoma County in 18 years,” says Timo. “I’d say that with such a low inventory of competition, this Spring is the time to sell.”
The weather hasn’t helped boost the market, either. “It’s not been very conducive for getting homes ready for market. When the sun returns, we’ll hopefully see a wave of house painting and landscaping.” According to real
estate records, 75% of Petaluma homebuyers this year are from within the area. Those that did move from Petaluma, mostly relocated to the Sacramento area, followed by Los Angeles and Seattle.
The average Petaluma home value is around $878,952 currently. For those in the 94952 zip code, including Valley Ford, Two Rock and West Petaluma, the median price is $1.1 million, up 0.4% from last February. Bodega Bay remains the most expensive real estate in neighboring communities, with a median house sales price of around $1,570,000. Average price for homes in Sonoma, Penngrove, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Glen Ellen and Sea Ranch are all well over a million dollars. “If you’re looking for a deal that beats East Petaluma prices, the Russian river, Santa Rosa, Windsor, Rohnert Park and Cloverdale are your best bets,” says Timo.
“All this means that it’s a buyer’s market. Homeowners are far more likely to negotiate. And if a house is located in a good spot, doesn’t need too much work and is priced correctly, it’s still going to sell relatively fast in this area.” The availability of single family homes is extremely tight in the Petaluma area and supply does not seem likely to improve given the urban growth boundary in place. Stubborn, high inflation is keeping the average 30-year, fixed mortgage interest rates elevated, but are expected to remain relatively low by historical standards. “Prices will find a level as interest rates stabilize,” says Timo. “But if you’re looking to move in the next year, don’t put off what you can do today.”
Your home’s value depends on a number of things, including location, age, size and condition. Even if you’re staying put in your home, Spring is the best time of year to put time and effort into things you can change like sprucing up and maintaining its curb appeal. And since most folk only see your home as they pass by, how it is kept on the outside indicates its condition on the inside.
Here are five easy ways to boost curb appeal:
1.Maintain your lawn. Clear walkways of debris, pull weeds and mow.
2.Keep trees, hedges and shrubs in check. Well maintained trees and shrubbery are more important than ever these days as we look to prevent damage in the
dry heat of summer, fire season and rainy/windy season.
3.Clean your windows and gutters. If you haven’t done this at least twice this past winter, you’ll need to by now.
4.Maintain your home’s exterior. A new coat of paint every decade at least and roof repairs or replacement are worth every penny of investment.
5.Spring for home accents such as driveway, shutters, plants, new house numbers, and mailbox.
Ask Timo what your home is currently worth! Email Timo@RivettiTeam.com
(image by FotoInToscana by Moira e Raffaella)
1.Preheat oven to 325°F. Line loaf pan w/
parchment paper; coat with baking spray.
2.Beat granulated sugar and butter until
fluffy, 5 to 6 min. Add eggs, one at a time,
on medium speed after each addition.
3.Stir together sifted flour, salt and
baking powder. Gradually add flour
mixture to butter mixture on low speed,
alternately with milk and 1/4 cup of the
lemon juice, beginning and ending with
flour mixture, beating just until combined
after each addition. Stir in 1 tablespoon
lemon zest. Beat on high speed until
fluffy, about one minute. Spoon batter
into prepared loaf pan.
4.Bake in preheated oven about an hour.
Remove from oven and let stand for 10
minutes. Remove cake from loaf pan and
allow to cool completely on a wire rack,
about 2 hours.
5.Place powdered sugar and
remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
in a medium bowl. Whisk in remaining
4 to 5 tablespoons of lemon juice as
needed to reach smooth consistency.
Drizzle over cooled cake.
With winter storms, flooding, wildfires, smoke and drought impacting the North Bay each year, Petalumans have a
greater sense of urgency in tackling climate change. Find out how Cool Petaluma is helping empower neighbors
to take action, together.
