Frequently landlords are asked by a tenant if they can store personal property in a shed or in an open area on country property. Once permission is given, many owners do not monitor what is actually being stored. When a tenant relocates, some of these materials may be left behind and the owner may find disposing of the former tenant’s possessions to be a problem. This can range from vehicles to paint, tires and containers with unidentified liquids. IF permission is granted for a tenant to store personal property there should be a clear understanding of what is being stored and for how long. The landlord should not give permission for any materials that will be difficult to dispose of or are hazardous if the tenant vacates and leaves materials behind. Also, remember that a tenant may pass away or be incapacitated and that situation can become even more complex. Make sure you understand what you are signing up for.

Beach House in Manchester, Mendocino County, CA – On Market at $995,000 –  3 bedroom, 2 bath, furnished, with adjoining vacant lot and private association parking lot at beach below home. Shopping 10 minutes. Healdsburg 2 Hours. Furnished. In Escrow.    

Vacant land properties in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties can be acquired for less than $300,000.  Country vineyard estate properties in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino counties can cost millions.  Whether it is to start a different type of life working from home or for use as a weekend retreat you probably have already determined what improvements you need on a property.  You probably has also determined what interests that you have that the property needs to satisfy – wine, redwoods, farms, the ocean, cycling. How much time do you want to take to get there from what you decide is your base location?  If you can share those requirements, let me see if I can find something that fits the budget and satisfies your requirements for improvements, interests, distance and the financial parameters. A significant part of the real estate that I sell is never on the market and I search for the property that matches the clients needs. If you would like help in your search in please call me, Charlene Schnall, Broker Associate, Healdsburg Sotheby’s International Realty, (707) 483-3192,,

Walk to the town general store from this early 1900’s home on a beautiful 1 acre lot in the historic town of Bodega, CA.  The home has three bedrooms, an office and two bathrooms in 1,438 sf +/-.  (County records show 3 bedrooms and 1 bath in 972 sf).  You 17154 Bodega Ln-095-Crk 1will feel like you are living in a park with fabulous views of surrounding ranches and a stretch of Salmon Creek, a steelhead andX. 2020 Bodega Bay Gen Store 375x250coho salmon breeding stream to call your own.  There are several varieties of apple, pears and plum trees.  Ideal for chickens and a garden. Abundant wildlife and great birding. Neighboring properties include Potter School, made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ and St. Teresa of Avila Church, a favorite subject of photographer Ansel Adams.   A ten minute drive to Bodega Bay and the great beaches in Sonoma Coast State Parks.  Another 10 minute drive will take you to Freestone, CA featuring Wild Flour Bakery and Osmosis Day Spa.  If you are looking for a modestly priced get away property for a full time or part time residence, consider Charlene Schnall, Broker Associate #00825564 at Healdsburg Sotheby’s International Realty has many family retreat properties available in all price ranges.  Call her at (707) 494-5749 for unique properties .


Town of Bodega in West Sonoma County

The Historic Town of Bodega in West Sonoma County

Many Bay Area residents have recently acquired an added appreciation for modestly priced country homes to use as weekend retreats. Sonoma County offers many rural communities with 2-3 bedroom homes on an acre and services like the local general store.  For this type of life style – either part-time or full-time, communities like Bodega, Sebastopol, Graton, Forestville, Bloomfield, Petaluma, Penngrove have great properties still modestly priced.  In addition to local services – these communities are close to other attractions like Sonoma Coast Beaches, Golf Courses, The Russian River Recreation Area. I recently sold several properties that fit this description and have other properties both on the market and pocket listings. If you are looking for a Mini Retreat in the Country – let me help.  Charlene Schnall, Broker Associate, Healdsburg Sotheby’s Realty,, (707) 494-5749,


POST FROM HEALDSBURG VISITING ARTISTS –  Sonoma County has several country properties that are devoted to art, sometimes combined with agriculture.  In some cases this involves housing accommodations for ‘artists in residence’ and well as studio space.  While some of these properties are significant in size – an ‘art property’ could be any size depending on the type of facility you want to establish.  Some are single family homes with an out building used as a studio – and some involve large parcels with multiple buildings and display areas.

