Real Estate News & Market Trends

We hope you find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 15, 2020

The Sweetest Spot in Felton

 

If you are looking for the sweetest spot in Felton, you have found it. Sunny, flat, walkable, and tight-knit, with no through traffic; Ada Avenue is one-of-a-kind.

 

Quaint and Quiet

 

The sunny flat parcel has good sized front and rear yards with shade trees and green grass perfect for summer picnics with food grown in your own yard. 

 

 

Compact, Single Level 

Compact, and single-level the house is equally appealing to a first-time home buyer as it is for anyone looking to downsize.

 

 

Hardwood Floors, Updated Bathrooms  

Hardwood floors, updated bathrooms, and access to the outdoors from all bedrooms.

 

 

Second bedroom has an ensuite bath and its own entrance which offers privacy and the freedom to come and go for guests and/or roommates.

 

 

Convenient Location 

The walkability of this location is off the charts! Your afternoon stroll might take you to the post office, library, drug store (CVS), boutique grocer (Wild Roots) , coffee shop, local craft brewery (Creamer House) or to Henry Cowell State Park where you can commune with ancient redwoods. 

 

Plenty of Storage

Need storage? No worries, we got you covered with the oversized single car garage, and storage shed.

 

 

Click Here for More Info

May 15, 2020

Where the Redwoods meet the Pines

This architecturally stunning Dwell Magazine worthy home embodies Frank Lloyd Wright's ethos; it is elegant, transparent, welcoming, and built to last with legacy building techniques. 

Open beam ceilings, and walls of glass & stone ground and envelop while welcoming the outdoors in and connecting you to the surrounding pool, decks, and three-quarters of an acre of wooded land, with room for extra parking, an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), tree-house and whatever else you can dream-up.

Vintage accents take you back to a time when glamour and tradition were one. Great separation of space with its formal and laid-back sides; master suite with private balcony, dining and living rooms to the west, kitchen, family room and pool front and center, and second and third bedrooms to the east. 

Entertaining will be a dream with off-street parking for 10+ cars, and a semi-circle driveway perfect for special event valet service.

Stay cozy with three fireplaces, and laugh at your electric bill with both solar PV and solar hot water for the pool. New exterior paint, carpet, light fixtures, and pathways give sparkle to this gem.

Let the outside world slip away as you meander and get lost on your own property. Find yourself chopping wood to the sound splashing in the pool.

Architectural works of art create legacies, evoke graceful living, and nourish all that enter. Easy commute location. Brook Knoll Elem.

Click Here for Property Info

Posted in Real Estate
May 15, 2020

Farmhouse Estate in Heart of Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Gated Paradise 

Expect the best and get it with this, beautiful custom-built farmhouse surrounded by nature, in full bloom.

Perfect Location

30 minutes to Silicon Valley, 10 minutes to Santa Cruz beaches, and 10 minutes to Santa Cruz mountain parks. 

A grand portico greets and protects while shepherding you through the double front door entry to the breathtaking foyer with its triple-height vaulted ceilings, and statement lighting. The abundance of windows flood the home with natural light that bounces off the gleaming hardwood and tile floors. From every room, there are beautiful country views.

Formal living and dining areas lead to an open floor plan kitchen/family room that looks onto the wrap-around covered porch with statement tile, a classic swing, active bird house, and (of course!) a cowboy dinner bell!

Enjoy the effortless ease of true California-style seamless indoor/outdoor living with direct access to patios, porches, and balconies from all rooms.

Constructed for Family Living

Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, plus a ground-floor, oversized executive office that could easily be a fourth bedroom, a game/play room, or a gym.

Large, gourmet kitchen with induction stove top (efficient and kid-safe), three ovens, and wine refrigerator—with oversized island.

Great separation of space with the second floor dedicated to the master suite, including walk-in closet, shower and large soaking tub, and a garden-view tiled balcony.

Property is perfect for an active family with children that likes to climb trees, grow gardens, play basketball, soccer, or baseball—or ride around and/or race up and down the long driveway on bikes, scooters, or skateboards.

Quiet, Park-Like Setting

The 3.6 acres are  gated, and fully fenced with manicured lawns, fruit trees, arbors, archways, an outdoor kitchen, multiple alfresco dining areas, bocce court, greenhouse, raised beds, vintage barn and room for horses, a pool, tennis court, wine grapes, or whatever else you might dream up.

Perfect for Gatherings

Want to host a storybook family wedding? You won’t find anything more romantic and picturesque than this home.

