According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2010-2011 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, nine out of the top 10 most cost-effective projects (based on value recouped) are exterior replacement projects.  Here are the four most cost-effective exterior replacement projects:

1. Steel entry door replacement.  This project returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1 percent of cost recouped when the Santa Cruz homes were resold.  It’s the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. 

2. Midrange garage door replacement.  This is the first year this project ranked high enough to make it into the report.  It’s expected to recoup 89.9 percent of costs.  According to the report, a “midrange” price for a garage door replacement is…

1717 Views, 0 Comments

When buying or selling your home, there are many long-term conditions you should take into consideration for future planning. Will you look back years from now and wish you had not sold? Will your new home be something that you’ll love long term?

In today’s chaotic Santa Cruz real estate market, jumping from one home to another every few years may no longer be a financially viable option. When purchasing a home for the long term, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

Questions for long-term Santa Cruz real estate planning:

• Death in the family - If you’re a couple, what would happen if one of you passed away? Would the home you currently live in still work? That acre lot may not look as attractive, if you’re going to be the only one…

1498 Views, 0 Comments

Buying a home is one of the few occasions in which some form of negotiation is the rule rather than the exception.  Just because it is the norm, however, does not mean that most people are good at it. 

Here are a few tips to help you negotiate the best deal when buying your next Santa Cruz home:

1. Know your bottom line.  Determine your bottom line and stick to it.  This sometimes means you have to be willing to walk away from a deal.   It also means being realistic about what you’re asking from the seller.  Many sellers are faced with the fact that their home may not be worth what they paid for it.  This puts limits on the concessions a seller can offer.

2. Stay flexible.  For example, what if the Santa Cruz home you'd like to buy needs a new heating…

1406 Views, 0 Comments

The Internet has made researching real estate easy for anyone who knows how to surf online. Whether researching real estate to sell homes or to find for their next big investment, many property owners and home buyers think they’ll save a lot of money by doing all the work themselves.

However, statistics show that you’re more likely to sell your property quicker or find your dream house faster when you work with a professional Santa Cruz real estate agent.  Working with an agent provides you with an expanded housing database, years of property-purchasing knowledge and valuable contacts for everything from inspections to loans.

The trick is to find the right Santa Cruz real estate agent to fit your needs.  Here are 5 tips to help you find your perfect…

1551 Views, 0 Comments

When you buy a Santa Cruz real estate in a subdivision, co-op or planned unit development, you may be subject to a host of rules and regulations as established by the Homeowners’ Association (HOA) governing that development. 
You’ve most likely heard of HOAs, but you may not know exactly how they operate and how they can impact you and your Santa Cruz real estate.  In this article, you’ll get information on some of the broader issues that you should be aware of when moving into a community governed by an HOA.

What is a Homeowners' Association?

It is a corporation formed by real estate developers to market, manage and sell homes and lots within a development.

Does the Santa Cruz real estate developer retain control of the HOA forever?

No.  After a…

1490 Views, 0 Comments

Buying your first Santa Cruz home is exciting, but it can also be expensive, especially if you’re unaware of the mistakes frequently made by many first-time home buyers.  Here are six common mistakes many first-time home buyers make and how to avoid them:

1. Going it alone.  Buying a Santa Cruz home involves a lot of little (and big) details.  Additionally, buying a home is the most expensive purchase you’ll most likely ever make.  All that adds up to needing a professional on your side.

2. Hiring your cousin.   Although your cousin (or cousin’s best friend) may be a real estate agent, it doesn’t mean she’s the right agent for you.  Do your homework.  Interview at least three buyer’s agents to find the agent who meets all your criteria.  If your cousin…

1456 Views, 0 Comments

Have you ever heard of the 203k rehab loans offered through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)?  If you’re rehabbing Santa Cruz homes, it might be just the loan you need. 

What is a 203(k) Loan?
The FHA developed the 203(k) program to help revitalize homes throughout the country.  This program provides insured loans that can be used to rehab, rebuild or modernize existing Santa Cruz homes.

What are the Benefits of a 203(k) Loan?
This is a one-stop loan, which means one loan finances both the purchase and rehabilitation of your property.

The mortgage amount is based on the projected value of the property after the work has been completed.  The mortgage takes into account the cost of the rehab including labor charges, permits, drawings, etc.  The…

1576 Views, 0 Comments

Today’s turbulent real estate market means the days of selling Santa Cruz homes without any planning or preparation are a distant memory for most people. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, because there is tons of competition and buyers are not hunting Santa Cruz homes in a hurry like they once were. To sell your house quickly, staging and well-thought-out marketing plans are now necessities — not luxuries.

Do you know how to best present your property? What are the most effective ways to get buyers in the door? Using the tips and techniques below, you can begin to emerge from your rabbit hole and quickly move on to your next home with as much money in your pocket as possible.

Selling techniques for Santa Cruz homes:
• Price it Right – No amount…

1497 Views, 0 Comments

Spring is here and there is no better time to give your yard a fresh look.  Here are a few simple tips to make your Santa Cruz home sparkle this spring.

Tip #1:  Everything is blooming; take advantage of it. 
Clean out the flower beds and let them shine.  Don't have a flower bed?  Now is the perfect time to create one (or more).  Visit your local nursery to purchase small starter plants, large mature plants and everything in between.  Mix them to make your beds look their best.

Tip #2:  Get a lush lawn.
Reseed your yard, or if you don't want to wait, purchase sod rolls.  If your lawn is in good shape, take the time to edge the sidewalks and driveway.  Mow in a pattern to give your lawn a manicured look.  To keep your grass healthy, alternate the mowing…

1466 Views, 0 Comments

If you’re searching for a new house, don’t get fooled into purchasing a Santa Cruz home you can’t actually afford. Many new homeowners find themselves in a pickle when they fall in love with a property that has high monthly mortgage payments. Being house poor could lead to a confining quality of life, increased stress and possibly foreclosure.

Before buying a Santa Cruz home, do your research to determine all the actual costs involved with purchasing and owning the home.  Without the proper tools and budget, you could be biting off more than you can chew.

Here are four tips to help you get a manageable mortgage:

1. Save up – If you’ve saved and can provide a large down payment, you’ll be able take out a smaller loan, which will result in lower monthly…

1460 Views, 0 Comments