How? Why? Where? auctions Contacts


1.  Find a neighborhood that's right for you


Useful online resources
  • lets you explore estimated property values in different neighborhoods. If you scroll down the page, it will give you information about the quality of local schools.
  • has discussion forums about cities and neighborhoods.  Type a city and state into the search box, and you'll often be rewarded with local insights into different neighborhoods.
  • tells how "walkable" different areas are.

Some tips

  • The three most important words in real estate are, of course, "location, location, location." 
  • It's usually better to buy the cheapest house in a neighborhood than the most expensive house in a neighborhood.
  • A trick for finding the best neighborhoods in a city is to type in the city's name at, look at the most expensive listings, and note their zip codes. provides "Zestimates"--rough appraisals of properties values--for millions of homes.  By typing in a city or zip code, you can pull up a map that will let you see how property values vary by neighborhood.  But don't put too much faith in the Zestimates--they can be wildly inaccurate.      




      About 25% of the MLS listings in Sonoma, Marin, and Napa Counties don't show the home address.  (The practice of suppressing addresses is rare in other counties.)  This can be frustrating to buyers who want to search online for homes.  

     Call Lori Alden at (707) 481-1776 or Ashok Kumar at (415) 860-4841 if a property address isn't visible--we'd be happy to look it up for you.

2.  Search online for a home

You'll find the largest number of homes for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). is a good starting point for exploring the MLS, but local MLS websites usually have more information.  Here's where to find them:

Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, and Solano Counties:  Search at

Contra Costa and Alameda Counties:  Search at

San Francisco County:  Search at

Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Merced, San Joaquin, Yolo, or Stanislaus Counties:  Search at

Santa Clara and San Mateo counties:  Search at

     Write down the MLS numbers of any homes that interest you, and send it to us at  We'll email you more detailed information about the homes.  (Please limit your request to 15 homes at any time.)

     After you get the information sheets, drive by these homes, explore their neighborhoods, and attend open houses if possible.  Narrow your list to six or fewer homes, then call Lori Alden at (707) 481-1776 or Ashok Kumar at (415) 860-4841.  We'll arrange to have a field agent meet with you and personally show you each of the homes. 


The internet makes it easy to find the perfect home. is licensed by the California Department of Real Estate through Lori Alden, Broker (License No. 01811185)  This is not intended as a solicitation of anyone who is already in a contract with a licensed agent. We respect all existing contract relationships.

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