General topics

Reasons to Choose a Condo Instead of a House in Santa Cruz

Reasons to Choose a Condo Instead of a House in Santa CruzThe city of Santa Cruz has many amazing condo properties. If you are trying to decide between purchasing a condo or a single-family home in Santa Cruz here are a few reasons why you might lean more toward purchasing the condo.

Availability

If you are hoping to live right inside the Santa Cruz city limits then finding a condo may be just a little bit easier than a single-family property. Often in convenient walkable locations, there are more multifamily properties as compared to single-family properties. If you have not ruled out a condo and you want a walkable home then you may have an easier time finding a condo.

Price tag

Condo properties often come with a lower price tag as compared to a single-family home. Some would say this is because the square footage is much smaller than what is available on a single-family property. But you may be surprised to find that some condos have as much square footage as a single-family home. While larger condos do come at a steeper price higher than the more abundant smaller ones it is a possibility to find a condo with a very roomy floor plan.

Maintenance

A condo property is like a step between renting and single-family living. Owning a home puts a lot of responsibility on the owner's plate to make sure the property is running well, safe, and retains its good condition. Every single aspect of the property is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain. This along with the price tag of a single-family home is a big extra cost and a large time requirement.

With a condo property, you are solely responsible...

Buying a Historic Home In Santa Cruz or Monterey County

Buying a Historic Home In Santa Cruz or Monterey CountyBoth Santa Cruz and Monterey counties have some amazing historic properties. The town of Carmel by the Sea is well known for its amazing historic properties. Historic homes offer something unique that you can't find anymore. Ornate little details that took time and thought that today's builders don't have outside of custom builds. A historic home seems to hold the magic and mystery of who once roamed the hallways and made the building a home. 

If you are searching for one of Santa Cruz or Monterey's amazing historic properties there are some things to be aware of that are different in your home-buying process from searching for a traditional home. The more you know about purchasing a historic home the better the buying process will go. It will also help you to determine if a historic home is truly the home you are dreaming of. 

Know the Maintenance, Remodeling, and Upgrade Guidelines for the Property

If a home has been officially recognized as historic there will be specific guidelines on making improvements and adjustments to the original integrity of the structure in the home. Historic homes that have been registered as such will not allow you to alter the exterior of the home in any way. If something is damaged and needs replaced this will require best efforts and using the original materials to the home to get them back to their original state. Some properties will not allow homeowners to add onto the home or make upgrades to the home that would cause it to lose its original historic charm and reason for being placed on the list of historic homes.

Additionally, if you...

Fall Fun For Kids at the Watsonville Youth Center

When you are new to Santa Cruz County or are trying to investigate what there is to do in this area as you relocate to Santa Cruz it might feel overwhelming. There are so many great towns in Santa Cruz and countless fun things to do. It can be hard to know where to start or where to look. This is why we like to share what is going on in the area to help you get to know Santa Cruz County and help you discover where you might like to settle. If you are wondering what fun activities there are in the county centered around kids then read on. 

Spooky Holiday Fun for Kids in WatsonvilleFall Fun For Kids at the Watsonville Youth Center

All through the month of October the Gene Hoularis and Waldo Rodriguez Youth Center will be hosting fun activities for kids aged 18 and under.  Jumping in on activities at the youth center can be a fun way for your kids to meet other kids their age and to meet young families in the area. 

This Saturday, October 14th the fun begins with a workshop centered around Dia de Los Muertos. On Sunday the 15th there is a field trip to the Fear Overload Scream Park in the town of Newark at the New Park Mall. The event is hosting two haunted houses that you can wander through at your own pace. The field trip is only open to older kids who can enjoy the thrill of a scare. It is open to kids aged 11 to 17. 

Come by the youth center on...

Why Live Oak is a Great Place to Live

Why Live Oak is a Great a Place to LiveIf you are searching for a more budget-friendly section of Santa Cruz County to settle into Live Oak is definitely worth a look. Some people overlook Live Oak as Pleasure Point's cheaper inland compromise, but there are several reasons why purchasing a home in Live Oak is a good idea. 

