Far West Sonoma | Lou Rosenberger

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor

Your Complete Moving Day Guide — June 20, 2018

Your Complete Moving Day Guide

You can hardly wait to move into your new home. You’ve been picking out paint colors, planning how you’ll arrange your belongings, and checking out restaurants and shops in your new community. While all this planning is exciting, there’s one very important thing you need to wrap up first – your sold home! Here are some smart tips to make moving out go off without a hitch.

Prepare in the weeks and days before

The more you can get done ahead of time to prepare for moving out of your sold home, the better. On moving day, all of your belongings should be packed in boxes and ready to go to your new home. Moving day is not packing day! Packing up your belongings a little each day in the weeks leading up to your move will make the process feel manageable, and you’ll also be able to put the time and care into packing your things carefully if you’re not rushing.

Prepare your kids for the transition

Change can be difficult and this can be an especially sensitive time for children. While they hear you constantly talking about the “new home” they might be feeling scared or even sad to leave your current home. In the weeks leading up to your move, be sure to talk positively about the experience. This means no complaining about the work required or any hassles. They’ll feel your stress, so make it a joyful time as much as possible to make it seem like moving will be fun.

Ideally, during your home hunting process the kids came along, so the new place won’t be a surprise. After closing on your new home, bring the kids there to explore. If your kids are feeling sad about leaving your old home, encourage them to take something from their current home as a memory, like rocks from your garden.

Handling emotions

Leaving the memories you’ve made in your old home can bring up a lot of emotions. Prepare yourself emotionally by letting yourself feel these things instead of trying to push your feelings aside. With the bustle of moving out, emotions will be running at an all-time high. Take the time to acknowledge the emotions of your family members when they surface. Should you notice yourself feeling frustrated or annoyed if the movers show up late, or if your boxes aren’t fitting in the truck, try to relax. Stress will only make the move feel more difficult than it should be.

Make the move easy on your pets

Moving is also tough on your four-legged friends. If you can, bring your pets to your new home a few times to explore before moving in. This way, they’ll identify it as a familiar space when you arrive on moving day. Sometimes pets’ eating habits will change for a while after moving. They may seem uninterested in food for a while. On moving day, let your pets stay with a trusted friend or family member. This way, they’ll be out of the way and won’t pick up on any moving day excitement that could stress them even further.

Keep valuables safe

It’s a smart idea to keep your valuables with you in your vehicle in a small bag or box so you don’t need to worry about them getting lost in the moving truck or during unloading. Unpack these items first and keep them in a safe spot, like a small safe or box you can easily identify and stow in your bedroom closet or kitchen cabinet.

These tips are a great guide for what to do when it comes time to move out of your home. When in doubt, if you’re not sure when you’ll be moving out, or you still need guidance with selling your home, reach out to a local real estate expert like me for some one-on-one assistance.

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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Happy Father’s Day — June 16, 2018

Happy Father’s Day

He acted like a kid when you were a kid. He acted like a friend when you needed a friend. He acted like a parent when you needed him most. Nothing compares to the unique relationships we have with our fathers.

Although time and distance may separate us, our father’s guidance, advice, and love lingers on. We would not be who we are today without our fathers.

For many of us, our dads are our hero and role model. So, on Father’s Day we celebrate the importance of paternal bonds and the significance of fatherhood in our culture.

Happy Father’s Day!

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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Lou Rosenberger on Zillow

 

3 Reasons You Should Work with an Agent to Buy a Home — June 13, 2018

3 Reasons You Should Work with an Agent to Buy a Home

With so many resources available online – from research materials, to tutorials, to vendor ratings – it’s not uncommon to wonder whether or not you actually need a real estate professional to help you buy a home. So … do you?

It’s hard to argue with all of the quality traits that an experienced Sonoma County real estate agent brings to the table for their clients. There’s savvy negotiating skills, a rich understanding of the local housing landscape, legal knowledge, and in-depth advice for homebuyers on how to approach the entire process. Here’s exactly what you can, and should, expect when hiring a real estate agent.

Market Expertise

Everything from where home values are rising most, to the best ice cream shops and concert venues– that’s the kind of intricate knowledge real estate agents have about the markets in which they work.

