Agent to Watch – Scott Raaka

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In our latest edition of W Agents to Watch we are excited to feature Scott Raaka!

Scott Raaka offers wine country and Bay Area homebuyers a combination of over 20 years of finance and asset management experience and a lifetime love of Sonoma real estate. Having grown up in the Sonoma Valley since 1974, he provides his clients with local background knowledge and an expert eye for finding hidden property gems.

Continue reading to learn more about the Sonoma-based Agent to Watch. 

Why did you choose to pursue a career in real estate?
In my previous career, I traded markets and real estate is just another type of market that I have always enjoyed following and watching. When I purchase my home 20 years ago it was one of the best decisions of my life. Helping people with their real estate needs is extremely rewarding.

 

How do you think your clients would describe you?
Professional, knowledgeable, prompt and detail-oriented.

 

What is your motto?
Client focused, positive results.

 

What is something most people would never guess about you?
That I constantly listen to “Hair Nation” on Sirius XM.

 

What is one thing people must do when they visit Sonoma County?
Wine tasting at some of the fabulous wineries that Sonoma has to offer.

 

What does a perfect day in Sonoma County look like for you?
Sunny weather with friends and family enjoying great food and wine.

 

What’s your favorite way to relax?
Soaking up the sun in a lounge chair with a cocktail in hand.

 

What’s your favorite local happy hour?
Sonoma Grille & Bar.

 

What’s your favorite local dinner spot?
Girl & The Fig.

 

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Posted on February 20, 2020 at 11:09 pm
W Real Estate | Posted in Agent to Watch |

Agent to Watch – Yen Chesley

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In our latest edition of W Agents to Watch we are excited to feature Yen Chesley!

Yen is a 4th generation Healdsburg native. She started her real estate career in 1998 working for a large commercial real estate company in Santa Rosa, then moving on to residential real estate sales, getting her license in 2001. Living in Healdsburg and Santa Rosa over the last 40+ years has given Yen a strong knowledge of the surrounding areas and local markets.

Continue reading to learn more about the Sonoma County home expert, Yen Chesley. 

Why did you choose to pursue a career in real estate?
I have always loved looking at houses and thought about what a fun job to help people find their dream home. My favorite part is handing over the keys to my clients and sharing in their excitement.

 

How do you think your clients would describe you?
I had to reach out and ask a friend. I would hope they would say I treated them like family and looked out for their best interest. Knowledgeable, patient, strong negotiating skills, and willing to go the extra mile. I will take it!

 

What is your motto?
Treat others how you want to be treated.

 

What is something most people would never guess about you?
I used to make olive oil soaps, lotions, and sugar scrubs.

 

What is one thing people must do when they visit Sonoma County?
Come to Healdsburg and check out all the wonderful shops, restaurants, wineries and take a drive to Lake Sonoma. It’s so peaceful and beautiful, bring a lunch or some snacks and enjoy!

 

What does a perfect day in Sonoma County look like for you?
A road trip around the county checking out new restaurants and local shops with friends.

 

What’s your favorite way to relax?
Overnight trip to Indian Springs in Calistoga. Sign me up.

 

What’s your favorite local restaurant?
Tough… So many good ones… Catelli’s or Campo Fina or Willi’s.

 

What’s your favorite local happy hour?
Bravas.

 

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Posted on February 20, 2020 at 10:54 pm
W Real Estate | Posted in Agent to Watch |

Agent of the Month – Michael Ferl

 

 

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Congratulations to our newest Agent of the Month, Michael Ferl!

Michael Ferl is the founder of Hiraeth Homes, the number one team (by volume) at W Real Estate. He has a passion for continued growth, learning and helping others do the same. Not only does Michael seek out ways to help his fellow agents, but his team also volunteers monthly at a local non-profit. 

Continue reading to learn more about the Sonoma County native.

To what do you attribute your success?
I would attribute my greatest success to my ability to say NO to everything that doesn’t contribute to my personal or professional goals. I have said no to drinking beers with friends on a Saturday night, new business ideas with the promise to get rich quick, creative marketing ideas, investment opportunities, etc. Having a clear vision of what I want in life also helps provide clarity to everything else that is a distraction from that.

 

What was the last book/audiobook you read/listened to?
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. I believe that most of us focus on money first as we believe that this will lead to happiness. It is my belief that we should focus on happiness first. Once I made happiness my greater focus, I experienced more financial success than I ever have.

 

What software/tech tools can you not live without?
My phone, yellow pad of paper, and a pen. Technology is not a magic pill that will make you successful. Focus on developing good habits, systems, and processes first. You can then leverage technology to scale by making everything more efficient.

