First Time Home Buying

Found 114 blog entries about First Time Home Buying.

When looking to purchase Santa Cruz real estate, it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and amenities of new developments. However, you need to be extremely careful when looking to settle in these neighborhoods because developers get excited about what they’re creating and tend to interject promises they can’t keep into their sales pitch.

Do your research and don’t get enchanted by possibilities of what you could get; just focus on what you’re actually getting. Below are four common misleading promises that developers make when highlighting the features of their homes for sale.

• There are actual site photographs. If you’re thinking about purchasing Santa Cruz real estate, then visit it in person. Developers usually post photographs of construction

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Sellers need to know if you are serious about buying their home. Earnest money is a good faith deposit that demonstrates to the sellers that you are serious about purchasing their Santa Cruz home. This deposit can, and probably will be, forfeited if you walk away from purchasing the property.

What is a standard earnest money deposit? There is no set amount, but 1% to 3% of the agreed upon sale price of the Santa Cruz home is typical. The amount varies depending on local customs.

Here are a few precautions you should take to protect your earnest money:
• Never give an earnest money deposit to the seller – not even if you’re buying a home that is for sale by owner (FSBO).
• Make the deposit payable to a reputable legal firm, escrow company, title

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You drive by a Santa Cruz home for sale and want to see it. You call the listing agent’s number on the for sale sign.  What is wrong with calling the listing agent (also known as the seller’s agent)?

In states where agents are allowed to practice dual agency, the listing agents may assume that if they show you a home they have listed they will get the buying commission in addition to the listing commission. To make sure you’re both on the same page, immediately let the listing agent know your intentions. You can do that by telling him or her your current situation and future plans:
• I’m already working with a buyer’s agent
• I’m going to hire a buyer’s agent
• I’d like for you to represent me, even though you’re the seller’s agent.

You might think

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Even though you’re a first-time Santa Cruz home buyer, you may want to skip the starter home and drive straight to your dream home. Due to lower housing prices and interest rates, you may be able to afford (or at least qualify for a loan for) your dream home. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right move for you.

What is a starter home?

A starter home is a home that is less expensive than the average Santa Cruz home. It's usually less expensive because it is smaller, older or a fixer-upper.

What are the benefits of buying a starter home?

If you’re struggling to let go of your desire to own your dream home right now, consider these benefits of buying a starter home:

• It’s easier to qualify for a smaller mortgage.
• You can stop paying rent and

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As home buying picks up pace with spring in full bloom, here are a few tips every Santa Cruz home buyer should keep in mind:

1. Plan to stay in the property more than 5 years.  Typically, home values appreciate 7% per year; that number has been 2% to 5% recently, so it will take longer to break even and begin making a profit or building equity in your home.

2. Do the math.  First, figure out what price range you can afford.  Then, calculate how much income is left after paying the mortgage, taxes and insurance.  Use an online affordability calculator to make this easier.

3. Explore the neighborhood.  At various times of the day and night, visit the neighborhood of a Santa Cruz home you are interested in.  Find out if it’s an area in which you’ll

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Just because you can buy a home in Santa Cruz does not always mean that you should.  It’s important for you to consider if it is better for you to own or rent a home.

Here are five reasons you might want to rent:

1. You may be moving within five years. It usually takes five years to break even on your home purchase or investment. 
2. You don’t want the responsibilities associated with being a homeowner.  It can be expensive and time consuming to maintain a home.
3. You have a bad credit report.  If your score is below 620, you will not get a good interest rate.
4. You have a high debt ratio.  A high debt ratio means you may not qualify for a loan. 
5. You have job instability.  If your job is not secure, it’s not a good idea to buy.

Here are four

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Whether you’ve decided to purchase a new home or list yours for sale, you’ll need to hire an experienced Santa Cruz real estate agent. Selling and buying homes can be stressful, so you need to be able to trust and rely on your Santa Cruz real estate agent to do what’s in your best interest, even if they’re acting as a dual agent.

While ‘dual agent’ might be a confusing term, it’s quite simple — the real estate agent is working for both the buyer and the seller of the home. As both parties will have a lot at stake, this could be perceived as a conflict of interest. Below are some of a dual agent’s obligations which are put in place to prevent a conflict of interest:

• An agent should disclose dual agency – As soon as a real estate agent realizes that

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You’ve decided it’s time to sell your home. Now you’re dreading the process of finding a Santa Cruz real estate agent. Don’t worry! There are many outstanding agents available. Just be sure to interview at least three agents and call a few of their clients to check their references before making your choice.

To help you through this process, here are six key questions to ask when interviewing Santa Cruz real estate agents:

1. How many homes have you sold in this area in the last year and how long did it take you to sell them? Obviously, the more homes sold the better and the quicker the homes sold the better. Don’t go with a real estate agent who has sold nothing in the last six months. That most likely means they don’t know how to sell in the

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You’ve found the perfect Santa Cruz home that you know should be well within your budget. Now all you need to do is secure the loan — but you’re turned down by bank after bank. In today’s economy, many buyers are facing this exact issue. They have the means to meet their potential mortgage payment. Unfortunately, an issue in the past damaged their credit score and it’s preventing them from getting a loan.

If you’re contemplating purchasing a Santa Cruz home, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, you need to do everything you can to boost your credit score. This will make it more likely that you’ll qualify for a loan and will help you secure a lower interest rate. Below are a few steps to get you started:

• Get a free credit report. You can do

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Whether you’ve bought and sold a dozen homes or you’re a first-time home buyer, you probably know that after you purchase Santa Cruz real estate, there is usually no option to return or exchange it. Because of this finality, you need to be sure your contract spells out all the conditions you want met before the deal can close. In real estate contracts, these conditions are called contingencies.

Contingencies are the requirements that both the buyer and the seller must meet in order for the closing contract to be valid. If something does not meet specific criteria, the contract must be renegotiated or it becomes null. Below is a list of contract contingencies every buyer should include in their bid — so that you don’t end up with an unexpected

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