If your Santa Cruz home is starting to look like a landfill, you’re not alone. You’d like to get rid of all the old stuff you don’t use anymore, but you want to be responsible and don’t know where to take it, right?

Here are some of the most common obsolete items and ideas on what to do with them.

• Technotrash: This is computer-related waste, VHS tapes, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs and other obsolete accessories.  A company called GreenDisk can handle all your technotrash disposal needs by safely and securely destroying your old data, recovering reusable components, and recycling all of the rest of your accumulated technotrash.

• Old electronics: Also known as e-waste, this includes old appliances, TVs and monitors that contain valuable metals that…

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Maybe your vegetable garden has been neglected lately. Take heart, fall will be here before you know it, and all things can be renewed! Here are some tips to get the garden at your Santa Cruz home reinvigorated.

 Pick a cool morning. Don’t try going out there on a hot, sticky afternoon. Watch the weather and plan ahead. Be ready to get out there early.

• Make an evaluation. First things first. Do you have harvested corn stalks that need to be removed to make room for late short-season crops? Do the tomatoes need some compost? Need to replenish mulch? Make an inventory of tasks and prioritize.

• Tackle those weeds.  If you’re like most of us, chances are there are some weed problems in your Santa Cruz home garden this time of year.  Don’t try to…

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According to a report by the U.S. Department of Energy, only one in five household sockets currently contain energy-efficient light bulbs.  If you haven’t embraced them, here are some reasons to make the switch sooner rather than later in your Santa Cruz home:

• Your budget will thank you – While a Compact Fluorescent light bulb (CFL) costs more to purchase than an incandescent (about $1 more per bulb), the CFL will last up to 10 times longer than the traditional light bulb.  According to Energy Star, a CFL saves you between $30 and $60 per bulb depending on the cost of electricity at your Santa Cruz home.

• It’s good for the environment – A CFL uses 75% less energy than a traditional light bulb. 

• Your quality of light won’t suffer – A federal…

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Before you put your home on the market, you want to make certain that it’s in tip-top condition to ensure a quick sale. The key to listing your home at a competitive price and guaranteeing you have what buyers are looking for is to think like a Santa Cruz real estate agent.

To get your home ready to sell, here are five easy and inexpensive home improvements this Santa Cruz real estate agent recommends:

1. Layout – Take an objective look at your home and stage accordingly. Remove clutter and rearrange furniture so that potential buyers can envision each room’s purpose. Also, store any obtrusive furniture that disrupts walking flow or makes rooms look smaller.

2. Hardware – Update all hardware. Changing out door handles, drawer pulls and light…

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You’ve taken the leap, purchased Santa Cruz real estate as rental property and become a landlord.  Congratulations!  Now, you have to decide who’s going to manage your rental property… you, a resident manager or a property management company.

Hiring a property management company can be expensive.   To help you determine if that’s the best business decision for you, here are some instances in which you may want to hire a property management company for your Santa Cruz real estate:

• You have many properties and rental units, and you don’t have time to do it all yourself.

 You live far away from your rental property.  Many problems that arise with rental properties need immediate attention.

• You don’t want the hassle of having employees. …

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Today’s economy has been rough on most everyone’s pocketbooks, and when it comes to prioritizing payments, mortgage payments can take a hit. If you find yourself in a bind, owing more than your Santa Cruz real estate is worth and you can’t afford your current mortgage, then you might want to consider talking to your real estate agent and bank about the possibility of a short sale.

To help you prepare for those conversations, here are the basics about short sales:

• What is a short sale? A short sale is an agreement that your Santa Cruz real estate agent negotiates between you and your bank to sell your home for less than you still owe. The bank absorbs the loss so that the seller doesn’t have to repay the balance of the mortgage.

• Why would you…

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We all need more ways to save household money. This is not about wearing a hair shirt; these money-saving tips are about improving your quality of life and making your Santa Cruz home more ‘homey.’

• Get a bread machine and use it. Noticed the price of bread lately? It’s not going down either. And there isn’t a loaf in the store that can compare to fresh-baked bread with truly all natural ingredients you choose yourself. The aroma of fresh bread in your Santa Cruz home is another bonus. A bread machine makes it easy, and won’t heat up your kitchen like turning on the oven does.

• Try meat-less Mondays. If this sounds dreary, you need to expand your horizons! Some of the best food out there is vegetarian. Go online and check it out. You’ll not only…

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Buying a Santa Cruz home is both easier and harder these days. Yes, it’s a buyer’s market, which implies that prices are lower, but it also means there are tons of homes for sale that you have to wade through to find your jewel.  Purchasing a home is a lot easier when you know how to be a savvy home buyer.

Follow these five tips to get the Santa Cruz home of your dreams with less hassle and at a great price:

1. List your home before looking for another home. Contracts contingent on selling your existing home complicate the buying process and reduce your chance of getting a great bargain. Sellers are often unwilling to give any concessions if they have to wait for you to sell your home.

2. Get pre-approved for a loan.  Sellers prefer to negotiate…

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In honor of Labor Day, you may have a few DIY renovation projects planned for your Santa Cruz home. Instead of plunging right into costly home renovations, you might want to take the long weekend to consider the following tips to gain insight before getting down to work.

• Talk to your parents. Give your elders a call to see what they think about your renovation plans. Those of the older generation have usually lived in many houses and did a lot more fixing up than most property owners do today.

• Consult a professional. Talk with a professional who specializes in the type of renovation that you’re planning, such as a carpenter, plumber or electrician. They might charge you for an hour of their time, but you’ll gain valuable insight and maybe even…

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More than likely, you’ve cooked dinners, you’ve played games and you’ve made thousands of memories within the personally decorated walls of your home — and now you think you’re ready to move on. No matter the reason for selling your Santa Cruz real estate, getting emotional is normal. However, you need to keep those emotions in check, because they could be detrimental to closing the deal.

Emotional calls constantly get sellers in troubling situations that make them regret their split decisions. A snide remark, too-low offer or fixer-up request from the buyer can push your buttons, but you need to set your feelings aside in order to do what’s best for your financial future. Below are emotional mistakes that can stop negotiations and put you in housing…

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