Top Reasons to Buy a Home in Live Oak

Location

Yes, I did put the location at the top of the list of reasons why it is a great idea to move to Live Oak. This is why a large number of people choose not to live here, but hear me out, Live Oak is located between the cities of Capitola and Santa Cruz. Though some optimists say that Live Oak includes the coast where Pleasure Point is located, the official boundaries stop just short of the coastline. When searching for real estate in Santa Cruz County most people want locations right on the coast or within large cities near hotspots. Live Oak might seem further out but the location is still great. You are very close to the main freeway with easy access, there is extremely close proximity to Pleasure Point and the best beaches in the county, you are only minutes from those larger cities of Santa Cruz and Capitola, and there are several great hidden gems inside Live Oak itself. 

Public Parks

Live Oak is home to several community parks. These parks do not just sit unused either, the kids in Live Oak love their neighborhood parks. It is a good way to get to know other people living in the community....

Santa Cruz County Fall Fun for 2023

Santa Cruz County Fall Fun for 2023There's nothing like Santa Cruz County in the fall! If you have just moved here you are probably looking to find some community events to enjoy and help you get immersed in the culture of the area. These are also great events to visit if you are trying to get a feel for the area when you are interested in purchasing a Santa Cruz County home.

Fall in Santa Cruz County offers the best weather of the year and there are several fun things happening that are popular for a good reason. Here is a list of some of the most popular fall events in Santa Cruz 2023.

Wednesday night sailboat races

Let's start off the list with something fun at the Santa Cruz harbor, one of the most popular places in Santa Cruz County. This is something free to enjoy and spectate or you could make a fun night out at a waterfront restaurant on the harbor while watching the Wednesday night sailboat races. The Santa Cruz harbor is located at Fifth Avenue in Santa Cruz. It is free to watch the sailboat race and they do it weekly on Wednesday nights through the end of October.

Farm Tours

The weekend of October 7 and 8 is the Open Farm Tours Weekend. This year there are 15 Santa Cruz County farms participating. This is a chance to take a look at real working farms and see all of the interesting aspects of local healthy food production. Get in on activities like pressing apples and making fresh juice...

Mistakes Some Santa Cruz Homebuyers are Tempted to Make Right Now

Mistakes Some Santa Cruz Homebuyers are Tempted to Make Right NowSince 2020 the real estate market has been on a roller coaster. Currently, that roller coaster has shifted to an uphill climb for many Santa Cruz homebuyers. Facing a challenging market those looking to purchase a home in Santa Cruz or Monterey County may find themselves looking for different strategies to help them get into a home at an affordable price that they actually like.

The real estate market has been hard to navigate for many homebuyers here and across the country and understandably has caused a bit of buying anxiety. These challenges and stressful feelings can push some homebuyers to make decisions they feel are helpful but could actually be more of a mistake than a benefit to their homebuying process

Here are some of the homebuying mistakes we are seeing some Santa Cruz buyers being tempted to make.

Playing a timing game

Trying to time the market, meaning finding the perfect time to purchase a home, is like playing a losing game. Since many home buyers saw unbelievably low interest rates not too long ago some are thinking that they can wait it out and hold off for the perfect moment to come along to purchase a home. The truth is however that there is no ultimately perfect buying market condition for a home.

One of the biggest mistakes a buyer could make is to not move forward with a home purchase currently in hopes that mortgage rates will drastically come down in the near future. Instead, it is better to ask yourself questions as a Santa...

How to Get the Best Deal on the Purchase of a Santa Cruz Home

As mortgage rates continue to remain higher than many expected or predicted some potential Santa Cruz County and Monterey County homebuyers might be searching for ways to find a home for a lesser price. Many of the most googled real estate searches have to do with finding homes at a lesser price such as how to find home auctions or what is the process of a home auction. If you are shopping for a Santa Cruz home, or Monterey County home, and are hoping to find something you truly love within an affordable budget there is good news. There are some strategies for purchasing a Santa Cruz home that can help you find the best deal.How to Get the Best Deal on the Purchase of a Santa Cruz Home

Shop for more than one mortgage

It may be surprising but a majority of homebuyers still do not shop around for the best mortgage available to them. Or maybe you are one of the majority who might not be aware that you have the freedom to look into several different mortgage providers and types before deciding on the mortgage you will use to purchase your Santa Cruz home. 

