Happy Thanksgiving!

Fall leads intoFB_IMG_1444777532182[1] winter and winter into spring, but first, let’s dig into some delicious turkey and stuffing and have ourselves a get together! Calaveras County is a fantastic place to spend your Thanksgiving holiday. We have some gorgeous foliage in great abundance during the fall months, and just the right amount of crispness in the air to make those stylish scarves and winter coats and boots a necessity.

If you have a winter cabin or second home in the Motherlode, now is an excellent time to have it winterized if you don’t plan on using it soon. Cold winter mornings have played witness to thousands of broken pipes, leading to thousands of dollars worth or repairs or cleanup after a flood. Likewise, if you have your home for sale and it is currently sitting vacant, please give your real estate agent a call and ask her to arrange to have your property winterized for you. It generally doesn’t cost much more than $100 to have it done if you don’t want to do it yourself, and could potentially save thousands in the long run. Just remember, if you do happen to get one of those rare winter buyers, you’ll have to foot the bill to have the property de-winterized in order for them to be able to have inspections performed.

Seller’s Alert – NOW is the time to start getting your property ship-shape if you intend to list it this spring! Box up those personal decorative items – family pictures, kid’s artwork, unused kitchen and bathroom appliances, etc., and sell, give away, or toss anything you no longer need. HAVE INSPECTIONS PERFORMED! Having the answers a buyer is going to want to know ahead of time puts you ahead of the game and reinforces your asking price. If you need to have work done; termite and pest, roof, septic, well, etc., and you let the buyer know what to expect in regards to that work (ie. your listing price represents and takes into account that the buyer is expected to be responsible for cost of repairs, or that the seller will have repairs done prior to close of escrow), you have more leverage in negotiations where the buyer wants to haggle over the price. Yes, I know inspections can run into the hundreds, but is that really not just a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands in repairs or a suitable reduction in price if the buyer finds out he’s not really getting what he thought he was paying for when you leave that responsibility up to the buyer?

I usually recommend that my sellers have a whole home inspection (usually around $450) and a roof inspection if the roof is over 15 years old (somewhere around $150 for this one). If the home inspector finds evidence of pests or pest damage, I’d take it a step further and get a pest inspection as well. And see, here’s the deal: If you want to be able to sell your home to someone who wants to finance it, the lender is going to require that you or the buyer provides clearances for the septic, well, pest and/or roof from a licensed inspector in order to approve the loan. Otherwise, you are going to be limiting your buyer pool to only those with enough cash to close the deal… which could result in additional months sitting on the market and unneccessary additional carrying expense for you, the seller. And that’s a bummer. We don’t want bummed sellers, we want blissful sellers! So take my advice and have those inspections done ahead of time!

Meanwhile, I want to wish you all a warm, family and fun-filled Thanksgiving holiday with some fantasic Diestel Farms locally grown organic turkey, some home-made egg nog, lots of laughter and abundant good blessings, from my household to yours!

Calaveras County Events for November 1 – 15, 2015

Autumn is upon us here in the foothills, and what a great time of year to be able to enjoy the lovely scenery and cooler weather in Calaveras County! If you were in town recently, you got a chance to enjoy one of our annual events here in Murphys; The Calaveras Grape Stomp and the Gold Rush Street Faire! The winners of this year’s contest called themselves The Grapeful Dead. The action took place in Murphys Park, and the street fair was on both sides of Main Street, which was closed from just past the bridge down to the antique plumbing supply company in the old IOOF building. Despite the wonderful weather we had for the event, it did seem not only to be smaller this year, but to not be as well attended as past events. Nevertheless, fun was had by all in attendance, it seemed, and there were some really cool items available for sale in support of the victims of the recent Butte Fire that ravaged over a 100 square miles of our beloved county.

Murphys Park
Murphys Park

Starting on Sunday, October 11, Moaning Caverns is having a Halloween themed event that runs through the rest of the month, and most, if not all, of the local wineries host a wine stroll through Murphys every weekend.

The Calaveras Community Band will be presenting their fall concert from 3 – 5 pm at the Performing Arts Center at Bret Harte High School on Sunday the 1st of November. The Calaveras Drum Circle will be meeting in Utica Park from 4:30 – 6 pm the same day. Bring a percussion instrument or borrow one of theirs!

On Thursday, November 5th, the 3rd Annual Wine Barrel Open golf tournament will be held at Greenhorn Creek Golf Course and Resort, where contestants will compete for a barrel full of award-winning local wines!

