Here are a few simple things you can do to go green if you own a Santa Cruz condo:
Going Green With Electricity

Saving electricity is an effective way to go green.  An environmental agency called McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), reported that energy efficiency could save two-thirds of the Earth’s emissions and help get the world halfway to the goal of reduced global warming gases.  This has never been more critical to our future as it is now.  Here are four suggestions for reducing your electricity usage in your Santa Cruz condos
 Invest in a more energy efficient refrigerator.  Each year this saves 200 terawatt hours in America.

• Turn the lights off when you leave your home or when you leave a room.  I know this sounds overly simple, but many of us…

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Your Santa Cruz home is your castle, but living like a king can get expensive.  If you find yourself digging in the sofa for change to go to the store, read these tips on cutting household expenses:

 Use less energy.  Turn off the lights before you leave.  If you're going on a two-hour trip and you spend one minute turning off all the lights, you're earning the equivalent of $50 an hour, or $0.83 a minute. 

• Install CFL or LED light bulbs.  They both have a longer life and use less energy than regular bulbs.  CFLs use about 25% of the electricity of a normal light bulb, while LEDs use about 2%.

• Install a programmable thermostat.  These regulate the temperature in your Santa Cruz home according to a set schedule.  These thermostats can cut your…

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Whether you’re looking for your next family home or an investment property, a foreclosure can be a great way to find a bargain. However, not all foreclosures are the same. Before you jump into a foreclosure, make yourself a smart buyer who knows a thing or two about Santa Cruz foreclosures.

1. Smart buyers know that that foreclosed properties are not automatically bargains. Banks want to make as much money as possible on their foreclosures. While you can sometimes find great deals, you are more likely to purchase a foreclosure for at or near market value. Look for Santa Cruz homes that are reasonably priced, not just those that are sold as cheaply as possible.

2. Smart buyers know that not all foreclosures are the same. Foreclosures fall into one of…

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When buying Santa Cruz real estate, you may find some unexpected problems.  Generally, these issues revolve around plumbing, wiring or sticking doors and windows.  Although they aren’t as expensive to fix as other issues, there’s always a possibility that they indicate bigger problems. 

Sticking Doors/Windows
Spotting wear and tear on doors and windows is fairly easy.  Check the hinges and locks.  Squeaking hinges or locks that stick indicate wear on seals and metal. 

Although sticking doors and windows aren’t a big deal in and of themselves, these issues can be indications of moderate to severe foundation problems.  If you find these issues in Santa Cruz real estate, make your way to the basement and look for cracks or dips in the floors and walls. …

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Many people think that Santa Cruz real estate agents have it pretty easy.  Once they start investigating, however, they find that being an agent is a difficult and time consuming job.

Real Estate Training
All states, including the District of Columbia, require agents to be licensed which requires hours of training and test taking. 

Depending on the state, you need between forty and ninety hours of specific coursework. 

Once the coursework is completed, you have to pass a state exam on real estate law and practice.  In most states, an agent then has to find a real estate broker to work with.

To become a broker and be able to manage their own brokerage, Santa Cruz real estate agents have to gain experience.  This means more coursework, as well as a…

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When buying a newly constructed Santa Cruz home, you have a chance to decide what type of lighting to use.  If you don't know about lighting styles and uses, or want to learn more, read these lighting guidelines.

Types of lighting
• Ceiling lights are generally used in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms – large areas.  One type of ceiling light is called a can, or recessed light, and is set into the ceiling to provide extra lighting when necessary.

• Track lights give a spotlight look, and focus light on a specific area of a room.  You can use these to highlight artwork on walls and pedestals, or above fireplaces.  Track lighting gives any room a more contemporary feel.

• Fluorescent lights add a lot of light without a lot of heat.  This type of…

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Buying a Santa Cruz condo may be the answer to your home ownership dream.  They are usually lower maintenance than a traditional home, and most of them come with amenities.  Here are a few things to consider before you set your heart on a condo:

Identify the Living Space You Need
One of the first things you’ll need to do is sit down and make a list of what you want in your home.  How many bedrooms do you need?  Do you need one bathroom or two?  Do you need a one-level condo or do you prefer a two-story townhome?  What amenities do you want - swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts? 

Read the Convenants, Conditions and Restrictions
This is the set of rules that govern condominiums.  They may include rules on renting, remodeling and noise levels to…

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Buying newly constructed Santa Cruz real estate isn't much different from buying an "already used" home.  What variances there are, however, can make all the difference between buying a diamond or a lemon.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying new construction:

Tip #1: Don't use the builder's sales agent - hire your own.
If they're the builder's agent, they're being paid to represent the builder, no matter what they tell you.  Your own Santa Cruz real estate agent, who is representing you, is required to tell you the negatives as well as the positives.  The builder's agent doesn't have to tell you the drawbacks of the transaction.

Tip #2: Find your own lending agency.
Again, if you go through the builder, the lending agency may offer you a deal…

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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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The new stimulus bill gives first-time home buyers a tax credit of $8,000! Whether the Santa Cruz real estate you purchase is new or a re-sale there are always things you can do to make improvements. Here are a few ideas on how you can use the tax break for your new home.

• Put in all new appliances. $8,000 will buy a nice set of kitchen and laundry appliances, and enough groceries to fill up that new refrigerator for several months on top of it.

• Furnish a room. Many times a new home means old furniture just won't fit in or fill it up. $8,000 goes a long way to decorating a new room or two.

• Put on a porch. The stimulus money can be used to add value to your Santa Cruz real estate by making additions like a patio or porch. It will make your new home…

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