Cool Petaluma is currently training and supporting people to become Team Leaders who gather their neighbors and kickstart community climate action by making a fun, welcoming environment for people to get curious, explore
ideas, and take action together. Think of this as a social club for building a planet-friendly community. It is meant to be enjoyed. Have fun and be productive at the same time! This program is built around gathering people. You can decide how often you meet. Most Teams opt to meet once or twice a month. By inviting your block to come together, you will be strengthening community connections while inspiring individual and collective action with five key objectives:
Cool Petaluma launched in January of 2022 with 300+ volunteers who are ready to take even more action this coming year: preparing for emergencies, reducing carbon emissions, saving water, and building vibrant communities, block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood.
Here are three ways to connect:
1.Subscribe to the Cool Petaluma newsletter for updates on all of the exciting things going on!
2. Become a Team Leader to build community on your block (and soon at your school, business or faith based org!) Sign up for an info session!
3. Volunteer your super powers! Cool Petaluma is a small but mighty team.
If you have a super power to help grow the movement,
share your skill, trade or passion!
Visit https://www.coolpetaluma.org/ for more information
For media and speaking requests, please email email@example.com
Encouraging signs of activity abound, here
in the Sonoma County real estate market.
It was a slow winter across the board
throughout the county’s housing market,
but buyers are back circling the wagons of
whatever new listings pop up.
Open houses are happening again after a
long hiatus. Buyers are showing up!
“Spring may well bring a bounty of repressed buyers back to the negotiating table,” says Timo. “If what we’re seeing now in terms of the number of showings and listing disclosure packages going out, Petaluma’s housing market is about to heat up.”
A drop in mortgage rates and a positive boost in the stock markets has buyers feeling far more confident in putting offers on homes with more realistic sticker prices than we’ve seen for a while.
“Supply and demand have led to bidding wars in these scenarios in the recent past,” says Timo. “But with economic conditions remaining some what volatile,
it’s hard to say whether the rebound in the local market will be anything other than a healthy level for both buyers and sellers.”
“Spring is usually the busiest season in the real estate business,” says Timo. “I’m geared up and ready to go to work for you, your friends and family, whether it’s a move in or out of the area, an upsize or downsize or rental property you have in mind"
Current recorded median home price for a two-bedroom house in Petaluma is $770,000; three bedrooms will set you back an average of $833,500 and four bedrooms around $910,000. A five- bedroom family house in Petaluma averages around $1,100,000. Let’s see how those figures fluctuate throughout the coming Spring and Summer sales seasons.
“If you’re on the fence, you may wish to jump into a market search now,” says Timo. “It’s doubtful we’ll see prices drop given the lack of inventory.”
Neighboring coastal Sonoma prices are high. A two-bedroom house along the coast will cost you an average of $1,367,500 currently, with prices soaring up to an average of $1,825,000 for a coastal four-bedroom home. Cotati/Rohnert Park offer some of the best deals in the immediate area. The average price of a two-bedroom house in the Cotati/Rohnert Park area is presently selling for around $607,000 with five-bedroom homes available in the median range of $810,000.
“You’re going to pay more in Sebastopol than Petaluma,” says Timo. “The city of Sonoma varies when compared with Petaluma, but the bigger the house and property the more expensive the comparison.” “Petaluma and Sonoma County as a whole, except for the coastal region, represents good value for money in real estate when compared to most all Bay Area counties. It’s challenging for a lot of people to get into the market, regardless,” says Timo. “That’s where a seasoned real estate professional comes in. Don’t hesitate to call me with any questions, whatever your situation or budget.”
Join Frances Rivetti and Cover Illustrator Gail Foulkes for a (No Host) Literary Supper, Art Show, Conversation and Reading from Frances’ Locally Best-Selling Novel The House on Liberty Street — Thursday March 16th at Aqus Café, Foundry Wharf, Petaluma from 5:45pm. Reading begins at 7pm.
Copies are still available in Timo’s office in Theatre Square. $21.95 including tax — cash, check or Venmo at Francesrivettiauthor
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If you’ve been itching to spruce up your home décor during the past few cold, rainy months, increased
daylight hours are about to shine a spotlight on the rooms that need the most work!
We took a look at the latest design trends out there for this year, so that even the smallest design upgrades may boost the spirits and the property value of your home. It’s the season to get a move on with making the most of your living spaces.
1.Sustainable Design Choices — find out where and how items are made before shelling out the big bucks.
