The Finances of Downsizing May Surprise You

Recently, I received an inquiry from a retired couple living in Ukiah’s El Dorado subdivision. They asked whether they could take their tax basis with them if they downsized to a smaller home in town. Thanks to Proposition 19, the Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment (2020), the answer … Read more


When to Get Appraisal – Part 3

Besides satisfying your curiosity, knowing your home’s value can come in handy. A home appraisal is an unbiased evaluation to determine your property’s market value. This is the third of a three-part series. Eminent domain Litigation can generate the need for an appraisal in several ways. Let’s say the government plans to expand a roadway … Read more


When to Get Appraisal – Part 2

Besides satisfying your curiosity, knowing your home’s value can come in handy whether you’re litigating a legal case, dealing with estate issues, or managing an insurance claim. A home appraisal is an unbiased evaluation to determine your property’s market value. This is the second of a three-part series. Bankruptcy or other litigation In the event … Read more


When Should You Get an Appraisal?

Besides satisfying your curiosity, knowing your home’s value can come in handy whether you’re selling, refinancing, or managing your taxes. A home appraisal is an unbiased evaluation to determine your home’s market value. Engaging in a For Sale By Owner I cannot urge you strongly enough to hire a Realtor when buying or selling property … Read more


Buying a Home? The Timing on Inspections Matters

I’ve talked about home inspections many times, but I don’t usually talk about the impact of timing. If you’re buying a home, it’s important to know which inspections to get and when to do a final investigation of the property’s condition. You’ll want to make sure that all the agreed-upon work has been done to … Read more


Home Energy Audits

During hot Ukiah summers, those of us who can’t live without air conditioning receive eye-popping energy bills. One way to reduce those bills is to stop using so much air conditioning, but who wants to sit around and sweat? A far more comfortable way to reduce costs is to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Energy … Read more


Mortgage Rules You Should Break

In early 2022, mortgage rates were down around 2.5 percent. Today, they’re closer to 7.5 percent. On a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, this means your monthly payment would be up by 77 percent. Talk about financial whiplash! Even though, historically speaking, interest rates have returned to normal for single family homes (between 6 and 8 percent), … Read more


Keep Your House Cool

As summers get hotter and hotter, it takes more energy to keep them cool. Here are some ways to keep costs—and temperatures—down. Shade trees One of the best ways to keep houses cool is to shade them from direct sunlight. Deciduous trees on the west and south sides of your home can reduce the overall … Read more


An Ounce of Prevention – Home Safety Edition Part IV

This is part of my series on home safety, and it continues on last week’s theme of protecting kids. Previously, I talked about indoor hazards. This week, I’ll talk about outdoor hazards and gun safety. Once kids get into the yard, dangers abound: power tools, sharp objects, low-hanging branches leading to tall trees from which … Read more