All Blog Entries by Lauren Spencer

There are currently 1,002 blog entries published by Lauren Spencer.


If you are thinking about putting up your Santa Cruz home for sale, you may start to look around the house with an eye for increasing its value.  Here are some inexpensive things you can do to increase the value of your home:

The Kitchen
When buyers walk through a Santa Cruz home for sale, one of the first places they look is the kitchen.  A well put together kitchen is a big plus, so make sure it looks clean and up-to-date. 

• Replace old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones.
• Replace the old kitchen faucet set to something more modern and clean.
• Add new cabinet doors and drawer handles.
• Reface your cabinets – this takes a little more time and money to do, but the results can be outstanding.  Or, you could order replacement

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The stimulus, the stimulus—it is hard to go to a news site or blog now without seeing something about the stimulus plan, good or bad. The one thing that seems to be a common thought is everybody hopes it works whether they like the plan or not. There are many ways the stimulus plan might affect Santa Cruz condo buyers and sellers.

Buyer Incentive

The biggest boon to both buyers and sellers is the proposed tax break for any first-time buyer purchasing a home (including condos) in 2009. That last part is the one down point in the plan. Homes must be purchased in the current year, retroactive to the beginning of 2009, and ending December 31st. That should, however provide a decent impetus to get things moving again. While it is short lived, it could boost

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You've just bought a new Santa Cruz home, and you're ready to pack.  If you find yourself staring at the rooms in bewilderment, wondering how you're going to pack it all, take a look at these helpful tips.

Tip #1:  Have plenty of boxes.  Too many is better than too few.  If you buy boxes from a moving company you can return them for a refund.  Extra boxes from a grocery store can just be thrown away if you have too many.

Tip #2:  Pick a color for each room.  Use color-coded stickers to mark which boxes go where.  There's no need to open a box to see what it is; just look at the sticker color.  Be sure to make a list of the color associated with each room.

Tip #3:  Pack heavy things in small boxes.  This makes them less bulky and easier to carry.  It 

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If you enjoy history and fixing things, then it may be hard to drive by historic Santa Cruz homes for sale without feeling the urge to buy one and fix it up.  Before you do, you need learn the three R’s of fixing up historic homes and the differences between them.

The three R’s of fixing up historic homes are restoration, renovation and repair.  Some of the differences are minor, but they can make all the difference in cost, time and problems.

Restoration

“Restoration” literally means returning something to its original state. 

Restoring historic Santa Cruz homes for sale involve city and state programs.  It’s essential that you check to see if the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) or if it’s located in a historic

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When you buy Santa Cruz real estate, you need to be aware of your rights.  Not everything is as cut and dry as some may want you to think.  The following is a list of many of those rights:

• Nondiscrimination – In this case, discrimination means being denied unfairly.  If you can afford a home, you have the right to buy it no matter what neighborhood it's in.  The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate because of race, handicap, whether you have children or not, and many other issues.

• Fair lending – This goes hand in hand with nondiscrimination.  To be denied a loan, there has to be a fair reason, such as insufficient income or an unacceptable credit history.

• Forceful measures - You can't be threatened, coerced or intimidated into not

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If you’re looking at homes for sale in Santa Cruz, want to buy a home and are waiting around for better prices, you might want to rethink your strategy.

If you’re a market watcher, soaking up the information overload across news media and Internet websites, you’re probably overwhelmed with confusion by now. Is the housing market getting better? Is it getting worse? Was there really, when it gets down to it, a housing bubble collapse? And, if so, who popped it?

First, the quick answers. Yes, the housing bubble collapsed, and everybody had a hand in popping it: the government, the lenders, the investors and the general public. Now the hard answers: it’s getting better – and worse.

The truth is that market predictors are all on the fence. With the

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Today’s home buyers have a big advantage over buyers from a decade ago:  the internet. You can search for homes for sale online as well as find pricing data and instructions on how to buy a home.  So, why would you possibly want to hire a Santa Cruz real estate agent to help you buy a home?

Here are four surprising and not-so-surprising reasons why hiring a Santa Cruz real estate agent will save you time and money when buying a home:

1. Paperwork - Today's real estate contracts run 10 pages or more, and will take you hours to read, comprehend, process and file. One miniscule mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands.  Experienced agents handle the paperwork and legal issues for you, minimizing your hassles, headaches and

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The biggest barriers to selling your home are often those you create yourself by wanting a quick sale or not learning all there is to know about presenting your house to its best advantage.

When you first begin to think about selling your Santa Cruz home it seems easy. Put a sign on the lawn and list it. Once the shine wears off of the desire to do it all yourself, you might need some tips to help sell your home:

Clean It Up

That's the first and foremost advice. Nothing deters a real estate sale faster than a messy house. Living in your home while trying to sell it makes it difficult to keep it clean, but if you're serious about wanting to sell your home, it's worth the extra effort.  You may want to learn how to clean your home fast for those times

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Are you considering buying your first home?  I'm sure you already know that now's an amazing time to buy your first home.  You have the perfect combination of low interest rates, low Santa Cruz home prices and President Obama's stimulus plan which gives you additional incentive to buy now.

To help make your first time Santa Cruz home buying experience the best it can be, here are some tips:

1) Know What You Can Afford

It is easy to get carried away with what you want versus what you can actually afford. Start with reasonable expectations.

2) Decide Exactly What You Need

Consider your current family status and what your immediate future might hold, then decide on the number of bedrooms you require and the amenities you feel you can't do without. If

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Going it alone and listing your home as for sale by owner can be exciting at first, but there is a turning point where the prospect of losing money makes it necessary to bring in help. There are several reasons to change your plan and list your home with a Santa Cruz real estate agent in order to facilitate a sale.

Speed

If your property has been languishing on the market for more than three months, it is no longer fresh. People will avoid it simply because it hasn't sold. A Santa Cruz real estate agent can give your home wider exposure and get traffic moving through it again.

Knowledge

Fresh eyes on a project are helpful in any business endeavor. You can be too close to your home. You love it and see it in a positive light that can often overlook

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