Happy Thanksgiving to One and All! Hope you are HOME with your Family.

Allison are very thankful we’ve been able to meet the needs of our clients in these trying times. We’ve had the opportunity to counsel and assist many of you to STAY in your homes or to exit gracefully with your dignity and credit rating somewhat intact.  Our real estate hour family of listeners never cease to amaze us with their generosity. Our two top winners of our recent contest for new Ezine subscribers had BOTH winners donating the 1st place Turkey Dinner and 2nd place Turkey to families  in need! So in this time of Thanks we both give Thanks to you our listening family and hope you are safe and secure with your families and able to enjoy this time of the year and the upcoming Holiday Season.

And don’t forget–This is MY Favorite time of the year as I get to chat up my favorite Holiday Movie! A Xmas Story! Stay tuned!! You long time listeners and “Xmas Story” fans KNOW what the above is! No–not a gaudy, sex-laden lamp–But truly a Major Award!” And we know it’s of french origin as it has on the outside of the shipping box the french term–“fragilly!” The bigger question though is–HOW did the lamp come to its demise? I suspect Ralphie’s mother!

Lou Barnes Column for November 19–QE2, Robo-foreclosures and thou!

     The formation and execution of economic policy this week entered a new level of chaos, complete with good news, bad news, and silly news.

     The best news: two different Federal-deficit study groups came up with the same basic solutions: cap spending and revenue at a sensible level of GDP, broaden the tax base by cutting special exceptions, and cut tax rates. Spending: in Alan Simpson’s line, “Harpoon every whale in the ocean.” The people are way ahead of political leadership, the average American eager to implement any deal like these two. Continue reading Lou Barnes Column for November 19–QE2, Robo-foreclosures and thou!

This Week’s Show Guests-Mike Runyan from Re-Store-Home Improvement Outlet Store! Benefits Habitat for Humanity

 Tomorrow’s show will be featuring the unique store called, “Re-Store” which touts itself as a “Home Improvement Outlet Store”. The store now has as a manager Mike Runyan who you may recall owned “Food 4 Less” and more recently “Skyhawk Market Place”. He is also a former City Council person from Santa Rosa. Mike brings his considerable retail expertise to Re-Store.  Alli and I took a tour of  Re-Store and found it a fun place to shop.  Re-Store sells new, used, and surplus donated goods at greatly reduced prices to the general public. 100% of the profits support Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County. Continue reading This Week’s Show Guests-Mike Runyan from Re-Store-Home Improvement Outlet Store! Benefits Habitat for Humanity

Our Guest Today–John Sutter–2nd appearance-Winterizing your Home–HERS Audits? Sonoma County Homeowners take note!

Home Energy Rating Systems or HERS will be our topic today with return guest John Sutter ownner of ABS (Applied Building Science) Building Performance Contractor–For Energy related construction, applications and auditing. 707-528-3468 or direct: 707-703-5244  jsutter@absnorthbay.com

What is a Home Energy Rating?

A home energy rating involves an analysis of a home’s construction plans and onsite inspections. Based on the home’s plans, the Home Energy Rater uses an energy efficiency software package to perform an energy analysis of the home’s design. This analysis yields a projected, pre-construction HERS Index.

Upon completion of the plan review, the rater will work with the builder to identify the energy efficiency improvements needed to ensure the house will meet ENERGY STAR performance guidelines. The rater then conducts onsite inspections, typically including a blower door test (to test the leakiness of the house) and a duct test (to test the leakiness of the ducts). Results of these tests, along with inputs derived from the plan review, are used to generate the HERS Index for the home.

Unlike a Building Performance Audit or a weatherization assessment, a home energy rating is a recognized tool in the mortgage industry. Home energy ratings can be used in a variety of ways in the housing industry. Since a rating quantifies the energy performance of a home, the HERS Index provides an easily understandable means to compare the relative energy efficiency of different homes.



Want to BUILD YOUR EQUITY? Accelerate your LOAN PAY-OFF! Benefits of 15 Year payoff!

The next 4-7 years may see a virtually “Flat” appreciation rate with perhaps small baby-steps of increases. How to build equity other than appreciation–how about the OLD FASHIONED WAY? Equity Build up by paying DOWN your mortgage. Novel concept huh? Check out the numbers below between the rapid pay-off 15 year old (remember, shorter the amortization period, the QUICKER your loan will be paid off but the HIGHER your monthly payment will be) and the longer, traditional 30 Year Amortization schedule. It’s pretty dramatic to say the least!

