December is upon us and we're racing toward the end of the year after a seamless and successful office move into Theatre Square in the heart of downtown Petaluma.
It's been wonderful to visit with friends, neighbors, longtime and more recent clients who've been stopping in to say hello to us in our new digs with RE/MAX Gold at 140 2nd St Suite 108.
Thanks to everyone who was able to join us for the Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting and RE/MAX Gold launch party in November. What a fun evening!
We're looking forward to being fully accessible for all your real estate needs in 2020. Don't hesitate to drop by the office if you're out and about in Theatre Square or give Timo a call, text or email to make a date to stop in to talk about the market trends for the coming year.
We're delighted to showcase esteemed Sonoma County artist Roberta Ahrens' stunning 48x60 gold wave "Salmon Creek" and two companion pieces "Gold and Silver Reeds" in Timo's new office.
Check out Roberta's website for more of her unique and beautiful gallery work, including an accessible range of limited edition prints of her Pompeian Angels and a collection of Autumn Dahlia images. robertaahrens.gallery
Real estate buzz across the county predicts a continued steady balance of property sales and values in the coming year.
"Any price appreciation for the next 12 months is likely to be more in the 3-5 percent range," says Timo. "There's been a considerable leveling during the latter part of 2019 and I anticipate the market will settle for the next year or so."
The time it has taken to sell a home in Sonoma County in 2019 from listing to when it goes into contract has been averaging sixty-nine days, shorter in the south county, with a little over a month on average in Petaluma. Year to date median home price in Petaluma is around $670,000 on the east side of town and $860 on the west. Penngrove median price is currently around $990,000 and Cotati, around $617,000. Rohnert Park median price is around $590,000.
Interest rates are currently at lows and aren’t expected to move a great deal in 2020. "In a forecast from the Urban Land Institute, the 10-year Treasury rate which is correlated to fixed mortgage rates indicate there will likely be some rises in 2020 and 2021, but only slightly," says Timo. "Buoyed by continuing low rates, spring 2020 home sales will likely tick up from a relatively slow fall season."
There are of course, many looming unknowns in the domestic and international political climate and economies. "However, the local labor market is thriving currently in Southern Sonoma County and the demand for more balanced housing prices in Petaluma remains strong," says Timo. "A market-rate home according to price and condition is going to sell within a short to reasonable period of time. Likewise, it's a great time to be in the buying pool without feeling that you're over paying."
"My advice is that if you find the right home for you and you've bargained aggressively, make your move and stay for as long a period of time as suits your needs.”
Our very own team author Frances Rivetti has released her first novel, Big Green Country in time for the holidays.
Follow Frances, a former Argus Courier columnist, freelance journalist and author of two books of non-fiction behind the Redwood Curtain this fall and winter season with Big Green Country — a gripping, modern family suspense story that lifts the veil from the shrouded secrecy surrounding the underbelly of Northern California's complex cannabis culture.
Culling from her research as an independent reporter at home at the gateway to the country's largest cannabis growing region, Frances has painted a gritty, graphic fictional portrait of the contemporary Green-Rush from one women-driven family's unique perspective — the lure, the benefits, the potential for boom and bust, but most importantly, its impact on the human condition and the real and present danger posed to young women attracted by large cash earnings.
Big Green Country is a controversial crisis of rural poverty, environmental degradation, addiction, a broken health care system, alternative medicine and the stark reality of human trafficking within the region known as the Emerald Triangle.
Order directly for $19.99 from the author via the PayPal button on her blog www.southernsonomacountrylife.com. Buy four or more books for volume discounts. Frances will sign and ship/deliver for free in the U.S. Books are available online at Barnes & Noble and Amazon and on Kindle. We're hoping local bookstores will be stocking her books this holiday season, please ask your favorite bookseller to order a copy, Big Green Country is available to booksellers through Ingram distributing.
Winter Citrus, Red Endive and Radicchio Salad
4 blood oranges
1 navel orange
1 ruby grapefruit
1 head of radicchio
2 Belgian endives
2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots
Salt & pepper
7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup candied or toasted walnut halves
Peel citrus fruit with a serrated knife, carefully removing pith. Slice crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Reserve some of the citrus juice. Separate radicchio leaves and tear into good-sized pieces. Trim ends of endive and separate the leaves. Place salad leaves on a festive platter and arrange citrus slices on top. Combine shallots and four tablespoons of citrus juice, salt and pepper and whisk in olive oil. Pour evenly over salad and top with walnuts halves.
"Big news from me and my Executive Assistant Renee' this fall is that we've moved our busy real estate office from the north end of town to Petaluma's bustling, downtown Theatre District," Timo is delighted to announce. Rivetti Real Estate Team is thrilled to be hanging its banner with RE/MAX GOLD in a brand new office at 140 2nd Street, Petaluma.
"We've been missing having an office in the heart of our community these past few years and the launch of RE/MAX GOLD came at the perfect time for us to make a smart and efficient move," says Timo.
"We're better positioned to meet with clients as they go about their daily business downtown and we're pleased to be able to pop into all our favorite central eateries and local services in this vibrant heart of the city."
Timo and Renee are up and running in the new location after a quick and seamless move and are ready to assist you with all your real estate needs.
Clients old and new and newsletter friends are invited to a Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening Ceremony with RE/MAX GOLD and the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 between 4pm and 7pm.
"Please join us and raise your glass to this great new location," says Timo. "Stop by anytime you're downtown and say hello!" RE/MAX GOLD provides full real estate services throughout California. With over 1,600 local agents residing in 75 offices in a 24 county footprint, agents partner with a greater RE/MAX Worldwide network of over 120,000 real estate professionals in over 100 Countries. This allows the maximum exposure for your home as well as the greatest network of homes for sale online.
Homebuyers are taking their time before jumping in with offers this fall, making it less of a seller's market as we head towards winter.
"Sellers must be priced right to motivate offers," says Timo. "We're not seeing nearly as many multiple offers flood in, although it does still happen with properties of mass appeal and under market pricing. "Location is key and fixed-up is big right now as it's currently so expensive to remodel and it will continue to be challenging for fixer-uppers to find a contractor after the recent wildfire season."
Though mortgage rates are around the lowest they've been in three years, buyers are more cautious about purchasing a home given the global uncertainties dampening the consumer environment.
"However, here in Southern Sonoma County, there's a housing shortage so fortunately, for sellers, if a home is prepared for the market and priced well, there's no reason to expect it won't sell in a reasonable length of time," says Timo. "It may take a little longer than sellers have grown accustomed to."
The market is moving in Petaluma, yet buyers are pickier and appraisals more stringent than they have been in the past.
"Sales frenzies are not good for our community, anyway," says Timo. "I'd like to see more of our young people in the Petaluma area be able to get into the market in the next couple of years. A stabilization of property values makes this a possibility, whereas it was considered a near impossibility in years past. After helping a 22-year-old realize his dream of purchasing a West Side fixer last month, I know it can be done."
Thinking of buying or selling in the next few months?
Call Timo on 707-477-8396 today.
"Forever on Thanksgiving Day, the heart will find the pathway home," — Wilbur D. Nesbit.
FEATURED PROPERTY: 215 Cambridge, Ln.
Move In Ready Single Level in Victoria featuring 3 bedooms, 2 baths, hardwood floors & pride of ownership throughout and more!
Contact Timo for a private showing 707-477-8396
Catering for a crowd can be pretty expensive. Keeping decor costs to a minimum is a good way to keep the budget from getting out of hand. Here are a few fun ideas for sprucing up your place this fall:
1. When family and guests arrive for Thanksgiving, encourage them to write what they are thankful for on a paper leaf cut from colored card and hang it from a tree or a spindly plant branch, inside or out or pin it up on a linen-covered frame on the sideboard.
