Real Estate FAQ

Selling Your Humboldt County CA Home is like Selling Your Used Car – OK it’s Harder, But…

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 4 For Sellers | Tags: , |

Have you ever sold or bought a used car from an individual or even a dealership?
What was your first impression when you saw the car you were thinking of buying?

•    Was it immaculate inside and out? – Detailed by a professional.
•    Did the seller have the car inspected by their mechanic/Dealership’s 21 point inspection?
•    Did the car appear to be in good shape?
o    There were no major mechanical problems your mechanic found when doing the buyer’s inspection.
•    Did it drive well, when you took it out for a spin?
•    Was it priced right, compared to prices on Kelley Blue Book?
•    Didn’t you spend some $$ to prepare your car for sale?

Selling your home isn’t much different.  Ok, so there are more details to getting your home ready for sale, but my point is this:

You have to spend some $$ to make $$$$

So if selling your home is important to you, keep the above questions in mind:

1)    Make sure you thoroughly clean your home, just like detailing your car.

2)    Get a home inspection, pest inspection and roof inspection, just like taking your car to the mechanic before you sell it.

3)    Fix minor items that show up on the inspection reports and possibly major ones, just like you would with your car (install new spark plugs).

4)    Walk through and inspect your home as if YOU are a buyer looking to buy – taking that car for a test drive.

5)    Price your home competitively – Have your Realtor do a comprehensive Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) – Remember just like car buyers have access to car prices, like the Kelley Blue Book, home buyer’s have access to what homes like yours have been selling for in the current market.

a.    Where do they get this information?  From their Buyer’s Agent.

6)    Items like cleaning, doing repairs to your home, and staging can cost very little, compared to what you may walk away with (your bottom line), depending on your situation.

Most of these above items may cost you as much as few thousand dollars to as little as $500 with a little elbow grease.
Remember, just like selling your car, you have to spend some $$ to make some $$$$. From a buyer’s perspective, buying a home is one of the larger investments one makes in his/her lifetime.  So make sure you make a good first impression for those buyers out there.

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved.  *Selling Your Humboldt County CA Home is like Selling Your Used Car – OK it’s Harder, But…*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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Humboldt County CA First Time Home Buyers – Not Financially Ready to Buy? Here’s Some Tips on Getting There.

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 3 For Buyers, First Time Home Buyers | Tags: , |

It breaks my heart when a low income buyer walks into my office, because they so badly want to own a piece of the “American Dream,” as so many of us in our profession have promoted to the buying public over the years.  But let’s be realistic.  Not everyone is capable of owning his or her own home.

Months ago I was watching Oprah and she had Suzie Orman on the show soon after the lending world went into a tizzy and the number of foreclosures nationally increased dramatically.

The thing I like about Suzie is her ability to give real life common sense advice.
I remember one woman stand up and ask Suzie what she should do, because she no longer could afford to own her home.  Do you know how Suzie responded?

She told this woman not to be ashamed of having to sell her home.  That just because she didn’t own her own home doesn’t mean she no longer has a home.  “Home is in here (Suzie pointed to her heart).  Home is your friends and family, pets and loved ones.  Just because you no longer live in your physical home that you own, doesn’t me you should think less of yourself.  Home is what you make it.”

DollarsSo for those first time homebuyers and the agents who represent them, here’s what I have been advising my clients:

1)    Get into the habit of saving a certain percentage of your take home every month.

  • Why? Because most loans out there require a minimum of 5% cash down payment of the purchase price of the home.  Not to mention closing costs, which can be as much as $6000 extra.
  • By saving your money you’re showing the lending world that you are a financially responsible person.  Because you’re thinking ahead.  You’re more likely to have an emergency fund to pay your mortgage, g-d for bid you lose your job tomorrow.
  • One way to do this is to figure out what your monthly mortgage payment might be.  Now subtract your rent from the estimated mortgage payment.  And put the remaining amount into your savings account each month.  This accomplishes two things:  1)You get to see if your comfortable with your monthly payment.  Plus you get into the habit of saving, and 2) You’ll be saving towards the down payment once you’re ready to buy.

2)    Pay off your bills on time, every time.  This also leads towards building good credit.

