Buying A Home In Santa Cruz County
Looking at buying a home in the Santa Cruz, Capitola or Aptos area?
There’s more to finding it than meets the eye. We will take you through the home buying process, oversee the details, and guide you to the home of your dreams… every step of the way. With Realtor Hyko Roppel, you’ll benefit from his extensive knowledge of neighborhoods, housing types, and proven contract negotiation. And, with automated searches that alert you by email, you’ll be sure to never miss out on the perfect property.
Begin your Home Search here. With this powerful, user-friendly search engine, finding the right home for you in the right location, has never been easier.
Where do I begin the process of looking for a home?
The first thing you should do is focus on what you’re looking for in a home. You can start by establishing priorities in the following three areas:
Location: Are you relocating to a new town because of a new job, or to be closer to your current job? How will the location of schools, shops, and transportation affect your choice of neighborhoods?
Personal tastes: How large a home do you need? What style of architecture do you prefer? On what kind of lot? Depending on where you live, you may have a choice of homes in dozens of styles, sizes, and settings.
Budget: How much home is wise for you to own?
As you consider these areas, do a little research of your own. Look through magazines for ideas about home styles and features. Drive through neighborhoods that appeal to you to see what’s available. Read the real estate listings in the newspaper to learn about current prices in the areas you’re considering. Talk to friends about the features that you’d really like to have in your home. The more knowledgeable you become, the better your final decision is likely to be.
How do I know for sure how much home I can afford? We’ve found that affordability is probably the single biggest concern of today’s first-time home buyers. Given the wide range of media coverage regularly devoted to the issue, it’s not surprising that many young families wonder how long it will take them to afford their first home. Our advice: Don’t sell yourself short. Talk to your real estate agent. A good agent is committed to honestly and responsibly working with you to determine your affordable price range. There are many financing options available today, and some include low down payments. Your agent will help find an option that fits your budget, and you may be surprised at just how much home you can afford.
What should I think about when I’m deciding which community I want to live in?Good city services, nice parks and playground facilities, convenient shopping and transportation, a track record of sound development and good planning — these are just a few considerations that are important to many people when they choose a community in which to live. As for individual neighborhoods within a village or city, there is no better source of information than your real estate agent. Agents know the people and the communities they serve, and chances are they can help you find a neighborhood that really fits your family’s needs. To assist you with your community research, give us a call today.
How can I find out what homes are selling for in a given neighborhood? In most areas, home sales are a matter of public record — you can get all the information you want about recent sales, including prices and listing times, by calling the county Recorder of Deeds. An easier way is to ask your real estate agent. If you’re interested in a particular home, an agent may be able to provide you with a list of comparables — sale prices of homes in your area that are roughly the same size and age as the home you’re considering. Although there will certainly be some differences between the homes — the house next door may have an extra bedroom, or the one down the block may be older than the one you’re looking at — it’s a good way to evaluate the seller’s asking price.
When I start visiting homes, what should I be looking for the first time through?The house you ultimately choose to call home will play a major role in your family’s life. A home can be an excellent investment, but more importantly, it should fit the way you really live, with spaces and features that appeal to everyone in the family. As you look at each home, pay close attention to these important considerations:
- Is there enough room for you now, and in the near future?
- Is the home’s floor plan right for your family?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Will you have to replace the appliances?
- Is the yard the size that you want?
- Are there enough bathrooms?
- How much maintenance and/or decorating will you need to do right away? Later?
- Will your present furniture work in this home?
What should I tell the agent, Hyko Roppel, I’m working with about the homes I look at? Tell Hyko everything you liked and didn’t like about each home you see. Don’t be shy about talking about a home’s shortcomings. Is the home too small for your needs? Let Hyko know. Was the home perfect except for the carpeting? Let Hyko know. However, remember that the real estate agent is frequently paid by and working for the seller. The seller’s agent is obligated to help secure the best price for the seller. In addition, agents working for the seller may also report any confidences you share to the seller – including a willingness to pay a higher price should the seller not accept your initial offer(s). This is why you may want to be represented by a buyer’s agent because he/she will keep your input confidential. A buyer’s agent puts the interests of the buyer – not the seller – first.
