When people say that they are moving to Sonoma, they can mean a variety of things…Are they looking to buy a “Wine Country” cottage in the town of Sonoma or are they shopping for an affordable suburban North Bay home? Our criteria was the latter, to find the most appealing home in our budget with a garage and without HOA’s or additional fees.  The budget today is $550,000 because it is currently the median home price in Sonoma County. Here’s what $500,000 to $550,000 will buy you in Sonoma, Petaluma, Healdsburg and Santa Rosa right now.  


352 Nicoli Lane is a 990 square-foot three-bedroom, one-bath house and it is the ONLY house in our price range right now in Sonoma proper that is for sale and not already in contract. Most homes in the city of Sonoma only become available once you are in the high sixes or $700,000s. It is walking distance to the Plaza and is a mid-century single level home that could be updated.  It has a good sized lot, but no AC at the moment.  This house gets bonus points for being a quick walk to the Sonoma bike path, Sonoma Market and great Fourth of July fireworks viewing.


The ONLY house in our price range right now in Sonoma proper that is for sale and not already in contract, on the market for $520,000.


Sonoma home kitchen.


Sonoma home living room with fireplace.

Photo credit – NORCAL MLS   Listing agent: Herb Heil at Wine Country Group.



2 Colinda Drive is another single-level home in a family neighborhood that is close to downtown shopping and dining.  Located on Petaluma’s west side, it is a corner house with three bedrooms and two baths.  Built in 1956, it is 1,232 square feet and surprisingly has never before been on the market.  The kitchen has retro yellow and black tile and the backyard has a patio and a plantable area that could be used for a vegetable garden. This home is walking distance to well-rated Grant Elementary School.

Petaluma house built in 1956, first time on the market ever for $549,000.

Kitchen with retro yellow and black tile.

The family room.

Photo credit – NORCAL MLS.   Listing agent is Trish Iribarne at Coldwell Banker. 


Santa Rosa – Large Lot

752 Kawana Springs Road is a single-level three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,439 square-foot home on a huge (0.6 acre) lot with a new kitchen, floors and remodeled bathrooms. It has a nice front porch, double paned windows, a fenced yard and a detached garage.  Located only a block from the Santa Rosa Marketplace, it is close to shopping but might be on too busy a street and too close to a lot of commercial buildings for some people.


Santa Rosa exterior – listed at $545,000.


Newly remodeled kitchen.


Living room with windows in 2 directions.

Photo credit – NORCAL MLS.  Listing agent is Judith Shapansky at W Real Estate.   


Santa Rosa – Bennett Valley

In contrast to the large-lot property above, 2217 Neotomas is 1,676 square feet for $529,900 on a 0.16 acre lot.  It is a single-level home with an open floor plan and four bedrooms and two baths and is located in Bennett Valley, which can run at a premium because of its great school district and proximity to shopping, transportation and golf.  It has some nice features, including a fairly new kitchen, dual pane windows and crown molding.  It started out at $540,000 when it was listed on July 10, so this could go for a bargain.


Bennett Valley home exterior at $529,000.


Bennett Valley kitchen.


Bennett Valley living room.

Photo credit – NORCAL MLS 2217.  Listing agent is Cathy Elliot at Coldwell Banker.



We had to cheat here and go above budget to find a home that met our criteria.  There is currently one home in Healdsburg proper within our budget, and though it is interesting and also features an agricultural building, it needs a lot of work and is a better fit for a business in need of a bonus residence.  This leads us to $579,000. 827 University Street is a 1,175 square-foot cottage on a 7,600 square-foot lot less than a mile from the downtown plaza. It is a renovated two-bedroom, one-bath home with hardwood floors, a wood burning fireplace, a dining area with doors to the back yard, a kitchen with custom cabinets and a one-car garage.


Healdsburg home, 2 bedroom, 1 bath for $579,000.


Healdsburg kitchen and backyard.


Living room with wood burning fire place.

Photo credit – NORCAL MLS.   Listing agent is Judith Schapansky,  Pacific Union.


Yes folks, it is kind of pricey out there right now and some homes are flying off the market. Even during the writing of this post, three of the originally selected homes went into contract. Any preferences? Let us know in the comments.

– Emily Raaka