 

Do you believe it is possible to have a successful career while having a fulfilling personal life? Does this balance exist?
The most important thing is to first ask, “How do you define success?” Our culture promotes money, cars, homes, vacations, titles, etc. as a measure of one’s success. I believe that instead of asking how can I get these things, we should ask, “Why do we want these things?” For me, success isn’t about how much money is in our accounts or how many cars are in our driveway, it is about how are we contributing to the world and if we are having a positive impact on the lives of those around us. From this perspective, my personal and professional lives are one as they both serve this greater purpose.

 

What is a unique aspect of the Sonoma County Residential Real Estate market?
Sonoma County has an incredibly diverse real estate market. Sandwiched in between the wine industry and Bay Area, this location offers many types of industry and opportunity. From small cabins in the beautiful woods of Forestville to large estate properties in Sonoma, Sonoma County has a home for nearly every type of buyer.

 

What is the most underrated/overlooked part of your business? (i.e. thank you cards, social media, etc)
Processes and systems. These are not sexy to talk about and as a result, they often aren’t a focal point for many in our industry. By creating a solid system allows us to create consistency. It also allows us to clearly identify opportunities for growth and improvement.

 

What are the main things that you should look at when investing/purchasing a new property?
The first thing to ask is, “What are my goals and why do I want to buy a house?” Buying a home because your parents told you all your life that it is a good financial decision is not a solid reason to purchase a home. Also, having a clear vision of what your needs/wants are not only now, but potentially over the next 10+ years is important.

 

What is a quote that inspires you?
“To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” – Fred Rogers

 

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out in real estate, what would it be?
Find a successful coach/mentor. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. There have been thousands of successful people in our industry, pick one that you admire and respect. Also, keep it simple. Stop trying to be all things for all people. Your job can be summarized into three main functions: Develop new leads, follow-up with those leads, and convert those leads to escrows. Do that at a high level and hit repeat and you will be very successful.

 

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Posted on February 20, 2020 at 10:33 pm
W Real Estate | Posted in Agent of the Month |

W Real Estate Acquires Windermere Real Estate offices in Cloverdale & Ukiah

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W Real Estate Announces Acquisition of the Windermere Real Estate offices in Cloverdale & Ukiah

Santa Rosa, CA (February 12, 2020) – W Real Estate, the largest locally founded and independently owned real estate brokerage in the North Bay is pleased to announce the acquisition of Windermere Platinum Real Estate Services which has two offices in Cloverdale and Ukiah. The addition of the Cloverdale office will bridge the gap between its current offices in Windsor, Healdsburg, and Ukiah. 

“W Real Estate offers a wealth of resources and innovative support to agents, which will be an incredible asset to my team,” said David Ryan, Owner of Windermere Platinum Real Estate Services. “Joining W Real Estate will ensure they have everything they need to be successful.”

Since launching in 2007, W Real Estate has steadily grown into one of the top 500 real estate brokerages in the country. The 200-agent brokerage has 10 offices in Northern California. This deal to acquire Windermere Platinum Real Estate Services comes just weeks after W Real Estate launched offices in both San Francisco and Healdsburg.

“We are pleased to welcome David and his skilled Windermere Platinum Real Estate Services  Team to the W Real Estate family,” said Todd Schapmire, Vice President of W Real Estate. “The addition of this group of progressive and like-minded agents brings an abundance of market knowledge, long term local relationships, and expertise to our network.”

W Real Estate is a full-service real estate brokerage, offering expertise in residential, commercial, luxury, wineries and vineyards, lots and land, renovation projects, and subdivision/new home sales. 

 

 


Posted on February 13, 2020 at 1:31 am
W Real Estate | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

W Real Estate Receives 2019 Best of Santa Rosa Award

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SANTA ROSA December 11, 2019 — W Real Estate has been selected for the 2019 Best of Santa Rosa Award in the Real Estate Agency category by the Santa Rosa Award Program.

Each year, the Santa Rosa Award Program identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Santa Rosa area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Santa Rosa Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Santa Rosa Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Santa Rosa Award Program
The Santa Rosa Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Santa Rosa area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Santa Rosa Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Santa Rosa Award Program

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Posted on January 24, 2020 at 12:15 am
W Real Estate | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged ,

WRE December Statistics

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Posted on January 23, 2020 at 1:35 am
W Real Estate | Posted in W Real Estate Market Update |

Agent of the Month – Wendy Tam

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Congratulations to our newest Agent of the Month, Wendy Tam!

As a successful San Francisco realtor and mother of 5, is there anything Wendy Tam can’t do? Oh, and did we mention her impeccable design sense? She is able to transform homes into works of art. Any client would be lucky to have her in their corner and we’re fortunate to have her as part of the W Real Estate family. Wendy shared with us what she believes has attributed to her success the most and the tools she uses to juggle her personal and professional life. All this, and more, below. 

