June 17th, 2013
We are definitely in the electronic age, and there are apps (applications) for just about anything you want or need! I even put my prescriptions on an app just so that my wife and I always have a list. After the sun goes down when we are walking in our neighborhood, I don’t need a flashlight—only my phone with its “flashlight app”. Even the Department of Real Estate (DRE) is finally recognizing that Brokers use electronic communications (EC) to send and receive real estate and mortgage transactions. The DRE has recommendations and regulations regarding the maintenance and compliance of all record-keeping requirements. This fall the latest version of Apple’s I-Phones will have a “kill switch” which should be a powerful theft deterrent.
Just a quick mention about Sonoma Clean Power the potential alternative to PG&E; perhaps if residents had the option of “opting in”, there just might be a more positive response. However, the County is asking the cities to “opt in” all residents automatically and than the residents can then “opt out” if they wish. No wonder it is taking longer to decide, the cities have a huge responsibility and are not taking it lightly.
It’s almost Summer – so go out and enjoy the weather.
May 30th, 2013
Prior to our company funding a private money loan we take a drive to the property site for a visit. Not only do we look at the subject property we also look at other properties in the surrounding area. There are pros and cons at times our property can be one of the ugliest or it can be a very nice surprise. Although the appraisals we are given do contain pictures it is always good to go and “kick the dirt”.
I’ve driven all over Northern California and seen gorgeous places with small populations and I often wonder what makes one area more populated than another? Why do folks live where they live? Why isn’t it more heavily populated? Then I come back to Sonoma County and wonder why we are not a populated County of 1,000,000? Last year the census of Sonoma County showed as a population of 491,829, so I guess we just might get there.
It’s that time of year where high schools college, middle school and even elementary schools graduations are taking place. This weekend we are headed to Gardnerville Nevada to attend the high school graduation of a niece.
This Saturday 6/1 from 2 pm to 7 pm Healdsburg will be holding their Jazz Festival. Call (707) 433-4633 for additional information.
May 22nd, 2013
There is a theory that positive attitudes usually lead to positive outcomes, so it could follow that your sense of well-being is important because happier and healthier people tend to have positive social and economic impacts on the places where they live. According to Gallup pollsters, residents of Hawaii are the happiest and healthiest in the nation. After all who wouldn’t be happy living in Hawaii?
However, living here in Sonoma County isn’t all bad either. We have great weather and various leisure activities to engage in. The Amgen tour from this past weekend had brought in many people who dined and stayed in our great County. Heck, in just a couple of years the Super Bowl L (50) will be held within driving distance (about a couple of hours).
We’ve also recently sold another property that was foreclosed upon and are still originating and funding private money loans. Life is going great in our area.
This Memorial Day Weekend, stay safe with whatever you choose to do. On Saturday 5/25/13 there will be a Classic Car Show held in Sebastopol between 10 AM and 4 PM. For additional information call (707) 829-2440.
May 15th, 2013
There is continued great news for the Sonoma County housing market as the median home price hits a 5 year high of $435,500 in the month of April. Just a year ago 4 out of 10 sales involved foreclosures and short sales, while last month only 1 in 10 new listings involved a foreclosure or short sale. A “balanced market” is generally a six-month supply of available homes for sale; currently Sonoma County has a two-month supply.
Tourism in California is continuing to exceed the national average with hotel occupancy at over 70% while nationally at 62%. I’ll bet Sonoma County will exceed this percentage this weekend with the final day of the Amgen Tour of California ending this Sunday in Santa Rosa. An estimated crowd of 40,000 are expected to greet the riders and NBC-TV will even be on hand to broadcast the final stage, followed by the awards ceremony for the winners in downtown Santa Rosa.
If you prefer to be downtown on Saturday go take in the annual Rose Parade which starts at 10 AM. Call (707) 523-3728 for additional information.
May 8th, 2013
I’m headed to San Francisco for the quarterly CMA (California Mortgage Association) conference today. The agenda is generally a legal update so that our private money industry keeps current on recent legal issues. Also, up for discussion is the new Investor Questionnaires which are now required by the Department of Real Estate regarding suitability for investing in Notes secured by Deed(s) of Trust.
The conference will also cover sessions on communications, video conferencing, and guarantees. In two days they cover a lot of information from 8 AM to 5 PM each day. Yes, we get a little “down-time” in the evening but lunch is usually a meeting or guest speaker.
I’ve said this before: “If you are a business owner– you owe it to yourself and to your clients to keep current on recent regulations regarding your industry.”
