Santa Cruz Real Estate Blog

Are Open Houses Worth Your Time?

open house in santa cruzReal estate and open houses: the ubiquitous pairing that may not be as necessary as you think. Open houses have been a staple of the real estate industry for decades. When a seller decides to list their home, naturally they wonder when the real estate agent will host the open house at their property.

During an open house event, the real estate agent welcomes the general public–and hopefully, potential buyers or buyer's agents–to view a home for sale. These events are typically held on the weekend for a few hours in the afternoon. 

Here’s the thing: a survey by HomeLight of leading real estate agents across the country found that 63% of them do not always recommend sellers have an open house.

The truth is with our modern marketing tools and the way today’s buyers view properties, we don't necessarily need an open house to woo buyers. 

What should an open house do?

An open house intends to let prospective buyers tour the home when the listing agent is present to answer any questions they may have. Marketing the open house is supposed to increase the home’s exposure. Busy open houses build a sense of excitement and demand, hopefully leading to a more attractive offer in an expedient time frame. While in some markets that’s a great way for a seller to get multiple offers, some buyers are turned off by high demand and decide not to make an offer when they see a highly trafficked open house.

What’s really happening at open houses

We know...

What to Know About Roofing Your Home

Many people do not consider the roofs over their heads until calamity strikes and water is coming through the ceiling. A replacement roof, installed in a timely fashion, is vital for a home's wellbeing and value. Whether the inhabitants are considering selling or simply wanting a safe, dry environment in which to live for years to come, the roof is an essential consideration when it comes to upkeep.

Signs a Roof Needs Replacing

damage roofThe first place to check, when looking to see if a roof needs replacement, is looking at it from the street. If you see curling or missing shingles, shiny edges, then the next place to check is in the attic. Check for light entering in beams through the house's top. Stains and streaks on the wood in your attic can also signal a leaky roof. Also if you notice brown stains on your ceiling inside your home that could be a sign as well, and you might notice something is amiss there first. The next place to check is a home's improvement records. These may be found at the city or county building department. Different roof types last varying lengths of time; check to see that, for example, it has not been 20-25 years since an asphalt shingle roof has been installed or reshingled.

Replacement Options for Pitched Roofs

Asphalt Shingles

pitched roof houseThe most common of America's roofing materials, asphalt shingles are effective in every environmental condition. Because of the wide variety in the quality of shingles,...

Top Benefits of A Home Warranty

When you purchase a home, there are various things you’ll want to understand about the entire process.  Learning about home insurance and home warranties are two areas to learn about, so you can make an informed decision about them before you settle into that new home.

What Is a Home Warranty?

importance of home warrantyMany people confuse a home warranty with homeowner’s insurance. However, they’re not the same thing. Homeowner’s insurance can cover your home in the case of major catastrophes like fire, water damage, hail, or property crimes. You’ll want to be sure you have homeowner’s insurance to cover the home and your valuables inside the home in the case of such events. With all the calamities that can afflict a homeowner from tornadoes, hurricanes, floods or fires, you’ll want to be clear with your insurance agent what is covered and what is not for your individual area.

A home warranty differs in that it’s a contract between you, the new homeowner, and a home warranty company that offers discounts for any future repairs on some of the home’s major mechanisms, that fail.  These may include the electrical system, furnace, plumping, and air conditioning. It can also cover large appliances and perhaps even swimming pools. A home warranty can be purchased by the seller while the home is on the market for coverage during that time if something should fail. For the protection of the buyer though, this is the coverage most often purchased for the benefit of the buyer.

Most ...

Young Writers Program Gala

Young Writers Program Gala

Dance Benefit Portuguese Hall

Friday, Feb. 21, 2020
6:00pm - 9:30pm
Portuguese Hall, Harvey West Park

Help fund the 2020-2021 writing publications and support Branciforte Middle School

Music by the Joint Chiefs, Silent Auction, Delicious Appetizers, Photo Booth, Poetry Readings, B40 Band, and Kids Corner.

young writers program gala dance benefit portuguese hall

...

