1 May 2019

Fireproofing Your Home

With 1.8 million acres burning over the past year, 2018 was the worst in recorded history for California. A new federal report concluded that "California accounted for the highest number of structures lost in one state in 2018: 17,133 residences, 703 commercial/mixed residential structures and 5,811 minor structures.” Many of us remember the 2016, 4,474-acre Loma Fire which displaced hundreds near the Loma Prieta ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains and destroyed 12 homes in

8 Apr 2019

Housing Bills on the Horizon: What Is Being Proposed in Sacramento?

Locally and on a statewide level, rent control and just cause for eviction ordinances have not been very successful in winning majority-approval. Understandably, legislators fear that if nothing is done, rental housing will continue to make up a disproportionately high percentage of renters paychecks. California legislators are working to come up with solutions to our local and statewide housing issues. Some focus on decreasing the barriers to development, while others focus on capping rental rates

8 Apr 2019

Tech IPO’s: Higher Prices Over the Hill, Bubble-Speculation, and What it Means for The Santa Cruz Real Estate Market

As you may have read about in our newsletter last month, 2019 is slated to produce a long list of multi-billion-dollar IPOs from San Francisco Bay Area heavyweights like Lyft, Uber, Palantir, Pinterest, Airbnb, Slack, Postmates, and Instacart. According to Patrick Howell O'Neill, this will results in a massive and sudden injection of liquid cash into a region already infamous for having the nation’s priciest real estate. While the impact may not be as sudden

1 Apr 2019

Tiny Homes in Santa Cruz County?

Tiny Homes are catching the attention of people all over the country (have you seen the HGTV show Tiny House, Big Living?). Here in Santa Cruz County, we’ve had quite a few clients ask if they can put a Tiny Home on a lot. The short answer is, “it depends”. Read the more comprehensive answer below. What is a “Tiny Home”? A tiny home is typically one that is under 400 square feet, though some

26 Mar 2019

Protecting Your Assets Real Estate Deals: Pros and Cons of Choosing Arbitration

If you are buying or selling your home and have just written or received an offer, there is an important clause to be aware of: Dispute Resolution. Most offers to purchase and sell residential real estate in the state of California are written using the California Residential Purchase Agreement And Joint Escrow Instructions form (RPA-CA). When full executed by you and the other party this contract specifies the terms of your sale, including the purchase

20 Mar 2019

Sewer Lateral Ordinances in Santa Cruz County – Point of Sale Inspection Requirement

Sewer Lateral Inspection Requirements in the City of Santa Cruz: Source Sewer Lateral Inspection Requirements in the (Unincorporated) County of Santa Cruz: Source The private sewer service lateral (also known as a private lateral) is a pipe that takes an individual building’s wastewater to the public sewer main. These private laterals are owned by the building owner and are essential for directing wastewater away from nearby structures such as other homes. Did you know that

14 Mar 2019

Do I need a Permit to Do This? – Santa Cruz County Edition

When you make a modification to your property it’s important to understand the permitting requirements. While a licensed contractor will often know if a permit is needed, ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that all necessary permits were obtained for the work done. In certain cases, no permit is required, but Building Code laws rules varying from city to city and so the safest course of action is to inquire with your local planning

11 Mar 2019

New Mobile Home Legislation For Park Closures?

Mobile homes provide an affordable housing option in expensive real estate markets like Santa Cruz and the San Francisco Bay Area. On the other hand, with the value of their land increasing, mobile home park owners have been under more pressure to close mobile home parks and sell their lots to developers. Mobile home lots closed across California. CLICK to launch full interactive graphic. (Data visualization by Katie Kramon/Peninsula Press) Given the shortage of affordable

6 Mar 2019

Owning a Property with A Septic System in Santa Cruz County: What you Need to Know.

