26 Apr 2022

Negotiation Skills of a Successful Real Estate Agent: A Dive into Tactical Empathy

After more than a decade in the real estate industry and working as a broker in central California, I have fine-tuned my answer to these questions and would like to share my insights into how real estate agents can use “tactical empathy” to negotiate on behalf of their clients.

24 Nov 2021

City of Capitola: Vacation Rentals Ordinance (November 2021)

The City of Capitola has been impacted by an increase in tourism along the Central Coast, and property owners are pursuing the opportunity to transition their homes into vacation rentals. Before jumping in, however, residents need to familiarize themselves with the City of Capitola’s rules and regulations regarding new and existing vacation homes.

24 Nov 2021

City of Santa Cruz: Vacation Rentals Ordinance (November 2021)

Due to the city’s growth in popularity over the years, investors and homeowners are looking to leverage their primary, secondary, and investment homes by renting them out to tourists. However, this increased popularity has led to more city regulations. Anyone considering turning their home into a vacation rental needs to keep the following information in mind.

24 Nov 2021

Santa Cruz County: Vacation Rentals Ordinance (November 2021)

Located along California’s Central Coast, approximately 70 miles south of San Jose, Santa Cruz County enjoys a $1.1 billion annual tourism industry. Its beautiful beaches, stunning trails, and family activities bring visitors from all around the globe. As a result, more homeowners are interested in turning their properties into vacation rentals! Before venturing down this path, however, it is essential for people to understand what is permitted regarding vacation rentals in Santa Cruz County. Santa

22 Oct 2021

Here’s What You Need to Disclose When Selling Your Home

If you're a resident of the Golden State, you are required by law to disclose specific details about your property to prospective buyers. You can share this information via the State of California, Department of Real Estate, Disclosures in Real Property Transactions form. You can use this form, also known as the real estate transfer disclosure statement (TDS), to "describe the condition of property and, in the case of a sale, to a prospective buyer

22 Oct 2021

Keeping Your Property Safe for Visitors

Did you know that you are responsible for anyone who steps foot on your property, whether you invited them or not? If you’re like most homeowners, you may not be aware of your responsibility to keep children and others safe in your neighborhood. You may believe that the safety of neighborhood children, as well as other visitors to other properties, is the responsibility of their parents (or other property owners). However, according to state law,

23 Aug 2021

How Direct Air Technology Can Reduce Our Carbon Footprint

The global temperature is rising and poses an enormous risk to the world around us. CO2 emitted by fossil fuels is one of the largest contributors to the problem, accounting for 65% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To ensure our future's security, scientists have been assessing how to reduce global warming, limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C or less per year, and the recent increased use of carbon capture technology is one possible solution. However, the effectiveness of this technique is still controversial. Here's what we know so far.

23 Aug 2021

Discussions Continue in Santa Cruz County About Loosening ADU Ordinances

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors has been discussing the need for changes to the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) handbook for months with the expectation that outstanding issues would be resolved at this month’s meeting. However, the discussion will continue as the board rejected proposed recommendations at the August 10 gathering.

19 Jul 2021

Exercising Care and Caution with Cash-Out Financing

In 2020, the United States witnessed a real estate phenomenon. Interest rates dropped, home prices rose, and U.S. homeowners pulled out nearly $185 billion from their homes' equity through cash-out refinancing, representing the highest amount of equity pulled out since 2007. However, analysts are now warning homeowners to be cautious when pursuing a cash-out refinance. Here's why.

16 Jul 2021

California Moratorium on Evictions Extended Until September 30, 2021

We recently wrote about the numerous moratoriums implemented by varying levels of government, including both federal and state agencies. The situation has continued to evolve, and governments are responding. Mostly recently, on June 28, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation, AB 832, extending the state’s eviction moratorium through September 30, 2021 and providing debt relief for “Californians that have suffered economic hardship due to the pandemic.”

16 Jul 2021

Understanding Legal Tools Prevents Trespassers from Taking Your Property

Most homeowners are unaware that their property could be legally taken from their possession by a trespasser. It sounds outlandish, but unfortunately, such a shocking transfer of ownership can happen, and property owners should be educated on their state’s laws regarding this process. Knowing the rules can help homeowners reduce the risk of losing their property unexpectedly or being taken advantage of.