Man Cave

A large three car garage doubles as the perfect man cave—with a wood burning stove, a large TV perfect for watching sports, and room for woodworking or other hobbies.

Designed for the Environment

  • Native, established, and drought tolerant landscaping—oak trees, grasses, rosemary, agave, coyote brush—require no water!
  • Expansive and engineering-designed drainage effectively removes rain water—in the largest of storms.
  • High-producing solar panels and LED lights throughout.
  • A high-output well, water filtration system, and two septic systems.

In-Law Unit

The in-law unit above the finished three-car garage is perfect for multigenerational living, extra income, or an on-site care-taker.

Bright and modern, with a full kitchen, seating area, bedroom, and bathroom—it even includes plenty of storage space.

Welcome Home

Come live in harmony with nature, and enjoy your time at home as you have always dreamed.

Click Here for Property Info

May 14, 2020

Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade

 

 

Whether you’re planning a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in home design. Sellers who make tasteful updates can generate increased buyer interest and, in some cases, a premium selling price. And buyers should consider which features of a home will need updating immediately (or in the near future) so they can factor renovation costs into their overall budget.

 

Even if you have no immediate plans to buy or sell, we advise our clients to be thoughtful about the colors, materials, and finishes they select when planning a remodel, or even redecorating. Choosing over-personalized or unpopular options could hurt a home’s value when it does come time to list your property. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your home to feel dated quickly.

 

To help, we’ve rounded up five of the hottest home design trends for 2020. Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate your property, give us a call. We can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

 

 

1. IN: Sustainability / OUT: Fast Furniture

 

Consumers have become increasingly eco-conscious. Many are shunning the mass-produced, “fast furniture” popularized by retailers like IKEA, opting instead for higher-quality pieces that are built to last. And the availability of non-toxic, environmentally-friendly furniture and decor options is set to grow in 2020 and beyond.

 

At the same time, there’s been a noticeable shift toward individuality in today’s interior design. Instead of following the latest fad, more homeowners are opting to embrace their personal style and invest in items they believe will “spark joy” (à la Marie Kondo) for years to come.

 

To incorporate this trend, designers recommend layering old and new pieces for a curated look that you can build over time. Instead of purchasing a matching furniture set from a big-box retailer, buy one or two sustainably-sourced pieces that complement what you already own. Try searching estate sales and Craigslist for vintage classics or well-built furniture that can be refinished. And to accessorize your room, mix sentimental items with newer finds to create a truly personalized space.

 

 

2. IN: Cozy / OUT: Cold

 

Designers are moving away from cool grays, industrial finishes, and stark modernism. In 2020, there’s a big emphasis on creating warm and cozy spaces through color, texture, and shape. 


Gray has dominated the color palette for the past decade. This year, expect to see a move toward warmer neutrals, earth tones, and nature-inspired shades of blue and green. Warm metals, like gold and brass, will also continue to trend. And hardwood floors are heating up, as cool gray and whitewashed finishes fade in popularity. Expect to see a rise in classic choices like walnut, mahogany, and oak in richer and darker tones.


Furniture will also get cozier—and curvier—in 2020. From rounded sofas and curved-back chairs to oval dining tables, softened-angles are dominating the furniture scene right now. And designers expect softly-textured fabrics—like velvet, shearling, and mohair—to be big this year, as homeowners strive to add a touch of “hygge” (the Danish concept of calming comfort).


Want to warm up your home decor? Try one of the top paint colors for 2020: Benjamin Moore’s First Light (soft pink), Sherwin Williams’s Naval (rich blue), or Behr’s Back to Nature (light green).

 

 

3. IN: Bold / OUT: Boring

 

Bold is back! After years of neutral overload, vivid colors and prints will take center stage in 2020. Expect to see geometric designs, color blocking, and floral and botanical patterns on everything from pillows to rugs to wallpaper.

 

The hottest trend in interior paint right now is bold trim and ceilings. Monochromatic rooms (e.g., walls, ceilings, and millwork painted the same color) will be big this year, as well as high-contrast pairings, like white walls with black trim. Color is coming back to kitchens, too, and two-toned color schemes continue to gain steam. In 2019, 40% of remodelers chose a contrasting color for their kitchen island.1 While white was still the top choice for cabinets, blue and gray are increasingly popular alternatives.

