Coronavirus: Santa Cruz Real Estate News & Resources

For most of us, the past few weeks have been quite a whirlwind. The news on COVID-19 seems to be changing daily. We are all scrambling to figure out our new normal, even if temporary. Small businesses worry about the long-term impact this coronavirus pandemic will have. At the end of this article, we have included some federal and local resources. These are helpful for small businesses and families in need.

The real estate industry is not immune to the effects of this global pandemic. Coronavirus continues to impact the real estate industry in many ways. When the initial shelter-in-place orders came down from Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19th, real estate was not listed as an essential industry. This nearly put a complete halt on all things real estate. Counties and individual brokerages across the state of California scrambled. We all worked to ensure agents and clients were complying with this mandate. Complying for their own protection and the protection of the general public. Open houses, broker tours, and even in-person showings were halted in most areas. For the next 9 days, many were questioning how homes would now be sold, and even if deals awaiting closing could be completed.

What is Essential During the Coronavirus?

On Friday, March 27th, the California Association of Realtors said that commercial and residential real estate services were newly included on the list of essential businesses for the state of California. Real estate agents and their support staff were no longer on the list requiring them to limit or stop operations and “stay at home”. However, there are many counties in California with stricter guidelines than this change at the state level. For example, the county shelter-in-place guidelines for Santa Cruz, and our surrounding counties – Monterey and Santa Clara, are stricter than the state guidelines. They were not updated to include real estate as an essential business as recent as yesterday. As of April 1st, Santa Cruz County joined the State of California in changing real estate to an essential industry. We are now on the approved list of businesses permitted to operate.

Reactions to this change at the state and county level have been mixed. Some questioning if real estate is truly “essential” during this coronavirus pandemic. However, what we know from our years of experience in the real estate industry is that there are a plethora of reasons why someone needs to sell or purchase a home. These reasons range anywhere from a death in the family or divorce to a necessary job relocation or an exciting addition to the family.

The reasons are often known to only a few. However, most would agree that no matter the timing – life events continue one. Helping people find shelter and a place to call home has always been essential to us. On the other hand, we are also painfully aware of the devastation this virus is causing across the world. We agree that the safety of our clients, colleagues, friends, families and ourselves is of the utmost importance.

It Is Not Just Back To Business As Usual

Entering the sector of essential business does not mean that the world of real estate is merely business as usual. Regardless of your individual county guidelines, even areas that will increase operations still must exercise extreme caution. Until further notice, no open houses and no broker’s tours will occur. Most brokerages have closed their offices with all agents and support staff working from home. Home showings must be virtual whenever possible. Homes that are vacant should have specific showing instructions that comply with all protocols that help protect against the spread of COVID-19, as deemed necessary by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We are not aware of any counties that are recommending in-person showings of occupied homes.

In fact, here is an excerpt from the county order itself, specifically about property showings at this time: Service providers that enable residential transactions (including rentals, leases, and home sales), including, but not limited to, real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries, and title companies, provided that appointments and other residential viewings must only occur virtually or, if a virtual viewing is not feasible, by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time who reside within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit (except that in-person visits are not allowed when the occupant is still residing in the residence)

Each and every real estate licensee must take careful action to protect the health and safety of their clients, their fellow licensees, and themselves. Furthermore, the Association also made it clear that if the health safeguards and protocols set forth by the governing bodies in our state and individual counties are not followed, the rules regarding real estate throughout this pandemic may be changed to stop or heavily restrict all real estate activity.

What Are We Doing About Coronavirus?

Here at The Mower Group, we are doing our best to continue with necessary operations to aid our clients, while still complying with our local county mandates and state and federal guidelines. We appreciate the efforts of our elected representatives, licensing bodies, and brokerage is taking to protect our health and the health of our fellow Santa Cruz County residents. We are still fielding phone calls, working on pending transactions, and providing our clients with A+ service. And, we are navigating this new work-from-home culture. Property showings must be kept to a limited and vital capacity. However, this only applies to homes that are currently vacant. Occupied properties on the market must do virtual tours only at this time.

Useful Resources

There are many individuals and families in need of support and resources during this time. Here are a few helpful resources for you or someone you know.

