Home Buying Tools for Sonoma County
If you’re searching for a new home in Sonoma County, you’ll be glad to know there are plenty of great resources available for home buyers and mortgage borrowers. In this post, we’ll review some of these helpful resources and provide links to find additional information. Whether you’re looking for Sonoma County home prices, home value trends, FHA loan limits or eligibility details for specific mortgage programs, we can help.
Let’s get started!
Evaluating Home Prices & Values in Sonoma County, CA
Before you jump head first into the Sonoma County real estate market, you’ll likely want to do a little research on current home prices in the area. Because Sonoma County is fairly large, prices may fluctuate from city to city and region to region. For instance, homes in Santa Rosa may be more expensive than those in Geyserville. If you’re working with a real estate agent, he or she can help you research current home prices in your desired market, but it’s always good to do a little homework yourself.
Here are a few ways to investigate home prices/values in Sonoma County:
- Check the local pages on major real estate websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, or Trulia. Just by checking out the local information on these three sites, you’ll see immediately that home prices and values can vary. For instance, Realtor.com reports the median listing price in Sonoma County as $625,000. By contrast, Zillow reports a median listing price of $639,000. Meanwhile, Trulia breaks it down by ZIP code.
- Scroll through current listings. You can use those same three major real estate websites to browse available listings in Sonoma County. Use the filters to narrow your search by size, location, home type, and amenities and then see what prices are popping up. For 3 bed, 2 bath homes in Santa Rosa, there appears to be a lot of homes in the $300k-$500k range. In Petaluma, there seems to be more in the $600k-$700k range. Keep in mind, things like school districts, nearby shopping and distance to a major city will influence home prices.
Researching Sonoma County Mortgage Programs
While most mortgage programs aren’t really different based on location, there are some home loans that have specific guidelines that vary by location. For example, FHA Loans have certain limits and those limits vary depending on location. Likewise, USDA Loans base borrower eligibility on income limits that are variable depending on the median household income for the area. Does all of this sound confusing? Here are a few tips and resources for sorting out mortgage guidelines in Sonoma County.
FHA Loans in Sonoma County:
FHA Loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, but the FHA will only insure loans up to certain amounts. Those amounts vary by location. You can click here to look up FHA Loan limits for Sonoma County.
USDA Loans in Sonoma County:
USDA Loans are backed by the United States Department of Agriculture. They offer zero money down home financing for eligible borrowers, but those borrowers must meet certain income guidelines. Unlike many other home loans, it is possible to earn too much money to qualify for a USDA Loan. Income guidelines for USDA Loans vary by location. You can look up income requirements for USDA Loans in Sonoma County here.
USDA Loans are also available only to homes that are located in eligible areas. These areas are designated as rural, or less-developed by the USDA standards. If your goal is to find a USDA-eligible home, talk to your real estate agent and make sure they know to look for USDA-eligible properties on your behalf. If you already have a home in mind, you can use the USDA’s interactive Property Eligibility Map to see if the home is eligible for USDA financing.
Here are just a few more home buying / relocation resources you may find useful in your search for a Sonoma County home.
Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) – Find school district information, browse class lists, discover special education resources and more.
Sonoma County Connections – Business- and lifestyle-related resources for Sonoma County, including a list of Chambers of Commerce.
Sonoma County Official Website – Information on local government, resources for residents, upcoming events, and more.