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,

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