2. Gather a bunch of inexpensive candle holders from thrift stores and garage sales and spray paint them all the same color. Gold or black looks especially good with white candles. Or, fill mason jars with water, fresh rosemary and other herbs, cranberries and orange slices and float tea candles on top.
3. Save on the number of glasses needed by making your own leaf-shaped name tags, tied to the base of the glass, bearing each guests name.
4. Fill galvanized buckets and watering cans with seasonal grasses and branches from your backyard for a beautiful fall display.
5. Gather pine cones, moss and small rocks and sprigs of evergreen for your festive table.
6. For quick and easy homemade place settings, begin with brown craft paper and create space for every guest to write a list of things they're thankful for. These lists will make for wonderful dinner conversation.
7. Top napkins with seasonal fruit for a striking, natural note. Foraged apples with leaves on look especially lovely.
8. Parchment paper tablecloths are particularly useful for the kids' table. Don't forget colored pencils and festive stamps with ink-pads.
9. Real plates! They're so much nicer in every way. Thanksgiving is not the day to add to the landfill and spend a bunch of money on paper goods. Dust off Grandma's china and borrow a couple extra sets if necessary. Set a second load in the dishwasher the day after if needed.
10. Order some eco-friendly, compostable to-go boxes and have the kids decorate the lid tops with guests' names. Another good idea is to ask your guests to bring their own containers to take home any left-overs.
Bring 3 cups water and lentils to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils have split and are mushy, about half an hour. Drain and spread in an even layer on a small baking sheet and chill for another half hour. Process lentils, tahini, lemon juice, oil, tomato paste, garlic, salt, paprika, and cumin until smooth, around 30 seconds, scraping down sides as needed. Spoon into a serving bowl. Garnish with parsley and olive oil. Serve with carrots, radishes and other veggie crudités and/or pita wedges. Can be made three days ahead and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.
Low mortgage rates continue to fuel favorable opinions on home buying this fall. Nearly two-thirds of Americans—or 63%—believe now is a good time to buy a home, says the National Association of REALTORS®’ in its newly released Housing Opportunities and Market Experience Survey.
"With mortgage rates at historically low levels I expect to see home buyers continue to be drawn into the market in the Petaluma area this coming season," says Timo.
Older consumers with higher incomes tend to be the most optimistic toward the prospects of home buying, according to the report. And 81% of consumers living in the West believe now is also a good time to sell. However, Timo is more than pleased to report that after working closely with a recent Generation Z first time buyer (that's someone born after the millennial era) it remains entirely possible (though not easy) to find property in Petaluma for young buyers wishing to remain in the area in which they were raised.
"It's challenging to secure starter homes in the area, especially in West Petaluma with budgets under $600,000," shares Timo. "But it can be done and I am one hundred percent dedicated to my buyers of all price points, be it a starter fixer or a country estate home."
If you're considering selling your home in the near future, it's important to keep in mind that it's typically a lot more emotional to sell a home than to buy a home, and the reason for selling your home may be a determining factor in the urgency of your sale.
"I will advise we take the following factors that may influence the sale of your home into consideration straight away when planning a listing," says Timo, who taps into Keller Williams' selling guide as well as his own 21 years of practical real estate sales experience:
Step 1: The Reason for Selling
This is the most important factor that will have an effect on all aspects of sale. Why are you selling and where are you going to move to? What is your long-term home ownership goal?
Step 2: The Cost of Selling
It is very important to first calculate the various expenses that may be incurred while selling your home. This will help determine a good and fair price for the house, as well as the potential profit realized.
The cost of selling your home includes agent commission, taxes, specific reports, such as a property inspection and any work that may need to be undertaken to prepare it for market and satisfy conditions of sale.
Step 3: Price
"I can't stress enough that the most important factor when putting your home on the market to sell is setting the right price," says Timo. The price at which your property is marketed makes or breaks a deal.
Over-pricing of the property may result in a smaller buyers' pool, and prolonged stay on the market, putting off buyers even at the right price. Under-pricing is not always a good strategy as it may result in even lower offers.
Step 4: Location
Though you can't change the location of your property, it plays an important part in the marketability of your home. So, it is smart to take the following into consideration: Is your property priced in relation to other offers in your area? What type of neighborhood is your property located in - well-established, up-and-coming, transitional?
Step 5: Condition of Your Property
The condition of your property is a major factor in how quickly your home will sell. Here are some basic and inexpensive ways to maximize your home's curb appeal: Keep the grass cut and yard clutter to a minimum. Apply fresh paint to any wooden fences and your front door. Clean windows inside and out. Wash or paint your home's exterior. Ensure gutters and other exterior fashions are firmly attached.
Step 6: Staging
Well-placed furniture and de-cluttering opens up rooms and makes them seem larger than they are. Opening drapes and blinds and turning on lights makes a room appear bright and cheery. Staging your home to look its absolute best is an important factor in the selling process and Executive Assistant Renee Waters is a staging pro when it comes to readying Rivetti Real Estate homes for the real estate market. Here are some inexpensive ways to highlight your home's best features: Clean or paint walls and ceilings. Clean all flooring and fixtures - lights, fans. Repair any plumbing leaks. Remove excessive wall hangings, furniture and extra personal goods. Turn on all lights and open the drapes during the daytime showing hours. Play quiet background music and infuse your home with a comforting scent. Vacate the property when and if it's being show to prospective buyers.
Step 7: Accessibility
Accessibility is a major issue. Again you can't do anything about your home's accessibility to specific services and amenities in the area, but what strengths it does have as far as what's in the neighborhood does play a role in the price of your property. "I will work with you to highlight the places of interest that are most accessible to your home," says Timo.
Here are a few important areas to think about: Public transportation. Main roads. Shopping centers. Schools and other educational institutions and importantly to most of us in the Sonoma County area, access to outdoor areas - public pools, parks, playground and entertainment.
Thinking of selling in the next few months?
Call Timo for a consultation today on 707 477 8396.
According to Realtor Magazine and The New York Times the increase of Americans who are working from home is having a significant effect on their real estate needs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that around 24% of employed people in the U.S. worked at least part of the time in a home office during this past year. And among those with advanced degrees, some 42% worked from home part of the time.
"As more people opt to work from home, either part time or full time, real estate experts are seeing the growth of home offices along with a change in migration patterns away from cities," says Timo. "The growth of telecommuting is having a very real and visible impact on our community".
“The importance of home offices has almost begun to rival the attention that buyers give to kitchens,” Robin Kencel, an associate broker with Compass in Greenwich, Conn., told the NYT. “Where they will work is on nearly every buyer’s mind.”
However, Timo agrees that work-at-home spaces do not need to be overly formal. “Home buyers look for comfort and versatility, with features such as natural light, doors to the outside, and durability,” he says. "The plush executive desk, wall-to-wall rugs and floor to ceiling mahogany bookcases are a thing of the past," he adds.
Buyers are looking for flexible spaces that can serve more than one purpose, adds Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders in the magazine and newspaper reports.
"According to the NYT, Americans are moving less frequently," says Timo. "If you work at home, you're less likely to have to be relocated if the company you work for moves. The average household is moving every nine years compared to every six years in the 1980s."
E-commuting as a competitive advantage allows companies to attract the best and brightest, regardless of geography.
"Many of my clients work from adapted garage space, backyard studios and other rooms in their homes that they've converted into their ideal work spaces," says Timo. "If you're looking to sell your house, staging a home office space is a great idea if you don't already have one. The home office is a bigger plus than a guest room these days."
