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

Wonderful Things For You To Know

Class "K" Construction:
A less restrictive set of construction requirements (allows wood burning stoves as a primary source of heat), which can be used on lots of 20 acres or more. Getting information on Class "K" Construction from the county is not easy, be persistent, 707 565-1900.

The testing of soil to judge its ability to absorb waste products from a House. Testing for this averages about $3,000. Some properties will not meet county standards and are not legally buildable. Under Class K, you can do the testing yourself.

Septic System Design:
Once the percolation rate has been certified, your engineer designs your septic system and submits it to the county. Until the design is approved, he cannot guarantee how many bedrooms will be allowed. He can give a good estimate. County fees are about $325 to $500. Engineer fees vary with the type of system, from $600 to $1,500. Installation can be from $7,000 to $25,000. Period of time averages 3 to 4 months. Weather can slow the process dramatically.

Spring Water:
The county requires a spring to provide one gallon per minute between July 15th and October 1st, and 1,000 gallons of storage. Class "K" only requires 1/4 gpm. Certification is by an engineer and a few people approved by the county. At five gallons per minute, no storage may be required. Virtually all of Sonoma County, which is not densely populated, is classed as "water scarce". They seem to have difficulty understanding that most people don't drill a well if there are good springs on a property. If a property has no water source, I avoid it.

Is a function of size, terrain, travel time, improvements, potential usage, viability, neighbors, area, water, utilities and possibly most important, ambiance. We cover a large area tracking from 70 to 250 properties. The number is a function of availability. We have a lot of experience in comparing apples and oranges. Typically less than 5% are worth considering.

Country properties typically need a minimum of 20% cash down. 30 to 50% is normal. Half of our sales are cash. Banks do not like country. About 80% will not lend on more than 5 acres. Seller carry back is sometimes possible. Rates run between 8 to 10%. Years run from 3 to 15, depending on the needs of the Seller.

Fire Protection:
It is critically important for your safety. Use your common sense. Talk to the county fire services (707 565-1152) about their requirements on access roads, sprinklers, storage tanks, etc.

Granny Units:
A second house within 300 feet of primary house, not exceeding 840 square feet.

Our Buyers:
Professional and small business owners from the bay area. 50% of our sales are referrals or repeat business. They are normally looking for peace and quiet, views, wildlife (50% hunt) and privacy.

Joe White

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