Land v. Improvements

When you buy real estate, the assessed valued is divided between the land and any improvements; improvements can include everything from houses and other structures to landscaping and septic systems, basically anything that isn’t bare land. Figuring out how best to divide the value between land and improvements is as much an art as it … Read more

Reverse Mortgages Can Provide Needed Cash

Did you know that if you are 62 or older, you can use a reverse mortgage to borrow against the equity in your home? Instead of making mortgage payments, the bank will pay you, either in a lump sum, with monthly payments, or via a line of credit—and as long as you continue to live … Read more

2022 Projections and the High Cost of Regulation

Every year, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) makes projections for the coming year based on housing trends and financial market activity. In late 2021, CAR said home prices will likely continue to increase and that home sales will slow. Their projections are based on statewide data but based on what’s happening locally, I think … Read more

Homeowners Insurance Cancelations

Homeowners’ insurance companies have taken a beating in recent years, especially those that cover homes in rural areas like ours. Consider the payouts to homeowners in Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, and other communities devastated by wildfire. The unfortunate result is that homeowners throughout Mendocino County are getting notes like the one I just received from … Read more

Bait and Switch – California’s Zoning Change

In last week’s column, I referred to recent legislation affecting residential zoning. Here are the details. This fall, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 9 (SB9), and in one fell swoop almost entirely ended single-family residential zoning in California. The new law allows people to build as many as two duplexes on lots zoned single-family residential, … Read more

Be a Good Neighbor and Get Agreements in Writing

I cannot tell you the number of times people have made agreements with their neighbors sealed with a handshake rather than a contract, only to discover the legal value of a signed agreement. I know it can be awkward to ask a neighbor to put your friendly agreement in writing, but when relationships sour—and they … Read more

End-of-Year Tax Considerations

As the year draws to a close, now is a good time to gather your financial documents and review the impact of any real estate (or other financial) transactions. If you bought or sold property, there are undoubtedly tax implications. The best place to start is to review your transaction’s closing document. If you cannot … Read more

The Housing Market Drives Our Economy

I was recently talking to my friend, Mark Pardini who owns Pardini Appliance. He was mentioning that back in 2008 when the housing market tumbled his business slowed, and when the housing market rebounded, his business picked up. It got me thinking about just how many people in this valley depend on a healthy housing … Read more

Routine Maintenance – Winterizing Your Home

Now is a good time to do the routine maintenance that will keep your home in good working order—and make winter a cozier affair. Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms Given the recent wildfires, it is especially important to keep alarm batteries fresh. To avoid the middle-of-the-night alert that your batteries have expired, change the … Read more