2016 is a presidential election year and the political arena is heating up rapidly just about everywhere across the country. Demonstrations, pseudo riots, threats, destruction of property, you name and it is happening right now in Plainville, USA. All one has to do is turn on the television and watch the nightly news to see how divided our wonderful country is right now. I recently saw a Youtube video that showed a guy running over a political sign with his off-road Jeep simply because he disagreed with the candidate. You can watch that video here if you like but I am not promoting that video and don’t worry, I am not going to pitch my candidate or denigrate any that are out there. I want to protect my clients and would be clients; that is the sole purpose of this blog post pure and simple. As a landlord or a tenant you need to know what you can and cannot legally do in regards to free speech and your property. In California there is a law that spells this out clearly for all to know, it is SB 337, which was passed a few years ago. I think that this particular year it may be important to be familiar with what it says and what it means.
The first question you might ask is, “this is a matter of free speech protected under the 1st Amendment”. Well in that case you would be wrong. 1st Amendment rights are to protect you from the Government not from your tenant or landlord. So, the aim of this Bill is to protect the tenant from landlords who would try to prevent a tenant from placing a sign. This bill would also protect the landlord from a tenant that would put up any old sign and display it on-going without ceasing. Since the 1st Amendment does not prohibit private enterprises from restricting freedom of expression, including landlords, California decided it needed additional legislation, SB 337. Can’t have enough laws now can we.
California already had legislation that addressed places like Condos, Townhomes and Mobile Home Parks from prohibiting unit owners from posting non-commercial signs or posters on their individual properties subject to limitations on size and material, but there was nothing that regarding tenants/landlords. SB 337 was introduced to specifically address the ability of tenants to display such signs. Initially SB 337 gave the right for tenants to display non-commercial signs, then after some rewording it now only addresses “political signs”. So, under this new law as a tenant I could post a political sign for my favorite green party candidate but not a sign encouraging the eating of vegetables over meat. And as a landlord, I could not prohibit my tenants posting of a sign for his candidate even if I did not agree with candidate. SB 337 does contain limitations for the sign, such as, no more than six square feet nor may it violate any law. The sign must relate to a specific election, referendum, recall or other issue that is up for public vote and cannot be just generally political in nature. Thus, a sign that says “Tax Reform Now” or “Free Tibet” would not be protected and the landlord may remove it. Signs can be displayed no more than 90 days in advance and no longer than 15 days after an election or vote.
So if you are a tenant or a landlord and you don’t like a candidate that your tenant or landlord is in favor of that is protected speech under California SB 337. That said; keep your Jeep off the grass and let’s all keep a level head this election season. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who is a tenant or a landlord. It may be something that they are unaware of and could save them a major headache.
Non-compliant plumbing fixtures & SB407
Have you updated your faucets and showerheads??? Are you getting ready to sell your home??? Well guess what? According to a new piece of legislation called SB 407, you going to need to do just that.
As you are well aware California has been suffering from a long time drought, lakes are at an all-time low and I mean low. Did you see the pictures of exposed buildings, bridges and other things that surfaced due to low water levels in our lakes and reservoirs? People were walking out to the middle of Folsom Lake on dry land, now that is low. Thank goodness for Senor El Nino, matter of fact it is raining heavily at the time I am writing this and lake levels are beginning to rise but we are not out of the woods yet. We need much more rain and more snow pack in the Sierra’s to help us out of this drought. The water aquafers need to be filled as well, so come on rain and snow, not that I like to shovel or anything.
The state of California also passed some new legislation, SB 407 requires that on or before January 1, 2017, noncompliant plumbing fixtures in any single-family residential real property shall be replaced by the property owner with water-conserving plumbing fixtures. The fixtures that the bill is targeting are the faucets, showerheads and toilets. I guess they could have wanted the water dispenser on my refrigerator to dispense water at a slower rate as well. Maybe that would be a good thing so water doesn’t shoot out of the glass when you go to fill it. Now that’s a waste!
