July 2009

Found 23 blog entries for July 2009.

There are many wonderful reasons to want a home of your own. Right now is an excellent time to pick up a great deal on Santa Cruz real estate. It's definitely a buyer's market where you can purchase homes at historically low prices. To be sure the time is right for you, answer a few simple questions for yourself:

Are you ready to stay put for more than three years?

If you move around a lot, have a job that sends you to different locales all the time, or just haven't found the area you want to settle down in, it can be a bad time to buy Santa Cruz real estate no matter how great the price. Selling a home and moving is much harder than just switching apartments or other rental units. However, if you are ready to settle in a spot for a number of years, the

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Making an offer on a piece of property is nerve wracking; especially if your offer is a little (or a lot) lower than the asking price. You can make your offer more appealing with a few simple additions that are good ways to cinch a Santa Cruz real estate deal.

Get Approved

It's easy to add a contingency to a bid that the offer is only valid when you get financing.  But that means you're keeping the seller waiting on pins and needles to find out if you qualify for financing. If your offer is low, the seller may be unwilling to accept the double whammy of a financial contingency and a low offer. Getting pre-approved for a loan is a much better incentive for a seller to accept a lower offer.

Increase Your Earnest Money

A larger amount of earnest money

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There are a few misconceptions about buying Santa Cruz real estate for sale by owner (FSBO). 

Seller Isn't Serious

Some buyers think that the seller isn’t serious about selling the house, that they’re just testing the market.  While this is true in some cases, most sellers will accept an offer that is close to the asking price at any time.

Sometimes Santa Cruz real estate for sale by owner will sit on the market for a while.  This may be because the owner is not open to negotiations on the sale price.  More often, it’s because the owner doesn’t have the experience showing homes to potential buyers that a real estate agent does.  A typical owner isn’t likely to have the time to properly market the house.  If there aren’t enough buyers looking at the

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In spite of problems in the housing market, experts agree this is a great time to buy Santa Cruz real estate. First-time home buyers can take advantage of the many tax breaks allowed by the stimulus plan, and everyone can benefit from the fact that the stimulus package includes help for banks so that they can provide mortgages. There are other reasons the current market is good for new home buyers, too.

Mortgage Rates

Because so few mortgages were being issued, the rates are very low. This gives home buyers, especially those with good credit, a big advantage. Just a two point difference in mortgage rates can mean saving several hundred dollars a month on payments.

Low Prices

If you're considering buying Santa Cruz real estate, act now so you can take

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Even if you don't have the money for extensive remodeling, you can still live greener in your Santa Cruz home with just a few simple changes. Every little improvement we make in the way we live is a step in the right direction toward making our world healthier.

Low-Cost Ways to Green Up Your Home

• Catch the rain: Conserving water by putting in new low-flow fixtures is one way of helping to conserve the planet's resources, but it isn't the only way. You can build a rain water reservoir using old barrels or other large containers to catch rain and use it for watering your garden or washing your car.

• Light up your life: Change the incandescent bulbs in your light fixtures to the new florescent bulbs designed for use in a regular light socket. They last

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Whew—you're finished! You've signed all the forms and the race is won, you think. Okay, go ahead and sigh that huge gasp of relief that your Santa Cruz home is finally yours. That's enough. Now, get yourself up and realize the heavy work is about to start. Oh yeah, you have to move all that stuff you've managed to accumulate over the past however many years you've been alive. Stuff doesn't ever die; it just continues to follow you around.  So, how do you get it to your new home?

Send out invitations: You would do it for any other big event in your life. Send out invitations to your family and friends and invite them to help you on your big day. Make it sound like fun by promising a picnic in your new backyard either the day of the move or soon after. It

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Most people are familiar with the new stimulus plan that helps many get tax rebates for buying a home. The incentive is centered on first-time home buyers and a lot of people automatically assume they aren't eligible because they have owned a home in the past. This incentive shouldn't be dismissed so quickly. It is worth as much as $8,000 during the calendar year of 2009 and is a great reason to consider entering or re-entering the Santa Cruz home buying market. Yes, that's right "re-entering" the market.

Three Year Rule

If you have not owned a Santa Cruz home in the past three years, for tax purposes you are considered a first-time home buyer and are still eligible for the tax credit. This, however, includes you and your spouse if you are married so

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Sometimes the motive for selling your home isn't about upsizing, it's about downsizing. Downsizing isn't necessarily about spending less money.  Just as frequently, it's about increasing your home's amenities while decreasing the work and responsibilities involved in a larger home. There are a lot of excellent reasons for downsizing your Santa Cruz home. 

• The kids have grown up and moved away

• You want less work inside and/or out

• You just want to enjoy your home without hassle

• You want something smaller and greener to save energy and the environment

• You want community amenities such as golf and tennis

• You want luxuries like a granite countertop, stainless steel appliances, whirlpool tub, pool and spa

• You want less responsibility so

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Summer is gearing up, and the great summer holidays are right around the corner. From 4th of July picnics and fireworks to Memorial Day barbeques, and every sunny day in between, a little preparation can make your Santa Cruz home a spot for summer fun.

Clean Up the Grill

One of the most popular pieces of outdoor party equipment is the barbeque grill. Over winter, it can accumulate a lot of dust.  Propane tanks may need recharging and even the tires might need filling. If the grill wasn't cleaned and stored properly, last summer's leftovers may be hanging on for dear life, and be really hard to get rid of. A good oven spray can help a lot. Spray on a generous amount and let your grill sit in the sun for a few hours before attempting to scrub the food

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The Fourth of July is an exciting – and delicious - time of year for owners of Santa Cruz homes.  There’s swimming, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, and, of course, fireworks.  While the lights are pretty and it’s a blast to set them off, a moment of carelessness can ruin a good time.  Following this list of common – and not so common – safety tips will help ensure that you have a safe and happy July 4th.

1.  Get rid of the weeds around your house.  Although most Santa Cruz homes are well taken care of, a lot of them have a little bit of weed growth here and there.  Making sure the weeks are cut short (less than 3 inches) or destroyed will lower the risk of stray sparks setting them on fire.

2.  Water your roof and the ground around your house.  Stray

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