Then on Friday, the Hotel Leger at 8304 Main St. in Mokelumne Hill will be hosting Comedy Nite at the Hotel Leger from 8 – 10 pm. Make sure to bring your funny bone!

The 6th annual Day of the Dead Celebration will be held on Saturday, November 7th from 11 am- 6 pm at Murphys Community Park to celebrate the lives of those who have passed but are still with us in heart and spirit. On that same day, Columbia College will be holding the Sierra Nevada Film Festival starting at 5:15 pm.

On Sunday, November 15th, the Soroptimist International of Calaveras County will be hosting their annual Teddy Bear Tea with music, entertainment, and crafts at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in the Frogtown hall from 1 – 4 pm. Attendees are encouraged to wear their favorite costumes and dress-up apparel. Fees are $15 for children 9 and under, and $27 for those over 10.


Recently Sold Properties in Calaveras County – $400K and Up

Here’s a listing of everything that has sold in Calaveras County (that was listed for sale in our MLS) with a home already on it over the last month: (You can click on the link for a more detailed copy of the information and pictures!).

Sold Listings 8-26-15

246 Blair Mine Rd., Angels Camp, CA 95222 – listed at $409,000 – sold for $409,000 – DaysOnMarket = 98, 3 bedroom/2 bath, 1907 sq ft, 0.28 acres

3985 Paolini, Valley Springs, CA 95252 – listed at $419,900 – sold for $412,000 – DOM = 82, 4 br/2.5 ba, 3168 sq ft, 3.1 acres

2570 Navajo Dr., Dorrington, CA 95223 – listed at $429,500 – sold for $415,000 – DOM = 8, 3br/2.5 ba, 1920 sq ft, 0.5 acres

177 Oakridge Dr., Valley Springs, CA 95252 – listed at $459,000 – sold for $440,000 – DOM = 26, 3 br/3.5 ba, 2626 sq ft, 5.38 acres

5617 Indian Hills Rd., Murphys, CA 95247 – listed at $469,000 – sold for $445,000 – DOM = 18, 4 br/3 ba, 3828 sq ft, 5.3 acres

1759 Thunderbolt Trail, Arnold, CA 95223 – listed at $499,000 – sold for $460,000 – DOM = 59, 3 br/3.5 ba, 2533 sq ft, 1.36 acres

1198 Hanging Tree, Murphys, CA 95247 – listed at $499,000 – sold for $484,000 – DOM = 61, 3 br/2 ba, 1788 sq ft, 5.61 acres

116 Bloods Ridge Rd., Bear Valley, CA 95223 – listed at $519,000 – sold for $495,000 – DOM = 294, 5 br/4 ba, 2500 sq ft, 0.33 acres

663 Smith Flat Rd., Angels Camp, CA 95222 – listed at $529,000 – sold for $500,000 – DOM = 397, 3 br/2 ba, 2566 sq ft, .044 acres

3960 Meadow Oaks Dr., Valley Springs, CA 95252 – listed at $529,000 – sold for $510,000 – DOM = 142, 3br/3 ba, 2170 sq ft, 5.72 acres

2304 Dardanelle Vista, Dorrington, CA 95223 – listed at $549,500 – sold for $520,000 – DOM = 30, 3 br/2.5 ba, 2528 sq ft, 0.55 acres

1101 Cub Court, Arnold, CA 95223 – listed at $649,000 – sold for $640,000 – DOM = 22, 4 br/3 ba, 3560 sq ft, 1.0 acres

2491 Oak Creek Dr., Copperopolis, CA 95228 – listed at $699,000 – sold for $675,000 – DOM = 29, 3 br/3.5 ba, 3131 sq ft, 0.3 acres



Feet Draggers; Why Some Listings Sit on the Market For Too Long

clip art rat dragging cat by tail

You’re trying to sell your home. You’re working with a Realtor, but it’s been on the market for months and no one even wants to come take a look at it. You’ve held open houses, you had all the inspections and clearances performed, and a professional stager even came in to make your home look like one a buyer would want to invest in – the stage is literally set. Even so, you feel like the Realtors in your area are ignoring your property and selling everything else around you.

Your agent has it listed on every online site that lists homes for sale, and you are getting views, but no one is calling. The marketing is there – your home is visible and ready, but it just won’t sell. There are three things that are going to directly contribute to getting your house sold, and they are entirely in your hands as the owner of the property. The easiest way for you to remember them is to remember the acronym PAC. (No, not as in Political Action Committee. As in “How I long to PACk up and move, let me count the ways…!”)

