Joe's Corner  

Joe White - Real Estate Broker
Northern California Real Estate
Northwest Sonoma County and Southern Mendocino County
Recreational And Estate Properties
We have been doing this since 1976

CREDIBILILTY, THE LACK OF IT IS A
MAJOR PROBLEM IN THIS BUSINESS.

Updated: 02/16/07

Selling country property is not a cookie cutter process. It is much more of finding a fit. It is often comparing apples, oranges and tomatoes. It is worse that's your wife finding just the right dress for the 30 year class reunion. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL HOW LONG A PROPERTY WILL SIT ON THE MARKET. Being honest about its value is a major factor. We should be able to peg the value within 10%. Here are a few examples. Unfortunately there are many, many more.

3200 Pine Mountain Road came on the market in July of 2001. for 2.5mil. A drop dead beautiful property but no information on specifics such as perk, water volume and so forth. The commission offered to the selling office was 2.5% which is of what I would have recommended. I estimated its value at 1.5 mil. During the following 4 years annual appreciation was running about 20% per year. It sold on 8/12/05 for $1,580. 37% off on value and 4 years of the Sellers life.

4030 Old Barn Road came on the market in October of 2002 in a very hot market for 2.7 mil. . Very well located in Alexander Valley with a pool, 3 beds and 3 baths on 10 Ac with a horse set up. I pegged it at 1.8 mil. It sold in 7/04 for 1.9mil. 30% off on value and 1.6 years of the Sellers life.

5610 Dry Creek road came on the market in September of 01 for 3.2 mil. 21 of the 24 Ac. were planted in a vineyard. Excellent location. Unusual house but room to fix it. The commission was low. I pegged the value at 2.4 mil. It was on and off the market and sold in 7/04 for 2 mil. 37% off on value and 2.8 years of the Sellers life.

299 Colony Road. It came on the market in July of 2000 for 5mil. A very unusual house on 20 Ac with a great location. I could fix the house or it needed the Brady Bunch. The commission was low. It was a difficult property and I pegged the value at 2.4mil. It sold in November of 02 for 1.45mil. 71% off on value and 2.3 years of the Sellers life.

1690 Highway 128 was a beautiful 384 Ac. ranch with problems that had not been solved as it came to market for 6.5 mil in July of 2001. The commission was low. It sold for $2,154,500 in 8/05. 72% off on value and 4.2 years of the Sellers life.

44000 Brushy Ridge loop. This was party that had talked to me quite a bit and had feed back on prices from me. They went For Sale by Owner for $650,000.. That effort died quickly as they discovered the problems of qualifying, describing and disclosing were fraught with peril. Then they listed with an agent for $975,000. They pulled that listing due to non performance. Then I took the listing at the price I recommended and had it in escrow within 60 days for full price. $649,937. The process took them about a year. 32% off on value.

43495 Brushy Ridge loop was listed in July of 96 for $179,000 by an agent who had not gone to the property. Their one page flyer was not an honest description. In June of the following year I listed it for $169,974. My brochure included 12 photos, a very good topo map and three and 1/3 pages of the good, the bad and the ugly. We sold it within 3 months for $163,000. The property had some interesting problems. There had been an extensive garden that had been busted by the Sheriff. The Sellers ex wife who had drug problems was still on title. Most of the buildings were done with out permits and the Seller had gotten religion and confessed the county. He then consistently failed to follow through on trying to fix the violations and had been red tagged. There were several dead vehicles that had not made it to the dumps and they made poor flower pots. The basic bones were good. There was some nice land. I pulled together a plan and helped clean up the mess. Then I put together a package which fairly described the situation including all of the above. Then all I had to do was find the right Buyers who had the ability to work on it. They still love it and it is a beautiful place today.

43500 Brushy Ridge loop was listed by an agent for $975,999 in June of 99. The next agent listed it for $625,000. In September of 2000. It was not a "RUSTIC CABIN' it was a shack. It was a good piece of dirt. I sold it for $475,000 in November of 2001. That price was exactly in the middle of the range I originally predicted. 49% off on value and 2.3 years of the Sellers life.

27801 Skaggs Springs/Stewarts Point Road was listed in March of 2004 for $1,999,000. It was a very poor lot that after 9 years sold for $39,000 in 1999. I had visualized it as a possible a frame cabin sight. The buyer built a 3,000 sq. ft. house. A rock quarry was immediately next door. If your child was playing basketball and he did not get the rebound it would land on the paved county road which was about 100 yards down hill. The house was multi story because it could not have been built on one level due to a major lack of usable ground on the 5 Ac. The commission was low. The selling office which was the third or 4th agent raised the selling commission to 5% which was a very high commission. It is very hard to peg the price on this due to the very narrow market it would appeal to. I estimated $800,000. It sold for $850,000, 42.5% of the original price. One year and eight months of the Sellers time.

6200 West Dry Creek came on the market in July of 2004 for $5,500,000 with an agent from San Francisco. I was very familiar with the property as I had sold it as bare land in 1991. There were about 14 Ac. of well maintained vineyards and a 3,303 sq ft very Frank Lloyd Wright house with many angles. It was very un typical for the area which is excellent. Due to the design of the house there was a very limited market and valuing it was not easy. I estimated the value at 3.8mil. It sold for 4 mil. after a year and four months. 73% of the listing price.

63900 Skaggs Springs Stewarts Point Road came on the market on 10/01. for $3,125,000. It was a steep property with a poor house but it had a view of Lake Sonoma. The commission was low. There was a 16 Ac. portion that might be planted if enough water was found and you cleared the trees. The commission was low. They went through about 6 agents over the 5 years it took to sell for 1.5 mil. which was 48% of the listing price.

23250 Chianti Rd Sold in 2003 for $976,000. It is a 58.Ac property with Highway frontage. It was suitable for a winery or residence or both. It came back on the market with some improvements in June of 05 for $1,675,000. It sold in July of 06 for $1,250,000 which was 75% of the asking price. One year. The commission was low.

10600 Westside Road. This was a very interesting property I bought it on speculation and as a possible building site for myself. At 15 minutes form Healdsburg it was a little far for most Buyers for an estate site. There was 2,000 ft. of frontage on the Russian river and about 15 Ac. that could be planted. Of that about 7 Ac. were subject to flooding. I had perked it and developed a well. The price was $1,475,312. As motivation to Agents I offered a $500 cash reward to the agent that went to privew the property the first 2 weeks and found the card that identified them as the winner of the $500. I also offered $500 to the agent who came closest to estimation the sales price. Part of the reason I did this is because setting a value on your own child is harder than valuing something you are not attached to. It took 2 years and 5 months for me to sell it for $1,365,000. This was 93% of the asking price. In those 2 years and 5 months only 12 agents bothered to take that 15 minute drive to look at the property. The rest seemed to feel if they did not have a prospect that matched the inventory why bother. There are about 60 agents in Healdsburg. 4 of the 12 estimate came within 10% of the selling price. The furthest off estimated $980,000. The closest did not survive in this business.

5245 West Dry Creek Road came on the market in late 2005. It was actually about 1.3 miles up Koch Road which is not a nice road. It had 25 Ac. and a 3,066 ft. house. I did not like the house. It had good materials and views but a poor floor plan. They were asking $2,990,000. It sold 325 days later for $1,700,000. 58% of the asking price. My estimate had been 2mil.

Joe White