Small Business AdministrationThe Small Business Administration is offering low-interest loans to most small businesses and non-profits that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
www.nar.realtor

If you are a realtor and are unsure of how to proceed, the National Association of Realtors has put together a guide regarding coronavirus. This guide covers open-house guidance, transaction advice, and updated shelter-in-place information.
The Internal Revenue Service has a webpage strictly dedicated to coronavirus tax relief and federal stimulus information. Here you can find updated information on extended tax deadlines, stimulus payment checks, and other frequently asked questions and answers.

 

Santa Cruz County Bank is taking pre-applications for small business loans that are soon to be available under the Santa Cruz County BankCoronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This can help you get a head-start on utilizing the federal stimulus package. It passed to aid families and small business owners across the country.
The Mower Group! Please consider us as one of your resources. We will be providing you all regular updates regarding real estate news and developments in Santa Cruz County. We are here to answer any of your questions about the market and the COVID-19 guidelines. And, we are following the changes that are continuously coming out.

Contact Us – We are Here to Help! the mower group

The Mower Group! Please consider us as one of your resources. We will be providing you all regular updates regarding real estate news and developments in Santa Cruz County. We are here to answer any of your questions about the market, the COVID-19 guidelines, and changes that are continuously coming out. Or, let’s discuss anything else you may be wondering about.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us during this time of transition and uncertainty. We are closely following our county guidelines for the shelter-in-place. We are happy to share our knowledge of developments at the county and state levels. Whether you have questions about whether it’s a good time to refinance your home. Maybe you want to discuss the market in your area. Or, perhaps you merely want to chat about life in general. You can reach out to us! The Mower Group is here to help our clients, our friends, and anyone in need in our community, and hope that you will also use us as one of your resources.

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 10:58 pm
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Preparing to Sell Your Home

Preparing to sell your home? If you are like many other homeowners who are thinking of selling their home it most likely seems like an overwhelming task. Many homeowners outgrow their home or dream of a change but don’t know where to start. Here is a simple guide to preparing for your next home sale.

Run Your Numbers

One of the first things you will want to do when preparing to sell your home is to figure out exactly how much you need to sell your home for. You may already have the perfect replacement property in mind. Perhaps you plan to search for your next home with the help of a realtor. Or, you want to take your profits and run to the nearest retirement beach. Each of these scenarios requires a set amount of money you will need for your goal. Figure out what this amount is so you go into your selling process with a minimum number in mind of what you can accept for your home to still move forward with the transaction.

If you plan to buy a new home you should find a reputable mortgage broker and see what loan amount you pre-qualify for. You should figure out exactly how much money you need to sell your property in order to provide you with enough money for your next down payment and moving costs. This may take a few days and you should be prepared to provide current pay stubs and bank statements in order to get the most accurate pre-approval letter.

Find a Realtor That Can Sell Your Home

Choosing a good realtor is one of the most important aspects of selling your home. Although buying and selling a home can be exciting, it can also come with some ups and downs and in some instances, it can be a stressful transaction. Therefore, it is imperative you choose a realtor who is experienced, knowledgeable about the current real estate market, and who will work hard to get you the most money for your property.

Once you have chosen a realtor you can ask them for a comparative market analysis on your property. This will provide you with a breakdown of the current market values of properties, comparable to yours, which then serves as a helpful tool for determining the current market value of your property. You should also go over the figures you worked out with your mortgage broker with your realtor, and then work together to determine a listing price that fits the parameters you are approved for and helps you achieve your next property goals.

Prepare Your Property!

Once all of the above is done its time to prepare your property. Making even small changes and improvements to your home can go a long way in getting you the most bang for your buck. Although this list of recommended preparation actions can seem exhaustive, we highly recommend you take the time to do these tasks around your home because they will pay off in attracting more potential buyers and improving the aesthetic appeal of your home.

  • Declutter your living areas
  • Depersonalize your spaces
  • Repaint any bold walls to more neutral tones
  • Touch up worn or scuffed paint
  • Touch up scuff marks along your walls and baseboards
  • Change light bulbs and update outdated fixtures
  • Clean all your windows and screens
  • Spruce up your front yard for some great curb appeal
  • Thoroughly clean your carpets and floors
  • Organize and spruce up your backyard
  • Make sure your house smells good
  • Get a home inspection

Making the decision to sell your home is exciting – its the start of the next chapter in your life. If you would like a comparative market analysis for your home or are in need of a realtor for your next listing contact The Mower Group. We are always honored when we are chosen to represent a seller on such an important life event, and we take great care to ensure we deliver the best listing services possible.

Posted on November 6, 2018 at 8:12 am
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