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

28 Nov 2019

First Time Home Buying: How to Prioritize

When you head down the path of homeownership for the first time it is inevitable that you will be faced with an array of decisions related to what amenities you have to give up in order to afford it. This initial step is a huge financial commitment for anyone; and, unless you have endless access to capital, there are bound to be specific aspects of the home that you will have to sacrifice in order to afford your first purchase. These can come in the form of choosing between an extra bedroom verse an office, the size of the backyard, or an extra bathroom.

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

2 Oct 2019

The Pest Inspection – What you Need to Know When Buying or Selling Santa Cruz Real Estate

Are you planning on buying or selling property with a structure on it (i.e. a home, condo, townhouse) in Santa Cruz County? If so, do you know what a pest inspection is and how it is used in the sale of property? Read on to learn why these inspections are important, and how it may impact your home purchase or sale.  What is the Pest Inspection? A Wood Destroying Pest & Organism Inspection Report (pest

17 Sep 2019

AB 1482: Statewide Rent Control and Just Cause For Eviction in California

AB 1482, a state-wide bill that will enforce rent-increase limits and just cause for eviction laws throughout California is about to land on Governor Newsom’s desk. The governor has said that he plans to sign the bill. This means we can expect a state-wide rent cap and just cause for eviction rules to become law in the coming weeks. The bill is set to expire in 10 years, and so it will remain in effect

13 Sep 2019

6 Ways Seniors Can Prevent Downsizing Disasters

By: Shirley Martin - tidylifetoday.com Moving to a smaller home during retirement? Downsizing is a common move that can improve quality of life for many seniors. With a smaller home comes less worry and stress, so you don't want to worry too much about the steps needed to complete this process smoothly. Which is why you should use the following tips to prevent common mistakes from happening.  Look into Local Housing Prices  Cost is usually