It stands for Price, Availability, and Condition.


The most important contributor to the sale of your property is going to be the amount you set as your sales price. Your Realtor will look on the market for properties that are comparable to yours which have sold in the last six months or so, and will likely give you a range of prices in which your property will likely sell, based on those comps.

Listen to your Realtor! I know you just spent $15K a year ago to have your driveway poured and stamped, even though the concrete that was previously there was still in good shape. I know you spent $10K having a separate deck built for your sauna so that you could access it directly from your bedroom. I know you had a pond dug because you like the sound of the frogs chirping in the evening. I know you’ve had the bathroom fixtures replaced with all-pink versions because it’s your absolute favorite color in the world. But many of these “improvements” are actually valueless when it comes to setting a price for your home. Consider the money you invested in projects that personalized your home as an investment in your enjoyment of the home while you lived there. The value represented by them in the ultimate valuation of your property is going to be nil or less than that – they may actually detract from the value of your home! 

Listen to your Realtor! Your Realtor is not going to sell you short just to put another notch on his or her belt, your Realtor really wants to get you the best price possible on your home! But if you start tens or hundreds of thousands above what the market is indicating your house should sell for, your listing is going to get stale. And then the worst thing happens: people stop looking at it altogether!

So my last piece of advice on this aspect of selling your home is LISTEN TO YOUR REALTOR! Take their experienced opinion and advice regarding what the market value (ie. the price it will sell for) of your property is, and set the price accordingly. And if they tell you that you need to drop the price because your home isn’t selling after a couple or even several months, do it! If you actually get to a place that is below market value, you will likely have multiple offers come in that will end up competing to be the winning bid, and that will bring it back up to market value.


This part is easy. If you want to sell your home, you must make it available for buyers to check it out! Let your Realtor put a lockbox on the front gate, door, or nearby spigot. Let your Realtor put a sign out front to inform the neighborhood that it’s available for sale. Ask your Realtor to hold an open house or ten (unless your home is extremely rural, in which case you can expect your Realtor to sit there for hours without a soul tell his troubles to). Let buyers stop by with their (or your) agent on their whim. I know it sucks, but allow yourself to be inconvenienced for the sake of getting buyers in there to fall in love with the idea of owning this home. Realtors are charged with making sure that your belongings stay where they belong, that lights get turned off, and that doors are locked before they depart. But they don’t have a chance to do that if you only set a limited schedule of availability for showings. They can’t do that if the available appointment times don’t fit into their buyer’s schedules. And if they can’t get their buyers in to see your property right now today, chances are they are going to sell their buyers something else.

Oh, and another thing. When a Realtor brings a buyer over to look at your home, make yourself scarce. I don’t mean leave the room when they come in, I mean leave. Period. No one will openly discuss the pros and cons of this home over another if the owner is standing anywhere nearby. If you must know what happened when you weren’t there, install a nanny-cam and watch the footage after the showing is over. But when a potential buyer is being shown your home, you really need to go somewhere else. As most showings take a half an hour or less, it really isn’t much of an inconvenience in the long run.


If you have a professional stager come in and do their thing, they will advise you how best to maintain the look after they’ve gone. If you followed a set of guidelines for staging your own home (your Realtor can provide them to you), you’ll want to make sure that you go back over them at least once a week to make sure you are maintaining your home in show-ready condition. If you had inspections performed and work needs to be done, make sure to inform your Realtor when you schedule that work to be done, so that he can make alternate arrangements for showings at those times, and provide copies of the clearances once work is completed so that he can share those with potential buyers. Likewise, if work needs to be done and you plan on leaving it up to the buyer, you’ll need to take that into consideration when negotiating a less-than-asking offer price from a potential buyer. The main thing is to make sure that your home is tidy and as filled-with-light as possible for showings. And be willing to be flexible regarding the price if any aspect of your home’s condition is less than stellar.

So, in conclusion, the three main reasons your home is still sitting on the market are Price (it’s too high), Accessibility (you’re not making it available enough for prospective buyers to see), and Condition (clean it up, make it show-ready). Don’t just sit there lamenting the fact that you can’t find a buyer. Your buyer is out there – waiting for you to make their choice easy by making your home fit their expectations. Call your Realtor today and find out what they think you should do to make that happen!