25 Jun 2021

Is your neighbor obstructing your view? Here’s What You Can Do

A property’s value is often related to the view it offers residents. A home facing an ocean or lake often sells at an exponentially higher rate than its neighbor across the street. This is due to the simple fact that residents reap the benefits of waking up to a luxurious coastal view every morning. Unfortunately, pristine views are not guaranteed, and occasionally a neighbor can obstruct yours. Has this happened to you? If so, what

24 Jun 2021

According to NASA, Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality! Here’s What Homeowners Need to Know

Typically, we think about air pollution as something that affects us most when we are outside — you probably imagine the kind of smoggy air you can see and smell, especially in cities with sizable manufacturing industries. It might surprise you to know that indoor pollution, which is less obvious, can be much more insidious and just as bad for your health — or even worse! These plants can help.

19 May 2021

What to Do When Your Neighbor Breaks Boundary Lines?

Most homeowners in California assume that the boundary lines of their property are located where noticeable structures separate the two parcels of land – for example, where a fence stands. However, the perceived location of a boundary line is not always accurate, and homeowners can occasionally run into problems as a result. Understanding boundary lines can be helpful for any homeowner who wants to avoid future litigation, and in this article, we draw on the

19 May 2021

Vacation Rentals Permitted for Summer 2021 (Santa Cruz County): An Update on the COVID Restrictions

As we enter the summer of 2021, many COVID-19 restrictions are easing up, vaccines are widely available, and Americans are breathing a sigh of relief. It's nearly vacation season, and Santa Cruz County is becoming a hot spot for prospective travelers. This year, the season brings especially good tidings for homeowners: according to the county guidelines, travel restrictions and the moratorium on new vacation rentals have been lifted! As a result, property owners in Santa

19 May 2021

CDC Eviction Ban Ruled Unlawful: What Does This Mean for Californians?

When the pandemic hit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) foresaw widespread financial hardship for Americans and established a moratorium on evictions. For the past seven months, that order has fueled a battle between the Alabama Association of Realtors and the United States Department of Health and Human Services. According to the Alabama Association of Realtors, the CDC overstepped when it extended renter protections to include non-federally-funded rental housing. The moratorium order prohibits

12 Apr 2021

Branches, Limbs, and Roots: How to Deal with Your Neighbor’s “Tree” Problem

Last month, we explored how to deal with a neighbor who injures or destroys your landscape, specifically a tree on your property. This month, we are reviewing how to deal with a neighbor's problematic tree. In this section, we pull from the book Neighborhood Law by attorneys Emily Doskow and Line Guillen by sharing what you as a homeowner can do about encroaching branches and roots and unsound limbs and trees. Concerns with Trees If

12 Apr 2021

CDC: National Eviction Moratorium EXTENDED Until June 30

With the noble intention of containing the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced an extension of the order banning residential evictions. The original order, titled Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent Further Spread of COVID-19, was set to expire on March 31, 2021, as outlined in President Trump's $900 billion relief package, but will now be in effect until at least June 30, 2021. What does the

12 Apr 2021

American Home Values Hit an ALL-TIME High

This past year has seen a surging real estate market – home prices have continued to climb as Americans navigate the ever-changing dynamics of the pandemic. A recent report released by Realtor.com shows that, on a national level, median home listing prices in March 2021 were $370,000 – 15.6% higher compared to the year prior (March 2020). Prices in the largest U.S. metro areas “grew by an average of 12.1% year-over-year with some markets seeing

19 Mar 2021

Proposed New Rules Could Create Restrictions on Housing Development in Santa Cruz County

The State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection recently proposed new regulations that could drastically affect landowners in Santa Cruz County, more specifically, those impacted by the CZU Lightning Complex fires that burned in Northern California starting August 2020.

16 Mar 2021

The Climate Crisis Could Pose Hikes to Homeowners Flood Insurance Costs

Flood risk is not often top of mind for potential home buyers, real estate agents, insurance companies, and creditors. That may change thanks to a new study that examines the potential financial impact to homes due to flood risk, a topic that has garnered more and more attention due to global warming. In recent years, we have faced ongoing challenges related to the climate crisis. Climate change has caused weather patterns to shift across the

11 Mar 2021

When Your California Neighbor Injures or Destroys Your Tree

When Your California Neighbor Injures or Destroys Your Tree Maintaining your home involves caring not only for the structure but also for the land around the house. Many people take pride in the workmanship they express through landscaping their property. Unfortunately, neighbors do not always respect these efforts. On occasion, neighbors may overstep their boundaries and take action on a neighbor's landscape that the homeowner did not permit. For those who have faced this situation,