Home Improvements

Found 211 blog entries about Home Improvements.

If you’ve been thinking about replacing windows, doors,  roofing, insulation, the heating and cooling system and/or hot water heater in your Santa Cruz home, don’t delay!

You can qualify for the energy-efficiency tax credit by installing eligible energy-efficient products, but only until the end of 2011. For most upgrades, the credit is equal to 10 percent of the equipment cost (labor is usually not included), with a cap of $500. Remember, a tax credit is much better than a mere deduction because a tax credit is subtracted from the taxes you owe.

In addition, here are other benefits you’ll reap from a green renovation.

• Your home will be quieter. With tight new windows and doors, or added insulation, you won’t hear what the neighbors are doing,

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If your Santa Cruz home still has old, single-pane windows, the answer is a resounding YES! Otherwise, it depends on the quality of your windows.

Today’s windows are improving all the time, with added features making them tighter than ever.  For added comfort, lower energy costs and a soon-to-expire tax credit, it might be time to upgrade. Before you go window shopping, it will help to know something about the following terms:

 NFRC: This is the National Fenestration Rating Council, which brings you the labels found on all new windows. They test and rate the window’s performance in several important categories.

• U-Factor: This indicates the window’s resistance to heat loss. It is the inverse of the R-Factor used in insulation, so the lower the

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Now that summer is behind us, it’s a good time to get up in the attic and assess your insulation. If it’s been a while since it was installed, there may well be peaks and valleys in it that are less than ideal for keeping your Santa Cruz home comfortable and energy-efficient.

Luckily, more insulation can be blown in over what you already have. Blown-in cellulose insulation is a good option because it’s considered a "green" product, is highly effective and is less costly than fiberglass. Here are several benefits to adding cellulose insulation:

• Allows you to recycle while you insulate. As they say, if you don’t buy recycled, you’re not recycling. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper and treated with a flame retardant for safety.


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With Daylight Saving Time turning back the clock this month, sellers having trouble going the for-sale-by-owner route should take a hint from Father Time: Set aside the time to “fall back” on helpful connections and get your Santa Cruz real estate sold.

Your for-sale-by-owner home is probably clear of clutter and staged to perfection, so why aren’t buyers lining up to take a peek? If it’s not the price, then it probably means you need to take a look at your marketing. The tips below will guide you on how to take some time to fall back on local connections and reach out to more people.

• Connect through all your communities. Networking online through real estate sites and social media platforms are a good place to start, but don’t stop there. Use all

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As a seller preparing to sell your Santa Cruz home, you may be busily emptying closets and painting walls, but don't forget about the outside of your house. Home buying is emotional and, like many emotional reactions, it can be heavily impacted by first impressions.

Here are some suggestions on how to encourage love at first sight by increasing the curb appeal of your Santa Cruz home:

• Tidy up – You may be so used to seeing the crumbling stack of firewood by the garbage cans and the old paint cans by the shed that they fade into the landscape, but potential homeowners see the mess.  As you look at the outside of your house, think about what you can throw away or put out of sight. The broken swing on the tree actually takes away from the grandeur of

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If you notice a musty or dusty smell when you turn on the furnace, you should look into having your air ducts cleaned. People with allergies or respiratory issues are especially vulnerable to the circulation of dirt and mold spores that accumulate in the HVAC system.

To help you determine if it’s time to clean the air ducts in your Santa Cruz home, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

• Why should I have my ducts cleaned? Particulates in the air ducts become airborne throughout your Santa Cruz home whenever the blower goes on. In addition, contaminant buildup can reduce the efficiency of the heating system.

• How often should my ducts be cleaned? Even if your heating system has a good, effective filter, some experts believe your

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According to AARP, seniors overwhelmingly want to stay in their Santa Cruz homes as long as possible.  With innovations in home design, it’s possible for more and more seniors to achieve this dream.

Remodelers trained as Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) can help homeowners adapt their Santa Cruz homes for easier accessibility and improved functionality. CAPS remodelers learn about aging-in-place home design and how to help customers create a more comfortable home.

Don’t have the money to hire a CAPS remodeler? There are accessibility and functionality improvements your handy-person or loved one can inexpensively do for you, such as:

• Installing grab bars to minimize falling
• Adding comfort-height toilets
• Constructing raised-bed

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Few things are as unsettling as the suspicion that termites are attacking your Santa Cruz home. This is one thing you do not want to stay in denial about. Here are some steps to help you face the possibility and prevent problems:

• Don't let any wooden parts of your Santa Cruz home touch soil directly.  As always, the best solution is prevention. If wooden parts of your house are touching the soil directly, a professional can remedy it by installing metal shields and re-grading the soil along the foundation to improve drainage and create a gap between soil and wooden structures.

• Determine whether you do have termites. Subterranean termites build characteristic mud tubes for movement between nests. The appearance of these tubes is often the first

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If you're sitting in your apartment right now thinking: I wish I could paint it, but my lease doesn't allow it, maybe it's time to talk to a Santa Cruz real estate agent about purchasing a new home.  Before you rush off to the store to look at paint samples or, more importantly, sign on the dotted line of any mortgages, consider the pros and cons of buying.


1. Financial Investment: Given the gloomy news on foreclosure rates across the country, it is easy to forget that buying Santa Cruz real estate is also a means of saving and investing.  The money you pay in rent to your landlord goes to your landlord; the money you put toward a mortgage goes toward building equity in your home.

2. Pride of Ownership: By buying a home, you will be able to

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Adding a bathroom to your Santa Cruz home may not only improve the quality of your life, it may also increase the value of your home. Although in today’s market you’re not guaranteed to get back the cost of adding a bath, in the long term, it typically boosts your home’s value by about 20 percent, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

How many bathrooms does a Santa Cruz home need?

Most home buyers want an equal number of bedrooms and bathrooms. So, if you have fewer bathrooms than bedrooms, you’ll get a good return on your investment by adding a bath.

Buyers also prefer at least one bathroom on each floor of a house. To get a good return on your investment, add a bath to the second floor of a home without one. Have a finished

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