 

 

If you’re ready to “go bold,” separated spaces like laundry and powder rooms are great places to start. It’s easier to incorporate busy wallpaper or a bright wall color in an enclosed area because it doesn’t have to flow with the rest of your decor. 

 

Of course, clients always want to know how design choices could impact their home’s value. The reality is, neutral finishes are still the safest bet for resale. If you’re prepping your home to go on the market, stick with non-permanent fixtures—like artwork and accessories—to brighten your space.

 

 

4. IN: Nature / OUT: Industrial

 

Biophilic design has been big the past few seasons, and it isn’t going anywhere in 2020. It centers around the health and wellness benefits of connecting with nature, even while indoors, and it’s impacted the latest trends in color, prints, and materials. 

 

As we mentioned previously, floral and botanical patterns are hot right now, along with nature-inspired hues, like blues, greens, and earth tones. We’re also seeing a heightened use of organic shapes and sustainable materials in furniture and furnishings, including wood, wicker, rattan, and jute. This infusion of nature coincides with a decline in the popularity of urban-industrial fixtures. Designers predict that concrete floors and Edison light bulbs are on the way out.

 

Want to bring in elements of biophilic design on a budget? Houseplants are a great place to start. But you can also enhance your home’s natural light and create a visual sightline to the outdoors by removing heavy curtains and blinds. And when the weather is nice, open your windows and enjoy the breeze, sounds, and smells of nature. These simple acts are scientifically proven to help reduce stress, boost cognitive performance, and enhance mood!2

 

 

5. IN: Functional / OUT: Fussy

 

In 2020, homeowners want design that’s beautiful, but also liveable. With the rise in remote workplaces, online shopping, and virtual exercise classes, many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. Cue the growing appeal of multi-functional spaces, like a combination kitchen/office or gym/playroom. Real life—and rising housing prices—necessitates creative use of limited space.

 

Durable, low-maintenance materials will also surge in popularity this year. Engineered quartz—which is more stain, heat, and chip-resistant than natural stone—is now the #1 choice for kitchen countertops.1 Waterproof, wood-look luxury vinyl is the fastest-growing segment in the flooring industry.3 And improvements to water and stain-resistant performance fabric has made it a mainstream option for both indoor and outdoor upholstery. 

 

Now that functional is hot, what’s not? Designers say that mirrored furniture, open shelving, and all-white kitchens are too impractical for today’s busy families.

 

So how can you start enjoying the time and energy-saving benefits of this design trend? Begin by structuring each room so that it best suits your needs. And when purchasing furniture or fixtures, choose options that are durable and easy-to-clean. The truth is, design fads come and go. But a comfortable and relaxed home (that you don’t spend every spare minute maintaining!) can help create memories to last a lifetime.

 

DESIGNED TO SELL

 

Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Buyer preferences vary greatly by neighborhood and price range. We can share our insights and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. And if you’re in the market to sell, we can run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!

 

 

Sources:
1. Houzz -
https://www.houzz.com/magazine/2020-us-houzz-kitchen-trends-study-stsetivw-vs~129594531
2. Terrapin Bright Green - https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/14-patterns/
3. Remodeling Magazine -
https://www.remodeling.hw.net/products/vinyl-ceramic-and-hardwood-oh-my-todays-popular-flooring-trends_o
4. Elle Decor -
https://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g29859422/design-trends-2020/?slide=1
5. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/amandalauren/2019/12/23/twelve-interior-design-trends-well-see-in-2020/#43f81f044a5f
6. Wall Street Journal -
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-top-6-interior-design-trends-for-2020-11577460357
7. Good Housekeeping -
https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/decorating-ideas/g29849170/home-decor-trends-2020/
8. Architectural Digest -
https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/top-design-trends-of-2020
9. Los Angeles Times - 
https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-01-11/2020-home-design-trends

April 5, 2020

Perfectly Prepped Scotts Valley Home Sells in 5 Hours

 

Prepping a home for sale matters in any market, but especially in this one. Properly prepared, updated, vacant homes are not only easier to see oneself in, but they simply feel more “available”. Vacant sanitized homes are the market leaders right now. Make it easy to show, and easy to see the the natural beauty of a home, and the right buyer will fall in love. This house found its perfect match within 5 hours of hitting the market.

 

The open-concept kitchen is only the beginning. Newly painted cabinets and flooring highlight the existing island, with prep sink and seating for four. The adjacent dining area seamlessly connects the kitchen to the oversized living room.

