First Time Home Buying

There are currently 113 blog entries related to this category.

Santa Cruz condos or houses:  that is the question!

You may be thinking of getting a home but wondering how much space you really need. If you opt to look at houses, your choices are vast.  Houses, both large and small, are abundant in today’s real estate market.

Even though Santa Cruz condos are typically smaller than most houses, there are large condos available (even condos larger than houses).  And, just like traditional houses, there are a lot of condos available in this buyer’s market.

So, how do you choose?  Your selection should be based on your current and near-future needs.

Let’s demystify the differences and clarify your selection:

  • Space: Is your family large?  Are you planning to add many more?  Do you work from home?  Consider your
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Many real estate aficionados worried that the ending of the homebuyer tax credits would mean an end to sales. However, a new real estate survey, conducted April, 2010, says homeowners with a home for sale in Santa Cruz and throughout the nation have more chances to sell their homes.

Survey Group
     • 1,000 American consumers
     • Ages 25 – 64
     • $35,000 + household income

Survey Results
     • Over 90% of American consumers think the homebuyer tax credit program helped the real estate industry and first-time buyers.
     • 65% actually looking for a home don’t consider the end of the tax credit program to be a factor in their own decisions.
     • 46% expect area real estate prices to increase over the next year.
     • 12% expect area real estate

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 Let’s face it.  A lot of people like the idea of the easy lifestyle condos in Santa Cruz County provide.  While there are a multitude of positive reasons to buy a condo, many people are so glamorized by the idea that they fail to make sure condos fit their needs. 

Before you jump in and buy one of the condos in Santa Cruz County, make sure you also consider what some people consider the downside to owning a condo:

1.  Space – Buying a condo means sharing an interest in it.  What you own is your personal “box of air.”  The rest of the condo - the common areas - is shared between the other owners.

2.  Neighbors – Because you share walls and common areas, there’s a high chance that you’ll be able to hear them as they move about their own space.  You’ll

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Technology has improved our lives over the last ten years, but it’s also caused some problems along the way for Santa Cruz real estate buyers.

As a buyer, you naturally want to take advantage of every tool and service available to make it easier to find the home of your dreams. However, the Internet, which is one of the most common places for people to shop for Santa Cruz real estate nowadays, has also become a place where the unscrupulous hang out.  You can’t believe everything you read online, even when it comes to shopping for homes online.

If you’re trying to find a home, here are two things you need to be aware of:

Home Valuation Sites
Many potential buyers find an interesting home and then research the home value. This is commendable and just

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Buying a Santa Cruz home can be a challenging process. Along the way you will experience a wide range of emotions.

No matter how strongly you feel that you are alone, rest assured that most buyers feel the same way. Here’s a peek at what you can expect when…

• Looking for a Santa Cruz home. Creating a wish list for a house that fits within your budget can cause the initial signs of stress. Once that list is created, a new panic may settle in as you wonder if you will find the right home for you within that budget. Expect this panic to increase as you look at more homes.

• Presenting an offer. No one wants to be rejected, even if it’s about property. Remind yourself that it is perfectly normal to worry about getting an accepted offer and that the

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Many potential homeowners are starting to look towards Santa Cruz foreclosures as a way to get the home of their dreams without spending their life savings. What they may not realize is that the sheer amount of foreclosed properties can be daunting. Some are so completely overwhelmed by the choices that they give up and walk away.

Santa Cruz foreclosures can be great deals, but you’ll have a few decisions to make before you even go looking. Because there are so many options, here and throughout the nation, it’s important to figure out what type of foreclosed home is best for you.

Government Foreclosures
Homes with federally sponsored loans, such as HUD homes, are repossessed by government housing agencies. Because these homes offer a lot of

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If you’re thinking of buying Santa Cruz real estate, now is the time to take advantage of this buyer's market.

Back in the “good old days,” (a few years ago) it was easier to qualify for a loan, with one-page loan applications, stated incomes and “no doc” (no documentation, meaning nothing had to be proven) loans. There were amazing loan programs, like 125% loan on the purchase price with no down payment.

Now, buying Santa Cruz real estate is more burdensome. No more “no doc” loans; lenders want every piece of documentation you can come up with. So then, why is it the best time to buy? And what does this have to do with your real estate team?

Although the current loan situation isn't ideal, it’s worth the effort to find a home you can afford. Here are

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Selling your Santa Cruz home is more than just setting a sale price and placing a sign in your front yard. It is an emotional process that can be stressful and frustrating. Here’s what you can expect to face:

• Putting your home on the market. You may have a difficult time deciding to put your house on the market even if you are being forced to move because of work or family situations. Your home holds memories that can be difficult to leave behind. You may even second guess your decision. This is a normal reaction.

• Showing your home to potential buyers. As buyers walk through your home, you may begin experiencing a new set of emotions. Your home will usually be cleared of excessive family mementos and seem lifeless to you. Keeping your home clean for

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Owning a Santa Cruz home can be a sign of independence and success.  It allows you to build up equity and the mortgage interest and property taxes are tax-deductible.  Can you afford it, though? 

Reputable lenders look at a list of criteria to decide how much they’ll loan you.  This list includes:

• Credit score
• Existing assets including cash
• Car leases or loans
• Credit card balances
• Debt consolidation loans
• Home equity loans
• Installment loans
• Student loans
• Other monthly debts
• Size/source of your down payment

If you’d like to get an idea of what you can afford before talking to a lender, here are a few tools you can use to decide whether a Santa Cruz home is within your budget:

• As a rule of thumb, your house hunting budget shouldn’t be more

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Buying or selling a home has a major impact on many people's lives. So it's important not to leave the task to just anyone.

Take advantage of all the benefits that come with working with a full-time Santa Cruz real estate agent. Since selling or buying a home can be a full-time job, it just makes sense to work with an agent that has a full-time commitment.

A full-time real estate agent can offer:

 Lots of experience – If your agent lives and breathes real estate around the clock, then he or she is better equipped to handle the many surprises that come with buying or selling a home.

 Peace of mind – You could be a first-time home buyer or seller. A full-time Santa Cruz real estate agent has the knowledge to lead you through every step, saving you

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