10 Dec 2019

How CA Wildfires Affect Your Insurance Rate

According to the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), there have been 6,872 reported number of fires, 253,321 acres of land burned, 732 structures damaged or destroyed, and 3 confirmed fatalities, all within California this last year. They reported that California has witnessed one of the “deadliest and most destructive wildfires in its history in 2017 and 2018.” CAL FIRE identified that although “wildfires are a natural part of California’s landscape, the

9 Dec 2019

Benefits of Downsizing and How to Prepare for Your Next Move

Change is difficult, but perspective makes a huge difference: Downsizing does not have to be a negative moment in your life. In fact, downsizing your home represents tremendous opportunity and can actually bring many benefits to your daily life! First off, when you downsize you have less space to take care of. Therefore, when it comes to cleaning and organizing, in the future, there will be fewer chores to handle. Secondly, downsizing actually helps reduce

8 Dec 2019

What You Should Look for in Your Next Home: A Guide for Seniors

Many people nearing the end of their professional lives and looking forward to retirement consider moving into a smaller home. Downsizing can bring many benefits especially if you no longer have your children living in the home. By downsizing in your later years, you can help improve the quality of your daily life while saving time and money on the cheaper maintenance of a simpler home. If you are considering moving as you prepare to

28 Nov 2019

First Time Home Buying: How to Prioritize

When you head down the path of homeownership for the first time it is inevitable that you will be faced with an array of decisions related to what amenities you have to give up in order to afford it. This initial step is a huge financial commitment for anyone; and, unless you have endless access to capital, there are bound to be specific aspects of the home that you will have to sacrifice in order to afford your first purchase. These can come in the form of choosing between an extra bedroom verse an office, the size of the backyard, or an extra bathroom.

25 Oct 2019

Primary Residence, Second Home or Investment Property: How to Know the Difference

In California it is not uncommon for homeowners to own more than one property. Mountain cabins, beach houses, and vacation homes are part of the lifestyle. However, when it comes to getting a legal or financial edge, it can sometimes be hard to know how to classify the property. Here is a basic overview of some common property types and how to tell them apart. Primary Residence A primary residence is the main home that

23 Oct 2019

ADUs get a Boost from New California Laws

Governor Newsom of California has recently signed a string of new laws aimed directly at the growing problem of housing costs. As Newsome recently said, “the high cost of housing and rent is putting the squeeze on family budgets, and our housing shortage threatens our economic growth and long-term prosperity.” Since his election in January, Newsom’s administration has indeed taken several steps toward solving California’s housing affordability crisis. According to Newsom, “in 2019, California has

9 Oct 2019

New Condo Rules Making it Easier to Buy

If you are thinking of buying a condo or townhouse with an FHA loan product, we’ve got some good news for you: the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just made it easier to buy a condo using their Federal Housing Agency (FHA) low down-payment loans.  The first thing to note is that, in order to buy a condo or townhouse using an FHA loan product, your unit will need to get “approval” from

2 Oct 2019

A Decline in Foreign Buyers

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released a report summarizing foriegn buyer activity from April 2018 - March 2019, titled Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate.The top three countries that foreign buyers came from were China ($13.4 B), Canada ($8.0 B), and India ($6.9 B). This is the lowest level of international sales since 2013.  Source NAR found there has been a 31 percent drop in the number of foreign buyers

2 Oct 2019

The Pest Inspection – What you Need to Know When Buying or Selling Santa Cruz Real Estate

Are you planning on buying or selling property with a structure on it (i.e. a home, condo, townhouse) in Santa Cruz County? If so, do you know what a pest inspection is and how it is used in the sale of property? Read on to learn why these inspections are important, and how it may impact your home purchase or sale.  What is the Pest Inspection? A Wood Destroying Pest & Organism Inspection Report (pest

17 Sep 2019

AB 1482: Statewide Rent Control and Just Cause For Eviction in California

AB 1482, a state-wide bill that will enforce rent-increase limits and just cause for eviction laws throughout California is about to land on Governor Newsom’s desk. The governor has said that he plans to sign the bill. This means we can expect a state-wide rent cap and just cause for eviction rules to become law in the coming weeks. The bill is set to expire in 10 years, and so it will remain in effect

13 Sep 2019

6 Ways Seniors Can Prevent Downsizing Disasters

By: Shirley Martin - tidylifetoday.com Moving to a smaller home during retirement? Downsizing is a common move that can improve quality of life for many seniors. With a smaller home comes less worry and stress, so you don't want to worry too much about the steps needed to complete this process smoothly. Which is why you should use the following tips to prevent common mistakes from happening.  Look into Local Housing Prices  Cost is usually

4 Sep 2019

What You Need to Know about Disclosures when Selling Property

When you sell a piece of residential real estate in California, you will most likely need to fill out the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS) and the Seller Property Questionnaire (SPQ). These documents serve as disclosures, giving you the opportunity to share what you know about your property with the buyer. Below we will explain the importance of, and how to fill out both of these disclosures.  The Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement Section

29 Aug 2019

Buying and Selling in Seascape (Within and Outside of the resort)

