First Time Home Buying

There are currently 113 blog entries related to this category.

In today’s environment, do you think buying Santa Cruz real estate has become less popular than renting?  If so, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that 81% of American adults still think that buying a home is the best investment a person can make. 

In comparison, two decades ago, a CBS News/New York Times survey found that 84% of American adults thought buying a home was the best investment a person could make.  That’s only a 3% decline in 20 years.

The new information is based on two nationwide studies performed this year by the Pew Research Center and Trulia, a real estate website.  The Pew Research Center’s survey sample included 2,142 adults.  Fifty-seven percent of the people who answered the survey own a home, 30% rent and the remainder have

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You’ve been watching the news, reading blogs and you know this is the perfect time for you to buy a piece of Santa Cruz real estate.  You want to do all the right things to get the best deal, and you know one of the first steps is to line up your financing.  

To help you pick a mortgage that matches your goals and financial situation, here’s an overview of three of the most popular mortgages available today.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

If you plan on keeping your new Santa Cruz real estate for more than 10 years and you don’t expect your income to change, this is probably the loan for you.  Although fixed rate loans charge a bit more interest, the rate will never change.  This provides financial stability and the security of knowing what your monthly mortgage

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What happens if you have a signed contract to purchase a piece of Santa Cruz real estate and the appraised value comes in lower than your agreed upon purchase price?   Unfortunately, that’s happening more often these days.

Don’t give up!  It is possible to salvage the deal.  Here are four options to consider, if you find yourself in this position:

#1:  Ask the lender for a review of the appraisal.
If you are aware of comparable sales numbers or any other pertinent data that was not considered by the appraiser, provide that information to your lender and ask for a review of the appraisal.  If problems are found with the first appraisal, ask your lender to order a second appraisal by a qualified real estate appraiser.

#2:  Ask the seller to drop the

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The process of buying a new home is daunting enough without having to track down all the various paperwork necessary at the last minute. Don’t endure extra stress! Get your paperwork together early, so that you can feel piece of mind when purchasing Santa Cruz real estate.

You should have the list of documents below in hand before you make an offer on a home. This will ensure the purchase process is as quick as possible. Every mortgage lender’s requirements can be different, so double-check with yours for a comprehensive list.

• ID – This might seem like a no-brainer to most people, but just make sure you have official identification.

• Pay stubs - Your lender will want proof that you’re still earning an income, so inquire about how many months worth

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Buying a home is a business transaction, but it’s hard to keep emotions completely out of the process. Most sellers in today’s market already know that they need to avoid unnecessarily angering their buyers. And buyers shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the Santa Cruz real estate market is down they can get away with annoying sellers. Keep your cool this summer and avoid upsetting sellers so that your home purchase goes smoothly and for a fair price.

• Don’t put down their home. By pointing out everything that is wrong with a house, you could force the sellers to take less money, but this strategy hardly ever works. You’re more likely to anger the seller to the point that they won’t continue negotiations. That doesn’t mean you can’t

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With the struggling economy and the move toward living greener, small houses are becoming more popular.  You may have heard about the Small House Movement and wondered if living in a small Santa Cruz home is right for you. 

To help you decide, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about small houses:

How tiny is a small house?

What is typically referred to as a small house varies widely in size from about 650 square feet down to the extremely miniscule house of about 120 square feet. However, any home with fewer square feet than you’re living in now can be considered a small house.  If you’re currently living in 3,000 square feet and you move to a Santa Cruz home with 1,500 square feet, you’ve downsized by half.  It all

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You know my recommendation is that everyone should have a professional property inspection before they close on a house. Wouldn’t it also be a good idea to discover problems with a piece of property before you ever make an offer? With some attention to detail, you can find out a lot about the condition of Santa Cruz homes.

Here’s a pre-offer, do-it-yourself property inspection checklist to get you started:

• Basement - A basement can give you information about the structure of a house, especially if the basement is unfinished. You’ll want to make sure there are no cracks, the electrical wiring is organized, and there is no evidence of water damage. If there isn’t a basement, examine the exposed foundation on the exterior of the house.

• Electrical

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The real estate market is flooded with homes for sale.   Interest rates are at an all time low on fixed rate mortgages.  And, terms for acquiring a home loan are still fairly open.  This is expected to change and possibly soon, which means now is prime time to buy Santa Cruz homes for sale.

To help you with this process, here are answers to four of the most popular questions I’ve recently received from home buyers:
 
Q:  Where can I find the best deal on Santa Cruz homes for sale?
A:  The answer is almost anywhere.  Because homes are sitting on the market for a long time, most homeowners are more willing than ever to negotiate.

Q:  What about buying new construction?
A:  The option for new construction is open to more people than ever before.  Builders are

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Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is a term many Santa Cruz home owners have heard but few understand.  Unfortunately, even more home owners have paid PMI premiums long after it was needed because they didn't know they could cancel.

Here are answers to questions I am most frequently asked about PMI:

What is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

As its name states, PMI is insurance.  Like all insurance, it protects someone against the loss of something.  For example, car insurance protects the car owner against the loss of his car.  In this case, PMI protects lenders against the loss of their money if borrowers fail to repay their mortgage. 

If you buy a house and make a down payment of less than 20%, lenders require that you pay for PMI insurance.  Let’s

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When you own a home, you have to pay your homeowner’s insurance and the tax on your Santa Cruz real estate.  Depending on the state in which you live and your lender, you may be required to make monthly payments into an escrow account so your lender can pay your taxes and insurance, or you may have the choice to pay them yourself.

Escrowing homeowner’s insurance and Santa Cruz real estate taxes has advantages and disadvantages.  If you have a choice, here are several things to consider when deciding whether to escrow or not to escrow your real estate tax and insurance.
  
Advantages to Escrowing

• No lump sum to pay.  The biggest advantage to escrowing your real estate tax and insurance is knowing that the money is there when it’s needed.  Your monthly

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