Did you know that the San Lorenzo Valley Watershed has the highest density of septic systems of any comparable area in the State? This means, if you are buying or selling property in the San Lorenzo Valley (Ben Lomond, Felton, Brookdale or Boulder Creek), you’ll likely have to understand what it means to own and what can go wrong with a septic system. The following are typical questions that buyers and/or sellers will ask when dealing with septic systems:

26 Feb 2019

Save Money with Virtual Staging when Selling Your Home

Did you know that 77% of buyers’ agents reported that staging made it easier for their clients visualize the property as a future home? Additionally, buyers are 40% more likely to walk through a home that they saw online if it is staged. This is why many sellers opt to stage their homes before putting them on the market. For those that don’t know, staging is the practice of styling and furnishing a property to

8 Feb 2019

An Update: Rental Housing Task Force, Just Cause for Eviction and Large Rent Increase Laws in Santa Cruz City

Are there rent control or just cause for eviction laws in the City of Santa Cruz? In this short post, we discuss the succession of events related to rent control and just cause for eviction laws in the City of Santa Cruz after the November elections. We answer the question above and help you understand what is being proposed, and where the City Government is in the legislative process. As a reminder, voters rejected Measure

31 Jan 2019

Buying a Home with A Reverse Mortgage?

Did you know that, if you are 62 or older, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to purchase a home? In this article we cover how you can use the equity in your current residence to purchase property; different Reverse Mortgage options on the market today, and how this financial decision will impact your heirs. Using a Reverse Mortgages to Buy a Home You may have heard of using a Reverse Mortgages

24 Jan 2019

How To Price your Property Well When Selling In Santa Cruz

How you price your home will determine if and how long it takes to sell. Pricing it well requires an in-depth understanding of our local real estate market conditions. On average, in 2018, homes that had a price decrease were on market for 69 days and sold for $554 / square foot. Compare that to all homes that sold without a price decrease: on average, they were on the market for 17 days and sold

17 Jan 2019

Santa Cruz County Highlights: Pleasure Point

With great restaurants, cafes, walkways, beaches and community, Pleasure Point feeds the body, mind and spirit. What makes this one of the most desirable places to live in Santa Cruz County? Check out some of the highlights of Pleasure Point below! The Surf Spots and East Cliff Dr There are two surf spots in the Pleasure Point area: The Hook and Pleasure Point. Whether you are catching waves or admiring them from afar, you’re sure

16 Jan 2019

Creating Curb Appeal in Santa Cruz

The Importance of Curb Appeal There is no consensus exactly how much landscaping enhancement and outdoor features will impact the sales price of your home. However, there are some strong findings that suggest that investing in your home’s curb appeal will produce rewards at the time of the sale. According to a survey done by the National Association of Realtors, RealtorsⓇ ranked standard lawn care service as the number one project that appeals to buyers,

10 Jan 2019

Summary of “An Interim Ordinance Of The City Council Of The City Of Santa Cruz Requiring Just Cause For Tenant Evictions Within The City”

On Tuesday, January 8th, 2019 the Santa Cruz City Council, voted to push an “interim” Just Cause for Eviction ordinance to the next round of voting. However, during the second meeting held on January 23rd, the City Council voted to postpone moving forward with the ordinance due to a large amount of community feedback (over 1000 letters) opposing the measure. Having originally voted "yes" on the ordinance, vice Mayor Justin Cummings proposed tabling the initiative

7 Jan 2019

Major Downtown Housing Project Moves Forward

In the wake of a passionate election season in which affordable housing was one of the major topics of debate, a large housing project was just approved in the City of Santa Cruz. The Pacific Front project is a 205-rental unit housing project which includes ground-floor commercial space and two floors of parking garage. Have you ever heard of Measure O? Under this measure, developers of housing projects must make a certain percentage of their

7 Jan 2019

What to Expect in the 2019 California Housing Market

As 2018 comes to a close, we are starting to see the housing market slow down in California. According to the California Association of Realtors, the statewide sales-to-list price ratio (sales price / list price) has hit the lowest level in 20 months and was down from a year ago: 98.5 percent in September 2018 compared with 99.1 percent in September 2017. We are also beginning to see inventory rise as homes stay on the market longer. Can

4 Jan 2019

A New Year’s Resolution in Three Easy Steps- Home Edition

We all do it. From time to time, we all procrastinate on our home maintenance and upkeep. What if this year was different? We propose that all those reading this article create an action plan, noting what maintenance and upgrades their home 1) needs most, 2) probably should have, and 3) would be nice to have. Once you’ve made your list and checked it twice, create an action plan for the year (because unfortunately Santa

