All Blog Entries by Lauren Spencer

Found 1,015 blog entries published by Lauren Spencer.

If you're putting your home up for sale without a Santa Cruz real estate agent, you'll soon realize that you have to do the advertising.  If you want to try the FSBO (For Sale by Owner) route, here are a few tips on spreading the word:

Signs
A "For Sale by Owner" sign from the nearest hardware store is always a good place to start.  In today's tough real estate market, you'll need more marketing than that. 

In addition to FSBO signs, directional "home for sale" signs at intersections can also be useful.

Classified Ads
While they're not outrageously expensive, classified ads, which need to repeated several times to be most effective, can begin to empty out your pocketbook.  Talk with your local newspaper about the most economical plan they offer to get

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No doubt you’ve heard about the soaring number of Santa Cruz foreclosures.  If you're thinking that now would be a good time to jump on the Santa Cruz real estate bandwagon by purchasing a foreclosure, here are a few tips to help you find (and buy) your dream home.

Arrange for Financing
Know how much home you can afford so you can determine your price range.  You don’t want to waste any time looking at property that won’t fit your financial needs.  If you do, you might even miss the deal you’re looking for.  Many lenders will pre-qualify you.  The process doesn’t take long and you’ll be able to look at Santa Cruz foreclosures with confidence.

Get a List of Santa Cruz Foreclosures.
Most banks and other lenders have a list of their properties that are in

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Here are a few simple things you can do to go green if you own a Santa Cruz condo:
 
Going Green With Electricity

Saving electricity is an effective way to go green.  An environmental agency called McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), reported that energy efficiency could save two-thirds of the Earth’s emissions and help get the world halfway to the goal of reduced global warming gases.  This has never been more critical to our future as it is now.  Here are four suggestions for reducing your electricity usage in your Santa Cruz condos
 
 Invest in a more energy efficient refrigerator.  Each year this saves 200 terawatt hours in America.

• Turn the lights off when you leave your home or when you leave a room.  I know this sounds overly simple, but many of us

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Your Santa Cruz home is your castle, but living like a king can get expensive.  If you find yourself digging in the sofa for change to go to the store, read these tips on cutting household expenses:

 Use less energy.  Turn off the lights before you leave.  If you're going on a two-hour trip and you spend one minute turning off all the lights, you're earning the equivalent of $50 an hour, or $0.83 a minute. 

• Install CFL or LED light bulbs.  They both have a longer life and use less energy than regular bulbs.  CFLs use about 25% of the electricity of a normal light bulb, while LEDs use about 2%.

• Install a programmable thermostat.  These regulate the temperature in your Santa Cruz home according to a set schedule.  These thermostats can cut your

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Whether you’re looking for your next family home or an investment property, a foreclosure can be a great way to find a bargain. However, not all foreclosures are the same. Before you jump into a foreclosure, make yourself a smart buyer who knows a thing or two about Santa Cruz foreclosures.

1. Smart buyers know that that foreclosed properties are not automatically bargains. Banks want to make as much money as possible on their foreclosures. While you can sometimes find great deals, you are more likely to purchase a foreclosure for at or near market value. Look for Santa Cruz homes that are reasonably priced, not just those that are sold as cheaply as possible.

2. Smart buyers know that not all foreclosures are the same. Foreclosures fall into one of

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When buying Santa Cruz real estate, you may find some unexpected problems.  Generally, these issues revolve around plumbing, wiring or sticking doors and windows.  Although they aren’t as expensive to fix as other issues, there’s always a possibility that they indicate bigger problems. 

Sticking Doors/Windows
Spotting wear and tear on doors and windows is fairly easy.  Check the hinges and locks.  Squeaking hinges or locks that stick indicate wear on seals and metal. 

Although sticking doors and windows aren’t a big deal in and of themselves, these issues can be indications of moderate to severe foundation problems.  If you find these issues in Santa Cruz real estate, make your way to the basement and look for cracks or dips in the floors and walls. 

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Many people think that Santa Cruz real estate agents have it pretty easy.  Once they start investigating, however, they find that being an agent is a difficult and time consuming job.

Real Estate Training
All states, including the District of Columbia, require agents to be licensed which requires hours of training and test taking. 

Depending on the state, you need between forty and ninety hours of specific coursework. 

Once the coursework is completed, you have to pass a state exam on real estate law and practice.  In most states, an agent then has to find a real estate broker to work with.

To become a broker and be able to manage their own brokerage, Santa Cruz real estate agents have to gain experience.  This means more coursework, as well as a

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When buying a newly constructed Santa Cruz home, you have a chance to decide what type of lighting to use.  If you don't know about lighting styles and uses, or want to learn more, read these lighting guidelines.

Types of lighting
• Ceiling lights are generally used in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms – large areas.  One type of ceiling light is called a can, or recessed light, and is set into the ceiling to provide extra lighting when necessary.

• Track lights give a spotlight look, and focus light on a specific area of a room.  You can use these to highlight artwork on walls and pedestals, or above fireplaces.  Track lighting gives any room a more contemporary feel.

• Fluorescent lights add a lot of light without a lot of heat.  This type of

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Buying a Santa Cruz condo may be the answer to your home ownership dream.  They are usually lower maintenance than a traditional home, and most of them come with amenities.  Here are a few things to consider before you set your heart on a condo:

Identify the Living Space You Need
One of the first things you’ll need to do is sit down and make a list of what you want in your home.  How many bedrooms do you need?  Do you need one bathroom or two?  Do you need a one-level condo or do you prefer a two-story townhome?  What amenities do you want - swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts? 

Read the Convenants, Conditions and Restrictions
This is the set of rules that govern condominiums.  They may include rules on renting, remodeling and noise levels to

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Buying newly constructed Santa Cruz real estate isn't much different from buying an "already used" home.  What variances there are, however, can make all the difference between buying a diamond or a lemon.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying new construction:

Tip #1: Don't use the builder's sales agent - hire your own.
If they're the builder's agent, they're being paid to represent the builder, no matter what they tell you.  Your own Santa Cruz real estate agent, who is representing you, is required to tell you the negatives as well as the positives.  The builder's agent doesn't have to tell you the drawbacks of the transaction.

Tip #2: Find your own lending agency.
Again, if you go through the builder, the lending agency may offer you a deal

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