Office tools have shrunk in size and the “home office” concept has changed a lot in the last few years. Laptops are smaller and monitors shallower. Some traditional office equipment — such as copy, fax machines, and large file cabinets have all but disappeared. This makes setting up business at home more about your specific needs than the how to squeeze in an outmoded bundle of furnishings and equipment.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you get started:
1. Are you in need of a private, dedicated space? Peace and quiet and confidentiality call for a separate door and location away from your home's central hub. An extra bedroom may work, otherwise consider converting a garage, screened porch barn or outbuilding or adding a tiny home, or converting an attic or basement, depending on your budget.
2. Are you able to share? Lots of couples work from home, as well as extended family members so making enough space for two or more may be a challenge. Small desks and plenty of outlets are key if you're thinking of converting a share space. Establish your schedules so that you each have some time alone in your work-space. Make a space elsewhere in the house for taking phone calls and virtual meetings in private.
3. Do you prefer company? Working from home is isolating at times, and you may prefer to be in the middle of the household action. If so and you're able to remain focused on your work, then the corner of your family room, a kitchen nook, dining room, or even a desk in your hallway may well work for you.
4. Student workstations are important if you have school-age kids. Where they work and study best depends on age and personality. A long table is great for crafts, projects, and experiments with enough room for you to work alongside your child with a computer station and plenty of supplies at hand. Set up an accompanying station for schoolbooks, binders, art supplies, etc and encourage your student to keep it organized. Screens in bedrooms should be avoided so it's a good idea to set up a student workshop outside of the sleep space.
5. Are you planning on writing this space off your taxes? As a work-from-home homeowner you may mitigate the cost of upgrading your space by checking into the IRS’s rules for a home-office deduction, which applies if your main place of business is used exclusively for work.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Core apples leaving them otherwise whole. Slice a slit around the middle of each piece of fruit so that it doesn't explode in the oven. Mix nuts, raisins, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and add two tablespoons of the melted butter. Drizzle what's left of the butter in the bottom of a baking pan. Place apples on top. Stuff their hollows with the sugar mixture and pour the rest of the brandy on top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for half an hour. Uncover and spoon juices over the top of the apples before baking for another half an hour. Whisk cream and serve alongside the baked apples.
Despite the national and global political turmoil and trade uncertainty, not much seems to be stopping the state of California from its current economic upswing and Petaluma continues to attract newcomers from around the state at a steady pace.
As The Golden State moves into being ranked as afourth of the world's largest economies, a record 18.7 million Californians are in work, wages are gradually rising and many first time buyers are poised to buy homes if they're able to find one they can afford.
"California's GDP is strong," says Timo "and there are plenty of buyers with cash in their pockets looking to find homes in Petaluma, especially while interest rates remain low."
According to Zillow, the median sales price in Petaluma was $680,800 at the end of July with homes sitting on the market for an average of 41 days.
Petaluma and Sonoma County as a whole is a special place to live, whether you rent or own and yet buyers continue to ask if the market is overpriced, stagnant and therefore, the right time to buy or not.
"If there was more inventory and more affordably-priced properties available, we'd be in an extraordinarily hot market right now," says Timo. "I don't see a lack of demand being a problem in the near future. Still, as the economy is expected to dip slightly in 2020, with an upward push in 2021, it may well behoove sellers in our Sonoma County market to list their properties this fall and early winter."
The current steady housing trend is actually a good thing for buyers and sellers in that both parties are able to better negotiate for a mutually beneficial transaction.
Timo expects to see more Baby-boomers listing and selling their Petaluma area properties in the coming months, with more Millennials stepping up to buy. Stats show that sellers are 55 years of age on average, especially as the boomers retire and look for downsizing opportunities.
"California Association of Realtors expects the average home price to have increased by 3.1% by the end of this year, from last. There's a lot of potential still in our local housing market for solid deals and if buyers are sitting on the sidelines waiting for prices to plummet, I think they'll be disappointed," says Timo.
"We're seeing a lot of home owners selling up and moving to less expensive parts of the country but there's no shortage of buyers moving in or up to take their place, especially here in Petaluma."
"With real estate, it's always best to keep our eyes on long-term property values. While it remains a battle to find affordable housing, plenty of people, including first time buyers with the help of experienced, local realtors such as myself are succeeding in clawing their way into the local market," says Timo. "Housing growth in Petaluma has been unwelcome for various reasons, which will likely continue to keep the property values from sliding in any negative direction."
Still, the general market has spoken on leveling property values to a degree, though a well priced and desirable home is as hot a commodity in Petaluma and surrounding areas as it ever was.
"Every buyer and seller has individual needs that must be tailored specifically to their purchase or sale," Timo says. "This makes it all the more important to work with an agent who knows the market inside out."
Timo is happy to talk about your current or future real estate needs and answer any questions as to what's going on in the present market.
Call him at 707 477 8396 today.
Wildfire season is underway in Northern California and we as home and business owners in the Petaluma area are faced with the reality of precautionary PG&E power cuts to protect ourselves and our properties from fire danger.
Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) may disrupt electricity throughout our community if worst case scenario conditions call for it. De-energizing the infrastructure is a new measure approved by state leaders after the past two years of devastating wildfires and subsequent wildfire liabilities in the region.
Possible shutoffs that may last more than a couple of days prompt us to make a serious review of our emergency supplies at home and at work.
"Now's the time to plan," says Timo. "Don't be taken by surprise if a shut down happens. Protect your family, pets and property so that you are safe and minimally impacted."
PG&E Utilities recommend making an emergency plan including:
1. Updating your contact info with PG&E & keep hard copies of emergency #'s.
2. Identifying backup charging methods for phones.
3. Plan for any medical needs.
4. Stock up on food for pets and livestock.
5. Build or restock an emergency kit.
6. Designate an emergency meeting location.
7. Know how to open your garage door manually.
8. Make sure back-up-generators are ready to operate safely.
9. Identify specific needs of family members in your emergency plan.
Water is crucial to maintaining a late summer garden and maximizing crops. Too little water may cause premature bolting, tip burn, bitterness and deformed fruit. Too much water reduces flavor and inconsistent water promotes blossom-end rot and crackling.
Though veggies tolerate a certain amount of drought, most grow and test so much better when the soil around their roots has remained moist. Soil type, temperature, cloud cover, wind, precipitation and plant maturity influence how much water our gardens require.
1. Soil Moisture Test — instead of watering on a schedule, evaluating soil moisture is a simple and great way to figure out how much water is actually needed. Stick your pointer finger into the soil. For shallow root veggies such as salad greens, stick your finger down to the top knuckle and water when the soil is dry to this depth. Deeper-rooted plants, including tomatoes, tolerate a dryer soil. Stick your finger down to the second knuckle to deduce the moisture level before watering. Sandy soil needs more frequent irrigation than clay or loamy soil.
2. Water Early — Morning watering allows the water to percolate into the soil before the daily heat spikes. Foliage will have time to dry off. If you water later in the day you'll waste more water to evaporation loss, plus foliage runs the risk of staying damp throughout the night and developing fungus.
3. Saturate Roots — Completely soak the root zone so that plants send their roots deeper into the soil in search of water. More frequent, shallower watering promotes plants to develop smaller roots, hence suffering in dry, hot weather. Soak soil a good 8 to 12 inches when you do water.
4. Hand Watering — If you water by hand, turn your hose onto a low rate that allows water to soak in. Position nozzle at the base of plants and repeatedly soak the soil around them. Build 6 inch wells in the soil around larger plants and fill with water. Let it soak in before repeating three or four times. Avoid using overhead sprinklers as they tend to lose lots of water to evaporation and soak the plant's foliage.