 

 

This home feels expansive and lives large but is actually quite reasonably sized at 2345 sqft. The living room, third bedroom, second bath/changing room, and kitchen all have direct access to the beautifully landscaped 9,235 sq ft lot.

 

 

The dedicated second floor master suite tops the list with his and hers walk-in closets (with built-ins), a huge updated master bathroom, balconies front and back, and a separate pool-view gym/nursery/office area. 

 

 

 

Generous setbacks, designer landscaping, hard- and softscapes, and privacy define the lush feel of the 9,000+ sq ft lot. Add to that a dedicated pool/spa deck surrounded by queen palms and all you have to do is pull up a chaise lounge, snap a selfie and, boom, 15-ft from your bedroom, your family and friends will think you went to a resort. Stock the fridge though because when they find out where you really are, your house is going to be THE PLACE to be. 

 

 

Of course you get all the Scotts Valley cherries on top: excellent commute location, safe and clean community, top rated schools, and a 15-min drive to the beach and or the redwoods.

Last, but not least, you get a spacious two-car garage with built in workbench and storage, as well as off-street parking for six cars.

Click Here for Property Website

April 1, 2020

#StayHome: How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

 

#StayHome: How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home
During the Coronavirus Outbreak




Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us are spending a lot more time at home. We’re all being called upon to avoid public spaces and practice social distancing to help slow the spread of this infectious disease. While it can be understandably challenging, there are ways you can modify your home and your lifestyle to make the best of this difficult situation.


Here are a few tips for creating comfortable and functional spaces within your home for work, school, and fitness. We also share some of our favorite ways to stay connected as a community, because we’re all in this together … and no one should face these trying times alone.


Begin with the Basics

A basic home emergency preparedness kit is a great addition to any home, even under normal circumstances. It should include items like water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, first aid kit, and other essentials you would need should you temporarily lose access to food, water, or electricity.


Fortunately, authorities don’t anticipate any serious interruptions to utilities or the food supply during this outbreak. However, it may be a good time to start gathering your emergency basics in a designated location, so you’ll be prepared now-—and in the future—should your family ever need them. 


Working From Home

 


Many employees are being asked to work remotely. If you’re transitioning to a home office for the first time, it’s important to create a designated space for work … so it doesn’t creep into your home life, and vice versa. If you live in a small condominium or apartment, this may feel impossible. But try to find a quiet corner where you can set up a desk and comfortable chair. The simple act of separating your home and work spaces can help you focus during work hours and “turn off” at the end of the day. 


Of course, if you have children who are home with you all day (given many schools and daycares are now closed), separating your home and work life will be more difficult. Unless you have a partner who can serve as the primary caregiver, you will need to help manage the needs of your children while juggling work and virtual meetings.


If both parents are working from home, try alternating shifts, so you each have a designated time to work and to parent. If that’s not an option, experts recommend creating a schedule for your children, so they know when you’re available to play, and when you need to work.1 A red stop sign on the door can help remind them when you shouldn’t be disturbed. And for young children, blocking off a specific time each day for them to nap or have independent screen time can give you a window to schedule conference calls or work uninterrupted.


Homeschooling Your Children


Many parents with school-aged children will be taking on a new challenge: homeschooling. Similar to a home office, designating a space for learning activities can help your child transition between play and school. If you’re working from home, the homeschooling area would ideally be located near your workspace, so you can offer assistance and answer questions, as needed.

If possible, dedicate a desk or table where your child’s work can be spread out—and left out when they break for meals and snacks. Position supplies and materials nearby so they are independently accessible, and place a trash can and recycling bin within reach for easy cleanup. A washable, plastic tablecloth can help transition an academic space into an arts and crafts area.

 If the weather is nice, try studying outside! A porch swing is a perfect spot for reading, and gardening in the backyard is a great addition to any science curriculum. 

In addition to creating an academic learning environment, find age-appropriate opportunities for your children to help with household chores and meal preparation. Homeschooling advocates emphasize the importance of developing life skills alongside academic ones.2 And with more meals and activities taking place at home, there will be ample opportunity for every family member to pitch in and help.


Staying Fit

With gyms closed and team sports canceled, it can be tempting to sit on the sofa and binge Netflix. However, maintaining the physical health and mental wellness of you and your family is crucial right now. Implementing a regular exercise routine at home can help with both.

If you live in a community where you can safely exercise outdoors while maintaining the recommended distance between you and other residents, try to get out as much as possible. If the weather is nice, go for family walks, jogs, or bike rides. 