2.Durable Fabrics — natural linen, velvet and textural fabrics are beautiful, but look for stain-resistant, high performance, sustainable and/or repurposed materials that mimic the look you’re after and are more functional.
3.Saturated Paint Colors — Color is king, or queen this year and designers are calling for enveloping walls, ceilings and vanities in the same monochromatic shades. Think pale blue!
4.Listening Rooms – music, or audio rooms, whatever you’d like to call them, they’re in vogue. A small room transformed into a space to listen to music, audio books, take a Zoom meeting.
5.Natural Stone Slabs — they’re dominating backsplashes, cascading in waterfall edges and wrapping around kitchen islands. The age of the subway tile is waning.
6.Muted Colors — plums and mustards, calm, deep tones found in nature.
7.Granny Chic — nostalgia is back. Do not ditch Auntie Elsie’s plates and cushion collection at the thrift store, it’s all back in style.
8.Outdoors Indoors — the positive effects of being in nature boost interiors too. Natural materials such as bamboo, cork, sisal and wood add character and texture along with lots of lovely house plants.
Place cabbage and 2 cups water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until cabbage is tender, around 10 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid; keep cabbage warm in a separate dish.
In the same pan, combine potatoes and reserved cooking liquid. Add additional water to cover potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Place milk, green onions, salt and pepper in a small saucepan; bring to a boil and remove from heat. Drain potatoes; place in a large bowl and mash. Add milk mixture; beat until blended. Stir in cabbage. Drizzle with butter; top with parsley and bacon to serve.
The era of substantial growth for the population of California is seemingly over as pandemic era exodus and weaker levels of in-migration due to reduced hiring, plus
rampant tech lay-offs make it unlikely that the one percent annual rate growth of the last century will be seen again any time soon.
While Sonoma County, according to a new report on Bay Area counties released by the California Department of Finance, underwent the second smallest population drop of .06 %, in contrast, neighboring Marin County saw the largest percentage basis of 1.5%. Neighboring Napa County was up there in the top two counties with shrinking populations after Marin, with a 1.3% drop.
“This data shows us that Sonoma County continues to attract newcomers, but on a steadier basis,” says Timo. “There’s somewhat of a balance in place that we did not experience during the earlier period of the pandemic rush for housing.”
Because the population is holding up in Petaluma and Sonoma County as a whole, housing remains a hot commodity. Census figures show the county population recorded at 485,887 in July 2021, down an estimated 48,863 from the previous year. People 65 and over represent 21.1% of the Sonoma County population. Housing is still very tight,” says Timo. “And we can’t blame the Baby Boomers who are healthier than ever these days and don’t want to necessarily downsize or move in with their kids. We need more choices to accommodate our population, affordability-wise, size-wise and location-wise.”
Stand-alone, single family home builds are not the answer given the urban growth boundary that Petaluma has to protect from sprawl. “Getting it right with regards to infill, parking and traffic is the modern challenge of our city and
county development going forward,” says Timo. “It’s going to take a few more years to get it right and have enough housing for everyone who needs a home here in Petaluma and neighboring cities.”
The California Department of Finance Report placed San Francisco last, after Sonoma County, with a recorded 0.5% population decrease. Though Federal census data shows a different story. For the City of San Francisco, recording
that its population fell by 6.3% between July 2020 and July 2021, the most of any U.S. city. California’s total population is reported to have declined by approximately 210,000 people leading to the first state-wide population drop in a century.
A decade ago, California registered more than half a million births each year. Due in part to the cost of housing, education and childcare in the Bay Area, young people are choosing to delay marriage and childbirth. The number of
new babies in the State dropped to 423,768 in the year between July 2021 and July 2022. In addition to COVID deaths during the last three years, California’s population of Baby Boomers is also aging, leading to a higher mortality rate.
Yolo County saw the biggest population increase in the Bay Area and statewide at around 6,900 people, attributed in the finance report due to UC Davis students returning to campus — Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo recording similar data elsewhere in the state. “The puzzle of how to piece together housing solutions is challenging but vital,” says Timo. “I’m interested to see how our community adapts with new zoning laws for tiny
homes and second units, duplex and apartments.” We all have our own specific housing needs at different stages of our lives.