Sure, anyone can Google housing statistics and local Sonoma Coast community information, but agents are constantly in the know. They spend an enormous amount of effort on building and maintaining their networks. Agents work hard to provide buyers with every last detail they need to know about the market.

Negotiation Skills

With a veteran real estate agent comes proven sales techniques. Put your trust in an experienced buyer’s agent who has proven himself to negotiate prices and the best terms possible for past clients.

Legal Knowledge

Legalese is not something the average homebuyer knows a great deal about. Then again, it’s not crucial so long as you employ a real estate agent!

While we cannot give legal advice, agents are well-versed in the language you’ll find with home purchase agreements and other real estate documents. This means that you don’t have to study up on real estate law just to have a successful home-buying experience.

Referral Networks

Buying a home entails a lot more than simply attending open houses, arranging private showings, and making bids. It also involves dealing with lenders, title insurers, appraisers, and other real estate professionals who have a huge role in handling your purchase.

Real estate agents work tirelessly to grow their vendor networks by nurturing relationships with reputable pros and firms who know how to conduct business correctly and efficiently. This saves you a bunch of time in two ways; first in finding a group of trustworthy pros, and secondly, in making sure everything runs smoothly the first time.

Start the journey towards your Sonoma County dream home and reach out to a real estate professional for proper guidance!

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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Lou Rosenberger on Zillow

 

€Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell — June 6, 2018

€Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

Staging your home is a proven strategy for speeding up the sales process. It can even help boost your home’€™s value when offers start coming in. By highlighting your home’s strengths and giving prospective buyers a sense of how they’€™d utilize different spaces, you can help these buyers develop emotional attachments to your home.

Here are some quick tips for helping you along with the staging process:

Pay attention to lighting

Great lighting is crucial for making your home look warm and welcoming. If you notice that some areas of your home are dark and dreary, increase the wattages of the lightbulbs in the fixtures and lamps. A good rule of thumb is to have a total of 100 watts of lighting for every 50 square feet of interior space. Also, you should strive for three different types of lighting per room: accent lighting (on a wall or table), task lighting (such as a reading or under-cabinet light), and ambient lighting (overhead).

Update your appliances

Alright, so you might not be willing to spend thousands of dollars on installing new, stainless steel appliances just for staging. However, studies show that new appliances in the kitchen garner high returns for sellers. This means you increase your chances of getting a better price for your home!

A great, inexpensive solution is to apply stainless steel stick-on coverings to all of your appliances. These coverings can quickly transform an outdated kitchen into one that screams ultra-modern.

Get rid of unnecessary furniture

It should go without saying that, when staging a home, tackling clutter is a must. However, sellers often forget about some of the biggest causes of clutter like couches, chairs and tables. Having too much furniture in your home can make it seem small and cramped.

Before you start showing your home, take a walk around and remove furniture items that you can live without. You don’€™t need to get rid of everything. After all, you want the space to look lived-in, but you want to make sure you’€™re maximizing available space.

Not sure you’€™re much of a home staging pro? A real estate specialist, like me, can connect you with an interiors expert! Let us know if you’€™re looking to stage your home for selling, or even just to redecorate, so i can follow up with my recommendations.

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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Lou Rosenberger on Zillow

 

The Hidden Costs of Owning a Vacation Home — May 30, 2018

The Hidden Costs of Owning a Vacation Home

Who doesn’t love the idea of collecting rent on a home in a beautiful vacation-friendly location, and visiting when there aren’t any guests? It’s a lovely concept, but there are several “hidden” costs to owning a vacation home that your daydreams don’t encompass.

If you’re about to make the goal of owning your own vacation home a reality, you’ll need to brush up on how much it’s going to cost you and budget accordingly. Don’t buy a vacation home without considering …

Down payments and mortgage loans

The credit requirements for buying your primary residence to are looser than those for a mortgage on a vacation home. There are low-down-payment and even some no-down-payment programs for people who want to buy a primary residence, and lenders tend to give more flexibility in terms of credit score.

That changes when you’ve already got one home and want to buy a second. You won’t get away with putting less than 10 percent down and because you’ve already got one big loan that you’re paying off, your debt-to-income ratio is probably going to be significantly higher than when you were applying for your first mortgage. You may need a higher credit score or a bigger-than-average down payment to qualify for a mortgage on a second home.