Your mortgage can greatly impact the overall payment and cost of your home purchase. Shopping around for more than one mortgage can find you better terms and a more affordable purchase price or interest rate. One of the easiest ways to shop around for mortgage options is to work with a mortgage broker.  A mortgage broker does the shopping for their client and looks at all the current...

Enjoy a New Monthly Wine Stroll in Aptos

Enjoy a New Monthly Wine Stroll in AptosSanta Cruz County offers a vast array of different geographical climates and cultural atmospheres. Many people are aware of the amazing beach towns and surf culture of Santa Cruz itself as well as going just a bit inward into the hills and the redwood forests. What some people may not realize is that there is a hidden gem of wine country in the Aptos and Corralitos areas of Santa Cruz County.

A local hotel in Aptos has recently started offering a new program to showcase the many wineries in the area offering discounts and monthly events. This hotel is the Seacliff Inn. The Seacliff Inn operates under Hilton's collection of tapestry hotels which is an upscale collection of luxury accommodations. It is a great place for a staycation if you live in the Santa Cruz area or to encourage friends and family to come visit and stay. Every Thursday the inn offers a program called Wine30 which gives a 30% discount on 30 different wines on Thursdays. This is available at Sevy's Bar and Kitchen in the hotel and every third Thursday there is a Sip and Stroll event with outdoor dining live music vendors and wine served by a different local winery every month.

How Wine30 came to be

The Wine 30 program was created by the Sea Cliff Inn Director of Food and Beverage Steven Miller.  He has been at the hotel for almost a year and discovered...

Los Gatos and Carmel Make List of Best Small Towns to Raise a Family in CA in 2023

Los Gatos and Carmel Make List of Best Small Towns to Raise a Family in CA in 2023We are pretty biased but we love all of the cities in the Santa Cruz County and Monterey County areas that make up the northern portion of Monterey Bay and Central California. But it is not just us that has recognized the amazing attributes of living in this area. Two small towns in the area we service Los Gatos, and Carmel by the Sea have made Strategistico's list of 12 Best Small Towns in California to Raise a Family in 2023.

The methodology behind Strategistico's list of best small towns to raise a family

Before looking at both Los Gatos and Carmel by the Sea and revealing what place on the list they made it is worth mentioning how Strategistico arrived at their rankings. Let's share what Strategistico used as a ranking system to determine California's best small towns to raise a family.

This helps you to see that they didn't just pick their favorites there was actually some research and fact-finding into what might create an atmosphere for the best place to raise a family. They used a number of different categories to measure what might be important to a small family when it comes to deciding on a location to live. The categories they looked at included the quality of the public school system, crime rates, distance to larger cities in California, attractions and things to do in the area and close by, and the overall affordability of living in the area.

To determine a town's actual rating they looked up various different resources like ...

Santa Cruz County Golf Courses

Santa Cruz County Golf CoursesSanta Cruz County is a beautiful spot on California's central coast on Monterey Bay. It is not the largest county in the state or the most densely populated but it packs a huge list of things to do and attractions that draw millions of people to come visit every year and several to even consider a move to this amazing beautiful California gem. 

Some of the most notable identifiers of Santa Cruz County are the iconic Santa Cruz boardwalk, the mountains, and the amazing redwood forest. What some people may not realize is the county is dotted with five amazing golf courses, some would call them the hidden gems of the county. If you love golf and have just moved to Santa Cruz or are considering a move to Santa Cruz you have just found one more reason to love it here. 

These are the Best Golf Courses in the Santa Cruz Area

Boulder Creek Golf and Country Club

The Boulder Creek Golf and Country Club is located on Big Basin Highway in Boulder Creek California. The town of Boulder Creek is in the inland portion of Santa Cruz County tucked into the Santa Cruz Mountains about 13 miles northwest of the city of Santa Cruz and just 21 miles southwest of San Jose and the Silicon...

Helpful Tips For Moving With A Pet

Let’s start with the measures you should consider taking well before moving day. First, it’s important to research the area you’ll be moving to ahead of time. Look up any regulations in place for pets, such as neutering requirements or restricted dog breeds, and make sure your pet is a good fit. Next, take a tour of the neighborhood. Search for good places for walks and any potential safety hazards for your canine companion.

Infographic created by Moving Proz, a professional moving company.

