Category Archives: Investor opportunities

If we have NO REO’s–Does this mean Prices Will Rise? It did in Phoenix, AZ–UP 33%!! One of the hardest hit markets in the nation.

As the big Attorneys General settlement begins to sink in the banks are shifting and migrating away from the sale of Individual REO’s ( real estate owned or foreclosed homes) and this change in the retail market and REO’s influence is shown in the Phoenix, AZ marketplace. The REO’s there our at all time lows and guess what happened to home prices? They soared 33.1% over last year at this time. Now here in Sonoma County not only do we have a scarce REO inventory but scarcity THROUGHOUT the market as the following slides show. As REO’s are sold in bulk to large investment groups and sold at auction with more and more bidders, we will most likely NOT see all that big a segment in the retail or “street” marketplace. The graphs tell the story:


As you can see from the first graph, REO’s are down 63% over last year at this time. Whatever the reason, the absence of these listings will increase median price and having little REO’s will make the inventory MORE scarce and increase bidding for existing stock–hence RAISING prices. How much? Your guess is as good as mine. But with rates in the Upper 3% range the demand should remain high. Our “trough” or “bottom” came in 2009. The consumer KNOWS prices are on the rise and that this is a golden buying opportunity.

The graph below show how SCARCE inventory is THROUGHOUT Sonoma County.  Our Month’s supply of Inventory has plummeted by 71.3%. Every buyer KNOWS this as they and their Realtors compete against each other for a few properties with MULTIPLE offers.


Your PROPERTY IS WANTED!! Recap of Santa Rosa Realtors Networking Meeting

Here in Sonoma County, California–Realtors every Tuesday in Santa Rosa gather to “pitch” their Haves (Properties for Sale) and Wants (Needs of their property Buyers) to their fellow Realtors/Agents with the hopes of finding a property NOT yet on the market or a special property for a BUYER who has seen EVERYTHING! As the long-time moderater of this meeting over some 20 years I’ve seen three different marketing cycles. We are NOW entering one of scarcity of homes for sale, many buyers seeking FEW homes, overbidding and a hopefully “appreciating” marketplace. Since inflation is being held in check, we can’t use that favored vehicles to re-coup some or all of our real estate loses. It will be done the old fashioned way: Market Appreciation. Our concencus last week amongst a veteran group of Realtors/Agents–3 to 4% appreciation this year.

What the MOST in demand property type?  Single family detached dwelling on a traditional sized lot (6,000sqft or bigger), 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, single level and in the NW, NE, or SE areas of Santa Rosa–price point sub $400,000 range with many in the sub $300k price point.

Next? How about $1,000,000+!! Yup! It’s a bizzarro world marketplace. Luxury homes are in demand as money from silicon valley, IPO big bucks techies plus those retiring with a country lifestyle in mind fuel this price segment.

However, our mid range is also picking up with many buyers in the $500-900K range. Single levels are always big!

Fit any of these pricing or property descriptions? Then we’d LOVE to talk to you. We are the Kelly-Norman Team and are two of the hardest working Realtors in Sonoma County. We provide advice to homeowners seeking to down size their homes BUT NOT THEIR LIFESTYLE! Give Allison and call at 707-799-3617 or shoot her an email:

At the end of it’s first year, the Sonoma County Vacation Rental Ordinance has us wondering “what’s this ordinance REALLY all about?”

Russian River Area Realtor and Vacation Rental Ordinance expert, Kyla Brook — and long time Sonoma County Permit Consultant extraordinaire, Tom Havstad return, Sunday 2/12/2012, to fill us in on some strange goings on at the Permit Resources Management Department (PRMD)….hmmm, imagine that.

Do you own a vacation rental in Sonoma County? Have you complied with the Vacation Rental Ordinance…are you paying your TOT(transient occupancy tax)? …if so, did you also apply for a zoning permit? No? Tune in..this show is for you.

Thinking about buying a vacation rental in Sonoma County? Despite the economy, Sonoma County remains a “destination”, bringing visitors from all over the world….which is a great boon for the local economy. In the Russian River area, vacation rentals flourish…and play a vital role in the city’s economy. Kyla Brook, who has been following, and filling us in, on the Vacation Rental Ordinance from its very inception, has some great insight to offer us…and a helpful list of items the vacation rental buyer should be aware of, and should be sure to investigate as part of their due diligence.

And of course, if it has anything to do with Sonoma County permits, zoning, and/or code violation, we haven’t found anyone more knowledgeable than Tom Havstad. Tom knows the ins and outs of the PRMD, the Sonoma County Planning Department, code enforcement, tax assessor, building department…state and county codes, laws and ordinances. He’ll walk us through the requirements of the Vacation Rental ordinance, what to do and what NOT to do, and he’ll bring to light a rather disturbing possible consequence of the ordinance, leaving us to wonder ” What is this ordinance REALLY all about? “

To reach our guests;

Kyla Brooke, MS, CDPE,  Herth Real Estate
707-481-0098 cell, 707-222-6006 office,


Tom Havstad, Permit Consulting Services

phone/fax:   707-874-2078, cell:  707-695-0857

website:, email:


Here are some helpful links from the PRMD and the Sonoma County Tax assessor.



