11 May 2020

Will Auctions Be the New Normal for Luxury Homes in the Future?

As COVID-19 swept across the world, the industry of real estate took a major hit. Stay-at-home restrictions prevented realtors from showing homes, and the disruption in the economy created uncertainty for both home buyers and home sellers. Although the data is not yet in for the United States, it is apparent that COVID-19 caused a major decline in transaction velocity. More is known about the effects in the eastern hemisphere, where the virus first hit

11 May 2020

How Coronavirus is Impacting The Real Estate Market

As spring — the most popular time for homes to be sold on the market — approaches, shelter-in-place restrictions remain in place on both federal and state levels, creating numerous challenges for those looking to transact. Unfortunately, the unanticipated outbreak of COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the real estate market. Although the numbers and data are still being collected, there are a few trends that have been prevalent since the pandemic hit the

11 May 2020

How COVID-19 Has Increased Demand for Remote Luxury Living

Analysists predict that the COVID-19 pandemic is anticipated to alter the future of real estate. One of the early indicators we are experiencing today has been the sudden increase in demand for remote luxury living in markets across the states. This is an interesting shift, given that it contradicts trends the U.S. has been following for more than a century. On average, the U.S. witnesses about a 5% increase in urbanization each decade, and in 2010,

7 Apr 2020

Real Estate Loans in a Pandemic: Even if there are houses for sale, Can I get a loan? Can I refinance with these low rates?

The Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac market is alive and well. That is loans up to $510k and in some high cost counties across the US, up to $765,000. Rates are the lowest in a long time. No changes have been made yet to underwriting guidelines. Jumbo loans, which are loans above the Fannie and Freddie loan amounts, is starting to tighten. Bank of America has announced That Santa Clara County and Santa Cruz County

7 Apr 2020

Paying Your Rent or Mortgage Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, businesses have been shut down, thousands have been laid off from their jobs, millions have applied for unemployment, and people have been asked to stay at home until the pandemic is under control. With all of this being said, homeowners and renters are now faced with the challenge of paying rent, even if they do not have the income to pay. In this article we will outline government initiatives that

23 Mar 2020

How to find credible sources about the Coronavirus

It is very tempting to click every article or headline about the Coronavirus but we wanted to share with you some credible sources that will allow you to accurately educate yourself about the current conditions surrounding COVID-19 and avoid the spread of misinformation. The best practice is to trust, but verify. For information on COVID-19, I recommend these sources: CDC Coronavirus InformationJohns Hopkins UniversityNational Science FoundationNational Institutes of HealthWorld Health

10 Mar 2020

Protecting Your Home from Wildfires: Three Lines of Defense

For California homeowners, wildfires can be the single greatest threat to the safety of your home and family. In 2019 alone, an estimated 7,860 of these fires devastated the Californian landscape. 259,823 acres of land were set ablaze, resulting in the destruction or damage of 732 structures. Worst of all, three lives were confirmed lost as a result of these fires. Given the terrifying suddenness with which these natural phenomena can break out and travel

10 Mar 2020

Home Values are on the Rise—Many Residents Won’t Reap the Rewards

The housing market has been in a precarious state of recovery since the crash of 2008 and subsequent foreclosure crisis in 2010. Economists and homeowners alike are constantly speculating on when the next crash might come; but for now, things seem to be healthy. Unfortunately, for many American families, a growth in home values doesn’t mean the same thing it might have ten years ago. Historically, homeownership has been a staple component of the American

7 Jan 2020

WHERE WILL THE MARKET TREND IN 2020? BULL OR BEAR?

Where Will the Market Trend in 2020? Bull or Bear? 2 Part Series, Part 2:  Evidence of a Declining Market (Bear Market) In part one of this series, we reviewed the 2019 market and the stances of economists who anticipate that 2020 will see a continuation of a bull market. However, some dispute these ideas and believe that we are entering into a housing bust. If you take a look at the historical trends in

7 Jan 2020

WHERE WILL THE MARKET TREND IN 2020? BULL OR BEAR?

2 Part Series, Part 1:  Evidence of an Improved Market (Bull Market) At the beginning of each year, analysists across the country release reports on what they predict the upcoming year will bring in the real estate market. They don’t have a magic 8-ball, but they do assess the trends of the past and present relevant variables to identify where they think the market will go. In this two-part series, we are going to take

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

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

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

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

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

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”.

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

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

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

7 Jan 2019

Major Downtown Housing Project Moves Forward

In the wake of a passionate election season in which affordable housing was one of the major topics of debate, a large housing project was just approved in the City of Santa Cruz. The Pacific Front project is a 205-rental unit housing project which includes ground-floor commercial space and two floors of parking garage. Have you ever heard of Measure O? Under this measure, developers of housing projects must make a certain percentage of their

7 Jan 2019

What to Expect in the 2019 California Housing Market

As 2018 comes to a close, we are starting to see the housing market slow down in California. According to the California Association of Realtors, the statewide sales-to-list price ratio (sales price / list price) has hit the lowest level in 20 months and was down from a year ago: 98.5 percent in September 2018 compared with 99.1 percent in September 2017. We are also beginning to see inventory rise as homes stay on the market longer. Can