24 Feb 2021

FHFA Extends Protection for Homeowners Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can continue to breathe more easily, at least through the spring, thanks to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The agency announced February 9 that it would extend foreclose and real estate owned (REO) eviction moratoriums, as well as the COVID-19 forbearance period. The current moratorium, which was set to expire on February 28, 2021, has now been extended to March 31. FHFA Director Mark Calabria stated: “To keep families in

18 Feb 2021

How to Handle Neighborhood Noise

Noisy neighbors are one of the biggest problems affecting California communities. As individuals participate in the hustle and bustle of daily activities, most want to return home for a peaceful night of rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, neighborhood activities can interfere with these plans, causing resentment and anger among neighbors. Some activities are permitted, while others are deemed unacceptable and could result in a cause for action against an individual. This article takes a closer look

16 Feb 2021

Check These Areas That Often Fail a Home Inspection

By Maddi Arcurio - Marketing Coordinator, Communications at HomeLight If you're planning on taking advantage of the seller's market by listing your home this year, a little preparation will help you sell your home fast. While the market is hot, you don't want to give prospective buyers any reason to pass on your house. So, as you prepare your home, keep an eye out for some of the areas that commonly fail home inspections. Let's

1 Feb 2021

California Lawmakers Extend Relief to Vulnerable Tenants Until June 2021

California's most vulnerable tenants may continue to stay afloat during the pandemic, thanks to recent actions taken by the state legislature. On Thursday, January 28, 2021, California lawmakers approved the use of $2.6 billion in federal stimulus money to pay off up to 80% of income-qualified tenants' unpaid rent. Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the legislation into law. The solution directly responds to the challenges many renters still face today, nearly one year

28 Jan 2021

Understanding Feedback Loops

“Climate change is the defining crisis of our time, and it is happening even more quickly than we feared. But we are far from powerless in the face of this global threat.” – United Nations  Schneider Estates, Inc. is committed to educating ourselves and our clients about the climate crisis. Climate change is one of the leading challenges facing humanity today—and we strive to be part of the solution, not the problem. To do this,

28 Jan 2021

Tackling a Neighborhood Problem

Being a homeowner comes with immense benefits: it's an excellent long-term investment, it helps you build equity, and it provides you with federal tax benefits. However, homeownership can quickly become a hassle, especially when you encounter problems with one of your neighbors. Although no one wants to deal with such incidents, all homeowners are likely to face them one day. Before jumping on the phone to call the police or hastily confronting your neighbor, you

14 Dec 2020

Understanding and Executing Neighborhood Law: The Beginning of A Series

Welcome to the first of many installations in our newest series: Understanding and Executing Neighborhood Law. As a homeowner, you have been graced with the whole range of experiences that come with having neighbors! Although they can bring great joy through friendships, community events, and even play-dates, neighbors can also bring their own challenges, which are inevitable among individuals sharing such close quarters. Having been inspired by a book released by attorneys Emily Doskow and

9 Dec 2020

Why It’s Better to be a CLIENT, Not a Customer

Working with a real estate agent brings its many perks. As professionals in the industry, they are educated on market trends and can provide buyers and sellers with opportunities they may have missed on their own. For example, buyers may be privy to off-market opportunities when working with a real estate agent. However, what many buyers and sellers do not understand is that there are two different types of relationships they can have with their

20 Nov 2020

Prop 19 Just Passed in California: What Does This Mean for Homeowners?

California Proposition 19, the Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue of Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment, was recently approved by a 51.1% majority vote. Now, many homeowners are wondering how they will be impacted as we move into 2021. Let’s take a closer look! A YES on Prop 19: The Impact on Homeowners Proposition 19 was on the ballot in California as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment directed at changing specific property tax rules. Here

20 Nov 2020

Looking Deeper: Will the tide soon turn in our booming real estate market?

Since 2011, the residential real estate market has been steadily climbing. Housing prices have increased year-over-year in most major markets, with the housing medium rising 55% over the last decade (June 2010 to June 2020). This bullish market has proven beneficial to investors and homeowners across the country. However, as a result of the 2020 market, some analysts predict that 2021 may experience a significant shift. We may be transitioning to a bear market as

12 Nov 2020

What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know About Un-permitted Work

Un-permitted work on a home can prove to be damaging to a home sale. It can be both timely and costly.   So, for those looking to buy or sell a home, be sure to stay updated on the critical aspects of permits and understand what to do if there is un-permitted work on a home. What Home Projects Need A Permit? The first question I often get is What projects actually need permits? Overall, any

13 Oct 2020

Hempcrete: The Future of Home Construction

Historically speaking, construction materials have predominately consisted of concrete, steel, wood, and brick. However, when the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was passed on December 20, 2018, builders worldwide began to familiarize themselves with a new material deemed the eco-friendly material of the future: Hempcrete. What is Hempcrete? Hempcrete is a unique bio-composite material comprised of the hemp hurds, a mineral binder (lime), and water. When blended, "a chemical reaction occurs between the lime binder

9 Oct 2020

Fall 2020: California is Still a Seller’s Market

Annual market trends can be somewhat predictable; transaction velocity spiking in Spring and Summer and slowing through Fall and Winter results from children returning to school and adults returning to their routines.  However, this year has witnessed a change; due to the global pandemic, we have experienced a year like no other. As a result, recent reports by the National Association of Realtors and Realtor.com concluded that this Fall and its subsequent months would remain

8 Oct 2020

How to Reduce the Spread of Wildfires: A New Study Identifies Cattle Grazing as the Newest Solution

California has had one of its most devastating years in terms of wildfires, with rampant fires spreading across the state for weeks. In 2020 alone, there have been an estimated 8,320 wildfires, 31 fatalities, 8,687 structures damaged, and over 4 million acres burned. Politicians, researchers, environmentalists, and public safety experts have been brainstorming on how to change the course that California has been witnessing over the last few years – They are trying to identify

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