With the free agency looming and NBA draft fast approaching, basketball is the top priority for new Sacramento Kings coach Dave Joerger. His wife, Kara Joerger, has a different mission: finding a place to call home.
What started as a drive-by tour of the region quickly turned into a full fledged-house hunt, said Beth Foondos, the family’s real estate agent. Kara Joerger, a South Dakota native, sported a large rodeo buckle and blue jeans at the news conference Tuesday announcing her husband’s move from Memphis. The couple have two daughters, Kiana, 10, and Alli, 13.
Even before the hiring, media reports suggested Kara Joerger – a competitive barrel racer – would find Northern California more hospitable than Memphis. As Foondos and Kara Joerger began the house hunt, facilities for the family’s five horses became a key requirement.
In one of his first radio interviews as the coach, Joerger playfully asked listeners for help finding 5 to 10 acres.
Finding a 5-acre horse ranch near Sacramento doesn’t seem like a tough mission. From Wilton to the south, Lincoln to the north and Rancho Murieta to the east, horse people abound in the region.
“There are so many different places,” said real estate appraiser Ryan Lundquist.
His quick search of the region found 40 current listings for properties greater than 5 acres with the word “horse” in the description.
About 1,550 single-family, residential properties in Sacramento County sit on 5 or more acres, according to a Bee review of county parcel data. More than two-thirds of those properties are located in five ZIP codes: Wilton, Galt, Herald, rural Elk Grove and the Vineyard area north of Elk Grove.
But as Foondos pointed out, one you start looking at specific properties the mission become a little harder.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Foondos said. “It’s finding the perfect house on the perfect property.”
A key requirement laid down by the coach adds to the challenge: No more than 30 minutes from the new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento.
“I’ve called horse people all over,” said Foondos, a Coldwell Banker Realtor.
In response to Dave Joerger’s playful plea for help, The Bee contacted real estate agents Kevin Watts, of the Watts Real Estate Group in Rocklin, and Sheldon Steele, of Steele Realty in Elk Grove, in hopes of finding a suitable property. Foondos tagged along on some of the visits in hopes of leaving no stone unturned.
Longtime Kings color commentator and former coach Jerry Reynolds endorsed the notion that the Joergers will enjoy Sacramento better than Memphis.
“Nicer city, nicer climate,” Reynolds, a Midwest transplant, said of Sacramento. “It’s one of the better places in America to live.”
Over the years, Kings coaches have lived throughout the region, Reynolds recalled. Rick Adelman lived in Granite Bay. George Karl and Paul Westphal lived in Sierra Oaks. Keith Smart and Eric Musselman lived in North Natomas.
Reynolds, who has lived in Roseville for decades, said Joerger should not have too much trouble finding a place.
“If you have quite a bit of money you have plenty of options,” Reynolds said. Joerger will make $4 million annually, according to published reports.
He may have to commute a little longer than 30 minutes to make sure his family is happy, however, Reynolds said.
“If you have a family, a coach or anyone, … schools and neighborhoods are more important than an extra 15 minutes,” he said. “You want to make sure they are as comfortable. I’d be surprised if she didn’t have all the votes.”