All Blog Entries by Lauren Spencer

Found 1,005 blog entries published by Lauren Spencer.

The President's stimulus plan has many hoping for a ray of sunshine in a gloomy Santa Cruz real estate market. Here are a few ways the new plan can help give the market a shot in the arm:

• The stimulus plan includes a financial boost for the mortgage industry to help with new loans on housing.

• There is a tax incentive included that will give first-time home buyers a huge tax break.

• 50 billion dollars targeted at bailing out failing mortgage institutions means there will be financial opportunities for home buyers.

Along with the stimulus plan, home sellers are getting creative in selling their homes. Making sure their properties are in excellent condition and have good curb appeal is more important than ever before.

Selling your Santa Cruz real

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Few things can derail your plans to sell your Santa Cruz home like failing a home inspection.  Most states require that a home inspection be completed and turned over to the buyer before the contract is finalized.

To prepare for your Santa Cruz home inspection, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your home.  It’s also a good idea to examine all the appliances to make sure they're in good working condition.

What Will the Inspector Do?

You may be surprised to learn that the inspector will turn on the stove and test the dishwasher and garbage disposal.  They'll make sure the furnace and air conditioning systems work.  You’ll want to clear out the area around the furnace and hot water heater because the inspector will need a few feet of space towork in.

If

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The new stimulus plan has given many people new hope for their housing futures. At first, many worried that the stimulus package would merely help the banks and other financial institutions and not the actual homeowner looking to buy a Santa Cruz home.  But, it has become clear that the people who really win with the new plan are those who count—prospective home buyers.

Stimulus for Banks and Buyers

The stimulus package provides huge tax rebates in 2009, and while that is a limited provision, the savings are enormous for those who get out there and buy a new Santa Cruz home. The fact that the stimulus plan includes relief for the struggling financial industry also helps buyers by making it more likely they will be able to obtain loans. 

Stimulus for

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Okay, maybe you are stuck here for awhile. The housing market is stagnant and you just don't have the desire to fight with trying to sell your Santa Cruz home. As long as you are going to be staying, you may as well make the best of it.

Taking this time to make improvements will not only make living there nicer, it will make selling it later when the market improves easier.  If it seems like an expensive endeavor, take heart.  There are tons of do-it-yourself home improvement projects that won't break your bank but will make your home nicer to be in—and worth more.

• Tiling bathroom and kitchen floors

• Changing water fixtures

• Adding a deck

• Creating a home theater

• Refinishing cabinets

Tips and Tricks

There are many websites that offer

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If you're itching to redecorate your Santa Cruz condo and your budget is tight, I'd like to share a few ideas with you on how you can make over your condo without spending a lot of money.

• Take stock of what you already have.  You can update your existing picture frames by spray-painting them all one color, and then stagger their placement on the wall.  A set of slipcovers for your current furniture will be cheaper than buying an entire sofa set, and is a quick way to redecorate your Santa Cruz condo.

• Search out garage sales and thrift stores.  It’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  You’d be surprised how many times you can find a good deal on home décor accessories, artwork or furniture that’s secondhand.

• Check outlet stores

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The housing plan included in President Obama's stimulus package has many good qualities that will help those seeking Santa Cruz real estate.

There are two main points to the housing plan:

1. To help people once again obtain reasonable mortgages to afford the home of their dreams.

2. To keep people in the homes they already have. If it works the way it is planned, it is reason for a collective sigh of relief for millions of homeowners feeling threatened by foreclosures.

That's really it in a nutshell. There are many incentives wrapped up in each of those two areas to help both homeowners and prospective home buyers, but the very impetus behind the stimulus housing package is simple.

For Current Homeowners

If you have a current mortgage that you

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Buying REOs is a very popular method of buying Santa Cruz real estate for investment.  If you're just getting started accumulating investment property, this is one way you can get very good deals and amass a great deal of property quickly.

REO stands for Real Estate Owned and is the acronym banks place on properties they have taken back from mortgage defaults. REOs are considered non-performing assets meaning they have value but are not bringing in any money—bad for the bank, good for you.

Buy REOs at Foreclosure Auctions

Foreclosure auctions are a great way to get fantastic deals that you might not be able to convince a bank to go with prior to the event. Some savvy investors try to catch properties while they are in pre-foreclosure which avoids a

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Absolutely — if you know what you are doing. That doesn't mean being a financial wizard.   Let's face it, most home flippers are just average people like you and me. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, but you do need to be a whole lot smarter than you used to be to make money by flipping a Santa Cruz home in 2009.

Be Conservative

That's not a political statement when it comes to flipping houses, but it should be your new motto. In the current market there is no room for error. Buying as low as possible, keeping all prices for home repairs and improvements low, and selling at a reasonable price with an eye to moving the property fast is essential.

Have Reasonable Expectations

Know that in today's market it is not likely you will be able to move a

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According to the Better Business Bureau, contractor problems are one of the most common consumer complaints.  With those kinds of statistics, buying newly constructed Santa Cruz homes for sale calls for a knowledgeable individual.  Here are a few things you can do to make sure your contractor doesn't end up as your complaint:

Know What Your Warranties Cover

There are two types of warranties.  One is called an express warranty, and is given to you by the contractor.  Usually, this warranty lasts between one to ten years, with one year being the most common.  It covers everything from cosmetic flaws to serious defects.

The second type of warranty varies depending on the state you live in.  It's an implied warranty that lasts seven to ten years, stating

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There are a lot of Santa Cruz homes for sale now which makes it a great time to buy. Not only can you find a wide variety of beautiful homes at lower than normal prices but thanks to the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, if you're a first-time home buyer, you can get a generous bonus at tax time.

Here are some tips for taking full advantage of the stimulus and to make shopping for a new home more pleasurable.

1.  Don't Settle for the First Place You See - It isn't a race and you don't get extra points for being fast. Take your time to find just the right one for you.

2.  Weigh the Pros and Cons - Just about any home will need a few improvements.  Even newly constructed homes usually need improvements like landscaping. Home sellers

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