Santa Rosa, CA Real Estate News

By Jim Cheney, Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055
(Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA)
One of my favorite things to do in the morning, is to read our local paper, The Press Democrat, over a cup of coffee.  I've noticed over the past year that the morning paper is getting thinner and thinner. On Mondays it has gone from 4 sections to just 2.  It's really become a bit of a joke.  I have a friend who is a journalist for The Press Democrat, and she said that readership is down, all the newpapers around the country are struggling and being shut down.  She told me that staff writers are being laid off, and that it's really just a matter of time before our local paper folds (by the way, it's owned by the New York Times). She said that the paper is slowly being replaced by the internet.  The funny things is that those same articles are being written by the same journalist that wo...
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By Jim Cheney, Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055
(Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA)
I recently sold one of my listings to a buyer who was getting a CalPers loan.  I had heard of this loan program but was not very familiar with how it worked or what a great product it was.  Here's how the program works: You have to be a public employee such as a police officer, teacher, judge etc, who is in the CalPers retirement system.  There is no minimum amount of time in the system, you can apply for a loan on you first day on the job. CalPers advertises that it's loans are highly competitive, however applicants are told to examine their Truth in Lending disclosure closely and to always compare against other loan products before making a decision on what loan to get. The CalPers program limits the first mortgage origination fee to 1.25% on a conventional loan and 1% on an FHA loan....
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By Jim Cheney, Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055
(Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA)
The people at Google just amaze me.  I always think"too bad there isn't anything left to invent"  It seems that way until a new product comes on the market and we think "Oh, I could have thought of that!"  It seems obvious after somebody else introduces us to something new.  Anyway Google launched a new application recently that I had just heard about.  It's called Goog411.  A cell phone or land line is used to call 800-GOOG 411 or 800-644 6411 for free business telephone listing!  When you call the number a person states: "what is the business you are looking for, and what city and state are you calling from?"  You say Pizza, Santa Rosa, CA.  And the voice gives you the top 10 listings.  You say what # your choice is and Google connects you.  Very nice but if you say "Map it", Google s...
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By Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
(FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage)
VA Home Loans, Santa Rosa, CA - Top 10 VA Home Loan Benefits for Sonoma County Home Purchases One of my fondest memories comes from growing up in Santa Rosa where my father purchased his first family home using the VA home loan program. As a Veteran who served two terms in the Navy during the Vietnam war, my dad deserved all of the benefits the Department of Veterans Affairs has to offer. One of them was the Va Home Loan Guaranty. With his DD214 in hand, my father was able to by our family home with no money down and with little closing costs. If it wasn't for this program, we probable would have lived in a tiny apartment somewhere until my parents could save up enough money to buy a home. Well, as a way to give back, I learned to originate VA home loans once I became a mortgage loan of...
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By Jim Cheney, Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055
(Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA)
I recently helped a client write an offer for a condominium. The other agent sent me documents that had been signed with e-signatures.  It looked very impressive.  I was interested in using the service, but was really ignorant as to how it worked, what it cost, and how difficult it was to use.  I called the other agent who told me that she really like it, it was easy to use, and the cost would pay for itself in savings on gas, and my time.  I signed up with DocUsign by going to www.docusign.net  and for about 18.00 a month was able to download their software.  I found it incredibly easy to use, and wish I had signed up for it years ago. I highly recommend this software for anybody who has multiple transactions, or clients who live out of the area.  My clients think very highly of it.  F...
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By Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
(FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage)
Top Santa Rosa Real Estate Agents and Realtors Maximize MLS Searches with Staged Homes Yesterday, I went on a Real Estate Agent MLS tour of the latest open houses in Bennett Valley in Santa Rosa, California. As a Sonoma County home mortgage consultant, I like to be familiar with the latest inventory in my area so I can work more effectively with my top real estate agents and Realtors, and their buyers. It's always nice to be familiar with a property that's listed on the Multiple Listing Service, otherwise known as MLS. What really caught my eye was a property that was beautifully staged. At first glance, I thought someone still lived in the house. Then I noticed the photos in the house were quite generic and asked the listing Realtor if the house was staged. It was. The Realtor told me ...
