5 Apr 2018

Silicon Valley and the Santa Cruz County Market

"A 10 percent increase in housing costs in a county is associated with a roughly 5 percent increase in housing costs in its neighboring counties." -California Legislative Analyst Office   "Historically, Santa Cruz has provided housing base for major job centers located in Silicon Valley. This relationship has been one of the major drivers of housing demand, especially for single family dwellings in the above moderate household income category. Further, jobs in Santa Clara County

27 Mar 2018

Proposed Just Cause for Eviction Ballot Initiative Explained

Should disagreements arise, the right to evict is an important component of property rights, giving real estate owners the ability to re-gain possession of their property in difficult situations. There is a new ballot initiative that is circulating throughout the city of Santa Cruz that poses to, in many situations, take away this right. This will increase the risk of renting in the City of Santa Cruz.

23 Mar 2018

Sewer Lateral Ordinances in Santa Cruz County – Point of Sale Inspection Requirement

  The private sewer service lateral (also known as a private lateral) is a pipe that takes an individual building’s wastewater to the public sewer main in the street. These private laterals are owned by the building owner and are essential for directing wastewater away from nearby structures such as other homes.   Did you know that unincorporated-Santa Cruz County, Capitola City, and soon to be Santa Cruz City all have point-of-sale requirement under certain

8 Mar 2018

Hempcrete: A Promising Building Material

The Cement Industry is One of the Primary Producers of Carbon Dioxide The cement industry is one of the primary producers of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas. The primary production of conventional concrete has a footprint of 456 to 689 pounds of carbon dioxide per 1.3 cubic yards One interesting alternative is hempcrete. JustBioFiber, a hemp-based modular block supplier, reports that its product sequesters 243 to 287 pounds of carbon dioxide per 1.3 cubic yards,

27 Feb 2018

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Benefits for Real Estate Investors and Land Lords

A reduction in incentives for homeownership results in strong demand in the rental market. This fact, and a new deduction on taxable income of pass-through companies suggests that landlords and other real estate investors stand to benefit from the new law.

20 Feb 2018

Rent Freeze in Effect in Santa Cruz City, Possible Rent Control On the Ballot

On Tuesday, February 13th, the Santa Cruz City Council passed temporary rent freeze and a just cause for eviction ordinances for certain rental properties within the city limits (see exceptions below). This sudden action was in response to community-member complaints that, given the impending threat of a rent-control moratorium on the November ballot, landlords have an incentive to raise rents and evict tenants to guard against losses should new laws come into effect. The following

16 Feb 2018

How to Deal with a Low Appraisal During a Deal

Out in the field with our buyers, we've been seeing multiple-offer situations on a number of homes, driving up the home price beyond what a reasonable comparable market analysis (CMA) would support. This is to be expected in a market like ours with tight inventory and high demand. Unfortunately, this also means that a number of buyers who rely on a mortgage for their home purchase may run into what we call, an appraisal deficiency

13 Feb 2018

Rent Control In Santa Cruz – The Counterpoint

  Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) proposed legislation on January 11th to repeal Costa-Hawkins, which would have allowed local governments to implement new rent control policies. The bill failed.   But this is not the end of the rent-control battle. The California Local Rent Control Initiative, which would expand local government's authority to adopt rent control and repeal the Costa-Hawkin's Rental Housing Act may be on this year's November ballot. Locally, the Sentinel reports that

10 Feb 2018

New Proposed Ordinances are Bad for Business

The following was announced by the Santa Cruz County Association of Realtors: On February 13, 2018 the City Council of Santa Cruz will be holding two public hearings that you should be aware of. At 2 pm there is a public hearing discussing the potential passing of a relocation assistance ordinance. If passed, this ordnance would make landlords liable to tenants for relocation assistance upon eviction or rent increase. Landlords would also be subject to

6 Feb 2018

Mapping Air Pollution on Your Block

If we could see air pollution, would we be more proactive about combatting it? As more comprehensive data on air and possibly other types of pollution are captured and viewed by millions of people, what will be the implications for real estate decision making? In the future could property-pricing take air pollution measurements into account? Would this motivate entire neighborhoods to proactively combat air pollution? Read about advancements in air-pollution measuring and visualizing technology in this article.

