Santa Cruz Green Living

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There was a time when Santa Cruz real estate was ruled by the phrase “buyer beware.” This meant the seller did not have to share any information about defects in the home. Today, however, more than two-thirds of all states in the U.S. require some form of seller disclosure. This means that sellers are required to share certain information with potential buyers. What do you have to share when selling your Santa Cruz real estate?

• Lead-based paint. For all homes built before 1978, a disclosure is required. This gives the buyer 10 days to have the home inspected for lead-based paint. Some real estate brokers require this disclosure for all homes because lead-based paint is still sold in some places.

• Material facts. Material facts are items which may

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Buyers are becoming more concerned about their personal environment, from eco-friendly carpeting to energy efficient appliances. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly home for sale in Santa Cruz, but aren’t sure how to find it, here are a few tips on what to look for:

1. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) – Although the number is growing, only a few builders are employing eco-friendly practices during construction. However, those that do can qualify for the EPA Indoor airPlus designation. These homes are designed for better IAQ, which means a healthier home for you. Rest assured, if a builder meets this designation they’ll tell you about it. However, just in case – ask!

2. Energy Efficient – If it qualifies for the EPA Indoor airPlus designation, the home for

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While those who own Santa Cruz homes for sale are worried about the real estate market, some buyers are getting good deals. However, there are plenty of people on both sides of the market with a case of cold feet.

For instance, some with Santa Cruz homes for sale took them off the market. Others, who’ve thought of selling, haven’t.

The same can be said for buyers. Many potential homebuyers change their minds or still worry over that age-old question of, “Should I or shouldn’t I?”

Two Cases of Cold Feet
A 26-year old with a steady job, good paycheck and good credit, sums it up for many potential buyers. “My job’s steady and my credit is good.  I keep watching the houses that go up for sale, thinking I could go ahead and buy, but then the ‘what if’s’

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Owners of Santa Cruz homes for sale are wondering, “What are buyers looking for?” This is especially true if the home has been on the market for a while. Well, homeowners aren’t the only ones. Several companies, including Better Homes and Gardens and Avid Ratings, the exclusive research provider for the National Association of Home Builders, have researched this question.

So, what are buyers looking for in national and Santa Cruz homes for sale? In a 2010 Avid Ratings homebuyer’s study, over 22,000 homeowners, who bought their homes in the past nine years, provide some clues. In short, the study says practicality beats out extras any day.

The days of formal dining rooms, oversized backyard patios and community clubhouses are gone. Swimming pools aren’t

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“Going green” can mean something as simple as using recyclable paper bags from the grocery store to something as complex as buying green Santa Cruz real estate.  A greener world is a dream for many people. Even without promotions pushing consumers towards healthier choices and better living, a shift in consumer minds has begun.

What does this have to do with Santa Cruz real estate? Simply this:  If you’re a buyer trying to find a green or energy-efficient home, you may be surprised to learn that you could run into some difficulty.  And, if you’re selling your green home, you may not get the results you expect.

The Problem with Green
Energy-efficient and green homes are still a fairly new market. In fact, it’s still considered a niche market. This not

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If you’re thinking of building a new home, you should consider incorporating some green building practices or materials into your plans. Green building designs can include anything from using recycled materials to installing a rainwater collection system outside your home.

Here are just a few reasons why a green home is better for your health, your bank account and the environment:

• Better health. Surprisingly, indoor air pollution from toxic materials and cleaning products is usually far worse than outdoor air pollution. This aggravates conditions like asthma and allergies. Green homes tend to have better ventilation and fewer problems with mold and mildew. A simple switch to toxin-free building materials and cleaning products makes everyone breathe

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Saving money and going green are both hot topics right now.  So, I'm sure you've already heard the tips to turn off water while brushing your teeth, turn off TVs and computers and swap out old light bulbs for the new energy-saving versions. 
Here are 10 new ideas to help you save money and make your Santa Cruz home greener.

1. Swap stuff.  There are hundreds of online sites where you can get furniture, books, CDs, DVDs and even a place to stay for free by swapping stuff with other people.  And, I'm not just talking about Craigslist.  Two of the most popular and easy to use swap sites are  Paperbackswap.com and SwapaDVD.com.

2. Recycle your cell phone.  According to the EPA, if the 100 million cell phones no longer being used by Americans were recycled,

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At the beginning of 2008, it was predicted that green national and Santa Cruz homes would not only become a steady trend, but would also become the nationwide norm. As the home building industry struggled with economic upheaval, the building of green homes was one sector that kept growing.

Energy Star Designations

As of December, 2009, over 1 million homes have received the Energy Star designation since the program’s inception in 1995. Despite the many foreclosures, the glutted housing market and drowning homeowners, 75,000 more homes gained the Energy Star designation in 2009, raising the numbers to 1,024,200.

In 2007, 12% of single-family homes in the U.S. were Energy Star homes. In 2008, the numbers had reached 17%. Although the reports have yet to

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There are many different ways to update your Santa Cruz home to make it more eco-friendly. 

• In your Santa Cruz home, install ceiling fans and thermal windows.  Ceiling fans are low energy, cost effective ways of cooling your home without using the air conditioning.  Thermal windows offer insulation from outside heat and cold. 

• Use foam caulking around any cable lines or cords leading to an exterior wall.  This will provide insulation against temperature changes.

• In the winter (or in climates that are cool year round), use the natural sunlight during the day.  Opening the drapes and allowing the sun to come in decreases the amount of energy needed to light and heat your home.  Closing the drapes at night adds another layer of insulation against

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Working to have a safe Santa Cruz home environment is important to everyone.  We want our children to have safe water, clean air, fresh food and a healthy earth for their future.

One area where you might consider decreasing your impact on the environment is in your own home construction. 

There are several ways you can have a safe and clean green home construction.

• Find a “green” builder to help with your Santa Cruz home.  Search the Internet for professional green builders.  It takes a special contractor to coordinate the elements of home building to ensure maximum energy savings.  Buying green materials is just one step toward having a green home.  To achieve ultimate efficiency, the different structural parts of plumbing, electricity, gas lines,

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