Santa Cruz Foreclosure Cash Cow

sebfreyBlog, Distressed Properties

Been looking for the unicorn of real estate in Santa Cruz, the cash cow?  I’m always talking to folks who are looking for great real estate investment opportunities.  It’s hard to get more than a 5% cash on cash return with most properties that are in the reach of the typical real estate buyer. I was recently turned onto the business of running residential assisted living facilities for senior citizens and the disabled.  This kind of business can be extremely lucrative, especially if you have a house that’s pretty big. Lo and behold, a 10 bedroom, 5.5 bathroom, 4,500+ sf house hit the market recently.  It’s a bank-owned REO foreclosure property, and was most recently used as a licensed residential care facility.  This is a tremendous opportunity for the right buyer!  I took a video below: 1106 Darlene Drive Santa Cruz Video Please let me know if you’d like to get in to tour this amazing opportunity.  You can see all the listing details here. Wondering how you can turn a property like this into a money making cash cow?  I encourage you to head over to the Residential Assisted Living Academy.  They’ll give you all the training and information you need to make an incredible business for yourself, while providing a critical service to our senior citizen community. Listing courtesy of Chantel Henson, Vanco Real Estate Executives

Selling Your Home in 2018 vs. 2019


What is the best time to list your home for sale?

Today, I’d like to talk with you about next selling your home in 2018 vs. 2019. This is the time of year when a lot of people who are thinking about selling their homes do some soul-searching. They ask themselves, should I put my home on the market this year, or wait until next year? Predicting the future is a very tricky business, and so is timing the real estate market. Honestly, it’s really hard to say with any degree of certainty if it would be better to sell your home this year or wait til next. However, recent volatility in the stock mark has made a lot of people jittery; inflation is picking up and mortgage interest rates are at a two-year high.  Is this raising any red flags for you, market watchers?  It sure does for me. The fundamentals of the economy look pretty good at the moment, and nobody seems to be talking about a real estate market correction happening this year. This is great news if you’re thinking about putting your home up for sale this year. What if you’re feeling lucky, and you want to roll the dice to see if the real estate market might be just as good, or even better, next year? If you ask me, that’s taking a bit of a gamble. Now, it’s entirely possible that the economy will remain robust next year, the housing market will stay healthy with strong demand, and inventory will be super low like they are today. Recession on the Horizon When … Read More

Hottest U.S. Real Estate Markets in February 2018

sebfreyCharts and Statistics, Commentary

It's One Hot Market

The folks at have come out with their list of the top 20 hottest housing markets in the United States…and, no surprise, California dominates the rankings. Not for the first time, our beloved city by the bay, San Francisco, takes the top prize as the hottest housing market in the entire United States. Once again, as in so many other ways – the city is #1. A lot of other northern California cities made the top 20 however: #3: Vallejo #4: San Jose #5: Sacramento #7: Santa Rosa #10: Stockton #11: Santa Cruz #13: Chico #15: Modesto #17: Fresno And, in fairness to our southern cousins, I’d like to point out that these other great California towns made the list: #9: San Diego #14: Oxnard #20: Los Angeles You may be asking, how did they determine which housing markets are the hottest?  It’s not about how much prices are rising year over year.  Their magic formula is quite simple: Using the key indicators of days on market and listing views per market, came up with its monthly list of the hottest real estate markets in the nation. OK, so maybe that’s not the most scientific method in the world to determine the hottest housing markets. But it’s at least pretty good anecdotal evidence, strong enough to make me ask: What are you waiting for? This is the hottest seller’s market we’ve seen since…well, that’s hard to say, because the market has been pretty hot for years. It’s like the weather now – fire season … Read More