The bill goes on to say that on or before January 1, 2017 any non-compliant plumbing fixtures need to be replaced by the home owner with water conserving plumbing fixtures. Also, by the same date a Seller or Transferor of a single family home shall disclose in writing to the potential purchaser of SB 407 and whether the property has any non-compliant plumbing fixtures. Those doing additions or modifications to their home may also be subject to this new law. Read SB 407 for more info on that.
Non-compliant plumbing fixtures would include toilets, if they have a flush rate of greater than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Faucets are non-compliant if the flow rate is more than 2.2 gallons of water per minute and showerheads are non-compliant if the flow rate is more than 2.5 gallons per minute.
So, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home this year be sure to look for these items to be corrected before you buy or sell. If you don’t you may get stuck with a headache and a potential delay of the escrow process. Call, text, Facebook, email, visit my website or whatever works best if you need help Buying or Selling a home or if you have questions regarding this information, I can help.
Thanks for listening and don’t forget to share this information to your Facebook page.
Century 21 Select Real Estate
Fannie Mae’s Credit Policy Eased
Fannie Mae has just changed its policy-anyone whose loan origination date is August 16th, 2014 or later will now only need to wait 4 years after a short sale or foreclosure to reenter the housing market. Fannie Mae’s previous policy has people waiting 7 years until they can be eligible for a home loan. Those eligible to reenter the housing market still need to show that they have re-established credit after such negative credit events like a foreclosure, short sale, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or bankruptcy.
Fannie Mae buys large groups of mortgages from mortgage lenders, thus securing the loans so that the lenders have more cash to lend out to more borrowers which increases the amount of lenders in the housing market. Now there should be a few more borrowers as well. If you think you’re ready to buy a home then, please, give me a call.
You can contact me, John Conca, at 530-306-3494, if you are searching for a home anywhere in El Dorado county, or if you are ready to sell your home. I’d be happy to discuss your options with you. You can find new Placerville listings here.
Historic Bill Met With Anxiety
On Tuesday, September 16th, Governor Jerry Brown signed 3 bills to regulate water pumped from underground in California. With the state in a historic drought and state leaders under pressure to kink hoses, this news won’t surprise many locals. The signing brings fear of the long arm of the government into the hearts of many farmers.
Contact me, John Conca; 530-306-3494, if you are searching for a home anywhere in El Dorado county, or if you are ready to sell your home. I’d be happy to discuss your options with you. You can find new Placerville listings here.
Due to the exceptional drought that California is experiencing, residents have had many restrictions placed on their irrigation. We’ve cut down on the days we can water our lawns and gardens and face higher rates if we fail to keep our usage down. Many farm groups are concerned that when the new regulations are in place they won’t be allotted enough water to produce a fruitful crop. Fines implemented for excess water usage may drive up produce prices. Damages would be far-reaching as many of California’s farms feed the world.
Some farmers agree with the bills because they see it as a way to preserve farming. Worried that when the water runs out they’ll have to shut down or move out, they welcome regulations to conserve vital resources for a sustainable farming future. This change is one that has been discussed for a long time. California has been able to use as much well water as we’ve pleased without oversight until now, but that has accounted for up to 60% of the water used during a drought. As the underground water gets lower, so does our land which has a detrimental effect on bridges and water canals.
The new law requires local governments and water districts to begin managing their local wells and calls for state water agency intervention if necessary. Of course water metering and fines to monitor and enforce the restrictions are part of the package, as should be expected with any regulations.
SB1168, SB1319 and AB1739, written by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson and Senator Fran Pavley, passed despite objections from lawmakers and central valley democrats. These bills won’t help with the immediate crisis as they will require years to create and carry out management plans. Recovery of the state’s over-pumped water basins may not be seen until at least 2040.
Our own local farmers will have to plan ahead and work hard to survive the changes and continue to provide delicious food at good prices we find at such places as Boa Vista Orchards. Perhaps this is what is needed to continue as a bountiful agricultural state. Here’s hoping it doesn’t result in what many fear– a suppressed agricultural economy.