Have you considered buying or selling property in Seascape, California? If so, you'll likely come across property in Seascape Resort. In total, there are 278 residential units in this Resort, consisting of two and one bedroom units. If you choose to buy a piece of property in Seascape Resort, there are two things that you should be aware of: 1) the rental program 2) the 90 day stay limitation. Below we describe both in more

29 Aug 2019

New Report On Rising Sea Levels – What It Means for Real Estate Owners in Santa Cruz County

Zillow and Climate Central have teamed up to study the impacts of climate change on real estate. Zillow is an online real estate database with information about transactions across the country. Climate Central is a nonprofit news organization that analyzes and reports on climate science. In 2018, the duo released the first nationwide analysis of the number of new homes in areas vulnerable to coastal flooding in all 24 coastal states and the District of

29 Aug 2019

How Technology Has Changed Buying and Selling Real Estate

Technology has transformed the process of buying and selling houses - most paperwork can be completed without picking up a pen, a majority of home shoppers will see your property online before they see it in person. Whether you’ve never purchased a house, or are considering putting your house on the market after a decade or more of ownership, you will benefit from understanding how technology is used today to buy and sell real estate.

21 Aug 2019

Homeowner Tips to Live More Sustainably

It is no doubt that Climate Change will require large-scale solutions. However, to tackle this gigantic problem, we will all need to make changes to the way we live, and the sooner we do so, the better. To help bring more environmental conscientiousness to homeownership, we've provided some tips below on how to reduce water and electricity use as well as waste in our homes. Save Water According to the EPA, the average American family

7 Aug 2019

Proposed Plans for the Re-envisioning of the Capitola Mall

In 2016, Merlone Geier Partners purchased the Capitola Mall from its previous owner, Macerich and has begun to envision a new plan for the space. In a recent town meeting, plans for the re-envisioned Capitola Mall were discussed.  The focus of this meeting was to present the plan for the “Capitola Town Square,” as well as to provide an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and have their voices and opinions heard. 

2 Aug 2019

Santa Cruz City Task Force, Rent Control, Just Cause for Eviction – Where We are Now?

If you’ve been following the Santa Cruz City Council legislative process, there’s no doubt that you’re curious where the Council stands today on Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction legislation, the Rental Housing Task Force, the Housing Blueprint, and other legislative measures that have been proposed and accepted or rejected along the way. In this article we’ll give a broad overview of the City’s legislative actions related to these housing-related topics and discuss where

2 Aug 2019

Can I Live in A Yurt in Santa Cruz County?

Are you one of the growing numbers of people interested in alternative (and often less expensive) housing options like yurts? If so, it’s important to understand your local government’s rules and regulations related to living in these structures year round, as a primary residence. Read on to explore the option of living in a yurt in Santa Cruz County. What is A Yurt? Traditionally, yurts consisted of an expanding wooden circular frame overlaid with a

16 Jul 2019

Statewide Rent Cap and Just Cause for Eviction Proposed

Rent control and just cause for eviction laws have been proposed on both a statewide and local level over the past year. One bill is inching towards implementing state-wide rent control and just cause for eviction - AB 1482. However, unlike past bills, this one has numerous provisions in place to temper the negative impacts that rent control and just cause for eviction often have on property-owners. For example, the changes made by the bill

9 Jul 2019

Proposed Plans: Re-envisioning Capitola Mall

Back in 2016, Merlone Geier Partners purchased the Capitola Mall from its previous owner, Macerich. In a recent town meeting, plans for the re-envisioned Capitola Mall were discussed. You can read more about the meeting in this article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The focus of this meeting was to present the plan for the “Capitola Town Square,” as well as to provide an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and have

1 Jul 2019

Commercial Cannabis Laws in Santa Cruz County – Where We Are Now?

Since we last wrote about cannabis-related legislation in Santa Cruz County, regulations have changed on both a local and state-wide level. Read on to learn more about these changes. Changes to California Legislation In the state of California, the following agencies issue licenses for commercial cannabis activities: Department of Food and Agriculture: Cultivation.Department of Public Health: Manufacturing.Bureau of Cannabis Control: Distribution, Testing, Retail, and Cannabis Events. Previously, we wrote about emergency cannabis regulations that were

26 Jun 2019

Section 8 Vouchers – A New Bill With Big Implications

A new, proposed California Senate bill will prohibit landlords from discriminating against those with Section 8 vouchers. In this article we’ll explain what the bill proposes and explore different perspectives of those who will be impacted by it.  What Is the Section 8 Voucher Program? The Section 8 voucher program is the federal government's major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford housing in the private market. In Santa

4 Jun 2019

Creating and Selling A “Smart Home”

Smart homes are homes that have been equipped with lighting, heating, safety features and/or other devices that can be controlled remotely by phone or computer. According to a 2016 survey, 60 percent of Americans think that a home needs to have at least three categories of smart products for it to be considered “smart”.

28 May 2019

The Value of Using a Land Use Planner

Have you been wanting to build a Granny Unit (aka additional dwelling unit) for extra space or income but just do not have the time to sort through county regulations, paperwork, and processes? Have you been looking for the right lot to build your dream home on? Or maybe you own an investment property Santa Cruz County that you’d like to develop but you live elsewhere?