Selling a home is stressful enough without having to worry about developing marketing strategies, showing the house and dealing with contracts. That’s where a Santa Cruz real estate agent can help.

Whether they’re helping you buy or sell property, Santa Cruz real estate agents have extensive experience and training that makes it easier to find the buyer or house that meets your standards. Using the multitude of tools at their fingertips, real estate professionals reach out to more potential buyers, have access to listing databases and can easily determine a good offer from a bad one.

Without an agent, you could be missing out on many of the following tools, resources and expertise he or she has to offer:

• Valuable Experience – From staging a…

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As home buying picks up pace with spring in full bloom, here are a few tips every Santa Cruz home buyer should keep in mind:

1. Plan to stay in the property more than 5 years.  Typically, home values appreciate 7% per year; that number has been 2% to 5% recently, so it will take longer to break even and begin making a profit or building equity in your home.

2. Do the math.  First, figure out what price range you can afford.  Then, calculate how much income is left after paying the mortgage, taxes and insurance.  Use an online affordability calculator to make this easier.

3. Explore the neighborhood.  At various times of the day and night, visit the neighborhood of a Santa Cruz home you are interested in.  Find out if it’s an area in which you’ll…

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If you’re getting ready to put your Santa Cruz home up for sale, it’s time to make all those repairs that have been simmering on the back burner.  When buyers come looking, they want things in tip-top shape, otherwise they think you have not been taking care of the property.

Here are your ten must-do repairs before putting your Santa Cruz home up for sale:

1. Repair the roof.  Maintaining a sound roof literally tops the list of crucial home repairs. Replace missing shingles and fix damaged shingles.
2. Clean, clear and caulk gutters.  When the weather is dry, get on a ladder and clean out all the leaves and debris from the gutters.  Check their condition, repair any loose sections and caulk around the end caps.
3. Fix sagging screen doors and other…

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You can just have fun visiting open houses when you’re not ready to buy Santa Cruz real estate.  But get serious and shop like a pro when the time is right for you to buy.

Here are tips that’ll have you shopping like a real estate pro at the next open house you attend:

  1. Preview the Santa Cruz real estate online: Don’t waste your time attending open houses for properties that don’t meet your minimum requirements.
  2. Remove the emotion: Professional real estate investors
    and agents don’t allow emotions or gut feelings to determine which property
    they should buy. Instead, focus on the facts and figures.
  3. Dig deep: Don’t fall for the fresh coat of paint and new carpeting. Peel back those layers to see what condition the home
    is in. Open under-sink…

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The closing is the final step in purchasing your Santa Cruz real estate. The closing date is set during the negotiation phase and is usually several weeks after the offer is formally accepted. During the closing, the buyer and seller complete the purchase contract and ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.

Before the closing can occur, all terms of the purchase contract must be met. As you can imagine, problems can come up which delay the closing.  Here are seven tips to ensure a smooth and problem-free closing on your Santa Cruz real estate:

1. Communicate. Talk with all parties involved in the deal, from your agent to your lender, and discuss what to expect.  Get in touch with each of them to make sure they have everything they…

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Whether it’s your mother’s, mother-in-law’s or grandmother’s Santa Cruz home for sale that needs work, make the effort this Mother’s Day to give her your time and make a few quick improvements. Fixing up a Santa Cruz home for sale can be overwhelming, especially if costly repairs are needed.

To give you some ideas, here are six fast and inexpensive improvements that will have your loved-one’s Santa Cruz home for sale looking better and selling faster:

1. Neutralize the rooms. Your father might take pride in his fly-fishing-inspired man cave, but potential buyers may not love it. Pack away as much of the fishing memorabilia as dad will allow, and brighten the room by painting it a neutral color.

2. Add lighting. Modern track lighting can help…

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These days, over 80% of all home buyers begin their search for homes online. So it’s crucial to market your Santa Cruz home for sale by owner online to reach as many potential buyers as possible.

An Internet listing of your home gives buyers 24/7 access to your home. Unfortunately, a poorly executed Internet listing can hurt rather than help your home sell.  Here are six tips to effectively market your Santa Cruz home for sale by owner (FSBO) online:

1. Upload the best possible pictures.  Make sure you use a good digital camera.  Cell phone cameras will not work for this purpose.  You want great quality pictures for potential buyers to see all the glory of your home.

2. Include photos of your home’s best features. Whether it’s a great view, the…

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You’ve decided it’s time to buy a new home, and you’re ready to hire a Santa Cruz real estate agent to help you through the process. Wise decision!

The agent you hire wants to provide the very best service for you.  Here are several things you can do to help your Santa Cruz real estate agent do the best work for you:

1. Share your expectations. Exactly what do you want your real estate agent to do for you? Do you want him or her to provide an update to you weekly? What’s your preferred method of communicating – phone, email or text?

2. Get pre-approved for a loan. When you’re pre-approved, you have a better chance of getting that perfect home you find because sellers prefer to work with buyers who have been pre-approved for a mortgage. You’ll…

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In this economy, every leg up on other sellers will help your home sell faster and at the price you want.  If you’re not getting the offers you want on your Santa Cruz home, here are nine ideas to get things moving in the right direction:

1. Get an appraisal.  Knowing what a professional appraiser thinks your home is worth gives owners a reality check. It also helps you determine the best price for your home.

2. Get a home inspection before listing your home.  Find out the hidden problems with your Santa Cruz home and correct them in advance. If you get your home inspected and find problems but elect not to repair them, be sure to include the problems on the property condition disclosure form.

3. Consider offering a home warranty.  Everyone likes…

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Mortgage lenders are primarily concerned with your ability to repay your Santa Cruz real estate mortgage.  They will consider your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and how much you have for a down payment before telling you what you can afford to spend on Santa Cruz real estate.

Credit Score

One of the first things your lender will review is your credit score.  Credit scores range from a low of 350 to a high of 850.  In this case, the higher, the better.  The lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate and points will be, and the lower the amount of home you’ll be able to afford. If your score is too low, you may not qualify for a mortgage. If your score is low, you may need to take some time to improve your credit score before buying…

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