Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Kunde Vineyard Dog Walk

Take your dog for an off-leash walk through the hills of the Kunde vineyard


Photo by: Jim Cheney, Broker/Owner Saint Francis Properties "Your Rincon Valley Realtor"
Hikers and pooches make their way into the hills of the Kunde vineyard 

Several times a year, Jeff Kunde leads visitors for a 3-4 mile hike through the hills and vines of the Kundey Winery.  Once hikers get away from the winery buildings, dogs are allowed to run free off leash as Jeff leads visitors through the vines and explains the history of the area.  Of course, there are plenty of stops where hand-picked wines are poured and sampled.
Photo by Jim Cheney, Broker/Owner Saint Francis Properties "Your Rincon Valley Realtor"
Humans sample some Kunde wine


The hike wraps up back at the winery with a 5-star buffet lunch including wine (and treats for the dogs).  Gwen, Bagel, Jerry and I have done this hike several times, and it is worth the fee charged. I recommend reserving your spot now, and this hike sells out.

Where: Kunde Family Winery 9825 Sonoma Hwy Kenwood
When: Saturday Sept 29th  9am - 1pm
Cost: $75

  • What to know: 
  • Dogs must be on leash at the beginning and end of the hike
  • All hikers must be 21
  • Wear comfortable hiking shoes
  • Bring layered clothing
More info: Dog Hike


Photo by: Jim Cheney, Broker/Owner Saint Francis Properties "Your Rincon Valley Realtor"
Guests enjoy a post-hike lunch





I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633


Monday, September 17, 2018

Water Bark

Spring Lake's Water Bark



Every fall after Labor Day, the swimming lagoon closes to the public.  The good news is that for 4 weekends, the lagoon is open for dogs to come play in the water (normally not allowed).  

The swimming lagoon is fenced off and for a $7 donation, you can bring your dog in to play in the water.  The donation is a benefit for the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation.  Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the Otter Cafe.  

Cost: $7 non-park members, $5  park members
When: Sept 22 & 23;  Sept 29 & 30    9am - 5pm
Where: Spring Lake Regional Park (swimming lagoon)
             393 Violetti Santa Rosa
More info: Water Bark








I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Mortgage rate survey




Mortgage rates continue to inch upward
Saint Francis Properties
August rates per Freddie Mac



I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633


Survey of Rincon Valley Homes Sold in August 2018





Saint Francis Properties
Click image to enlarge it

Averages:                                                                                                            

Sq Ft - 1855
Sold -  $740,325
Price per Sq Ft $404.




I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633



Thursday, September 13, 2018

Survey of Rincon Valley Homes Sold in July 2018

                               _____________________________________________________

Averages:    #listings sold 28                                                              2088 sq ft         $829,655                                                                                                                                         

Other statistics:

Median price: 732,500
Average price per Sq Ft = $406.71
Number of Days on the Market (DOM) 45

(Sales report does not include Oakmont)



I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Zoftig Eatery

Check out Zoftig Eatery


Owned by my friends Matt and Sonjia Spector, Zoftig Eatery is right down the road at 57 Montgomery Dr across from Memorial Hospital.  They took the space previously occupied by the Sonoma Taco Shop.   

Magic Matt preparing another unforgettable lunch
I first ate at Matt and Sonjia's Calistoga restaurant JoLe when I took Gwen out for a nice dinner on her birthday.  Matt and Sonjia have since brought their great food and creative menu to Santa Rosa.  Not as fancy as JoLe, Zoftig is a simple casual place to grab a delicious breakfast or lunch.  The atmosphere is chill and the food is not only delicious but healthy.  Most of the ingredients are locally sourced and most foods can be easily eaten on the go.  

Gwen and I popped in for lunch. I was really impressed with the Korean BBQ burrito.  Never had one before, and not sure where else I'd go to get one.  It was great.  If you're downtown and you want a healthy, affordable choice for lunch, you should stop in!
house-made roast beef, garlic aioli, charred onions, sweet chili relish, arugula

Zoftig also offers catering. I've used them during my broker open houses to provide lunches to agents who stop by my listings.  


Where: Zoftig Eatery 57 Mongomery Dr Santa Rosa
When: Mon-Sat   8am - 4pm
Why: Fresh, healthy,  breakfast and lunch
Web page: Menu






I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633



Is Santa Rosa Getting Too Expensive?

