14 Sep 2020

Safeguarding Your Home’s Equity: Steps to Take to Prepare for a Home Inspection

Your house is on the market, and you have a serious buyer interested or you are preparing your home to go to market. This is always the best news but also not the time to become complacent. In most cases when you are selling your home, the buyer will request a home inspection during escrow. Not only is it sometimes required by lenders, but most buyers will want to assess the condition of the home

8 Sep 2020

Transaction Velocity Continues to Rise, Especially with Larger Homes

Recent analysis has revealed that even in the midst of the pandemic, the housing market is thriving. According to the National Association of Realtors, total existing-home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose by 24.7 percent from June to July, and sales as a whole rose 8.7 percent year-over year. In fact, their analysis concluded that it was the sharpest monthly sales gain recorded since 1968 (the year NAR began collecting housing data). Lawrence

8 Sep 2020

9 Ways to Improve your Offer on a Home

Earlier this year we started to witness an increase in transaction velocity for homes across the county. This was a direct result of the Fed cutting rates, which ultimately provided Americans a chance to purchase a home at a historically low interest rate.  When the pandemic swept the globe a short time later, analysis predicted that velocity would slow down as a result of two factors: 1) People fearing the impact of the virus, and

19 Aug 2020

Common Disclosures: Seller’s Duty and Obligation to Disclose in California

In order to protect buyers, selling a home in the United States requires that specific details be disclosed to potential homebuyers; however, exactly what information has to be disclosed can vary by state. In California, the specifics are outlined in the Department of Real Estate’s “Disclosures in Real Property Transactions,” document, which includes disclosures required by both state and federal law and regulations. It is imperative to note that there is a legal obligation to

19 Aug 2020

Game Changers in the Real Estate Market – Pending Evictions

COVID-19 has taken the United States by storm, impacting every aspect of the American people’s lives: Businesses have been forced to close their doors; millions of individuals have lost their jobs; and over 100,000 Americans have lost their lives to the virus. Government aid, in the form of federal unemployment and moratoriums on eviction, has been a much-needed lifeline to many who have been hit the hardest. However, it is now August 2020, and as

19 Aug 2020

Adjusted Basis 101

When selling your home you may be responsible for paying capital gains taxes, which are defined as taxes paid on the positive difference between the sale price of your home and the original purchase price. To understand how much you will owe you will need to know what the adjusted basis on your home is. However, unless you have been involved in multiple real estate transactions, you may be unaware of what this means. Therefore,

14 Jul 2020

Demand for High-End Homes Remains Prominent Amidst Pandemic

The last six months has been a whirlwind of events, all impacting the real estate market in different ways. Earlier this year, the Fed cut rates to nearly zero, driving millions of Americans to pursue new home acquisitions or refinance opportunities. However, shortly after, as the pandemic spread across the globe and stay at home orders were established, the transaction velocity of properties came to a halt. Fast forward two months and the trends are

13 Jul 2020

What Happens When the Eviction Ban Lifts?

As a result of the recent pandemic, legislation has been passed on a multitude of levels to protect tenants facing financial difficulties from being evicted. This includes legislation passed at the federal, state, county, and city levels, all geared towards implementing a moratorium on evictions. The hope was to keep people safe in their homes during stay-at-home orders, as well as protect those who have faced financial loss as a result of the spreading virus.

13 Jul 2020

The Flood Factor: Updated flood maps are sobering. Is your home at risk?

Understanding the risks of flooding in your home can be challenging. Until recently, the primary tool for figuring out whether or not your home sits in a flood-prone location was to check the Federal Emergency Management Agency maps; however, as a result of the costly research required to make the maps, the intense labor, climate change, and even political influence, these maps have long been suspected of broadly underestimating the risks of flooding for many

18 Jun 2020

A Game Changer in Real Estate: The Pandemic Buyer

Over the last few decades, the popular aesthetics of home design and preferences of the American people have changed many times over, but one trend of real estate has remained: The desirability of the location of the home has always been directly tied to the job opportunities in the area. Homebuyers have historically flocked to home locations that were convenient for their work, whether it be to guarantee a short car commute, to find a

17 Jun 2020

What Does “Green Living” Really Mean, and Why Should I Know About It?

Over the last few decades, the concept of green living has been on the rise. It first gained popularity in the subcultures of environmentalists and hippies, who were dedicated to changing the systems by which they live in order to better reflect their beliefs and values. Early adopters of green homes, for example, focused on developing their own energy sources, composting their waste, and reducing the pollution created by their environments. However, as knowledge of

17 Jun 2020

Post Pandemic Buying Trends

The real estate market is one of many industries that have been impacted by the coronavirus. In some local markets, especially the densely-populated ones, transactions have all but halted as people learn to cope with the fear and economic uncertainty resulting from the pandemic. However, in other communities, such as in Santa Cruz County, real estate transactions have remained constant as people began seeking new homes in more remote areas to prepare for the changes

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

How Have Epidemics and Pandemics Historically Impacted the Real Estate Market?

As we navigate the enormous changes that COVID 19 is bringing to how we work and live, many industries have essentially gone dark, closing down while they wait out the storm. Naturally, homeowners and real estate professionals are wondering how this pandemic is going to impact their industry and investments. The best way to assess how the future will pan out is to take a look back at our history to find out how other

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

Resources for Fire Season in Santa Cruz County

Each year, homeowners in Santa Cruz County face the threat of wildfires and the potential loss of property. Because of this unfortunate reality of living in California, local groups have designed multiple resources that are accessible for free to the community. Homeowners can use these resources to better safeguard their homes - and their families - against the devastating effects of wildfires. An abundance of resources exist for community members to ensure that homeowners remain

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

11 Feb 2020

The Williamson Act and Santa Cruz County

The Williamson Act, also recognized as the California Land Conservation Act of 1965, was established to permit eligible property owners to enter contracts with local governments for the purpose of restricting specific parcels of land to agriculture or other related open space use. The objectives of the Williamson Act were identified to: protect agricultural resources,preserve open space land, andpromote efficient urban growth patterns. In return, the restricted parcels are assessed for tax purposes at a

11 Feb 2020

Land Loans – What You Need to Know

If you are considering purchasing land to build a home, it is important to understand that the loan necessary to purchase the land will be quite different compared to your regular mortgage. Here are some of the key points to understand when you are pursuing a land loan: 1 – Not All Land is Created Equal As stated above, not all land is the same. Land can have a variety of improvements, many which are

11 Feb 2020

Building a Home – The Loan Process

To finance a home on a vacant lot you will need to obtain a construction loan. These vary drastically when compared to residential loans since they are directly associated with building a house. Construction loans have different terms and bring different value to the borrower. Here are the steps simply outlined to build your dream home from the ground up. Getting the Land Before you can build a home, you will need to secure the

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

9 Dec 2019

Benefits of Downsizing and How to Prepare for Your Next Move

Change is difficult, but perspective makes a huge difference: Downsizing does not have to be a negative moment in your life. In fact, downsizing your home represents tremendous opportunity and can actually bring many benefits to your daily life! First off, when you downsize you have less space to take care of. Therefore, when it comes to cleaning and organizing, in the future, there will be fewer chores to handle. Secondly, downsizing actually helps reduce

8 Dec 2019

What You Should Look for in Your Next Home: A Guide for Seniors

Many people nearing the end of their professional lives and looking forward to retirement consider moving into a smaller home. Downsizing can bring many benefits especially if you no longer have your children living in the home. By downsizing in your later years, you can help improve the quality of your daily life while saving time and money on the cheaper maintenance of a simpler home. If you are considering moving as you prepare to