Can’t get outside? Fortunately, you don’t need a home gym or fancy exercise equipment to stay fit. Look for a suitable space in your home, garage, or basement where you can comfortably move—you’ll probably need at least a 6’ x 6’ area for each person. Many cardio and strength training exercises require little (or no) equipment, including jumping jacks, lunges, and pushups. 

And if you prefer a guided workout, search for free exercise videos on YouTube—there are even options specifically geared towards kids—or try one of the many fitness apps available.


Socializing From a Distance

Even though we’re all being called upon to practice “social distancing” right now, there are still ways to stay safely connected to our communities and our extended families. Picking up the phone is a great place to start. Make an effort to reach out to neighbors and loved ones who live alone and may be feeling particularly isolated right now.

And while parties and playdates may be prohibited, modern technology offers countless ways to organize networked gatherings with family and friends. Try using group video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts and Zoom to facilitate a virtual happy hour or book club. Host a Netflix Party to watch (and chat about) movies with friends. Or plan a virtual game night and challenge your pals to a round of Psych or Yahtzee.


There are safe ways to connect offline, too. Rediscover the lost art of letter writing. Drop off groceries on an elderly neighbor’s porch. Or organize a neighborhood “chalk walk,” where children use sidewalk chalk to decorate their driveways and then head out for a stroll to view their friends’ artwork.

Of course, there’s one group of people who you can still socialize with freely—those who reside in your home. Family dinners are back, siblings are reconnecting, and many of us have been given the gift of time, with commutes, activities, and obligations eliminated. In fact, some families are finding that this crisis has brought them closer than ever. 


YOU ARE NOT ALONE

Even with all of the tools and technology available to keep us connected, many of us are still feeling stressed, scared, and isolated. However, you can rest assured that you are not alone. We’re not only here to help you buy and sell real estate. We want to be a resource to our clients and community through good times and bad. If you and your family are in need of assistance, please reach out and let us know how we can help.


Sources:

  1. CNBC -
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/16/how-to-work-from-home-with-your-kids-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html

  2. TheHomeSchoolMom.com -
    https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/benefits-of-homeschooling-2/

Posted in Real Estate
April 1, 2020

Home Is Everything

 

Home. It’s Everything. It’s a part of our DNA. 

 

As is the human response to rise and meet the unexpected. Coldwell Banker has withstood numerous adversities throughout its 114-year history. In fact, our company was born in crisis, founded following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to bring honesty, integrity and service to those in need. Those values have been our core ever since. 

 

The unexpected has come once again. It’s changing our normal lives and reminding us of the importance of home. Not just the place where we reside, but the communities and people we love. 

 

In this time of change Coldwell Banker and their tens of thousands of agents across the globe are still actively working to serve our communities in whatever way they can, even as many of us do so from our living rooms, kitchen tables and spare bedrooms. If there’s one thing we understand more than most, it’s the value of home.

 

Continuing to Serve

 

During this time of uncertainty surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19), please be assured that Coldwell Banker® is committed to serving you with the same level of dedication and care that you have come to know and expect. For over a century, home has been our purpose. It defines us and everyone in our network. 

 

We take pride in our ability to continue to serve you. Our affiliated agents and employees can help you continue your journey of buying or selling a home successfully and safely. We are closing transactions and keeping America moving every single day. Our mission to fulfill the dream of home will never waver. 

 

We have invested heavily in the tools and technology to enable our employees and agents to work entirely remotely. We will continue to follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local and government mandates. This includes practicing social distancing, implementing work-from-home policies for employees, and expanding cleaning schedules to maintain safe environments within our offices. We also encourage all agents to follow the guidelines set by the National Association of REALTORS® . We are grateful to our incredible team and network of partners that allow us to safely keep our commitments to you, our valued client. 

 

To that end, we will never knowingly place you in a situation where you are in close proximity to any person who has tested positive or is otherwise exhibiting known COVID-19 symptoms. In order to help us keep you safe and do our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, we expect that you will tell us if you or anyone living with you has tested positive or is exhibiting known COVID-19 symptoms as well. 

 

Real Estate in a Virtual World

 

We are actively taking the following steps to ensure that we are doing what we can to keep everyone safe:

 

  • Encouraging virtual tours, and face-time walkthroughs and whenever possible

  • Wiping down all door knobs, counters and points of high touch before and after any in person showings. 

