December 2010

Found 16 blog entries for December 2010.

Start a new holiday tradition:  Give the environment a holiday gift this year by going green.  Here are six green traditions you can begin at your Santa Cruz County home:

1. Use LED lighting.  Save energy and protect the environment by using LED lights.  LED lighting is 90 to 95% more efficient than non-LED lights. 

2. Decorate organically.  Use seasonal fruits as decoration, which you can eat afterwards, or are at least biodegradable. Pomegranates and oranges are good choices. Use organic holiday decorations such as grapevine wreaths, eucalyptus, fresh pine and pine cones.

3. Give environmental gifts.  Help others go green by giving environmentally focused gifts.   People who brown bag lunch would enjoy a reusable lunch bag, homeowners could use

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At this time of year, we typically don’t think a lot about safety.  We’re all too busy running around shopping and decorating our Santa Cruz County  homes.

Have a fun, merry and safe holiday this year by implementing these 10 safety tips:

1. Never use lighted candles on a Christmas tree, whether it’s an artificial or live tree.

2. Purchase artificial trees with a Fire Resistant label.  This label doesn’t mean the tree can’t catch fire; it means the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.

3. Check for freshness when purchasing a live tree.  Needles that are hard to pull away from branches and that do not break when bent indicate a fresh tree.  Sticky resin on the tree’s trunk is another sign that a tree is still fresh.  Old trees can

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Buying a home that has been foreclosed on is a great way to get deals whether you are an investor or want to live in the home you purchase. There are a few things about buying a Santa Cruz County foreclosure that differ from an average real estate purchase.  Here are a few tips to help you cash in by buying a foreclosed property:

Hire an Agent who Specializes in Foreclosures

Not all real estate agents have experience in buying Santa Cruz County foreclosures. If you have a professional agent on your side who understands the process, you’re one step ahead of the game.

Inspect Closely

Like all real estate you’re considering buying, it’s important to inspect a potential foreclosure purchase. The former residents most likely didn’t move out under favorable

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Buying a home used to be celebrated. It was a sign of growing up and “getting somewhere.” Yet, tell someone you bought Santa Cruz County real estate now days and you might just get wide eyes and a gasped, “You did WHAT?”

If you’re still trying to decide if buying Santa Cruz County real estate is for you, consider all the reasons why people are still buying homes.

Well, first, you have the reasons that have stood the test of time:
     • Once you buy a house, it’s yours until you decide to sell it.
     • You experience pride of ownership.
     • There’s also a sense of security in owning your own home, which is something missing in renting.

While those traditional reasons are tried, tested and true, there are others:
     • Mortgage rates hit an

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Selling your home takes more effort than simply listing your Santa Cruz County home for sale in an MLS and placing a For Sale sign in the front yard. You have to showcase your home in a way that makes potential buyers desire it.

One of the best ways to create this desire is to stage your home so that buyers can see themselves living in it.  Here are the 10 most important things to do when staging your Santa Cruz County home for sale.

1. Remove personal touches. Buyers want to picture themselves in your home, not you and your family. Remove family photos, memorabilia and collections.

2. De-clutter. Clear the bathroom and kitchen counters. Take knickknacks off the shelves. Pack away half of the kids’ toys.

3. Organize your cabinets and closets. Take

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Whether you’re planning on selling soon or just want a comfortable home to live in now, here are five projects that increase your Santa Cruz home’s comfort and value:

1. Uncover hardwood floors.  Is there a hardwood floor lurking under your Santa Cruz home’s carpet?  If you're not sure, pull up the carpet in an unnoticeable corner and investigate. If you find wood floors, you’ll probably need to refinish them, but that’s a lot less expensive than installing new hardwood flooring.

2. Add ceiling fans.  Everyone likes to save money, and adding ceiling fans can reduce your electric bill considerably.  Central air conditioning costs about 70 times more to run than a ceiling fan.  In the summer, fans can make you feel 3 to 8 degrees cooler, allowing you to

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