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:  

24 Mar 2017

Buying a Home? Learn From the Mistakes of Others.

  Nerdwallet.com, a website that compares financial tools, commissioned a study on homebuyers to better understand where issues emerge. Their findings are based on a survey of more than 2,200 people, about 1,300 of whom have applied for a mortgage and more than 1,400 of whom are current homeowners.Listed below are a few of the major issues that these homebuyers came across, along with solutions to help you avoid making the same mistakes. While Obtaining a Mortgage:

9 Mar 2017

Changing Energy Codes to Increase Energy Savings

Did you know that new 2016 Residential Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Standards) are now being enforced and California is expecting to see 28% more energy savings in regulated loads* than those built under the 2013 Energy Standards? *an electrical load is an electrical component or portion of a circuit that consumes electric power Having energy efficient buildings: Reduces energy costs. Increases reliability and availability of electricity. Improves building occupant comfort and reduces impact to the environment. Energy efficiency requires

28 Feb 2017

Changing ADU Laws in Santa Cruz

In response to our state's housing shortage, Governor Brown has signed Senate Bill (SB) 1069, which will make it easier, and for some, less expensive to develop Additional Dwelling Unit's (ADU's). SB 1069 will require local governing bodies to loosen ADU regulation. Both Santa Cruz County and City have amended their ADU related ordinances. We report on major ordinance changes that the city has publicized. We also summarize County ordinance changes, which are still contingent on Coastal Commission

19 Jan 2017

Using Online Tools to Make Informed and Profitable Home Buying Decisions

In our newsletters, we have provided an array of useful online tools for you, the buyer, to help you to make more informed, precise and profitable decisions than ever before without leaving the comfort of your home. In this post, we have created a narrative, accompanied by these online tools, to support you in the path to homeownership. We will help you: Secure a mortgage. Find down-payment assistance programs if necessary. Make wise choices about the cost of

30 Dec 2016

Housing Affordability Issues In California and Your Options

The truth is, homeownership is challenging for many right now because of high prices, high rents, and low supply. However, the state and local governments are working to remove barriers to development, improving the supply shortage in our state. Additionally, there are loan programs that are helping to break down walls to homeownership for new homeowners.

14 Dec 2016

2017 Santa Cruz Real Estate Market Predictions

It’s amazing that we are at the end of another year. Here at Schneider Estates we have much to be grateful for. Most of all, we are so grateful for you. You allow us to do what we love everyday. From helping younger couples find their first homes to ensuring seasoned investors find good deals and everything inbetween, we are honored to get to work with you and help you to make wise, informed real estate

15 Nov 2016

Soft Stories: Earthquake Prone Architecture

Some of us have been around Santa Cruz long enough to remember the Loma Prieta Earthquake. This catastrophic event sent shock waves through our local and state-wide government, causing a surge of earthquake-safety related building code additions and modifications. However, there are still architectural designs that were build before these changes which remain highly susceptible to earthquake damage. If you plan to buy or currently own real estate, it’s imperative that you know about these

3 Nov 2016

The Corridors – Santa Cruz Zoning Changes

  The City of Santa Cruz is in process of researching and asking for public feedback on the idea of changing the zoning code along four corridors within the city of Santa Cruz. As shown in the  map below, these corridors include Mission Street (Highway 1), Soquel Avenue, Water Street, and Ocean Street, each identified as a road that carries the heaviest cross-town traffic and provides access to a variety of amenities. Changes in the zoning

22 Oct 2016

New FHA Rules – Important for those with or planning to get an FHA Loan

Do you have an FHA mortgage or plan to have one in the future? Do you have Student Loan Debt? Do you hope to refinance in the future? Than this post applies to you. The FHA is designed to make homeownership more affordable. By insuring loans, FHA allows the lender to offer you a better deal. This includes Lower down payments Lower closing costs Easy credit qualifying New rules have recently been released which may affect your

9 Sep 2016

Rising Sea Levels – Local Consequences

With man-made climate change being widely accepted by the scientific community, the question is no longer "if" but "when" our communities will be affected by these large-scale changes in the environment. The Pacific Institute has recently released an interactive map that projects to 2100 and identifies at-risk areas in the event of a major flood or from erosion, with both scenarios dependent on a ~4.6 ft sea-level rise. Read more about the study conducted here and see the actual

30 Aug 2016

Decoding the Zestimate

What is behind the Zestimate and how accurate are they?   Zillow is the leading real estate website, with a total of 44.19 million visits, excluding those on mobile devices (source). Zillow is rich with information about property value estimates (Zestimates), sales histories, neighborhoods, and schools. Before visiting the site to get an idea of your or another's property value, be sure to keep a few things in mind:   Zestimates are a starting point when

16 Aug 2016

Zero Energy (Net-Zero) Homes

In simplest terms, a zero net energy home is a building that produces as much energy as it consumes over the course of the year. With Federal and Statewide initiatives in place, it is very likely that more energy efficient and net-zero homes will become a new norm in the near future.   Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) has coined the term “Zero Energy Ready Home” which is identified as a home

28 Jul 2016

Is there a Housing Bubble in the SF Bay Area?

Historically high housing prices in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area are on the minds of many. It naturally follows to ask, are we in a housing bubble? A bubble occurs when prices are decoupled from the true value of an asset, and due to the expectation that prices will continue to rise, they do so until the bubble bursts. Therefore, the question is, are people buying real estate in the Bay Area simply because

8 Jul 2016

Title Companies – What do I need to know?

Did you know that over 13 industries can be involved in a real estate transaction? These include the Broker, Title Company, Home Inspector, Pest Inspector, General Contractor, and the list goes on. Two of the more elusive, yet most important contributors to the deal are the Escrow and Title Companies. These organizations are responsible for researching the current title (and hopefully finding that it is clear), insuring the lender and/or buyer against title fraud, preparing

5 Jul 2016

BREXIT: Why Stay, Why Leave, and How does it impact the US Real Estate Market?

Arguments For and Against the BREXIT:   Reasons for leaving: The EU threatens Britain's Sovereignty – supports of this viewpoint reference the trend of an increase in EU authority over the past few decades. For example, in matters of competition policy, agriculture, and copyright and patent law, EU rules overrule national laws. The EU is able to impose regulations on its members, some of which BREXIT supporters claim are overly burdensome and cost the British

27 Jun 2016

What is going on in the California Real Estate Market?

Interest Rates Fed rate hikes can increase borrowing costs. The FED has been waiting for the job market to improve to increase rates. Lower-than expected job growth led to a delay in a rate increase in June, however once job growth improves, it is likely that rate increases will follow. Mortgage rates are largely influenced by global capital flows. With large inflows of foreign capital, mortgage rates have been low because there is an inverse

estate video marketing12 May 2015

Estate Video Marketing

Increased Marketing exposure increase estate exposure to more realtors and potential buyers. When we decided to create a home video showcasing our premium beach front property, 76 Puffin Lane, we knew we'd enjoy an increase in exposure, but what we've experienced has more than met our expectations. With our video, we've experienced: Thousands of viewsDozens of phone inquiriesa 30% increase in online activityA powerful marketing tool With our team in place, we're ready to create