Tagged : House Hunting

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As the new year starts, pursuing your dream of buying a Santa Cruz home may be on your list of resolutions. Prices and interest rates are extremely low, which means 2012 could be the perfect year to buy a home. As exciting as that is, I bet it can also feel a little overwhelming.

One of the best ways to attack a big goal is to break it down into smaller goals. So here are four smaller goals you can tackle to accomplish your larger goal of buying a home:

1) Prepare for battle: Before you begin looking for a house, look at your financial situation. Do what you can to clean up any credit blemishes, pay off debt and save toward a down payment.

2) Check your qualifications: There's no sense looking at million dollar mansions if that's not in your

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Many people are downsizing these days, either because they're empty nesters and no longer need the room, they’re getting older and want a smaller space to maintain, or they’re reducing their financial burdens or environmental impact.

If you’ve made the decision to downsize to a smaller Santa Cruz home, here are five tips to help you make the transition:

1. Start early: Downsizing to a smaller home is much less stressful if you have plenty of time to sort through your belongings to figure out what you’re getting rid of and what you’re keeping. Plan to do this at least a month before you put your home up for sale. (Bonus benefit: it makes your house less cluttered and more desirable to buyers.)

2. Evaluate your needs: Take an honest look at your

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Urban legends can be found within every industry, and Santa Cruz real estate is no exception. Getting a big discount because a home needs minor repairs or being able to acquire 100 percent financing in a snap definitely isn’t as easy as it sounds and is probably just what you think — a big fat myth.

Whether you’re an experienced buyer or it’s your first time purchasing Santa Cruz real estate, do your research and don’t get sidetracked by enticing fables that might cause you to miss out on your dream home. Below are three debunked mortgage urban legends that have been plaguing the industry for years.

1. You can get a foreclosed home for almost nothing. While foreclosed homes do tend to sell consistently lower than other homes on the market, they’re

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Open houses for Santa Cruz real estate give you the opportunity to see the possibilities for joy – and despair – in your future home. To make the most of an open house, keep these details in mind:

• Neighborhood – Consider school systems, commute times, safety, community, and noise levels. It may be the most gorgeous farm in the world, but if it takes you two hours to get to work, you won't love it in the long term.

 Expensive Problems – While a thorough inspection will turn up any problems, keep an eye out for any obvious problems before you give your heart to a new home. Cracked foundations, crumbling roofs, and moldy walls could require a lot of expensive and time-consuming repairs.

• Appliances – Are the appliances high-end or low-end? Are

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In this economy, cash buyers have the advantage and are swooping in on great housing deals to beat out buyers obtaining loans through banks. Sellers are jumping on these offers because the cash is already secured, they don’t have to worry about finances falling through at the last minute, and it can guarantee quick closing dates on their Santa Cruz homes for sale.

While dealing in ready money definitely gives real estate investors an advantage, don’t get discouraged. There are a few guidelines financed buyers can follow to give them a better hand when it comes to beating out competitors that throw down the cash card.

 Get pre-approved. Talk with a reputable bank and get a pre-approved home loan for a certain amount before you start shopping for

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In this computer age where everyone relies on the Internet for information, it’s unfortunate that some online Santa Cruz real estate information can be misleading. With the vast amount of time you have to spend house hunting to find a home you love, you don’t want to waste any of it on properties that aren’t what they seem.

Beware of the following inaccuracies when house hunting online:

• Misleading descriptions – When you visit a property, double-check that what attracted you to it online is portrayed accurately. Ensure that a “fully finished basement” isn’t just concrete floors and drywall or that the “spacious backyard” isn’t as narrow as a dog run.

• Errors – It’s impossible for nationwide real estate websites to manage and fact check all of

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If you're a potential buyer of Santa Cruz real estate, when scanning the listings of homes for sale, you may see references to “short sales.”  You may hear vague warnings about avoiding short sales from some people, while others tout the advantages.  So who is right?  Well, it depends…

Short Sales Defined
First, what is a short sale?  A short sale is a situation in which the current market price of a home would not, in fact, cover the amount the home owner owes on the mortgage.  Yes, that's what people mean when they say they are “underwater” – they owe more on their home than it is worth.

Since the mortgage can't be paid off by the sale of the house, short sales become an option, albeit a complicated one. The seller and the bank (or banks, as is

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If you're sitting in your apartment right now thinking: I wish I could paint it, but my lease doesn't allow it, maybe it's time to talk to a Santa Cruz real estate agent about purchasing a new home.  Before you rush off to the store to look at paint samples or, more importantly, sign on the dotted line of any mortgages, consider the pros and cons of buying.

Pros

1. Financial Investment: Given the gloomy news on foreclosure rates across the country, it is easy to forget that buying Santa Cruz real estate is also a means of saving and investing.  The money you pay in rent to your landlord goes to your landlord; the money you put toward a mortgage goes toward building equity in your home.

2. Pride of Ownership: By buying a home, you will be able to

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In today’s precarious job market, many luxury homeowners are finding they can’t afford their massive, custom-designed properties any longer. As the once rich are having to quickly sell or abandon their Santa Cruz real estate, you might be able to snag a good deal on a distressed luxury home.

There are many horror stories associated with short sales and foreclosures, but if you do your research, are patient and can act quickly, you might be able to purchase the home of your dreams. If you want to take advantage of this sour market, then consider the following guidelines — and happy house hunting!

• Find an agent who has experience with distressed real estate. Interview Santa Cruz real estate agents to find out their history of dealing with

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You might be scratching your head right now wondering why in the world you would want to hire a real estate agent when you’re buying a Santa Cruz home for sale by owner (FSBO). You may even have the misconception that real estate agents can't work for you if you want to buy a FSBO.  That's not true. 

Real estate agents can represent your best interests when purchasing FSBOs, just like they do when purchasing homes listed with a real estate agency. You get the same service from your agent whether he or she is helping you buy a traditional Santa Cruz home for sale or a FSBO.

Here are three benefits to working with a real estate agent when buying a FSBO:

1. It could save you thousands of dollars.

Most people consider buying a FSBO because they

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