Holiday Open Houses for Sonoma County, California-Luther Burbank’s Home

Note the portrait of "your host", that of Luther Burbank, Sonoma County's famed horticulturist. His home will be open once again for the 34th year!
Note the portrait of “your host”, that of Luther Burbank, Sonoma County’s famed horticulturist. His home will be open once again for the 34th year!

‘Tis the season to make merry and visit all the many craft faires scheduled for this Holiday Season here in Sonoma County, California.

The Real Estate Market is cooling but if you tried REALLY hard you COULD be in a home before Xmas. And once there you can decorate with items from craft faires.

Holiday Open House

Holiday Open House WreathSaturday & Sunday, Dec. 7 & 8, 2013
Rain or Shine! 

34th Annual Holiday Open House
Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Entry: 12 and older, $2.00

Santa Rosa & Sonoma Avenues, Downtown Santa Rosa
Contact: 707-524-5445,

The public is invited to this popular annual community event! Enjoy a 34-year community tradition and begin the season’s celebrations by visiting the historic Home and Gardens of Luther Burbank. Experience a charming reminder of bygone days when you tour the home decked out in Victorian holiday finery inside and out.

See the latest exhibit and shop for unique Burbank-related items in the Carriage House Museum & Gift Shop.

FREE PARKING is available at First & “D” Streets, and enjoy FREE RIDES on “Rosie the Trolley” to and from the Dickens Holiday Craft Fair held at the Finley Community Center.





Breaking News from the IRS Regarding “Debt Foregiveness” in a Short Sale

The Debt Foregiveness Act of 2007 Sunsets on 12/31/2013.

Here’s some exciting news for those homeowners who thought they were too late.


A short sale in California is generally not subject to federal income tax for mortgage debt forgiveness, according to a recent letter from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). C.A.R. worked closely with Senator Barbara Boxer to obtain this IRS guidance. We are also hopeful that we can promptly obtain similar guidance regarding state income tax for mortgage debt relief income from the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), which has been awaiting this IRS letter.

Given that a homeowner in California generally cannot be held personally liable for a short sale deficiency (see below), the IRS stated in its letter that it would consider the mortgage loan as a nonrecourse obligation that is not subject to federal debt relief income tax.  The amount of indebtedness, however, must be reported as the amount realized for capital gains purposes. Of course, a principal residence is generally excluded from capital gains tax up to $250,000 for single taxpayers and $500,000 for married couples filing joint returns (under 26 U.S.C. § 121).

As background, California law generally protects a borrower from owing a deficiency after a short sale of a residential property with one-to-four units, including both first and junior trust deeds (Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. section 580e). Exceptions include fraud, waste, cross-collateralized loan, and a borrower that is a corporation, LLC, or limited partnership. For more information, see C.A.R.’s legal article on Short Sale Deficiencies.

Although short sale sellers of a qualified principal residence are currently protected against federal debt relief income tax under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007, that federal law is set to expire on December 31, 2013, whereas the tax exemption set forth in the IRS letter has no expiration date. Similar protection to the federal Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act for state income tax under California law has already expired on December 31, 2012. However, other exemptions from federal and state taxation of debt relief income are available, such as for bankruptcies and insolvencies. REALTORS® should encourage their clients to seek the advice of a tax professional regarding the tax consequences of a short sale.

To discuss your options, give Allison a call at 707-799-3617 or email

Thinking of Selling your home yourself? The Good, the bad and the ugly discussed on today’s show.

Tune in today 9-10AM 11/24 on 1350AM or as we discuss the pros and cons of FSBO, as a seller AND a buyer. Also, new information coming out of the IRS regarding “debt relief” in a short sale.

Equity is up….Local unemployment is down, and more on the REAL ESTATE HOUR with Mike Kelly and Allison Norman. The Kelly Norman Team at Keller Williams Realty


What not to do when selling YOUR home.

Here’s a great Article to read if you’re thinking of selling your home;

Sellers Who Undermine Their Agents

Written by on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 1:33 pm


One of the hardest things for some sellers to do is to put their future in a real estate professional’s hands. They’ll list their home for sale, and then sabotage their agent and themselves by refusing to follow their advice.

While it’s scary to give up control over something as important as a home, these sellers don’t realize that they’ll have much more control over what happens by working with and not against their agent.

Your agent knows the market, how to negotiate, how to do all the steps of the transaction, understands contracts and disclosures, and how to solve problems that invariably show up in all transactions. Yet, some sellers just can’t bring themselves to turn things over to their agent, especially if they think they can do a better job themselves.

Are you undermining your agent? If you do any of the following or go against your agent’s advice – you might ruin your chances of selling your home quickly and for the best price:

  • Insist on a short listing period in an attempt to make the agent “work faster”
  • Insist your home is worth more than market comparables
  • Price your home according to your own financial needs, not what the home is actually worth
  • Refuse to make repairs or updates that would make the home easier to sell
  • Disclose some but not all of your home’s flaws to buyers
  • Decline inconvenient showings because the home isn’t show-ready
  • Stay home for showings so you can size up the buyers
  • Show your home to unrepresented buyers
  • Get huffy when others find flaws in your home’s condition or pricing
  • Stall negotiations over relatively minor points hoping the buyer will blink first

Just as your agent hasn’t been trained to do your job, you may not understand the nuances of your agent’s job – which is to sell your home quickly and safely, and for the highest price possible.

Your agent’s advice is based on hard-earned knowledge of human nature, typical housing problems, buyers’ preferences, market conditions, and which strategies work best in which situations.

The best way to control your home’s sale is to listen to your agent.


The Loan Guy–Pete Phillippe Joins us this Weekend

Interest Rate update this Sunday, November 10, 2013, with Princeton Capital’s own Pete Phillippe. Will the rates settle down? Does the Fed have other ideas? Long term prediction? Pete, a long time lender, will give his take on this compelling questions. Provocative talk THIS weekend on the Real Estate Hour, 1350AM, KSRO or at


51 BIG reasons to BUY REAL ESTATE NOW in Sonoma County!

The median home price surged 51%  over the past two years
The median home price surged dramatically over the past two years

Sonoma County, California median home price  up 51% in the past two years. Home sales are lagging due to seasonal changes but the median home price keeps right on it’s upward spiral.  The reason? The distressed sales market or those properties being sold as “bank-owned” “REO” (Real Estate Owned) and Short-Sales have dramatically disappeared from the real estate scene. Once as high as 56% of ALL Sales, this past month they dropped to a combined 8% of the total sales for October; a 83% drop.

The Distressed market pricing was substantially LOWER than the current “Equity” market of regular home sellers. So as the Distressed market is supplanted by the “Equity” seller list prices climb, hence sales median home prices.   The “Non-Bank” or “Equity”  sellers are up 90% in the “Under Contract” section of our monthly market stats–BIG NEWS for a solid recovering market! Continue reading 51 BIG reasons to BUY REAL ESTATE NOW in Sonoma County!