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Market Update for Santa Cruz County- Feb. 2023


Housing prices were flat in January, not    unusual for this time of year but a far cry from last year at this time. This is likely a reflection of what is to come in 2023. If there is any movement in prices this year, one way or the other, it will be slight.


Our market has changed. It likely started changing last year about May when we began seeing inventory climb. (see chart below) The increase of homes for sale was more a factor of some homes staying on the market a little longer than an increase in new listing




I thought I’d show what this graph usually looks like over a much longer period of time to         emphasize what a unique market we were in the last few years. If you look at the 2009 – 2023 graph you can see that the inventory is usually way more than the monthly sales numbers over the past 24 years.



The last few years has truly been a unique time in real estate! There have been a myriad of factors    affecting this unprecedented phenomenon; prolonged period of low interest rates making it a smart time for borrowers (aka buyers) to get in the market, low inventory of homes for sale which only increased as more buyers came to play, and then the pandemic hit which brough the work-from-home scenario mainstream giving workers the ability to move to  areas they want to live, rather than the home that eased the commute.


2023 should start to lean toward a more “normal” and quieter market. Sellers may be waiting a little longer for the right buyer to come along and buyers may just have more than 1 or 2 homes to choose from. A nice change of pace if you ask me.




Pantry Overhaul


I feel like I get the urge for “spring cleaning” in January. As the new year comes in, all I want to do is re-organize; my room, the refrigerator, the garage…pretty much my entire life! As I was cleaning out a cabinet full of  magazines I had collected from last year, I came a across an article about pantry re-organizing and a line that I couldn’t resonate more with!


“One of my favorite forms of procrastination is reorganizing the cabinets in my apartment. I call it        procasti-cleaning.”


What great timing and    guidance to something that we probably all need to do more of! I just had to share the top tips from this article. Which, by the way, is out of the American Lifestyles   Magazine that my mom and I send to clients. If you are   interested in receiving one, let me know! It’s full of stories from artisans, home designers, farmers, chefs…all over the country!



Now, back to the pantry…


I 100% agree with the author of this article, that there is nothing quite as satisfying as pulling everything from the cabinets, starting fresh, and restocking them like it’s a     curated art show of foodstuffs. Why does this bring one so much joy?!


First things first: do a clean sweep. Take everything out of the cabinet and start to sort your items. Throw away       expired foods and make a    donate pile of things you won’t eat/use. Now get in there and dust (or in some   cases, heavily clean) your shelves so you have a nice clean space to work with.


Time to assess the situation. Group like minded items      together; baking ingredients, pasta and grains, snacks, etc. Get rid of bulky boxes and containers, and consolidate where you can. Clear,           see-through jars and bins are great for bulk items like pastas and grains. Baskets can hold an array of snacks for kids (or adults) to grab and go.     Stackable racks are handy for bulk storage of canned and jarred goods. And absolutely invest in lazy susans! They are a must for any pantry. I picked one up at a garage sale just the other day!


Once you have items grouped and consolidated, start putting them back into your pantry. Ingredients that you use more frequently should be placed towards the front of your pantry.  Consider the height of where items are placed as well. For example, I put the sweets out of reach from my four-year-old.


Now sit back and enjoy that newly organized pantry. Maybe even take a photo! Because next week you know it won’t look anything like what it does now. But oh, didn’t it bring you so much (temporary) organizational joy!?




New Years Resolutions for Sellers and Buyers


For Sellers:


1. Begin prepping your home for the market.


·Simple projects like trimming trees to improve curb appeal or adding a fresh coat of paint – can have a big impact


·Take care of neglected repairs. More and more buyers are looking for move in ready homes. The less projects they have to take on, the more money they are willing to offer.


·Move up spring cleaning. Declutter, depersonalize and make your home look like no one lives there.


·Take advantage of the time you have now to get a jump start on packing items you won’t be needing for a few months.


2. Determine the right time to sell. Buyer demand can vary by season, but its also important to consider your family’s unique needs. Do you want to be in a certain school district by the fall, do you have a big vacation planned, are you expecting a baby? These are all life events to take into consideration when planning a move.


3. Start looking for your next home. Whether you plan to stay local or move farther away, its never too soon to start searching.


4. Talk to us! Hiring a real estate agent is critical to your success. We work with both buyers and sellers, so we have lots of experience having been on both sides of a transaction; which gives us an edge during negotiations!


5. Prepare Mentally. Selling a home is a big deal and can be very stressful – it helps to be mentally prepared for it! It’s hard to remove the emotion from the process, but if you can treat the transaction more like a business deal, you will come out better on the other side. Your home has much more meaning to you, than it will to prospective buyers. Your memories will stay with you forever – so try not to attach them to your home when it comes time to sell. Lower your expectations and be prepared for some inconvenient and maybe even offensive encounters. From picky buyers to less than professional agents, they are out there, but we will do our best to shield you from them all. Keep in mind to take it in stride and know that we have your back through it all.


Whether you’re ready to list or just starting to think about selling…don’t hesitate to reach out for some guidance. We are here for YOU!


For Buyers:


1. Know what you can afford. Affordability is dependent on a number of factors, with the most important being: your credit score, interest rates, how much your family earns, and the cash you have on hand for your down payment.


2. Check your credit score .This number is essential to landing a mortgage, so its important to know where you stand. Many credit card companies and banks allow you to check for free!


3. Get established with a trusted lender. Who you work with matters – this can be said for anything in life but it’s especially important when buying a home. Lenders can make or break deals, so be sure to get established with a reputable company. We work with some good ones, so reach out for recommendations.


4. Pay down debt. The amount of debt you hold affects both your credit score and the amount you are eligible to borrow. The less you owe at the time of purchase, the better!


5. Save up for a down payment. The more you can offer, the more options you’ll have – but don’t forget to set some money aside to cover closing costs and moving expenses.


6. Decide what tradeoffs you’re willing to make. Even though home prices are leveling out, it doesn’t mean you will get everything on your wish list. As an exercise with your family, sit down and make 2 lists: everything you want in a home and everything you can’t live without. We call this your “wants and needs” list. It’s a very useful way to prioritize what is most important to you as a buyer.


Wondering what else you need to do to get ahead of the game? Reach out! We can help prepare you for a home purchase.




Months of Inventory


Months of inventory refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace. May 2022 the number was 1.5 months. The end of January 2023 was 3.5 .  Statistics are interesting —always happy to chat about it.




Please contact us If you would like a hard copy of our newsletter sent to you!

Bettsy Tyler and Maddie Nehf

Bettsy Tyler and Maddie Nehf


(831) 332-2298 | (831) 332-2296

CalRE# 01401058 | 02150142

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