November 2009

Found 25 blog entries for November 2009.

Potential first time homebuyers are racing the clock to find the perfect Santa Cruz homes for sale. Who’s going to reach the finish line first?  And… why are they racing?

Many of you have probably heard of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) by now. For those looking for Santa Cruz homes for sale that haven’t heard of the ARRA, first time homebuyers can receive up to $8,000 back in tax credits from the U.S. government. Singles and those married but filing jointly, have an $8,000 threshold, while married individuals filing separately have a $4,000 threshold.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? With the tax credit, your taxes are matched dollar-for dollar. This means, if you owe $9,000 in taxes for 2009 and get the full $8,000 tax credit,

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Some people who are supposedly “in the know” believe the American dream of owning a home has died.  They spout “facts” that say home ownership – not just for Santa Cruz homes, but also across the nation – is no longer on the minds of the majority of Americans.

Additionally, according to some of these individuals, suburban sprawl is the reason for:
• the housing bubble burst,
• the break down of social mores,
• global warming (due to commutes, of course)
• and more.

It’s amazing that the nation’s suburbs can cause so many problems, isn’t it?

Is the American dream of home ownership really dead? The number of people buying Santa Cruz homes versus renting them points to a definitive… maybe. However, in newspapers and on the Internet, we’re seeing tons of

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Yesterday, I was driving through the city, wondering if a potential buyer was going to show up to look at some Santa Cruz condos I’m showing. I’d had a bad day; the car didn’t want to start, what I’d planned to wear was dirty, I’d run out of milk and so on, and so on. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

As I stopped at a light, grouching because the light would make me late, I happened to look over and see a woman with her daughter. The little girl had holes in her coat, a ragged hat, torn up shoes and a teddy bear missing an eye that she clutched as she smiled up at her worried mother – who had a “Please help” sign in her hands. As I drove on to show the Santa Cruz condos, and further throughout the day, that little girl’s smile stuck with

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2009 might not have brought on the hottest market for sellers, but it’s an excellent market for buyers.  If you’re taking advantage and buying one of the Santa Cruz homes for sale, it means you’ll be moving soon.  It also means that you’ll probably forget something you really need in the new house – after it’s too late.

Don’t Forget Your…
There are at least five items commonly forgotten when moving:

1. Personal Phonebook – Make sure you pack up any personal numbers, phonebooks or notepads you might have written needed numbers on.  If you have time, transfer them to your computer.  Even if you call the numbers a lot, there is still a chance you’ll forget them.

2. Neat and Tidy – Too often, people will be giving their old home a final once-over and find a

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It doesn't matter if you're buying or selling a home, consulting an experienced Santa Cruz real estate agent is a smart move. Here are five steps to finding your perfect agent:

1. Ask about experience

Although many new Santa Cruz real estate agents are good at what they do, ideally, you want to work with an experienced expert. Someone with extensive experience can efficiently get through the process and streamline the fine details.

2. Confirm costs

Before getting in too far, find out if you are both on the same page when it comes to costs. Make sure to outline everything in writing ahead of time. This way you eliminate surprises in fees later.

3. Discuss turnaround time

Find out whether or not your Santa Cruz real estate agent can find or sell a

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Some potential homeowners just don’t want a pre-lived in Santa Cruz home. They’d rather have their house built to their own specifications. They want a home that fits their needs exactly. If this is you, I understand and would like to help by giving you a glimpse into the future of home design.

The Future of Design

Thinking of the future might bring ideas of fantastic scientific miracles like smart houses that vacuum themselves. While building your Santa Cruz home and having it wired as a smart home may be a good idea, think, also, about sustainable design. Here are just a few reasons why sustainable design is a great idea:

1. Government mandates and incentives – Under the current administration, sustainable design is a big thing. In fact, many cities

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If you have a Santa Cruz home for sale or you’re thinking about buying a home to flip it, here’s something to keep in mind: walking distance. Why? Because a new study commissioned by CEOs for Cities shows that homes within walking distance of amenities sell for more.

Environmental concerns are rising. More people are walking whenever possible and would rather walk than drive. They’re also becoming more environmentally conscious, as well as health conscious. If there is a Santa Cruz home for sale within walking distance to schools, parks, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries and shopping areas, it’s more likely to be snatched up.

This is true even in the current economy. “Walk-ability,” says Joseph Cortright, the man who analyzed the data, “adds value to

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Many facing the possibility of being added to the number of foreclosures in Santa Cruz are frightened, often frustrated and feel helpless. It’s understandable; nobody wants to lose their home. However, those feelings often lead to being victimized by loan modification con artists who promise freedom from foreclosure for a little bit of money and leave victims in their wake.

Here are a few tips to protect yourself from scams that could take you one step closer to becoming one of the foreclosures in Santa Cruz:

1. Never believe a guarantee. No one, company or individual, can guarantee loan modification or that your lender won’t foreclose. If the loan modification company starts spouting guarantees, walk away.

2. Never sign over power of attorney.

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Not everybody is dealing with the worry of buying or selling Santa Cruz real estate. Some are quite happy where they are, have no intention of moving, and selling is the last thing on their minds.

However, there are a lot of incentives out there to do something in Santa Cruz real estate, and many are itching to dip into those incentives. So, if you’re not selling or buying, what can you do? Here are a few ideas:

Upgrades

Upgrades are something you can do to your home at any time. However, with the many government incentives out there, you can upgrade your home to be more energy efficient for less. For example, thanks to federal tax credits, you can install solar panels or a geothermal heat pump and get 30% back once you file your federal taxes.

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When you’re looking to buy a home, and especially when you’re looking at foreclosures in Santa Cruz or anywhere else, title searches are important.

Many buyers make the mistake of settling for a quitclaim deed without doing a title search. Unfortunately, the person who signs the quitclaim deed may not be the actual person holding the title. If there are any liens on the title, the new owner may get an unpleasant surprise at closing. With foreclosures in Santa Cruz, the possibility that there is a lien on the title is even greater.

What is a title search?

Title searches are performed by title companies or lawyers. These companies and attorneys search the public records for information on the property’s ownership. The goal is to find out if there are

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