Before looking Santa Cruz real estate for sale, you need to know there's a possibility your mortgage application will be declined.  Keep in mind these top ten reasons for mortgage rejection:

1.  You and/or your partner are self-employed.  You'll need to show at least two years of tax returns to prove your income.

2. You recently made a large purchase.  Don't make a large purchase, such as a vehicle or boat, right before or after submitting your mortgage loan application.

3. Too much debt.  Lenders have guidelines for how much debt you have versus how much income you have.  If your debt to income ratio is too high, your application will be declined.  Reduce your debt to income ratio.

4. You applied for a credit card.  Usually, lenders will check your…

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 When you're talking about renovating, there's a fine line between historic Santa Cruz homes and money pits.  It's easy to get so attached to a house that you can't get past "what has been" to see "what is."  If you're thinking about renovating a historic home, you might want to read these tips first:

Renovating Tips

• Have a home inspector come out and look at the house you're interested in.  The inspector should be versed in older homes.

• Have a contractor come out and give you an estimate on repairs, based on their experience and the issues pointed out by the home inspector.

• Be aware that older homes may have issues with lead paint, asbestos and mold.  Have these issues checked out and add them to your cost.

• Set extra money aside for…

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If you're putting your home up for sale without a Santa Cruz real estate agent, you'll soon realize that you have to do the advertising.  If you want to try the FSBO (For Sale by Owner) route, here are a few tips on spreading the word:

A "For Sale by Owner" sign from the nearest hardware store is always a good place to start.  In today's tough real estate market, you'll need more marketing than that. 

In addition to FSBO signs, directional "home for sale" signs at intersections can also be useful.

Classified Ads
While they're not outrageously expensive, classified ads, which need to repeated several times to be most effective, can begin to empty out your pocketbook.  Talk with your local newspaper about the most economical plan they offer to get…

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No doubt you’ve heard about the soaring number of Santa Cruz foreclosures.  If you're thinking that now would be a good time to jump on the Santa Cruz real estate bandwagon by purchasing a foreclosure, here are a few tips to help you find (and buy) your dream home.

Arrange for Financing
Know how much home you can afford so you can determine your price range.  You don’t want to waste any time looking at property that won’t fit your financial needs.  If you do, you might even miss the deal you’re looking for.  Many lenders will pre-qualify you.  The process doesn’t take long and you’ll be able to look at Santa Cruz foreclosures with confidence.

Get a List of Santa Cruz Foreclosures.
Most banks and other lenders have a list of their properties that are in…

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Here are a few simple things you can do to go green if you own a Santa Cruz condo:
Going Green With Electricity

Saving electricity is an effective way to go green.  An environmental agency called McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), reported that energy efficiency could save two-thirds of the Earth’s emissions and help get the world halfway to the goal of reduced global warming gases.  This has never been more critical to our future as it is now.  Here are four suggestions for reducing your electricity usage in your Santa Cruz condos
 Invest in a more energy efficient refrigerator.  Each year this saves 200 terawatt hours in America.

• Turn the lights off when you leave your home or when you leave a room.  I know this sounds overly simple, but many of us…

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Your Santa Cruz home is your castle, but living like a king can get expensive.  If you find yourself digging in the sofa for change to go to the store, read these tips on cutting household expenses:

 Use less energy.  Turn off the lights before you leave.  If you're going on a two-hour trip and you spend one minute turning off all the lights, you're earning the equivalent of $50 an hour, or $0.83 a minute. 

• Install CFL or LED light bulbs.  They both have a longer life and use less energy than regular bulbs.  CFLs use about 25% of the electricity of a normal light bulb, while LEDs use about 2%.

• Install a programmable thermostat.  These regulate the temperature in your Santa Cruz home according to a set schedule.  These thermostats can cut your…

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Whether you’re looking for your next family home or an investment property, a foreclosure can be a great way to find a bargain. However, not all foreclosures are the same. Before you jump into a foreclosure, make yourself a smart buyer who knows a thing or two about Santa Cruz foreclosures.

1. Smart buyers know that that foreclosed properties are not automatically bargains. Banks want to make as much money as possible on their foreclosures. While you can sometimes find great deals, you are more likely to purchase a foreclosure for at or near market value. Look for Santa Cruz homes that are reasonably priced, not just those that are sold as cheaply as possible.

2. Smart buyers know that not all foreclosures are the same. Foreclosures fall into one of…

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When buying Santa Cruz real estate, you may find some unexpected problems.  Generally, these issues revolve around plumbing, wiring or sticking doors and windows.  Although they aren’t as expensive to fix as other issues, there’s always a possibility that they indicate bigger problems. 

Sticking Doors/Windows
Spotting wear and tear on doors and windows is fairly easy.  Check the hinges and locks.  Squeaking hinges or locks that stick indicate wear on seals and metal. 

Although sticking doors and windows aren’t a big deal in and of themselves, these issues can be indications of moderate to severe foundation problems.  If you find these issues in Santa Cruz real estate, make your way to the basement and look for cracks or dips in the floors and walls. …

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Many people think that Santa Cruz real estate agents have it pretty easy.  Once they start investigating, however, they find that being an agent is a difficult and time consuming job.

Real Estate Training
All states, including the District of Columbia, require agents to be licensed which requires hours of training and test taking. 

Depending on the state, you need between forty and ninety hours of specific coursework. 

Once the coursework is completed, you have to pass a state exam on real estate law and practice.  In most states, an agent then has to find a real estate broker to work with.

To become a broker and be able to manage their own brokerage, Santa Cruz real estate agents have to gain experience.  This means more coursework, as well as a…

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When buying a newly constructed Santa Cruz home, you have a chance to decide what type of lighting to use.  If you don't know about lighting styles and uses, or want to learn more, read these lighting guidelines.

Types of lighting
• Ceiling lights are generally used in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms – large areas.  One type of ceiling light is called a can, or recessed light, and is set into the ceiling to provide extra lighting when necessary.

• Track lights give a spotlight look, and focus light on a specific area of a room.  You can use these to highlight artwork on walls and pedestals, or above fireplaces.  Track lighting gives any room a more contemporary feel.

• Fluorescent lights add a lot of light without a lot of heat.  This type of…

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