2020 Home Design: Ways to Improve Your Home in the New Year

Happy 2020! May this year be one of your best yet!

2020 home designThere’s no greater time than to think about ways to improve your home this year. Whether you enjoy a modern, minimalistic, or classic chic look, the sky’s the limit with all the unique designs available
these days.

Need some inspiration for 2020 home design trends? Here’s several design themes to help you out:

Trending Interior Design

There are various mainstream interior design trends occurring at the moment. One is removing
color from the kitchen and getting back to stark white. Whoever said a bright kitchen must have
color hasn’t spent much time in a bright white kitchen with perhaps a splash of color here or there –
because it’s quite delightful.

Another interior 2020 home design trend is going back to the formal dining room. In an age where
many families are eating meals together on the couch, others are committed to renovating the
dining room and actually using it. In addition, adding bold colors to the laundry room, using unique
and creative toilets, and space maximization are trending.

Bold Geometric Forms

Also called “Neo-Deco”, getting back to bold geometric forms is getting a lot of applause. This
return to minimalistic design is not boring as some people may think. In fact, it’s quite exciting and
getting rave reviews. You’ll see a lot more use of recycled textiles, natural wood, and undyed yarns
in this design trend.

Small Space? No Problem!...

Most Popular Neighborhoods to Buy a Home in Santa Cruz

boardwalk propertyinsantacruz.comKnown for its boardwalk, stunning beaches, and natural forests, Santa Cruz truly offers something for everyone. Although the population is growing, the city is not yet overcrowded like Santa Monica or San Diego, making it a great choice for those interested in a more laid back beach town life. Here are some of the most popular neighborhoods to buy a home in Santa Cruz.

 Beach Hill

Those drawn to Victorian homes and the exciting admission-free Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk may want to consider Beach Hill. Beach Hill isn’t the priciest of neighborhoods, but it has become quite popular over the years. The Boardwalk has been operating for more than a century, and the homes retain their historic charm while offering all the latest modern upgrades.  

 Seabright

If you’re looking for traditional bungalows tucked away in a hip neighborhood, consider Seabright. The neighborhood is known for its locally owned cafes and shops, along with a healthy nightlife scene, and Seabright Beach is just across the road. 

Woods Cove

The Woods Cove neighborhood of Santa Cruz is also known as Scotts Valley South. Homes are rather pricey...

Pros and Cons of Buying a New Construction

If you are in the market for a new home, you have probably wondered whether it would be better to choose an existing home or invest in a newly constructed home. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so to decide which is right for you, it is important to focus on needs and desires. Here are some pros and cons of buying a new construction. 

Pro: Brand New Home 
Buying a new construction means you will be the first to occupy it. Everything is pristine, no one has ever used the oven or the blinds, and there are no hidden surprises. Some people prefer the “lived in” feeling of an existing home, but if you enjoy things that are clean and shiny and new, you will probably enjoy a new construction.

Con: Some Builders Are Not Great
If a home has existed for some time, it is likely that any building problems were fixed long ago. With a new construction, your home’s quality is only as good as its builder. A builder who cuts corners could leave you with a substandard home that has problems from the outset. Guard against this by looking beyond the builder’s website. Check with homeowners who used that builder to find out if they are happy, and search public records for significant complaints. 

Pro: Customization
Exactly how much you get to customize your new home depends on the nature of the construction. You have the most options if you hire an architect, a designer, and a general contractor to start from scratch, and the fewest options if you buy into a new development with a handful of floor plans.

Either way, you will get more choices than you would when buying an existing home, especially if you are interested in things like extra windows or underfloor heating that would be difficult to retrofit. If you enjoy the design process or are particular about everything from trim colors...

