All Blog Entries by Lauren Spencer

Found 1,022 blog entries published by Lauren Spencer.

The Fourth of July is an exciting – and delicious - time of year for owners of Santa Cruz homes.  There’s swimming, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, and, of course, fireworks.  While the lights are pretty and it’s a blast to set them off, a moment of carelessness can ruin a good time.  Following this list of common – and not so common – safety tips will help ensure that you have a safe and happy July 4th.

1.  Get rid of the weeds around your house.  Although most Santa Cruz homes are well taken care of, a lot of them have a little bit of weed growth here and there.  Making sure the weeks are cut short (less than 3 inches) or destroyed will lower the risk of stray sparks setting them on fire.

2.  Water your roof and the ground around your house.  Stray

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Thanks to the current stimulus plan, it's a great time to buy a Santa Cruz home.  Buying a home is an exciting time, but it can be a little scary too.  Here are some smart ways to protect yourself from potentially falling prices while you wait for the market to rebound.

• Know how much you can afford to spend ahead of time and then look for homes in areas that reflect those prices. Choose homes on the lower end of the average home values in that area so that even if the housing market slumps a little bit before it recovers your Santa Cruz home is unlikely to sink below its current value.

• Look for homes that aren't on busy streets or highways.

• Don't buy a home directly across from a school or park. While that can be great if you have young kids, it

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The thought of losing your home due to foreclosure can be a devastating experience. If you've been late on payments or missed them altogether, foreclosure could be in your future. However, it doesn't have to be. There are varieties of steps you can take to prevent Santa Cruz foreclosures.

1. Contact your lender

In order to sort out the situation, you need to involve your lender as soon as possible so you can figure out the next plan of action and keep your home.

2. Set up a repayment plan

Usually, repaying your missed payments is the start of fixing the problem; that's why contacting the lender is so important. Depending on what you work out, your repayment costs may only be a little bit more than the cost of your current mortgage.

3. Try to get

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When looking for property that will be a good investment either as a rental, resale, flip, or even a home that will eventually be worth a great deal more than you originally paid, location is a paramount concern.

For the very best in Santa Cruz real estate investments, location means more than just being situated in a good neighborhood—it means a location with perks.

1. Beach Property - There is something about a home that sits on the beach that makes it an amazingly popular property. Perhaps it's the ability to wake up in the morning and have coffee looking out over soothing waves. If you're looking for one of the very best selling homes, consider beachfront properties. 

2. Gated Communities - Privacy and security are worth their weight in gold—or at

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The environment is a major news issue and everyone is thinking green. Sometimes it seems difficult to go green in your everyday life, but just a few simple steps can move you down the path to a green Santa Cruz home.  You won't even have to break a sweat or crack open a can of paint.

In the Laundry Room

Pick machines for your Santa Cruz home that have an Energy Star rating for peak performance to conserve water and electricity. According to Planet Green, an Energy Star washer saves enough water over the machine's life to provide drinking water for six people for a LIFETIME. It will also save you hundreds of dollars in utility bills over an average 11 year machine lifespan. Use natural drying when possible. Hang clothes on a clothesline in the sun on

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These days, the thought of taking a vacation can lead to more stress than relaxation. So instead of worrying about booking hotels, buying plane tickets and taking time off work, enjoy a wonderful vacation without leaving your Santa Cruz condo.

1. Turn off the news. Rent a video instead.

This is a great way to escape for a while without all the hassle. Think of places you've always wanted to go, but couldn't. Rent travel videos of a few of the places you'd like to visit and sit back, relax and let your mind wander.

2. Get lost in your favorite novel.

Do you enjoy the world of mystery, romance or even science fiction? Well, now's your time to relax in your Santa Cruz condo and get lost in another world. Just visit your favorite bookstore or library

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Flower beds can be a very attractive addition to any Santa Cruz home – if you have the time to set up and maintain them. Flower beds don’t necessarily require a profusion of costly flowers that need to be fertilized, mulched, covered in severe weather and possibly re-planted on a yearly basis.

Here are a few tips to keep your flower beds filled without a huge money or time commitment.

Perennial Wildflowers

Wildflower mixes native to your area are often a good choice if you want a profusion of flowers, but don’t want to do much to take care of them. These flowers grow back easily every year and are well-adapted to the climate and soil conditions in your area. Native wildflowers may need little more than watering and the occasional weeding.


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With more and more people seeking to work from home, whether it is a lifelong dream, or forced by a troubled economy and layoffs, the need to organize a workspace at home is a common desire. You can create a quick, efficient, low-budget Santa Cruz home office in minutes with these simple ideas.

Most people do not have an extra room they can dedicate as an office. If that's the case in your Santa Cruz home, it's important to create a space that offers room for the necessary equipment and a place to keep your work safe from family activities.

Here's an inexpensive way to do that: 

• Find a spot of floor space that you can use and set it off with freestanding room dividers that you can find easily online (priced between $60.00 and $200.00).

• Set up a

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With the current economy, it may seem like a better idea to rent a Santa Cruz condo instead of buying one. Let's explore some of reasons why it's still better to buy rather than rent.

Throwing Money Away

When you rent that's basically what you're doing. You give your money away in exchange for a 'perishable' item—one month of living space. Once that month is over, the money is gone and you didn't get anything of long term value in return.

When you buy a Santa Cruz condo you still spend money for a month of living space, but in addition, you're building long term equity. It may take longer and property may not increase in value as quickly as it did in the past, at least for now, but the money you spend becomes a back end asset instead of just

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