The Real Estate Digest
A California Real Estate Newsletter
Issue 15, June, 2014
Dear Readers,   
Hello, and welcome to the the new and improved Real Estate Digest. 
This newsletter is written and published by Christine Schneider and her team to give you insight into today's real estate world. With a new team of editors at Christine Schneider Real Estate, we hope to bring you an enjoyable and informative read.
As always, our blessings and gratitude for your continued and loyal support--YOU keep us going!
For Rent!
Excitement Surrounding Zoning Law Modifications for ADU's

Proposed Changes

The Santa Cruz City Council has been working in conjunction with Santa Cruz Planning Department to amend the current zoning laws. These changes, deemed the Accessory Dwelling Unit Development Program, are part of an effort to increase rentership in the greater Santa Cruz area.


Currently, many Accessory Dwelling Units (a secondary living space or structure on the same parcel of land as a home; e.g. a garage apartment, extra room, or detached suite) are improperly or illegally zoned. The current zoning ordinances, which have been criticized by contractors, city planners, and housing staff as restrictive, prevent many homeowners from renting out their spare rooms and structures.


The Santa Cruz Planning Commission, a volunteer-based group made up of three architects, a rental property manager, a green building consultant, an engineer, and a city planner, has proposed that the City Council reduce the minimum lot size required to contain an Accessory Dwelling Unit by ten-percent--from 5,000 ft. to 4,500 ft. Additionally, the Commission recommends to increase the maximum size of an Accessory Dwelling Unit to give more home owners the option to rent out any spare rooms or structures they might have--increasing the amount of spaces and structures that can be rented out!


The Effects

These changes will allow an additional 782 additional property owners to have an Accessory Dwelling Unit on their property; in turn, this would allow more property owners to generate supplemental income by renting; in turn, this will provide a more welcoming and friendly market for renters.


With an increase in available rental units, the price per rental unit will presumably decrease, while the overall demand would in turn increase. In effect, these changes would result in a simultaneous rise in the supply and demand for rentership; curtailed by the modesty of this round of zoning ordinance modifications.


Rules surrounding operations of The Santa Cruz Planning Commission, however, have stirred up discontent with the Commissioners charged to make the recommendations. The Commissioners are barred from contacting the Planning Department to ask for or challenge advice over a project in which they have some financial interest--a freedom that any other citizen enjoys.


While the Commissioners would like to be on a more even playing field with every other citizen, these changes are received with a welcoming sentimentality, and are expected to create a more fertile environment for buyers, sellers, investors, and tenants alike.
Going Green Never Looked So Good!
Exposition of a CT-based author's depiction of elegance and sustainability

In her newest book 'Prefabulous World', Sheri Koones offers a visually inspired series of pre-fabricated energy efficient homes. Featuring profiles of thirty-two of the most elegant energy-efficient homes from all across the world, from the U.S. to Germany, all the way to Japan, the book provides everything from floor plans to multiple images of the interiors and exteriors of every home. All in all, not only it is a feast for the eyes, but 'Prefabulous World' offers a comforting notion of harmony between beauty and efficiency.


"Whether you are building a new home or renovating your existing one, these books define a variety of green construction aspects and offer inexpensive alternatives to create a healthier, more energy efficient house - one that is gentler to the environment" professes Koones. Her inspiration behind the book is, as she eloquently puts it, "We can all benefit by sharing technology developed around the world."


Finally, the book features a Resources section, which offers everything you might need to incorporate a little bit of this environmental gentleness into your home--and they aren't as expensive as one would think! Disclaimer: Christine Schneider Real Estate has no financial interest in Ms. Koones--we are just a fan of her work! To learn a little bit more, and see all of Ms. Koones' work, you can visit her official website.


And Going Green pays! Check out and take advantage of a list of applicable rebates offered by the Santa Cruz City Council for energy efficient and sustainable initiatives such as energy efficient applainces. See also the Santa Cruz Green Building website for more information.

In This Issue
For Rent! A Look At proposed Zoning Law Changes in Santa Cruz
Going Green Never Looked So Good: Beauty in Sustainable Living
Local Market Trends
Christine's Corner: The Simpler Way
Local Market Trends


Quick Links
Christine's Corner

Below is an exposition of information I enjoy in my spare time. I feel these resources help me to evolve as a Realtor, investor, and conscious citizen. 


Also, if you ever have any questions, simply call me for a quick chat. I can be reached at (831)-600-6550.


The Simplicity Institute

The article for this month comes from The Simplicity Institutewhich addresses issues of overconsumption in our society, advocating for viable alternatives to unchecked consumerism. 


One of my favorite publications from the Simplicity Institute is titled

The Simpler Way: A Practical Action Plan For Living More On Less, which addresses a fundamental source of philosophy and thought on the human condition--the idea that the fallacy of our own humanity is the quixotic notion of ever (or never)

having enough. Simply put, can we, as people, check our own consumer desires to have? Is there such a thing as enough?


This article suggests that there is a "lower consumption but higher quality of life alternative" to the well-worn idea of having for having's sake. And where beauty is in the eye of the beholder (yours or mine), it is certainly conceivable that we could enjoy the simpler things in life; be it the cool breeze on a warm day, a friendly smile from a stranger, or a good night's rest. I like to call it peace and harmony--namaste.


Quote of the day: "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated." 

- Confucious

Christine Schneider, Broker
Schneider Team Real Estate
BRE# 01749537

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Issue 15
June, 2014