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From time to time we, as local Realtors®, get the opportunity to work with other agents that are not local. Usually they have helped or are helping their client sell their current home. Since they have a good relationship they want to help their, now buyer, to find a new home. Not to mention the opportunity to earn another full commission.
Local can be a relative term. Often, here in Santa Cruz County, we see agents from Silicon Valley or other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area hauling clients “over the hill” to our idyllic little paradise of redwoods, mountains, and beaches. Affordability is generally better and the commute isn't too punishing to Silicon Valley or even the Peninsula where more job opportunities might exist.
Many of these suburban and urban agents aren't familiar with the local issues in our mostly rural communities, not to mention the sometimes challenging terrain. Most of the homes are custom one-off varieties instead of tract developer built and many were built 50 or maybe even 100 years ago. The homes are not what suburbanites or their agents might refer to “custom homes” in their more developed communities.
There are unique issues that an agent should inform their client to be on the look out. Quality of construction, foundations, electrical, water seepage, are just among a few. Also, it isn't unusual for homes in Santa Cruz County to have additions or changes without the benefit of permits. Sometimes this isn't a problem, especially if the changes were done before the advent of local permits in the late 1950's, but other times they can be a deal or loan breaker.
Other considerations out-of-the-area agents can run into is an unfamiliarity with local utilities. In many areas it is common to have septic systems instead of sewers and propane tanks instead of piped natural gas. Do they know the pros and cons? With much of the area being mountainous certain neighborhoods can be subject to frequent power outages and some have virtually no Internet or cell service.
When shopping for a home in an area you aren't familiar it might be beneficial to ask our previous agent to refer you to an agent with local knowledge. The local Realtor® can answer your questions and bring up information you hadn't even considered.