Insurance

To secure a mortgage for your new vacation home, you’ll need to get it insured. Depending on where you live and where the second home is, there might be additional insurance policies that you’ll want or need to buy, such as flood or earthquake insurance.

Presumably nobody is going to be living in the vacation home full-time, and that makes it a riskier property from the insurance company’s point of view. If a leak springs somewhere, or a rodent burrows into the walls, it could be days, weeks, or potentially months before anybody notices. So your homeowner’s insurance rate could be higher on your second home than on your primary residence, and if you’re planning to rent it out for use other than you and your family, you could pay a rental insurance surcharge, too.

A ‘keeper’

Call him a property manager or a maintenance person, but you’ll probably need someone on the ground who can help you out in a pinch, especially if you live more than an hour away from the second home. You’ll need someone to help locked-out renters find their way in, deal with emergencies, mow the lawn, rake the leaves, and just generally keep an eye on the place.

Don’t balk at this expense. Vacant homes are appealing targets for break-ins. In the case of any emergency you’ll definitely want it dealt with as soon as possible. Having boots on the ground that can maintain and manage your second home while you’re away will give you peace of mind that’s well worth the fees charged.

If you’re really lucky, you might have a friend — or even just a friendly neighbor — who’s willing to help you out. Make sure you buy that person a lovely gift once a year as a thank-you and otherwise regularly vocalize your appreciation!

Furnishings

You’ll need to furnish you home. In addition to furniture, you’ll need pillows and bedding, towels, dishes, cookware, flatware, a broom and vacuum cleaner, kitchen appliances, possibly a washer and dryer. You may also want outdoor tools like a rake and shovel, or patio furniture, and you’ll probably want to hang some pictures or artworks on the walls.

If you’re renting the home, then the chance of any of your belongings becoming damaged or broken is enhanced. This is another reason why it can be nice to employ a property manager who can deal with any problematic short-term renters and get the damage repaired for you.

Utilities and fees

You’ll need to pay for services/utilities like sewer, water, gas, and electric, and you might also want to think about getting an internet connection (depending on how disconnected you want your vacation home to be).

If you’re renting your home, then it’s usually smart to talk to other short-term rental owners in the area who can tell you what the utilities expenditures are usually like. Vacation renters who won’t see utility bills are probably not concerned about conservation. Try to anticipate renter excesses in your budget so you won’t be unpleasantly surprised by the amount of utility bills.

And if the home is in an area with a homeowners’ association, you may be required to pay HOA dues in addition.

Maintenance

Of course you’ll want to repair anything that breaks in your second home, but if you’re renting it out you might also need to hire a cleaner to come in and spruce the place up in between renters. There’s also lawn and garden care to consider.

Many areas where people like to buy vacation homes have weather conditions that can be hard on the property’s exterior, too. A beach house exposed to the ocean salt and spray is going to need to be painted more regularly, and if you’re eyeing a ski chalet you’ll need to account for snow removal so your rental guests can get in and out without starting an avalanche.

The tax man

Depending on whether you are renting out your home at all and how many days a year you do it, the tax implications are going to change. You don’t want to learn in April that you should have been collecting and paying lodging or innkeeper taxes on the income you’ve earned from your vacation renters.
Talk to a tax advisor before you buy and decide exactly how you’re going to use the home. This way, there won’t be any nasty surprises when you file your taxes, and you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that it’s all buttoned up come tax season.

Gearing up and shutting down

Most vacation areas have distinct “on” and “off” seasons, and if you’re not hiring a property manager, then someone else is going to have to get the property ready for renting and close everything down when things slow again.

You might decide it’s a money-saver to do this yourself instead of hiring help, but you’ll have to either sacrifice a weekend or take time off from work. So, keep your own time and energy in mind before you decide to cut that corner!

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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Lou Rosenberger on Zillow

 

14 Tips For First-time Home Buyers — May 23, 2018

14 Tips For First-time Home Buyers

Buying your first home is a huge part of the American Dream — and is also a daunting and potentially overwhelming process that’s ripe for second-guessing everything you know. How do you know you’re ready? How can you prepare yourself financially? What do you even want to buy, and where — and what will happen if you make a mistake?