Find more information on local water regulations and how to conserve water on El Dorado Irrigation District’s website.
Please feel free to browse my website. Follow my blog for updates on real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions, and tips for buyers and sellers. Thanks for stopping by.
Sometimes The Best Plans Can’t Overcome The Circumstances
I’m finding there are a lot of empty nesters feeling stuck in their big empty homes. Many times the home was purchased at an unfortunate time and is now “underwater.” The kids have all grown up and moved out. The home can’t be sold to downsize and there are too many unused rooms to feel comfortable in the home.
If you aren’t sure where you stand and want to find out if there is anything you can do to get out of this situation or if you want to discuss buying or selling a home, please give me, John Conca, a call. Reach me at (530) 306-3494 to discuss your options. You can also search new Placerville listings here.
So, What Now?
If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation and are in search of direction, I might have a few ideas for you. These might get you through until you reach a point where it makes sense again to sell your home, or it might be a forever-solution. Here are a few suggestions on how to reclaim or utilize your extra space:
Add An Office
Or two. Many people find they don’t trust the stability of the stock market or social security to get them through their silver and golden years. Turning a hobby into a business to fall back on, to help pay the bills, or have a little “mad money” is often easy enough and pleasant. Often people will remodel the extra bedrooms into one or two home offices in order to avoid extra driving and to continue their livelihood from the comfort of their home.
Consider A Hobby Room
Another remodel could be a room just for your hobbies. A sewing room makes sense if that is a favorite as fabric, projects, and supplies can take up a lot of room. You could remodel a room with proper lighting, curtains, and venting for a black room if photography is your passion. Think about what gets your creative wheels turning and how that can fit into your home. The remodel might even be simple enough for you to do on your own with some inspiration from some magazines or online home websites like Better Homes & Garden. If you’re not sure if you should take on a home project on your own or hire a pro, see my post, “DIY Or Go Pro?”
Bring Your Folks Home
Are you in a position where it would make sense to bring your parents into your home to live with you? That might be an option to discuss with them. It would fill those empty rooms, probably help with payments, and best of all; it may bring all involved a new appreciation for each other in their final stage of life.
Another Way To Become A Multi-Generation Household
Unemployment and underemployment are serious problems in this country these days and some families are finding it very hard to make ends meet. If your children or a niece or nephew are going through this hardship, perhaps you can offer your extra rooms for a while. If this appeals to both parties, be sure everyone agrees on the clearly written out terms of your agreement; what percentage of the utilities will they pay each month, what will they pay in rent, how will food buying, cooking, chores, and privacy work out? Be sure to offer plenty of privacy for their family just as you would have needed in that stage of life.
I’m not sure if you can call having someone rent an extra room in your home “passive”, but it is a way to help pay the bills. Be sure to do a background check and check all of their references first.
A Space For The Grandchildren
If you have grandchildren nearby you might consider turning an empty room into a playroom. Depending on their age this could mean a room with comfortable seating and space for you to be in there with them, or a place where they can have a little privacy while staying with the grandparents with a space for their belongings and whatever leisure activity they enjoy; reading, gaming, Lego building, acrobatics…
Enjoy Your Space!
Whatever it is that brings you pleasure, consider how you can change your home to make it work for you. Personally, I’d turn one room into an office, another into a sewing room and a third into a beautiful library with comfortable chairs so I can sink into all the books I’ve been wanting to read. Of course, that’s assuming I have leisure time at that stage of life. One can hope…
Thank you for stopping by! I hope this gave you some ideas. If you find yourself still feeling stuck after these suggestions, please give me a call and we’ll work together to find a solution to get you on your way to the home you want. Just give me, John Conca, a call at (530)-306-3494. Follow my blog for updates on local events, real estate news, timely home maintenance suggestions and tips for buyers and sellers. Have a great day.
