The biggest challenge we had last year, given the current interest rates, was getting sellers’ to be reasonable with their asking prices.

January 25, 2024

Jess Young

As everyone knows, real estate sales have been slower than usual the past couple of years, and the primary culprits have been the limited inventory of homes for sale and the rapid rise in interest rates and subsequent increases to mortgage rates. While the latter seems to have peaked during this cycle at over 7% for a conforming, 30-year (non-jumbo) loan, qualified buyers more recently could secure a mortgage at 6.6%. At 300 basis points or more than what loans were at the beginning of 2022, that differential is still too much for many buyers, especially first-time home buyers.

Thus, we went looking for what might appear to be a ‘normal’ or ‘average’ house sale story, because we know homes have been selling, even if the media mostly tells us that they are not. And we found one, in speaking with Jess Young, a veteran Realtor with Sonoma County Properties.

Young and colleague Charles Lunnie co-listed a single-family home on Kingwood Street in Santa Rosa. It’s just off of College Avenue in a mixed-use community of pocket neighborhoods and commercial enterprises. With an asking price of $569,000 or below the market’s medium home price, the SCP agents knew they would get a lot of interest. And they did. They hosted open houses nearly every weekend.

“The phone never stopped ringing in the 3-4 months we had the listing,” says Young.

Like many older homes, the listing had its challenges. For example, the rooms were very small and the property backed up to a commercial car wash.

Despite the activity on the listing, no offers were submitted the first couple of months. Then one came in, at $100,000 below the list price. The seller had the SCP Realtors reject that offer, but lowered the asking price. Then a second offer arrived, and this time it was $70,000 lower than the asking price. The seller countered that they would take $10,000 off the asking price, but during that process, they got a full-price offer and the agents retracted the counter offer.

The new full-price (though reduced twice) offer came with a kick; the buyers (first-time home buyers), had help from a city program to make the down payment on the loan. The sale closed, much to the delight of the seller and the listing agents.

“Without the city loan program and down payment assistance to the buyer, I’m not sure we were going to be able to close this sale,” said Young.

Visit the City of Santa Rosa’s website for more information on the program, but here is the gist of it.

“The City of Santa Rosa’s Down Payment Assistance Loan program (DPAL) provides loans up to $75,000 to qualified borrowers to use towards the purchase of their first home within the Santa Rosa city limits. This program is open to current Santa Rosa residents only and must be used towards the down payment of a home as the owner’s primary residence. The loan does not require monthly payments. When the property is sold, transferred, in some cases refinanced, or the loan has reached its 30-year term, the owner must pay back the principal amount of the loan, plus any accrued interest and fees.”


Ron represented me twice in recent years on the listing and sale of two investment properties. His vast knowledge and experience in real estate made for trouble free and expedient transactions. Ron’s communication and negotiation skills are top notch. Highlighting Ron’s genial personality, it was a pleasure to have him represent me.

— Glenn S.

Ron was a tremendous help during an extremely difficult transition for me after living in my house for 36 years.  He went far beyond what I expected in a RE Broker by helping to enhance the appeal of my house and by guiding me through all the challenges that came up from selling a rural property.  And he’s just a genuinely nice guy! His calm attentiveness and deep knowledge made the move bearable when I felt like giving up just from exhaustion. On top of that, he helped me acquire my current house which is so perfect for me during this new chapter of my life. A very happy ending!

— Sharon B.

Ron Welsh, the owner/broker of Sonoma County Properties Inc., has been nothing less than an angel in disguise when it came to the sale of my grandmothers property.

When my grandmother died at the age of 103, she left her only asset of a country property in Santa Rosa to her four children in equal shares. These are four senior citizen adults that did not typically see eye to eye. Ron was patient, understanding, unflappable, and made the process extremely easy. His experience in real estate transactions was evident and his experience in dealing with multiple obstreperous parties was clearly unmatched.

Ron kept the family apprised of every step in the process and was successful in selling my grandmothers (rather dilapidated) home in just a few days to the satisfaction of all parties. That was no easy feat.

I would highly recommend Ron and his team in any real estate transaction, whether that be buying or selling a home.

— Kathleen Pozzi

I found Ron to be the consummate professional. He is extremely skilled and accomplished at all phases of the sales process. His hard work and negotiating skills were the deciding factor in closing the sale of our home in less than 90 days at 97% of our asking price. That is a real accomplishment, as our home was priced at the upper end of the market where buyers were far and few between.

I would highly recommend Ron’s services for anybody looking to purchase or sell a home in this area.

— mwerneralsco

We were looking for a unique house with character. Ron took the time to understand our needs and was patient with us as we spent many months looking for the right house. He was always available to answer questions or tour properties, and didn’t push us to commit to something that wasn’t right. Ron was a calm, reassuring presence during our search. He knows both the real estate business and the local market. Ron is an experienced advocate you’ll be glad to have in your corner. He is the Realtor we would recommend to friends and family.

— MF Warren

We were able to hit our target date for listing and Ron had us priced right to get multiple offers within 48 hours. From that we were able to choose a strong buyer and close in under 3 weeks, still in October. What had seemed an impossible dream became our new reality thanks to Ron’s experience and ability to get us connected to the right people and complete our pre-sale tasks. Aside from all this Ron is simply a great person to know and work with. He is hands on (literally helping me tear down a false wall the tenants had erected) and was constantly extending offers to help in any way he can with the contractor and appliance deliveries. I strongly recommend Ron to anyone looking for a top quality real estate experience.

— Kevin E.

Ron has helped our family members buy two homes and sell another. I’ve also recommended him to several friends over the years – something I only do when I really trust someone to take good care of them. Everyone has really enjoyed working with him and they’ve become repeat customers of his now too. He knows Sonoma County so well and has a great mellow personality. except when you need him to really rally for you during price negotiations – the perfect combo you want in a realtor!

— Kelley K.

Ron negotiated our very challenging deal with multiple transacations and deadlines. This was definately the kind of situation the required experience. He went the extra mile to ensure that both our real estate sale and purchase closed on time. This was such a tricky process, I really don’t think it would have happened without Ron there to help us through!

— Nick S.

Ron Welsh, has been our real estate the past few months, He has conducted himself, very professional, has been very sincere in our needs of real estate. Dealing with past agents some were not very reliable, Ron was always on time with appointments. It has been a pleasure working with him.

— David & Linda R.

I’ve had 2 purchase and one sell experiences in my life so far; hands down Ron Welsh / Sonoma County Properties was best real estate experience I’ve had to date.

In the end, I felt like Ron was really on my side, advocating my position at every step. Thanks to him, our project is well on its way and we should have our new home for the next holidays.

— S Lietzke

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