September 2009

Found 20 blog entries for September 2009.

Housing affordability inched downward throughout the state during the second quarter of 2009 as a result of incremental price increases and increased demand sparked by the state new-homebuyer tax credit, the California Building Industry Association said today.

The quarterly National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index found that homes were less affordable in 16 of the state’s 28 metro areas included in the report.

On a statewide basis, the HOI found that a median-income family could have afforded 62.7% of the new and existing homes that were sold during the second quarter, down from 64.4% in the first quarter.

Robert Rivinius, CBIA’s President and CEO, said the decrease in affordability could signal the bottom of the

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Trends At a Glance

Aug 2009 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $500,000 $540,391 (-7.5%) $577,150 (-13.4%)
Average Price $534,600 $545,152 (-1.9%) $659,537 (-18.9%)
No. of Sales 162 178 (-9.0%) 157 (+3.2%)
Pending Properties 365 278 (+31.3%) 182 (+100.5%)
Active 723 746 (-3.1%) 1,271 (-43.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.5% 97.3% (+1.3%) 97.3% (+1.2%)
Days on Market 85 71 (+20.4%) 71 (+19.7%)

Inventory Declines, While Pending Sales Continue to Rise

Inventory of single-family, re-sale homes fell for the thirteenth month in a row in August, and it is now down 43.1% year-over-year.

Pending sales, meanwhile, climbed 31.3% from July, and were up 100.5% compared to August 2008.

The median price for single-family,
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Foreclosure is a dreaded word at any time, but the present economy makes it a common dread, one that many homeowners share that normally would never enter their minds. There are new government aid programs as well as tried and true methods for combating Santa Cruz foreclosures and every homeowner should know them.

Nip It in the Bud

Procrastination is never a good thing but when it comes to foreclosures it is a death sentence. Most homeowners know when they are on shaky ground and starting to have problems paying their mortgage.
Because it is usually the biggest monthly expense, mortgages are often the first thing to suffer when things get tight. Waiting to talk to your mortgage company about problems until you actually begin missing payments doesn't

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Not too long ago, if you needed windows for your Santa Cruz home, you got a piece of glass surrounded by wood and that was it.  All you had to think about was the size and shape.  Now there are more types than you can imagine, from single pane to triple pane, leaded glass to tempered glass.  Here’s a little clarity on a few of the most popular:

One, Two and Three Pane Windows

A “pane” is a single sheet of glass.  In two and three pane windows, there is a gap between the panes filled with an insulating nontoxic gas or air.  The more panes, the better insulation, which is the biggest reason homeowners buy the double or triple pane windows.  Single pane windows don’t have much to say for them anymore, except that they’re cheap.

Low “e” Windows

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If you have a piece of Santa Cruz real estate and you’re trying to figure out whether to sell it or rent it, here are a few things to think about before doing either:

1.  How much rent can you charge?  Your rent will need to cover the costs, including mortgage, taxes and insurance.  In addition, you’ll need liability insurance, as well as an additional 5 to 10 percent for unexpected maintenance.  If your area’s typical rent amounts won’t cover your costs, you probably don’t want to rent.

2.  Do you have other ways to cover a down payment?  If you’re moving to another piece of property, but relying on the equity in your current Santa Cruz real estate for the down payment, you don’t want to rent.

3.  Do you have the time?  Becoming a landlord means

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People buy Santa Cruz foreclosures for a lot of reasons: to live in, as fixer-uppers, to flip and for investment purposes.  The current real estate market isn't so hot for quickly selling foreclosures at a profit.  Instead, consider purchasing foreclosures and holding on to your investment until the market turns around.  In the meantime, earn money by renting the houses.

Here are 5 things to look for when buying Santa Cruz foreclosures to rent out:

1.  Most Santa Cruz foreclosures are nice homes that, for one reason or another, the sellers have had to let go.  With the variety of houses available, take your time and find a property that doesn’t require a lot of major renovations, unless, that is, you’re a handy man and enjoy fixing up homes.

2.  Figure

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As most Santa Cruz real estate agents will tell you, remodeling, decorating or repairing your home can go a long way towards getting it sold.  For that matter, it can add value to your property in case you want to sell later – that is, if you don’t choose the wrong places to buy cheap:

• Windows – Never buy a window based on which one is cheapest.  You want windows that look good, and, as most Santa Cruz real estate agents will recommend, you want energy-efficient windows.  During 2009 and 2010, you may be eligible for a Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency of up to $1500 when you purchase Energy Star windows.

• Paint – Paint is one of the biggest places people skimp when it comes to cost, and a big no-no.  Cheap paint may take several coats to look

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Even with all the homes up for sale, some people just have to have new construction.  It’s clean, it’s new and nobody else has lived in it.  Understandable, but a word to the wise - if you go for a newly constructed home, bring your Santa Cruz real estate agent.

Why?  Isn’t there a site agent on hand to help you?  Well, yes… and no.  Here are a few good reasons why a personal agent, or buyer’s agent, is a good idea:

Conflict of Interests

While the builder has an agent on site, that agent is not working in your best interests.  Consider, if the site agent got a better deal for you (which takes money out of the builder’s hands), would they still have a job?  No.  However, your own agent is there to make sure you get a good deal.  End of story.


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If you’re thinking of buying a Santa Cruz condo, then you’re probably looking forward to the convenience of condo life.  Freedom from landscaping chores and home maintenance tasks is just ahead.  But, first you must determine how much condo you can afford to buy.

Before you do anything else, make a detailed list of your finances.  You’ll need to factor in all your income, and list all your normal monthly debts.  Make a separate section for things you don’t want to do without, but can if it's required.  These are the first things that are eliminated when looking to save money in your budget.

Next make a budget for your household.  Remember to include extras like going out to eat.  A good budget will have all of these elements:

• Fixed expenses.  These

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If you’re worried about the condition of the roof on the Santa Cruz home you want to buy, you may need a roof inspection.  Although some states don’t require that a roof inspection be included in the real estate contract, it's often better to be on the safe side and get the roof inspected.

Just what is included in a roof inspection?  Here’s a short list:

What Is The Roof on the Santa Cruz Home Made Of?

Roofs are commonly made of composition shingles, wood shake, or clay tiles.  The material the roof is made of can determine the life of the roof.  Tile roofs can last as long as fifty years, while wood shake has an expected "useful" life span of forty years.  Roofs made of composition shingles can last twenty to forty years, and are often under warranty

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