24 Jan 2018

Changes to Look out For in the 2018 Real Estate Market

We recently wrote about predictions for the 2018 housing market. This article is an extension of our previous post, and covers two important legislative battles that are gaining momentum.   Rent Control: Rent control legislation proposals are popping up on a state and local level. According to this article, Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) will be proposing legislation on January 11th to repeal Costa-Hawkins, which would allow local governments to implement new rent control policies. Additionally,

19 Jan 2018

The Final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and Real Estate

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has been signed into law. There were some big "wins" in the final bill from the perspective of homebuyers, owners, and real estate investors. However, the bill removes important incentives for homeownership and may have an adverse impact in some markets. According to the National Association of Realtors, home prices will grow at a slower pace of 1-3% nationally. Unfortunately, some local markets in high cost, higher tax areas

5 Jan 2018

What’s Coming: the 2018 Santa Cruz Real Estate Market

At the beginning 2018, there are some important changes on the horizon for Santa Cruz Real Estate. The Tax Cuts and Jobs act, which is making its way through the House and Senate, will be a major determinant of 2018 housing market health. We've written about its potential impact on the California real estate market in a separate blog post, and will provide regular updates on this topic. Here, we summarize some other major factors

18 Dec 2017

What Millennials Look For In A Home

With the total headcount nearing the 90 million, millennials make up the largest living generation in the US. Ranging from early teens to mid-thirties, millennials are going to and have already begun to make up a significant proportion of potential homebuyers and renters. Knowing what this generation is looking for in a home is therefore key to home sellers and investors.   What They Like   According to a late 2016 study that looked at

7 Dec 2017

How the Proposed Tax Reform Can Affect Your Real Estate

  On Thursday, November 9th, Republicans in the Senate Finance Committee released an outline of their version of the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act". Just one week earlier, the Republicans' congressional House Ways and Means Committee released the original version. Both pose a threat to homeownership as we know it today. Here is a short summary of how both may affect your real estate.   Mortgage Interest Deduction The house bill will keep the mortgage

30 Nov 2017

Cannabis Cultivation and Santa Cruz Real Estate

  The passage of Prop 64 allows for the sale and taxation of commercial cannabis in the state of California. This development may have both negative and positive consequences for local Real Estate Markets. Commercial real estate owners in areas where cannabis cultivation and the sale of marijuana are legal may see a significant increase in real estate values and lease-rates. For example, in Denver, cannabis cultivation is only allowed in certain industrial zoned areas.

22 Nov 2017

Crowdfunding your Downpayment

Technology is making it possible to buy a home in novel ways.   Launched by CMG Financial, HomeFundMe is a crowdfunding website that allows family, friends, and others to contribute to your down-payment. One of the main advantages of using the site is that contributions are properly documented to ensure lenders accept the money as legitimate down-payment funds. According to the CEO of CMG Financial, the idea behind the project is not to fund the

15 Nov 2017

How “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” Will Affect Your Real Estate

  On Thursday, November 9th, Republicans in the Senate Finance Committee released an outline of their version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”. Just one week earlier, the Republicans’ congressional House Ways and Means Committee released the original version. Both pose a threat to homeownership as we know it today. Here is a short summary of how both may affect your real estate.   Mortgage Interest Deduction The house bill will keep the mortgage

31 Oct 2017

Buying Property with Bitcoin

Bitcoin is a decentralized currency that is used to send money instantly  to anyone around the globe with negligible fees. It relies on blockchain technology, which provides a level of transparency and reliability needed to foster trust amongst bitcoin users. To learn more about the basics of bitcoin and blockchain, take a look at this video. Why is this relevant? Because bitcoin was just used to purchase a piece of US real estate.   According

26 Oct 2017

Home Insurance and Wildfires: Protecting your Santa Cruz Real Estate

See a bigger version of this map here.   As reported in 2007 by CalFire, a majority of Santa Cruz county is in a moderate to high fire zone (source).   With wildfires rearing up in Northern California, including in our beloved Santa Cruz County, we know that many of our homeowner clients and future homeowner friends are asking “What can I do to protect my Santa Cruz Real Estate?”.   This guide gives an extensive

