Honey Bee Swarm Season–My first “swarm” of the year–Read WHAT TO DO when you encounter some Honey Bees!

First thing you want to do is keep my cell phone number handy and ON your speed dial: 707-322-8503. I’ll come a runnin’ and give them a new home. Here’s photos of my first swarm capture of the season: Two photos to the left are of the bees as they enter the “Swarm box”. This is a portable “hive” and acts to collect a field swarm of bees. Two middle photos are of Barbara Jo Alois, my bee mentor, and I transferring the swarm to their permanent home (I hope!) which is a traditional Langstroth hive configuration. Final picture to the right is the hive all secure with a new colony of bees.

If you have sighted a swarm of honey bees, or have bees in your house or other structure, please read the following information before calling a beekeeper on the list:

  • PLEASE DO NOT SPRAY THE BEES WITH ANYTHING. Especially insecticides, but do not even spray them with water. This is endangering the bees, yourself and the beekeeper.
  • Ensure you are dealing with honey bees and not another beneficial insect.
  • Please do not ask a beekeeper to take care of a yellow jacket problem – unless specifically licensed for pest control, a beekeeper cannot legally address pest issues. Please contact a licensed pest control operation for that.

Sonoma County homeowners up in arms over proposed PGE clearcutting.

Here in Sonoma County, California, a group of concerned property owners has come together to fight the proposed clear cutting of trees along a more than 30 mile stretch from The Geysers, through scenic Sonoma County to Sear’s Point by Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E). This proposed new policy is “needlessly aggressive” and has the potential to impact both public and private lands…the scenic and environmental quality of Sonoma County, and potentially impact home values.  Tune in at 9:30am today 1350am KSRO (www.KSRO.com) …and, for more information attend the next public meeting.

When vegetation grows too close to these power lines there are significant health and safety issues. For many years PG&E’s policy has been to trim the tops from trees and other vegetation that came within a specified distance of the power lines. They now plan to clear all vegetation under the power lines. This will kill thousands of trees and create a terrible scar many miles long upon the land.

PG&E is responsible to maintain electricity service in a way that is safe and protects the public from power line failures and mishaps. We recognize and support this duty. However, the new clear cut policy is deeply flawed. It is needlessly aggressive and has a number of unintended consequences, including:

  • Loss of thousands of trees, many of which will never impact the power lines.
  • Loss of habitat, which may include significant impacts on endangered or protected species.
  • Erosion from impacts of clear cutting directly over streams and headwater areas (see video on this page).
  • Fire danger from tree refuse left behind (they do not clean up the felled trees and vegetation).
  • Damage to water habitats impacting fish and other wildlife, through silting and stream degradation.
  • Severe impact on the viewshed and scenic qualities of miles of Sonoma County.
  • Devaluation of home and property values.

This new policy has the potential to impact both public and private lands. It is in direct opposition to existing policies for protection of open space and scenic corridors. It appears to have been adopted with no regard for environmental impact studies and Sonoma County vegetation regulations.

Our goal is simple, reasonable, and reflects the values of the people of Sonoma County
We are committed to ensuring that PG&E immediately cease all indiscriminate clear cutting along the power line easement, and return to a regularly scheduled, ongoing maintenance program of selective pruning and topping of only those trees and plants that pose a hazard; and that they do so with adequate, transparent, and accurate notification of landowners.

For more information; http://www.sos-trees.org


“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

 

Raging Seller’s Market in Sonoma County?

Sonoma Count, California–We are edging dramatically into a “Seller’s Market” after 5+ years
of a raging “Buyer’s Market”. What is driving this transition in favor of
Sellers?  Increased optimism about the economy with increased employment
opportunities, life-time LOW interest rates plus scarcity of homes. 

The above graph indicates the “scarcity” of homes as the “Month’s Supply” of inventory has shrunk dramatically from 4.4 months supply last year at this time to a paltry 1.6 months in February. Under 4 months supply of inventory is considered a “Seller’s Market”–under 2 months you have a very HOT Seller’s market.

  Continue reading Raging Seller’s Market in Sonoma County?

Natural Hazard Disclosure Reports–Seller Required! But WHAT is it? This week you’ll find out.

  Sonoma County, California Seller’s and Buyers will discover WHY you need a Natural Hazards Disclosure Report and WHY you should use Property ID as YOUR provider. Debra Speer joins us Sunday!

