30 Oct 2018

Green Homes For Sale in Santa Cruz

What is a Green Home?   The definition of a “Green Building” can vary widely depending on who you ask. Green buildings are often constructed in a way and/or with building materials that result in less pollution during construction and energy-consumption over the lifetime of the building. Green features can range from energy-saving features to being zero-net energy (a building that produces all of the energy it consumes).   Why Green Homes Are A Good

24 Oct 2018

3 Tips to Organize Your Next Move

My husband and I just did the big 12 hour move out here to California. We were given 30 days’ notice and with everything else going on in our lives, we weren’t nearly as prepared as we were hoping to be. Now, I’ve read lots of posts about decluttering my home before moving but it really is easier to say than to do. Here are 3 tips I found most useful during our recent move

10 Oct 2018

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

10 Sep 2018

Real Estate In the Coastal Zone? What to Consider

  Santa Cruz County Coastal Zone Map:   What is the Coastal Commission?   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

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 Homes in Santa Cruz County (Updated Sept. 2018)

Buying New Homes in Santa Cruz   If you are interested in buying a newer home in Santa Cruz county you may be in luck. It may seem difficult to find new homes, but it doesn't have to be. We are a team of Real Estate professionals who have lived and worked in this county for over eleven years and are well equipped to help you find a new home in Santa Cruz County.  

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

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. On 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 average.

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.    

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

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.

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

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

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.   Would you like to see a list of mobile homes for sale in Santa Cruz County?   Mobile Homes For Sale in Santa Cruz County: What Are Your Options? Find Out Today: We Do Not Share Your Information or Spam You. Questions? Please

15 Sep 2017

Santa Cruz County Schools (K-12)

  Click Here for Larger Map Image   In this article, we summarize important information about public and private education in Santa Cruz as well as resources that you can use to analyze individual schools.     Santa Cruz County Public Education:    Overview: According to the Santa Cruz County Office of Education, close to 40,500 students are enrolled in Santa Cruz County schools. Overall, the number of students in Santa Cruz County that are performing

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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