Signs It’s Time to Buy a New House

The average person moves more than 11 times in his or her life, but it can be tough to know for sure if now is the right time. If you find yourself browsing property ads, are you really ready to buy a new house, or do you simply have wanderlust? Fortunately, you can look for these signs that it is definitely time to make a move. 

Your House Is Too Small 
If you’re in a starter home, it might have seemed huge compared to the apartment where you used to live. Eventually, though, a starter home can start to feel like a cage. If your family is growing or you simply want more space, it might be time to start looking for a bigger house.

Your House Is Too Big 
At the other end of the spectrum, you might be tired of cleaning and maintaining a sprawling home. If your kids have moved out and you are ready to start getting rid of “stuff,” downsizing can feel like a blessing. Start shopping for a smaller home. 

Your Neighborhood Is Unsafe
Neighborhoods tend to change over time. Unfortunately, sometimes they go downhill. If you’re afraid to walk around after dark or are starting to hear frequent police sirens, it might be better to move to a safer neighborhood.

Your Commute Is Unreal
Unfortunately, traffic is getting worse and worse across the country, making many people’s commute longer than ever before. If you’re tired of spending hours in the car twice a day, it may be time to look for a house closer to your office. 

The Stairs Aren’t Fun
For some people, aging takes its toll. Others develop chronic health conditions, often after an injury or illness. Regardless of the reason,...

For Purposes of Improving Landscape Water Use and Irrigation Efficiency

...a home inspection report on a dwelling unit on a parcel containing an in-ground landscape irrigation system, the operation of which is under the exclusive control of the owner or occupant of the dwelling, may include an irrigation system inspection report, prepared by either a home inspector or certified landscape irrigation auditor, that contains all of the following:

(1)  Examination of the irrigation system controller noting observable defects in installation or operation.
home inspection
(2)  Activation of each zone or circuit providing irrigation water to turf grass, noting malfunctions observed in the operation of (A)The irrigation valve (B)Visible irrigation supply piping and (C)Sprinkler heads and stems.

(3)  During activation of the system, observation of (A)Irrigation spray being directed to hardscape  

     (B)  Irrigation water leaving the irrigated area as surface runoff (C)Ponding of irrigation water on   the surface of the irrigated area.

Assembly Bill 2371 codified as Business and Professions Code §§ 7065.06 and 7195.5, and Government Code §§ 65592, 65596, 65596.5 and 65596.7. Effective January 1, 2019. READ MORE





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HOA's Financial Accountability Update: Changes the frequency of review required by law

homeowners association The Homeowners Association (HOA) existing law is for its board to review financial documents and statements related to the HOA's accounts on at least a quarterly basis, unless the HOA's governing documents require more frequent review. Updated Assembly Bill 2901 law changes the frequency of review required by law from at least once a quarter to once a month, and adds a requirement to review the check register, monthly general ledger, and delinquent assessment receivable reports. But it also provides some flexibility in this monthly review requirement by allowing an individual board member—for example, the treasurer—to review these financial documents so long as the board ratifies that review at the next board meeting.

This law requires the HOA to maintain fidelity bond coverage for its directors, officers, and employees in an amount equal to or more than the combined amount of the reserves of the HOA and total assessments for three months, unless the governing documents require greater coverage amounts.

This law prohibits a managing agent from transferring from a bank trust funds greater than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or 5 percent of an association’s total combined reserve and operating account deposits, whichever is lower, without prior written approval from the board of the association.

Assembly Bill 2912 codified as Civil Code No. 5501, 5502, 5380, 5500 and 5806. Effective...

Why Building Permits Will Make You Question Everything?

So you've been issued a building permit for your soon-to-be constructed dream home. Its been months, so you'll ask, is my building permit still valid?