The weather should be mild this weekend, so get outside. The Bear Foot Honey Farm in Santa Rosa has tours every 2nd Saturday of each month until October. Call (707) 570-2899 to request additional information.
Rumor has it that if you eat a teaspoon of honey a day (made locally in your area) it can help with allergies.
May 1st, 2013
This week there were some conflicting news captions: “Stocks fall on evidence of jobs slowdown” and “Brighter view on jobs and pay lifts US confidence”— well which is it? I believe there will always be conflicting stories and that there are two sides to most every issue. However, the media might think about being more accountable in their reporting. I think the economy is slowly on the upswing. Real estate values are improving in some areas more than others— which will always be the case.
That “yellow blanket” of dust called pollen is back with the spring weather. It’s hard to believe most people are not allergic to the stuff you can see; instead it’s the microscopic particles in the air that are hell-bent on causing people misery. Of the top 10 worst allergy cities for 2013 not one is in California or on the West Coast.
Looking for something to do this weekend? Go check out the Blue Heron Nesting Sites in Santa Rosa this Saturday 5/4 @ 7:72 AM. This is an annual event and is quite a treat. For additional information or questions call (707) 527-9277
April 23rd, 2013
Sonoma County wants to now be in the business of supplying power and compete with PG&E. We can’t have decent roads to drive on in the County, yet now the County wants to tackle this and supposedly the consumers can “opt-out”? I am wondering what this will cost? If you think politics in Washington DC is tricky and seemingly uncompromising wait until Sonoma County pursues the power issue. There are already polarizing sides of how calculations were done to add weight to one side or the other.
One the bright side however, Sonoma County’s home prices are up and inventory is down—demand continues to outpace the supply. We are also experiencing a short supply of rents which drives rent values higher. This seems like good news for the economy perhaps except for those on the lower-income spectrum.
The Wildflower Walk is this Saturday 4/27/13 at Hood Mountain Regional Park in Santa Rosa from 8 AM to 1 PM. Go outside and enjoy this great spring weather.
April 18th, 2013
It may not have been gun violence in Boston, but what the devil is the matter with people? We the people will not always agree with one another on many things, folks should act civilized and not use violence as a way to make their views known. There are many other peaceful alternative ways to make your point of view. Be aware that if you are looking to donate to the victims of Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing that there are potential online scammers ready to profit from this tragedy—yet another reality of the times we live in. Most states require charitable organizations to register with their state agency before soliciting for donations.
Perhaps this is the week to be kind to a stranger? Smile, even if you don’t feel like it or if you are driving and someone needs to “merge” into your lane just let them in. Practicing random acts of kindness may even make you feel better.
This weekend’s weather should be great! You might want to go check out the Apple Blossom Parade in Sebastopol on Saturday 4.20.13 starting at 10 a.m. call (707) 823-3032 for additional information.
April 10th, 2013
We have two of our land only REO (Real Estate Owned) properties in escrow and yesterday we closed escrow on a commercial REO property in Berkeley– all cash. Buyers are becoming serious about purchasing property; which is a very encouraging sign as we all will benefit, including the economy.
Social Security benefits once again look to be at a potential target. This time politicians are discussing the annual Cost of Living Adjustments; proposing for a three-tenths percent in reduction annually. This would mean for example: That if you receive $1650 per month, your normal increase would be $35 and under the proposed reduction it would only be $30 per month. As our national “Baby Boom Generation” is living longer, any change no matter how small will not only impact their finances but also all the other recipients who have come to rely upon Social Security income.
The Sonoma International Film Festival has its last weekend Friday & Saturday in Sonoma, call (707) 933-2600 for more details and information. If you would like some exercise, take in the Petaluma Art Walk in downtown Petaluma on Saturday 4/13, call (707) 762-9348 for more details and information.
April 3rd, 2013
“More good news for Sonoma County” – A recent report by the North Bay Business Journal indicated that the unemployment rate for Sonoma County has dropped to 7.6% from 9.4% a year ago in February and that California’s unemployment rate is down to 9.7%, from 11.3% a year-ago in February.
If you are looking to refinance your residence, rates are expected to remain stable during the first half of 2013 with a slow rise in rates expected for the last half of 2013. If you think you might be able save some money on your monthly payments, give us a call at (707) 544-5696 to work some numbers for you.
Also, vacation home sales are currently up at 10.1% for the second year in a row. Many purchasers who waited for the market to hit bottom have re-emerged in 2012 and are out in force this year. Depending on the area vacation home prices are still relative bargains. However, with inventory shrinking and prices rising I anticipate that there will be a slow-down in the future for this area.