Category Archives: Nevada County Real Estate

How COVID Impacted Our Local Real Estate Market

For Current Market data updated monthly, please visit the Grass Valley Market Update and the Nevada City Real Estate Market Update.

Here’s a look back at how COVID first impacted our local market:

One of the challenges of living in turbulent times is navigating the mundane aspects of life. Amidst social upheaval, health crisis, and economic uncertainty, we still need to grocery shop. We still need to make decisions about matters of housing and income, and how to manage our lives so that we can all thrive in the long run.

It’s a hard time to write an article about real estate, because it is definitely not a time of business as usual. But part of our job is to keep our clients updated about the present condition of the real estate market, and we will continue to do that. We hope that you find the information helpful for making the decisions you face in your own life.

Nevada County Market Update:

Here in Nevada County, we are seeing a drop in the number of home sales, but prices are still holding steady, for now. (100 single family residences sold in May. The median listing price was $422,500 and median sold price was $410k. In May of 2019, 137 single family homes sold with a median listing price of $419k and median sale price of $415k. 

April’s median sold price was $460k, an increase of 8.2% from March 2020 and up 15.9% from April 2019s median price of $397k.  Total sales in April were down 38.3% from March and down 36.3% from April 2019. 

California Real Estate Market Trends: 

There have been a few news stories talking of bidding wars as the real estate market begins to pick up after shelter in place restrictions have been lifted. Some buyers and sellers are very eager to move and that is understandable.  Shelter in place restrictions for the past few months, and now civil unrest, are motivating many people to rethink their housing situation. For those who are fortunate enough to have options, many new questions emerge:  

Maybe a home office has been pushed to a priority now that you work from home?  Did you homeschool your kids during the pandemic? (We tried . . . it’s not easy!) Was your home as equipped as you’d like it to be? Perhaps you feel an urgent need to leave the city?  Do the thoughts of having your own garden space to grow your own fruits and veggies give you peace of mind? Some of these factors are likely influencing buyers to offer over the asking price. 

But moving quickly to achieve your dreams raises a whole different set of questions. Coming out on top of a bidding war now might land you your dream home, but do you expect the investment to build equity over the coming years?  If that’s important to you, you might want to consider what the market will be like this time next year when it’s likely that the government’s mortgage forbearance ends . .  Will many homes enter foreclosure then?  Some are predicting quite a few, and if those predictions are correct, prices are bound to be negatively affected. 

April’s sales total for California was down 25.6 percent from March and down 30.1 percent from a year ago. The statewide average price per square foot for an existing single-family home was $284 in April 2020 and $289 in April 2019. 

We will continue to monitor the data. To receive a once-a-month update, you can sign up here, which will also give you free access to our short webinar about making decisions in real estate. It is an overview of the factors we consider, regardless of market conditions.  

Market Update on Grow Properties in Nevada County CA

Updated November 24, 2020

In 2019 the Nevada County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance implementing new rules that affect what type of real estate might be suitable for cultivation.  Here’s the latest information as of spring 2020 regarding grow properties in Nevada County:

Commercial growers will need to obtain a permit from the County and a license from the State of California. Commercial grows are prohibited in all Residential Zones and on parcels less than 2 acres. They are permitted on parcels with a legal permanent residence zoned AG, AE, FR and TPZ with the following restrictions:

  • 2 – 4.99 acres: Indoors only with a maximum 500 sq ft of canopy. 
  • 5 – 9.99 acres: Indoors/Mixed Light/Outdoors with a maximum 2500 sq ft of canopy.
  • 10 -20 acres: Indoors/Mixed Light/Outdoors with a maximum 5000 sq ft of canopy.
  • 20 + acres: Indoors/Mixed Light/Outdoors with a maximum 10,000 sq ft of canopy.  

Update as of November 2020:

If you want a 20 acre parcel so you can grow the maximum, there are currently 10 properties on the market right now that are zoned for possible cultivation.  However, the price tags range from $1.3M to $3M, and most of these properties seem suitable for this kind of enterprise. These aren’t typical grow properties as they all have rather nice, large houses, hence the price. 

How about 20 acres with a fixer or an old permitted cabin? 

There are none on the market right now but we do know of one coming on soon at $750,000. Please contact us for details.

Is buying raw land in Nevada County and developing it a better option?

Perhaps.  This market is hot right now too with half of the 12 currently pending sales having less than 2 weeks of market time. Raw land with 20+ acres and suitable zoning gives you 30 properties to choose from starting at $130k.  However, as with everything, you get what you pay for.  The cheaper properties are cheap for good reason – they are unsuitable or potentially extremely difficult to develop for permitted commercial cultivation.  

If you want a 10-20 acre parcel, there are currently 21 potentially suitable properties on the market right now.  The cheapest starting at $219k for a cabin on a heavily forested property. 

10-20 acre land options give you 13 properties starting at $55k.   

5 acres of land gives you around 20 properties starting at $40k. Compare that to 5 acres with a residence, which has 16 options starting from $455k. 

A helpful hint to know is that the very cheap properties or the ones with several months of market time are most likely not feasible for development for commercial cultivation.   If they were, they would have been snapped up rather quickly. 

Finding the right cannabis property is not the first step towards legal cultivation.   

First you need to read the ordinance and prepare a feasible plan.  The ordinance has a lot of detail that isn’t within the scope of this article.  Most likely you will need to work with your lawyer, engineer and a lot of visits to the helpful folks at Nevada County before everything falls into place.  Regulations are detailed and may change so buyers need to do their research thoroughly. Here are some resources to assist you.

