All Blog Entries by Lauren Spencer

Found 1,010 blog entries published by Lauren Spencer.

It's that time of year again… time to have a garage sale at your Santa Cruz home!  This year, you can have your most successful garage sale ever.  Here are a few tips to help:

• Advertise your sale in local newspapers and online.  Many of the habitual Saturday morning garage patrons use the paper to plan their morning.  They do this to make sure they hit all of the sales in certain neighborhoods.  In the ad, mention your Santa Cruz home address, date and time of your garage sale and big or hot items you have for sale. 

• Open early.  It’s best to open early, around seven in the morning.  Sales tend to taper off in the afternoon.  Don't disappoint early shoppers who are typically your best buyers.  They have a busy schedule and a lot of sales to hit. 

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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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