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Old 03-17-2016, 07:59 AM
Location: Asheville, NC
215 posts, read 494,669 times
Reputation: 67


not sure if this is the place to ask, I'd like to speak to a Realtor working in the Santa Cruz area. I have questions! Want honest answers. Recommendations?
You may also be able to help with a few questions, plus I will research more!?
1. Schools - anyone have experience with the public schools? We will have kids in all 3 schools! K through High. Can't always go by Great Schools guides online......
2. Bus - my mom who'd come with us doesn't drive and uses the very limited bus service here. To afford to buy a house for cash we'd need to live together.... tricky as houses we are seeing are not on bus routes!! Is there an alternative bus service for older folk needing a ride off the main bus routes? (here there is, although she doesn't need it). I hear the bus system is pretty decent there.
3. Areas better value than others? We would love to be within a 20 min drive to the ocean. We are open to areas so long as schools are good. We love trees so long as property not dark.
4. How can we find out what General Contractors charge/earn?!?!? compared to here?? I hear it's more. Husband specializes in property renovations. My income comes with me, wherever I live and I work from home.
5. Taxes. I hear property tax is HIGH, although I wonder if it's more than here? We pay almost $5000/year on a house assessed at $400,000 (it's been valued by a realtor at $600,000)

Okay, I think that's it. We will come visit again soon. And if we move, it wouldn't be for another year or so... But just putting out feelers. I am not a fan of the humidity here, the nearest ocean is 4 hours away and hotter than hell in the summer. Asheville is amazing, but nothing else around it is. Thinking more opportunities for our kids too once they are older and looking at colleges and jobs.....

I know Santa Cruz area is VERY expensive, so that doesn't need to be mentioned, and I have spent time there throughout my life, visiting family (no longer alive).
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Old 03-17-2016, 10:15 AM
Location: Carmel, CA
23 posts, read 34,548 times
Reputation: 33
I'm not a realtor but can answer the property tax question. Property tax in CA isn't high as a percentage. It's usually between 1.1% to 1.2% of the assessed value but property values are high Property Taxes We also have Prop 13 which limits the annual increase https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Califo..._13_%281978%29 though the home will be reassessed at the purchase price when it's sold.
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Old 03-17-2016, 12:28 PM
Location: Asheville, NC
215 posts, read 494,669 times
Reputation: 67
thanks, seems about the same %, but as you say properties are worth more
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Old 03-17-2016, 05:12 PM
27,178 posts, read 55,077,166 times
Reputation: 21396
California Statewide Prop 13 is 1% of value based on fair market at the time of transfer and limited to 2% annual inflation cap plus local assessments... mine works out to be 1.7%

Generally a big difference between city and counties and newer and old subdivision.

Many newer will have a separate Mello-Roos assessment which can be significant.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:30 PM
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
1,723 posts, read 1,255,484 times
Reputation: 1307
Check out Soquel. Very family friendly and mellow and less than 20 minutes to various beaches.
The bus throughout Santa Cruz county is excellent.
And here's this:
Seniors & Accessible Transportation Services

Scotts Valley is also an option. You're getting up into the S.C. mountains but not in the thick of things. It's a relatively fast drive to the coast (when not during commuter times) I prefer Soquel and Aptos and Capitola is also an option although it's all sub-urban living.

Give them a try if you're looking for land. Otherwise, i don't know.

Donner Land and Homes, Inc
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:34 PM
22 posts, read 24,385 times
Reputation: 44
Default Santa Cruz School and areas

Hi - my children have gone to Santa Cruz City Schools since kindergarten and are now in high school. Now that they're in high school, some of the things that I wished were available to them (as highly motivated students) are options, but the Santa Cruz City Schools generally are pretty limited in their offerings for/focus on highly motivated students. Exceptions are PCS (a charter school) and Westlake elementary. As is often the case, socioeconomics plays a big role. The Scotts Valley schools also have more options for this type of student.

Surprisingly, given its proximity to Silicon Valley and higher-scoring schools, I think that Scotts Valley is a much better value than Santa Cruz City. There is also more inventory. It is extremely difficult to find a house under $850K in Santa Cruz proper that has more than 2 bedrooms, isn't on a major street, and isn't in need of repairs. On the Westside of Santa Cruz, prices are even higher than in the rest of Santa Cruz (and you have to deal with partying university students possibly moving in next door). If your budget can stretch to more like $1.3M, you'll have a more options if you want to be in Santa Cruz proper. You say you are planning to pay cash, and that you know the prices in Santa Cruz, so I won't belabor that point. I am not really familiar with Soquel or Aptos myself, but those areas also are worth looking at (costs tend to be quite a bit lower than Santa Cruz proper for what you get, and the schools are rated more highly) . . . to me, it's quite a different feel there than what we have in Santa Cruz, but that is attractive to many people.

As for transportation for your mom, uber is available and would be much more flexible than the bus. I read recently that some bus routes will be discontinued soon.

