Home Buying in Sonoma>Question Details

Julianne G., Home Buyer in Sonoma, CA

Seeking a buyer's agent that specializes in undervalued/distressed properties with good location and potential, and/or investment properties.

Asked by Julianne G., Sonoma, CA Wed Aug 14, 2013

We are current Modesto residents, but are strongly considering a move to Sonoma County. We are a young professional couple (late 20's with no children), and work in the family business that includes a location in Santa Rosa. We have a budget of up to $800,000. We are not opposed to buying a move in ready home if something special catches our eye, but we are mostly interested in finding a diamond in the rough. Our close friend is an incredibly talented contractor/designer, so we would like to find a property that he could customize to our tastes and make shine. Also, we are not set on any one location yet. As long as it is within a reasonable distance to Santa Rosa, we are willing to consider. Thank you in advance.

Help the community by answering this question:


Hi Julianne,
I am a Certified Distressed Property Expert here in the Sonoma Valley. I have a bank owned home coming on the market in a week in Sonoma. I also have a listing that needs a bit of help in Glen Ellen. Let me know if I can help, thanks.
Susan Irvine
Terra Firma Global Partners
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 19, 2014
Boy, when you find that winning combination let me know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 16, 2013
Already did, but thanks for your incredibly helpful "answer".
Flag Wed Oct 16, 2013
Good day Julianne. I am an ABR (Accredited Buyers representative) with 20 years of experience in Sonoma County. First I’d like to distinguish between “undervalued” and “distressed”. An undervalued property is one that will indeed sell quickly with multiple offers at more than the list price -- if it is truly ‘undervalued’. On the other hand, ‘distressed’ in real estate parlance typically refers to: (1) properties priced at more than buyers are willing to pay, actually ‘over- valued’, because they are priced in an attempt to get the owners’ investment back or to pay off their loan -- rather than in accordance with the realities of today’s marketplace, or (2) properties that have already moved to ‘short sale’ status and are being sold by the owner for less than is owed, with cooperation from the lender, or (3) properties that have already been foreclosed on and are now being sold by the lender (typically at a discount in order to move them quickly, which often again results in a competitive offer situation).
Each of these property scenarios requires a different offer-making approach; consequently the success of an offer relies not on the buyer’s agent being a specialist in distressed properties per se so much as on the agent’s skill at sussing out what is appropriate for a specific situation, then in guiding the buyer in structuring their offer accordingly, then presenting that offer to the seller’s agent convincingly -- my job is not to ‘sell’ you a home, but rather to sell your offer to the seller.
In the geographic areas that I’m most knowledgeable about (Petaluma to Healdsburg and Kenwood to Occidental) there are currently 75 fully available listings priced from $675K - $825K -- the price range I’d suggest for someone with your budget, who might be willing to consider a “fixer”. Only 3 of these are noted as being short sales and none are being sold by a lender who has foreclosed (referred to as REOs -- for ‘Real Estate Owned’, by the lender). My point: with the recent upswing in prices locally there are fewer ‘distressed’ properties coming to market. However that does not mean that a good buy that offers some room for improvement can’t be found. Almost half of these have been on the market for over 45 days (suggesting they may be overpriced or have unique characteristics that few buyers find attractive) and here is where a good buy can often be made – either by tracking the market closely to catch the next price reduction right when it happens or when a property that has had an accepted offer comes back on the market, or by having the courage to make an offer below what is being asked (after taking the time to investigate the situation enough to determine that doing so could be worthwhile). NOTE: properties in this price range that sold in less than 45 days over the last 3 months sold at an average of 102% of asking, prices on the market over 45 days sold for 97% of asking.
I would be delighted to discuss all of this with you further and to see if we’d seem to be a good match. You can also learn more about me by going to my website http://www.ASKRealtyOnline.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 15, 2013
Hi Julianne,
I have a good eye and track record with "diamonds in the rough" in Sonoma County, particularly country properties as we have so many older homes in beautiful settings that offer great potential and upside. There are a lot of people looking for the same sorts of things and very few distressed properties on the market anymore, so the odds of finding something here that would not be a competitive buying situation are slim to none. That said you can still find what you are looking for and you will want to hire an agent who has good skills at getting your competitive offers accepted. I looked at 13 properties in West Sonoma County today that were new on the market (!) and a few of them had good fundamentals and room for upside development. I expect they will all sell quickly and mostly with multiple offers. That is the market we live in at the moment. Frankly even during the depths of the downturn, good properties were still garnering multiple offers and half the deals I did during that time were competitive. The good news is that more inventory is coming on all the time, and your price range will give you a number of options.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 14, 2013
Let me know if you want to get pre-approved for a loan so that you know exactly what homes are in your budget. You can call me at 408-352-5147 or email me at AGreer@themortgageoutlet.com. You can check us out at http://www.TheMortgageOutlet.com. I will look at your situation and present you with some options.

Alex Greer
NMLS #1056079
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 14, 2013
Thank you for your reply Alex. I should have mentioned that we are already preapproved for that amount through our company's longtime bank.
Flag Wed Aug 14, 2013
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