If you watch the Santa Cruz real estate market, you probably know it’s finally showing a little bit of upswing, with national home sales going up by 2.4% in May.  While lower mortgage rates and more affordable home prices, along with an $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers, has made selling a home easier, you may still end up holding on to that house for quite awhile.  Instead of selling straight out, consider renting to own. 

Called a “rent-to-own” or “lease-option,” these deals normally require paying around 5% of the overall purchase price in up-front fees.  In addition, buyers are usually required to pay extra rent each month.  This is a win-win situation for both the buyer and the seller.

For you as the seller, you have regular rent that goes…

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If you’re putting up your Santa Cruz home for sale, it may be time to bring out the brush and spackle.  This doesn’t just mean on the outside, but everywhere.  If you’re not sure whether you need to do it, here are a few ways to tell:

1.  Peeling exterior – You may be used to the home and not see the peeling paint, but, as any real estate agent will tell you, curb appeal is very important.  If buyers don’t like the way your home looks on the outside, they very seldom go inside.  If the paint is peeling, it’s time to redo it.

2.  Eye-catching colors – While you may enjoy your robin’s egg blue house with canary yellow shutters, buyers may not.  A Santa Cruz home for sale needs to be painted in a way that the buyers can see themselves living in it.  If…

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If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person who really likes getting your hands dirty, now is a great opportunity to find a piece of Santa Cruz real estate you can enjoy.  As an occasional DIYer myself, I know how hard it can be to find that perfect piece of fixer-upper real estate, but here are a few tips on what to look for:

1.  More ground than house – Almost every do-it-yourselfer I’ve ever met enjoyed puttering in a garden and beautifying a yard.  Not only can it be relaxing, but done right it can also up the value of the place if you decide to sell later.  Having a beautified yard increase the value of the property is much easier to do if you have a large amount of ground to work with.

2.  Expansion possibilities – If it’s a small house (or even a…

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If you’re thinking about refinancing your Santa Cruz home, you might want to think about a few other things first.

1.  Are the mortgage rates higher or lower than when you first financed your house?  If current mortgage rates are lower, refinancing might be a good idea.  If they’re higher, however, you should reconsider.

2.  Why are you refinancing?  If you’re trying to get a better mortgage rate, it might be a good idea.  However, if you’re refinancing to pay off credit cards or go on vacation, not only should your probably not refinance, you probably shouldn’t be going on vacation, either.

3.  Do you currently have a fixed rate or an adjustable rate mortgage?  Since mortgage interest rates are still rising, it might be a good idea to refinance to a…

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Real estate investments are still going strong and will probably continue to be a popular method of financial gain into the future. Real estate is solid. It is a tangible product that is attractive to both beginning investors and experienced pros. The most important part of getting started in Santa Cruz real estate investing is knowing what you're getting into and what to watch out for.

Here are 4 top tips from real estate investment professionals:

Understand the Realities

Real estate investment, like any form of investment, is risky. Do not use money you cannot afford to lose. Careful study, understanding the market, and practice help alleviate a lot of the risks but things happen in the best of situations so don’t play with what you can't afford to…

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What is home staging and how will it help you sell your home?  Staging Santa Cruz homes for sale is, quite literally, setting the stage for buyers.  You want the home to look good, you want it to have the right atmosphere to attract buyers, and you want the first impression to blow them away.

Staging a home can mean sprucing up the paint job, eliminating clutter, moving furniture around – practically anything that makes your home look better to the buyer is staging.  Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire a home staging professional, it can, and will, help you sell your home. 

Here are a few pointers on how to stage your home and how each suggestion can help sell your home faster or for more money:

1. Style – Although the decorating styles of…

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When it comes to success, it is often seen that those who have it share similar traits. These traits are usually shared by successful people in many different fields. The same is true of successful Santa Cruz real estate investors.

If you want to become a rich real estate investor, consider these traits that most successful people possess:

1) The ability to see possibilities rather than simple realities. The best Santa Cruz real estate investors can look at a rough piece of property, an abused home, or a vacant block of commercial buildings and see the potential within those places instead of the run-down, or empty parcels that actually exist. Being able to visualize the property as it could be, and conceptualize the project is vital to success.


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When you're looking for your new Santa Cruz home you probably know how many bedrooms you want, what kind of kitchen is important to you, how many bathrooms are necessary, but there's much more to consider before you fall in love.

More to Surroundings than Just Landscaping

When you walk into a prospective Santa Cruz home and fall in love, it's often easy to lose the big picture. Take a look around outside too. Is the home close to factories, railroads, airports, power plants or other disturbing or potentially dangerous installations? A beautiful home on a lake, river or other body of water might seem like Nirvana but is it properly situated in case that water rises?

Older Homes Have Classic Beauty and Classic Hazards

Older homes were often built with…

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Thanks to President Obama’s ambitious plan to improve the housing market, being on the list of foreclosures in Santa Cruz doesn’t necessarily mean that foreclosure is inevitable.  You have options, and the President’s loan modification program makes keeping your home even more possible. 

Overview of the Plan

The President’s plan to reduce foreclosures in Santa Cruz is based on the thought that struggling homeowners wouldn’t sell their houses if they could only make the monthly payments.  Due to this belief, participating lenders are required to reduce monthly payments for homeowners who qualify until they’re no more than 38% of the homeowner’s monthly gross income.  After that, the government lends a helping hand.  Between the lender and the…

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From birthdays and anniversaries to graduations and weddings, your home has seen many great days. But, you also may find yourself making repairs more often, and you could begin to get the feeling you need a change. This change can come by remodeling your Santa Cruz home or selling it. Before you make a decision, consider a few very important factors.
• What does remodel mean to you? — If your idea of a remodel is as simple as replacing flooring and adding fresh paint, that should be an easy fix. But if a complete demolition job is involved, you'll probably save yourself money and a lot of headaches by buying a new home.

 Factor in finances – Whether you plan to remodel your Santa Cruz home or move, money is involved. Figure out if it financially makes…

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