To what do you attribute your success?
I would attribute my success to setting goals that are in line with things that I love doing and then keeping a positive mental attitude, especially when faced with challenges. This helps me to wake up every morning feeling excited to take the forward steps – whether large or small that are necessary to reach those goals.

 

What was the last book/audiobook you read/listened to?
The Great Gatsby

 

What software/tech tools can you not live without?
Google Suite – all-in-one for my emails, word processing, spreadsheet, calendar, storage – and best of all: not having to remember if I pressed the save button!

 

Do you believe it is possible to have a successful career while having a fulfilling personal life? Does this balance exist?
Yes, I believe that it is possible to be successful and enjoy family life. We juggle sales, development and having 5 kids. Actually I find that being in real estate actually allows me the freedom to schedule my time around my family’s activities allowing me to be at school functions and not behind a 9-5 desk. So I am very thankful for that! Having a good routine that everyone in the family is on board with really helps when we have to schedule for showings, open houses and appointments.

 

What is a unique aspect of the San Francisco Residential Real Estate market?
One unique aspect in San Francisco is that our homes are very different from one to another, even when they are on the same block. Most of our homes were not built tract homes so being across the street can make all the difference with regards to having a drop-dead view or no views at all. We have a constant demand from buyers for the newest and more innovative homes so newly renovated homes can set record prices with no comps available.

 

What is the most underrated/overlooked part of your business? (i.e. thank you cards, social media, etc)
The amount of time spent to find a good deal for buyers in San Francisco.

 

What are the main things that you should look at when investing/purchasing a new property?
Buying the best location that your budget allows and property that may still have more potential to grow into or build.

 

What is a quote that inspires you?
“Your past does not equal your future.”

 

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out in real estate, what would it be?
Go out and see as many properties as possible on tour, it provides great education on the current market and you will also make great business contacts through meeting other agents.

 

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Posted on January 23, 2020 at 1:27 am
W Real Estate | Posted in Agent of the Month |

Agent to Watch – Jonathan Bruington

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In our latest edition of W Agents to Watch we are excited to feature Jonathan Bruington!

Born and raised in Sonoma County, Jonathan Bruington grew up in a family with deep ties to the local Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino County real estate markets. So it’s no surprise he felt drawn to the industry and ultimately closed over 20 transactions representing over $14 million in sales during his first full year in real estate – while still in college! His stats are impressive but he’s also one of the most genuine and kind agents you’ll come across in the business. Continue reading to see why Jonathan ultimately made the jump from Finance to Real Estate and his must-visit spot in Sonoma County.

 

Why did you choose to pursue a career in real estate?
As I was going through college working towards a degree in finance, I quickly realized that a career with more personal interaction and hands-on elements attracted me. I felt that, after already growing up in the industry, real estate would be a perfect fit to combine both the human interaction I sought with the financial literacy I had been working to obtain. I could not be happier with the choice and have both a passion for real estate and love for the opportunity to develop relationships with my clients beyond the transaction.

 

How do you think your clients would describe you?
Attentive, ethical and dedicated.

 

What is your motto?
Work hard, play fair.

 

What is something most people would never guess about you?
I am a nationally certified archery instructor.

 

What is one thing people must do when they visit Sonoma County?
Spend a day outdoors. Whether it be visiting the Redwoods in Armstrong Woods, Goat Rock Beach on the coast, the beautiful vineyards throughout the valley, or the numerous hiking and biking trails, you cannot go wrong with a day outside in Sonoma County.

 

What does a perfect day in Sonoma County look like for you?
A day spent outdoors full of adventure with family and friends enjoying all that Sonoma County has to offer topped off with the wonderful food we are blessed to have right here in our home county.

 

What’s your favorite way to relax?
A hike through Foothill Regional Park is always one of my favorite ways to de-stress.

 

What’s your favorite local happy hour?
Unlike many, odds are that you will not find me at a local happy hour. Kin is a mainstay here in Windsor though.

 

What’s your favorite local dinner spot?
Sea Thai Bistro

 

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Posted on January 23, 2020 at 1:24 am
W Real Estate | Posted in Agent to Watch |

Agent to Watch – Cheryl Peterson

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We are excited to feature Cheryl Peterson as one of our Agents to Watch!

Cheryl Peterson is a decorated agent – she’s achieved Master’s Level Sales recognition as a top producing Realtor, earned the prestigious Quality Service Award and the added designation of Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). However, all awards aside, she’s truly a pleasure to be around and is able to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. Continue reading to learn why the Santa-Rosa based agent pursued a career in Real Estate and a fact that might surprise you about her. 

