Upwards view of historic home with rose bushes

Starting your search for your next home can be difficult, and getting your dream property can be even harder. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or second, third, fourth, or fifth, one of the best ways you can ensure that your new home is perfect for you is by using a local, knowledgeable agent.

However, there are a few things that you will probably want to look out for when you are starting to look at homes. The Santa Cruz area has, over the years, become very popular; top-rated schools, picturesque neighborhoods, and incredible natural beauty all intersect in this city. For buyers just starting out on their journey, here are a few of the things to look out for when browsing homes in Santa Cruz.

Interior Upgrades

Whether you’re interested…

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Field of wildflowers and Santa Cruz mountains in background

The city of Scotts Valley, California is known for its excellent location; the perfect option for commuting professionals (either south to Santa Cruz or north to Silicon Valley) and families. Scotts Valley neighborhoods tend to preserve the beautiful, natural features of the area, and as a result offer homebuyers a slice of the forest lifestyle. 

There are a number of Scotts Valley communities to choose from—but which one is best for you? We outline five of Scotts Valley’s most exclusive neighborhoods below.

Granite Creek Estates

Looking for luxury? Your search ends here. Granite Creek Estates are found at the end of Granite Creek Road, east of Scotts Valley Drive. This quiet neighborhood is home to sprawling houses on the area’s hillside,…

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Santa Cruz County is most notable for its beautiful beaches, its vibrant atmosphere, and the abundance of things to do! If you’re in the market for a home in this area, there are plenty of options available in the numerous coastal communities and beyond. 


But what if you’re not exactly sure where you’d like to settle? Do I want a forested escape or a seaside retreat? What can I get for my budget? These are important questions to ask! Keep reading as we answer what $2,000,000 can get you in two very desirable Santa Cruz County areas: Aptos and Santa Cruz.


Pink beach themed interior of home

Santa Cruz

The county seat of Santa Cruz County, this beautiful city is one of the most desirable places to live in the area. It’s home to a plethora of shops and restaurants…

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Birthdays, holidays, weddings—these are all occasions that can sort of stress us out. Even if it’s someone we’re close to, many of us struggle with the age-old conundrum, “What do I get them as a gift?”

The moving process can also be a big headache, especially for a first-time homeowner. Real estate in the beautiful city of Santa Cruz is highly sought-after. If someone you know has recently purchased their first home, then this is a huge step. But again, we’re left the question of what to give them as a congratulatory gift!

Forget an awkward bottle of wine, here are our top picks for some of the best gifts you can give a first-time Santa Cruz area homeowner!


Colorful small appliances on kitchen counter

Small Kitchen Appliances Or Cookware

Some of us like to give gifts that…

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Boy at sunny beach in Santa Cruz County


The area of Santa Cruz County is known for its beautiful beaches, outdoor recreation opportunities, and fun and exciting attractions—which is why people love to visit! But what is it like to live here? And how ideal is it for families?

We’ve crunched the numbers and have compiled a list of the best family-friendly neighborhoods, based on the following criteria: safety and security of each community, quality of schools, available properties, accessibility and number of local amenities, and general satisfaction of residents in the area. 

For new families thinking of moving into the Santa Cruz County area, but don’t know where to start, here is our list of the best places to live!


Aptos, located east of Santa Cruz and Capitola,…

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You’ve found the perfect home for sale in Santa Cruz and a mortgage loan with the best interest rate you can find. What’s next in the home buying experience?


It's time to sign the contracts, ensure the contingencies are covered, and pay your portion of the closing costs.

But what exactly are closing costs?

These are the most common closing costs in Santa Cruz real estate (click for a full description of each):

  • Title Fees
  • Recording Fees
  • Appraisal Fee
  • Mortgage Application Fee
  • Inspection Fees
  • Points
  • Brokerage Commission
  • Underwriting Fees
  • Property Tax

Understanding Home Buyer Closing Costs

While working with a real estate agent comes at no cost to you as a buyer, there are still fees you may be…

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what is an escrow account

When buying your first home, it's easy to get caught up in the various new terminology for things.

Some things like insurance, interest rate, conditions, home inspections are fairly straightforward, but escrow may be a whole new term to you.

To ease any confusion, here's a quick summary of what an escrow account is and how it differs from the escrow process when buying your first home. 

What Is An Escrow Account?

Escrow accounts are sometimes called "impound" accounts. These accounts are set up to help manage payments of property taxes and homeowner's insurance.

Depending on the individual requirements of the lender, you may be asked to pay as much as one-quarter of these upfront and they will be put into the account for the…

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New construction vs resale homes in santac cruz california

The homebuying process can be difficult.

When looking for a home, there are so many things to consider, such as location, homestyle, and budget. And another important aspect to consider is whether you want to buy resale or new construction.

Santa Cruz real estate has a generous mix of both resale and new construction homes, giving homebuyers plenty of choice.

But what’s the difference between one and the other? Which is better?

Believe it or not, there are crucial differences between the two home styles—all of which could make you rethink what’s best for you.

Here are the differences between buying a resale vs. new construction home in Santa Cruz, CA:

Energy Efficiency and Green Building

Energy efficiency is becoming a high…

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5 most affordable communities in santa cruz to buy a home

Recently, Santa Cruz was named one of the five least affordable real estate markets in the United States of America. A median home in Santa Cruz would run someone approximately $650,000. Over 100 percent of a families wages would go towards paying their mortgage. With all this negativity towards purchasing homes in Santa Cruz, we’re going to bring a little positivity to the process. You might be asking yourself, is there affordable housing in Santa Cruz?

The short answer? Absolutely.

Here are the top five most affordable communities in Santa Cruz to buy homes:

Watsonville, CA

Located at the southern end of Santa Cruz County, Watsonville is known for its rich agricultural heritage. Moreover, it is a hotbed for berries. This “small” town…

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how to set up a legal short-term rental  in your Santa Cruz home

Short-term vacation rentals are a great source of income for homeowners in Santa Cruz. However, the city council is starting to crack down on many properties that don’t necessarily follow all the rules and regulations for short-term vacation rentals. Although the industry for vacation rentals is not largely regulated, changes could be on the way that could make a big difference to your vacation rental property.

Here are some tips for setting up a legal vacation rental in your home:

Do the Proper Research

Before renting your vacation property, it’s important to do the proper research and determine if you are allowed to rent it out. Check with the city and county codes for any notices on short-term vacation rentals. A good way to do this is by…

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