5. Irrigation Systems — Set up soaker hoses that seep water our along the entire length of the garden, or use drip irrigation which emits a slower trickle of water into your plants' roots.
6. Insulate the Soil — Spread a 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch or straw and grass clippings to hold the moisture into the soil. This moderates the soil temperature and prevents weeds. Always leave a ring of bare soil around your plants.
7. Fertilizing — Organic fertilizers are derived from natural sources such as animal and plant by-products and mineral powders. When fertilizing, be careful to use the product's application instructions and dilution recommendations. Foliar feeding is spraying a liquid fertilizer onto plants' leaves making nutrients immediately available. It's best to foliar feed in the morning using a pump sprayer or new spray bottle. Alternatively, granular (dry) organic fertilizers may be sprinkled over an entire veggie bed and worked into the soil with a rake. Top dressing is another option. Spread a 1 to 2 inch layer of compost over the topsoil around plants and when watering, nutrients will release into the soil beneath.
8. Weed Early and Frequently — weeds spread from seeds and they can survive for many years in the soil. Pull weeds before they flower and remove the root system.
9. Rotate Crops on a Three to Five Year Cycle — Prevent pests and diseases by denying them their favorite host plants.
10. Attract More Beneficial Insects — Intermix flowers, veggies and herbs to promote beneficial insects. Plant sunflowers, cosmos, nasturtiums and marigolds around your veggie garden.
11. Construct a Hoop House — Tent a hoop house with lightweight row cover or bird-netting to prevent pests and birds from devouring your prize crops.
12. Steer Clear of Pesticides — Even organic pesticides are bad for your garden and its inhabitants.
This no-cook sauce is perfect for Petaluma's late summer/early fall tomato harvest & takes about the same time to assemble as it does to boil the pasta. For a more colorful dish, use a mixture of cherry tomatoes, though if you've only one color, stick with what you have on hand.
"I've yet to meet anyone who relishes their home sitting on the market any longer than absolutely necessary," says Timo. "Unless they don't really want to sell."
Thinking of selling? Minimizing your days with your house on the market narrows down to a few key things:
"First things first, I'll help you to get the pricing just right," says Timo. "This is key. If your home is overpriced it may very well sit on the market for days, weeks or even months."
"I'm here to help you figure out the sweet spot to maximize your return and attract buyers."
Sometimes pricing a home slightly under market value is a sound strategy to incite multiple officers, if not a bidding war, depending on the current available inventory in your home's neighborhood.
The next most important thing is to make sure your home is move-in ready for a buyer by taking care of any work that needs to be done and sprucing up paint and curb appeal. "Staging is often employed but not always and my executive assistant, Renee Waters is trained in staging with your own furniture and de-cluttering advice for finishing touches. We only have one chance to make a first impression, so it's a good idea to tap into Renee's interior design sensibility and skill."
Next, take into consideration the time of year. "Putting your home on the market during the Spring and Summer housing rush is preferable to selling in the off-season, yet there are benefits to hitting the market before and after the peak time rush," says Timo. "It's critical to make seasonal strategies that work for you and for prospective buyers."
Also, sharing links on social media may speed up your home sale by spreading word to your personal network and beyond. "Buyers come from near and far and the right one may be closer than you'd think in the form of a friend, neighbor, relative, or someone in their social groups. The more eyes on your listing, the better," says Timo.
The MLS remains the best resource for marketing a home listing that has adhered to all of the above. "There is rarely any reason for additional marketing if all of the elements are in place," says Timo. "I pride myself on top-notch photography of my listings on MLS. This showcases the home at its best and generates more appointments to view than with listings that lack the allure of good photography."
"At the end of the day, it pretty much always comes down to price," says Timo. If you're thinking of selling your home in the coming months, call Timo today to talk about strategy at 707- 477- 8396.
When it comes to summer season interior design, take a cue from the casual, free-spirited approach that summertime calls for and break a few of the tried-and-tested home decor rules.
The summer months are the best time to welcome natural light into your home so why not strip those old, frumpy window treatments until you're ready for a new, updated look for winter? Highlighting windows instead of hiding them is a good thing to do if you have sufficient privacy. Sit back and enjoy the views outside, Scandinavian style.
Experiment with patterns. Mix it up to bring life to dull looking spaces this season. Design experts suggest limiting shades of color to three and play more with geometry and scale. Keep in mind that neutral does not necessarily mean boring. In fact, some of the best colors for neutral interior design ideas are soothing grays and buttery creams.
The less is more rule isn't always the best. When decorating your living room or any area in your home this summer, be sure to showcase your favorite items and objects, such as paintings, photo collages from your travels, souvenir items, and other interesting knick-knacks.
Most homeowners tend to paint their wooden doors, walls, ceiling, and other wooden elements in their home in flat white. But painting wood in colors may actually make your space look even more alive and unique.
Summer bounty is all around us making the perfect excuse for homeowners to garnish their homes with flowers and plants. Whether freshly picked from the garden or at a garden center, plants and flowers bring beauty and life to any interior. Situated near windows, flowers flourish in the summer sun creating a summer aroma and stunning setting.
Summer is the perfect time to give your home a face-lift. From bold colors to splashy prints, a few easy decor updates make your home feel like the tropical beach or calming lake cottage you've been pining for.
Look for unorthodox outdoor spaces to hang out on summer's evening, by hanging a new string or two of outdoor globe lights not just on the deck and porch. Enjoy outdoor rooms created especially for the warmer months with a rug and a couple of deck chairs and an outdoor bar. Don't forget to switch the lights on as dusk turns to dark!
Forager's Blackberry Bramble Jam
Mash blackberries in a saucepan with a potato masher. Stir in sugar until juices form; place about 1 tablespoon blackberry juice in a small bowl and stir in cornstarch. Pour cornstarch mixture into saucepan. Bring berries to a boil, stirring often, until jam is thickened, about 15 minutes. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks or freeze in batches..
Timo prides himself on representing homeowners and sellers of all ages and walks of life with a wide range of reasons for buying and selling in the Petaluma area. It is interesting to note statistics of national trends in home buying and how they relate to local sales, especially if you have a house to sell and you're figuring out how to fix up or stage your home and who may come to look at it.
"According to reports by the National Association of Realtors over the past year, first-time buyers made up 33 percent of all homebuyers, a decrease from the previous year at 34 percent," Timo says.
"Sonoma County and Petaluma in particular has its own unique housing market and community and it's clear that the hometown charm and quality of life we enjoy in this region is the number one draw for newcomers," Timo says. "But it's good to keep an eye on what's going on throughout the United States this July, in regards for homebuying trends and how they relate to our local market."
Fifty-two percent of all homebuyers across the country fell into the 29 to 38 year range in the last year. Eighty six percent of buyers aged 28 years and younger were first-time homebuyers. Twenty four percent of buyers aged 39 to 53 years were also first-time homebuyers.
"Don't assume your starter home is going to sell to a millennial," Timo says. "There are many folk out there at all stages of life looking to get into the market, which is great."
At 26 percent, buyers aged 29 to 38 continue to be the largest generational group of buyers (the median age is 34), followed by buyers aged 39 to 53 years at 24 percent (with a median age of 45).
Sixty-three percent of recent buyers are married couples, 18 percent single females, only nine percent of buyers being single males, and eight percent unmarried couples.
The highest percentage of single female buyers was found in the 54 to 63 years and 73 and older age group. The highest share of unmarried couples buying homes is found in the 28 and younger age group.
