There are a lot of financing options to help you buy Santa Cruz real estate, if you can meet the credit guidelines. 

Most lenders prefer to use 30-year mortgage loans.  With a longer loan term, the lender can collect more money in interest over the life of the loan.  For those who are credit-worthy, a 15-year mortgage term may be offered.  So, what is the difference between the two?  Here are a few guidelines:

What About a 30-Year Mortgage?

Thirty-year mortgages are becoming the normal term for Santa Cruz real estate loans.  The payments are usually more affordable and lenders are quick to recommend them.  Lenders are more likely to offer you a higher loan amount with a 30-year loan, but the trade off is usually a higher interest rate. 

What Are The…

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Even those with a steady job and sufficient income are cautious about signing their mortgages for Santa Cruz homes for sale. They realize that signing mortgages set them up with payments for a significant amount of their lifetimes. Others worry, especially now, about losing their jobs in an unstable economy. The “what if” game begins, and potential homebuyers know that, if they lose their job, there’s a very real possibility they might lose their home.

Job-loss mortgage insurance gives homebuyers a “fallback plan” should they ever lose that stable income. It’s a definite relief to many who want to buy Santa Cruz homes for sale, but can job-loss mortgage insurance really help homeowners? Or, is it just another way to swindle the innocent out of…

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There are many different ways to update your Santa Cruz home to make it more eco-friendly. 

• In your Santa Cruz home, install ceiling fans and thermal windows.  Ceiling fans are low energy, cost effective ways of cooling your home without using the air conditioning.  Thermal windows offer insulation from outside heat and cold. 

• Use foam caulking around any cable lines or cords leading to an exterior wall.  This will provide insulation against temperature changes.

• In the winter (or in climates that are cool year round), use the natural sunlight during the day.  Opening the drapes and allowing the sun to come in decreases the amount of energy needed to light and heat your home.  Closing the drapes at night adds another layer of insulation against…

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You’ve reached that time in your life where you’re ready to buy Santa Cruz real estate.  Even though the mortgage approval process can be intimidating, you can get yourself ready to apply for a loan.  These are the first steps to buying your home:

Make a List

First, make a list of your finances.  Include all your income, and factor in your normal monthly debts.  Miscellaneous bills, like your daily coffee or weekly magazine, should be listed too.  Write down everything that you spend each month.

Calculate what 28% of your income is.  Most loan officers recommend not spending more than 28% on your housing costs.  You may not want to take on a mortgage loan for the maximum amount offered without consulting your list to see what money is actually…

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With the current Santa Cruz foreclosure woes, and the strains of the economy these days, many people are worried about what they’ll do when their ARM (adjustable rate mortgage) resets.  Here are a few suggestions to help you weather the current financial storm:

What is an ARM?

ARM refers to a mortgage loan that has a variable interest rate.  The amount of the monthly payments will change several times over the life of the loan.  ARMs usually have a lower introductory interest rate than a fixed-rate mortgage.  After a period of time, the interest rate is recalculated, resulting in a higher interest rate and monthly payment.

Get Out Your Loan Paperwork

Many homeowners are worried about what will happen to their monthly payments when the ARM resets. …

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People have asked me about FSBO (For Sale By Owner).  They want to know whether it’s a good idea to use an agent and the answers to many other questions on this topic. I admit it; I’m biased. I am, after all, a Santa Cruz real estate agent.

I’ll even go a bit farther and admit that I’m biased about my hometown. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re going to buy a house, you should use me as your agent and buy a house in this city. But then, that’s what most real estate agents will tell you.

Without the bias, however, there are some real issues with not using a Santa Cruz real estate agent (or any agent, anywhere, for that matter).  And, there’s one BIG issue…

The Contract!

Okay, here’s the deal. A real estate contract, like any contract, is a sealed…

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Working to have a safe Santa Cruz home environment is important to everyone.  We want our children to have safe water, clean air, fresh food and a healthy earth for their future.

One area where you might consider decreasing your impact on the environment is in your own home construction. 

There are several ways you can have a safe and clean green home construction.

• Find a “green” builder to help with your Santa Cruz home.  Search the Internet for professional green builders.  It takes a special contractor to coordinate the elements of home building to ensure maximum energy savings.  Buying green materials is just one step toward having a green home.  To achieve ultimate efficiency, the different structural parts of plumbing, electricity, gas lines,…

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Everybody wants to know how the housing market is doing, especially if they own Santa Cruz real estate. I try to keep the newsy pieces to a minimum and spend most of my Internet space on helpful pointers, but a lot of readers have asked about the market. In response to high demand, here’s a peak at the current national foreclosure trends:

Foreclosure Trends

It’s a wonderful thing to own any kind of real estate (although I’m partial to Santa Cruz real estate, of course). Unfortunately, many people have lost their homes due to foreclosure since the housing crisis started; there have been over 7.8 million since 2007. California, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Illinois and Michigan have been topping the count for foreclosures, adding up to 62% of the nation’s…

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Owning a Santa Cruz home can be a sign of independence and success.  It allows you to build up equity and the mortgage interest and property taxes are tax-deductible.  Can you afford it, though? 

Reputable lenders look at a list of criteria to decide how much they’ll loan you.  This list includes:

• Credit score
• Existing assets including cash
• Car leases or loans
• Credit card balances
• Debt consolidation loans
• Home equity loans
• Installment loans
• Student loans
• Other monthly debts
• Size/source of your down payment

If you’d like to get an idea of what you can afford before talking to a lender, here are a few tools you can use to decide whether a Santa Cruz home is within your budget:

• As a rule of thumb, your house hunting budget shouldn’t be more…

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More festive candles are used in your Santa Cruz condo during the holidays than at any other time of year, so it’s important to review the safety rules.  Here are few tips to keep your condo safe:

Candle Placement Preparation

It may sound silly, but you need to prepare before you light that candle.  First figure out where you want to place the candle in your Santa Cruz condo. 

• Find a heat resistant surface. 
• Make sure there aren’t any books, papers, curtains, or bedding nearby. 
• Watch out for flammable holiday decorations. 
• Keep the candle away from windows and vents, and check for signs of a draft. 
• Place the candle where children and pets can’t reach and where it isn’t likely to be bumped into.
Getting Ready to Light the Candle

• Before…

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