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By Jim Cheney, Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055
(Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA)
Cant believe another Halloween has come and gone!  Fall is one of my favorite times of the year in Sonoma County.  The rush to crush the grapes in full throttle.  There is a sweet smell in the air of sweet grapes still hanging and fermenting on the vine.  The nights are cool, and the days are still warm. 
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By Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
(FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage)
Are you addicted to Activerain? Here's a cure that will tickle your funny bone.       Last week as I was perusing my rankings on Activerain, I noticed one of my loan officers took a leap over me in rankings so I called him to see what he did to move up so quickly. Since he just started this process, I was really curious to see what steps he took. I figured he would share with me since I introduced him to Activerain.I told him I would start putting more effort into my activities because I needed to be a good example to my team. As a Sales Manager, I feel I need to lead by example. Well, my HMC - Home Mortgage Consultant thought it was funny and decided to make fun of me. He was quite creative and he brought me back to reality. Here's his post: http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/5446481I've...
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By kathleen bonham
(FHAllen, Sonoma Country and Vintage)
  For reasons that are lost in the mist of history Halloween is a "BIG OCCASION" in the North Bay area of Northern California.The cover story of Datebook, the Sunday magazine of the San Francisco Chronicle has a survey of Halloween action around the region. Among the "hot" spots listed is my own neighborhood, the historic MC Donald district in Santa Rosa.The MC Donald area includes several blocks clustered around the old MC Donald Mansion, a 19 th century reproduction of a Mississippi plantation house. The neighborhood has always been a favorite place because of the wide avenues, mature landscape and charming architecturally diverse style homes.This creates the perfect environment for the witches and goblins that inhabit them on All Souls Eve. Families from all over the area come to see...
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By Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
(FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage)
New RESPA Reform rules are just around the corner! The new RESPA rules, enacted by HUD, are designed to help protect the borrower by standardizing the industry and by improving the borrower's understanding of the loans and all the terms associated with the loans. All brokers and lenders will be required to provide the consumer with a GFE and a HUD-1 with a more thorough eplanation of terms and charges. They will also have to provide a side by side chart to help the borrower compare estimated fees and settlement charges which will be set within tolerance limits.The new rules will be effective January 2010. These new forms should help the borrowers avoid any surprise charges at settlement and shouln't affect how realtors do business. I've seen the new forms and can tell you they are not p...
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By Jim Cheney, Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055
(Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA)
Did you know that people usually decide within two minutes whether they like your home?  The first impression is often the lasting impression.  And they start forming their opinion as soon as they open the front door! I provide free staging for my vacant listings. I believe that staging your home will make it sell faster, and for more money then leaving the home empty.  Most agents do not want to do the work to stage a home, let alone have the ability to stage a home.  I believe so strongly that your home will benefit from staging that I will do it at no cost to you!  The slide show below are pictures from vacant listings that I've staged.  Would your home benefit from staging?
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By Jim Cheney, Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055
(Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA)
I hope most agents are already aware of this, however I'm not sure the population as a whole is.  There have been numerous articles, television news shows and even a lengthy article in the recent NAR magazine.  In Sonoma County the scam has hit some agents very hard, yet others are unaware of it.  Here's how it works: The scammer finds a home for sale.  They can find it any number of ways, but all they need is the property address, and usually they pick a home that is vacant.  Even better is a home that is vacant, for sale, and has no sign (I see these all the time).  The scammer runs an ad, frequently on Craig's List, advertising the property as being For Rent.  They advertise that they are desperate to get it rented, and that the rent is well below current market rates. They give the ...