It’s only natural that buying your first home would feel like a huge process. This is probably the biggest purchase of your life to date, and you’re going to be paying a mortgage for up to 30 years, so you want to make sure you get it right.

Thankfully, we live in the Information Age, and there’s a lot you can do to educate yourself about what it takes to become a (happy) homeowner. Here’s how to get started so that you can be certain your home purchase is a good decision for you, now and in the future.

What do you want to buy?

1. Consider the type of property
It’s quite possible that your lifestyle means you should think beyond the typical single-family home when the time comes to buy your first place.

For example, if you’re a first-time buyer who’s thinking about renting out part of your new home to help pay the mortgage, then you should look at duplexes or other multi-family units. If you plan to live in the unit yourself, you can finance it as your own property, get the same homeowners’ insurance rates as owner-occupiers receive, and maintain a separate space to rent.

There are also condos and co-ops, new construction and prefabricated homes, and many other options that might be a better fit for you than a single-family home. If you need help figuring out what’s available and what’s a good fit, talk to a real estate agent like me, who can walk you through the common opportunities in your area and help you pick one or two that fit your lifestyle best.

2. Know where you want to go
Maybe you’ve narrowed your search down to one area, or maybe you know exactly which neighborhood is the best fit for you. Spending some time to research the parts of town where you might be buying is a smart thing to do, even if you’re positive that you already know everything about the area.

Talk to friends who live in the area and ask them what they like and dislike about the neighborhood. Ask yourself how similar your lifestyle is and whether those likes and dislikes are relevant to you. If you can, look up suburb-specific and neighborhood-specific Facebook groups where you can research and figure out what the neighbors are like.

This would also be a good opportunity to bring in an expert, like a real estate agent who’s familiar with your area of interest. Agents can show you other parts of town that you might not be currently considering and can connect you with current residents if you don’t happen to know any.

3. Try to predict the neighborhood’s future
A neighborhood that’s perfect for you today might be not-so-perfect in five or ten years as people move in and out and the landscape changes. So it’s smart to get an idea of what the neighborhood is like today — and to spend some time trying to predict where it might go in the future.

Local chambers of commerce or business journals can be good resources for this kind of research. Look at the types of businesses that are most prominent in the area and do a little bit of digging into the most popular industries. Are they robust industries, like technology and health care, or are their futures less certain? If you need to sell your home in a few years, do you think there will be buyers interested in taking it off your hands?

You should also ask about future plans for the neighborhood, like public parks, playgrounds, hiking trails, or any new businesses that are likely to emerge near you. Will it bother you to be located within walking distance of the county’s largest playground, or is that a huge perk?

4. Spend the night in the area
You might love the busy downtown area during the day, but you’re an early-to-bed, early-to-rise type — will all that nightclub activity be a problem for your sleep schedule? And maybe you really savor the idea of “getting away from it all” to the countryside, but are you sure that you can survive that far away from decent food delivery options?

It’s wise to spend some time in the area where you want to move — up to a week if you can. If possible, opt for a vacation rental instead of a hotel or motel when you spend the night. This will help you get a feel for the neighborhood and the people who live there as well as some of the more logistical aspects of your move, like your route to work and where you can go to buy groceries. How will your home purchase affect your daily routine — and do you enjoy those changes, or are they causing problems? It’s better to know that a neighborhood really isn’t right for you before you put an offer on a home there.

Money matters

5. Get some credit
Quick — what’s your credit score? If you don’t know, or if it’s below 580, then you have some work to do before you can get ready to finance a home.

Obtain a copy of your credit report and check it for errors. Correct them. Then take it to a credit counselor and ask them for the two or three biggest-impact tasks that you could complete, then start working on them.

There are options for obtaining a loan if your credit’s not the best, but every little upward tick helps, so try to get it in decent shape before you start seriously home-shopping.

6. Go big on your down payment
The down payment can be a daunting piece of the homebuying puzzle for many first-time buyers, who don’t have equity in their current place of residence (because they’re renting) and might not have much disposable income to save.

The good news is that not every mortgage loan requires you to save up a full 20-percent down payment for your home purchase. Some government-sponsored entities (GSEs) in particular, like the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration, offer low-down-payment and no-down-payment loans that can be a good fit for first-time buyers.

