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
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
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
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
Governor Newsom of California has recently signed a string of new laws aimed directly at the growing problem of housing costs. As Newsome recently said, “the high cost of housing and rent is putting the squeeze on family budgets, and our housing shortage threatens our economic growth and long-term prosperity.” Since his election in January, Newsom’s administration has indeed taken several steps toward solving California’s housing affordability crisis. According to Newsom, “in 2019, California has
Have you thought about changing the title on your property? You are not alone, and may be considering doing because of one of the common reasons we’ve written about below.
As you may have read about in our previous article, there is now a sewer lateral inspection requirement in unincorporated Santa Cruz County and Santa Cruz City before the close of escrow (in other words, before you sell your home).
Guest Article Written by Kimberly Hayes at publichealthalert.info Cleaning up your home after mice have moved in can be a major undertaking, but it’s important to make sure you take steps to get things in order and disinfected once they’re gone. This is because mice can spread disease, mainly through their feces and urine, and leaving behind even the faintest traces of it can leave you and your family at risk for health issues. Mice
Are you unsure if that fence that your neighbor put up is an accurate indicator of your lot’s boundary lines? Do you have a plot map that disagrees with the county's records? If so, you may be one of the many property owners who are not sure where their property's boundary lines fall. Finding accurate lot lines becomes increasingly important when it comes time to buy or sell property - you can imagine how giving
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
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
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:
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,
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
“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
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
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
Santa Cruz County Coastal Zone Map: What is the Coastal Commission? The California coast is a unique treasure loved by locals and visitors alike. To protect California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations, citizens came together in 1972 to enact the The California Coastal Conservation Initiative. Through this initiative, the Coastal Commission came into being. Four years later, the State Legislature enacted the California Coastal Act, which is the primary law that
Have you ever known that a respected guest was coming over, and immediately started noticing all the things in your home that needed straightening up? Taking this a step further, when you put your home on the market, imagine how you’ll feel when contemplating the prospect of potential buyers walking in and out of your house during open houses and showings. If you are not planning to move your belongings out of your home before
We spend 90% of our time indoors with minimal daylight and fresh air. Studies suggest that daylight can improve your children’s learning abilities by up to 15%. Living in damp and moldy homes increases risk of asthma by 40%. Children's rooms often contain the most pollutants. Read more in this blog post...
This blog post is a spin off of the book: 100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know: How to Save Money, Solve Problems and Improve Your Home and is written in the spirit of smart-homeownership. As with most things in life, the better you get to know your home, the better you'll be able to care for and improve it. Your Plumbing and Water System In modern plumbing, a drain-waste-vent (or DWV) system is part of
With the combination of heavy winter rains, ocean mist, and wooden homes, Santa Cruz homeowners and buyers needs to be especially cautious about mold. Mold can not only cause health problems, but if left untreated, can weaken your walls, ceiling, or floor. Whether it’s a musty smell, seeing mold outright, or a chronic, inexplicable cough, its important to be proactive in checking and treating mold problems. Not all mold is the same. Some types
When thinking of an ADU, many picture a small, free-standing building in the backyard. This kind of thinking may deter those with smaller lots from exploring the option of adding an ADU to their existing structure. This is a shame, given the additional rental income and living space that ADU’s often afford. The truth is, ADU’s come in all shapes and sizes, and under the right circumstances, even small lots can support them.
See a bigger version of this map here. As reported in 2007 by CalFire, a majority of Santa Cruz county is in a moderate to high fire zone (source). With wildfires rearing up in Northern California, including in our beloved Santa Cruz County, we know that many of our homeowner clients and future homeowner friends are asking “What can I do to protect my Santa Cruz Real Estate?”. This guide gives an extensive
Previously, you needed a 4,500 square foot lot, or larger, to build an Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU), also commonly known as a granny unit. Now, any legally built unit within the existing footprint of your home can be turned into an ADU under new state law. This applies to new projects and conversions, so long as the unit is within the pre-existing structure and is build legally (meaning it was permitted and build to code).