"Thirty-seven percent of all buyers have children under the age of 18 living at home," says Timo.
Fifty-eight percent of buyers between ages 29 to 38 years have at least one child under the age of 18 residing in the home.
Across the country, twelve percent of homebuyers purchased a multi-generational home to take care of aging parents, for cost savings, and because children over the age of 18 were moving back.
"Although we hear much on the topic, only sixteen percent of buyers aged 39 to 53 purchased a multi-generational home," says Timo.
The age 39 to 53 age group showed to be the most racially diverse group of buyers in 2018. Twenty-two percent of this group of buyers identified as Hispanic / Latino, Black / African American, or Asian /Pacific Islander.
"The most common reasons for recently purchasing a home tend to differ between the generations," Timo says. "For all three groups under the age of 63 years, the main reason for purchasing is the simple desire to own a home of their own. Among the age 63 and older age groups, the desire to be closer to friends and family tends to be the top reason to purchase."
Buyers between 73 and 93 years also, not surprisingly, are purchasing homes for the desire for a smaller home and retirement.
To find out more about who might be interested in your home or to start looking for the right place for your next move, call Timo at 707 477 8397.
National Association of Realtors reports in its Realtor Magazine this summer that as homes age, more homeowners are looking to remodeling to spruce up their properties. Of the nation’s stock of 137 million units, nearly 80% are at least 20 years old, and 40% are at least 50 years old.
"Freddie Mac says its new mortgage product is to help homebuyers finance or refinance fixer-uppers," Timo says. "Eligible buyers will be able to finance the purchase of their home and the cost of renovations into a single-close mortgage."
“Research indicates a large number of older homes need repair and renovation, either to meet the needs of current owners or as a viable option for new home buyers,” says Danny Gardner, Freddie Mac’s senior vice president of single-family affordable lending and access to credit.
“The ‘ChoiceRenovation’ solution gives borrowers the opportunity to make improvements, renovations, and upgrades to a home using a purchase or no cash-out refinance loan that will be eligible for sale to Freddie Mac. This provides the borrower with a convenient cost saving option for financing renovations.”
Borrowers can also use the ChoiceRenovation mortgage to renovate and repair a property that has been damaged in a natural disaster or for renovations that will help the borrower prevent damage from a future disaster, such as storm surge barriers, foundation retrofitting, or retaining walls.
Gardner says Freddie Mac is launching the new mortgage to offer more flexible financing options in responding to “the increasing age of existing housing stock, the growing number of millennial and other first-time home buyers looking for more affordable home-buying options, and the increase in retirees opting to age in place.”
Adding a fire pit to your patio or backyard encourages more evenings outside with friends and family, more hot chocolate, whiskey or wine and most certainly more storytelling and s'mores — and you don't need to hire a whole masonry crew to get it done. Order a fire pit, bowls, or table online or better still, pick one up in a hardware store or garden store locally, in time for your next outdoor party. Thinking of going the DIY route, check out these fun selections on a range of fire pit ideas from Good Housekeeping Magazine: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/g1444/fire-pit-ideas/
If you’re building a wood fire, it’s important to remember that not every piece of timber makes good fuel.
You may already know not to burn trash like coated, painted, or pressure-treated wood. Doing so can release toxic or harmful chemicals into the air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. But even when choosing between two logs, there are greener (and less green) options out there. Here are some tips from Good Housekeeping on firewood NOT to buy:
1. Green Wood. When a living tree is cut down, the timber needs to age or "season" for a minimum of six to nine months before burning. Freshly cut wood, called green wood, is loaded with sap (mostly water) and needs to dry out first. It’s hard to light and once you get it going, it burns very efficiently and smokes horribly.
If you’re unsure if the wood is green, ask the seller when it was cut. You can also check the bark: firmly attached bark that’s still sticky with sap when you nick it is a bad sign.
2. Big Wood. Don’t buy firewood that's too long to fit easily inside your fireplace or fire pit. If it’s more than 5 inches in diameter, you will need to recut or split it before you can use it. The work is great exercise, but if you just want a quick fire, it’s definitely a drag.
3. Non Local Wood. Firewood that travels too far is the number one way that invasive insects and diseases rapidly spread. Though pests travel slowly on their own, moving an infected log can put new forests at risk and undermine conservation efforts. Millions of trees and thousands of acres of forest have been seriously damaged or even killed by these non-native pests. New outbreaks almost always originate in or near public campgrounds or link back to a homeowner who bought firewood from an infested area.
4. Soft Wood. Trees like pines, firs, or cypress have "soft" wood, which burns fast, leaves few coals, and makes a lot of smoke that can coat your chimney with soot (not a safe thing in the long run). Seasoned softwood is okay for outdoor fires, but you may want to avoid it if a fireplace is involved or you want a long-lasting fire or coals to cook over.
5. Drift Wood. Burning salt-saturated driftwood is a bad idea as it can release toxic or harmful chemicals when burned, according to the EPA. It’s probably safer to use your beach finds for decor and mounted planters instead.
6. Oleander & any wood covered in Poison Oak or Endangered Species. Oleander shrubs thrive in frost-free climates and every part of it is toxic. Definitely don’t burn it, and don’t even use a branch to toast your marshmallow on. It almost goes without saying not to burn any wood that has been infected with poison oak and certainly don't burn wood from a tree that may be an endangered species..
Watermelon Feta Blueberry Salad
Combine cheese, fruit, mint and arugula in a serving bowl. Toss in the dressing.
Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know.
Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.
"Clients are asking if this is a good time to sell their homes," Timo says. "Given the current climate, the bottom line is while a flurry of homes hit the market in May and some are sitting on the market for a few more days or weeks on average when compared to the white-hot market of a couple of year ago, buyers remain highly active and the potential to profit from your home sale is highly viable."
From a buyer's perspective, mortgage interest rates have hit a bumpy course over the last few months. For instance, interest rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage reached their highest level in over seven years back in November of last year when they hit 4.94 percent, according to Freddie Mac.
By the end of February this year, however, interest rates lowering slightly to 4.35 percent, according to the mortgage loan company, has brought buyers back into the market.
"It’s reasonable to anticipate mortgage rates climbing gradually over the next year," according to Timo. "However, they’re expected to remain considerably lower than the historic high of more than 18 percent in 1981."
"If you’re looking to sell your home and secure the lowest interest rate possible on your replacement house, it's a good idea to try to make a deal sooner rather than later," says Timo.
If you are a homeowner who bought during the recession or shortly after, you likely benefited from historically low interest rates and, up until around 2015, lower home prices that were still in recovery mode.
For those who fall into that category, your home's equity will have risen with nearly every mortgage payment, each renovation you made to the house and all the other houses in your neighborhood that sold for a higher price.
The higher your equity in your home, the more you net from the sale, which will bolster the down payment on your replacement house. The larger your down payment, the better you look to lenders and the lower your interest rate will be and the less likely you'll need to increase monthly payments with private mortgage insurance.
Sonoma County's real estate market operates on a cycle of its own, the length of which varies by market between 10 and 16 years total. Flow cycles from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market with a period of balance in between.
“Real estate experts in the area aren't predicting anything that would cause a big spike in home prices or a dramatically increased demand in 2020 and going forward,” Timo says. "If you sell now, you are not likely to be missing out on a hotter market in the next two years. It's a good a time as any to sell given that economists continue to have a positive outlook for the U.S. economy, capital markets, and real estate fundamentals through this year but not necessarily into next."
California Association of Realtors predicts: “With our national forecast for slowing economic growth, continued discussion on when the next recession will be, and the Fed indicating that the peak of the interest rate cycle could be near, we now expect weaker housing markets into 2020.”