  • Again this shows a lender that you are a financially responsible person. If you have a history (credit reports reveal this) of paying off your bills and paying on time, you are more likely to pay your mortgage on time, every time and not miss a payment.

3)    You need to be making enough money to qualify for a loan.

  • The lender will only allow you to spend approximately 1/3 of what your gross monthly income is to be used towards a mortgage payment.
  • Lenders look at the PITI (principle, interest, taxes and insurance) to calculate what your monthly mortgage payment will be and what you can realistically afford to pay every month.

Let’s say for example you want to purchase a $225,000 home:

  • You have cash to put 5% down and the lowest interest rate you can get for your loan is 6%. Your monthly payment will end up being approximately $1600 per month, including taxes and insurance.   If you only bring in a gross of $2500 per month, you can’t afford this home.
  • Remember, you still have to eat, pay your bills, etc.  Oh and yes, the lender looks at this too.  It’s called your debt to income ratio.  Even if you make enough money per month to pay for that $1600 monthly mortgage payment (that is you make over $4800 per month) if you have too many bills to pay, like your car payment, bill for that big screen TV you had to have, etc., then the lender will not be able to give you that loan.

Does this mean you will never be able to own your own home?  For some of you that dream may not be attainable unless your income increases.  But for those of you out there who can afford a home, but don’t have enough for a down payment plus what you’ll need for your closing costs, sit down with a lender and figure out a good financial plan so that you can be in a position to buy in the future.  Maybe even the near future.

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved.  *Humboldt County CA First Time Home Buyers – Not Financially Ready to Buy? Here’s Some Tips on Getting There.*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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Humboldt County CA Market Update Jan 2008 – April 2008 – For Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville and Fortuna

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 1 Market Conditions | Tags: , , , , , |

So far for 2008 we are seeing a slight increase in home prices every month.  Take a look at our numbers below:

Market Update for Humboldt County, California

Jan 2008 – Average Price Range:   $332,000

Jan 2007 – Average Price Range:   $364,000

Total # of Homes Sold (Jan 2008):  70

Feb 2008 – Average Price Range:   $346,000

Feb 2007 – Average Price Range:   $344,000

Total # of Homes Sold (Feb 2008): 42

March 2008 – Average Price Range:    $367,000

March 2007 – Average Price Range:    $362,000

Total # of Homes Sold (March 2008): 29

Market Update for Eureka and Cutten

Jan 2008 – Average Price Range:  $317,500

Feb 2008 – Average Price Range:  $354,000

March 2008 – Average Price Range:  $360,000

Market Update for Arcata

Jan 2008 – Average Price Range: only 1 house sold (not enough data)

Feb 2008- Average Price Range: $383,000

March 2008 – Average Price Range:  $452,800

Market Update for McKinelyville

Jan 2008 – Average Price Range: $329,000

Feb 2008 – Average Price Range:  $304,000

March 2008 – Average Price Range:  $315,000

Market Update for Fortuna

Jane 2008 – Average Price Range:  $261,000

Feb 2008- Average Price Range:  $352,000

March 2008 – Average Price Range:  $358,000

For Market Update Information on other local markets like Trinidad, Ferndale, Manila, Samoa, or Big Lagoon email me, I’d be happy to send that information to you.

Data is from Humboldt Association of Realtors MLS and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved. *Humboldt County CA Market Update Jan 2008 – April 2008 – For Eureka, Arcata, McKinleyville, Fortuna*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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Delta Airlines Service to Humboldt County California Begins June 5th!

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 2 The North Coast, Community | Tags: , |

Delta Airlines is starting up their new flight service to and from Humboldt County California, starting June 5th.

What does this mean for folks in Humboldt County, those thinking about visiting or even moving to our area?

Better Access!

We currently have 2 other airlines servicing our area: United and Horizon(Alaska Airlines).  So I’m looking forward to adding a third one, because the more airlines servicing our area the more options we have and hopefully all this competition makes for a more affordable roundtrip flight.

For flight schedules visit Delta.