That said, if you’re paying less than 20 percent down, most mortgages will also require you to pay mortgage insurance on the loan. So if it’s at all possible to get close to that 20-percent number, it’s a really good idea to try.

There are a number of organizations that offer resources and even down payment grants for certain buyers. Find out what you might qualify for at downpaymentresource.com.

7. Consider your total monthly out-of-pocket amount
You just learned about mortgage insurance, which is one additional monthly expense that you could wind up paying over the lifetime of your mortgage if you don’t have a full 20-percent downpayment. In addition to that, you’ll need to pay for basic homeowners’ insurance (and any additional policy coverage for floods or earthquakes), property taxes, and the interest on your mortgage loan every month.

That’s not where it ends, of course. You’ll need to figure out your utilities, like electricity, gas, and water, plus internet, phone, and other connectivity features you might need in your new place.

And, of course, you’re going to have to deal with maintaining your home. If your water heater breaks or you need a filter replaced, there’s no landlord to call and ask for repairs. It’s on you. So think ahead about how you might pay for a home emergency if and when one emerges.

8. Understand what you can afford and get pre-approved
It’s probably tempting to start searching for homes as soon as you think you know what you want and where you want it, but there’s another very important component. What you can afford?

Try to steer clear of any programs or apps that pre-qualify you for a mortgage loan instead of pre-approving you for a loan. A pre-qualification is a less formal guess as to what amount you might qualify. But, a pre-approval means you have submitted an application and a lender has decided to approve a mortgage in a specific dollar amount. It means you can make an offer immediately when you find your dream home instead of waiting to jump through any financing hoops.

9. Budget for other homebuying costs
What are closing costs, and why would you want title insurance? The monthly price of becoming a homeowner is one thing, but there are also several other individual costs involved with the actual process of buying a home.

You’ll need an appraisal and an inspection, and an entity like a title company to facilitate the closing. All of those professionals are going to need to be paid, and the buyer is usually the one to fork over the money. That might not be what you want to hear, but it’s better to save now and realize you don’t need the money than to be surprised in the middle of the transaction process with a handful of several-hundred-dollar expenses.

Keep your eyes open while shopping

10. Ask HOA questions
Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) aren’t present everywhere, but you definitely don’t want to buy a home that’s in an HOA without understanding exactly what that means. At the very least, you’ll be paying dues and agreeing to maintain your home to certain community standards, so if you’re the type who likes to work on your cars in the driveway and you discover a certain neighborhood’s HOA doesn’t allow this, then you’ll be glad you did your homework upfront.

11. Know what’s fixable and what’s not
You’ll definitely be looking at some homes that are not to your personal taste, let’s say. But before you decide to take a hard pass on a place, it’s smart to understand whether the things you hate about it are easily fixed or whether they’d be too expensive or time-consuming to even consider tweaking. And if you’re budgeting for improvements, then it’s helpful to talk to an expert, like a contractor or real estate agent, about what’s possible, and what’s really not, in the home you’re considering.

12. Be aware of the market
If you started this process six months ago and haven’t really looked at listings in the interim, then do yourself a favor and ask your real estate agent to set you up with a personalized feed from your local multiple listing service. Then have your agent walk you through the market realities today. You’ll want to know if most buyers are paying 5 percent above asking price, so that you can make an educated and competitive offer when the time comes.

13. Figure out where you have room to negotiate
If you have some flexibility in terms of when to move in, then that can be a big point in your favor as a buyer. A seller may want a super-quick sale, but another may want to take plenty of time to say goodbye. Talk to your agent about other concessions or benefits you can offer when you first bid on a home to sweeten the deal. Not all of them involve spending extra money, and one could make yours the winning bid on a home.

Take it to the finish line

14. Get familiar with the closing process
Once your offer is accepted (congratulations!), there’s still a series of obstacles to overcome before you are officially a homeowner. The appraisal, inspection, and title search will need to take place, and you’ll definitely want to be there in person for the inspection. You may want parts of the home tested for elements like radon. If the inspector finds an issue that needs to be addressed, you’ll need to negotiate with the sellers about what to do and who’s paying. You’ll also need to decide whether or not to buy owner’s title insurance which will cover a loss resulting from an issue that didn’t show up with the initial title search. You might need to run errands yourself, too, like tracking down any final paperwork for your mortgage loan, or visiting your bank to wire transfer funds for your initial deposit or down payment to the title and escrow company.

