First Time Home Buying

There are currently 113 blog entries related to this category.

Are visions of renovating a stately, older Santa Cruz home dancing in your head?  Older homes offer a unique beauty that can’t be found in newer homes. And, rehabbing them can be rewarding.  But, think twice before taking on this difficult and expensive task.
Here are six problems to look for in the older home you’re thinking about buying:

1.    Plumbing problems.  The plumbing in older homes can be inefficient or downright unreliable.  Homes that are 25 years old or older almost always have plumbing problems with the most common problem being lead pipes.  Even after lead pipes were replaced in the late 1940s, the earliest galvanized steel pipes still contained lead. Lead also was present in much of the solder used to join copper pipes as recently as the

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Whether you’re preparing to sell or buy a Santa Cruz home, getting a home inspection is one of the most important steps you can take toward a successful real estate transaction.  In order to get a thorough home inspection, you need to hire an experienced, professional inspector.

Here five things to ask before hiring a Santa Cruz home inspector:

1. Are you certified?  The oldest and largest organization of home inspectors is the American Society of Home Inspectors.  Another noteworthy organization is the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors.  Both these groups provide training and certification. If a home inspector is certified by either of these organizations, you know you’re getting a qualified inspector.

2. May I see a sample report? 

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As houses continue to sit on the market without the slightest sign of interested buyers, sellers are lowering prices and pouring more money into upgrades and remodels. While these updates might help increase sales, you could achieve the same results with your Santa Cruz home by spending less cash and adding more green.

With the growing demand for green features, buyers like the idea of purchasing a house that already contains a few eco-conscious elements. From environmentally sound materials to energy efficient windows and doors, just adding one green upgrade could be the ticket to spark interest and sell your Santa Cruz home.

6 eco-features buyers love:

1. Water-saving appliances – Install low-flow toilets and aerators on showers to reduce your water

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Do you know how closing costs actually work? Or, how you’d use CMAs (comparative market analysis) to evaluate Santa Cruz real estate? And, can you decipher all of the abbreviations and acronyms, such as FDR, lo dues and MLS.

Purchasing a home is frustrating enough without having to go through the frustration of decoding all the complicated speak and legalese. If you brush up with a real estate dictionary before your home-buying search, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and save yourself a lot of time and headaches in the long run.

Basic lingo every Santa Cruz real estate buyer or seller should know …

• ARM – This stands for Adjustable-Rate Mortgage, which is a type of mortgage where the interest rate periodically adjusts.

• Closing costs – These are

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The fact is that not all Santa Cruz real estate agents are created equal.   There are important differences you need to consider before choosing an agent to help you buy a home.

Here are some fictional beliefs people have about Santa Cruz real estate agents and the facts behind them.

1. Fiction:  Any agent you contact about a property is now your buyer’s agent and is looking out for your best interests. 

Fact:  When you call the agent whose name is on the For Sale sign in the front yard of the home, you’re calling the seller’s agent.  That agent is looking out for the home seller’s best interest, not yours.   Hire a buyer’s agent and ask him or her to show you homes you’re interested in seeing.

2. Fiction:  When you hire a buyer's agent, you have to

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Looking to buy a new house? Do you have a specified budget in place? Are you going to need to take out a loan? In such a tumultuous real estate market, there are many frustrating financial hurdles that you need to jump before you can purchase your Santa Cruz home. However, with a pre-approved loan you could reduce stress and move in quicker.

A pre-approved loan is when a bank provides you with an amount they would be willing to lend you for a Santa Cruz home and a period of time for which this offer is good. They determine this amount based on several criteria that you must provide and prove, such as your current income, bank statements, income tax returns and credit history.

 

 

Perks from pre-approval


• Know what you can afford –Using a

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Shopping for a mortgage is as important as shopping for a Santa Cruz home to buy.  It’s the only way to get the best interest rate and terms with a lender you trust.  Take your time, do your research, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you found the mortgage that meets your needs.
Here are six tips to help you find the best mortgage to use to purchase your Santa Cruz home:


1. Find a lender you like and trust.  Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and most importantly, your real estate agent for names of lenders they admire and enjoy working with.  You want to find one who is knowledgeable about the mortgage industry, will answer all your questions and can talk with you about loans in a way you understand.


2. Explore your options.  There is a

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It’s the time of year we all dread… time for your 2010 tax filings.  While I am not a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or even a plain old accountant, I do want to share with you some basic tax tips all Santa Cruz home owners should consider before filing their taxes.

• Contact a tax expert.  My motto is always, if in doubt, contact a tax expert.  There’s no way around it; taxes are complicated.  While some don’t want to spend their money on tax experts, I’ve found that they’ve saved me much more money than they’ve cost.  And, the peace of mind they provide is priceless.

• Claim your Santa Cruz home owner’s tax deduction, if you’re eligible.  In 2002, a study was conducted that showed that 61% of eligible home owners did not claim their home owner’s

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You’ve found the Santa Cruz home you want to buy, and you’ve hired a professional home inspector.  But, wait!  You’re job isn’t done.  You still need to personally participate in the inspection on your Santa Cruz home.

Here are 5 reasons why you should attend your home inspection:

1. See for yourself.  There’s a big difference between reading a report and seeing first-hand what’s right and wrong with the home.  Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to determine if a problem is serious enough to walk away from the home if the seller is unwilling to fix it. 

2. Learn practical information about your home.  You’ll discover where things such as the water valve and electrical box are located.

3. Experience your prospective home through the eyes of an

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There are a few misconceptions about how to set the sales price for your Santa Cruz real estate.  Here are five common pricing myths and the reality behind them.

Myth #1:  It’s OK to test a high price on your Santa Cruz real estate just to see if anyone will buy it at that price. 

If you’re serious about selling your home, don’t play games.  In this buyer’s market you have a very small window of opportunity to pull in serious buyers when your home first enters the market.  If you play games, like over pricing your home just to test the market, buyers will stay away in droves. 

Myth #2:  You should price your Santa Cruz real estate higher than the market value to allow for room to negotiate.

Truth:  No matter what your reasoning or rationale,

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