Home Improvements

Found 211 blog entries about Home Improvements.

Even if you don't have the money for extensive remodeling, you can still live greener in your Santa Cruz home with just a few simple changes. Every little improvement we make in the way we live is a step in the right direction toward making our world healthier.

Low-Cost Ways to Green Up Your Home

• Catch the rain: Conserving water by putting in new low-flow fixtures is one way of helping to conserve the planet's resources, but it isn't the only way. You can build a rain water reservoir using old barrels or other large containers to catch rain and use it for watering your garden or washing your car.

• Light up your life: Change the incandescent bulbs in your light fixtures to the new florescent bulbs designed for use in a regular light socket. They last

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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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If you're thinking of listing your Santa Cruz home for sale and know it needs a little sprucing up, here are a few tips on the smartest home improvements you can make to help sell your home faster and for more money.

• Kitchen remodeling stands at the top of any list of most attractive projects for re-sale value. Crisp clean new cabinets, fresh tile and countertops all make for buyer approval and is money well spent.

• Bathroom remodeling is a good bet but not nearly as good as adding additional bathrooms, unless your home already has a lot of them.

• Adding central heat and air to replace floorboard or radiator heat is a huge selling point for any Santa Cruz home for sale.

• Installing a deck or patio. This one hovers close to the middle of the

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To get a Santa Cruz home to sell during a buyer’s market, it needs to look better than the other houses on the street.  Making just a few quick changes can make all the difference when trying to best the competition.  Here are a few things to do to make your home stand out:

A Fresh Coat of Paint

Few things can spruce up a Santa Cruz home like a fresh coat of paint.  Be sure to pick a neutral color.  Potential buyers won’t be able to see themselves decorating and living in the home if they see too much of someone else's personality in the wall color.  Most home improvement stores will have color cards you can look through, this will help you find the most neutral color you can live with.  While you’re at it, get rid of all the knickknacks and other items

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Okay, maybe you are stuck here for awhile. The housing market is stagnant and you just don't have the desire to fight with trying to sell your Santa Cruz home. As long as you are going to be staying, you may as well make the best of it.

Taking this time to make improvements will not only make living there nicer, it will make selling it later when the market improves easier.  If it seems like an expensive endeavor, take heart.  There are tons of do-it-yourself home improvement projects that won't break your bank but will make your home nicer to be in—and worth more.

• Tiling bathroom and kitchen floors

• Changing water fixtures

• Adding a deck

• Creating a home theater

• Refinishing cabinets

Tips and Tricks

There are many websites that offer

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If you're itching to redecorate your Santa Cruz condo and your budget is tight, I'd like to share a few ideas with you on how you can make over your condo without spending a lot of money.

• Take stock of what you already have.  You can update your existing picture frames by spray-painting them all one color, and then stagger their placement on the wall.  A set of slipcovers for your current furniture will be cheaper than buying an entire sofa set, and is a quick way to redecorate your Santa Cruz condo.

• Search out garage sales and thrift stores.  It’s true that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  You’d be surprised how many times you can find a good deal on home décor accessories, artwork or furniture that’s secondhand.

• Check outlet stores

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Absolutely — if you know what you are doing. That doesn't mean being a financial wizard.   Let's face it, most home flippers are just average people like you and me. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, but you do need to be a whole lot smarter than you used to be to make money by flipping a Santa Cruz home in 2009.

Be Conservative

That's not a political statement when it comes to flipping houses, but it should be your new motto. In the current market there is no room for error. Buying as low as possible, keeping all prices for home repairs and improvements low, and selling at a reasonable price with an eye to moving the property fast is essential.

Have Reasonable Expectations

Know that in today's market it is not likely you will be able to move a

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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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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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All the talk is about how the President's stimulus plan helps out new and first time home buyers.  The good news is that it also helps homeowners.  You can get stimulus plan benefits from your existing Santa Cruz real estate too.  Add a little green living to your environment and you'll be pocketing some change at the end of the year from your income tax return.

Under the stimulus plan, both eco-friendly new home purchases and eco-friendly improvements on existing homes are tax deductible. Now's the time to make your home more energy efficient and get a break at the end of the year for your efforts.

Going green saves money, makes your living environment healthier, and improves the world we live in. To reap the benefits from the stimulus plan, you can

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