When you first start talking about buying Santa Cruz homes for sale, you’ll hear “Oh, you should get pre-qualified first,” or “you should get pre-approved first.” So who’s right? What’s the difference between the two?  Is there any difference at all?

Pre-qualified Loans

Before shopping for Santa Cruz homes for sale, you want to look at lenders. Not all mortgage lenders are created equal. Especially now, with the rocky economic times, you have to be especially careful who you get your mortgage through.  When you find a lender you’re comfortable with, you have two choices: start shopping for houses or get pre-qualified for a loan.

Pre-qualification for a loan is based on the best estimate of the loan officer, not “set-in-stone,” verified facts. The…

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When home values started dropping in 2007, a lot of homeowners panicked and immediately began putting their houses on the national and Santa Cruz real estate markets. The supply of homes for sale rose to a staggering amount and prices dropped lower, fueling more homeowners to “get out while they still could.”  However, as 2009 rolled to a close, a new trend that may mean a calming of the panicked markets began.

Meet the Nesters

During the real estate boom, house flippers popped up from everywhere. In fact, flipping houses became such a big industry that cable channel A&E began producing “Flip This House” for those who wanted to try it themselves. Houses had become financial investments, a way to build equity or even immediate cash. However, as prices…

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Few things sound better than paying off a thirty-year Santa Cruz real estate mortgage early.  Not only will you be free of mortgage payments, you could also save thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of the loan.  Here are four ideas to help you pay off your mortgage early:

1. Apply any windfall monies you receive to your mortgage balance.  Be sure to indicate that this is an extra payment and should be applied exclusively to your principle. 

2. Make bi-weekly mortgage payments.  Making exactly one-half payment every two weeks will add up to a total of twenty-six half payments per year.  Or, thirteen whole payments each year instead of twelve.  That’s the secret to paying off a Santa Cruz real estate mortgage early with bi-weekly…

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We’re all looking for ways to cut costs in our Santa Cruz homes.  One of the most efficient ways to save money is to insulate.  There are two simple ways to insulate your home that you may not have thought of before.  Here is the low down on each of them:

Add Weatherstripping

You may be familiar with weatherstripping on your car, but have you ever thought about weather-stripping your house?  It comes in many different sizes, so you can easily choose the right kind for your Santa Cruz homes.  Pre-weather stripped doors are now sold in many home improvement stores. 

When choosing which weather stripping to buy, consider the amount of friction that it will need to stand up to.  It would be better to use vinyl weatherstripping in high traffic areas. You…

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Getting rid of clutter in your Santa Cruz homes can be a challenge for anyone.  We are overwhelmed with junk mail, paper from our children’s school, bills, magazines, trinkets, toys and clothes.  It can be difficult to sort through the mess to determine what we really need.  Even when the clutter is all sorted, new clutter seems to replace it overnight. 

There are several ways that you can get rid of the mess in your home.

• Start in one room and finish it.  It can be overwhelming to try to organize a whole house.  Start in one room and go through it.  Discard things that you have not used in the last six months.  If you have not worn it or used it in that time, then you don’t need it.  Discard all broken or stained items.  You aren’t going to fix them,…

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If you’ve recently applied for credit to finance a Santa Cruz real estate purchase, and were declined, you might be wondering why a lender would deny you credit.  Most lenders have a checklist of qualifications necessary to get approval for a home loan, and some don’t have anything to do with what your credit score is. 

Here are the basic reasons a lender may deny a mortgage loan:

• Little or no credit.  You may be under the mistaken impression that no credit is better than bad credit, but you’d be wrong.  A blank credit history is not something a mortgage lender wants to see.  A lender needs some idea of how you make payments.  You can build your credit history by getting a department store credit card, and only using thirty percent of your available…

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Chances are you’ll have to work with electricity in your Santa Cruz home at least once.  You might have to replace a broken ceiling fan or install a garbage disposal. 

Always keep these things in mind when with working with electricity:

• Turn off the power at the main panel box.  If you only flip off the switch, you’re in danger of receiving an electrical shock that could prove fatal.

• Use a voltmeter to test the wires after you shut off the power.

• Thoroughly read all the instructions, including the safety information, that come with the item you’re going to install.
• Wear protective equipment like goggles and use only materials intended specifically for that purpose.

• Have an inspector out to look at your work.  It’s better to err on the…

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2009 was a rough stretch for many Santa Cruz home sellers and buyers, but new reports hint at possible stabilization in the housing market that may prove beneficial for everyone. As 2009 rolled to a close and 2010 opened into a new year, economic and real estate reports poured out good news, but bad news wasn’t far behind. For each positive note, there is always that unavoidable “but”:

• Mortgage rates are holding steady below 5%, thanks to government intervention. Thanks to the low rates, more people are buying and refinancing. However, the downside is that banks are more reluctant to refinance or loan. This leaves many, who want to buy a Santa Cruz home, with the inability to do so. Ironic that, in a buyer’s market, it’s the banks with all the selling…

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Don't despair if you are short on cash. You can still have a beautiful Santa Cruz home. Sometimes a little elbow grease is a decent replacement for extravagant money, and other times you can get great deals by shopping around for items that are usually costly.


Simple things can mean a lot. You can change the entire look and feel of a room by simply changing the window treatments. New drapes or blinds add warmth and appeal and instantly give your Santa Cruz home a fresh new look.

If that's not enough, a fresh coat of paint transforms any room. Paint is one of the least expensive home decorating tools, and you can save even more money by doing it yourself instead of hiring a painter. It doesn't require a lot of skill and is hard to do wrong.


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The kitchen in your Santa Cruz home offers multiple ways to improve energy efficiency.  It can be challenging to have versatility, style, comfort and design while still being energy efficient.  The good news is that small changes can be easy to make, without breaking your redecorating budget.

• Use the appropriate cooking utensils in your kitchen.  Most electric stoves are equipped with two small burners, and two large ones.  Make sure that you are using your small pans on the small burners, and large pans on the larger burners.  Using a small pan on a large burner wastes energy, adds heat to kitchen, and may cause the handles to warp on the pans if they become too hot.  Place lids on your pots and pans when they are on the stove, this will conserve the…

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