Congratulations! Did you get accepted into UC Santa Cruz? Yay! Wait, where am I going to live? After the first year of on-campus housing, where do you go?

Full disclosure: I'm a realtor. I don't do property management; I'm not a property manager. I do know a little bit about the rental situation here in Santa Cruz, but I know more about buying a home for your student to live in while they go to school. So I'm going to give you some resources for renting and some ideas, things to keep in mind when you're looking to rent. I'm going to talk about when the rental situation just gets too crazy, what else you could do, which would be buy.

I have a couple websites I'm linking. That is the student housing services for UCSC. It really is very comprehensive. It talks about renting here in Santa Cruz, laws for the State of California, and what to expect here in Santa Cruz. And then I'm also going to link Welcome, Parents and Family, because there's some extra resources in there for families to help their student find housing.

Most realtors in our area, they do not do property management, and the reason for that is because most of the rentals in the area are mom-and-pops, what we call very small investors that just do a couple of rentals. And they just don't need to pay a commission to an agent to bring them the tenant; they just don't. And there's just not a big enough market for it to be supported by commissions being paid on realtors finding renters homes. So really, your best bet, over all, and it's such a bummer, sometimes, is Craigslist. Now, look. There's some scams on there, but it's easy enough to verify them. A lot of times, Craigslist will like to take a listing, a home that's on the market, and then pretend it's a rental. But that listing is easy enough to find on Zillow, find that agent, and verify it.
????Another hint that was given to me by a property management company is you need to be in person for your interview and the showing of the home. They don't get an application from you until they meet you. So keep that in mind. When you get ready to rent a place, be available. Be in town, because they want to meet you.

Also, the next tip is start looking at least six months to a year ahead of time. But be ready for the spring season, because the rentals start to turn over in spring, getting ready for that late-summer transition into school housing. So don't wait till the last minute. Don't think, "Oh, they start school in September. I'll look for housing in August." No. If you have a student coming in September, you should start looking around Easter.

If you're thinking of purchasing, condos and town homes are close to campus, and they work very well. The catch is, of course, you're going to have a mortgage if you're not paying cash, and you will have HOA fees. With taxes, that just may not pencil out. You could rent out a few rooms. It's still kind of tight, but here's another way to look at it.
So you figure with the mortgage and renting out maybe a room to a couple students, you're going to be shy of maybe 1,500 bucks a month. Well, $1,500 a month will only find you a room in probably a pretty gross house. So when you do the math, figure that in, and then realize that there's some other benefits to owning, which I'm going to talk about at the very end of the video.
Same as renting, though. Start looking now. Hire your local realtor, even if it's not for another year. I have people call me all the time. We are ready to start looking for when they are going to come off that first year of on-campus housing, and they're going to need housing.
Also, be prepared for multiple offers. I have people tell me all the time, "I don't want multiple offers. I don't want to be involved in multiple offers." Well, you know what? Nobody does. But you don't have a choice. If you want a place, you're going to have to get in there. A good local realtor will help you win. You'll have to write a strong offer. There's other people out there. Like I said, you've got to be prepared.
And lastly, in our market, due a very low inventory, prices have gone up. That means parents who purchased ... Nope.
Parents who purchased four years ago know something that you don't: Our inventory is tight. Our market is very busy, and it's always going up each year. You know what? You may be able to realize a gain on the back end. What does that mean? That means when you go to sell. So you buy something at today's price, and you hang onto it for four years, and we have still a very good market. You could really do very well. And it'll make up for that extra you had to make, between the mortgage and the housing price, to keep your student housed.

Posted by Michele Replogle on


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