"Even though the housing market likely won’t be the cause of the next recession, an economic downturn would still have an impact on real estate," Timo says. "If you're thinking of selling in the next couple of years, listing your property on the market in 2019 is a safe and sensible bet."
Timo is proud to be brokering the potential development of McNear Peninsula ... The Petaluma River Park Foundation is in escrow on this amazing property with hopes to create a public park for the entire Petaluma community to enjoy. This is a long-term project, but would benefit many people, families and visitors for many years. Check out more by visiting the below links!
Front porches serve as perfect summer settings for gatherings, solo time and a chance to catch up with neighbors. Whether you like to escape the heat inside the house to sip iced tea in the afternoons or lounge on comfy seating sipping wines and cocktails after dusk, a porch is a special extra spot to gather when you’re home alone or entertaining.
Even if you don't use your porch as a living space, you may consider sprucing it up for safer package deliveries and good, old-fashioned curb appeal.
Here are eight ways to upgrade your front porch:
Sprucing up your front porch for your own enjoyment is as great reason as any to explore a project, especially since it has the potential to make your home more attractive to home buyers down the line.
“Homeowners, now, more than ever … are increasingly aware of the benefits of being connected to the outdoors, to nature and socially, within neighborhoods for health and well-being,” says Timo.
Want to make the front of your home more appealing, user-friendly and dynamic? If you’re looking for a brand-new porch that transforms the front of your home, make sure that the porch follows the architectural style of your house.
Ready to find the porch of your dreams? Click here to take a tour of a wonderful range of types and designs. https://www.thespruce.com/porch-ideas-4139852
Summer officially begins this month and, after so much extended rainfall we are all more than ready for picnic dishes, seafood, fruity desserts, and an array of delicious food from the grill. Don't know what to do with all the local citrus fruit hanging from the boughs? Here's a recipe to quench the thirst throughout the long summer days ahead. And what pairs better than a garden fresh fish taco?
Local Bounty Lemon/orange/limeade
Squeeze the juice from 4 each of the lemons, limes and oranges; pour into a gallon container. Thinly slice the remaining fruit and set aside for garnish. Add water and sugar to the juices; mix well. Store in the refrigerator. Serve over ice with fruit slices.
Summertime Fish Tacos with Pickled Onions & Cabbage
Prepare pickled onions up to two days ahead by combining onions and jalapeños in a bowl. Bring the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, and salt to boil in small saucepan. Pour the vinegar mixture over the onion mixture and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Refrigerate if longer. Prepare the cabbage: toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
Make the white sauce by whisking ingredients together in a bowl. The sauce may also be made and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead of time.
To assemble the tacos, adjust the oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat oven to 200°F. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the fish dry with paper towels and season it with salt and pepper. Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt in large bowl. Add beer and whisk until smooth. Transfer the fish to the batter and toss until evenly coated.
Add the vegetable oil to a large Dutch oven to measure about 3/4 inch deep and heat it over medium-high heat. Working with 5 or 6 pieces at a time, remove the fish from the batter, allowing any excess batter to drip back into the bowl, and add the fish to the hot oil, briefly passing the fish along the surface of the oil to prevent sticking. Fry the fish, stirring gently to prevent pieces from sticking together until golden-brown and crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the fish to the prepared wire rack and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining fish. Divide fish evenly among the tortillas. Top with pickled onions, cabbage, white sauce, and cilantro.
Earth Day has come and gone but that doesn't mean we can't continue to do our part to protect the environment and save on utility bills at home. Going green may also make a difference at resale: "Promoting energy efficiency in listings is increasingly valuable in a home sale," according to the latest REALTORS® & Sustainability Report.
Here's a handy ten-step checklist Timo recommends for homeowners who want to improve their home’s efficiency inside and out.
1. Check windows for signs of drafts and seal any air leaks. Add weatherstripping around the frame to any drafty windows. Energy-efficient windows tend to help improve thermal insulation and save on energy costs.
2. Unplug small electronics when not in use. Computer monitors, cell phone chargers, lamp fixtures and other small appliances suck up power.
3. Switch to halogen, compact fluorescent lamps, or LED lightbulbs in your fixtures. Energy-efficient lightbulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, according to energy.gov. They may also last three to 25 times longer.
4. Check your roof for leaks, ponding water and damaged shingles. If a roof replacement is needed, consider a green alternative such as engineered cedar or slate roofing shingles. These roofing products are mostly made from recycled materials and may last for decades.
5. Traditional insulation may not reach every crack or corner of wall space. Make sure the siding around the home is fully intact to lessen the chances that air is seeping in or out. Insulated siding may add a blanket of insulation to the exterior and help improve thermal insulation and preserve energy.
6. Go with eco-friendly outdoor materials for siding, fencing and railing, windows and shutters.
7. Install solar panels. Providing you with completely clean electricity they may even make enough energy to allow you to sell some back to the grid. Solar panels are a long-term investment and it may take around 20 years for you to break even depending.
8. Switch to natural cleaning products. When we wash harmful household chemicals away away we are simply flushing them into the water supply. That means water will take more purification before it is safe to use again. For most day-to-day cleaning tasks, natural products like vinegar, citric acid from citrus fruits and bicarbonate of soda may be used in place of caustic chemicals to great effect.
9. Buy recycled products. It’s great to buy recycled products whenever we can, from toilet tissue to kitchen roll. Whenever you notice that there is a recycled option available to buy, it helps to green your home by purchasing it.
10. It's time to get serious about water. Don't run the tap when you brush your teeth or shave. It’s also a good idea to install a low-flow showerhead – these have been shown to save up to 160,000 liters of water for a family of four. For homeowners looking to do a home remodel, there are plenty of ways to save on water bills.
Landscape design trending is increasingly focused on carving out space in our backyards so that we feel like we are on vacation year round! Who needs airport lines, freeway traffic jams and living out of a suitcase when the weekend rolls around?
Here’s some design tips from the pros for inspiration:
With Spring in full fling, head on over to your favorite farm shop, be it Green String Farm,Tara Firma Farm or one of several farmstands in and around Petaluma. There is an abundance of fresh and delicious produce waiting for you to fill up a basket and create some of the best home cooked meals of the year. In season are kale, cabbage, chard, artichokes, leeks, beets, fennel, brocolini, and oranges . . . so much to spark the inspiration to concoct a splendid Sonoma County feast, however simple.
Sonoma County Fennel & Blood Orange Frisée Salad
1. Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. Season with honey, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate at least an hour before using.
2. Peel and thinly slice oranges and tangerines. Arrange on the bottom of a large, shallow bowl or platter. Using very sharp knife or mandolin, thinly slice the fennel and arrange on top of the oranges. Roughly chop or tear the rinsed frisée and add to the top of the salad. Sprinkle with toasted pistachios.
3. Toss salad with vinaigrette before serving. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
"Keller Williams, the country’s biggest real estate franchise brokerage has announced its plans take on competitors Opendoor and Zillow in the new, all-cash, online home-buying offers craze," says Timo, currently-ranked in the top two of real estate agent/brokers for Keller Williams in Sonoma County and top 1% nationwide.
The Austin-based firm is launching its iBuyer program, Keller Offers, in Dallas this month, with plans to expand to as many as eight “major” markets by the end of 2019.
"There's been a lot of chatter about the iBuyer concept. It will be interesting to see how soon this rolls out in the North Bay," says Timo, a Keller Williams leading broker since 2009.
The basic idea is that an iBuyer company estimates the value of a home and makes an offer. If the seller accepts, they take on the burden of owning, marketing, and reselling the home. Depending on the service a seller chooses, the benefit is the certainty of an all-cash offer and more control over when sellers are able to move.
