October 2013

Found 9 blog entries for October 2013.

A recent study of US and UK home buyers, conducted by the London based Nationwide Building Society, found that more than 40% of people buying homes were confused by the jargon that lenders used to describe mortgages. When it comes to taking out a mortgage on your Santa Cruz home, could confusing mortgage jargon be costing you money and causing you to make ill-informed choices?

According to the study, only 31% of home buyers understood what the term “LTV” meant, an acronym that stands for “loan to value” and describes the ration between the amount of the mortgage and the value of the home. Not only did the survey show that many mortgage borrowers were confused about what the terms meant, but they also were shy about asking for explanations of various

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The kids are back in school, the weather is getting cooler and your yard is covered in a layer of fallen leaves. Yep, it’s that time of the year again, but don’t think of fall leaves as a chore. They can be a useful resource for fertilizing your lawn or even decorating your home for autumn.

Finish The Raking
It’s tempting to just let the leaves lie in the yard. It’s good fertilizer anyway, right? Wrong. You should rake everything up as soon as the trees begin to look bare, or else risk the blanket of leaves smothering your lawn over the winter season. Gather them up in plastic bags and put them to use.

Refuse To Rake Leaves
If you can’t bring yourself to pick up a rake, you do have an alternative. Wait until the leaves are dry and crunchy and fire up

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Barbeque season is all but over, and you won’t be spending as much time out on the deck. Don’t let it get you down though. Spring will be here before you know it. There are a lot of things that can wear down and damage your deck, so protect your deck and make sure it stays in tip top shape over the winter

Cover The Furniture
You want your deck to look as good in the spring as it does now. The first step is to cover all the furniture. (don’t forget the grill!) Cover everything with commercial furniture covers or just use a tarp. Be sure that the covers fit snuggly though. They won’t do any good if they’re blowing through the neighbor’s yard. If you’ve got the space, make room in the garage for the deck chairs and table. They’ll last longer if you store

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Making the decision to build a home might be one of the biggest you make in your life. You’ve found the perfect plot of land and have a vision of what type of home you want, but you need someone to bring your dream to life. That means it’s time to start interviewing architects.
 
Hiring an architect isn’t as simple as just calling up a few and seeing who might have the time. You’ll want to ensure you choose a professional that understands your design aesthetic, communicates well, can design on budget and has an upstanding reputation. Below are a few key questions to ask when deciding whom to hire.
 
Do You Have A Specific Design Style?
When interviewing architects, be sure to ask each one if they have a specific aesthetic and if you can see a portfolio of his…
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If you are looking to buy a Santa Cruz home, you might be wondering whether you should be looking for properties that are right in the center of the city or whether a better option would be to buy a property on the outskirts or in a rural area a short drive away.
The rural or urban decision will ultimately be up to you, as there are advantages and disadvantages to either option. The main difference will lie in your priorities – what type of lifestyle is most important to you?   Living In The City One of the main perks of buying a property that is located in the heart of the city is that you will be able to enjoy convenient public transportation and you won’t have to use a car to get everywhere. You are likely to have a shopping center and…
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Home inspections are a tense time for everyone. Sellers are fervently hoping that nothing major is wrong with their home that could hold up the transaction. Buyers are eager to hear that their new house is in prime condition. Whatever the wishes, one thing is for sure; any news from an inspector is usually bad news.

Home inspectors have a tough job. They have to be trained to spot hundreds of potential issues with a home and be knowledgeable of local codes, community restrictions and residential permit parameters. Stay one step ahead of your home inspector by reading the list of common home inspection issues below. Then hopefully your inspection won’t reveal any unwelcome surprises.

Electrical Wiring
This is a common bubble-busting issue, especially

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The last of the vegetables are out of the garden, and most of the flowers have bloomed their last bloom, but you’re outdoor work isn’t finished just yet.

Put a few more hours into your yard now, before winter, and you’ll ensure a healthier flowerbeds later. Plus, your yard will be easier to manage when it comes back to life in the spring.

Clean Out The Annuals
Get rid of anything that isn’t coming back next year. If you still have green beans coming in or mums that have yet to bloom, then leave them. Any plant that has run its course needs to be pulled out of the garden and laid to rest in the compost pile. The rotting plant matter can harbor insect eggs, spores and diseases, which can linger all winter and cause problems in the spring.

Fertilize

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When you own a Santa Cruz home, there are additions that you can make to the property that will improve the value of your home. For example, a newly renovated kitchen or bathroom is a popular choice that will really make the home more desirable to buyers. 

Also, adding storage space or a well-thought-out family room or other practical space can be a very good investment that will bring up the home’s value. However, there are other projects that are not really worth your time or money and will allow very little opportunity to recover your costs when it is time to sell the property. Here are a few examples of things that you think might add to the value of your home, but really don’t.

An Elaborately Landscaped Garden
A beautifully landscaped garden

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Having your home broken into is completely violating. Burglars don’t just steal your stuff; they steal your peace of mind. While this is the sort of thing you think will never happen to you, it’s worth the time and effort to make sure you’re not a target. Below are five strategies to help secure your home against a break-in.

1. Use Landscaping As A Barrier
Purposefully place plants in spots that create a natural barrier to your home. Plant thorny rose bushes in front of bedroom windows and remove overgrown shrubs that provide coverage for creepers. Also, trim back any tree branches that might make an open upstairs window accessible.

2. Put In A Security Alarm
While a loud alarm might not stop a burglar from quickly grabbing the large flat screen in

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