Driving down the streets of the city, you’ll see a lot of Santa Cruz homes for sale.  What you’ll also see, however, are homes for rent.  What’s the difference?  Why did these people decide to rent out their home?  Why did that homeowner become a landlord?

There are a lot of reasons for renting out your home, rather than adding it to the list of Santa Cruz homes for sale:

1.  The competitive factor – The current housing market is great for homebuyers, but not so great for home sellers.  With so many homes to choose from, your property has to stand out from the rest to get sold.  Sometimes, it could take months, or even years, to sell your house.  During that time, renting can be a good way to make the house profitable.

2.  Belief that the area will…

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As a Santa Cruz real estate agent, I get to meet people from all ends of the spectrum: buyers, sellers, renters, etc.  I also come across other agents, and it constantly amazes me at the different outlooks surrounding the real estate profession.  Many buyers think sellers and real estate agents are out to stiff them.  On the opposite side, many sellers think buyers and agents are out to stiff them.  Unfortunately, even some agents think both are out to stiff them.

I know they say “it’s a dog eat dog world”, but if everybody was truly out to stiff everybody else (rather than just get a fair deal), nothing would ever get done.  There’s a big difference between a good agent and a crummy agent.  So, maybe we all need to be reminded of what a good Santa Cruz…

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If you’re one of the many people dealing with Santa Cruz foreclosures, you will probably be moving to a smaller, more affordable place.  When it’s time to move you don’t want to leave the important things behind, but you may not have room for everything, either.  Here’s a checklist to help you get the important stuff taken care of within the last month:

1. Change of address – With the rate Santa Cruz foreclosures happen, you want to make sure your change of address is one of the first things you do.
2. Find a moving and packing company.
3. Clean out your safe deposit box and transfer it to the new area.
4. Get your family’s medical records, school records and other important papers.
5. Change your insurance policies for your home.
6. Get a fire resistant safe

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Are you looking for something to do around your Santa Cruz home this weekend that will also help the environment? Why not do a quick green renovation at home. Incorporating green products and practices in your home save our natural resources and are better for your health. Here are a few simple projects you can work on this weekend.

1. Floors. You can easily replace the floor in a room during a weekend. Bamboo and cork floors are excellent environmentally-friendly choices because they are renewable sources. They come in a variety of colors and styles so you can find something that will match your current décor.

2. Paint. Painting a room is a quick and easy way to change its look. However, traditional paint is loaded with toxic fumes that can aggravate…

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Are you looking to buy new construction?  Many people are, but just as many aren’t aware that their newly built Santa Cruz real estate comes with options and add-ons.  In addition, they see a handsome price on new construction and think they’ve stepped into an unbelievable deal, not understanding that the price they’re looking at is for “bare bones.” 

Here are just a few of the options and upgrades you might want to have your real estate agent talk about with your chosen builder:

• Flooring – The “standard” for flooring is cheap carpet and thin padding.  If you’re going for hardwood floors, you also may not get what you envision.  An important thing to keep in mind is that most builders make their money on the upgrades and options.  While they may…

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Contract activity for pending home sales has risen for six straight months, a pattern not seen in the history of the index since it began in 2001, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in July, increased 3.2 percent to 97.6 from a reading of 94.6 in June, and is 12.0 percent higher than July 2008 when it was 87.1.  The index is at the highest level since June 2007 when it was 100.7.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the housing market momentum has clearly turned for the better.  “The recovery is broad-based across many parts of the country.  Housing affordability has been at record highs this year with the added stimulus of a first-time buyer tax…

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Sep. 4, 2009 -- Mortgage rates ended summer on a softer note, drifting back to late-spring levels. A pause (at least) in stock markets after a strong summer run saw some investors shift cash from equities into less-risky investments to lock in gains, driving influential Treasury yields lower.

The overall average rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages revealed in HSH's Fixed-Rate Mortgage Indicator (FRMI) nudged downward, slipping seven basis points (.07%) to close the first week of September at 5.56%. The overall average for 5/1 Hybrid ARMs lost five basis points to landing at 4.87%. Conforming 30-year FRMs finished the period at 5.25%, a level last seen in late May.

Construction Spending fell by 0.2% in July, while outlays for commercial properties…

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Some pet owners love their pets like children and, if you’re one of them, you’ll be understandably concerned about choosing a Santa Cruz home for sale that your pet would be comfortable in.  There are definite ways to make sure you get just that; here are just a few of them:

1.  The features of the home are particularly important.  Before you go shopping for a pet-friendly house, make a list of things your pet likes.  Also make a list of things your pet might destroy.  For instance, many cat owners find their pets ripping up the carpet.  A home with wood floors might be ideal.  If you have a dog, it's probably important to have a fenced yard.  Many things are easy to overlook, but you’ll be sure to consider them if you make a list first.

2.  The home’s…

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Many who have put their Santa Cruz home up for sale in the past year are still waiting to put that “Sold” sign in the yard.  If this is you, don’t panic! There’s still hope for closing the sale this year.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, home sales have risen five months in a row. Great news for everyone currently in the real estate market. Why are they rising? A few reasons:

• Mortgage interest rates are at an all time low.
• Home prices are dropping to become more affordable.
• Buyers have a large selection to choose from, which encourages buyers that might otherwise have held out.
• First time buyers are rushing to buy before the $8,000 tax credit ends, which means closing the deal before November of this year.

Here are a few tips to…

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Some buyers would much rather have a brand spankin’ new Santa Cruz home – fresh, clean and untouched.  Does this describe you?  Then read on and learn some of the guidelines for getting the best deal on your dream home.

Be on the lookout for disreputable builders…

Reputation is everything for a builder.  Ask for recommendations from people you know, but also do your research.  Check with the Better Business Bureau.  Talk to people in the same development about their experiences with the builder.  Look over the homes in the early construction phase to see what type of materials and quality of workmanship they provide in areas such as the foundation and plumbing.

Use your own agent…

Although a builder might offer the use of an agent, keep in mind that…

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