  • In person showings with Social Distancing:  Agent opens up the house, sanitizes everything and opens all doors, blinds, closets etc, minimizing what you need to touch. The agent can wait outside or in the car. Questions can be answered in person at a distance or on the phone from the car.

  • All follow-up and transactional activities are done remotely. 

 

We already have a very strong digital platform in place, so I am well-equipped to serve my clients virtually, even during these challenging times. 

 

• New Listings – Our exclusive marketing program enables me to reach potential buyers quickly to get the news out when a new property hits the market, ranging from a property tour video and dedicated property website to online advertising, customized email distribution, social media posts, mailed property announcements and a digital area REALTOR® notification. 

 

• Property Showings – I can show properties virtually using video and apps to keep both sellers and buyers safe while still showcasing a home’s unique features. 

 

• Your Home’s Value – I can send you a detailed report showing your home’s value as well as comparable homes that have sold nearby. 

 

• Market Updates – If you want to learn more about how real estate is doing in your area, I can send you a weekly Market Report detailing activity to keep you fully informed. 

• Mortgage – Our mortgage partners offer a suite of digital tools that allow buyers to get pre-approved online, or by phone, and to complete and sign mortgage documents digitally. 

,

We are prepared and ready to continue to help you reach your real estate goals during this challenging situation. 

 

Please call today if you have any questions or would like to discuss selling or purchasing a property. 

 

We’re all in this together and we look forward to guiding you home. 

 

Thank you for your partnership. 











Posted in Real Estate
April 1, 2020

Buying a Home Without Personal Interaction

Buying Without Seeing your Agent, Lender or the House in Person

While it’s not typically ideal, these are atypical times and people do buy homes without seeing them in person, and without meeting face-to-face with their agent and lender more often than you would think. 

Today’s reality is that you can fly over, in and around any house that you want from the comfort of your own home. With the use of drone video, 3-D Tours and Live-walkthroughs, it isn’t that hard to virtually get to know a house and the surrounding area.

While nothing can entirely substitute the experience of visiting a home in person, the tools and  technology we now have available can make you feel like you have been there. Additionally, our agents and lenders are set up to communicate all needed information via phone, email or video chat as well, if needed. 

Ready to buy a home with limited physical contact? Don’t even want to get out of bed? 

Here is your step-by step guide:

  1. Call us and get connected with a local well respected mortgage professional to find out what you can afford. Mortgage apps can be completed online, and any required docs can be sent electronically, scanned from your phone (try the “Tiny Scanner” app), or dropped off without contact.   

  2. As soon as you know what you can afford, let us know. We will start sending you  properties that fit your price range, general criteria and favorite areas.

  3. If you are in the area, do a drive-by of any properties you are interested in. If not, we can film a video for you. 

  4. Walk around the neighborhood in person, and/or use Google maps, and Google Earth. Get to know the neighborhood, neighbors and lot layout.

  5. Tour the inside of properties virtually through facetime walk-throughs, Facebook Live Open Houses, by 3-D tour, video walk-throughs, or in person if you are local and the house is vacant. 

  6. In-person showings usually go like this: An agent opens up the house, sanitizes everything and opens all doors, blinds, closets etc, minimizing what you need to touch. The agent can wait outside or in the car. Questions can be answered in person at an appropriate distance or on the phone from the car. 

  7. If you like the home, request and review the property disclosures and inspection reports online, and on the phone with one of our team members. 

  8. Discuss the details of the buying process, with us either over the phone or via Zoom meeting online. Topics to cover: Review disclosures, discuss the purchase agreement, offer terms and  contingencies. 

  9. Write the offer! Review the offer documents and then sign the offer electronically with Docusign.

  10. Do a walkthrough at the property with your agent either with Facetime or in person. As above, in-person walkthroughs will be coordinated to adhere with strict social distancing rules.

  11. Wire funds electronically for your initial deposit.

  12. Complete additional inspections and due diligence.

  13. Property is appraised by the lender (if you are getting a loan).

  14. Release contingencies.

  15. Wire your down payment funds.

  16. Sign your loan and title documents. This can be arranged with a mobile notary coming to your home or another location of your choice. Signoff will be done with strict social distancing rules.