Some of the well known art programs in the area: Healdsburg Geyserville

paradise ridge winery – Santa Rosa

Visiting Artists has operated art properties in Los Angeles and Sonoma County as small as a single storefront and attached shop in Venice, CA, a single family residence in Healdsburg, CA and as large as 300, 400 & 700+/-acre ranches in West Sonoma County.  Let us know if you want to discuss your vision or have an interest in acquiring property for this purpose.  Contact George at (707) 494-5749 or






Posted by: TerraSaver | January 3, 2020


Healdsburg Pond HOuse

Healdsburg Pond House

While permitted ponds are not all that common, they can provide a setting for one of the most interesting and flexible structures you can have on a property.  Whether used as a game room, a fishing platform, a boat house, a diving platform, picnic site – this type of structure ends up being one of the favorite ‘rooms’ on a property.  In the event you are acquiring a property that does not have a home, this type of structure – like a barn – can be a great way of creating an initial destination for the weekend.

New Pond House in Healdsburg under constructgion

New Pond House in Healdsburg under construction

Any time you are near water, make sure you have safety equipment for both adults and children (preservers, railings, extendable poles, etc) If you are looking for general information of property with a pond Sonoma County please contact Charlene Schnall, Broker Associate, Healdsburg Sotheby’s International Realty, (707) 494-5749,


Posted by: TerraSaver | December 3, 2019

What is a ‘Pre-Perc Test for a Septic System?

County of Sonoma PRMD required soil testing for septic development for an onsite septic disposal system.

​A Pre-Perc Site Evaluation is the formal documentation of the onsite soil conditions located on a subject parcel. This is commonly mistaken for a percolation test, or perc test. Although both are testing procedures for gathering data related to soil for use in a septic design, one is used to determine septic system type, while the other is used to determine the overall size of the proposed septic system.

​Well, which one is which?

  • A Percolation Test is performed by digging many test holes across a subject parcel and over the course of two days adding water and monitoring the drop or percolation rate of the soil. Typically, these tests are only required by the County of Sonoma on undeveloped properties or during the process of sub-dividing a parcel. The average percolation rate that is calculated after the test has been performed will be the major factor in the overall size of the proposed septic system.

  • A Pre-Perc Site Evaluation is the process of documenting the soil depth and composition for use in a onsite sewage disposal system. This process must be performed by a Qualified Consultant and a member of County of Sonoma Well and Septic Department. During the site evaluation, a backhoe or mini excavator will also be required to be onsite to dig profile holes in the area of the proposed septic system location and required reserve area.

After each profile hole is dug, the soil depths and compositions are logged throughout the total depth of the hole. The Qualified Consultant will be looking for any changes in the soil throughout the depth of the hole, these changes are called “horizons”. Each soil horizon will be measured in depth and documented with the specific characteristics of the soil observed within the horizon. These characteristics and depths associated with them determine whether a site has septic potential, and if so, what type of system the soil can support.

The subject parcel must have at least 24” of septic suitable soil located from grade to have septic potential. If we only find the minimum soil depth required, the property would only have the potential for an above ground septic system like a mound, or an at-grade mound with pre-treatment. The deeper we can find septic suitable soils the better, as it will allow for other septic system types to be designed.

If you’re looking to expand an existing septic system to allow for additional bedrooms or an accessory dwelling unit, you will have to perform a Pre-Perc Site Evaluation if one hasn’t been performed on the property previously.  The process of expanding an older existing gravity trench based septic system can be more challenging then designing a new system, as the soils present in the location of the existing system will need to meet the County’s requirements for depth below trench bottom. Gravity septic systems typically requires 66” – 72” of acceptable soil type to meet the County requirements to allow for the septic system to be expanded.