Why would anyone do this in a competitive market? Good question. The simple answer is that real estate transactions are often complex, slow and stressful. The iBuyer concept targets sellers looking for the purchase of their homes at fair market value, saving them the time and work of readying a home for a traditional sale.
"This may be worth it to some sellers," says Timo. "Though the industry news is reporting that most of the home buyers in these sales are sticking to working with a real estate professional on the other end."
According to Marketwatch reports, Keller Williams plans to invest $100 million through the program this year.
iBuying start-up Opendoor is currently active in 19 markets nationwide, while Zillow Offers has a presence in nine.
"From what I have learned, the sector represents less than 10 percent of the real estate overall market,” says Timo, "though this will undoubtedly be an important additional option for KW agents such as myself to be able to offer our sellers.”
The Keller Offers program plans to pair users with a Keller Williams agent, a probable key point of differentiation from other more automated iBuyer programs, reports real estate site therealdeal.com.
"New market realities call for innovative moves," says Timo. "I'm keeping an open mind. It remains to be seen how this option translates to real market trends. Needless to say, selling your home is one of the most important financial decisions you will make. Preparing your home for sale, listing and showing until you get the right offer is part and parcel of a traditional sale. This is when working with an experienced sales agent comes into its own, making sure everything goes smoothly during transaction negotiations and you're able to move on to your next home with maximum return on your initial investment."
Call or email Timo today to talk about your real estate plans, questions and options.
PETALUMA PEOPLE'S CHOICE - FINAL VOTING ROUND
The Petaluma Argus-Courier People's Choice award of 2019 is in the FINAL ROUND of voting and Timo is in the FINALS for Best Realtor of Petaluma! We have a wonderful community with great local business owners. Click here to Vote for Timo and your favorite restaurant, dentist, CPA, veterinarian, etc. bY APRIL 21, 2019
The repressed demand of people wanting to buy a home in the Petaluma area has woken up a sleepy winter real estate market with a kick-start in the advent of Spring. Ask any seasoned real estate professional in the area what he or she predicts for the Spring/Summer 2019 home pricing and sales arena and you'll likely hear the same response. Though the past six months have been extremely unpredictable, with record low inventory and home sales, the rush of properties coming on to the market in March and April has brought with it a renewed flurry of activity and, when pricing is realistic, a return to the multiple offer scenario which is good for sellers and not so great for buyers.
"It's back to the drawing board for buyers looking to strategize on best buys in the Petaluma/Penngrove area," says Timo. "When you're up against a bunch of buyers making offers on the same hot property, it's vital to have the stellar representation of an agent who knows how far you should go in a bidding war."
Just when local buyers were beginning to feel that they had the upper hand with soaring home prices stabilizing, the housing shortage throughout Sonoma County has especially pushed entry level homes up another notch, making it a challenge to get into the market. "I've been working with several first time buyers this past year," says Timo. "It is so rewarding to identify their housing needs and to fully utilize my extensive market knowledge and negotiating skills to secure homes for families, young couples and individuals, including seniors, who otherwise had feared they were priced out."
When faced with rising prices, buyers are being forced to take a leap of faith that their property purchase will be a wise investment. One of the big questions asked is are we currently in a boom in Sonoma County and when will it burst? "The best way to overcome concern over the housing market cycle is to buy a home for the longer term," says Timo. "I advise all of my clients to settle on a home that is readily affordable to them, ideally securing a long-term, fixed-rate, low interest loan."
Timo's client base consists of people who want to be a part of the local community. "It's an entirely different deal when folk are looking to make the Petaluma area their home, the place to raise kids and grandkids. "I feel that this bodes well for real estate values given that housing prices in neighboring Marin County and in San Francisco are amongst the highest on the planet," he says. "With minimum new construction in southern Sonoma County, it's vital that we work to secure our roots in the area now if we plan on sticking around."
It is not difficult to picture what a flood of newly minted wealth from an anticipated 2019 next round of IPOs in San Francisco headquartered companies such as Airbnb, Lyft, Pinterest, Postmates, Slack and Uber will have on the Bay Area real estate market. "While the city itself will be most affected by an unprecedented next wave of multi-millionaires, many existing city and Marin County homeowners will likely capitalize by putting their homes on the market. And where will they go?"
The trickle down effect will undoubtedly impact Sonoma Wine Country with weekend tourism to our downtowns, tasting rooms and eateries. Given that the long-awaited freeway expansion is finally shaping up, it's hard to imagine that housing prices in Petaluma and other closest communities with commute access will not be impacted. "This may well put extra pressure on buyers with home values rising in Petaluma, as a result," says Timo. "We're certainly going to have to come up with more creative ways to build the affordable housing that is already so badly needed," says Timo. "Those few empty parcels we see within Petaluma's City limits are gold. Housing is one of the most pressing and important issues facing our community today."
According to Bay Area Market Reports: "Going back thousands or even tens of thousands of years, human beings have tried to predict the future, and whether using priests, oracles, astrologers, pundits, economists, analysts or "experts" of every stripe - and currently having their "authoritative" forecasts headlined every day in the media - we show no aptitude as a species for having the ability to do so with any accuracy."
"Maybe we're not able to fully foretell what's going to happen with the real estate market in the next few years, but it's my best bet that sitting back and waiting is not going to put anyone in a stronger position," says Timo."I'm ready when you are to strategize your real estate plans, your friends and family's future housing needs in the Petaluma, whether they're immediate or sometime down the pipeline."
Thinking of making a move, or know someone who is? Call Timo today for a no-pressure appointment, in person, or by phone — 707 477 8396.
For more information on Petaluma's Regional Housing Plan Debate Click Here - Petaluma360.com "Petaluma Debates Regional Housing Plan"
Spring fever is upon us after months of record rainfall in Sonoma County. What better way to celebrate the change of season than by taking on an outdoor project that will pay a little time and effort forward for months to come? Raised planters are the way to go for growing our own, whether you're a weekend garden warrior or a fully-fledged backyard farmer. We're lucky to be able to grow just about everything here in Petaluma, except for bananas and blueberries, so why spend top dollar in the store for salad greens and veggies when we have all the tools at hand to feed ourselves, our friends and families with the best of the west, in our own backyards? Give it some thought. As with any project, it pays to think through your garden project before you buy your seeds or transplants. Making the garden too large to manage is one of the most common mistakes of enthusiastic, first-time gardeners. Here are some tips for a successful new garden.
1. Choose a Good Location
2. Start Small
3. Pay Attention to Your Soil
4. Grow What You Love
5. Keep Your Tools Simple
Warm weather produce-starters such as salad greens, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, strawberries and squash are ready and waiting to be planted now the chance of frost has passed. Give them a space to grow where the gophers can't get them by building a simple 4 foot by 8 foot raised bed or two. Raised beds sidestep the issue of tricky soil. By bringing in a healthy, organic mix of soil and compost, nutrient contents, drainage, PH and organic matter will boost your garden's growth. We suggest lining with gopher wire and covering structures with bird netting as an essential investment in your crop. Set up irrigation before picking out and planting your summer crop. Protective hoops of PVC pipe hold bird netting in place, especially useful when tender young starts are getting established. Build your beds to a height that are comfortable for you and help to prevent gardening strains and aches and pains. For framing construction details we looked to Sunset Magazine's trusted Home & Garden Do It Yourself section — click here for a step-by-step guide to RAISED GARDEN BED
April calls for Spring greens and fresh, easy recipes that bring the taste of the outdoors in. Here's our tasty alternative to the popular smashed avocado on toast.