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By Jim Cheney, Rincon Valley Realtor 707.494.1055
(Saint Francis Property Santa Rosa, CA)
Last week California rememebered the Loma Prieta earthquake which occurred 20 years ago on October 17th.  Just like JFK's assassination, most locals remember exactly what they were doing when, for about 45 seconds, an earthquake rolled through Northern California.  The destruction was devastating, and unimaginable.  The collapse of the Cypress freeway in Oakland killed hundreds of motorist in their cars, the collapse of the Bay Bridge, and the scenes of San Francisco's homes collapsed, and the Marina district on fire. You'd think with all the publicity, that I'd be prepared for the "next one" but I'm not.  Last weeks remembrance reminded me that WE ALL NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR A DISASTER.  You don't have to live in earthquake country to find yourself without food, water, or emergency ser...
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By Kammie Quinones, Santa Rosa Realtor
(Re/Max Pros, License #10372729)
Enjoying, assisting First Time Home Buyers in Sonoma County with my new web site:  www.KammieQuinonesRealEstate.com  
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By Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
(FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage)
Top Realtors, Santa Rosa, CA - Top Realtors are like Top Chefs - Sonoma County Wine Country Lifestyle One of my favorite tv shows is Top Chef on Bravo hosted by by Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio. I have to say, (and my wife agrees with me) Padma is one of the cutest hostest on tv! The contestants face two types of challenges every week: Quickfire Challenge - The chef has to come up with a dish that uses unusual ingredients like potato chips or twinkies.  Elimination Challenge - The chef has to put together a meal that deals with a more complicated challege that takes them a day to complete. Usually it deals with a theme like gourmet tail gate food. As I watched this show, I recognized the top realtors that I work with are like the top chefs on the show. Here's my "quickfire" list that...
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By Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
(FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage)
Home Loans - Rates are great, but homes are better - Santa Rosa, CA   Mortgage rates are at an all time low again. This should help many home buyers save a few more dollars on their monthly payments or buy a little more home. Notice, I wrote "home" not "house." Remember the line "home is where the heart is"? It seems to me that we lost that connection with our home these last few years and stopped paying attention to the health of our "heart". I remember when home buyers talked about raising families or retiring in their homes. Then, things changed and everyone talked about buying a house as an investment. Loans were given out like candy to "house buyers" and people started living off their equity as if they earned it. We all lost touch with the "heart" of the house and ended up having ...
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By kathleen bonham
(FHAllen, Sonoma Country and Vintage)
Last night there was an initial meeting to establish a neighborhood watch in the Historic District. There had been a couple of incidents were an intruder entered homes were the owners were present. Unnerving to say the least! This alarmed the neighborhood, especially stay at home moms and the elderly. As word of these incidents spread it was decided that the Santa Rosa Police Department should be contacted to speak to our neighborhood as to what they would recommend. As a result we had a neighborhood meeting were three police officers discussed the different aspects of home security and steps that can be taken to deter unauthorized entry. In addition they recommended putting the local police department phone number on your cell phone or speed dial, in part because of an anomaly of 911 c...
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By Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
(FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage)
FHA and VA Home loans - Santa Rosa, CA - Inspection reports I have to laugh. I just got asked if I actually know how to do loans because several of my last blogs have been about my geographic area and were not loan related. I've been originating loans for 18 years, many of them were FHA and VA loans, but I don't feel I need to go on and on about my field, when there are plenty of other interesting things to write about! I have seen many loan professionals in my industry with the amazing ability to crunch out pages of information and commentaries about home mortgages. I have the utmost respect for those peers, and will continue to learn from all of them. I however, would like to keep a variety of subjects within my blog. I don't know about you, but, sometimes I feel like I'm overinundate...
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By Scott Dovala, Santa Rosa Mortgage and Home Loans
(Ascent Home Loans)
What? Haven’t you heard that the housing slump is over with? You must be seeing the same news reports I am. News reporters expounding that both the new and pending home sales are up. Come on everybody let’s jump in now before it is too late! For the past few months that’s all the news has been reporting; new home sales up over last month, pending sales up over this time last year. I think the news organizations need a realty check and should start reporting the figures as they really are. Although it is human nature to not want to hear bad or discouraging news, sometimes a dose of truth with a little common sense thrown in may help that first time buyer or current home owner decide when to purchase their first home, or move up to a new one. The fact is that the housing slump is not over...
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