First Time Home Buying

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If you’re preparing to buy a Santa Cruz home, you may already be thinking about the stress of interviewing real estate agents, searching for homes and getting a mortgage.

Here are 7 ways to reduce the stress often associated with buying a Santa Cruz home:

1. Hire a real estate agent who fits your personality.  Find someone who you trust, who communicates well with you, and who you feel comfortable being around.

2. Listen to your agent.  Once you’ve hired an agent you trust, listen to her advice.  Don’t stress yourself out by second guessing her.  You hired her because she’s an expert, so relax and take her recommendations.

3. Have it your way.  Make decisions based on your needs and desires, not those of your parents or friends.

4. Get early

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Buying a Santa Cruz home for sale by owner (FSBO) has benefits and drawbacks. Analyzing the pros and cons of buying a home directly from the homeowner can help you decide whether this is the best move for you.

Pros of buying a FSBO

• You get the house you want.  If the home of your dreams happens to be a Santa Cruz home for sale by owner, don’t worry.  You can still have your real estate agent represent you while buying the home.  That way you get the home you want with a knowledgeable agent looking out for your best interests and helping you get the best price and terms.

• Sellers may price their homes too low.  In their eagerness to sell their homes, sellers may offer their homes at prices lower than the market value.  But, don’t count on this

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With the wide array of Santa Cruz homes on the market today, how do you narrow your search without missing out on that perfect home?

Here are 4 steps you can take to narrow your search for Santa Cruz homes.

Step 1:  Decide on your top priority.  Is it location, price, number of bedrooms or something else?  Once you’ve decided on the most important feature, concentrate your search there. 

Step 2:  Search for homes.  Most people start their search online.  There are many real estate web sites you can browse through.  Unfortunately, there are two big challenges to searching online:

1. Home listings quickly become out of date and may have incomplete or inaccurate information.  Overcome this challenge by enlisting the help of a real estate agent.  Your

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The Santa Cruz real estate market is still a buyer’s market which means, as a buyer, you can get a good price on a home.  However, if you know what to look for, there are properties on which you can get a great price.
Here are three areas of the Santa Cruz real estate market that generally offer the best prices:

1. Homes that have been on the market for several weeks (or months!) -  Have your real estate agent send you homes that have been on the market for several weeks or months.  These property owners are more motivated to sell than the owners of newly listed homes.  They’re more willing to negotiate for lower prices or even give you extras such as home warranties or paying a portion of your closing costs.

2. Bank owned properties.  Bank owned

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When buying or selling your home, there are many long-term conditions you should take into consideration for future planning. Will you look back years from now and wish you had not sold? Will your new home be something that you’ll love long term?

In today’s chaotic Santa Cruz real estate market, jumping from one home to another every few years may no longer be a financially viable option. When purchasing a home for the long term, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

Questions for long-term Santa Cruz real estate planning:

• Death in the family - If you’re a couple, what would happen if one of you passed away? Would the home you currently live in still work? That acre lot may not look as attractive, if you’re going to be the only one

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Buying a home is one of the few occasions in which some form of negotiation is the rule rather than the exception.  Just because it is the norm, however, does not mean that most people are good at it. 

Here are a few tips to help you negotiate the best deal when buying your next Santa Cruz home:

1. Know your bottom line.  Determine your bottom line and stick to it.  This sometimes means you have to be willing to walk away from a deal.   It also means being realistic about what you’re asking from the seller.  Many sellers are faced with the fact that their home may not be worth what they paid for it.  This puts limits on the concessions a seller can offer.

2. Stay flexible.  For example, what if the Santa Cruz home you'd like to buy needs a new heating

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The Internet has made researching real estate easy for anyone who knows how to surf online. Whether researching real estate to sell homes or to find for their next big investment, many property owners and home buyers think they’ll save a lot of money by doing all the work themselves.

However, statistics show that you’re more likely to sell your property quicker or find your dream house faster when you work with a professional Santa Cruz real estate agent.  Working with an agent provides you with an expanded housing database, years of property-purchasing knowledge and valuable contacts for everything from inspections to loans.

The trick is to find the right Santa Cruz real estate agent to fit your needs.  Here are 5 tips to help you find your perfect

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When you buy a Santa Cruz real estate in a subdivision, co-op or planned unit development, you may be subject to a host of rules and regulations as established by the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) governing that development. 
You’ve most likely heard of HOAs, but you may not know exactly how they operate and how they can impact you and your Santa Cruz real estate.  In this article, you’ll get information on some of the broader issues that you should be aware of when moving into a community governed by an HOA.

What is a Homeowners' Association?

It is a corporation formed by real estate developers to market, manage and sell homes and lots within a development.

Does the Santa Cruz real estate developer retain control of the HOA forever?

No.  After a

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Buying your first Santa Cruz home is exciting, but it can also be expensive, especially if you’re unaware of the mistakes frequently made by many first-time home buyers.  Here are six common mistakes many first-time home buyers make and how to avoid them:

1. Going it alone.  Buying a Santa Cruz home involves a lot of little (and big) details.  Additionally, buying a home is the most expensive purchase you’ll most likely ever make.  All that adds up to needing a professional on your side.

2. Hiring your cousin.   Although your cousin (or cousin’s best friend) may be a real estate agent, it doesn’t mean she’s the right agent for you.  Do your homework.  Interview at least three buyer’s agents to find the agent who meets all your criteria.  If your cousin

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If you’re searching for a new house, don’t get fooled into purchasing a Santa Cruz home you can’t actually afford. Many new homeowners find themselves in a pickle when they fall in love with a property that has high monthly mortgage payments. Being house poor could lead to a confining quality of life, increased stress and possibly foreclosure.

Before buying a Santa Cruz home, do your research to determine all the actual costs involved with purchasing and owning the home.  Without the proper tools and budget, you could be biting off more than you can chew.

Here are four tips to help you get a manageable mortgage:

1. Save up – If you’ve saved and can provide a large down payment, you’ll be able take out a smaller loan, which will result in lower monthly

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