Santa Cruz Marching Towards Rent Control

sebfreyCommentary, Santa Cruz Real Estate

In case you haven’t heard, the city of Santa Cruz is marching towards establishing rent control. Recently, the Santa Cruz City Council voted to adopt two new “emergency” ordinances: a rent freeze, and a new requirement for “just cause evictions.” These ordinances were put in place to freeze current rents while efforts are underway to get the required signatures to put a city-wide rent control ordinance on the ballot for the November election. Many landlords in the city of Santa Cruz have questions about how the rent freeze and just cause evictions ordinances will be implemented. To help answer those questions, legal counsel for the city of Santa Cruz has published a FAQ, which can be downloaded here. There is little debate that rents in Santa Cruz are exorbitant, and that relief is needed. However, there is strong evidence that rent control is not the best way to address the problem, and in fact will create a whole new series of problems for beleaguered tenants in the city – like fewer available rental units and higher rental rates. The problems presented by the initiative can be seen by recent shared observations, by analytical economic analysis, and by carefully conducted academic studies. For example, a study published in November 2017 by researches at Stanford University examined the effects of rent control in San Francisco, and their paper can be downloaded here. The study contains a lot of mathematical formulae, but the text is easy enough to understand and the graphs they provide are eye-opening. Their research shows … Read More

How You Can Help Solve Our Housing Crisis?


We in California are in the midst of an extreme housing crisis.  One way this shows up is as exorbitant prices to both buy and rent homes throughout the state.  I’m fine with high prices, so long as they’re affordable.  Unfortunately, they’re not: home affordability in our area is absolutely terrible. It’s about 15% to 18%, which means only 15% to 18% of households can afford to purchase a median-priced home.  And that affordability figure is calculated using an assumption buyers have 20% for the down payment, which many would-be buyers do not. Rental housing isn’t much better, so we have a lot of people living in unsafe, expensive, or overcrowded homes. You’ve probably noticed the tent cities popping up under freeway overpasses and bridges everywhere. It’s shocking to see, considering we live in an area and time of almost unimaginable wealth.  It’s a stark and unavoidable sign of how severe the issue is. Fortunately, California legislators are doing something about it at last. Recently, San Francisco Senator Scott Weiner introduced SB-827, which would radically alter planning and zoning laws in California. It would require high-density housing within close proximity to transit stops and corridors. This is a radical step, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Please support Senator Weiner and SB-827. Call your own state representatives and let them know you support more housing for California. On the other hand, there are efforts afoot to increase rent control throughout California. I know this may feel like a good idea to some of you, and … Read More

Upsizing or Downsizing your Home – Now or Later?

sebfreyBlog, Sellers

Thinking about upsizing or downsizing our home? With the considerable increases in home values we’ve seen over the past couple of years, a lot of homeowners are enjoying more equity in their homes than perhaps they’ve ever seen, or certainly more than they’ve seen in the past 6 or 7 years.  And with this increase in equity, many homeowners are considering making a move – to either upsize, or downsize, their homes. One question though is – does it make more sense to upsize or downsize today, or at some point in the future, when perhaps they have more equity in their homes?  To address that issue, we’ve created a brief video presentation which should be helpful. Download the Spreadsheet used in this Video   You can also download the spreadsheet used in the video here.  The spreadsheet is in Microsoft Excel format.  If you don’t have Excel, you can import it into Google Docs and work with it there.  

What Are Your Goals in 2018?


The Goal of the SellForSure Home Sale System

I don’t know about you, but I love a new year. It’s a time of year that signifies renewal. For business owners like myself, it heralds a time for us to stop doing what’s not working in my business and start doing more of what could work better. I haven’t made any resolutions this year. I’ll tell you why. We all know what happens to most resolutions. They are left undone halfway through January. So, this year instead of resolutions I’ve set personal and professional goals for myself. The interesting thing about real estate is that so much of what is professional is personal at the same time. This business is built on relationships, after all. It’s not about houses, it’s about the people who live in those houses. My Goals in 2018 That’s why my #1 goal this year is to spend more time with the people of my community. My plan is to sit down with at least three new people per week – so how about it? I’d love to sit down with you, have a drink, maybe share a nibble, and talk about our goals for the year. We can talk about my goals if you want, but I’m most interested in talking about yours, and how I can help you reach them.  If you’ve got the time, we can go over my goals too – maybe you can help with some of mine, too! Over the years I’ve spent going to seminars and such, I’ve learned a few things about effective … Read More