Another step before calling your Realtor is to get your finances in order.  You will need to provide proof that you have the funds to purchase a property.

Once you’ve done all this, call us! We can help you find the right Nevada County grow properties.

Do you have a property that you’re thinking of selling? Give us a call and we can discuss the best way for you to reach your goals. 

Nevada City land: Creating Sustainable Living in Nevada County

One of our dreams after moving to Nevada County was to build a home on land in Nevada City and grow some of our own food. The vision was to work towards sustainable living by making green building choices for the home and applying permaculture principles to cultivating the land.

A few years ago we bought two and a half acres of raw land in Nevada City. At that time we couldn’t even walk anywhere on the property because it was covered in six foot tall blackberry brambles. I had hoped to write about the building process as it unfolded, but building a home was so much work that it didn’t leave me any spare time for blogging! John and I also have two young children as well as our real estate clients to support, so my intention of sharing the process of building a home in Nevada City didn’t quite happen. 

But what did happen is that we built an amazing home! Complete with 27 solar panels on the roof, thanks to Sustainable Energy Group. The solar offsets nearly all of our electricity use even though our home is 100% electric. It helps that our appliances are high efficiency options like a heat pump water heater and a mini split HVAC system that also uses heat pump technology. 

Building a home was a lot of work, but we survived, and we learned so much about the process. John is also a licensed general contractor, so we are very capable of advising our clients who are thinking of building a home in Nevada County. And now we are on to the next phase: creating a sustainable food forest here on our Nevada City land, which is much more relaxing!

We just mowed down a whole lot of brush (points for fire safety) and we are in the process of creating trails and plots for fruit trees, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi vines, and more! Our focus will be on perennials so that the gardens can mature over the years. We will also grow numerous species of herbs and flowering plants to support the pollinator population and to make healing teas and tinctures.

If you dream of sustainable living in Nevada County, feel free to contact us to share your vision so that we can help you find the right property. There is a lot of land for sale in Nevada City, Grass Valley, and the surrounding area and we would love to help you explore your options and achieve your goals. 

Building a New Nevada City Home!

We are delighted to announce that we bought land in Nevada City and we will be building our future home. We are feeling honored and grateful to have over a couple acres close to town and the possibilities feel endless.

The land is lovely and about 40% of it was cleared a long time ago, so there is a nice sunny area to build a home. But that lovely greenish ground cover you see here is about an acre of 6 foot high blackberries:

Nevada City land

John and I spent lots of time thinking about the best way to clear the blackberries without causing much harm to the land. Our ideal choice would be a herd of goats, but we do not have water on site yet and we were pressed for time, as the septic engineer needs to be able to walk onto the property asap. Walking was not possible, as you can see from this picture showing a truck parked in the brambles:

Nevada City land

We decided to hire a local fellow with a brush mower attached to the back of his tractor. Thank you Lyn from A1 Tractor, for braving the weather and getting so much done in one morning!

Clearing blackberries from Nevada County land

Sadly, the blackberries proved to be a formidable opponent for even the Kubota, which ended up getting a flat tire after a couple hours of driving over the brambles. But quite a bit of blackberry was mowed, and we got to see the ground for the first time on our land. The mulched brambles look brown, but the soil underneath is dark and fluffy!

Nevada City land

We can now move ahead to the next steps . . . figuring out the site plan, the septic, and the well!

Developing raw land is a new adventure for us. Over the last few years we renovated several Nevada County homes. Some were major fixers—distressed properties in need of extensive repair, while others were Nevada City homes that just needed some upgrading. Each property had its unique challenges, but by the time the work was done they were all comfortable, clean, and ready to be someone’s home once again.

We are going to apply the skills we learned from renovating fixer homes to building our new Nevada City home. Although we know there will be lots of unexpected puzzles to solve, we look forward to the process of building a home in these beautiful mountains. We will be sharing some of our adventures here on our website (and our Facebook page) so please check back soon to see our progress!

Nevada County Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource

Nevada City Short Sale Assistance, Grass Valley Short SalesBuyers and Sellers Benefit from REALTOR® Expertise in Distressed Sales

NEVADA CITY, CA, April 21, 2010 — John Halford with has earned the nationally recognized Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification. The National Association of REALTORS® offers the SFR certification to REALTORS® who want to help both buyers and sellers navigate these complicated transactions, as demand for professional expertise with distressed sales grows.

According to a recent NAR survey, nearly one-third of all existing homes sold recently were either short sales or foreclosures.  For many real estate professionals, short sales and foreclosures are the new “traditional” transaction.  REALTORS® who have earned the SFR certification know how to help sellers maneuver the complexities of short sales as well as help buyers pursue short sale and foreclosure opportunities.

“As leading advocates for homeownership, REALTORS® believe that any family that loses its home to foreclosure is one family too many, but unfortunately, there are situations in which people just cannot afford to keep their homes, and a foreclosure or a short sale results,” said 2009 NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Foreclosures and short sales can offer opportunities for home buyers and benefit the larger community, as well, but it’s extremely important to have the help of a real estate professional like a REALTOR® who has earned the SFR certification for these kinds of purchases.”

The certification program includes training on how to qualify sellers for short sales, negotiate with lenders, protect buyers, and limit risk, and provides resources to help REALTORS® stay current on national and state-specific information as the market for these distressed properties evolves. To earn the SFR certification, REALTORSÒ are required to take one core course and three Webinars.  For more information about the SFR certification, visit or call 1-877-510-7855.