I have several friends who live in Humboldt County, because it is one of the last affordable Coastal Communities available in California.  Our average price range is around $320,000.  Yet they don’t work here.  They commute to San Francisco, LA and some travel nationally for their out of area company.  So increased airline competition will probably make flying more affordable and possibly decrease traveling time depending on where they are traveling to for the week. Trinidad California Coast

For the those of us who have family in the Midwest or East Coast, Delta really opens up some options for us. Why?  Less hassle, less stops and a shorter overall traveling time.  So for those of you who have family far away Delta may make it easier to visit them or for your family to visit you.

Speaking of Better Access, What Humboldt County is working on to attact you to live here:

  1. Airport Expansion Project – to expand one of our runways and the airport itself.
  2. Adding Second Fiber Optic Cable – There’s been lots of discussion on this.  We have 1 fiber optic cable all ready, but adding a second one would ensure consistant broadband access to the rest of the world.
  3. Confusion Hill Highway 101 Realignment Project with CalTrans – Over the years this section of Highway 101 was very unstable and every winter there were massive slides that cut Humboldt County off to the Bay area.  Confusion Hill is located not to far south of Garberville or Richardson Grove State Park.  So Caltrans is building several bridges across the Eel River to completely bypass this problematic area.
  4. PG&E plan to build a larger energy plant to service a larger population.  So we are starting to build an infrastructure to attract more people to live here.

The Pink Lady, Eureka Calfornia

Many of us want to continue to build a better community for our future in Humboldt County.

Have questions about our area?  Ask me for a relocation package or just call me 707-496-5770.  I’d be happy to answer your questions about Humboldt County California and our real estate market.

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved.  *Delta Airlines Service to Humboldt County California Begins June 5th!*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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I’m Not Here to Sell You a House in Eureka CA…

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 3 For Buyers | Tags: , , |

I get the impression that many of the buyers out there considering buying their first or next home in Eureka, Arcata or anywhere in Humboldt County, California for that matter, believe that a Realtor only “sells houses”.

There may be some agents out there who just are in it for “the sale.”

But a great Buyer’s Agent isn’t selling you a house.  A great Buyer’s Agent is helping you through the entire buying process which includes:

Yellow Victorian

1) Getting Financing and knowing what you can actually afford.

2) Giving you information about the real estate process and the market so you are able to make well informed decisions.

3) Helping you find that right home that hopefully meets all of your needs and some of your desires (in your price range of course).

4) Writing up the offer and negotiating on your behalf (plus your agent should have a good relationship with other agents in the industry).

5) Helping facilitate the real estate transaction (once you are in contract with the seller) – making sure all the details are taken care of and helping you keep an eye on the prize (moving into your new home).

6) Move in Day – handing you the keys to your new home and offering assistance beyond the sale.

7) Being an objective third party to help you through it all.

Your Realtor is there to provide you a service and yes, they do get paid once they have completed the job for you.  In most cases the seller pays your Buyer’s Agent for a job well done.

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved. *I’m Not Here to Sell You a House in Eureka CA…*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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Remodeling an Older Home in Humboldt County? Keep in Mind Who Your Future Buyer Will Be

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 3 For Buyers, 4 For Sellers | Tags: , , , , |

If you are one of many homeowners out there thinking of doing some serious remodeling project on your charming old home let me give you a few things to keep in mind before you push ahead on your project.

1) Be sensitive to what you update:

  • Keep some of the items that make your old home charming – like older windows (especially those with stain glass in them), old wood siding, interior and exterior window trim, other decorative trim inside and outside your home, high ceilings, older beat up floors and antique hardware, to name a few.

There are many buyers out there who I would call the “This Old House” kind of home buyer.  The person who is looking for that charming old home with some modern ammenities.  When looking for my first home, l fell into this category.  My husband and I quickly realized we wanted to own an older home (preferably a Victorian or Craftsman).  Why?  Because we wanted to live in a home that had some character and wasn’t your standard “cookie cutter” ranch.   Plus we liked the idea of living in a home that had some history and discovered early on that Captain H.H. Buhne’s family owned our house for a few years in the early 1900’s.  Pretty Cool.Pantry in Victorian Home

2) You will most likely sell to a buyer who wants to own a Charming Old Home with character.