Check out this list of the most expensive places to live in the world


Look who's #19



This list was produced and published by Numereo. The entire article and list can be found at this site: Cost of living



I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

I want to interview 3 real estate pros, but I don't know what to ask them.

Most people will tell you that you should interview 3 real estate professionals before deciding who to hire.  But what should you ask them?  Here are some good questions:


I have friends and family who do not live in my service area.  They ask me if I might know an agent in their area whom I could refer them to.  I can do a little research and refer a couple of agents but ultimately the client needs to interview the agents and make the final decision.  

Here are some great questions to help you decide who you might want to hire:

1)  How long have you been licensed to sell real estate?


Be suspicious of the agent who says "I've been in the business for XX years".  Historically that means they are new, and they are including some other experience as being "in the business".  You want an agent that has been an agent for 5 years, not an agent who's been an agent for 1 year, and an assistant escrow officer for 4 years.  

It's hard to believe but some agents might not tell the truth, so if you have doubts, you can check an agent's license status by visiting this website: CA BRE License lookup

2)  What type of license do you have?

There are only 2 answeres. A Sales Associate, or a Broker. 

The sales associate is the most common type of license.  It's an easier license to obtain.  A sales associate only needs to take 3 college level real estate courses.
  1. Real Estate Principles
  2. Real Estate Practice
  3. Any 1 of 15 other college-level real estate courses approved by the California Real Estate Commissioner
Sales Associates need no prior experience but are required to work under the supervision of a broker.  

A brokers license is more difficult to obtain.  Some of the requirements to be a broker include:
  • 2 years experience licensed as a Sales Associate
  • The following statutory college-level courses
    • Real Estate Practice
    • Legal Issues in Real Estate
    • Real Estate Finance
    • Real Estate Appraisal
    • Real Estate Economics
  • Three of any of the following:
    • Real Estate Principles
    • Business Law
    • Property Management
    • Escrows
    • Office Administration
    • Mortgage loan brokering
    • Advanced legal aspects of real estate
Lastly, the broker needs to pass a much more rigorous state test to become licensed as a broker.

Typically the cost to hire a broker is the same as a sales associate.  By law, commissions are always negotiable.

3) Are you a Realtor?

Not all real estate agents are Realtors.  To become a Realtor, you have to be licensed to sell real estate, have your license in good standing, and commit to supporting the National Association of Realtor's code of ethics.  Realtors benefit from extra training, resources, and support.   Here is a link to the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics: Code

4)  Can you provide me a list of all the listings you've sold in the last 12 months?  

Once you get that information, see how many of those listings are in your neighborhood.  Does the agent have experience in your neighborhood?  Does he/she know what makes your neighborhood special, what elementary school the kids go to, and where the locals shop? This is important information for marketing your home. 

5)  Where do you live?

I would want to use an agent that can get to my house quickly to show it if necessary.  It also shows they value the community you live in. 

6)  Do you own your own home? 

This may sound insignificant, but would you want to see a marriage counselor who has never been married?  Why would you want to use an agent that does not own his/her own home?  If they don't, I'd want to know why.  Did they lose it during the real estate crash in 2007?  I'm not sure I'd want to rely on an agent who is not a good steward of their own investment.  Or, do they just not believe in the value of home ownership?  Have they experienced the stress of suddenly needing to negotiate repairs with a seller while they are trying to move out of their home and into a new one???

7)  Can you give me a list of properties that you currently have listed? 

Hopefully, they have one or two active listings.  If not, I'd ask them to provide me a list of the homes sold in the last 2 years.  

If the agent provides you with a list of actively listed homes, I'd drive over to the properties and see what type of flier is out in front of the property.  Is there a flier?  Is the box empty, or is this an agent that doesn't do fliers? Is the flier something to be proud of, or is it a piece of 8x10 copy paper with a few bullet points, and one photo of the front of the house.  Agents who do this type of work do not get my business. 

8)  Do you have your own website?

I'd want to know if my agent maintains his/her own website, or do they rely on their broker's web site?  Here's a simple test, do a search engine check on your agent and see what sites come up.  Take a look at it and if there is an article about a real estate topic, ask the agent about it during your interview.  If he/she has no idea what you are talking about, they probably don't maintain a web presence and relies on the company to post articles for him/her.  The Internet is a very important place to advertise properties.  Some agents don't get it and think that just entering a listing in the MLS is all he/she needs to do.  

9)  What is your marketing plan for my house?

