Dick Selzer, the owner of Ukiah’s Selzer Realty & Associates, confirmed that Mendocino County homes are being bought by Bay Area residents who are “fed up with urban, high-density living” and in the wake of COVID-19 and protests desire a taste of the rural life.

Selzer spoke to Mendocino County resident’s concerns that there is a flood of Bay Area transplants heading northward: “This isn’t a landrush. We’re not going to see suddenly 500 new people in Ukiah.”

Selzer explained that since shelter-in-place began, many companies have realized that allowing their employees to work from home has increased productivity and saves on expenses associated with commuting. Transitioning to telecommuting enables residents of the Bay Area to live outside of the city while still being employed at those companies.

Dick Selzer, owner of Ukiah’s Selzer Realty and Associates

Addressing concerns that this influx of homebuyers could affect Mendocino County locals’ ability to purchase homes, Selzer said this trend “could have an impact on the affordability of single-family homes.”

Selzer argued that the most significant barriers to the affordability of Mendocino County homes are housing stock and government regulations. He said that even before COVID-19, rentals and housing stock were limited. A significant contributor to Mendocino County’s low housing stock is the prohibitive cost regulations required to build homes in California, Selzer explained. 

Selzer pointed out these new Mendocino County residents will be supporting the local economy. “They will need to furnish their homes. They will go shopping in our local stores; everything needed to make an economy thrive.”

Selzer addressed experiences homebuyers have reported of offers being rejected after cash offers came from Bay Area residents: “Cash offers do happen. The ability for these buyers to offer cash speaks to the home values of the Bay Area, and the large amounts of cash generated when they sell. These homebuyers come up to Mendocino County and figure we can just take what we got in the sale and put down the cash and not have a mortgage payment.” Selzer assured Mendocino County residents that they can still be competitive in a market of cash offers: “if you want to compete with that, talk to your realtor, they will refer you to a lender that should get you prequalified and preapproved for the loan. Take that pre-qualification letter and bundle it with whatever offer you put on a home.”

Despite the strange economic times, Selzer encourages Mendocino County residents to consider buying a home: “Find an agent that you like and trust, let them know what your needs and wants are and go do it. Interest rates are incredibly low, lower than I have ever seen in my 45 years in the business.”

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