Your children will be going back to school this month, and you should follow suit if you’re going to pick the right Santa Cruz real estate agent to sell your family home. Brush up on your area’s comparables and do your homework when it comes to hiring a professional — a good one can make the process smoother and less stressful.

While your children are studying for quizzes, educate yourself by interviewing multiple Santa Cruz real estate agents. Below are questions to ask, so that you can ensure you choose the one with the highest marks!

• Grade Level – Ask how many years they’ve been in the business and if they’re a full time agent.
• Check Their Scores – How many homes have they represented in the last twelve months? How many have sold? What were…

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When it comes time to put your home on the market, you need to be prepared for the fact that you’ll be opening up your life to a whole lot of strangers. While most are actually interested in purchasing your Santa Cruz real estate, there could be a crook masquerading as a potential buyer looking to make a quick score at your open house.

Don’t fall victim to deceptive con artists! Look over the quick tips below to make sure you and your home are safe and protected:

1. Hire a licensed, reputable agent. Make sure you ask around for recommendations. Check with the state to make sure he or she is properly licensed and inquire with the better business bureau to see if there have been any complaints filed.

2. Double-check the lockbox. Reputable agents will…

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You drive by a Santa Cruz home for sale and want to see it. You call the listing agent’s number on the for sale sign.  What is wrong with calling the listing agent (also known as the seller’s agent)?

In states where agents are allowed to practice dual agency, the listing agents may assume that if they show you a home they have listed they will get the buying commission in addition to the listing commission. To make sure you’re both on the same page, immediately let the listing agent know your intentions. You can do that by telling him or her your current situation and future plans:
• I’m already working with a buyer’s agent
• I’m going to hire a buyer’s agent
• I’d like for you to represent me, even though you’re the seller’s agent.

You might think…

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Your home can run like a well-oiled machine, if it’s well taken care of. You maintain your car on a regular schedule so why not do the same thing for your biggest investment – your Santa Cruz home.

It’s important to keep track of your home maintenance schedule, including what was done and when it’s due again. You also want to be able to easily find instruction manuals, appliance warranties and receipts. In most homes, those important documents are stuffed in a drawer, jammed in a filing cabinet or lost in a pile of papers.

If that sounds familiar to you, get organized by creating a three-ring home maintenance binder. When you sell your Santa Cruz home, give this binder as a gift to the new homeowner. Here are some of the documents you might want to…

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You just bought a new Santa Cruz home and are preparing to make the move. Your house is packed, you’ve picked out the perfect paint colors and you’ve arranged for the family’s travel — but you forgot about Fido and Mr. Fuzzyworth.

While animals can’t voice their excitement or anxiety about moving like your children can, pets go through similar emotions when they’re removed from their familiar environment and introduced to a new one. You can make their move as painless as possible, with just a little bit of planning and consideration.

• Make sure your pets have ID. Whether there’s a mix-up at the airport or they give you the slip at a gas station pit stop, a current collar ID tag will hopefully have your furry friend back in your arms in no time. For…

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For the last few years, the news in the housing market has often been gloomy, but the tide is finally beginning to turn for buyers and sellers of Santa Cruz homes! The Pulsenomics LLC survey of 100 economists points to modest gains in home prices starting in 2013 -- and those gains will continue through 2016! 

Improving Real Estate Market

While some prices are still slated to drop in 2012, those losses will likely mark the bottom of the trough.  The tumultuous times in the real estate industry are, according to most economists, behind us.

Those tough times have left their mark, however. For instance, many former homeowners who have gone through foreclosure will find it difficult to return to homeownership because of the impact on their credit.…

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If you’re in the market to buy a Santa Cruz home, you may not be able or willing to spend $12 to $14 million to purchase a celebrity’s home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look at them –  virtually, that is.

In today’s celebrity showings, we’re not going to look at Santa Cruz homes. We’re going to take a virtual trip to Emeril Lagasse’s New York City townhouse and Mark Wahlberg’s resort-sized estate in Beverly Hills.

Emeril Lagasse’s New York City Townhouse
As you might expect, this home has an enormous gourmet kitchen. It also boasts a full-floor master bedroom suite with a charming terrace. Don’t worry about running up and down the stairs of this 5-story (plus rooftop solarium) townhouse because it has an elevator. This home has been marked down…

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Figuring out how much to offer for the Santa Cruz real estate you want to buy can lead to sleepless nights. You don’t want to offer too little and lose the home, but you don’t want to offer too much and overpay.

You may ask your real estate agent how much you should offer. Real estate agents can guide you, the buyer, but don’t expect the agent to name your price. Your agent will suggest price ranges and offer market information to help you make your decision, but the final offer is your decision. 

Why don’t real estate agents simply tell you exactly what you should offer?

• They aren’t mind readers. Yes, real estate agents have more knowledge about the market value of real estate than non-real estate professionals. That doesn’t mean they can get…

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Wouldn’t it be nice if all the doors in your Santa Cruz home swung freely and quietly and closed with a neat “click,” just the way they should? Maybe you’ve adapted to all the idiosyncrasies of each door and don’t even notice how they add vexation to your life. But visitors will notice — especially if they’re potential buyers. In today’s market, you can’t afford to have anything working against you, no matter how subliminal. So let’s fix those annoying doors. Pick your problem:

Lock problems.
If the key to the door to your Santa Cruz home is difficult to turn in the lock, don’t try to oil it. This will only attract more dust and make things worse. Instead, get a tube of graphite powder from the key department at your hardware store. Insert the tip of…

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With the slump in the economy, many would-be home buyers are being more cautious than they might have been ten years ago. This is a good thing, especially if it’s their first Santa Cruz home. Smart buyers budget their income, do their market research and get their funds in order before they begin house hunting.

Whether you’re ready to purchase a new Santa Cruz home now or the dream is still a little ways down the road, take the time to prepare your finances now. Below is some advice to consider before starting your home search.

• Save, save, save! You’ll need to have a down payment of about 10 to 20% of the price of the home, unless you qualify for a Federal Housing Association loan. FHA loans usually only require a down payment of around 3.5% of…

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