All Blog Entries by Lauren Spencer

Found 1,005 blog entries published by Lauren Spencer.

 

I was featured in the Santa Cruz Sentinel's People in Business due to my recent Green Designation certification.  To view the article please go here:  http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_12341096?IADID

If you have any questions regarding Green living, please contact me, 831.662.6522 or e-mail at lauren@laurenspencer.com 

 

Link:

Santa Cruz Sentinel - People in Business 

 

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A bathroom renovation is one of the best things you can do for a Santa Cruz home for sale.  But, remodeling a bathroom is an expensive project, and in today's market you aren’t likely to get all the money back that you put into it.  So, here are a few inexpensive changes you can make to spruce up the bathroom:

Fixtures

Most sellers will notice if the fixtures in the bathroom are old, and it can have a negative effect on their view of your Santa Cruz home for sale.  Buy a set of bathroom fixtures at a home improvement store.  Most stores have matching towel racks and bathroom tissue holders, too.  There is a good selection of stainless steel, wood or ceramic fixtures available at most stores. 

Paint

A fresh coat of paint is a good way to improve the

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Most of us want to do everything we can at our Santa Cruz condo to be ready for an emergency.  There are a few things that most experts agree should be in every emergency kit.  Here is a quick list:

• Durable container: You’ll need to buy a plastic container that will securely latch and will be waterproof to keep food and clothing dry.

• Radio: A small radio is all you’ll need to keep in tune with the latest in weather news and emergency broadcasts.  It would be a good idea to pack extra batteries, or invest in a hand-crank radio to be sure you always have access to the news.

• Light Source: Pack a few flashlights and several sets of batteries in case of a power outage.  For added back-up, put in some candles and matches.

• Water: Pack bottled water

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A good way to save money in your Santa Cruz homes is to improve your home’s energy efficiency.  You can save four to nine percent a year on water heating costs by installing a water heater jacket.  They’re quick and easy to install, here’s how:

Prepare to Shop

Before you go shopping, make sure you know if your water heater is gas or electric.  The access panels and materials can be different between the two.  The installation of a water heater jacket on a gas heater is more difficult.  You may want to have a professional do the installation on a gas water heater.

Write down your water heater model number.  Most water heater jackets list the compatible water heater models on the packaging.  Choose a jacket with a value of  R-8

Installation

Before

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You know you want to look at Santa Cruz homes in an active retirement community, but don't know which community or what type.  You want to choose an area where you'll find other people who have the same interests you do.  If you love golf, for example, you may want to look at Santa Cruz homes in golf course communities.

Our area has many great golf courses, and several adult retirement communities located on golf courses.  When you choose one to live in, you want to look for a few things:

1. Location – When looking at Santa Cruz homes in golf course communities, you always want to be aware of location.  For instance, are the nearby roads easy to navigate?  Is it close to shopping?

2. Security - Be sure the community is security conscious.  Often, golf

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If you're looking at hard times, and have fallen behind on your Santa Cruz condo mortgage payments, you may already think it’s too late to save your home from foreclosure.  But rest assured, you can take steps to keep your home and stop the process. 

• One of the most important things to do is keep the lines of communication open with your lender.  Most lenders would much rather avoid foreclosing on your Santa Cruz condo.  If you call your lender as soon as you miss a payment, you may be able to qualify for a forbearance, which could cancel the payment that you are unable to make.  You are unlikely to receive forbearance more than once, so make sure that you will be able to start making payments at the time the forbearance runs out.

• Of course, the

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Before looking Santa Cruz real estate for sale, you need to know there's a possibility your mortgage application will be declined.  Keep in mind these top ten reasons for mortgage rejection:

1.  You and/or your partner are self-employed.  You'll need to show at least two years of tax returns to prove your income.

2. You recently made a large purchase.  Don't make a large purchase, such as a vehicle or boat, right before or after submitting your mortgage loan application.

3. Too much debt.  Lenders have guidelines for how much debt you have versus how much income you have.  If your debt to income ratio is too high, your application will be declined.  Reduce your debt to income ratio.

4. You applied for a credit card.  Usually, lenders will check your

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 When you're talking about renovating, there's a fine line between historic Santa Cruz homes and money pits.  It's easy to get so attached to a house that you can't get past "what has been" to see "what is."  If you're thinking about renovating a historic home, you might want to read these tips first:

Renovating Tips

• Have a home inspector come out and look at the house you're interested in.  The inspector should be versed in older homes.

• Have a contractor come out and give you an estimate on repairs, based on their experience and the issues pointed out by the home inspector.

• Be aware that older homes may have issues with lead paint, asbestos and mold.  Have these issues checked out and add them to your cost.

• Set extra money aside for

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If you're putting your home up for sale without a Santa Cruz real estate agent, you'll soon realize that you have to do the advertising.  If you want to try the FSBO (For Sale by Owner) route, here are a few tips on spreading the word:

Signs
A "For Sale by Owner" sign from the nearest hardware store is always a good place to start.  In today's tough real estate market, you'll need more marketing than that. 

In addition to FSBO signs, directional "home for sale" signs at intersections can also be useful.

Classified Ads
While they're not outrageously expensive, classified ads, which need to repeated several times to be most effective, can begin to empty out your pocketbook.  Talk with your local newspaper about the most economical plan they offer to get

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No doubt you’ve heard about the soaring number of Santa Cruz foreclosures.  If you're thinking that now would be a good time to jump on the Santa Cruz real estate bandwagon by purchasing a foreclosure, here are a few tips to help you find (and buy) your dream home.

Arrange for Financing
Know how much home you can afford so you can determine your price range.  You don’t want to waste any time looking at property that won’t fit your financial needs.  If you do, you might even miss the deal you’re looking for.  Many lenders will pre-qualify you.  The process doesn’t take long and you’ll be able to look at Santa Cruz foreclosures with confidence.

Get a List of Santa Cruz Foreclosures.
Most banks and other lenders have a list of their properties that are in

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