Timo is more than happy to take your call to discuss your current or future moving strategy. Give him a call today at 707 .477.8396.
Mortgage application activity rebounded strongly in the first full week of January, according to the California Association of Realtors as mortgage rates continue to dip. The Market Composite Index measuring mortgage loan applications for the week ending January 13 increased 27.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis from
the previous week.
“With the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) continuing to decrease in Freddie Mac’s weekly survey to 6.15% – the lowest since September 2022 – mortgage activity is expected to continue to improve,” says Timo.
Prince Harry was pipped off his post as best-selling expat author in Petaluma’s Copperfield’s Books this February. We’re delighted to announce that Frances’ new novel, released in December is flying off the shelves in our local bookstore. An audio book is to follow, this fall. Signed books are also available online and in
Timo’s office in Theatre Square during business hours.
If you’ve read and enjoyed The House on Liberty Street, please post a review on Amazon and/or wherever you purchased it. You don’t have to purchase on Amazon to leave a review, but these reviews make a huge difference in the promotion of a book. So, thank you in advance if you take the time to do so!
According to a report by online lending
marketplace Lending Tree with data from the
latest national census, single American
women currently own and live in more homes
than single men, despite earning only about
83 cents for every dollar that men earn.
Not all women are earning less money than
their male counterparts, especially women under 30 in metro areas whose income meets or exceeds that of men in the same areas. Another reason for women owning more homes, the study and the National Association of Realtors suggests, is that single women tend to spend
less on homes than men do and are willing to make more financial sacrifices for it to happen.
Women also have a longer life expectancy. Retirement-friendly regions show the largest gap in female/male homeownership. Single women occupy a larger
percentage of homes than single men in all but two states: North and South Dakota.
Mix together mayonnaise, egg, and
lemon juice in a small bowl. Lightly
toss Dungeness Crabmeat, chives,
parsley, cayenne pepper, lemon
zest and panko breadcrumbs in a
slightly bigger bowl. Gently fold in
mayonnaise mixture. Cover and
refrigerate for an hour. Shape
mixture into 8 crab cakes, around
a half cup each.
Preheat a large nonstick pan to
medium heat and coat with canola
oil. When the oil is hot, place crab
cakes in the pan and cook until
golden brown, around 3-5 minutes
on each side.
Serve hot with tartar sauce and
The housing market has been in hibernation these past few months and yet there are signs of a steady return to a more stable market this New Year. “Industry experts liken the national real estate market to a hangover,” says Timo, “slow to get moving the morning after the party. Yet here in the Petaluma area, homes that are priced right are holding their value and still in demand given low inventory in our desirable communities.” As reported in the New York Times early in the New Year, the pandemic created the perfect storm for driving up housing prices. When mortgage rates doubled in a matter of months, buyers elsewhere across the country froze.
Lingering economic uncertainty will most likely prevent the housing market from getting out of control again any time soon,” says Timo. “While national sales fell in the last six months, prices locally have largely held.” In fact, the West Petaluma median home listing price in November was $1.2 million. And according to Realtor.com, most homes sold close to asking price if not more. While it is tough for first time buyers to get into the market without family support while interest rates are as high as they are, there is certainly less competition from other buyers. “I’ve been able to help buyers secure fixers and other starter homes in this less frantic market,” says Timo. “They have an opportunity to negotiate for repairs and reductions.”
“Many of my clients have accrued substantial home equity simply by living in the Petaluma area for a period of time. It’s a seller’s market in that there are more people looking for homes than there are listings. Those who have a desire or need to move may do so without having to overbid on their replacement property, making moving a far less stressful concept.” The National Association of Realtors expects home prices to remain stable overall this year but a lot of that depends on address. San Francisco may see a more noticeable price drop, whereas the Petaluma area and Sonoma County as a whole represents the second-best house pricing deals in all Bay Area counties. And there’s no dispute that it’s a great place to live. “This really is more of a normal market,” says Timo. “Sellers who price their home conservatively should still expect to see a couple of good offers.”
Some real estate economists project mortgage rates beginning to fall maybe by the second half of this year. “This could make it more feasible for buyers to enter the market,” says Timo. “But finding the right home at the right time and price is always the most important aspect of a move. A buyer now may remortgage at a later date if all the other factors work well.”