20 Oct 2017

Buying A Mobile Home in Santa Cruz County

Have you ever considered buying a manufactured or mobile home in Santa Cruz County? This blog post covers important topics on manufactured and mobile home ownership, including financing and the appreciation-potential of your asset. First, a small but important detail is the differences between mobile and manufactured homes. Most people use the two terms interchangeably, but it turns out there is a difference. In 1976, stricter standards were put in place for the construction of mobile homes and

27 Sep 2017

Santa Cruz City Eliminates Lot Size Requirements for Granny Units (in Pre-existing Sturctures)

Previously, you needed a 4,500 square foot lot, or larger, to build an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU), also commonly known as a granny unit. Now, any legally built unit within the existing footprint of your home can be turned into an ADU under new state law. This applies to new projects and conversions, so long as the unit is within the pre-existing structure and is build legally (meaning it was permitted and build to code).

20 Sep 2017

Buying Property In the Coastal Zone

  Santa Cruz County  Zone Map:   The California coast is a unique treasure loved by locals and visitors alike. To protect California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations, citizens came together in 1972 to enact the The California Coastal Conservation Initiative. Through this initiative, the Coastal Commission came into being. Four years later, the State Legislature enacted the California Coastal Act, which is the primary law that governs the decisions of the Coastal

15 Sep 2017

Santa Cruz County Schools (K-12)

Click on the photo to see a larger map.   Whether you are a parent or future parent looking to buy a home in Santa Cruz or an investor searching for an investment property, its important to understand the quality of schools in the area you intend to buy. In this article, I will summarize important information about public and private education in Santa Cruz as well as resources that you can use to analyze

23 Aug 2017

Your Credit Score Just Increased by 20 points (Maybe)

Great news! Home buying just got a lot easier. A combination of two major changes in credit reporting and lending criteria could help tens of millions more individuals and families to qualify for a home loan.   In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission determined that at least 20% of those surveyed had at least one error in their credit reports from one of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, which had negatively affected their credit

2 Aug 2017

Owning a Vacation Rental in Santa Cruz County

Have you ever considered Vacation Rentals? Are you considering purchasing a second home, or currently own one? Do you have an extra room or portion of your house or duplex available? Santa Cruz County, with all of its many splendors ranging from gorgeous coastlines and legendary surf spots, to majestically scenic redwood drives and hikes, to iconic landmarks and family-friendly entertainment, provides a great opportunity to venture into the proposition of gaining extra income from

28 Jun 2017

Changing Vacation Rental Laws in Santa Cruz City

This just in: this Thursday, June 29th, at 7:00 p.m. the Santa Cruz City Planning Commission will consider new rules to govern short-term vacation rentals (included Airbnb and VRBO properties). The Planning Commission is taking a long, hard look at the affordable housing crisis in Santa Cruz City. Their decisions will have a direct impact on propertyowner’s ability to take part in the vacation rental program in the City.   The City Planning Commission elected

21 Jun 2017

When Will Prices Go Down?

As we talk to clients, we are hearing a similar question time and time again: When Will Prices Go Down? Measures of housing affordability in Santa Cruz suggest that rising income levels in neighboring communities are pushing up housing prices. Santa Cruz residents are finding it challenging to afford homes and younger generations are leaving in search for lower-priced housing. To maintain a healthy, diverse, and vibrant community it's vital that local economic growth keeps

9 Jun 2017

Let’s talk about Water

  Without access to water, a property essentially has no value. We are just emerging from a 6 year drought, and with man-made climate change on the horizon, it’s important to ask, where does our water come from, and is it sustainable? As a resident of the County, your water comes from: 5 larger water suppliers 4 smaller systems 130 small systems 8,000 private wells And you are part of one of the following water

14 Apr 2017

How Will You Hold Title?

  Before shopping for homes, it’s important to consider how you will hold title on the property you purchase. Various title options have differing legal and tax implications that will affect you and future generations.   The five most common ways to hold title are sole ownership, tenants in common, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, community property (in applicable states such as California), and in a living trust. Below, I summarize each option: