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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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