 

Why did you choose to pursue a career in real estate?
My career in Real Estate fulfills my desire to challenge myself. I am passionate about helping others pursue their dream of homeownership while providing a level of customer service second to none. I come from a family with a small business background and enjoy the freedom to achieve success while operating on my terms.

 

How do you think your clients would describe you?
Professional, Knowledgeable and Dedicated.

 

What is your motto?
Honesty, Integrity & Service above all else.

 

What is something most people would never guess about you?
I love to go trout fishing in McCloud, CA.

 

What is one thing people must do when they visit Sonoma County?
Drive through Valley of the Moon, Kenwood & Sonoma. Stop, Sip and Eat along the way.

 

What does a perfect day in Sonoma County look like for you?
Warm Sunshine, Family, Friends, and Fabulous Food.

 

What’s your favorite way to relax?
A glass of champagne and a facial.

 

What’s your favorite local happy hour?
Tips Roadside in Kenwood.

 

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Posted on January 23, 2020 at 1:20 am
W Real Estate | Posted in Agent to Watch |

Tax Benefits for Homeowners

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April 15th will be here before you know it, now is the perfect time to review the latest changes to the tax laws to be sure you don’t miss out on the many tax benefits available to homeowners.

 

1. Property Taxes

You may deduct up to $10,000 ($5,000 if married and filing separately) of property taxes in combination with state and local income taxes or sales taxes.

 

2. Mortgage Interest

You can deduct a portion of the interest you paid depending on when you took out the mortgage:

  • Dec.16, 2017, and later: You can deduct the interest on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt (or up to $375,000 if you’re married and filing separately).
  • Oct. 14, 1987, through Dec. 15, 2017: You can deduct the interest on up to $1 million of mortgage debt ($500,000 if married and filing separately).

If you refinanced a mortgage, the limit depends on your old loan’s origination date.

  • If the mortgage predates Oct. 14, 1987, all the mortgage interest may be deductible.

 

3. Home Equity Loan interest

Interest on home equity loans and home equity lines of credit can be deducted only if you spent the borrowed money on home improvements.

  • If your first mortgage is over the deductible limit, the home equity loan interest won’t be deductible.

 

4. Discount Points

If you’re within the limit to deduct all your mortgage interest, you may also be able to deduct discount points you paid when the mortgage closed.

 

 

5. Home Office Expenses

if you’re self-employed and use part of your home regularly and exclusively for your business, you can take a tax deduction of $5 per square foot, for up to 300 square feet of office space, to a maximum deduction of $1,500.

  • See the IRS website to determine whether your home office qualifies for a tax deduction or play it safe and consult with a tax professional.

 

6. Medically Necessary Home Improvements

You can deduct the cost of installing medically necessary home improvements that benefit you, your spouse or a dependent:

  • Permanent improvements that increase your home’s value are only partly deductible. The deductible cost is reduced by the amount of the property value increase.
  • However, many accessibility improvements, such as entrance ramps, widening doorways or installing railings, usually don’t increase the value of a home and can be fully deducted.

 

7. Solar Energy

  • Between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2019 – 30% of the expenditures on solar energy are eligible for the credit.
  • Between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020 – 26% of the expenditures on solar energy are eligible for the credit.
  • Between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021 – 22% of the expenditures on solar energy are eligible for the credit.

 

8. Tax benefits to selling your home

If you’ve lived in your primary residence for two out of the five years before you sell it, you’re excluded from paying taxes on any profits up to:

  • $500,000, if you’re married
  • $250,000, if you’re single.

 

Claiming these tax deductions may only be worth the trouble if all of your itemized tax deductions exceed the IRS standard deductions, which were raised in 2017 with the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The standard deductions for the 2019 tax year:

  • $24,400 for married couples filing jointly
  • $12,200 for singles and married individuals filing separately
  • $18,350 for unmarried heads of households.

To decide whether to itemize, add up homeowners and other tax deductions you qualify for:

  • If the sum is more than the standard deduction, then itemize.
    • If not, take the standard deduction.

 

Homeowner costs that are not tax-deductible

  • Insurance premiums, including for mortgage insurance.
  • Homeowner association fees.
  • Transfer taxes or stamp taxes.
  • Cost of utilities.
  • Rent for living in the home before closing.
  • Costs for getting or refinancing a mortgage, such as a loan assumption, credit report and appraisal fees.
  • Depreciation
  • Forfeited deposits, down payments or earnest money.
  • Wages for domestic help.

 

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Posted on January 21, 2020 at 4:42 pm
W Real Estate | Posted in Uncategorized |