Contact my office at anytime for all Santa Cruz real estate and homes for sale

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Decluttering Before Moving To A New Home

The first step in moving is to fully declutter your home. Once you’ve successfully decluttered, it’s time to dispose of the unwanted objects. Donation is a worthy route, and more can be put to good use than you might think. For instance, tattered linens and towels can be donated to animal shelters or used as a green alternative to packing supplies. Other examples could be giving old DVDs and books to the local library or helping a family in need with toys and clothing that your kids have outgrown. For more tips, please check out the below infographic.

Infographic created by Big League Movers, a long distance moving company in Memphis TN.

Contact my office at anytime for all Santa Cruz real estate and homes for sale

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The Most Popular Exterior Home Colors

The Most Popular Exterior Home ColorsCurb appeal is important to your Santa Cruz home. Whether you are getting ready to sell your Santa Cruz property or you just want to update it and make it more appealing from the outside boosting your home's curb appeal can help add value and attract more buyers. One of the best ways to boost curb appeal is with a fresh coat of exterior paint.

Selecting the colors for the outside of your home can be very difficult. There are literally countless different color options you could choose from. But if you are choosing to paint the exterior of your home because it is past time and you are getting it ready to sell there may be some exterior colors that are more popular than others and may help attract buyers to your home in droves.

Selecting just one color can be hard enough but putting it together in a complete color scheme along with the window trim and the front door can be even more difficult. Here is the latest insight into the most popular exterior paint color combinations to boost your home's curb appeal.

Exterior home color combinations that catch a buyer's eye

Putty and Gray

You may have heard it said that the latest trend for exterior home colors are bright bold hues. While this is true, there is something to be said for a classic neutral look because it fits every home type and into every setting. It is especially great for classic older homes which there are many in the Santa Cruz area. Using tones of putty as the main color and gray for the accents such as shutters with white trim is a nice classic look that will never go out of style....

Do You Actually NEED to Have 20% for a Downpayment on a Santa Cruz Home?

Do You Actually NEED to Have 20% for a Downpayment on a Santa Cruz Home?When it comes to purchasing a home in Santa Cruz many home buyers may be apprehensive when it comes to two words: down payment. The down payment on a home is an out-of-pocket amount of money that the buyer puts into the purchase of the home. It is like a qualifying deposit for your home mortgage loan to help communicate to your mortgage lender that you are putting your money where your mouth is. That you are taking the purchase seriously and not just asking for money you do not plan to be responsible with and pay back over time.

The traditional talked about number for a down payment to qualify for a loan has been 20% of the total home purchase price. While this is still a good number that can help homebuyers to secure the best mortgage loan terms it is a misconception that it is a requirement. Some homeowners have been led to believe that unless they have 20% of a home price in cash ready to go when they purchase a home, they will be unable to purchase one.

Looking into current statistics from recent purchases

There is good news for anyone in Santa Cruz considering purchasing a home in the near future that may not have the full 20% to make for a down payment. Looking into the actual numbers of real home purchases across the country recent homebuyers put far less down on their home purchase than the traditional 20%.

There are more options available to homebuyers that do not require the 20% down payment. When looking at the averages of what recent home buyers put down numbers...

How Escrow is Beneficial to Both Buyers and Sellers

What is Escrow?How Escrow is Beneficial to Both Buyers and Sellers

If you have ever dealt with buying or selling real estate you have probably heard the term escrow before. If you have never purchased a home this term may have you asking, "What is Escrow?"

Where real estate is concerned escrow is an account used as a secure holding place for important items like the earnest money check and all applicable contracts. These items are kept by an escrow company and the company stores each property's details in a separate account until the purchase deal has officially closed and finalized. 

Escrow also refers to the contractual agreement to have a third party keep all escrow documents safe through the oversight of an escrow officer. 

How Does Escrow Work?

An escrow agent, which is a third-party assigned agent usually from a closing company, is assigned to the transaction and is there to oversee the steps of the closing process to make sure things are in order and running smoothly. This can include the transfer of money and documents as well as holding assets like money and payments safely in the escrow account until they are due to be released for payment.

When all of the conditions of the purchase contract have been met and the mortgage has been fully approved, the closing costs have been paid, money has been transferred to pay off the current mortgage, and a check is written for profit to the sellers, the escrow officer will clear all records like the titles and make sure the new buyer is the new legal owner of the home.