A building permit remains valid despite changes in the building code as long as work is commenced within 12 months after issuance.

building construction permit A provision of the California Building Standards Law specifies that a local ordinance adding or modifying building standards for residential occupancies, published in the California Building Standards Code, applies only to an application for a building permit submitted after the effective date of the ordinance and to plans and specifications for, and the construction performed under, that permit, unless, among other reasons, the permit is subsequently deemed expired because the building or work authorized by the permit is not commenced within 180 days from the date of the permit, or the permittee has suspended or abandoned the work authorized by the permit at any time after the work is commenced.

This new law instead provides that a permit would remain valid for purposes of the California Building Standards Law if the work on the site authorized by that permit is commenced within 12 months after its issuance, unless the permittee has abandoned the work authorized by the permit. The law also authorizes a permittee to request and the building official to grant, in writing, one or more extensions of time for periods of not more than 180 days per extension. It requires that the permittee request the extension in writing and demonstrate justifiable cause for the extension. Read More Here

An act to amend Section 18938.5 of, and to add Section 18938.6...

Beat Skin Cancer By Knowing Your Level of Exposure

type of skin cancerSkin cancer is a major health concern around the world. Millions are diagnosed with one of the various types of skin cancer each year. Most skin cancers are treatable, but melanoma is a very dangerous type of skin cancer that can spread to other parts of the body. The spread of melanoma may lead to death.

There are three major types of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most dangerous. Melanomas often develop from an existing mole on a person's skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is another common type of skin cancer. This type can spread across the skin and into the mucous membranes. Basal cell carcinoma usually develops on the exposed areas of the body. These skin cancers rarely spread, but they may become large and unsightly.

Doctors know that the main cause of skin cancer is exposure to UV radiation such as that produced by the sun. In order to prevent skin cancer from developing, doctors highly recommend that anyone who is going out in the sun for a prolonged period of time wear sunscreen and that they reapply the sunscreen regularly throughout the day. People who have very fair skin should cover up as much as possible to avoid a sunburn which can lead to skin cancer development.

While these are quite well-known means of preventing skin cancer, researchers have now developed a new way to help beat skin cancer that lets people know their level of UV radiation exposure. Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne Australia along with a research team at the University of Granada have developed a bracelet that people can use when they go out in the sun.

This bracelet is made up of four emoticon faces. The faces are made of UV sensitive invisible ink....

Want to Improve your Credit Standing? Know Your Credit Score for Free

charming carmel homes for sale

negative credit score

Why is that?

Unless you are  sleeping in a bed of $$$, a negative credit score can keep you from borrowing money to buy these charming homes in Carmel.

Improve your credit history to get better loan rates.  Check your credit score for FREE at www.annualcreditreport.com - the only source for free credit reports - Authorized by Federal Law.

"Have you checked your credit score recently? Millions of potential homebuyers could now have easier access to mortgages, following a change to the way the three largest U.S. credit reporting firms handle negative credit events.

That change is the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP). Launched by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the plan sets forth the goal of making credit reports more accurate for consumers and makes it easier for them to correct any errors they may find on their credit reports."...

Yoga 101: Systems, Strategies, Solutions

In today's world, millions of people are searching for health strategies that can empower them to lead more productive, peaceful lives. If this is the case for you, it's important to know that yoga may be an exercise modality that you can use to realize your objective. Learn more about yoga now by reviewing the information provided in this quick reference guide:

Yoga: A Brief Overview

The Sanskrit word "yoga" translates to the term "yoke" in English. The term yoke is connected to the concept of attaching or joining. As many yogis know, the practice is designed to promote multiple types of union. First, yoga links the individual's mind and body. Yoga can also be utilized as a spiritual enterprise that promotes union between the human spirit and its divine source. Finally, sharing space with other people as one practices yoga can promote a sense of connection and community between individuals.

Different Types Of Yoga

Different types of yogaThere are multiple forms of yoga that an individual can practice. Some of the more popular forms include:

Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga is a relatively simple yoga style that has become immensely popular in America. Deemed the foundation for all yoga modalities, the practice incorporates...

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