Home From Our Visit To An Orphanage in Baja, Mexico
I recently returned from a trip to Baja, Mexico where my family, two teens from our church, and I spent a week helping out at an orphanage. I wrote in my last post that I’d try to write an update while I was gone, but there just wasn’t any time this trip. But, that’s ok; my wife, Jeanne, was able to write updates and instead of giving you my shortened version from a week after our return, I’ll just make all of her updates available to you here.
If you feel called to help somehow please see Foundation For His Ministry’s website for sponsorship opportunities, to make a contribution or see how you can get involved. Jeanne started out serving in China and realized she wanted more than anything to do this with our kids and me as well. Next thing we knew, this opportunity had presented itself relatively close to home and now we’re all able to serve. Check out the Foundation For His Ministry website and their various locations or give me, John Conca, a call at (530)306-3494, and I’ll help you find something that is the right fit for you.
Although this post may not reflect it so much, by day I am a realtor, so give me a call or browse my website if you need a realtor for the El Dorado County area. With no further delay, here are the updates from Jeanne.
Date: Sat, May 31, 2014 at 9:42 PM
Subject: Safe arrival
Date: Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 2:47 PM
Subject: Day 2 of VBS
Date: Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 9:48 PM
Subject: Crowns and bubbles
Please pray for our friends Christina and Paulino. Their 8 day old baby is challenged with jaundice. Her numbers have been steadily climbing over the last few days. They took her to the hospital today. She has an IV going and I am hoping they find the UV lights to put her on. Her numbers were 22 and should be 0. She is very lethargic and therefore not nursing as much as she should be. I am hoping with a little fluid to flush out her system and getting some lights on her, she should be fine. It is a very easy issue to take care of but it needs to be taken care of. Thanks for your prayers.
Date: Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Day 4, completed already?
June 7th Facebook update:
Made it back over the border around 5:00. Heading to Irvine to our hotel. Amazingly blessed with our border ministry. Gave water, gospel tracts, and peanut butter sandwiches or peanut butter on a spoon to around 175 people!! Praying the gospel tracts impact the hearts of those that received them. Thank you for all of your prayers this week. We were all humbled by our trip.
Date: Sun, Jun 8, 2014 at 3:21 PM
Subject: Almost home…
Shining Star Children’s Therapy, Inc.
It’s one of the times each year I look forward to for a long time– I will be gone to serve at an orphanage in Vicente Guerrero, which is about 120 miles south of Tijuana on the Baja peninsula in Mexico. Our truck and trailer were loaded yesterday while the sun was still up! (That’s a first.)
Here’s our team! This time, along with my wife and our two kids we are bringing two teens who have served in the children’s ministries in our church. We are all ready and able for the tasks ahead. First hurdle: the long long drive.
My kids are looking forward to seeing their friends and going to the beach. I can’t pinpoint one specific thing I’m looking forward to most, though. The whole experience is just good for the soul and, at times, heartbreaking. It’s a bringing together of individuals in God’s name to help these orphans. There’s nothing else like it.
We normally go to this orphanage twice a year. Our last trip was over Christmas and New Year. Our truck and trailer are loaded with many donated items ranging from diapers, a bed, and homemade play-dough to bikes, a refrigerator, and medical equipment. This will be our first time leading VBS (Vacation Bible School) for the little ones so we have some supplies for that as well.
This video might help illustrate why these trips are so important to us.
If you feel a calling to help somehow please see Foundation For His Ministry’s website for sponsorship opportunities, to make a contribution or see how you can get involved. My wife started out serving in China and realized she wanted more than anything to do this with her whole family. Then this opportunity presented itself relatively close to home and now we’re all able to serve. Check out the website and their various locations or give me a call and we’ll find something that is the right fit for you.
I’ll be gone from today, May 30th, through June 9th. I intend to share more of this journey next week, so follow my blog (up at the top of the page) for updates.
Should you need assistance during my absence please contact Margaret Phillips at 530-295-2902. Feel free to browse my website and when I return you may contact me, John Conca, on my cell at 530-306-3494. Enjoy the excellent weather El Dorado county is getting this week! Prayers for a safe and productive trip are always appreciated.