You already know that the quality of your buyer's agent can make or break a deal.  To find a quality Santa Cruz real estate agent, you know that you need to interview several agents and consider their years of experience and levels of service. 

There's one thing you might not have thought to take into account when hiring a buyer's agent:  the communities in which they specialize.  Here are six benefits of hiring a neighborhood specialist:

1. Get insider's knowledge of the Santa Cruz real estate market:  Your neighborhood specialist knows the history of neighborhood homes including who owned them and when.  He knows which streets are considered the most desirable and why.  He's up to date on neighborhood nuisances and their influence on home values. …

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A short sale happens when a lender agrees to accept less than the balance remaining on a home. It is a way for sellers to avoid foreclosure and sell their Santa Cruz homes.

It seems like a good idea for people who owe more on their home than it’s worth, but that doesn’t mean it is right for everyone. Should you consider a short sale on your Santa Cruz home?

Pros to doing a short sale:

• You will be able to sell your property, get out from under a mortgage you cannot afford and lower your debt.

• You can still sell your property in a declining real estate market, even if you owe more than the home is worth.

• Buyers sometimes get good deals on the property or may be able to buy a home at market value in a popular area they couldn't previously…

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When you decide to sell your Santa Cruz home, you hope to close the sale within a certain amount of time.  This is especially true if you're relocating or need to sell your home before buying another one.

Sometimes it takes longer to sell your home than you planned. When that happens, one option you have is renting your Santa Cruz home.

Renting your home is a way to generate cash flow while you wait for your home to sell. It can help you cover your mortgage costs and avoid foreclosure. You also still have a chance to sell your home for a profit when the market recovers or you find a qualified buyer.

• If you choose to rent your home, you should plan to rent it for at least one year. Most renters prefer the security of a lease. You do have the option…

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When you’re ready to sell your Santa Cruz real estate, you want to make sure it's attractive to potential buyers. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your home, but with all the paint colors available to you, you may wonder which colors are best.

There are two primary things to consider:

1. Function. What is the room primarily used for? Some rooms are easy to label. After all, there are only one or two uses for the kitchen or bathroom. But what about great rooms or family rooms?  Rooms like that are most often used for relaxation and recovery from a busy day, and, therefore, should be painted in soothing shades of blue or green. Busier rooms, like the kitchen, can handle stronger colors like red, orange, or bright yellow.

2. Size. Generally, the…

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The news is everywhere – and it’s good! Those who own or want to own Santa Cruz homes can take a deep breath.  Home equity is on the rise, according to a recent study by, an online real estate valuation researcher.  And, Federal Reserve economists agree. Although home equity isn’t what it was three years ago, it’s on the rise.

The Fed’s most recent “flow of funds” survey indicates that the net equity of national homeowners grew by almost $1 trillion over the first three quarters of 2009, and rose further by $418 billion between June and September of last year. Compared to before the bubble popped, that’s really not that impressive. However, after three straight years of steadily dropping equities, it could signify the long awaited end of the…

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Buying a home is often considered one of the most stressful things you will do in your life.  Unless you're a real estate investor, you will most likely experience home buyer stress.

You can help your Santa Cruz real estate agent find you a home, and successfully close the deal, if you are as prepared and knowledgeable as possible. Here are a few tips to help you be ready and make your transition as painless and stress free as possible.

Have all of your financial records in order. This includes:

• Income records: You usually need two recent pay stubs. If you are self-employed, it will get trickier.  Want to be even more prepared?  Get pre-approved for your mortgage.

• A clean credit report: Make use of those free credit reports and check for errors,…

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As a real estate agent for Santa Cruz homes for sale, part of my job is keeping up with current real estate news. Most of the time, I’m largely unsurprised by the news that comes across my desk, but this little tidbit blew me away.

For two years now, we’ve seen mass foreclosures, people walking away from their underwater mortgages and warnings that there’s more to come. Foreclosure numbers reached all time highs, housing prices have reached all time lows and half the country is unemployed. It’s enough to make a homeowner with one of the Santa Cruz homes for sale have a mental breakdown.

However, in February, the news went out, flooring most in the real estate industry: severe shortage of property predicted by the middle of 2011. This may sound…

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If you’re thinking of buying Santa Cruz real estate, now is the time to take advantage of this buyer's market.

Back in the “good old days,” (a few years ago) it was easier to qualify for a loan, with one-page loan applications, stated incomes and “no doc” (no documentation, meaning nothing had to be proven) loans. There were amazing loan programs, like 125% loan on the purchase price with no down payment.

Now, buying Santa Cruz real estate is more burdensome. No more “no doc” loans; lenders want every piece of documentation you can come up with. So then, why is it the best time to buy? And what does this have to do with your real estate team?

Although the current loan situation isn't ideal, it’s worth the effort to find a home you can afford. Here are…

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Choosing the right Santa Cruz real estate agent for you is a vital task. This is someone who will be inside your home, interacting with your family and working with one of your most valued possessions—your home. You need to find someone you trust to take care of you and give you the best advice. So what should you look for in an agent?

• Personality. You need to get along with your REALTOR®. Interview Santa Cruz real estate agents. Get to know them. Do you trust them? Can you ask them questions? Are you comfortable around them? Be honest as you answer these questions. If something doesn’t feel right to you, trust your instinct.

• Work Ethic. Does your real estate agent return your calls within a reasonable amount of time? Do they answer your questions…

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As you are looking for the ideal home for you and your family, you may find yourself trying to decide between two similar homes. You could have worse problems than this on your Santa Cruz home search, but how do you decide which home is better for you and your family?
Here are primary points to consider:

1. Location. This is where you are going to live. You need to consider how far away it is from work, schools, and shopping. You probably want to do as little driving as possible. A Santa Cruz home close to where you will be spending your time away from home may be the better choice for you.

2. Home repairs. What will you need to do to the home once you move in? Think about the time and money you will have to invest in the home before making your…

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