Santa Cruz Real Estate Blog

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Santa Cruz Is a Viable Option

If you've lived in your home in Santa Cruz for many years, you may be concerned about real estate market trends and other rising costs in the area. Once you retire, you will be receiving a fixed income and might not be able to keep up with increasing costs. Also, your children might not be able to afford to stay in the area once they leave home, and so they may have to move to a different locality. These are genuine concerns for some, and local officials and politicians are actively considering various ways and means to help alleviate the financial burdens some will face when electing to age in place in their current homes.

Recently, the publication LIFE everything Aptos, Capitola & Soquel detailed ongoing efforts to help people find affordable housing in this article by Zach Friend, a Santa Cruz County Supervisor. According to Friend, the county of Santa Cruz has published an interactive toolkit which allows homeowners to design an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), acquire a permit and begin construction. The Board of Supervisors has also recently reduced permit fees and created a forgivable loan program to defray some of the upfront costs. In essence, it is now easier and cheaper to build an ADU in the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County.

Friend said that ADUs, or companion units, are an easy and fast way to gain more affordable housing. This will help older residents who want to age in place at their existing locations by building an ADU for themselves while leaving the main house for their family, or who want other family members to stay in the ADU. For people who need extra income, building and renting an ADU is a good option. The Board of Supervisors has put rules in place to prevent these ADUs from becoming short-term rentals.

The new toolkit is available at www.sccoplanning.com/ADU. It includes a summary of regulations, a cost estimator, design guides and FAQs about design, financing, construction...

Retirees Have Many Choices When It Comes to Aging in Place

Even though you currently enjoy your working life, you may long for a future retirement where you can enjoy doing all the things you dream about while you are working. As you prepare for this certain time in your life, you will begin to consider where you will want to live when this event takes place. You might decide to stay in your existing home, change your home but stay in the same area or relocate to an entirely new area. If you decide to change your residence for current or future retirement purposes, you will be looking at areas and homes that will allow you to participate in the types of activities that you most enjoy. However, today the new retiree is healthier than ever and is living longer than ever. So, how do you reconcile the different housing needs for being still somewhat youthful and active at retirement, but also faced with the probability that you will live into your 80s and 90s?

One solution is to plan on "aging in place". This means that you plan on living in a home wherein you can stay as long as your health permits. As you age, your physical needs change as well. You might require more assistance for daily tasks, and your home needs to be able to accommodate these needs. However, if you retire in your 50s or 60s, you will probably not need assistance at that time and will want a home that accommodates your present needs without regard to physical restraints. The good news is, though, that you can retire in your existing home or a new location and still be able to stay there long-term with some planning for the future. With today's technology, smart assistance is at your beck and call (literally), and you can also add many adaptive features to your home.

If you elect to stay in your existing home, you can begin to add smart technology to your home that will activate and power almost anything in your home. Lights, TV, cameras, power, heating and cooling, phones, music, appliances and more can all be...

Building versus Buying - Creating a Comfortable Living Space for Your Later Years of Life

seniors comfortable livingAs the children grow and start leaving home many parents enjoy the thought of having all that extra time for themselves with no more toys to pick up, or trip over, no more endless piles of laundry, and no more supervising those endless summer pool parties.

The family home is now too big for you and your partner so you have decided to look at other Pebble Beach homes for sale;  Perhaps something a little smaller that will be more comfortable for you as you grow older. The big decision now is whether you should buy or build that new home.

You want a home that will be more suitable for you, one where you can continue to live comfortably as you age, where you can easily manage the house and yard work. With the children gone do you still need a two story house and all those stairs? Is a large backyard necessary and worth the amount of time and labor it will take to upkeep?

Whether you decide to build or buy you will want to make sure that your next home has all the features that will ensure your greatest comfort. A pre-existing home may seem more economical but will it provide you with all the specifications and features you desire?

Are you willing to just settle for some of those features and renovate to create the rest or would building a new home be the better solution?

Before you start looking at Pebble Beach homes for sale  it’s best to make a list of the type of features you want to have in your...

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