Far West Sonoma | Lou Rosenberger

Lou Rosenberger, Realtor

What First-time Homebuyers Need To Know — July 14, 2018

What First-time Homebuyers Need To Know

Buying your first home can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life, but it can also be a scary and stressful process. To ensure you have a smooth transaction from start to finish, familiarize yourself with the home buying process, note the tools and resources available to you, and get all your ducks in order. To get you started, I’ve made a list of our top three ways to set yourself up for success.

Outline Your Musts and Wants

Before starting your search, make a list of must-have and nice-to-have features for your home and neighborhood. This will help you narrow down your search early on and prevent the hunt from becoming overwhelming.

Solidify Your Financing

When starting the home buying process, ensure your finances are in order by reviewing your credit score and taking steps to boost it, saving for a down payment, and avoiding any major purchases. Then select a lender that is right for you, talk to him or her about your loan options, and get preapproved for a mortgage. Once you know your budget, you can more effectively find the right home for you.

Find a Real Estate Agent

Working with a great real estate agent can make a world of difference when it comes to navigating the ins and outs of the home buying process. With their vast background and experience and local knowledge of neighborhoods and cities, they will be your go-to resource every step of the way. By implementing these tips and remembering to enjoy the process, you can set yourself up for a great first home buying experience!

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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The Truth About Viewing Homes Online — July 7, 2018

The Truth About Viewing Homes Online

It’s easy to get sucked into looking at home listing after home listing online, drawn to the stunningly filtered photos of manicured lawns, sharp-looking kitchens, and giant bedrooms. Although this is a great place to begin, it’s important to keep in mind that all may not be as it seems.

Here are our top tips to avoid getting duped by listings online.

Photos don’t always capture the full picture. Real estate photographers are very good at highlighting the best features of the home and often use wide-angle lenses to make spaces appear larger than they really are. But, be aware that there may be less photo-worthy features they aren’t displaying. Don’t forget to look at the property features listed below to gather a better idea of what the home has to offer.

Ensure you are looking at current listings. Nothing is worse than falling in love with the perfect home, only to check out the listing date to find it was posted two years ago. Make sure you use websites that are pulling information daily from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and have your real estate agent verify it is available.

Use your real estate agent as a resource. If you find a seemingly great listing online, always run it by your agent to confirm you aren’t missing something important. They can also provide neighborhood details, price comparisons for similar properties just sold in the area, additional listings that match your criteria, and more. Once you a find a home you’re ready to view, make sure you bring them with you to answer questions and be an extra set of eyes.

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

 

Answers: 13 Questions About Home Inspections — July 5, 2018

Answers: 13 Questions About Home Inspections

 If you’re not familiar with home inspections, then you might have a lot of questions about what gets inspected, how thorough the inspectors are, why you even need one, and what you can expect if you’re walking with an inspector through the house you’re hoping to buy. There’s a lot to know about a home inspection. Here are answers to some common questions from homebuyers.
Hot Home Trends — June 30, 2018

Hot Home Trends

When selling your home, it is incredibly important to consider who you are selling to and what they are looking for. Fixr recently surveyed influencers in the industry to discover who’s in the market to buy and what home features are most attractive to them. Here’s what they found!

  1. Open Floor Plans: Those surveyed believe that Generation X and Millennials will make up a large majority of buyers this year. They will look for an open floor concept, allowing them to maximize on space, choose from a variety of furniture layouts and decoration, and more easily entertain guests.
  2. Smart Home Features: New technologies for automating your home are popping up every single day. From sprinklers to lights to door locks, smart devices are of great interest to homebuyers.
  3. Solar Energy: Finding ways to lower monthly bills is a big goal for many homebuyers. A home equipped with solar panels not only achieves this but allows homebuyers to introduce renewable energy into their home.
  4. Tiny Homes: Many homebuyers are looking to jump on the tiny house trend, particularly those who are minimalists or are first-time homebuyers.
  5. Voice Control Features: In line with the desire for home automation, those surveyed believe that the addition of voice-controlled devices in the home is a huge selling point. Although investing in improvements and additions that follow these trends may have upfront costs, the payoff will be worth it. Take them into account as you prepare to sell your home and use them to stage your home more effectively and ultimately help you make the sale.

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

 

How to Market a Luxury Home on the Coast — June 27, 2018

How to Market a Luxury Home on the Coast

Due to the uniqueness of most luxury homes and limited number of prospective luxury home buyers, marketing a luxury home on the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts can be a challenge. Unlike marketing traditional homes, a luxury home requires that you target a very small, specific section of the home-buying population. Here are some tips and tricks for helping you do just that:

Go stealth mode

Many sellers list their luxury homes in multiple listing service (MLS) databases, in national media listings, and in other very public spaces. However, marketing your luxury home in a private network first can help you attract only the most qualified of buyers. A local luxury real estate pro could help you tap into the most valuable markets and strategies for selling your home.

One idea for building such a network could be to host an event with your real estate agent so your affluent coastal friends and community members can get familiar with the property. Should you decide to take the “stealth” approach to marketing your home, attending country club benefits and charity auctions could also help you build connections with potential buyers and spread the word subtly.

Make your property pop

Even with all of its amazing amenities, a luxury home can still fail to resonate with prospective buyers if it doesn’t have the proper staging and presentation. Curb appeal is essential, so make sure to get your landscaping in order before any prospects come to visit.

The interior of your home should not only be neat and tidy, but your furniture should be strategically arranged to optimize flow and highlight architectural features. If any furniture is damaged or out-of-date, consider renting new, modern furniture for when prospective buyers come to visit. Your trusted local agent can also be a great resource for helping you get everything in order and connecting you with any other professional Sonoma County stagers they recommend.

Consider including incentives

If you really want to see your Sonoma County luxury home move fast, think about including something of value to sweeten the deal. While you probably won’t be willing to throw in a shiny new sports car, adjusting your home sale to include things like artwork, high-end furniture/appliances, or other desirable items could provide the leverage you need for motivating a prospective buyer.

Don’t forget to contact a local realty pro to help you get started off with only the strongest marketing strategy for your luxury home!

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

 

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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