Home Improvements

Found 211 blog entries about Home Improvements.

There are hundreds of real estate blogs and property-selling advice articles that tell you to stage and clear clutter before putting your Santa Cruz home on the market. However, you can’t just throw everything into the closet like you might be tempted to do, because buyers will open those doors.

If you’re about to put your house on the market, take advantage of this opportunity to not only clean up the clutter — but get it out of your house for good! Then you’ll have less mess to move to your new house. You might even make a little money on the side.

• Give sentimental items to family and friends.  Set aside valuable goods, still-useful furniture or family heirlooms to give to dear friends, family members and children. These are the items that

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If you need (or want) to sell your Santa Cruz real estate this winter, you’ll have to step up your game a bit. People tend to be less likely to buy in the winter because the weather keeps them indoors rather than out house hunting. And let’s face it, most homes just don’t look as good in the brown, drab winter as they do in the spicy spring and summer.

If you’re one of the lucky owners with a home for sale in an area that stays beautiful all year long, you can still find a few tips here to help get your home ready to sell.

Six tips to help you sell your home this winter:

1. Keep it cozy. You want your home to be warm so people can comfortably take their time viewing your Santa Cruz real estate. Saving money on heating costs isn’t worth it if it

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Here is a painless way to reduce your energy use and your heating bill: Set your thermostat to go down 5 to 10 degrees while you’re gone all day and while you sleep at night. This could reduce your heating bill by 15% without compromising comfort.

Programmable thermostats cost anywhere from $30 to $150, so they quickly pay for themselves. By programming your thermostat to return to  your comfort level before you arrive home or get up in the morning, your Santa Cruz home will be just as comfortable as what you’re used to, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint.

Here is how easy it is to install a programmable thermostat:

• Turn off the circuit breaker for the thermostat. Since you will be handling wiring, you must cut off the electricity going to

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Many people are downsizing these days, either because they're empty nesters and no longer need the room, they’re getting older and want a smaller space to maintain, or they’re reducing their financial burdens or environmental impact.

If you’ve made the decision to downsize to a smaller Santa Cruz home, here are five tips to help you make the transition:

1. Start early: Downsizing to a smaller home is much less stressful if you have plenty of time to sort through your belongings to figure out what you’re getting rid of and what you’re keeping. Plan to do this at least a month before you put your home up for sale. (Bonus benefit: it makes your house less cluttered and more desirable to buyers.)

2. Evaluate your needs: Take an honest look at your

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Now that winter is here, you may want to invest in new, energy-efficient window treatments that will make your Santa Cruz home more comfortable and attractive. Here are some options to consider.

Insulated Drapes

To make the most of this option:

• Install a cornice over the top of the drapes to hide hardware and keep cold air encased around the window while drapes are closed at night.

• Make sure drapes reach to the floor or the windowsill to form an enclosed box around the window.

• Allow drapes to overlap in the middle by several inches.

• Use heavy, insulated drapes with a separate liner to trap a layer of insulating air.

Roman Shades

These are a nice option if you have beautiful woodwork and don’t want it hidden by heavy

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Before you sign on the dotted line for your new Santa Cruz home, be sure to get the information you need to make a sound financial decision. That includes getting a thorough home inspection by a qualified professional.

This may seem like one more hoop to jump through, but a detailed and complete inspection can reveal some unpleasant surprises about your new Santa Cruz home purchase. It can also impact the price you pay for the property. Remember, part of your offer should include a clause that specifies who will pay for any necessary repairs discovered by the inspection.

When looking for an inspector:

• Ask your friends: Word of mouth is still the best way to go, as their good experience can lead to yours.

• Ask your real estate agent: Agents

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A cozy fire, the smell of pine trees and a plate of warm cookies might be all it takes for buyers to envision themselves celebrating many holidays in your Santa Cruz home. So take the time this season to channel Mrs. Claus and cheerfully enhance your house for the holidays with these festive tips:

• Deck the Halls – While you want to remind some buyers of their yearly traditions, you don’t want to offend others. If you usually go overboard with decorations, tone it down a little this year and go for a winter nature theme — think pinecones, snowflakes and the smell of cinnamon.

• Spruce Up the Winter Curb Appeal – In the dead of winter, yards can look barren and bleak. Don’t add to the seasonal depression. Be sure you shovel snow, rake fallen leaves

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If you need to replace flooring, countertops or a backsplash in your Santa Cruz home, consider ceramic tile. Here are some of the great attributes of ceramic tile:

• Natural, renewable and very green. The production of ceramic tile is non-polluting and energy efficient.

• Durable. It can last the lifetime of your home.

• Non-flammable. Great around the fireplace, woodstove and kitchen stove.

• Wide variety to choose from. Ceramic tile is available in a multitude of textures and colors. You can also create tile patterns to add interest to any décor.

 Easy to clean. Spills are no big deal.

• Non-allergenic. Carpet is a fur magnet and provides breeding grounds for mold and insects such as fleas.

 Beautiful. Whether you’re the creative

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If you’re closing up your summer vacation home to head for warmer climates or leaving your home in Santa Cruz for an extended period, follow these tips to safeguard your home from harsh weather, pests and vandalism:

1. Trim bushes, shrubs and hedges. This isn’t to make your yard prettier. It’s to improve your home’s security by providing an unobstructed view of your doors and windows.

2. Prune tree limbs and branches. You don’t want any branches hanging over your house. They provide easy access to rodents and robbers and could fall during storms, damaging your home in Santa Cruz.

3. Bring in outdoor furniture and decorations. Don’t chance having your outdoor chairs, tables or decorations destroyed during winter storms.

4. Securely store

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Within the walls of your house, you’ve probably raised a family, made future plans and created years of memories. Take time this month to be thankful for everything your Santa Cruz home has given you by giving it some green TLC this Thanksgiving.

With Christmas right around the corner, I know it’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on your Santa Cruz home. Below are a few easy and affordable green projects for you to do this Thanksgiving holiday — and they’ll start paying off immediately!

• Buy compact florescent light bulbs. You don’t have to do this all at once. As your light bulbs burn out, replace them with these energy savers for around $3 a piece. They last about ten times longer than incandescent light bulbs and can save you close to $40

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