Solano Real Estate Scene: Vote yes on Proposition 5, no on Proposition 10

Hey, readers. I am writing a follow-up to a column I wrote in September about how the real estate community is supporting a yes vote on Proposition 5 and a no vote on Proposition 10. I have not received any pushback from my readers, clients, friends and family on Proposition 5 because it really helps senior citizen homeowners move down to smaller homes with less maintenance and keep their low property taxes from their departing residence they purchased 20 to 40 years ago. To me, Proposition 5 is a no-brainer because it helps the middle class and the seniors who are living on low incomes. Who doesn’t want to help senior citizens? I am in the middle. My 88-year-old dad has always voted Republican and my 82-year-old mom is a Democrat and they raised seven kids in San Francisco in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. I was the second oldest, so me and all my brothers and sisters witnessed rent control in the late ’70s through the ’80s in our beloved San Francisco and now, even though we loved growing up in the blue-collar sunset district of San Francisco, only my CPA brother still lives in the city. My parents retired to Santa Rosa and the rest of us kids, like 90 percent of all our city friends, have moved away because of San Francisco’s affordability. Government rent control has not worked there, and it won’t work here, and taxpayers should not have to pay more in taxes to pay for more government to control landlords. Fifty-two percent of all Americans 55 and older have nothing more than Social Security lined up for retirement, a fact I wrote about earlier this year in an unrelated column, so when a reader sent me a message a couple of weeks ago about the two- or three-year waiting period for low-income apartments in Solano County, I felt out of respect for her I would respond to her comments. She is not alone, and her concerns are valid because even if there was rent control like there is in San Francisco, if you only make $1,700 per month, there is no way you can afford to pay up to $1,300 per month rent, which is considered affordable rent in Solano County. I do not have any brilliant solutions to the plight of senior citizens who have a low income and are renting. I have many solutions for super senior folks who own homes with $200,000 worth of equity and limited income via moving down in price, a reverse mortgage or selling the house and moving out of the state or using the proceeds and building a granny flat on their kid’s property. Lately, I have seen a big increase in families pooling their resources and buying houses together. For example, grandma and grandpa sell their house and take the tax-free capital gains of up to $500,000 and their baby boomer daughter and son-in-law sells their house and they combine their resources to buy a house with two master bedrooms or a home on 2.5 acres with a main house and an accessory unit for the seniors – or vice versa. The other thing I can do is encourage every adult I know that homeownership is critical to financial security in America because inflation is a reality. Rents, like milk, bread and even water, will be more expensive in 30 years than they are today. My hard-working parents, with a little help from my late grandpa, somehow sent six of the seven kids to Catholic school. Our oldest brother was autistic and went to a special school, so guilt is part of my life and I feel terrible for poor people, especially senior citizens and children. Like many of my fellow real estate professionals and local businesses, we try to help through charitable contributions and I personally promote financial literacy. Yes, some landlords might be jerks, but I swear most are not and all are regulated through fair housing laws and tenants’ rights laws that are already in place.