Off Market Ops- Your Agent Should be Getting you in First

Only a few circumstances will prompt me to agree with a client that they could sell their home off market. In one of those rare times, during the holiday season, I posted the contemporary San Rafael home at 217 Picnic Avenue on TopAgent Network, and at the Marin County buy/sell meeting, and finally on my company-wide email list. The postings for this $1,050,000 three bedroom brought many interested agents and buyers, and one solid offer was accepted. Right after we closed, sure enough, a couple of agents were kicking themselves that they missed it. Know that your agent has their boots on the ground and that they are a part of the Marin County Realtors’ networking platforms.

Sonoma Square Real Estate Update

Julie Leitzell, Selling in Marin County and the Towns of Sonoma , Glen Ellen & Kenwood

After the Fires: Yes, Still Closing Sales

Sold! This home lives like a 5- star resort with views of vineyards, hillsides and distant mountains. Pushing through with inspections during the fires, I knew that the characteristics of this particular neighborhood with its underground wires, neighborhood water system and maintained public places would assure my closing this $3.9 deal … even while white ash floated from the sky. Going forward, there will be areas of wine country that will be more desirable to buyers after the fires, and sadly, of course, areas that will suffer.

What is Happening With Wine Country Inventory

The numbers speak for themselves. Comparing October of 2017 to the same month last year, the number of available listings in the county of Sonoma has fallen 21%. At the same time, as you can see by the uptick of the pending line below, the percent in contract has risen by 18% over 2016. Competition for desirable locations is becoming fierce.


SOLD: $1,240,000
Featured in the SF Chronicle Real Estate section, this home in The Springs sold in one week. It had failed to sell when listed by three other agents. Superior photography, staging, networking & client management sealed the deal.

SOLD: $1,035,000 
4 months after buyer paid $980K for the same house on an acre, I sold this home in 2 weeks. Photoshop on flyers helped buyers see the potential.

Sonoma and Marin 2017 Sales

Listed and Sold:

  • 23 Elizabeth, Greenbrae $1,790,000
  • 17140 Keaton, Sonoma $1,240,000
  • 260 San Luis, Novato $875,000
  • 20855 Hyde, Sonoma $1,035,000
  • 178 Morningside Drive, San Anselmo $1,556,000

Buyer Representation:

  • 4112 W. Alder, Sonoma $3,900,000
  • 70 Inverness, San Rafael $2,175,000
  • 70 Arguello Circle, San Rafael $1,700,000

In Contract:

  • 78 Rollingwood San Rafael
  • 730 Oak Lane, Sonoma

Off Market Listing:

  • 217 Picnic Ave San Rafael

Referrals: $3 million placed

Some winter events in Sonoma:

  • Mardi Gras party at ‘The Reel’ Saturday Feb. 10: Tickets are here
  • $15 Wednesday Ramen Nights at Suite D (catered by Girl and the Fig) Bring Your Own Wine—$5 corkage. More Info
  • Sonoma Film Festival passes on sale now. March 21—25. More Info

Has the Damage from the Fires Affected the Beauty of the Wine Country?

In the areas that I specialize in, it takes some effort to come face-to-face with the neighborhoods with heavy damage and heartbreaking losses. Glen Ellen was hit harder than Sonoma or Kenwood. Fortunately, very few wineries were lost. California’s oldest premium winery, Buena Vista, found itself on the front line of the fire that threatened the town of Sonoma, but was saved by heroic firefighter efforts. Here is a photo showing how close the flames came to one of BV’s historical buildings. Bouncing back, we are seeing grass already growing on the blackened hillsides.

A sense of gratitude and neighbors helping neighbors is still evident in our small towns.

Local Knowledge Is Key

  • Which neighborhoods have new sewer line regulations?
  • How will new planned developments and the new VRBO rules affect each area?
  • What are the soil and perc characteristics of different areas? What are the chances of getting a septic permit for an addition or remodel?

Thinking about retiring to Sonoma?

I’m happy to provide a tour of the neighborhoods and the pros and cons of various Over-55 Communities. I attend the weekly networking meetings and provide a high level of service. Your choice of agent will make a big difference in the results.

Julie Leitzell

County map shows Fire Boundaries and Potential Flooding/Mudflow Areas

For those near the fire lines in Sonoma and Napa, this county map shows areas that may experience mudflows or flooding if there are heavy rains this winter. The map also shows where the fires burned, as well (the black boundary lines). There may be changes in insurance rates coming for us all due to these natural disasters, and I am doing some research as to whether insurers are pulling out of high risk areas too. More to come….