How do I know I’m getting the best value for my money? A professional appraisal is the best way to tell if a home is priced fairly. A real estate appraisal is an unbiased opinion of a property’s value based on its style and appearance, construction quality, usefulness, and other factors, including the value of comparable properties nearby. When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will have a professional real estate appraiser perform an appraisal of the property.
I’d like to have a professional look at the home before I buy it. What does a home inspector do? For your own safety, and to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth in the home you choose, using a professional home inspector is highly recommended. A home inspector will check a home’s plumbing, heating and cooling, electrical systems, and look for structural problems, like a damp or leaky basement. Usually, you call an inspector immediately after you’ve made an offer on a home. However, before you sign any written offer, make sure that it includes an inspection clause or other language which says that your purchase obligation is contingent on the findings of a professional home inspector. Your home cannot “pass” or “fail” an inspection, and your inspector will not tell you whether he or she thinks the home is worth the money you are offering. The inspector’s job is to make you aware of repairs that are recommended or necessary. A seller may be willing to renegotiate a price to accommodate needed repairs, or you may decide that the home will take too much work and money. A professional inspection will help you make a clear-headed decision. In choosing a home inspector, consider one that has been certified as a qualified and experienced member by a trade association. Your real estate agent may refer you to qualified inspectors in your area.
When I’ve found the home I like, how do I make an offer? When you’ve found a special house you want to call home, you’ll probably feel excited and a bit nervous. Let the agent know you’re ready to write an “offer to purchase” — a written document that declares how much you will pay for the home, provided that certain conditions are met. Because it’s a legally binding contract that you will sign and date, it may be a good idea to have a lawyer review it before you sign, or within the grace period noted in the contract. This is the time when it is most important for you to keep in mind that the agent is the agent of the seller (unless you are working with a “buyer’s agent”). As the legal agent of the seller, the agent is obligated to help the seller get the best price, and he will report to the seller any confidence you share. It’s best to make your offer to the agent without sharing your willingness to offer a higher price if the seller does not accept your offer. Your offer should have a time limit for the sellers to accept, reject it, or make a counter-offer. If a counter-offer is made, you’ll have some time to respond. Often, several offers go back and forth until an offer is accepted, or one party decides to end negotiations.
How do I determine the amount of my initial offer? There is really no rule to use in calculating a realistic offer. Naturally, the buyer wants the best value and the seller wants the best price, but negotiations can be influenced by many factors, such as a seller who may be changing jobs and wants to sell quickly, or a buyer who really wants a specific home. After you’ve looked at the home’s features, asked questions, checked comparable home prices, and talked about it with your agent, you should have a good idea of what the home’s value is in the current market. Consider what you can afford, and make an offer that you consider to be fair. Most buyers and sellers negotiate on price, with both sides “giving” a little until both agree. At that point, you typically will begin the process of arranging for an inspection and applying for a mortgage. Contact Hyko for information preferred Mortgage brokers in the Santa Cruz area.
What’s “earnest money” and how much do I need? When you sign an offer to purchase, your agent will ask you for earnest money — that is, money that shows you are serious about wanting to buy. Usually, you will be asked to write a check for 1% to 3% of the sale price. If your offer is accepted, your earnest money will be deposited into an escrow account and will be included as part of your down payment. If your offer is not accepted, you’ll get back all your earnest money.
What will happen on closing day?
- The lender’s representative will ask for your paid home insurance policy.
- The agent will list the adjustments. These include the money you owe the seller (the remainder of the down payment, prepaid taxes) and what the seller owes you (unpaid taxes, prepaid rent).
- You will sign the mortgage. This gives the lender legal rights to the property if you don’t make your payments.
- You will sign the mortgage note which is the promise to repay the loan in regular monthly payments.
- You will get title from the seller in the form of a signed deed.
- The lender’s representative will collect the closing costs from you and give you a settlement statement of all the items you have paid for.
- The deed and mortgage will be recorded in the town or county Registry of Deeds.
- If you have additional questions about the closing process, talk with your agent.