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?

17 May 2019

Cleaning Up After Vermin: How to Protect Your Home and Loved Ones

Guest Article Written by Kimberly Hayes at publichealthalert.info Cleaning up your home after mice have moved in can be a major undertaking, but it’s important to make sure you take steps to get things in order and disinfected once they’re gone. This is because mice can spread disease, mainly through their feces and urine, and leaving behind even the faintest traces of it can leave you and your family at risk for health issues. Mice

3 May 2019

Home In Words

Whether it's a small home for two or a big house with views, our homes are places where moments become memories and we experience life in every hue. The good and bad days, in the end we'd never wish either away. Within the the walls of our home, which we've come to know so well we allow the waves of our lives to crash and swell. Our hope for you and those you love whoever

3 May 2019

Avoiding Capital Gains with a Deferred Sales Trust

Do you own a property which has appreciated considerably since you purchased it? Have you been hesitant to sell because you want to avoid paying capital gains tax? If you've answered yes to either of these questions you may benefit from using a Deferred Sales Trust (DST). If you are at risk of paying a substantial sum in capital gains tax when selling your home, and if you either don’t quality for or would like

3 May 2019

Finding Your Property’s Boundary Lines

Are you unsure if that fence that your neighbor put up is an accurate indicator of your lot’s boundary lines? Do you have a plot map that disagrees with the county's records? If so, you may be one of the many property owners who are not sure where their property's boundary lines fall. Finding accurate lot lines becomes increasingly important when it comes time to buy or sell property - you can imagine how giving

1 May 2019

Fireproofing Your Home

With 1.8 million acres burning over the past year, 2018 was the worst in recorded history for California. A new federal report concluded that "California accounted for the highest number of structures lost in one state in 2018: 17,133 residences, 703 commercial/mixed residential structures and 5,811 minor structures.” Many of us remember the 2016, 4,474-acre Loma Fire which displaced hundreds near the Loma Prieta ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains and destroyed 12 homes in

8 Apr 2019

Housing Bills on the Horizon: What Is Being Proposed in Sacramento?

Locally and on a statewide level, rent control and just cause for eviction ordinances have not been very successful in winning majority-approval. Understandably, legislators fear that if nothing is done, rental housing will continue to make up a disproportionately high percentage of renters paychecks. California legislators are working to come up with solutions to our local and statewide housing issues. Some focus on decreasing the barriers to development, while others focus on capping rental rates

8 Apr 2019

Tech IPO’s: Higher Prices Over the Hill, Bubble-Speculation, and What it Means for The Santa Cruz Real Estate Market

As you may have read about in our newsletter last month, 2019 is slated to produce a long list of multi-billion-dollar IPOs from San Francisco Bay Area heavyweights like Lyft, Uber, Palantir, Pinterest, Airbnb, Slack, Postmates, and Instacart. According to Patrick Howell O'Neill, this will results in a massive and sudden injection of liquid cash into a region already infamous for having the nation’s priciest real estate. While the impact may not be as sudden

1 Apr 2019

Tiny Homes in Santa Cruz County?

Tiny Homes are catching the attention of people all over the country (have you seen the HGTV show Tiny House, Big Living?). Here in Santa Cruz County, we’ve had quite a few clients ask if they can put a Tiny Home on a lot. The short answer is, “it depends”. Read the more comprehensive answer below. What is a “Tiny Home”? A tiny home is typically one that is under 400 square feet, though some

26 Mar 2019

Protecting Your Assets Real Estate Deals: Pros and Cons of Choosing Arbitration

If you are buying or selling your home and have just written or received an offer, there is an important clause to be aware of: Dispute Resolution. Most offers to purchase and sell residential real estate in the state of California are written using the California Residential Purchase Agreement And Joint Escrow Instructions form (RPA-CA). When full executed by you and the other party this contract specifies the terms of your sale, including the purchase

20 Mar 2019

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

Sewer Lateral Inspection Requirements in the City of Santa Cruz: Source Sewer Lateral Inspection Requirements in the (Unincorporated) County of Santa Cruz: Source 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. 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

14 Mar 2019

Do I need a Permit to Do This? – Santa Cruz County Edition

When you make a modification to your property it’s important to understand the permitting requirements. While a licensed contractor will often know if a permit is needed, ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that all necessary permits were obtained for the work done. In certain cases, no permit is required, but Building Code laws rules varying from city to city and so the safest course of action is to inquire with your local planning

11 Mar 2019

New Mobile Home Legislation For Park Closures?

Mobile homes provide an affordable housing option in expensive real estate markets like Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area. On the other hand, with the value of their land increasing, mobile home park owners have been under more pressure to close mobile home parks and sell their lots to developers. Mobile home lots closed across California. CLICK to launch full interactive graphic. (Data visualization by Katie Kramon/Peninsula Press) Given the shortage of affordable

6 Mar 2019

Owning a Property with A Septic System in Santa Cruz County: What you Need to Know.

Did you know that the San Lorenzo Valley Watershed has the highest density of septic systems of any comparable area in the State? This means, if you are buying or selling property in the San Lorenzo Valley (Ben Lomond, Felton, Brookdale or Boulder Creek), you’ll likely have to understand what it means to own and what can go wrong with a septic system. The following are typical questions that buyers and/or sellers will ask when dealing with septic systems:

26 Feb 2019

Save Money with Virtual Staging when Selling Your Home

Did you know that 77% of buyers’ agents reported that staging made it easier for their clients visualize the property as a future home? Additionally, buyers are 40% more likely to walk through a home that they saw online if it is staged. This is why many sellers opt to stage their homes before putting them on the market. For those that don’t know, staging is the practice of styling and furnishing a property to

8 Feb 2019

An Update: Rental Housing Task Force, Just Cause for Eviction and Large Rent Increase Laws in Santa Cruz City

Are there rent control or just cause for eviction laws in the City of Santa Cruz? In this short post, we discuss the succession of events related to rent control and just cause for eviction laws in the City of Santa Cruz after the November elections. We answer the question above and help you understand what is being proposed, and where the City Government is in the legislative process. As a reminder, voters rejected Measure

31 Jan 2019

Buying a Home with A Reverse Mortgage?

Did you know that, if you are 62 or older, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to purchase a home? In this article we cover how you can use the equity in your current residence to purchase property; different Reverse Mortgage options on the market today, and how this financial decision will impact your heirs. Using a Reverse Mortgages to Buy a Home You may have heard of using a Reverse Mortgages

24 Jan 2019

How To Price your Property Well When Selling In Santa Cruz

How you price your home will determine if and how long it takes to sell. Pricing it well requires an in-depth understanding of our local real estate market conditions. On average, in 2018, homes that had a price decrease were on market for 69 days and sold for $554 / square foot. Compare that to all homes that sold without a price decrease: on average, they were on the market for 17 days and sold