Combine garlic, parsley, 1 tablespoon of oil, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Add peas and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender, about 5 minutes for fresh peas. Drain, reserving cooking liquid.
Transfer pea mixture to a food processor; pulse until a coarse paste forms. Transfer to a medium bowl; mix in chives, 1/4 tablespoon lemon peel, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of oil. Stir in reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls until mixture is still thick but spreadable. Season pea mash with salt, black pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
Drizzle toast with oil; top with pea mash, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon lemon peel and more red pepper, and drizzle with more oil.
Pea mash may be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
When is the best Time to Buy or Sell a Rental Property?
Looking to buy a rental property, or off-load a rental home or income property? The million dollar, or, likely, several million dollar question for Sonoma County property buyers and sellers is how best to time a property hunt, sale and transaction?
Although there are fewer potential income properties on the market in the first quarter of the year, there's also a lot less buyers ready to pounce, making the ratio of inventory to sales in the buyer's favor. "If you're contemplating an income property purchase, start searching now," says Timo. "Competition typically ramps up by late Spring/early Summer, so let's get ahead of the crowd in identifying properties that fit the bill while everyone else is binge-watching the last of their favorite Netflix series".
Fewer buyers lowers your risk of competing in a bidding war with all-cash, multiple offers and over asking prices come June and July. If you've been on the fence as to when to jump into the rental property market, it is important to note that: "Despite growth in home and other property prices being predicted to slow somewhat in 2019," says Timo "it's unlikely we'll see any drop in prices in the Petaluma area. In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) expects median existing-home sales price to climb up 3.1% this year from last year's figures." Shopping for properties in March and April allows you to see houses under cooler climate stress before you commit to taking on any challenges as a landlord. Experts predict mortgage rates will rise by the end of 2019. Now is a great time to lock in a lower mortgage rate that may save you thousands of dollars over your loan's lifespan. If you are contemplating selling a rental property in your real estate portfolio, whether to liquidate assets or to reinvest, making a call or arranging a sit down with Timo for a thorough assessment of your options should be your first move.
"Could the money you've invested in your income property be earning you higher returns elsewhere?" asks Timo. "Do you need the money right now, or will you soon?" These are the critical questions to consider when timing the sale of a rental house or income property. "My next key question, after you've talked things through with your CPA, is could you realize a significant tax benefit from selling a property or is it more, or less beneficial to hold or purchase another property?" says Timo.
Under Section 1031 of the tax code, also known as a like-kind exchange, sellers avoid paying capital gains taxes on income from rental property sales as long as they purchase another property of equal or greater value within 180 days.
"There are lots of detailed rules involved with a 1031 transaction," says Timo. "Working with an experienced real estate professional is key." The rental property market in Petaluma and southern Sonoma County continues to be a viable investment given a widely reported housing shortage. "Depending on your unique circumstances, buying or selling a rental property in this desirable part of the North Bay remains a good option for investors."
For whatever reason, sellers who choose to off-load an income-producing property and pay taxes on the capital gains without a like-kind exchange, depending upon taxable income, should anticipate a significant tax bite of up to 20%. "The easiest way to defer these capital gains taxes is to swap one property for another, or others," says Timo. "The main stipulation is that the swap must be for rental properties only, personal homes or vacation homes don't count." It's all about the timing with a 1031 exchange. If you have one to sell, you'll be given 45 days from the date of sale to identify potential properties with which to close on within the 180 day time frame, or sooner, if your tax return is due. Miss the deadline, then you'll all of the capital gains taxes come due. Another option for rental property owners to avoid some of the capital gains tax on a property they've owned for three years or more is to move into the home as a primary residence for an additional two full years. "Positioning your ducks in a row is all-important when buying or selling rental income property," says Timo. "If you're thinking of buying or selling a rental property in the near future, let's start strategizing now. "
March calls for comfort foods as chilly weather lingers. Here's a tasty alternative to corn beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day or any day this month!
Combine 6 tablespoons flour with ½ teaspoon of salt and pepper in a wide bowl. Dredge chicken thighs in the mixture, coating completely; transfer to a plate. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook until well browned, 2 to 4 minutes per side; transferring to a 5- to 6-quart Dutch Oven or casserole dish. Reduce heat to medium and repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and chicken thighs. Arrange the chicken in an even layer in the Dutch Oven or casserole dish. Add bacon to the pan. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup flour over the heated bacon and stir into meat and melted fat for a couple of minutes. Add stout and use a wooden spoon to scrape up browning from the bottom of the pan. Pour mixture over the chicken. Add carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme, spreading in an even layer over the chicken. Pour broth over the top. Cover and cook until the chicken is falling-apart tender, four to six hours on a low oven heat. Add in fresh peas an hour before removing the dish from the oven. Season with salt and pepper.
Kick-start your spring-cleaning plans with an interior refresh of some new paint hues. And contrary to popular belief, your paint job will dry faster in the winter/early spring months compared to summertime. Cold and crisp days allow for your paint to dry quicker than on hotter, more humid days, though you will have to open your windows at least a little to ventilate the room.
Whether you are hiring professional painters or planning on a nifty DIY interior paint job, check out our curated Sonoma County selection of 2019's top color trends:
1. WOODLAND SHADES
“While nature is a common inspiration for home décor, in 2019 we will see a shift from oversized botanicals to the woodlands, with mushroom grays and fern-inspired colors," says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin Williams. "Their earthy color–gray blended with warm brown–gives off an old world, naturalist feel."
2. ENERGIZING CORAL
Put Pantone's 2019 color of the year – Living Coral – on your radar. According to interior designer Carolyn Pressly, as featured in Elle Decor: "We’ll be seeing more hopeful and optimistic colors in the home, as evidenced by the recent selection of living coral, Pantone’s color of the year. Instead of using coral literally, you can separate it into its orange and pink counterparts." The mood instantly becomes energizing and uplifting, something we could all benefit from.
3. HUNTER GREENS
According to interior designer Becky Shea, hunter greens are a great choice for 2019. "Hunter green holds a sultry and worldly value to it, it's intrinsic in nature and all of life. It's timeless in every respect, and works beautifully with natural elements and neutral tones. What we also love about this color is how seamlessly it transitions between millwork, walls, furniture and accessories. Its gender neutrality also holds a special place in my heart, there's no definition of a home feeling more masculine or feminine; it's the perfect balance of each," she says.
4. SATURATED MOODY HUES
Currently, I’m in love with the deep saturated colors," says interior designer Keita Turner: "Beau Green, Kendall Charcoal, Hale Navy and Hunter Green. These darker moody colors are perfect for custom built-ins and kitchen cabinetry. I would ideally use them in a room with an abundance of natural light."
5. PALE PINK COLORWAYS
Pale pinks are being seen more this year due to their neutral properties and compatibility with other shades. Interior designer Barbara Schmidt explains: "Monochromatic colorways will be popular in 2019, mixed with an abundance of white or lemon yellow for the ideal look."
6. MISTY BLUES
We're expecting to see more blues with a softened mistiness and haze. This moody blue has a calming grey undertone that promotes a serene energy in the home. Blues benefit from a touch of purple to free our thinking, with hints of gray to ground.
7. ALMOST WHITE
There is nothing more classic than an all white palette. And while pure white is a winner with many homeowners and designers, 2019 is the year of “almost-whites.” These shades offer subtle nuances that adapt to different lighting, furniture, and surrounding colors. For those who crave a minimalist palette that still feels dynamic, an almost-white shade is the foolproof choice.
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.
Realtor.com 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 Timo@RivettiTeam.co
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 . . .
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.
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