17 Dec 2018

Solar Panels Required on New Homes in California – What it Means

California just became the first state to require all new construction, starting in 2020, to be solar powered. The new standards apply to new residential single-family buildings and multifamily buildings up to three stories high. The solar power can either be supplied by a new structure’s own set of solar panels, or buy a shared solar-power system serving a group of homes. The formalization of this mandate into the CA Building Code has elicited mixed

10 Dec 2018

Property Tax Deadline – TODAY in CA

If you own property in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, or Monterey County, today (December 10th, 2018) is the deadline to pay your first installment. If you do not pay by 5:00 PM PST, a 10% penalty will be added to your bill. Note: if you intend to pay your Property Tax by mail in the counties list above, the envelope in which you send the payment must be post-marked with today's date to avoid late-payment

30 Nov 2018

Election Results – Housing Related Measures in Santa Cruz and California

Now that the election season has passed and a majority of the votes have been counted, where do we stand with the many local and statewide housing-related ballot measures? Below we’ve summarized both Santa Cruz County and California ballot measures and proposition results, and what each means for our local market.   Note, after November 6th, there is a 30 day “canvasing” period in which vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots (including conditional voter registration provisional ballots),

29 Nov 2018

A New Way to Look at Housing in a Changing Climate

For those that acknowledge the science behind Climate Change, these two words ignite a deep concern in the hearts of many. This is especially true as we watch community members in both Northern and Southern California losing their homes to rampant wildfires. What does Climate Change mean for housing, and how can we adapt? Is there room for hope?   The Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II was recently delivered to congress and focuses on the

14 Nov 2018

Ready to Sell? How To Make The Most Money From Home Renovations

“Where do I put my money and time when fixing up my home?” This is one of the most important questions that our clients ask us when they are ready to sell their Santa Cruz Real Estate. We’d like to share some valuable tips and resources that we’ve gathered over the years.     Tip 1: Know Your Santa Cruz Home   Depending on the neighborhood, Santa Cruz homes can be very unique. The age

6 Nov 2018

Santa Cruz Real Estate – October Market Update

Trends At A Glance October 2018     Prices Continue to Rise   The average sales price for single- family, re-sale homes hit a new high in September. It was up 15.5% year- over-year to $1,083,100. This is only the second time the average price has been over one million. The median sales price was up 5.9%. Sales of single-family, re-sale homes in September were down 25.1%, year-over-year. There were 128 homes sold. The average

2 Nov 2018

Addressing the Housing Crisis: Reducing Granny Unit Cost

When adding onto or significantly modifying your property, you will likely be required to obtain permits. Unfortunately, the permitting process in Santa Cruz County can be costly. According to this Sentinel Article, the average county Planning Department fees for accessory dwelling units less than 640 square feet are from $11,500 to $4,200. These high costs often disincentives homeowners from build accessory dwelling units (ADU’s). Things are changing. Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors have approved

30 Oct 2018

Green Homes For Sale in Santa Cruz

What is a Green Home?   The definition of a “Green Building” can vary widely depending on who you ask. Green buildings are often constructed in a way and/or with building materials that result in less pollution during construction and energy-consumption over the lifetime of the building. Green features can range from energy-saving features to being zero-net energy (a building that produces all of the energy it consumes).   Why Green Homes Are A Good

24 Oct 2018

3 Tips to Organize Your Next Move

My husband and I just did the big 12 hour move out here to California. We were given 30 days’ notice and with everything else going on in our lives, we weren’t nearly as prepared as we were hoping to be. Now, I’ve read lots of posts about decluttering my home before moving but it really is easier to say than to do. Here are 3 tips I found most useful during our recent move

19 Oct 2018

Easing Building Code Regulations in California – CA SB 1226

It just became easier to legalize unpermitted living spaces on your property.   The Problem   Do you own a home with unpermitted space? If so, make sure that you understand the risk involved:   Building codes are designed to make a structure safe. Regardless of how good your contractor is, if a tenant or visitor gets hurt in an unpermitted space, you may face serious legal consequences. When selling a home, unpermitted spaces is

10 Oct 2018

Crowdfunding your Downpayment

Technology is making it possible to buy a home in novel ways.   Launched by CMG Financial, HomeFundMe is a crowdfunding website that allows family, friends, and others to contribute to your down-payment. One of the main advantages of using the site is that contributions are properly documented to ensure lenders accept the money as legitimate down-payment funds. According to the CEO of CMG Financial, the idea behind the project is not to fund the