An agent who comes to your home prepared with examples of their work should be recognized.  An agent who says he'll "get back to you with some examples" should be sent packing.  Marketing a home should be much more than just putting it in the MLS.  Here are some things that might make your home more appealing than a home in another part of town:
  • award-winning school
  • popular park
  • good or convenient shopping
  • transit system 
  • historical places or landmarks
  • fun "things to do"
The above list is just a few things an agent can do to make your home stand out from others.  Agents who do not think "outside the box" will just put your home on the MLS and hope it sells.

Of course there are other questions you might have that pertain more specifically to your situation, but I hope the 9 questions above can give you an idea of what to ask.  



I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633


Monday, August 27, 2018

Rincon Valley's Cross on the Hill

So what's with the cross on the hill?



Rincon Valley is a cute little piece of Santa Rosa, and as the name implies, it is bordered on 2 sides by hills. It's not known for much other than it is pretty, and property is desirable. The schools are great, and the people are friendly. Oh, there is one thing, there's that cross up on the hill...

There was a property owner who backed up to a portion of a steep south-facing hillside. That person was Arvo Kannisto. He was a World War II veteran, who later became a San Francisco police officer. He retired as a Lieutenant and came to live in Rincon Valley. He gazed up at the beautiful hill above his house and thought how nice it would be to build a large cross on the hillside. A cross that would pay tribute to his fallen comrades in WWII, and show his devotion to Jesus Christ.

In 1981, Arvo obtained permission from the hillside owner above his house to construct such a cross out of large rocks and boulders. When he completed his project, he traveled across the valley to view the fruits of his labor only to see that it was barely visible. He then enlarged the cross's footprint and painted the boulders white. Once completed, the cross measured 127' tall by 67' wide. Arvo was 63 years old when he started the project. The cross sits 700' above the Hwy 12 which runs through the center of Rincon Valley.

The cross is large enough that it can be clearly seen from almost anywhere in Rincon Valley. The image above is a screenshot from Google Earth.

Arvo told the Press Democrat in an interview that he was inspired by the statue of Jesus Christ standing above Rio De Janeiro. To Arvo, the cross stood for Faith, Hope, and Love.

In 2012, Arvo received a letter from the property owner that he was no longer allowed on the property. The property owner was concerned about the liability of people tromping across the steep hillside. He was going to let the cross dissolve back into the hill over time. At some point, it will no longer be a Rincon Valley landmark. Per Arvo's wife, he was heartbroken. In January 2016, Arvo passed away at age 93.

I like the cross, but I need to disclose that I was brought up Christian. I know others who think it's an eyesore. I have Jewish friends who ask me if I'd feel the same way if the image was the star of David. I don't know the answer to that. I'd hope I'd still like it. I think the cross gives Rincon Valley character, and people always ask "What's with the cross"? It has historical significance, and it is great to reference when giving driving directions. It is obvious that in the last few years, people have climbed the hill and roll the whitewashed boulders down the hill, but within a week or two, some other group tromps back up there and repairs it...



I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Rincon Valley Churches

Directory of Rincon Valley churches and places to worship 





Bethlehem Lutheran Church

1300 Saint Francis Road
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707) 539 5252
Bethlehem






Church of Christ

745 Benjamins Rd
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707) 539-8585
Church of Christ




Church of Jesus Christ 

(Latter Day Saints)
5301 Badger Road
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707) 538-7879
Mormons






Family Bible Church


697 Benicia Drive
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
707 799-0410
Family Bible Church






First Missionary Baptist


375 Calistoga Road
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707) 539-1873
First Missionary







 Holy Spirit Catholic Church

1244 Saint Francis Road
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707) 539-4495
Holy Spirit





Hope Chapel


5680 Sonoma Hwy
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707)539-4673
Hope





Redeemer Presbyterian

600 Acacia Lane
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707)539-9794
Redeemer






Santa Rosa Bible Church

4575 Badger Road
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707)538-2385 
Bible Church





Lighthouse

88 Middle Rincon Road
Rincon Valley
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
(707)539-2877
Lighthouse





I love living in Rincon Valley!  I've lived here since 1995 and can't imagine living in a better North Bay community.  Call me today if you're interested in buying a home in Rincon Valley, or if you'd like to list your Rincon Valley home for sale.  

Jim Cheney, Your Rincon Valley Realtor
  • Jim Cheney, Broker
  • Saint Francis Property
  • JimCheneyRealtor@gmail.com
  • (707) 494-1055
  • Rincon Valley - Santa Rosa
  • Your Rincon Valley Realtor
    DRE# 01368633