 

Residential Reports

The Property I.D. Residential Natural Hazard Disclosure Report is the most comprehensive disclosure report available in the real estate market. The report complies with all the requirements of Civil Code Section 1103.2 (Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement), and satisfies the seller and agent’s obligations for disclosing all other legally required Federal, State, and Locally mapped natural hazards. The report also includes a complete Special Assessment disclosure and Mello-Roos taxes at no additional cost. Not only is the Property I.D. Residential Report the most complete and accurate disclosure report available, but is also backed by a $20 Million Insurance Policy. This policy covers the report and extends to any individual that relies upon it for use in a transaction. Continue reading Natural Hazard Disclosure Reports–Seller Required! But WHAT is it? This week you’ll find out.

Selling your home?…Why should you offer a home warranty?? Caroline Fuller of American Home Shield joins us on today’s show

 

Caroline Fuller

Account Executive, American Home Shield

cfuller@ahslink.com

www.ahs.com

707.540.1788 cell

800.800.8880 x.6826 messages

Why a home warranty ?

Average repair costs
With a home warranty, this isn’t what you’ll need to pay when something breaks and you have a home protection plan. This is just a simple summary of the average replacement and repair costs for some of the most common items found in your home…..Do you see the benefit of a home warranty?

Household Item Replacement Costs* Repair Costs*
Clothes Dryer $646 $88
Clothes Washer $571 $98
Dishwasher $502 $171
Oven/Range $706 $170
Refrigerator $1,088 $209
Air Conditioner $2,390 $332
Furnace $2,442 $316
Water Heater $767 $140
Main Electrical Panel $651 $210

for more information and an application click on the picture above or go to our Box.com file;

http://www.box.com/s/vqtctpfrqu6508y5dr96

FHA Mortgage Insurance Changes Coming April 1, 2012

These changes to the Mortgage Insurance charged on FHA loans will take place on April 1, and June 1, 2012,. If you currently have an FHA case number assigned to your loan, these changes will not effect you…but check with your lender to be sure.

FHA TAKES ADDITIONAL STEPS TO BOLSTER CAPITAL RESERVES
New premium structure will help protect FHA’s MMI fund

WASHINGTON – As part of ongoing efforts to encourage the return of private capital in the residential mortgage market and strengthen the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante today announced a new premium structure for FHA-insured single family mortgage loans.  FHA will increase its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) by 0.10 percent for loans under $625,500 and by 0.35 percent for loans above that amount.  Upfront premiums (UFMIP) will also increase by 0.75 percent.

These premium changes will impact new loans insured by FHA beginning in April and June of 2012.  Details will soon be published in a Mortgagee Letter to FHA-approved lenders.

“After careful analysis of the market and the health of the MMI fund, we have determined that it is appropriate to increase mortgage insurance premiums in order to help protect our capital reserves and to continue encouraging the return of private capital to the housing market,” said Galante.  “These modest increases are one of several measures we are taking towards meeting the Congressionally mandated two percent reserve threshold, while allowing FHA to remain a valuable option for low- to moderate-income borrowers.”

The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 requires FHA to increase the annual MIP it collects by 0.10 percent.  This change is effective for case numbers assigned on or after April 1, 2012.  FHA is also exercising its statutory authority to add an additional 0.25 percent to mortgages exceeding $625,500.  This change is effective for case numbers assigned on or after June 1, 2012.

The UFMIP will be increased from 1 percent to 1.75 percent of the base loan amount.  This increase applies regardless of the amortization term or LTV ratio.  FHA will continue to permit financing of this charge into the mortgage.  This change is effective for case numbers assigned on or after April 1, 2012.

FHA estimates that the increase to the upfront premium will cost new borrowers an average of approximately $5 more per month.  These marginal increases are affordable for nearly all homebuyers who would qualify for a new mortgage loan.  Borrowers already in an FHA-insured mortgage, Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), and special loan programs outlined in FHA’s forthcoming Mortgagee Letter will not be impacted by the pricing changes announced today.

Taken together, these premium changes will enable FHA to increase revenues at a time that is critical to the ongoing stability of its Mutual Mortgage Insurance (MMI) Fund, contributing more than $1 billion to the Fund, based on current volume projections through Fiscal Year 2013.