February 2010

Found 18 blog entries for February 2010.

Even though it may sometimes seem like it, home building and design trends are not conjured up using a crystal ball.  They are the result of surveys, observations, lifestyles, socioeconomic issues, entertainment, technology, and most importantly, the needs and desires of buyers.

Here are some of the national and Santa Cruz homes trends to expect in 2010.

Green is growing
A study conducted by Burst Media in late December, 2009, found that 90 percent of Web users surveyed have incorporated some aspect of going green into their lives, and overall, they are willing to pay a premium for environmentally friendly products. 

Homes are getting smaller.
For 2010, home builders say they will focus on lower-priced and smaller homes. More than 95 percent of home

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Saving money and going green are both hot topics right now.  So, I'm sure you've already heard the tips to turn off water while brushing your teeth, turn off TVs and computers and swap out old light bulbs for the new energy-saving versions. 
Here are 10 new ideas to help you save money and make your Santa Cruz home greener.

1. Swap stuff.  There are hundreds of online sites where you can get furniture, books, CDs, DVDs and even a place to stay for free by swapping stuff with other people.  And, I'm not just talking about Craigslist.  Two of the most popular and easy to use swap sites are  Paperbackswap.com and SwapaDVD.com.

2. Recycle your cell phone.  According to the EPA, if the 100 million cell phones no longer being used by Americans were recycled,

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Nothing will turn off a potential buyer quicker than an offensive odor in your Santa Cruz home for sale. It may make them think you don’t take care of your home. At the very least, the odor will interfere with their ability to picture themselves in your home.  Take the time to remove odors from your home.

Here are 5 tips to make your home smell fresh and clean:

1. Clean your carpets. Your carpets are fibers that absorb odor. Have your carpets cleaned by a professional to remove odors stuck in the carpet and pad. Another option is to rent a carpet cleaner and clean them yourself.

2. Paint. Sometimes odors like smoke can be trapped in your walls. A fresh coat of paint will not only brighten your room, it can seal the walls and mask the offending odors.

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I can hear you now, “Oh, no! Not another article on curb appeal to sell my Santa Cruz home!” To which I reply, “Oh, yes.” One more time around the block, but this time, we’re doing it in style.

The 21st Century Curb

Curb appeal is that thing you do to pretty up the outside of your home. It’s the landscaping, the painting and the checking of the little details. However, many home sellers (and real estate agents, for that matter), don’t take into account that the curb nowadays isn't just the view from the front of your house. In the 21st century, the “curb” starts right here on the Net.

Your online home listing has only three seconds - three short moments of time - to catch a potential buyer’s eye and turn them into an interested party. Unfortunately,

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 Trends At a Glance Dec 2009 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $560,000 $550,000 (+1.8%) $450,000 (+24.4%)
Average Price $607,159 $626,278 (-3.1%) $527,657 (+15.1%)
No. of Sales 144 141 (+2.1%) 117 (+23.1%)
Pending Properties 221 286 (-22.7%) 154 (+43.5%)
Active 467 553 (-15.6%) 974 (-52.1%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.1% 97.4% (+0.7%) 96.3% (+1.9%)
Days on Market 78 83 (-6.0%) 74 (+4.6%)
Median Home Price Ends Year at Highest Level Since August 2008
The median price of single-family, re-sale homes in Santa Cruz County reached $560,000 in December, a gain of 24.4% compared to December 2008.

Home sales were up 23.1% year-over-year.

We expect sales to be strong through the Spring selling season because of the
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If you’re thinking about buying a Santa Cruz condo, it’s imperative that you know what you’re getting into, and how the past year has changed things. The rules and regulations for condominium mortgages have changed a lot in 2009…

In April, the two government-run mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, tightened their guidelines for those looking to own a Santa Cruz condo or any multi-family home. The restrictions make it harder for potential buyers to get financed through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which makes a mortgage more expensive.

The April policy requires that the condominium association and operations be evaluated, as well as your credit qualifications. The new requirements touch on subjects such as:
• The association’s insurance

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Once again, the clock is ticking for first-time home buyers to get a home for sale in Santa Cruz before the tax credit runs out. Extended in November, 2009, the first-time buyers’ tax credit is set to expire in April, 2010, and there are no plans for another extension.

What does this mean for you? If you’re a home seller, it’s time to look over your home for sale in Santa Cruz, make sure all your t’s are crossed, i’s are dotted and that you’ve done everything you can to put your home at the front of the buying line. If you’re a first-time or repeat buyer hoping to take advantage of the credit, it’s time to start looking for your new home; the binding sales contract has to be signed by April 30, 2010.

Making the Buying Process Easier

Many times, the

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