  • Remember that if you own an older home (especially a Victorian or Craftsman) your ideal buyer is going to be one who wants to own an older home.  So if you completely remove all the character out of your home and update it to look like any other home built in today’s style, you will most likely have a much harder time selling. When that charming older home buyer sees that your home is modern inside they will move on until they find that charming old home that has character inside and out.
  • A buyer who is looking for a modern home will look for a modern home.  Most modern home owners are not interested in the old home look, therefore they would most likely look for a home that was built more recently than older home that was recently and extensively updated (ie: charm totally removed).

3) Make sure your additions are consistent to the rest of your home.

  • Nothing looks stranger than an addition that stands out like a sore thumb on your house.  Remember your buyer is going to want an older home and if the addition really doesn’t flow with the rest of the home or neighborhood this could affect a buyer’s decision.

You may not be selling today, but you will eventually sell your home at some point in your lifetime.  In today’s market there are plenty of buyers out there looking for older homes with plenty of character and in the future this group will probably grow.  So be careful what changes you make to your home today.  They could affect the value of your home tomorrow.

The Pink Lady

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger. All Rights Reserved. *Remodeling an Older Home in Humboldt County?  Keep in Mind Who Your Future Buyer Will Be*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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Being a Humboldt County Tour Guide this Labor Day – I Always Discover Something New!

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 2 The North Coast, Community | Tags: , , , , |

My brother in-law and his wife came to visit my husband and I this past Labor Day weekend and it was such a pleasure to take them around and show them some of the highlights of Humboldt County.  I can’t tell you how many times I have done this for out of town friends and family.  And I have so much fun revisiting some of the same spots that make Humboldt County so special.  Sometimes I discover something new on my tour guiding adventures.

On Saturday, we started off by visiting the Farmer’s Market on the Arcata Plaza. Both Nate and Ramona were impressed with the high quality local produce we had to offer (all organic too!).  Since we’re knee deep into the harvesting season there are some great vegetable and fruit choices out there.  We bought several heirloom tomatoes, okra, carrots and lemon cucumbers.  Plus there were some fabulous peaches and apples for sale too.

Later in the day we drove up to Trinidad to hike around Trinidad head.  It was clear out.  Not a cloud in the sky, but a bit windy.  Nate and Ramona were amazed at how beautiful Trinidad cove looks in the sunshine, with all the fishing boats docked nearby each other.

It was fun walking around and giving them information about the history of the area and the traveling highlights.  Plus we picked up some great clam chowder at the Seascape (a restaurant in Trinidad near the pier).  Nate got a kick out of trying different clam chowders from a couple of restaurants.  I think the Seascape was the clear winner.

Sunday – We headed north towards Orick to walk through the Ancient Redwood forests in Redwood National Park. Talk about discovering something new…Dave and I got to hike through some Redwood Groves and trails we had never hiked through before.  I don’t care what anybody says, but each trail and tree is different.

Ramona had never seen such big Redwood trees before so she was awe struck every step of way.  We put in a good hike too.  3 1/2 mile hike up and down some rugged terrain.  I wish I lived closer to the parks.  I’d take exercising in the Redwood forest over the gym any day.

Finally one more stop…to see Fern Canyon on our way home.  By the way, parts of Jurassic Park were filmed here.  This is a major destination for tourists, especially on Labor Day weekend.  It was jammed packed.  And believe me once you hike through here you’ll know what makes this place a major destination stop. You are walking on a creek bed through a canyon.  The walls are very tall and filled with 5-fingered ferns or what some folks call “lady finger” ferns.  They’re incredibly beautiful and you truly feel like you are walking through an enchanted forest.

Monday – Our final day with our out of town guests.  We took them on a road trip which started in “The Victorian Village of Ferndale” (known for…you guessed right…it’s high concentration of amazingly well kept Victorians).  After driving through town, we got onto the Mattole Road which took us out to a very remote and untouched part of Coastal California called “The Lost Coast.” We were lucky to have another incredible clear sun shiny day, because the views of the ocean and the coastline were stunning.

We had a picnic lunch at the Mattole Beach, which is part of The King’s Range (managed by the Bureau of Land Management – BLM) and then headed back inland towards Humboldt Redwoods State Park to see some more incredible ancient Redwood trees, which in my opinion, are way more magnificant than the ones we saw at Redwood National Park.