  17. Get the keys delivered to you after the sale is recorded at the County electronically.

  18. Move into YOUR new home. 

  19. Shelter in place.

  20. Stay healthy. 






Feb. 4, 2020

2020 Outlook: Real Estate Market Forecast

2020 Outlook: Real Estate Market Forecast

We’re in the midst of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, and economists think there’s still room to grow. A recent survey by the National Association for Business Economics found that experts believe the U.S. economy will remain positive throughout 2020. (1)

Still, given that recessions are a natural (and necessary) part of a business cycle, we know this period of growth will inevitably end. So you may be wondering … how will an eventual recession impact the real estate market?

Many Americans assume a recession would lead to a decline in housing prices like we saw during the Great Recession of 2008. But the real estate market crash we experienced wasn’t typical. In fact, the last recession wasn’t typical at all. It was the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed real estate prices during the last five recessions and found that, in the majority of cases, home prices actually went up. Only twice (in 1990 and 2008) did prices decline, and in 1990 it was by less than one percent. (2)

So what can historical precedent—combined with today’s data—tell us about the future of real estate? Here’s where experts predict the housing market is headed in 2020 and beyond.

HOME PRICES WILL KEEP RISING

Economists are predicting that U.S. housing prices will continue to rise, regardless of a recession. In fact, property data firm CoreLogic forecasts a faster rate of growth for home prices in 2020 than we saw in 2019 (we saw only 1% appreciation in Santa Cruz County in 2019), with the biggest gains at the lower end of the market. (3)

Arch MI Chief Economist Ralph DeFranco expects entry-level home prices to increase faster than incomes this year, making it even more difficult for many first-time buyers to afford to enter the market. (4)

“Low-interest rates and a shortage of starter homes will continue to push up prices,” predicts DeFranco. “This is especially the case for lower price points, since builders have tended to focus on more expensive, higher-profit houses and less on replenishing low inventories of entry-level homes.” (4)

“Real estate is on firm ground with little chance of price declines,” said National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "However, in order for the market to be healthier, more supply is needed to assure home prices, as well as rents, do not consistently outgrow income gains.” (5)

What does it mean for you? 

If you have the ability and desire to buy a home now, don’t let a fear of recession or falling prices hold you in limbo. Economists expect home values, as well as rent prices, to continue rising. So you’ll likely pay more the longer you wait.

INVENTORY CONSTRAINTS WILL CONTINUE

According to Redfin, Americans are staying in their homes longer. In 2019, the average homeowner had resided in their home for 13 years, up from just eight years in 2010. That means there are fewer homes available today for those who want to buy. (6)

It’s possible that an increase in new construction could offer some relief. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) expects single-family housing starts to total one million this year, the highest level since 2007. And NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts the average price of new construction will decline slightly as builders shift to building smaller, more affordable homes. (7)

However, these efforts may not be enough to meet current demand. “Despite improvements to new construction and short waves of sellers, next year will once again fail to bring a solution to the inventory shortage,” predicts Realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu. “In 2020, we expect inventory to struggle to grow and could instead reach a historic low level.” (8)

What does it mean for you? 

If you’re looking to buy a starter home, be prepared to compete for the best listings. Start your search early, and if you’re up against a deadline (like a new baby), build in plenty of time to find the right home. I can help you assess your options, including new construction and up-and-coming developments.

 

MORTGAGE RATES WILL REMAIN LOW

Mortgage rates have declined more than a full percentage point since November 2018, when they hit a recent peak of 4.94%.9 The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts rates will remain low, at around 3.7%, through mid-2021. (10)

While it may not seem significant, on a $200,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, that lower rate means buyers could save around $145 on their monthly payment and more than $52,000 over the life of their mortgage. Lower mortgage rates make homeownership more accessible and affordable for buyers.

Although economists expect mortgage rates to stay low, they caution against waiting to act. Economic factors, shifts in supply and demand, or unforeseen impacts of the November election could cause rates to rise unexpectedly. “We recommend borrowers with long-term plans of staying in their homes to lock in a low rate now because there’s no telling how long these low rates will last,” warns Preetam Purohit, a capital markets trader at Embrace Home Loans. (11)

What does it mean for you? 

If you’re looking to buy a home, act soon to lock in a historically low mortgage rate. It will minimize your monthly payment and could save you a bundle over the long term. And if you plan to stay in your current home for a while, consider whether it makes sense to refinance your mortgage at today’s lower rates.

