January 2014

Found 14 blog entries for January 2014.

When the holiday season starts and the winter chill comes around, the heating bill at your Santa Cruz property will naturally increase as you keep yourself warm and cosy. However, if your home is not being heated efficiently, you are essentially letting your hard earned dollars escape into the air as wasted energy.

What are some simple and inexpensive ways that you can cut down your heating expenses this winter and save yourself some money?

Only Heat The Rooms You Are Using
If you work from home and are spending eight hours of the day sitting in your home office, there is no need to keep the rest of the house toasty warm. If you have heaters that you can turn on and off for each room, you can direct the heat to the room that you are using. If you

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When you are in the market for a new home, you may be faced with numerous options for financing your home. One of the choices you will have to make is whether to apply for a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage.
In some cases, an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) may be your best option, but keep in mind, they are not the answer for everyone. Adjustable rate mortgages can be risky for some borrowers and it's important to understand both the pros and cons.

When To Consider An Adjustable Rate Mortgage
Perhaps one of the best things about ARMs is they typically have a lower starting interest rate than fixed rate mortgages. For some borrowers, this means it is easier for them to qualify for a loan. 

ARMs are beneficial for borrowers who:

• Anticipate an

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The kitchen is one of the most important rooms of your Santa Cruz Home. It is where you prepare all of your meals and it is often a hub of family activity. When you host a party, the action often ends up in the kitchen – where drinks and snacks are enjoyed into the early hours of the morning. It’s crucial that your kitchen functions well because you will use it every day, but you also want to make it beautiful and stylish.

Renovating and decorating your kitchen can also be one of the best ways to increase the resale value of your home. If you are planning on a kitchen makeover, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

• Don’t forget to consider the proportions of everyone who will use the kitchen. Don’t choose kitchen stools that are too high

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Before taking out a mortgage to buy a Santa Cruz Home, it’s time to take a realistic survey of your finances so that you can determine your price range and what size of home you can comfortably afford. Buying a home that suits your finances will mean that your mortgage payments will be easily within your budget and won’t cause you financial stress.

Many people, when offered a large mortgage by the bank, are tempted to buy homes that are outside of their price range. It’s easy to see why a larger property or a more luxurious home might be appealing, but by stretching too far beyond your means you are courting with disaster.

If your monthly mortgage rate just barely fits within your budget, without room for savings, retirement contributions, or to

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Many people think that selling a Santa Cruz home after the holidays and during the Winter season is a bad idea. Most people are not in the home buying mood, because they are thinking about the holidays. Also, buyers will think that you are desperate and they will give you offers that are less than list price.

However, there are some advantages to selling your home over the holidays and into the new year. There will be less homes on the market, so there won’t be as much competition. Also, buyers will likely be on their holidays from work, so they will have much more time to view properties and look around at homes. Another factor is mood – buyers will generally be feeling more cheery and relaxed over the holidays, which will result in them being more

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Houseplants are great for decorating. They can brighten up any room. Plus, houseplants can increase the air quality in a room. That makes you happier, healthier and reduces stress. Speaking of stress, these plants won’t create any at all. All of the plants on this list are great at producing oxygen and require very little care.

10. Heartleaf philodendron
A tough plant that’s a good filter for toxins like formaldehyde, Heartleaf philodendron makes a great houseplant. The only downside is that it’s toxic to eat, so it may not be the best choice for those with kids or pets. But if you can control your appetite, the Heartleaf philodendron is an excellent indoor Houseplant for air quality.

9. Snake plant
Also called Mother-in-Law’s tongue, the Snake plant

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Kitchen space is a valuable commodity. If you feel stretched for storage space, you could throw away all the flatware your mother-in-law gave you, or you could keep the flatware and learn to use the space you have – more efficiently. The number one most likely spot to find extra storage space is right under your kitchen sink. Organize your under sink area and it will free up space all over your kitchen.

Clean It Up
The cabinet below the sink has a nasty reputation. It’s home to rusty pipes, water stains, and dead ladybugs. First thing is first -- clean it up. If it still looks a little dingy, give it a fresh coat of white paint. That will lighten things up. You can also get a simple cloth mat to lie down. You can find one for less than five bucks.

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When you first bought your Santa Cruz home a few years ago, perhaps you started off with a 30 year mortgage. Now, you are considering refinancing and changing it to a 20 year or even a 15 year mortgage. Shortening your mortgage term and refinancing can be a smart financial move, but before you make this decision there are a number of factors that you should consider.

Switching to a shorter mortgage will mean that your monthly payments will be higher, but you will be 100% paid off much sooner and you will save thousands of dollars in interest rates. Here are a few of the factors to consider before making this decision:

Has Your Situation Improved?
Perhaps you have moved to a higher paying position, allowing you to earn a higher income and pay off more

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After all of the excitement of the holidays, the sparkle of the lights and the overstimulation of decorations, the rest of winter can seem lackluster. Don’t let your home add to the dreariness of the season. Spruce up your curb appeal with the tips below and inspire your neighbors to create well-groomed street that will make driver’s passing through smile.

Tend The Plants
If you’re currently located in a winter wonderland, then dig up any dead plants that won’t grow back. Replace them with cold-loving flowers, such as snowberry or lambs ear. In warmer climates, this is the time for any landscaping changes you’d like to make. It will give your plants a chance to flourish by spring and have solid roots before the harsh heat of summer.

Light The Way
With

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Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been in the news quite a bit over the past few years, so it’s a good time to do a refresher on who they are and what role they play in the Santa Cruz real estate market.

Who Are Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac?
Fannie Mae is the Federal National Mortgage Association. Freddie Mac is the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. They were originally created to raise homeownership levels and increase the availability of affordable housing.

Fannie and Freddie don’t sell mortgages directly to homeowners. They buy mortgages from lenders, so the lenders can use the money to issue new home mortgages.

In 2008, due to mismanagement resulting in billions of dollars of losses, Fannie and Freddie were taken over by the government.

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