A large portion of properties across Sonoma County located in basin areas will also require a Wet-Weather Groundwater Determination Test be performed if looking to expand or develop a septic system on a subject parcel; please see our blog Groundwater Testing for Septic Development in Sonoma County for additional information.

Addressing County Requirements for performing a Pre-Perc Site Evaluation for Your Project

BC Engineering Group has performed Pre-Perc Site Evaluations on hundreds of properties across Sonoma County, we’re able to handle all aspects of the project from developing site exhibits, submittal to the County, scheduling of the backhoe and performing the onsite soil work.

As a leading civil engineering design firm, feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have regarding the process of documenting the soil conditions on the subject parcel.

For more information on Pre-Perc Site Evaluation’s and other septic planning and design services, please contact us at 707-542-4321. You can also stay up to date with civil engineering and land planning issues by subscribing to our blog.

Posted by: TerraSaver | October 12, 2019


Occasionally we find country property, or even ‘in town’ property with a structure that can be used for a live/work business.  In the case of a 4 acre, 4 bedroom/4 bath property in Penngrove, CA there was also an unused cottage that had been used for canning fruit when the property had an orchard as well as a 800sf+/- shop and outdoor storage area.  While these features would not be of major benefit to every buyer – and consequently the asking price was based more on the home and acreage – the client who purchased the property was a licensed plumbing contractor and these improvements were of significant value.  Other properties recently sold included small barns and land that are being used for plant nurseries and raising chickens. Please let us know if you are looking for this type of live/work property and we will do my best to find a property that matches your need. Charlene Schnall, Broker Associate, Healdsburg Sotheby’s International Realty, (707) 483-3192,,



Posted by: TerraSaver | October 4, 2019


Chanslor Wildlife has operated and consulted in the sale of Sonoma County ranches and land where the purpose has been to combine an agricultural purpose with outdoor art displays and trails.  These properties have ranged from 10 acres to 700 acres.  For over 20 years there have been several properties which have served as models for the properties we have been involved with.  At the very highest level is Oliver Ranch Foundation in Geyserville, CA, a 100 acre property featuring 18 permanent installations.  A winery which has combined art with their vineyard operations include Paradise Ridge Winery, Santa Rosa.

This use of a property can be for private or public use with public use usually requiring correct zoning and permits. Some of the properties which we have worked with have had event facilities, overnight accommodations and recreation which provided financial support – or just vacant land with very special features such as ocean views, rock formations, rivers and streams which have added to the experience of an art trail on the property.  If you have an interest in property which may be suitable for art trails, please contact Charlene Schnall, Broker Associate, Healdsburg Sotheby’s International Realty,, (707) 494-5749,

One of the facilities at Chalk Hill Ranch

One of the Barns at Chalk Hill Ranch, Healdsburg

Chanslor Wildlife has owned and operated equestrian properties involving trail riding, boarding, training for over 25 years and the principals have been involved in managing agricultural property for over 40 years.  We have had as few as 6 and as many as 70 horses under our custody and care.  As consultants, we have been involved in the sale of many equestrian properties in Sonoma County and the needs of buyers varies substantially based on their type of equestrian activity – ranging from buying a property as a business to being a participant in pleasure riding, dressage, training,

Occasionally we are involved in a property that offers options that address common needs across a wide spectrum of buyers.  Such a property is The Hilliard Estate in Healdsburg, CA.  The 40.5+/- acre property has paddock facilities if an owner wants to maintain horses on the property.  The adjacent property is The Chalk Hill Ranch which offers boarding and training facilities as well as access to approximately 300 acres of vineyards, riding trails and ponds.

One of the challenges for owners of a ranch property that is a primary or secondary residence is who can provide professional care for horses when the owner is out of town.  Additionally, access to trails and facilities that are maintained.  In the case of The Hilliard Estate arrangements can be made for horse care to be provided either on the property or at adjoining Chalk Hill Ranch.

On-line tours of the property are available at

Please contact Charlene Schnall, Broker Associate, Healdsburg Sotheby’s International Real Estate for an appointment to visit the The Hilliard Estate at (707) 483-3192/





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