15 Year Amortization Schedule


30 Year Amortization Schedule


These payments are based on a $300,000 loan amount.  The  15 Year Amortized loan  is at 3.75% .  The 30 Year Amortization loan is for 4.25% MAJOR  difference between 15  year vs 30 year amortization schedules? Your monthly payment is approx 31% HIGHER or in this case $705.85 more per month as it has a  shorter time (15 year) BUT the savings of the quicker pay-off schedule are breathtaking! At the end of 5 years you will owe 71% of your beginning balance with the 15 year loan—the 30 year? You’ll still owe 90.5%!! Or at the end of 5 years with a 15 year loan you’ll have dramatic equity BUILD UP (very crucial in a flat market!) of $84,973 vs. $28,601 with a traditional 30 year loan! That’s a whopping $56,000+ difference! Continue reading Want to BUILD YOUR EQUITY? Accelerate your LOAN PAY-OFF! Benefits of 15 Year payoff!

Our Interest Rate guy: Pete Phillippe–Stunning Interest Rates for Sonoma County Buyers!

Pete’s latest rates at Princeton  Subject:  Interest Rates!

 Who are the 9 big loan servicers? By the end of the 2’nd quarter, B/A was #1 with 2.2 trillion, Wells at 1.8 trillion, Chase at 1.4 trillion, Citi at $700 billion, Ally/Gmac at $400 billion, US Bank at #200 billion, Sun Trust at $175 billion, PHH at $155, and PNC at $150 billion . The big get bigger, as institutions are “absorbed”with fewer choices the result    40 day locks!!!!

To $417,000 4 % 30 yr fixed 1 pt or 4.25% 0 pts      To $662,250 4.25% 30 yr fixed at 1 pt

15 yr to $417,000 3.75 1 pt   ( remember, condos will have a .75pt “hit” on pts. They have more “risk”)

Shot-Term Money? Going to buy at the bottom and be a profit taker 4-5 years down the road? Then look at the rock-bottom “Adjustable” rate mortgages!!    3.5% 1 pt  to $417,000  for a five yr fixed then a 1 yr adjustable , to $662,250  , 3.75 1 pt Continue reading Our Interest Rate guy: Pete Phillippe–Stunning Interest Rates for Sonoma County Buyers!

Sonoma County Tax Payers-Ways to save on your Property Taxes! Prop. 60 & 90! Big Savings!

Ways to Save on your Taxes

Replacement Residence Exclusion (Propositions 60, 90 and 110)

Propositions 60, 90 and 110 are voter-approved amendments (Revenue and Taxation Code, Paragraph 69.5) which allow qualifying Sonoma County homeowners to transfer the taxable value of a previous residence to a new residence. For many people, this can result in substantial tax savings. The general eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • You (or your spouse who resides with you) must either be at least 55 years of age (Prop 60) or severely and permanently disabled (Prop 110) as of the date you sell the home you are replacing.
  • The sale of your original residence must occur within two years of the purchase or construction of your replacement residence (either before or after). Your original residence must be your principle dwelling within two years of purchasing or constructing your new home. You must occupy your new home as your principal place of residence at the time you file your claim.
  • Both of your properties must be located in Sonoma County unless the county where the replacement residence is located has an ordinance that allows intercounty transfers of base year value (Prop 90). Visit the California Board of Equalization’s web site for a current list of participating counties. Continue reading Sonoma County Tax Payers-Ways to save on your Property Taxes! Prop. 60 & 90! Big Savings!

Help us support the Laguna Foundation’s “Tree-A-Thon”! Donate what you can!

I’m a tree planter! That’s right. I am going to help create wildlife habitat by restoring riparian cover on Irwin Creek as a participant in the 2011 Laguna Foundation Tree-A-Thon and in addition I’m going to be raising money for the Foundation. As a Realtor we appreciate making our community a great place to raise families! Part of this is by providing the community with natural resources all may enjoy. 

The Laguna Foundation Tree-A-Thon is like a walk-a-thon, except that instead of burning up energy walking, I’ll be helping get plants in the ground! I would greatly appreciate your pledge of support for my efforts! You can pledge as little or as much as you want. Every little bit adds up. Your donation to the Laguna Foundation is 100% tax-deductible so click anywhere on this sentce to be taken to our donation page! .

I’m looking forward to showing my support for the Laguna Foundation and its mission by raising as much money as I can for their programs. Not to mention, I get to spend a day outside doing something so worthwhile! Thank you in advance for your support.And don’t forget to listen to the Real Estate Hour, Sundays, 9 to 10am, PST KSRO, 1350AM or at www.KSRO.com to hear guests speaking to the Foundation’s Activities and WHY this is such a great watershed, drainage, natural habitat for all of Sonoma County. Tune us in and PLEASE donate! 

Can’t Afford an Attorney for consultation on a Foreclosure, Short-Sale or Loan Modification issue? Call THESE organizations!

 If you cannot afford to consult with an attorney or an accountant, you should consult with a HUD-Certified housing counseling agency. Call toll free: 800-569-4287 or go to http://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/fc/.  Or check a legal aid provider in your community. Sonoma County homeowners call: 707-542-1290 or http://legalaidsc.org/  Mendocino and Lake Counties call: 916-551-2150 or www.lsnc.net. Napa County you can call: 510-663-4744 or www.baylegal.org