Santa Cruz Real Estate News & Information

If you're thinking of listing your Santa Cruz home for sale and know it needs a little sprucing up, here are a few tips on the smartest home improvements you can make to help sell your home faster and for more money.

• Kitchen remodeling stands at the top of any list of most attractive projects for re-sale value. Crisp clean new cabinets, fresh tile and countertops all make for buyer approval and is money well spent.

• Bathroom remodeling is a good bet but not nearly as good as adding additional bathrooms, unless your home already has a lot of them.

• Adding central heat and air to replace floorboard or radiator heat is a huge selling point for any Santa Cruz home for sale.

• Installing a deck or patio. This one hovers close to the middle of the

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Trends At a Glance May 2009 Previous Month Year-over Year
Median Price $470,000 $449,000 (+4.7%) $617,500 (-23.9%)
Average Price $508,121 $558,497 (-9.0%) $728,157 (-30.2%)
No. of Sales 139 129 (+7.8%) 126 (+10.3%)
Pending Properties 262 246 (+6.5%) 194 (+35.1%)
Active 746 787 (-5.2%) 1,240 (-39.8%)
Sale vs. List Price 98.0% 97.2% (+0.8%) 96.9% (+1.2%)
Days on Market 92 64 (+45.2%) 71 (+30.5%)
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Buying a home can be a life-changing experience. Whether it's your first piece of Santa Cruz real estate or your third, take some time to assess all the ups and downs that are part of such an expensive purchase. Here are a few tips to help prevent negative emotions such as buyer's remorse from getting you down:

1.  Do Your Research

One of the best ways to prevent home buyer's remorse is to conduct thorough research in the beginning. Know how much house you can afford. Consult a real estate professional and visit different neighborhoods. Check out school districts. Bottom line -- go over as many details as possible before putting down your hard-earned cash.

2.  Be Honest With Yourself

Although you may love that charming 1920s Santa Cruz real estate

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You've decided to take the plunge and buy a home for your family.  With the banking industry in the shape it is, unless you have stellar credit, you'll need a more sizeable down payment than ever before.  So, how do you get the down payment for the Santa Cruz real estate you've always dreamed of?

Get Scrounging

Scour your attic, basement and storage units. Look in every nook and cranny to find items that are in decent shape, but no longer used, and have a garage sale.  Sure it's usually pennies on the dollar of what your stuff is worth.  But if you're not using it, someone else can, and you get the cash in hand. If you find items that are more valuable, sell them on eBay.  Every little bit helps.

Rich Relatives?

Hey, if you have'em use'em. This is no

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With money worries on the rise the first place many turn to is the monthly budget. It seems to be unyielding and rigid. What else can you cut when you've eliminated everything you don't absolutely need?

One of the best places to cut expenses can be your mortgage. Now with the new stimulus plan in effect it's even more possible to refinance your Santa Cruz real estate to get the most savings possible. Here are a few things to look for to decide if refinancing is right for you:

• Are you interested? The interest rates have dropped due to incentives by President Obama. If the current interest rate is lower than your existing rate, you might be able to save hundreds of dollars each month when you refinance.  Check with your mortgage provider to determine

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 The median price for single-family, re-sale homes rose 4.7% from April.  The median price was off 23.9% year-over-year. The average price fell 9% month-over-month, and was down 30.2% compared to last May.

Sales of single-family, re-sale homes were up, year-over-year, by 10.3% in May. Year-to-date, home sales are up 21%.

Inventory was down 39.8% from last May. This is the thirteenth month in a row inventory has declined year-over-year.

The drop in inventory and the rise in sales combined to push our Days of Inventory indicator down 21 days to 156 days. In a balanced market, the supply of homes is usually around five to six months. For condos, the indicator rose thirteen days to 172 days.

The sales price to list price ratio rose 0.8 of a point to 98%.

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These days, homes are going into foreclosure like never before. Many factors have contributed to this trend, and as a result, banks have numerous Santa Cruz foreclosures that need to be sold as quickly as possible. Explore a few reasons why buying foreclosures now could be a great opportunity.

1. Price – Since there's an over abundance of foreclosed homes that need to be sold, many are priced way below market value, which creates a good opportunity for real estate investors to buy.

2. Quick sales – Sellers want to get Santa Cruz foreclosures off their hands as soon as possible and they tend to be extremely motivated sellers. Therefore, you could be the owner of a new home in record time.  Also, most bank owned deals, which were taking anywhere from 3 to

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Don't despair if you are short on cash. You can still have a beautiful Santa Cruz home. Sometimes a little elbow grease is a decent replacement for extravagant money, and other times you can get great deals by shopping around for items that are costly.

Indoors

Simple things can mean a lot. You can change the entire look and feel of a room by just changing the window treatments. New drapes or blinds add warmth and appeal and instantly give your Santa Cruz home a fresh new look.

If that's not enough, a fresh coat of paint transforms any room. Paint is one of the least expensive home decorating tools, and you can save even more money by doing it yourself instead of hiring a painter. It doesn't require a lot of skill and is hard to do wrong.

If your

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Coldwell Banker was recognized once again this Spring by Real Estate magazine as by far the strongest "Power Broker" in the nation, agents truly have to be exceptional to stand out in our company.  Lauren Spencer's performance last quarter was exactly that - exceptional.  Lauren has earned the distinction of being named to Coldwell Banker's Top 1,000 Agents for the first quarter of 2009.  Lauren's superior professionalism and sales leadership has placed her among the elite top 2% of all agents in the industry's strongest company.

Lauren's achievement is even more impressive given that her high-level production occured during what many now feel was the most challenging quarter of our professional life time.  Lauren has truly proven that she is the best of

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