20880 Heron Drive, Bodega Harbour,California–BEST VALUE UNDER $600,000! Sweeping Ocean Views

We have one of ONLY 3 properties currently available in the prestigious and sought after Bodega Harbour in Bodega Bay. Call Allison NOW to preview this coastal home: 707-799-3617. This Coastal property has sweeping views from the Marin Headlands to Bodega Head. Watch the “crab boats” ply the waters as they come and go through the Jetty to their crab pots out in the blue-green Pacific Ocean. Sunsets, seals barking from the rocks below, fine coastal dining and golfing to your hearts content–all facets of the Bodega Harbour experience. I’ve prepared a chart showing just HOW tight the market is out at the coast. If you thought obtaining a coastal home was beyond your limits RE-THINK this again! At $529,300 this home is affordable and would make a GREAT vacation rental bringing in extra income when you are NOT there. Or make it a “year-’rounder” as it has just under 2,000 sqft PLUS a guest suite below with kitchen and full bath.


  As you can see by the above chart–ONLY 3 homes are currently on the market in Bodega Harbour. Our listing at 20880 Heron Drive is  THE best value when comparing square footage and views AND the guest unit down stairs. Also–if you’re THINKING OF SELLING–our final % to List Price is WAY above the average. Saving almost 11% when selling your home can be HUGE in today’s marketplace. If you wish to search for property simply use our “Market Snapshot” in the upper right hand corner or call Allison Norman to schedule an appointment to see your home.

Sonoma County Short-Sale History–How many, Hot-Spots of Sales, How LONG does it take? Read ON!

Here in Sonoma County,California  Short-Sales are a consistent part of our monthly sales. Our market currently is 50/50 Distressed (gun to your head selling–short-sales) and Bank Owned(REO-real estate owned or foreclosed upon bank owned homes). The other 50% of the market are “elective” or “equity” Sellers.  Our clients keep asking  WHEN will  a “normal” market appear? A normal market, to us, will be total “Distressed/REO” sales in the sub 5% range of total sales.  In January Short-Sales made up 27% of total Sales with just slightly more REO/foreclosed upon homes at 27.7%!. Our “Elective” sellers are less at 49% of total sales. But this is NORMAL as in the “Winter” market most “elective” sellers DON’T market their homes. The Banks and Distressed Home sellers have no “Selling”  SEASON.


2011 Short-Sales by Month-No big surge here!

See any take aways from the above chart? NO BIG SURGE of SOLD short-sales.  Many though the promise of the government program called HAFA (Housing Affordability Foreclosure Alternative)  would be a “game changer” However, the numbers are JUST not there.  And NOTE the DOM or Days on Market ending the year at over 6 months! currently we have an enormous amount of properties IN ESCROW as Short-Sales. The “Under Contract” numbers are through the roof! We currently have close to 3,000 properties IN ESCROW.  Why the big number? Short-Sales GO INTO ESCROW but don’t leave anytime soon. So they “pile-up” and give us these bloated Continue to Show numbers. Of the 3,000 homes IN ESCROW as CTS or Continue to Show (early in the escrow process)  1911 are short Sales.  Short Sales account for 64% of ALL the CTS properties.  How many are currently “pending” (deal firmed up, contingencies removed) ONLY a paltry 38.  That’s a mere 0.02%.

     The other chart below shows 2008 through 2011 Short-Sales. We had an initial BIG jump between 2008 and 2009 but nothing dramatic year over year:


Tracking of Short-Sales began late in 2007. Here's "valid" numbers 2008 to 2011.











What Can Foreign Investors Teach Us About Our Own Country?

Interesting perspective….. 
 What Can Foreign Investors Teach Us About Our Own Country?November 7th, 2011 by Greg Rand 

You’ve seen the headlines. The combination of lower prices, increased rents and a weak dollar are drawing investor capital from all around the globe and funneling it into American housing.  According to NAR, foreign investment is US real estate has increased by 20% in the 12 months ending march 2011, totaling $82 billion in just one year. What’s missing in most of these stories is why.

Continue reading What Can Foreign Investors Teach Us About Our Own Country?

Open House today at 2584 Rim Rock Way in Santa Rosa, Ca. 1-4PM

If the beautiful park like setting on a half acre lot doesn’t win you over, the 3000+ square foot home with soaring wood beam ceilings, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, great room, sunken living room, dining room, huge back deck for entertaining, and more, will surely steal your heart.  Priced at $659,900, this is a great opportunity to own in desirable Montecito Meadow.  Add your updates, and personal style,  then call it home . Come by and see me today from 1-4, or to schedule a showing another time, call me at 707-799-3617, or contact Take Chanate to Montecito Meadow to Rim Rock.  Come up the hill, house is on the left.  Additional , but separate,  .68 acre lot behind not included, but may also be available.