2018 California Housing Forecast

sebfreyCharts and Statistics, Commentary

Watch the 2018 California Housing Forecast Video Also available in audio-only format on the Bay to Bay Podcast Last October, I was fortunate enough to attend the California Association of Realtors Conference and Expo in San Diego.  One of the highlights of the multi-day event was the presentation given by Leslie Appleton-Young, the Chief Economist for the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.).  The presentation was a 2018 California Housing Forecast, and included very detailed charts and statistics. I recorded the audio of the presentation on my iPhone and received the PowerPoint slides later from Leslie herself.  With the audio and the slides, I was able to create the video you see here on this page. It should be noted that the much of the presentation details what had already happened in California in 2017.  After all, much of what will happen in 2018 will be dictated by what happened in the past.  And some of the presentation is intended for the audience seated in the hall that day, that is to say, members of the California Association of REALTORS. But most of the information will be of considerable interest to anyone who is concerned with housing in California.  Given the incredibly high cost of housing here, I figure you’ll be interested in a lot of this information whether you rent or own. Key Points from the 2018 California Housing Forecast US economic and job growth expanding Job growth continuing, but slowing, in California Mortgage interest rates rising to 4.3% average for year U.S. GDP to grow … Read More

The Santa Cruz Housing Crisis

sebfreyCommentary, Santa Cruz Real Estate

Hot Housing Markets

Last week, I appeared on KSCO radio to talk with producer Brad Polisuk about the Santa Cruz Housing Crisis. I was joined by Evan Siroky from Santa Cruz YIMBYs (“Yes In My Back Yard”) and Robert Singleton of the Santa Cruz County Business Council. There was a lot of food for thought and not anywhere near enough time to digest it all. You can listen to the 2 o’clock hour of the show where I appeared below. Listen to the Show Here   One thing I was struck with were the callers, none of whom it seemed were younger people, that is, renters who are most affected by the housing crisis. The callers seemed as though they were older homeowners who already had their slice of paradise, and weren’t keen to share by permitting much in the way of further growth. This in a nutshell is the problem with creating more housing in the county. It’s folks like the radio show callers who are the people who vote and show up for meetings, and to a large extent they control the dialog. Before our discussion, I was asked to be prepared to come to speak on several points. I wrote up some notes, and rather than just toss them now that the show’s over, I thought I’d share them with you here. Why is Santa Cruz real estate expensive? In essence, I believe it comes down to land use planning: we have very low density zoning. The general plan for Santa Cruz county states that we … Read More

How Can You Get Multiple Offers on Your Home?

sebfreyCommentary, Marketing

Getting an Offer on your Home

Many homes in our area sell for over asking price – sometimes, a lot over asking. However, that doesn’t just happen by magic!  Almost always, this is the happy result of a good old-fashioned bidding war. But how can you get multiple offers when you go to sell your own home, and ignite a hot bidding war? In a nutshell, you need a carefully crafted marketing strategy to create a strong perception of value in the minds of prospective buyers so that they will come running, cash and offers in hand. The number 1 way to create value is to set a price that will attract buyers in droves. You’ll need to couple that price with an incredible online presentation that showcases your home and really makes it stand out against all the competition in the price range. Make it look like a home that buyers will absolutely have to get in the door to see. “ Set an offer deadline to create a sense of urgency among buyers. ”   You should also set an offer deadline to create a sense of urgency. If the buyer doesn’t move fast enough, they’ll miss it. Don’t review any offers before the deadline; you want to make sure that you have multiple offers in hand so that you can work the buyers against each other. Then, discover the one who loves your home more than the others; they will pay dearly for that feeling. Of course, there is a lot more to it than that. In fact, I’ve … Read More