It’s not over until you’ve signed a ream of papers and the keys are in your hand, so remember that on top of getting ready to move, you will need to carve out some time to take care of the last pieces of closing business.

If you’ve never bought a home before, take heart. You can achieve your buyer’s dream, but it’s going to take some work.

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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Lou Rosenberger on Zillow

 

5 Things Every Buyer Absolutely Needs To Know About The Market — May 16, 2018

5 Things Every Buyer Absolutely Needs To Know About The Market

Buying a new home can be an exciting time. It can also be frustrating and exhausting. To help prepare you for home hunting success, here are five important things to know about the Sonoma County market before you schedule your first viewing, or visit your first open house.

1. Buyers market or sellers market? And what’s the difference?
Most markets are governed by the law of supply and demand and the housing market is no exception. When demand (buyers shopping for homes) is high and supply (number of homes for sale) is low, prices go up. On the flip side, when demand is low and supply is high, prices go down. As home inventories rise, so does the competition amongst sellers, which drives prices down.

In a buyer’s market, sellers have less flexibility with the selling price, which is good news for buyers. In a seller’s market, there aren’t enough homes available to support the high demand. Homes sell fast, and often at premium prices.

Like any other market, the real estate market is cyclical. Periods of depreciation are then followed by periods of appreciation, and around and around the market goes. If you study the market, you can learn how to predict trends, and time the purchase of your new home accordingly.

2. Analyze local pricing trends
Start by doing some initial online searches in the the Sonoma Coast communities you’d like to live in to see what homes are selling for in these areas, and what they’ve been selling for over time. Then check neighboring towns and compare where the prices might be accelerating or depreciating faster than the others. In areas where you see higher average home prices, this is also where you’ll find the most demand. As you get familiar with local pricing trends, you’ll be able to quickly spot good prices, and overpriced homes, based on the home features, location, and amenities.

3. Research up-and-coming areas
Broaden your Sonoma County market research and look to neighboring towns. A key indicator of a soon-to-be hot town is the development of new infrastructure. New businesses, shopping centers, roads, and schools are all positive signs that an area is getting ready to grow. Being an early buyer in an up-and-coming market might turn into significant appreciation down the road.

4. Review School Rankings
Schools in each state are ranked by how well kids perform on math and English tests. Even if children aren’t in your future, this could be very important to a future buyer with school-aged kids in a few years if you decide to sell your home. Compare the school scores for neighboring towns as well, and even the rankings for several schools within Sonoma County. Searching for a home just a few streets over could put your home in a more desireable school.

5. Explore neighborhood demographics
Take a close look at the homes you’re considering in each market and determine the percentage of renters and owners. If you’re thinking about a home in an area where people are mainly renting, it can only take a few bad renters or property owners to set the neighborhood off on a downturn. What’s the average age of the people in the areas you’re exploring? If a town is full of young singles, or college students, will this also be a good place to raise children? Or, if you have young children, are there other children in the neighborhood?

Purchasing a home will likely be the biggest financial decision of your life. For a homebuyer, understanding the market will help you find the perfect property for you. If you need any assistance guiding you through the process, get in touch!

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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Five Lighting Tips For Basements — May 9, 2018

Five Lighting Tips For Basements

Making your basement an enjoyable place to spend time can be tricky. Without the right lighting, it may feel too much like a dungeon. Here are a few quick tips.

  1. Maximize the natural lighting. Trim back shrubs and other plants that block sunlight from window wells. If the window well has a cover, keep it clean or replace a cover that blocks light with one that lets light pass through.
  2. Choose light colors for walls, carpet, and furniture. As much as we all miss the dark brown faux wood paneling from the ‘70s, it doesn’t do much to create a bright space.
  3. Consider accent lighting. This will not only make the space brighter, it will also feel less like a basement because lamps make space feel decorated and lived in.
  4. Choose the correct light bulbs. Depending on the types of fixtures in the basement there are various new types of light bulbs. Consider talking to a lighting expert to find which type of bulb is going to give you the best results.
  5. Create a false lighted window. This is simpler and more effective than you might think. Just frame and trim a “window” on a basement wall, and use creative lighting and décor like blinds, reflective paint, and daylight spectrum bulbs, to make the light coming from the window look natural.

