9 Jul 2018

Rent Control in Santa Cruz County Mobile Home Parks

When you purchase a mobile home on a leased-lot, you will be asked to sign a rental agreement. State law allows you a choice of signing a month-to-month or a one year agreement. The management is also allowed to offer you a long-term (more than one year) lease. Did you know that if you sign a long-term lease you may lose valuable rent-adjustment protections?   There is currently a santa cruz county rent stabilization ordinance,

9 Jul 2018

The Indoor Generation and The Importance of Indoor Air Quality

We spend 90% of our time indoors with minimal daylight and fresh air. Studies suggest that daylight can improve your children’s learning abilities by up to 15%. Living in damp and moldy homes increases risk of asthma by 40%. Children's rooms often contain the most pollutants. Read more in this blog post...

9 Jul 2018

New Construction in Santa Cruz County (July, 2018)

The advantages of newer homes are obvious: less maintenance, newer appliances, “smart” features, and often times, “greener” structures. Additionally, if you work with the builder you can customize the home to your taste.   If you are interested in buying a newer home in Santa Cruz county (5 years or younger) you may be in luck. Multiple housing projects throughout the county are either underway or have been recently completed and we’ve compiled a list

9 Jul 2018

4 Things All Homeowners Must Know to Save Time, Money, and Improve Your Home

This blog post is a spin off of the book: 100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know: How to Save Money, Solve Problems and Improve Your Home and is written in the spirit of smart-homeownership. As with most things in life, the better you get to know your home, the better you'll be able to care for and improve it.   Your Plumbing and Water System In modern plumbing, a drain-waste-vent (or DWV) system is part

19 Jun 2018

Mold In Your Home?

With the combination of heavy winter rains, ocean mist, and wooden homes, Santa Cruz homeowners and buyers needs to be especially cautious about mold. Mold can not only cause health problems, but if left untreated, can weaken your walls, ceiling, or floor. Whether it’s a musty smell, seeing mold outright, or a chronic, inexplicable cough, its important to be proactive in checking and treating mold problems.   Not all mold is the same. Some types

19 Jun 2018

Condo Vs Single Family Residential Home – Which is Right For You?

When shopping for a home or investment property, you may consider whether or not it’s worth it to buy a condo. One one hand, condos are often less expensive in terms of the amount of space you get for your money, however HOA dues may even-out the playing field between condos and single family residential homes (SFR’s).   According to this Walnut Creek lender, $100 of monthly HOA dues = $15,000+ of purchasing power on

19 Jun 2018

Santa Cruz City Housing BluePrint

What is Santa Cruz City government doing about the housing crisis? City Council is focused on the issue and has created a Housing Blueprint Subcommittee to gather community input and make suggestions.   The result of this process is the Santa Cruz City Housing Blueprint. In the blueprint, subcommittee members outline “first priorities” which have been selected after considering both City Council recommendations and community feedback. They are: Community Engagement Legalization of Unpermitted Dwelling Units

13 Jun 2018

Prop 13 Extension on November Ballot

Before Prop 13, there were no limits on increases for the property-tax rate. Some properties were reassessed 50% to 100% in just one year and their owners’ property tax bills increased accordingly.   Under Proposition 13 tax reform, property tax value was rolled back and frozen at the 1976 assessed value level. Property tax increases on any given property were limited to no more than 2% per year as long as the property was not

15 May 2018

A Santa Cruz ADU Tool Kit

When thinking of an ADU, many picture a small, free-standing building in the backyard. This kind of thinking may deter those with smaller lots from exploring the option of adding an ADU to their existing structure. This is a shame, given the additional rental income and living space that ADU’s often afford. The truth is, ADU’s come in all shapes and sizes, and under the right circumstances, even small lots can support them.    

15 May 2018

Flexible Housing for Changing Households

The post-World War II suburbanization of America was driven by the housing needs of nuclear families, the nation’s leading demographic. In the 1950’s when much of housing was constructed post World War II, nuclear families represented around 43% of our households. Today, nuclear families only account for 20% of America’s households, while nearly 30% of homes are made up of single adults living alone. Some other growing household-trends include single parents, young adults living at

15 May 2018

Repealing Costa Hawkins Act?

The Costa Hawkins Act (Costa-Hawkins) allows cities to implement local rent control laws, but within specific parameters: housing constructed after 1995, single-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses are exempt from local rent control regulations. Additionally, Costa-Hawkins allows rental property owners to establish their own rates at the time of a change in tenancy.   A proposed ballot initiative entitled the “Affordable Housing Act for the California November 2018 Ballot” was submitted to the California Attorney General’s

15 May 2018

UPDATE: Enough Signature for the Ballot – Rent Control and Just Cause For Eviction Initiatives

If you’ve been reading our newsletter, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the  rent control and just cause for eviction ballot initiative (Renter Protection Ballot Initiative) which has been circulating through the city. The Movement for Housing Justice has submitted 10,791 signatures to the City of Santa Cruz, well above the required number of signatures needed qualify the initiative for the November polls. The group is now awaiting the results of a 30 day signature validation process.

8 May 2018

Creative Affordable Housing Solutions

We've written about the downsides of rent-control in recent articles, and how the more sustainable solution to our present-day housing crisis would be an increase in the supply of affordable housing. However, creating affordable housing in the second-smallest (by land area) county in the state is not an easy task.   One proposed solution in Santa Cruz City involves rezoning the main corridors to allow for higher-density housing in Santa Cruz city. Unfortunately, affordable housing

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