disclosures Sonoma County

Location – disclosures : Mold…

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GiethoornGrowing up in the Netherlands and living in older homes, mold was something we didn’t think to much about, clean the area thoroughly every so often and that was it… Now I am involved in selling property, I do look a little different at the subject.

Disclosures: when buying or renting in California, it feels like the amount of disclosures are never ending. One of them is the Residential Environmental Hazards booklet. It informs about hazards in and around the home. One of them is mold.

Blue cheeseRealize that mold is a hazard but also a friend… How so? Think about that delicious blue cheese… the blue stuff is… mold. And penicillin is made from mold. It is a fungus, in the same family as mushrooms.

But mold can also be an environmental hazard. There are several different types of mold. Black mold is toxic and an environmental hazard. Realize that mold can grow on virtually any organic substance, as long as moisture and oxygen are present. This means if the cause is remedied – lack of ventilation, moisture – and affected area is cleaned, mold will not come back.  

When selling property, sellers are recommended to have a “Pest Inspection” done prior to putting the home on the market. At that time items that need correction can be addressed prior to putting the property on the market. Buyers are recommended to also have an inspection done as part of their due diligence. The inspector will always have solutions when problems arise, or will recommend preventive maintenance as needed.



Location: what is important for you?

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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.


Carbonmonoxide Detectors… It’s the law.

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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;)


US House prices vs Bonds…

By | Buyers, Financial news, Sellers, Sonoma County info | No Comments

The moment someone buys a home, that is the moment inflation on housing expenses stops. While rents go up, your mortgage payment remains the same  (in case of a 30 year fixed), for the coming 30 years. During the time that your mortgage payments stay the same, home prices fluctuate. However, over the long haul home prices do go up. If you doubt my statement, ask your parents/grandparents how much they paid

for their home way back when. When we lived in Leerdam (Netherlands), we lived in an older home, built in 1927, these homes initially sold for 27 guilders. At the time we bought it, you couldn’t even buy a washing machine for this amount 😉 Conclusion: Buying home is also a great long term investment vehicle.

But it is always good to diversify. Recently I spoke with Matt Schweifler, a great local financial planner about this subject. He mentioned an other ‘safe’ great investment vehicle: bonds. When you buy a bond you receive interest every year and you have a guaranteed return of your investment at maturity date of the bond. Between the moment of purchase and the moment of maturity, the value of the bond will fluctuate, but at the end there is the guaranteed return on investment…

What do these 2 have in common? The value of your home, matters only when you either buy or sell. In case the home values in your area go up, this is great, but realistically this only matters when you decide to sell. The same is the case when you buy a bond, between the date you buy it and the date you sell, the value may go up, may go down but that only matters in case you decide to sell before the maturity date.

BTW. How much time did you spend on planning your last vacation? How much time do you spend each year planning your retirement? While Real Estate is a great investment vehicle, you really need other investment vehicles too…