Timo is ready to go to work for you, your family, coworkers and friends as a buyer or selling agent. Call 707. 477.8396 to discuss your housing needs today
Timo opened his office in Theatre Square, Petaluma on two evenings in late December for clients and readers to purchase signed copies of Frances’ new novel, The House on Liberty Street. We had fun with sparkling wine toasts with our community support for Frances’ work. We hope to hold more casual open houses at the office this year as it was so nice to reconnect in person. You can still buy signed copies in the RE/MAX Gold office on Second Street during office hours. $20 per copy – cash please. Books are available in VIBE Gallery on Petaluma Blvd, by order from Copperfield’s Books if they don’t have copies in stock and online in e-book form and paperback. We like Bookshop.org because it supports brick and mortar bookstores with a portion of its profits.
If you’ve read and enjoyed The House on Liberty Street, please post a review on Amazon and/or wherever you purchased it. You don’t have to have purchased on Amazon to leave a review, but these reviews make a huge difference in the promotion of a book. So, thank you in advance if you take the time to do so!
Thinking of a renovation or a spruce up at home this year? After the holiday clean-up is a great time to reflect on what improvements and updates you may want to tackle in the new year. Here are the top trends we’ve tracked down for home updates for 2023:
1.Open plan floorplans are being thoughtfully reconsidered. After the long stay-at-home and work-from-home era, we’re not so sure that open plan works with our modern lives. While flow and space are important, so are defined, designated areas. Homeowners and designers are working together to create rooms that provide multi-purpose privacy.
2.Subway kitchen tiles have had their day. In mode are slabs of quart or marble as seamless backsplashes. The lack of grout lines makes it easier to keep clean.
3.Kitchen islands become multi-work areas with technology chargers, extra storage and seating. The modern kitchen island increasingly becomes the space for work, entertainment, family gathering and cooking.
4.Art Deco is taking over from mid-Century Modern in furniture, lamps and accents. Expect more vibrant colors, geometric shapes in wallpaper, furniture and lighting in 2023.
5.Pantone’s new color of the year, Viva Magenta, is a not-so-subtle hint at how boldly colorful interiors will be in 2023 and beyond.
6.Mellow yellow – a warmer, muted tone of yellow replaces the greys and beiges of the past few years.
7.Recognize the ceiling as a fifth wall. Designers are calling for color up above.
8.Updates that improve a home’s energy efficiency are primed to surge in 2023. These home improvements reduce energy and utility bills – offering a much-needed reprieve during times of high inflation.
9.Outdoor living spaces are becoming more prolific as we’ve adapted to al fresco gatherings and shared living.
10. Accessory units continue to be the number one sought-after solution in the housing market.
Sold OVER ASK with MULTIPLE OFFERS At $640,000
"Timo helped us buy our first home 20 years ago. Recently when we needed to sell our house he helped us again. Timo and his team listened; they were easy to work with and coordinated all the details. I highly recommend this professional team."
Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan. Place bean sprouts in a metal strainer; lower into boiling water, & blanch bean sprouts until crisp-tender, about 10 seconds. Remove strainer from water (do not remove water from heat), & rinse bean sprouts under cold water about 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. Drain well, & set aside. Add salt to water in saucepan, & return to a boil over high. Add noodles, & return to a boil over high. Boil, stirring often, until just under al dente, about 1 minute. Drain noodles well in a colander, & rinse under cold water about 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Drain. Briefly rinse again, & drain, lifting noodles to separate & dry the strands. Set aside. Stir together stock, soy sauce, & sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat peanut oil in a wok over high until shimmering & fragrant; swirl to coat wok. Add ginger; stirring constantly, until sizzling & starting to brown around edges, about 10 seconds. Add snow peas; stirring constantly, until bright green, about 1 minute. Add water chestnuts; stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add bean sprouts; stirring constantly, until wilted, about 1 minute. Stir sauce, & add to mixture in wok; bring to a boil over high. Add noodles to wok; stirring constantly, until noodles absorb sauce, about 2 minutes. Remove & discard ginger. Season with more soy sauce to taste. Serve immediately.