March 2012

Found 17 blog entries for March 2012.

March leaves you anxious for the arrival of spring with its alternating bursts of winter and spring weather.  While there is nothing you can do about Mother Nature’s grip on winter, you can freshen up your Santa Cruz home for the spring that’s just around the corner. Here are a few ideas to brighten the core rooms in your home:

Living/Family Room:
• Change out all dark-colored throws and pillows and add brighter pastels and colors. 
• Remove heavy drapes and replace them with light sheers that let in more light and brighten things up.
• Don’t forget to clean the windows so they sparkle as well!
• Replace candles with vases of bright-colored flowers.
• Add a lush plant in front of or inside the fireplace that will not be used again until fall.
• Replace dark

1,126 Views, 0 Comments

You’ve decided it’s time to sell your home. Now you’re dreading the process of finding a Santa Cruz real estate agent. Don’t worry! There are many outstanding agents available. Just be sure to interview at least three agents and call a few of their clients to check their references before making your choice.

To help you through this process, here are six key questions to ask when interviewing Santa Cruz real estate agents:

1. How many homes have you sold in this area in the last year and how long did it take you to sell them? Obviously, the more homes sold the better and the quicker the homes sold the better. Don’t go with a real estate agent who has sold nothing in the last six months. That most likely means they don’t know how to sell in the

741 Views, 0 Comments

Real estate professionals call it staging, or showcasing, the best features of your home to get top dollar when you sell.  Selling your Santa Cruz real estate is a lot like romance, it pays to set the mood.

Here are some tips to make your home show ready:

1. Clear out as much furniture as you can: Donate it, put it in storage, or have a garage sale. Your home needs to look spacious, not cluttered.

2. Nix the cigarettes: Buyers are sensitive to cigarette smells.  Many buyers will not even tour a home if they smell cigarette smoke.

3. Let there be light: Open the blinds and turn on the lights.  If the whole house is dark, that’s a problem.

4. Get a home inspection: Do it now so you’re aware of any problems and can make any necessary repairs

872 Views, 0 Comments

Preventive maintenance is crucial to the value and upkeep of your home.  Keeping your Santa Cruz real estate in great shape with regular check-ups will save you the headache and cost of emergency repairs.

Here are six items to add to your outdoor spring maintenance checklist:

1. Clean the Gutters:  Gutters work best when clean and free of gunk.  Check yours for foliage, tree limbs, etc., especially if trees hang over the roof.

2. Make sure the downspouts are clean:  They should point at least two feet away from foundation walls.

3. Check exterior paint: Look for chipped, cracked paint.  Scrape off any failing paint, sand it down, prime the surface, and paint it with a high-quality, low-VOC exterior paint.

4. Brighten your Santa Cruz real

856 Views, 0 Comments

More and more Santa Cruz homes have several generations living under one roof. Bloomberg News reported that, in 2010, 5.1 million households contained three generations, compared with 3.9 million a decade earlier. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of multi-generational families living together grew by 30 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Whether you have an in-law moving in to save money or an adult child returning after losing a job, you’ll appreciate a growing line of new homes marketed to multi-generational families. Here are some of the features you can find in this new generation of Santa Cruz homes:

• An attached one-bedroom suite with a private living area, bathroom and kitchenette. The suite has a separate entrance, its own garage and

1,169 Views, 0 Comments

You’ve found the perfect Santa Cruz home that you know should be well within your budget. Now all you need to do is secure the loan — but you’re turned down by bank after bank. In today’s economy, many buyers are facing this exact issue. They have the means to meet their potential mortgage payment. Unfortunately, an issue in the past damaged their credit score and it’s preventing them from getting a loan.

If you’re contemplating purchasing a Santa Cruz home, especially if you’re a first-time buyer, you need to do everything you can to boost your credit score. This will make it more likely that you’ll qualify for a loan and will help you secure a lower interest rate. Below are a few steps to get you started:

• Get a free credit report. You can do

1,132 Views, 0 Comments

Homeowners and homebuyers want to save money on utility bills and also want to make their Santa Cruz home better for the environment.

Whether you’re prepping your Santa Cruz home before putting it up for sale or you just want to make a few changes so your home is more environmentally friendly, here are 11 ideas to choose from:

1. Put in CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs or LED bulbs that conserve energy: CFLs use a quarter of the electricity as regular bulbs.
2. Upgrade your existing windows: Replace them with high-performance, insulated windows.
3. Use green, non-toxic organic, VOC-free paint: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are found in paint and harm the air we breathe.
4. Remove your old non-green carpeting: Carpeting can emit allergens and

1,400 Views, 0 Comments

There’s good news for buyers and sellers of Santa Cruz real estate: The U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook that came out the end of February is encouraging. According to this research done by Freddie Mac, both the economy and the housing market are showing cautious signs of recovery.

Here are some of the changes stimulating these improvements in both nationwide and Santa Cruz real estate markets:

• Loans that were seriously delinquent or going into foreclosure declined to the lowest quarterly share since the start of 2009, according to the latest Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Delinquency Survey.

• In January, existing home sales were at their highest since May 2010, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

• Job gains

1,140 Views, 0 Comments

Flowering shrubs add interest to any landscape and early spring is an ideal time to plant them. Shrubs are relatively maintenance free. Once you plant them, they are a perennial source of beauty.

Keep these tips in mind as you plan how to dress up your Santa Cruz home with shrubs.

• Plan ahead. Make sure you know how tall your chosen shrub will grow. Don’t place a tall selection in front of a window where it will block your view.

• Coordinate colors. Consider how well the color of your new shrub’s flowers will complement the color of any established flowers that will be blooming nearby at the same time.

 Go for fragrance. Flower color is not the only thing to consider. What could be nicer than having the scent of lilacs wafting through the

921 Views, 0 Comments

More and more Santa Cruz homes have several generations living under one roof. Bloomberg News reported that, in 2010, 5.1 million households contained three generations, compared with 3.9 million a decade earlier. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of multi-generational families living together grew by 30 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Whether you have an in-law moving in to save money or an adult child returning after losing a job, you’ll appreciate a growing line of new homes marketed to multi-generational families. Here are some of the features you can find in this new generation of Santa Cruz homes:

• An attached one-bedroom suite with a private living area, bathroom and kitchenette. The suite has a separate entrance, its own garage and

779 Views, 0 Comments