All Blog Entries by Lauren Spencer

Found 1,005 blog entries published by Lauren Spencer.

Kitchen Trends to watch for in 2017

Renovating your kitchen is a great way to improve your life and add value to your home. Typically, kitchen trends change more quickly than other rooms in the home, so it’s easy to become a little overwhelmed when it comes to planning your kitchen remodel.

You might be asking yourself, which trends are worth investing in and which should be left behind? Here’s our guide to 7 of the biggest kitchen trends to watch for in 2017:

1. Function Over Form

Many hardware and cabinet designers are streamlining their products, creating hydraulic cabinets and drawers with damping. This modern take on cabinets and drawers allows homeowners to open and close their drawers with the push of a button. These futuristic features are great for maximizing space in

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For recent retirees or empty nesters, the idea of downsizing may seem as exciting as it is daunting. For starters, you will have less to maintain and clean, giving you more time to enjoy your retirement and relax. Additionally, downsizing often means moving to a more modern home, which also results in reduced energy bills and fewer repairs over the years. For retirees on a fixed income, this is vital.

One of the negative aspects of downsizing is the stress involved. For many homeowners, they have lived in their family homes for decades, so going through everything for a move can be overwhelming and unpleasant.

If you’re wondering how to downsize into a smaller home, here are some of our best tips and tricks that will give you more confidence

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For professionals in real estate, one of the most exciting moments of the year might be when publishes its annual National Housing Forecast. This crystal ball looks at a number of important economic indicators to make predictions about what buyers and sellers can expect in the coming year. Though the 2017 forecast notes that national market growth may be slowing compared to previous years, there's also a lot that savvy sellers can learn from about housing trends in Santa Cruz.

More Millennials?

According to the forecast, shifting demographics will play a huge role in shaping the real estate market in the U.S. over the next decade. In particular, millennials—a generation of first-time homebuyers—are expected to make up 33% of the

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Christmas gifts for the home

A recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that the average American spends 87% of their life indoors. That means most people spend twenty-one hours per day inside. Naturally, a lot of that time is spent at home.

So, this holiday season, consider giving your friends and family something that they can use every day in their Santa Cruz home. These practical gifts will not only garner use, but also add a little bit of every day luxury into your loved ones' lives.

Here's an idea for each room of the house.


Buying gifts for those who love to cook can be easy as pie if your foodie is big on kitchen appliances. Take a stroll through the aisle of Macy's kitchenware section and start weighing the pros and cons of a trendy

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Best places to live in Santa Cruz County if you love to eat

As a major urban center and home to over 60,000 people, Santa Cruz is not only an excellent place to raise a family, but a great place to explore a wide range of dining options. With over 300 restaurants in the city, there's plenty of opportunities to test new flavors, delight in the comfort of classic family favorites, and challenge your palate no matter where you are in the city.

Here are a few local hot spots that you should explore if food is your passion as well as brief description of the homes you'd find in each of these neighborhoods.

Santa Cruz Waterfront

Homes along the waterfront aren't just contemporary luxury houses. With their elegant exteriors and vibrant designs they embody the Californian beachfront lifestyle. Many of them

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After years in the workforce, it’s finally time to step into retirement and enjoy life. Retiring is an exciting life transition. As you finally begin to properly relax, there are many decisions to be made on how to enjoy these golden years. Once the kids have gone their ways and the home becomes more than what they need, many retirees choose to relocate or move to a new home better suited for retired individuals.

While shopping for a retirement house or condo, there are many things you need to consider. Of course, there are the logistical considerations such as the price and mortgage, but there are also other choices that will have a direct impact on you'll enjoy your retirement.

Here are several things to look for in a retirement home:

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While Black Friday is considered to be the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season, those with a proactive mindset are likely already halfway done. From Playstations to VR headsets and drones to fitness trackers, this year is all about the tech, especially in California where we're at the epicenter of it all. Beyond the gizmos and gadgets, there’s another emerging trend that we couldn’t be more excited to promote, and that's locally produced handmade goods.

Santa Cruz is filled with homegrown talent; you just have to know where to find it. Give back to the local economy, support arts and culture, and give awesome gifts your friends will remember for years to come, it’s a win-win!

Check out this year’s hot Christmas craft fairs in Santa

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Living in Santa Cruz has endless benefits. Not only are we close to the coast with beautiful views and exceptional weather, but we are also proud to live in a community on the brink of technology with neighbors who may be working on making the world a better place to live.

Why not take this sentiment home and opt for a few eco-friendly changes to your lifestyle that will help save money on energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint?

Try some of these tips today:

Improve Your AC Efficiency

If you run an air conditioner in the summer, make sure it’s working at peak efficiency by investing in AC maintenance and keeping your air filters clean. Other ways to reduce air conditioning costs is by running a ceiling fan and keeping your curtains

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how to save money while renting in Santa Cruz

Touted as the 17th hottest market in the U.S. by, the Santa Cruz real estate market is certainly an exciting place to be a buyer or seller. The allure of the ocean, calm coastal atmosphere, and easy proximity to Silicon Valley draws beach-goers and big-city professionals alike, but unfortunately this beautiful area is becoming less affordable for the average Joe. The median and average home prices in the county have trended upward since 2012, and even the rental market is feeling the crunch of a lack of inventory and high demand. That begs the question, what’s a renter to do when they’re trying to save up for their own home?

Here are a few money-saving tips to help you get in to your very own home sooner than you thought was possible.

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West Santa Cruz home for sale

This beautiful home in West Santa Cruz is one of the best hidden gems in the market right now. Tucked away on the hillside just off Western Drive, 191 Cypress Park offers a beautiful views with convenience access to UC Santa Cruz and the Cabrillo Highway.

About 191 Cypress Park

Cypress Park home kitchen
Cypress Park home living room

This exceptional two-story home offers a Traditional and Craftsman design with a modest floorplan and refined interior features. The three bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom home was originally built in 1998 but has since had several upgrades to keep it fresh and modern, including granite countertops, maple cabinets, stainless-steel appliances, and hardwood floors. The kitchen also includes a gas range, breakfast bar, and a small patio with sliding glass door, which is

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