Home Improvements

Found 211 blog entries about Home Improvements.

When it comes to buying Santa Cruz real estate, people focus on the basic questions: Are there enough bedrooms? Is it in a good neighborhood? How is the school system? While these are important points, you also need to focus on the quality of the house itself.

The quality and maintenance of a house can be overlooked when buyers get excited about investing in a home. Fortunately, there are a few areas you can check to get a quick idea of how the Santa Cruz real estate was built and how well it’s been maintained.

1. Look at the foundation. A few small cracks may not be a big deal, but multiple cracked areas could spell trouble. Also, try to see the home on a rainy day, so that you can look for water pools that could turn into basement leaks.


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If you’re putting your Santa Cruz home on the market, you know you want to make it irresistible to buyers. Here are five updates to consider:

1. Replace or paint garage doors. If you have an attached two-car garage, it is a very prominent feature of the front of your Santa Cruz home. You probably don’t even notice the garage doors anymore, but buyers will. If your garage doors are showing their age, consider painting or even replacing them for a new look.

2. Replace old windows. If your windows are single pane, this is a must. New double-pane windows will not only look great, they will increase the comfort and energy efficiency of your home significantly. In these energy-conscious times, buyers are not interested in a home with drafty old windows.

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With the kids settled back in school, September brings the promise of a normal routine and cooler weather. Don’t get sucked into autumn’s peaceful pace! It’s more important than ever to have your Santa Cruz home looking its best so that you can sell quickly and be in your new home before the holidays.

Most buyers will have multiple properties with comparable features to look at, so you’ll want your house to be the one that stands out — in a good way. To help, here are five inexpensive staging tips to separate your property from the pack.

1. Start with the front door. The front door of your house is the first thing potential buyers see. A few dollars spent on a fresh coat of paint and a couple of updated light fixtures can give your Santa Cruz home a

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If you are about to put your Santa Cruz home on the market, it’s worth investing some time and a small amount of money in staging. It not only helps your home sell faster, but it can also help you get a higher price for your home.

Here are six staging tips: 

1. Banish clutter – Removing excess clutter is the single most important thing you can do when staging your Santa Cruz home. Clean, open space will sell your home. Non-descript, non-threatening décor allows people to envision living in your home and putting their individual stamp on the place. Ogling your collection of troll dolls, no matter how much they may be worth, will interfere with this process. Consider putting excess possessions in storage and keeping out only what is absolutely

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Your home can run like a well-oiled machine, if it’s well taken care of. You maintain your car on a regular schedule so why not do the same thing for your biggest investment – your Santa Cruz home.

It’s important to keep track of your home maintenance schedule, including what was done and when it’s due again. You also want to be able to easily find instruction manuals, appliance warranties and receipts. In most homes, those important documents are stuffed in a drawer, jammed in a filing cabinet or lost in a pile of papers.

If that sounds familiar to you, get organized by creating a three-ring home maintenance binder. When you sell your Santa Cruz home, give this binder as a gift to the new homeowner. Here are some of the documents you might want to

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Wouldn’t it be nice if all the doors in your Santa Cruz home swung freely and quietly and closed with a neat “click,” just the way they should? Maybe you’ve adapted to all the idiosyncrasies of each door and don’t even notice how they add vexation to your life. But visitors will notice — especially if they’re potential buyers. In today’s market, you can’t afford to have anything working against you, no matter how subliminal. So let’s fix those annoying doors. Pick your problem:

Lock problems.
If the key to the door to your Santa Cruz home is difficult to turn in the lock, don’t try to oil it. This will only attract more dust and make things worse. Instead, get a tube of graphite powder from the key department at your hardware store. Insert the tip of

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If your Santa Cruz home’s bathroom is looking dull and dingy, you don’t have to wait until you win the lottery to give it a facelift. All you need is a little creativity, a lot of elbow grease and a weekend.

The best part about updating your bathroom is that it’s usually the smallest room in your Santa Cruz home, which means it’ll take less time and effort to give it a makeover. Here are seven tips to update your bathroom quickly and inexpensively:

1. Wash the shower walls: You want to remove soap scum and hard-water stains.

2. Re-grout the tub: If the grout joint, where the wall meets the tub, is damaged or discolored, scrape it out. Use a grout saw to remove the top 1/8 inch of grout from between the tiles. Wash the shower again and re-grout.

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1. Plug up any holes. Use foam and caulking to seal any cracks where drafts or summer heat are getting into your Santa Cruz home.

2. Close blinds.  Close your drapes and blinds during the day to keep the sun and heat from getting in. This will cool the house down naturally and take the strain off the central air conditioning unit.

3. Clean filters. Clean or replace your a/c filters once a month to allow proper airflow through the system.

4. Install a Programmable Thermostat. Install a programmable thermostat to keep utility costs down by raising the temperature a few degrees during the day while no one is home, and lowering it just before family returns.

5. Unplug electronic devices. Either unplug electronic devices when not in use or turn

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Does it seem like ants have suddenly decided your Santa Cruz home is Insectopia? Don’t panic. Here are the easiest, least toxic, most affordable ways to deal with ants.

First, it’s important to know that ants are social insects; they live in colonies. An ant colony may consist of thousands of individual ants.

If you see a few ants wandering around in your Santa Cruz home, they could be scouts, sent out to find the best food source for the colony. It’s time to:

• Act fast. Smash the first few ants as soon as you see them. If those scouts don’t return to the nest, the rest of the colony will not be alerted to invade.

• Spray a vinegar solution on the area and sponge it up. This will remove the scent trail of any ants that passed through,

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Most buyers consider bathrooms to be one of the most important aspects of a home. If you’re thinking of selling any time soon, give your bathroom a facelift to increase your Santa Cruz home’s value and help it sell faster.

Here are seven ways to fluff up your bathroom without breaking the bank:

1. Spring for a new toilet seat. Buy a well-known brand name, and spend the extra money for a quality seat material. Polypropylene, basically a hard plastic material, is a very good choice.

2. Remove old wallpaper. Rent a steamer or use the scrape method to remove old wallpaper. Paint the walls in a neutral color.

3. Lighten it up. Install updated lighting fixtures to make the bathroom in your Santa Cruz home instantly brighter.

4. Refinish your

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