Home Buying in Sonoma>Question Details

Mark, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

I am considering purchasing a home in the Healdsburg area.

Asked by Mark, San Francisco, CA Tue May 25, 2010

Are there are any parts of the area that are less desirable than others? Also, would a small, one-acre vineyard generally be considered an asset or a liability in the resale of a property here?

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Hi Mark,
Like any area there is a variation in desirability (although it is of course subjective). Healdsburg is a small town and proximity to the plaza is considered very desirable by many, while more of a country feel (with or without acreage) is the choice of some. The busy-ness of the street is a factor along with the proximity of businesses or apartment buildings. I was just explaining this to a client last weekend as we considered a number of homes. While they could have afforded a very nice home within 2 blocks of the plaza, they chose something a litle further out in a quieter area. Other clients of mine who have bought in Healdsburg most definitely wanted to be an easy walk from the plaza. As one client put it, he wanted to be able to walk home after a fabulous dinner at Cyrus, and now he can.

Literally block by block there are variations in style and quality of homes so it takes someone familiar with the area to introduce you to your options. Whether the property has a 1 acre hobby vineyard or not is also a function of how much of a country feel the buyer wants. Many people who move to the wine country like the idea of a hobby vineyard. Many of my clients who buy property with smaller lots will plant a few vines as a landscaping feature just for fun, and make some homemade wine.

Also, the nature of the vineyard matters. Is it old chardonnay? What kind of root stock? Is it irrigated? Has it been well maintained? I wouldn't consider it a liability per se unless it was at the point of needing to be ripped out. Many new or part time residents in Healdsburg or in other parts of Sonoma County like the idea of a small vineyard, but might want to have someone else manage it, either in trade for part of the wine produced, or for a fee. I have neighbors that manage my small vineyard and we split the proceeds, in this case (so to speak) a dozen or so cases of zinfandel.

I hope this is somewhat helpful and I recommend you work with an agent knowledgeable in the area so that you can see what makes sense for you. There is a little foreclosure home on the market with its own hobby vineyard at a very good price.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 25, 2010
Healdsburg ia a great town to live in. I have lived there for over 6 years and it has the perfect mix of small town charm and high end elegance.
If you buy a home and have a hobby vineyard make sure you plant something that is traditional for the area .Visit local tasting rooms to get a feel for the type of fruit the area can provide. It can be a liability if the new owner has to tear everything up and replant because you thought it would be fun to try a new varietal.

From a mortgage prespective if you purchase a home with a one acre vineyard try to resist declaring a farm income loss or gain. It makes it extremely difficult to refinance with the majority of larger lenders not willing to touch any property with farm income or loss no matter how much of a hobby it is.
Web Reference: http://www.readybell.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 25, 2010
Hello Mark, you will love Healdsburg!

Been here my whole life, and still love it! There is a new listing up the road from me on Mc Donough Heights...small house, great deal!! Bank owned home.

If you have any questions and want it straight from a local..707-888-1688. Tonight is our FFA Parade, yes, it looks as if we will get rain, but if you can come to town tonight it's great fun for young and old!

Have fun

Teresa Henderson
Creative Property Services
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 27, 2010
What the others have said in regards to Healdsburg is true ....It is a great place to live and I would consider it a good safe investment.My family also owns a winery and we have a tasting room in town ...... we purchase many of our grapes from small vineyards in Healdsburg and the surrounding areas.The dry creek valley is where we get our zinfandel grapes and it is known to produce great vintages.Good luck I wish you the best !!!Jeffrey M Young Essex Mortgage Bank in Santa Rosa - http://www.fhasubmissions.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 25, 2010
Healdsburg is a great place to live, either properties with and without vineyards are great investments.
Web Reference: http://www.mirjamderijk.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 25, 2010
What Pam said. Great answer, Pam.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 25, 2010
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