Posted in Tools for You

Tired of Potholes? Sonoma County has an Answer!

SoCo Report It AppNew App Let’s You Report Potholes for Repair!

It’s Spring and the potholes are in full bloom. But now you don’t have to resign yourself to dodging them while wondering when the powers that be will finally get around to filling them because “There’s an app for that!” It is called SoCo Report It. It is available for iPhone or Android. Users report that the potholes are usually filled within a week.

And that is not all it is good for. You can send in:

  • Signs that are hidden by vegetation
  • Erosion
  • Plugged Culverts
  • Graffiti
  • Illegal dumps
  • Overgrown vegetation
  • Traffic signals that are out of order
  • Streetlights that are out
  • Trash

Here is how it works once you’ve downloaded the app:

  1. Open the app
  2. Hit the “New Request” button
  3. Select a category
  4. Enter an address, or location
  5. Take a picture of what you’re reporting
  6. Hit “Submit”

That’s it! You can go on your way. The system will notify you when the problem has been addressed if you request it to do so, but your part is done.

How cool is Sonoma County for developing this? Pretty cool! But there’s some who prefer potholes as a creative outlet.

Sonoma County potholes

Posted in Tools for You

Awesome Neighborhood Market Report!

Screen Shot 2017-04-06 at 12.21.03 PMThe 2017 market is off to a roaring start!

Demand has increased significantly for Sonoma County and the prices are jumping up. This combined with long years of low inventory have buyers determined to put their best foot forward in order not to lose their bid on the property they want.

Your house is important. Whether you’re buying, selling, or staying put shouldn’t you keep up with the market? What if being informed was easy? What if it was hyper-local to your neighborhood, so you didn’t have to sift through all the houses in town to see what was going to affect your home? What if you knew just how far off the “Zestimate” was from the market value?

Well, enter the new Coldwell Banker Market Report! It comes to you. You can get it sent once a week or once per month. The report is highly interactive and it provides everything you need to know to be well-informed:

  • Which homes are Active, which ones have Pending sales
  • What has Sold in the last 6 months
  • Asking price vs. Sold price
  • Average number of days on the market
  • Trend graphs showing the movement of your market over the last several months
  • What the market “Heat” is
  • All of the listing information and pictures for each home with just a click

Try it! I really think this is one of the best things Coldwell Banker has put together. But, if you try it and don’t care for it, you can unsubscribe at any time by going to the bottom of the report and hitting unsubscribe.

Try it now…

 

 

 

 

Posted in Out and About

Touring and Tasting in Healdsburg

Wine tasting combines some of the best things in life…beautiful scenery, good conversation, sunny weather (most of the time), meeting new people, listening to winemakers talking about their art, and of course….the wine.

The Madrona Manor

Voted the Most Romantic Place to Kiss in Sonoma County, this enchanted Victorian manor sits on a hill surrounded by gardens.  Not only does it have the best views of any hotel or B&B in Healdsburg, it has impressive and massive Victorian architecture, extensive antique collection and gourmet dining.  (A first-class wine list, inventive fusion cuisine, and service that shows exceptional attention to detail make it a rare dining experience.)

If you are just buzzing through on an afternoon, stop and take a peek–it will be well worth your while to stroll through their gardens.  One of my favorite things to do there is to order a glass of wine or a cocktail from the lobby bar (Open Wednesday through Sundays from 4 pm) and take it outside to the broad shaded porch.  It’s as though you’ve stepped into a different, simpler, time.  Sit on one of the rattan settees and soak in the views of the vineyards and the hills beyond.  It is as though time stands still. Sigh.

Ok, back to the wine tasting as promised!  The best thing about most of the wineries in Sonoma County is that most are small, owner run, and because of that each is unique and has its own fascinating story–there is a wide range of characters who have put down stakes in the wine business here.  Everything from a former road manager for a world famous rock bank, to European stock and they all stamp their wineries in their own unique way.

Here’s the itinerary to get you started…

Suggested Activities, Tours, and Tastings

Two very popular ways to see the area are by bike and on foot. There are two cycleries in town to rent bikes.

Spoke Folk Cyclery is located about a mile from the hotel and will provide all the gear and maps you need.

Wine County Bikes offers on-your-own rentals as well as guided group tours that include lunch as well.

There is also a company in downtown Healdsburg that offers walking tours rain or shine! These tours can focus on local history, cuisine or wine.

Or you could enjoy an afternoon of hiking at either Lake Sonoma just north of us or at Armstrong Woods in the beautiful Russian River area.  Another way to see Armstrong Woods is on horseback!

Wine Tasting

For the local wineries, I recommend a few different places depending on what you’re looking for. The Wine Roads website focuses on the three valleys in our immediate area. Just click on “Wineries” and it will give you an alphabetical list of all the vineyards in the area and links to their individual websites. I’ve also included some of my favorite wineries for different amenities. Many vineyards have started to do small food and wine pairings; it’s a great way to learn more about how the food and wine interact on the palate!

For food & wine pairings I recommend:

Seghesio– Family owned and operated, small and warm.

Kendall-Jackson-Largest of the three, wonderful wines and great options for pairings.

J Vineyards-More modern and hip, lots of sparkling wines.

For tours:

Simi-Lots of history, just outside of downtown Healdsburg. Tours daily at 11:00am & 2:00pm.

Stryker Sonoma-Won an architectural design award, tours by appointment only.

Michele-Schlumberger-Beautiful Spanish style estate, just up the road from the Manor, artisan vineyard. Tours daily at 11:00am & 2:00pm.

Jordan-Beautiful French County feel, tours by appointment only. They do mostly Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon

Personal Favorites:

Papapietroperry does only Pinot, they win award after award! Great stuff!!

Moshin is one of my favorites. Small family run, they do a great Pinot and some really amazing Sauvignon Blanc.

Holdredge has a great Pinot as well as some wonderful Syrah’s

Michele-Schlumberger has a great variety of wines and a beautiful property.

La Crema on the old Sara Lee estate is a delight. 

General Information

For general information and a calendar of the local events visit the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce at www.healdsburg.org.

Posted in Tax Maneuvers in Real Estate

Transferring Your Tax Base

Let’s say you bought your house in the good old days and paid $150K for it.  Now it is worth a lot more–even in this recession, but it is too old, too big, too far away from the grandkids, etc… and you would sell, but don’t like the idea of a big tax bill.

What if you could go ahead and sell your old house, buy another more suited to you now, and still have a property tax bill based on $150K?! That is where Proposition 60 comes in.  Its glamor name is Replacement Residence Exclusion.

Of course, there are stipulations, and you can read all about it and how it works and FAQs on the Sonoma County Assessor’s website, but here it is in a nutshell…

  • You or your spouse are at least 55 yrs old.
  • Both the old house & the new one are in Sonoma County.
  • The replacement house is of equal or lesser market value.
  • You’ve lived in your old house at least 2 years as your primary dwelling.

So, now you can go buy a new house for $450K and still pay a tax bill based on $150K.  Too good to be true?  No, not it this case!

One piece of advice:  It is always a good idea to consult your tax advisor when buying or selling real estate.