21 Aug 2019

Homeowner Tips to Live More Sustainably

It is no doubt that Climate Change will require large-scale solutions. However, to tackle this gigantic problem, we will all need to make changes to the way we live, and the sooner we do so, the better. To help bring more environmental conscientiousness to homeownership, we've provided some tips below on how to reduce water and electricity use as well as waste in our homes. Save Water According to the EPA, the average American family

7 Aug 2019

Proposed Plans for the Re-envisioning of the Capitola Mall

In 2016, Merlone Geier Partners purchased the Capitola Mall from its previous owner, Macerich and has begun to envision a new plan for the space. In a recent town meeting, plans for the re-envisioned Capitola Mall were discussed.  The focus of this meeting was to present the plan for the “Capitola Town Square,” as well as to provide an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and have their voices and opinions heard. 

2 Aug 2019

Santa Cruz City Task Force, Rent Control, Just Cause for Eviction – Where We are Now?

If you’ve been following the Santa Cruz City Council legislative process, there’s no doubt that you’re curious where the Council stands today on Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction legislation, the Rental Housing Task Force, the Housing Blueprint, and other legislative measures that have been proposed and accepted or rejected along the way. In this article we’ll give a broad overview of the City’s legislative actions related to these housing-related topics and discuss where

2 Aug 2019

Can I Live in A Yurt in Santa Cruz County?

Are you one of the growing numbers of people interested in alternative (and often less expensive) housing options like yurts? If so, it’s important to understand your local government’s rules and regulations related to living in these structures year round, as a primary residence. Read on to explore the option of living in a yurt in Santa Cruz County. What is A Yurt? Traditionally, yurts consisted of an expanding wooden circular frame overlaid with a

9 Jul 2019

Proposed Plans: Re-envisioning Capitola Mall

Back in 2016, Merlone Geier Partners purchased the Capitola Mall from its previous owner, Macerich. In a recent town meeting, plans for the re-envisioned Capitola Mall were discussed. You can read more about the meeting in this article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The focus of this meeting was to present the plan for the “Capitola Town Square,” as well as to provide an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and have

4 Jun 2019

Creating and Selling A “Smart Home”

Smart homes are homes that have been equipped with lighting, heating, safety features and/or other devices that can be controlled remotely by phone or computer. According to a 2016 survey, 60 percent of Americans think that a home needs to have at least three categories of smart products for it to be considered “smart”.

3 May 2019

Avoiding Capital Gains with a Deferred Sales Trust

Do you own a property which has appreciated considerably since you purchased it? Have you been hesitant to sell because you want to avoid paying capital gains tax? If you've answered yes to either of these questions you may benefit from using a Deferred Sales Trust (DST). If you are at risk of paying a substantial sum in capital gains tax when selling your home, and if you either don’t quality for or would like

3 May 2019

Finding Your Property’s Boundary Lines

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

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

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

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

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:

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