Can't help you re: contractors. I will say that it seems contractors are better able to afford the prices in the area than many "professionals," especially before the recent tech uptick. However, like most places (I imagine) there is a chummy network of tradespeople and many have been in business in the area for a long time, or are second generation family businesses.

The property tax information has already been provided and is also readily available online.

Good luck with your explorations of the area!
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:23 AM
27,178 posts, read 55,077,166 times
Reputation: 21396
Santa Cruz proper is really small... seems to be a lot of old time families that own property...

I found it interesting that the surrounding areas still have a lot of people living off grid in the mountains.... have several friends that do and for them... they always will... something about living in a redwood forest... even if you are off grid.

Property is high right now... no idea when it well peak...

Those buying are making cash offers with few to no contingencies.

Good luck on your search... sometimes being at the right place at the right time does happen.

Scotts Valley has more housing and newer homes and there are other places like Boulder that have a very interesting vibe.
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:07 PM
Location: Asheville, NC
215 posts, read 494,669 times
Reputation: 67
thanks everyone!!

When looking online I have definitely been more drawn to Scotts Valley, and the other areas you all suggest.

We don't need to be right in the thick of things.

I have friends in Capitola who used to live in Bolder, not sure if they found it a little far away.

We live in a lovely neighborhood here, older homes, walkable, lots of trees, most homes on at least 0.4 of an acre. I like that sense of space, but still the convenience of being a close drive to amenities. Although I do drive almost 2 hours a day dropping and picking the kids up from schools........

I will look at the bus info, and actually Uber is an interesting idea. I've yet to use Uber.

To purchase for cash we'd have about $800,000 which is probably not quite enough, that would also require my mum to live with us......... Being self employed, mortgages are somewhat tricky, but depends how business goes this next year....

We can certainly purchase a fixer upper, husband can do all the work....(slowly....). It's hard to judge if he'd earn more there than here. My income comes with me so that's useful.

house Prices here in Asheville have risen a lot too, but are still less than Santa Cruz... there's very little for sale so I think we'd sell ours quickly. Demand is high.

We hope to come over there for a visit within the next few months. We were in Santa Cruz very briefly in June, and a few years prior. Family used to live in Monterey many years ago, so I'd visit from England (moved to USA in 2012), but I think we'd prefer Santa Cruz areas.
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:07 PM
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
1,723 posts, read 1,255,484 times
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"We would love to be within a 20 min drive to the ocean. We are open to areas so long as schools are good. We love trees so long as property not dark."

Boulder Creek is probably not the best choice given that the o.p. stated the above. It takes much longer than 20 minutes to get to the beaches and many of the properties are "dark" ... in the thick of things. Although there are some beautiful and more open properties as well.
But i wouldn't recommend the Santa Cruz mountains for a family making a first move to the area unless they really know what they're doing and understand what the S.C. mountains are / can be like.
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:27 PM
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
1,723 posts, read 1,255,484 times
Reputation: 1307
4111 Cherryvale Avenue, Soquel, CA For Sale | Trulia.com

^^^^^^ Got a bit more to spend. Cherryvale is a really nice area of Soquel.

Rodeo Gulch, Soquel, CA For Sale | Trulia.com

^^^^^^ as is Rodeo Gulch if you want to build but i'm totally clueless about the cost of building a house.

Do be aware of this: Last year, the FAA re-routed jets flying into San Francisco. Some areas of the county experience little to no air traffic. Other areas (like where i am) experience constant jet noise and yet i don't deal with the worst of it. Certain places in the county (areas of Scotts Valley for example) are experiencing constant, low flying, jets and it's driving some people nuts! So if this is an issue for you, be careful when you buy!

http://www.sossantacruz.org/ >>> Watch and listen. It's a serious issue for many people.

Also, are you sure that you're not open to living in certain areas of Monterey County? Carmel Valley (especially if you like sun) and Pacific Grove are two places that come to mind that you may want to consider. I believe (although i'm not sure as i don't have kids) that the school systems are better for those two areas than what you'll find in the county of Santa Cruz.
I also feel that, while i love the funkiness and chaos of Santa Cruz county, Monterey county may be a better place to raise a family. You still will experience the beauty and wonderfulness of the Monterey Bay but M. county is a bit more "sane" and also much less impacted by the influx of the Silicon Valley "ilk". It's a bit more stayed, stable, etc..

And you'll be that much closer to Big Sur? Have you been? Magical. Wonderful. Beautiful.

14 Asoleado Drive, Carmel Valley, CA For Sale | Trulia.com

^^^^^ Got a bit more to spend?

121 Hitchcock Canyon Road, Carmel Valley, CA For Sale | Trulia.com

I like to look at these properties for sale as i am a dreamer.
Carmel Valley Homes for sale - California real estate | Trulia

Pacific Grove Homes for sale - California real estate | Trulia
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