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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6 Tips for First-time Homebuyers — May 5, 2018

6 Tips for First-time Homebuyers

Buying your first home can seem like a daunting process. From mortgage rates to taxes to closing costs, there’s certainly a lot to consider. Because your new home will likely be the biggest investment of your life, it’s crucial that you learn about the process before you get started.

The more you know about the home buying process, the more likely you will be able to get the home of your dreams at a price you can afford. That’s why I’ve put together these six tips for helping you achieve your goal of homeownership.

1) Know what you want.

When purchasing a residential property, you’ll have several options to consider. These include traditional single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and more. Each type of property has its benefits and drawbacks, so before you move forward in the home buying process, make sure you pin down which property type will best suit your needs.

2) Know where you want to buy.

Just as properties have their pros and cons, so do neighborhoods. Before you start checking out homes, decide where you want to live and focus your efforts on that area. If you’re not sure where to start, try conducting a general search to get a feel for what might interest you and narrow your criteria from there.

3) Do your research.

Get online and take a look at the selling prices of comparable properties for your neighborhood of interest. Sites like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com can help you get an idea of what you should expect to pay, but a real estate pro, like me, can provide additional insights and recommend resources.

4) Find out what you can afford.

Dealing with financing can be overwhelming at first, so make sure you’re taking advantage of all the resources available to you. Get started by using an online mortgage calculator to see what your monthly mortgage payments would be if you bought a home today. Once you have an idea of what your budget will be, consult an agent for tips on how to take advantage of the current market and make the most of your budget.

5) Look at total monthly costs.

Mortgage payments are only part of the equation. Before you buy, you’ll want to figure out what your total monthly housing cost will be, including homeowner’s insurance and taxes. To get an idea of insurance costs, pick a property, then all a local insurance agent and ask for an estimate. You may also come across online home insurance quote estimator tools like this one from Liberty Mutual. These are great for rough estimates, but keep in mind that speaking directly with a local insurance agent or your real estate agent may yield a more precise estimation.

6) Figure out closing costs.

It’s important not to overlook the upfront cost of settling on your home. Closing costs include lender origination fees, taxes, title and settlement fees, as well as prepaid items like homeowner association fees and insurance.

Ready to start searching for the home of your dreams? Reach out to me with your goals to get your home search off on the right foot.

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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How To Make The Best Of An Open House — May 2, 2018

How To Make The Best Of An Open House

It is exciting to go to open houses and dream of the possibilities a new home brings. Going to open houses is crucial to finding the right home. The next time you take a tour of a home, keep these tips in mind to ensure it is a positive and useful experience.

Respect When the House is Available for Viewing – Most sellers have discussed available times interested buyers can view their property outside of the scheduled open house. If the open house does not line up with your schedule, nor do the additional available times to view the property, ask your buyer agent to reach out to the listing agent to set up a special showing that’s convenient for you.

Be on Time – Show up shortly before an open house is scheduled to start and beat the rush. You will get one-on-one time with the listing agent to ask questions. When you are done viewing the house, you can check out the neighborhood.

Ask Questions with Caution – The listing agent is there to answer questions. However, it’s best to not over-share information about yourself, or say anything that will give the agent negotiating power over you. Don’t forget, the agent works for the seller. Good questions to ask the listing agent include: – Have you gotten lot of offers on the property? – When does the seller plan on moving? – How long has the property been on the market? – Have there been any price changes? – Does the house have any negative issues that need to be addressed?

While the information is still fresh, take some notes and final impressions of the home to help you formulate your impression.

 

Living in Bodega Bay and having owned a small business in the region I call
Far West Sonoma, I understand our local market.
If you, or someone you know, would like assistance in marketing a home in Sonoma County,
I would be most grateful if you would please contact me.

ASIR LOGO Rosenberger Lou 178 pixels h IMG_7501

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor
CalBRE# 01955420
415.518.5286 | www.FarWestSonoma.com

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