For those of you outdoorsy fanatics this is one amazing place to live.

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved. *Being a Humboldt County Tour Guide this Labor Day Weekend – I Always Discover Something New!*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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Eureka California Chosen as One of the “2008 Best Towns” in Outside Magazine

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 2 The North Coast, Community | Tags: , |

It’s cool to know that Eureka California had been chosen as one of the “2008 Best Towns” in Outside magazine!

Check out the article:

Eureka California 2008 Best Town to visit and move to

A few months ago I got a call from Katie Arnold, one of Outside Magazine’s writers asking me for information about the Eureka California Real Estate Market, because Eureka California was chosen as one of the best towns to live in this year and she wanted to know more about the area, the economy, the general Humboldt County California Real Estate Market and what else our community had to offer someone thinking about moving to our area.

So it was cool to finally see the article in the magazine and online.  Short and sweet.

It’s just nice to know that we to get on some national media’s radar from time to time 🙂

Vance Hotel

Carson Mansion

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved. *Eureka California Chosen as One of the “2008 Best Towns” in Outside Magazine*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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Humboldt County California A Great Travel Destination According to the New York Times

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 2 The North Coast | Tags: , , |

It’s great to see that the New York Times thinks Humboldt County California is a great place to travel to.  I love when we hit national news.  It’s just fun to see that we really aren’t as remote as people think we are.  Because as far as I’m concerned Humboldt County is one of California’s best kept secrets for affordable coastal living, and outdoor attractions:

1) Walk for miles on many of our untouched (undeveloped) beaches or get adventurous and head to some of the more rockier shores North of Eureka.

2) The great Ancient Redwoods are always inspiring.Redwood National Park Humboldt County California

3) Water sports, hiking, climbing?  You name it, we got it!

Beth Greenfield wrote the article about her travels through Humboldt County California.  Definitely check this out.  She did a great job describing her trip (it was like reading a passage from Lonely Planet or the Frommer’s Guide…very descriptive), just check out the first sentence of the article…WOW!:

“ALONG California’s mystical redwood coast, 1,000-year-old trees as much as four times the height of the Rockefeller Center Christmas spruce command rocky bluffs that overlook golden, frothy beaches.”

Land of the Giants (by Beth Greenfield of the New York Times)

Cool Historic Home in Arcata CA

Sunny Day at the Farmer's Market on the Arcata Plaza, Arcata CA

Copyright 2008  Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved. *Humboldt County California A Great Travel Destination According to the New York Times*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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You Know it’s Fall in Eureka California When the Pumpkin Spiders Come Out to Play

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: 2 The North Coast, Community |

I don’t know about you, but where I live there are always signs of nature that represent the changing of the seasons.  Here we are in the Fall and this is the only time of year in Eureka California that the Pumpkin Spiders come out. I think they get their nick name “Pumpkin” because of their orange brownish color and the fact that they start appearing around Halloween time.   They’re all over my yard every Fall.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of spiders, (although they are part of the eco-chain), I have to admit these are the most beautiful spiders I have ever seen in the states.  I’ve seen plenty of incredible spiders in Latin America, but never anything as amazing as the Pumpkin Spider that hangs out in my backyard.

Pumpkin Spider Eureka CA

The Pumpkin Spider’s seasonal visit to my Eureka California home is one of the many nature treats I look forward to during the year.  This is also the time of year that we start hearing large flocks of Canada Geese fly over our house.  It’s incredible to wake up early in the morning and see the sky filled with these incredible birds.  Oh, and I love the sound of their calls as they fly by.

Not to mention this is the time of year for all bird migration.  So I’m lucky to get many visitors this time of year: Cedar Waxwings, Chesnut backed Chickadees, the occasional warbler and more.

You can live right in town and still experience the great wonders of the wild, right in your own backyard here in Eureka California, just like I do every season in my own backyard.

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved. *You Know it’s Fall in Eureka California When the Pumpkin Spiders Come Out to Play*

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Visit www.GoHumboldtHomes.com for information about the Humboldt County Real Estate market, to learn more about how we can help you whether you’re ready to sell your current home or buying your first home.  Or just learn more about what our community has to offer if you’re considering moving to Humboldt County California.

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