How to find a home in Santa Cruz County
Finding housing in Santa Cruz County can be a bit challenging at times, but with a few tips and tricks, you'll be well on your way to finding your dream home in no time.
Let's get to the details - what is your price range for housing in Santa Cruz County? FYI Median home prices today 5/8/23, are at 1.6M. Do you have any specific needs or requirements for your new home? Knowing these details will help us narrow down the search and find options that suit your needs. Do you need "affordable housing?" There are options! Measure J homes are on the market sporadically its best to link with a real estate professional who can get you signed up for notices ASAP. Mobile home parks are another great option (check out that blog post too!).
Next, let's talk about location. Are you looking to be close to the beach, the mountains, or the city? Do you need to be near specific schools or job locations? Understanding your ideal location will help us focus our search and find homes that fit your preferences. You need to know that if you are a commuter - find the right commuting pocket! South County folks who leave BEFORE 7am can be really successful with beating the traffic. On the opposite end if you are headed South on 1 you may want to get on the free way before 3pm. A cool thing that just happened, that helps the parent crowd, is Santa Cruz Metro just launched FREE transit for school aged kiddos! That means no need to cart those kids to school if you are on a bus line - SWEET!
Let's start the search! One of the best ways to find housing in Santa Cruz County is to start by searching online. Websites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin offer comprehensive listings of homes for sale or rent in the area. But did you know that Santa Cruz County also has an exclusive list of "Member's Only Listings?" These listings DO NOT show up on the big websites. If you want to make sure to see these listings (and close to 10% of the listings in the area start on the "MO" list) them send me a DM and we can get your alerts set up!
Another great option is to drive around and explore different neighborhoods in Santa Cruz County. Take note of any "for rent" or "for sale" signs you see and jot down the contact information. This can be a great way to find hidden gems that may not be listed online. Believe it or not that has been the bread and butter of my company. These "off market" listings are a perfect way to beat the competition and work directly with a home seller getting you a deal on a great property. Even if you are working with an off market deal its important to do it right. If you aren't working with a realtor or lawyer you could open yourself up to liability and you may impact the validity of the ownership of your property - YIKES. Let me help you.
Don't forget to utilize your network! Ask friends, family, and coworkers if they know of any available housing in the area. You never know, they may have insider information or know of someone who is looking for a roommate or tenant. Facebook, Nextdoor, and Craigslist have worked wonders for folks looking to buy or rent in the area. Don't be afraid to put your needs out into the universe and see what comes back.
Most online listings nowadays offer a virtual tour or have a YouTube video of the listing. Check that out!
If you are in the "just looking" phase of your home search Open Houses are a great way to get a feel of things. If you do have an agent it is best to offer their name to the agent showing the home so that they know you are not a possible new client for them. Don't be afraid to ask questions at an Open House or during showings. If you have a question later you can reach out to your realtor and they can do the additional recon for you.
Lastly, act fast! Housing in Santa Cruz County can go quickly, so if you find a property you love, don't hesitate to put in an application or make an offer. I have options to help you close your deal in 3-21days!
I hope these tips help you in your search for housing in Santa Cruz County. Good luck and happy house hunting!
About the Author:
Megan Kilmer is a Santa Cruz County local with a passion for housing. Megan has a background in Social Services and is an expert on goal setting and motivation. With a wide network of trusted local resources, she is a problem solver! Need to buy, sell, lease, manage, or finance a real estate project? She's got you! Call for a free Real Estate Consultation 831-888-7530