How Much Will Escrow Cost?

The cost of escrow varies depending upon your location and who has agreed...

Leaky Sewers - Likely Responsible for Large Amounts of Medications in Streams

Many of the Monterey Bay cities have started addressing groundwater contamination. As a Monterey Real Estate broker, we have to get these inspections done as part of a sale in most cases. These inspections and repairs are often required as a condition of sale for single family homes and sometimes townhomes. Condominiums are often exempt for individual owners. If there's a leak or break in the pipes, those will need to be repaired, typically by the seller. The main sewer lines in question are between the home and the sewer main in the street. Oftentimes the yard has to be dug up, or if the connection at the main is faulty, the street. This can be expensive due to traffic mitigation and the depths sometimes of these connections. 

These leaking sewer pipe issues can be from the old clay or transite pipes that were used and having joint separations, to plastic lines that tree roots have invaded the couplings. Some plumbing companies pull in completely new single piece polyethylene that is then put in the line of the old faulty line. This "trenchless" style is the least disruptive of landscaping and walkways. A single line with no joints to separate or for trees to get their roots in is probably the best long term solution in my estimation. 

Typically these inspections are up to $350 to do with the camera, though some are free. That video file is sent to the appropriate jurisdiction and the public works personnel then directs what they think needs to be done to bring the pipe into compliance. It had been my belief the offending issues were more fecal matter contamination, but as you can see, quite a few drugs are causing potentially a much greater and more disruptive issue in the ecosystem. Fecal matter has always been a part of nature but these drugs have not.

The 2021 infrastructure bill may not address this issue but I'm sure that...

Seabreeze Tavern in Rio Del Mar is Coming Down

Seabreeze Tavern in Rio Del Mar is coming down. The storied tavern is finally meeting it's demise. A suspicious fire likely caused by the former owner who was being foreclosed on doomed this old institution. Structurally weakened and riddled with damage and asbestos and lead paint, the structure wasn't salvageable. It's likely incarnation is to be a restaurant and apartments atop. That would be a nice addition to the neighborhood and give some life back to a place that had a colorful past.

seabreeze

seabreeze tavern is going down

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California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan - Your Last Resort Insurance Plan

Is your home hard to insure?

Don’t fret! Your home is not uninsurable.

wildfire_californiaThe California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan is your insurer of last resort. You have to exhaust all efforts to benefit from this.

The California Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) plan is an insurance pool established to guarantee the availability of basic property insurance to those who have been unable to obtain insurance through the voluntary insurance market.

firefighters_fighting_wildfire_californiaHomeowners in wildfire-prone regions may need to turn to the FAIR Plan if they cannot find insurance elsewhere.  You should exhaust all other avenues before going with a FAIR Plan policy, which should only be considered a last resort.

A FAIR Plan policy is pretty bar bones: it will cover losses due to fire and smoke and it will satisfy a mortgage company’s requirement that a home be insured, but it will not cover damages from earthquake, theft, vandalism or personal liability.  As of April 1, 2020, the FAIR plan’s combined dwelling coverage limit is $3 million, up from $1.5 million.  For more information visit cfpnet.com

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Law that Authorizes Common Interest Developments (CID) to Impose Rental Restrictions

Common Interest Developments:
Law on Common Interest Development (CID)Requires common interest developments (CIDs) to allow at least 25% of owners to rent or lease out their units starting January 1, 2021, regardless of whether the HOA has formally amended their governing documents.

This law:

1) Authorizes a CID to impose reasonable rental restrictions that have the effect of limiting the total number of rentals to 25% or higher of the individual dwelling units in the CID. Provides that ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) must not be counted toward this cap. Provides that such a cap must not change the right of an individual owner who was renting their unit out prior to the effective date of this law, to continue renting out their unit.

2) Requires CIDs to follow the requirements of this law on January 1, 2021 and requires amendments of governing documents to be completed by CIDs by December 31, 2021. Requires CIDs to comply with this law regardless of whether the governing documents have been amended.

3) Provides that a CID that violates the provisions of this law must be liable for a civil penalty of up to $1,000.

Assembly Bill 3182 is codified as Civil Code Sections 4740 and 4741, and Government Code Sections 65852.2.

Effective January 1, 2021.

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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

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