 

MILLENNIALS WILL DRIVE THE MARKET

Millennials are expected to account for more than half of all mortgages this year, outnumbering Generation X and Baby Boomers combined. It’s not surprising, considering their age and stage of life. In 2020, the largest cohort of millennials will turn 30, and the oldest millennials will turn 39. (8)

"Family changes tend to drive home-buying decisions," explains Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "Millennials are going to be active in the housing market not just because they're just at the age when they're thinking about becoming first-time home buyers, but they're also in the age range when they're having kids."(12)

Younger millennials flocked to urban centers that offered easy access to work, shopping, and restaurants. But high prices, lack of square footage, and subpar schools are driving millennials out to the suburbs as they begin to marry and expand their families.

In response, a new model for suburban living has emerged. “Hipsturbias,” or mixed-use communities that bring the live/work/play concept to the suburbs, were recently named one of the top real estate trends for 2020 by the Urban Land Institute. (4)

What does it mean for you?

If you’re a millennial who has been priced out of urban living or is looking for more space for your growing family, a number of suburbs in our area have a lot to offer. We can point you towards the communities that will best meet your needs. And if you’re a homeowner with plans to sell, give me a call. My team and I  know how to market your home to millennials … and can help you sell quickly for top dollar by appealing to this leading market segment!

Santa Cruz Local Real Estate 

While national real estate numbers can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As a local market expert, I can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2020, contact me now to schedule a free consultation. I’ll work with you to develop an action plan that meets your real estate goals this year.

 

START PREPARING TODAY

If you plan to BUY this year:

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.

  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? We can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.

  3. Come to our office. The buying process can be tricky. We’d love to guide you through it. We can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today

 

If you plan to SELL this year:

  1. Call me for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, but it will also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help you determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property, and it will help you price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.

  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. I can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.

  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage ... and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

 

Sources:

  1. NBC News - https://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/what-impending-recession-new-survey-shows-most-people-think-they-n1098511

  2. Curbed - https://www.curbed.com/2019/1/10/18139601/recession-impact-housing-market-interest-rates

  3. HousingWire  - https://www.housingwire.com/articles/corelogic-expects-home-prices-to-do-this-in-the-next-12-months/

  4. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2019/11/15/2020-housing-outlook-expert-predictions-for-mortgage-rates-home-prices-tech-and-more/#343ea4522935

  5. National Association of Realtors - https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/expect-continued-economic-growth-slower-real-estate-price-gains-and-small-chance-for-recession-in

  6. Redfin - https://www.redfin.com/blog/homeowners-staying-in-their-homes-longer/

  7. HousingWire - https://www.housingwire.com/articles/builders-are-coming-to-the-housing-markets-rescue/

  8. Realtor.com - https://www.realtor.com/research/2020-national-housing-forecast/

  9. YCharts - https://ycharts.com/indicators/30_year_mortgage_rate

  10. MBA Mortgage Market Forecast November 2019  - https://www.mba.org/news-research-and-resources/research-and-economics/forecasts-and-commentary

  11. Dallas Morning News - https://www.dallasnews.com/sponsored/real-estate/2019/11/23/experts-predict-where-mortgage-interest-rates-land-in-2020/

  12. Realtor.com - https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/biggest-changes-coming-in-2020-real-estate-and-tips-for-buyers-and-sellers/

Posted in Market Updates
Oct. 30, 2019

Just Listed: Ocean View Treetop Oasis

Just Listed - Treetop Oasis

Ocean views and Big Sur vibes await in this serene close-in retreat.  You’ll find yourself instantly relaxed and centered by the 180-degree embrace of nature. Complete privacy in a home with walls of windows is rare, and inspiring.

Treetop Oasis Interior 1

This is a house where breath returns, dreams are born, music is played, art and special meals are made, and maybe, just maybe, where your next (first?) book will be written.

Treetop Oasis Interior 2

It’s impossible to know how living in a home this beautiful and architecturally stunning may change you. The open beam ceilings, hardwood floors, and brand-new kitchen will take your breath away.

Treetop Oasis Interior 3

And the list goes on: Updated master bath and bedroom on first level. South-facing orientation allows for significant passive solar gain.

Treetop Oasis Interior 4

New carpet and paint throughout. 1273 sq ft of decking accessed by 6 sliding glass doors. Views from every bedroom, separate furnaces on each level, 2-car garage, and parking for 6+ cars.

Treetop Oasis Interior 5

Potential to build a 1500 sq ft ADU on the lower area of the 2.3-acre property. 3 minutes to Seascape Resort, 2 minutes to Hwy 1, 5 min to highly rated local schools. Vacant, staged and priced to sell quickly, don’t wait. Come be awed today.

Posted in New Property