August 2011

Found 15 blog entries for August 2011.

You want a new home in Santa Cruz, but you’re not sure whether it’s best to build a new one or buy an existing home.  The first thing you should do is identify your priorities.  Do you dream of a customized house built from the ground up, or is living near all the action in your ideal neighborhood most important to you?

Before you make up your mind or put in an offer, take the time to prioritize the following:

• Location - Can you find land to build on in your desired location? If not, are you willing to consider a different area if it means you’ll get a house tailored to your specifications? If you’re extremely location focused, you might have to give up the idea of building your perfect house and concentrate on available homes in the area.

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Just over a year ago, the federal government launched the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program.  It was supposed to streamline the short sale process for Santa Cruz home owners and home owners nationwide.  This article provides an update on HAFA.

How does HAFA benefit Santa Cruz home owners?

Home owners who don’t qualify for a loan modification can apply for a short sale through HAFA.  If the home owner qualifies for a HAFA short sale, the difference between the sale price of the house and the loan balance is forgiven.  In addition, HAFA offers qualified home owners $3,000 for moving expenses.

How well is HAFA working?

From April, 2010, to December, 2010, HAFA had disbursed just $9.5 million of the $4.1 billion in its

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Do you need to be convinced that it would be nice to spend less time mowing your lawn? Think of all the fun things you could be doing instead of burning all that gas, making all that noise and sweating in the sun! Here are some ways to free up your valuable time and improve your Santa Cruz real estate at the same time.

• Stop watering and fertilizing. Many people make more work for themselves by encouraging lush growth of their lawn. This is a waste of water and encourages problems with fungus. Using chemical fungicides creates a toxic cycle. You especially don’t want to use pesticides where your kids and pets roll around.

• Plant more trees. Trees are a priceless addition to your Santa Cruz real estate. They provide shade, habitat for birds, a

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Have you ever thought about what your Santa Cruz home for sale looks like at night?  You should, because potential buyers certainly do.

Imagine a potential buyer driving by your home after sunset.  What will they see - a beautifully lit walkway leading to a welcoming front door - or a house that’s dark and dreary?

Many potential buyers want a home that looks lovely both day and night.  Why do they care what it looks like in the dark?  They entertain primarily at night, they frequently come home from a long day at work after dark, and they want the added level of security provided by a well-lit home.

Here are some ideas to light the night to help your Santa Cruz home sell faster:

• Add landscape lighting.  Create a gentle moon-glow lighting

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It’s no secret: mold thrives where there is moisture. If you have moisture problems in your Santa Cruz home, you can expect mold. Check in your closet and find that old pair of leather boots you haven’t worn in ages. See anything growing on them?  Check wooden baseboards, and the legs of wooden furniture. If you see mold, act now.

• Carefully check guttering. If your gutters are old and leaky, or simply clogged with leaves, they can overflow and cause water damage to the roof, or allow water to run towards the foundation, eventually admitting water into your Santa Cruz home. Keep gutters clean and repaired.

• Vent moist air to the outside.  When you take a shower or cook, you’re releasing a lot of moisture into the home. Use exhaust fans during

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Buying Santa Cruz homes when you live in another state or country can be challenging.  Here are a few simple ideas to help make things a little less hectic.

• Investigate online.  Most people know to search for Santa Cruz homes online, but what about searching for a neighborhood?  Although you can’t search each and every individual neighborhood, you can research almost any city online.  This gives you a pretty good idea of what the area has to offer in the way of schools, shopping and safety.

• Hire a buyer’s agent.  While you’re searching online, your buyer’s agent can search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for you.  She or he can email newly listed properties to you daily.

• Use your buyer’s agent as your eyes, ears and nose.  When you find

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Recently, environmentally friendly or “green” remodeling has become more and more popular. Nearly every day you see a TV show or online article giving tips on how to make your home and life more eco-friendly.

The catch is that green building can sometimes be extremely expensive. And, in most areas there really aren’t enough buyers specifically looking for features like rain water catch basins and solar panels to make it worth your investment. However, there are some relatively inexpensive ways you can remodel your Santa Cruz real estate that will benefit the environment and go easy on your wallet at the same time.

• Refurbish what you can while remodeling. If it’s possible to refinish existing cabinets and woodwork instead of replacing them, you’ll

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If you’re looking to purchase a new home, then you have a list of priorities. When looking at Santa Cruz homes for sale, families with young children consider proximity to schools and quality of school districts as two of the top concerns on their home buying checklist.

With “back to school” on the brain, your top priority when looking at Santa Cruz homes for sale might be how close a home is to schools. Before you purchase property near a school, take the following considerations into account.

• Top-notch education – If the local school is the best in the surrounding area, then your property value could increase. Houses in your neighborhood will be in high demand because families will want to ensure their children are included in that district.

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There are a few mistakes that many first-time home buyers make.  Here are three of the most common mistakes and how you can avoid them when purchasing your first Santa Cruz home.

Mistake #1:  Assuming your credit is good.
The information in your credit report determines whether you can get a loan — and how much interest you will have to pay – so it pays to be certain your credit reports are accurate.

Check your credit reports for free from all three credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to make sure everything is correct.  If you find errors, contact both the credit reporting company and the information provider (the person, company or organization that provided information about you to a credit reporting company) involved in

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Feeling a bit cramped in your Santa Cruz home, but not sure you’re prepared to add on? Consider adding an outdoor room. Depending on your site, you may want an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor sleeping space, an outdoor dining area or just an outdoor gathering space. Here are some things to consider.

• Take an inventory of your outdoor space. Spend time observing where the best views are, how the sun travels through the yard in each season, where hot/cold spots are, where you might need more shade or a windbreak, and of course where doors to your Santa Cruz home are located.

• Cover the deck.  If you already have a deck, consider putting some kind of roof over it. Many people find they don’t use their outdoor deck because it’s just too hot and sunny there.

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