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

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

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

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

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:

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

4 Jan 2019

A New Year’s Resolution in Three Easy Steps- Home Edition

We all do it. From time to time, we all procrastinate on our home maintenance and upkeep. What if this year was different? We propose that all those reading this article create an action plan, noting what maintenance and upgrades their home 1) needs most, 2) probably should have, and 3) would be nice to have. Once you’ve made your list and checked it twice, create an action plan for the year (because unfortunately Santa

17 Dec 2018

Solar Panels Required on New Homes in California – What it Means

California just became the first state to require all new construction, starting in 2020, to be solar powered. The new standards apply to new residential single-family buildings and multifamily buildings up to three stories high. The solar power can either be supplied by a new structure’s own set of solar panels, or buy a shared solar-power system serving a group of homes. The formalization of this mandate into the CA Building Code has elicited mixed

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 March 2019)

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 of

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.    

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 refer to

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