Location: what is important for you?

Over the years I have come to realize that what is important for one person is not important for the other. So number one for a realtor is to find out what ‘hot buttons’ are, most buyers don’t even know that themselves. What might seem to be important might not be important at all, or might not be a good idea life style wise. That is probably where the saying in ‘Realtor land’ comes from: buyers are liars.

on 16 Acres in Franz Valley

One of my clients is looking for a quiet location… what does this mean: no street traffic in the street?  quiet as to noise? A few years ago, one of my clients moved to a location right under the flight path of airplanes into Santa Rosa airport… She loved the noise of the planes and loved seeing them. Interestingly enough this is quit often viewed as a minus, for her it was a plus. Friends of mine bought a multi million dollar home in the hills where they can see airplanes taking off.

In general most people connect rural locations with quiet as to noise etc… I have come to realize that you can find quiet locations -noise wise- in town and might have a hard time finding a quiet location noise wise ‘in the boonies’. I am always surprised how ‘noisy’ rural locations quite often are.
Zwartsluis huisMy brother lives in the Netherlands in an old town called Zwartsluis. Walking distance to shops and restaurant, that place is super quiet noise wise, except for a car through the street every once in a while during the day but at night, dead quiet.


BTW, there are super quiet locations closer to town. Think of West County, Piner road, Crane Canyon …and more.

Side note: this is also the case when selling a home: make sure your realtor knows why you bought the house, quite often that is what will attract that buyer that has been looking for that special home/location.

There is so much more to share, this will be number one on a series about this subject. Feel free to contact me as to what’s important to you so I can use this for upcoming postings.


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Refinancing your home – beware of scams

How many letters with offers to refinance your homeMailboxes did you receive in the mail last week? Was one of them from the bank your current mortgage is with? The last one seems like a good option to refinance your loan. There is the promise of an easy process and you would think there would be less paperwork involved… NOT.

Recently I am hearing more and more homeowners frustrated by their bank: the promise of less paperwork, less hassle is an empty one. You will end up working with a junior loan officer who quite frankly doesn’t have the wherewithal to help you with the process.

BETTER option: contact your favorite mortgage person, or if you don’t have one, ask your realtor. First of all, working with a lender who knows what he/she is doing is not more expensive – I have done the math- but more important, you are sure you have the best mortgage product that suits your situation. Besides this, the whole process less frustrating, as a matter of fact it will be a pleasant experience.

Locally, yours truly can highly recommend a few local lenders who are really good at what they are doing, one of them is Darren Seliga, he is a Mortgage Broker. Just give him a call and tell him I told you to do so. His phone no: 707-577-8737.


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Multiple Offers? How to get yours accepted…

Embracing young couple who have just bought a houseYou found that great home and of course you’re not the only one. For a while now we have more buyers than sellers in Sonoma County. This means that there are usually multiple offers on well priced properties. How do you make your offer stand out? Besides working with a reputable realtor there is more that you can do.

First of all: make sure your offer makes sense. If a home is priced at $450,000 and you are willing to pay $475,000 for it, make sure you are able to do this. Should you need a mortgage, make sure that either the property will appraise at that value (submit the offer with an overview of comparable sales) or show that you are able to come up with the difference in case the appraisal comes out at $450,000. Your lender can help you with this.

Next: Share your story. Write a nice letter about yourself, dutch-wooden-shoes.jpgyour family and why you like the house that much, if you can, add a picture. Recently one of my clients had to pick from 10 offers, one had a letter and a picture of the family in Disneyland. Since my clients love Disneyland, this picture caught their attention and when she read the letter, they wanted this family to get the house. There was a another offer that stood out money wise, that offer is now in second position in case the first family won’t be able to complete the sale. The same was the case for one of my other sales, it made the sellers feel good about the choice they had made.

I know for some of you this doesn’t make sense and it does not always work, yet it won’t hurt either.

Had to share this with you,


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Carbonmonoxide Detectors… It’s the law.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPer July 1 2011 all homeowners in California, must comply with the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010. This means that every home must have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm. The reason for this law is because carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas produced whenever any fuel is burnedCO-detector. It can enter the home from sources as seemingly innocent as a gas stove, furnace, or wood stove, usually due to leakage, back drafting, or poor venting.

Do you have one installed in your home? Unless you are renting a home chances are that were not even aware of this legal obligation. It’s not unusual that home owners buy and install one when they are selling. Reason: it is part of the required seller disclosures and when a property is appraised (when a buyer needs a mortgage) this is one of the items an appraiser looks for.

But as a general rule, it is good to have one installed. According to California Safe Homes website, only 54% of the CA residents have a CO alarm. I am planning to do this the coming week;)


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Power Outages and the Location of your Home

Have you ever noticed that if there is a major power Street with Powerlines outages, some neighborhoods seem to be without power longer than others? And sometimes a neighborhood   close to an urban area might be longer out of power than other areas. I noticed in our area, parts of Fulton and the Russian River area tend to be out of power longer than the direct surrounding area.

Coming from the Netherlands where all power lines are in the ground moving to an area with power lines above ground was something to get used to. They are part of a street view,  sometimes blocking a view or going over part of a property, affecting the desirability of a property. Power lines above ground are more vulnerable to outages during storm or Powerlines blocking a viewwhen a trees falls on a power line or a pole holding the power line is hit by a car. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa., have concluded that the average U.S. electrical utility customer experiences 214 minutes of power outage each year. The research also indicates that the U.S. ranks towards the bottom among developed nations in terms of reliability of electricity service. The last Superbowl had a 30 minute power outage.

Super-Bowl-2013With that said, to a certain extent one can predict whether a neighborhood will have shorter or longer power outages in case of a major power outage. The PG&E website gives some good guidelines: “First hazardous situations, such as downed wires. After that the focus is the largest number of customers and on repairs that will restore service to critical facilities such as hospitals, water pumping stations and police and fire departments.

Should you desire to do so, you can make this part of your due diligence before you decide to move to a certain neighborhood or area. If you know upfront that the neighborhood you decide to move to is always the last one the power is restored, invest in a good generator or an other alternative power source.


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