Few things are as unsettling as the suspicion that termites are attacking your Santa Cruz home. This is one thing you do not want to stay in denial about. Here are some steps to help you face the possibility and prevent problems:

• Don't let any wooden parts of your Santa Cruz home touch soil directly.  As always, the best solution is prevention. If wooden parts of your house are touching the soil directly, a professional can remedy it by installing metal shields and re-grading the soil along the foundation to improve drainage and create a gap between soil and wooden structures.

• Determine whether you do have termites. Subterranean termites build characteristic mud tubes for movement between nests. The appearance of these tubes is often the first…

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If you're a potential buyer of Santa Cruz real estate, when scanning the listings of homes for sale, you may see references to “short sales.”  You may hear vague warnings about avoiding short sales from some people, while others tout the advantages.  So who is right?  Well, it depends…

Short Sales Defined
First, what is a short sale?  A short sale is a situation in which the current market price of a home would not, in fact, cover the amount the home owner owes on the mortgage.  Yes, that's what people mean when they say they are “underwater” – they owe more on their home than it is worth.

Since the mortgage can't be paid off by the sale of the house, short sales become an option, albeit a complicated one. The seller and the bank (or banks, as is…

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Across America, the decision to live with roommates in later years is becoming more common as the economy stagnates. According to the Census Bureau, from 2009 to 2010 the number of thirty-somethings living with non-family roommates rose from 10.6 million to 12 million, which is an increase of 13 percent.

If you’re considering sharing a Santa Cruz home with others, here are some of the benefits you could reap:

• Lower monthly payments: Whether through divorce, widowhood or empty nest syndrome, many people are left with too much house and way too much mortgage debt. One solution is to invite a compatible friend or two to move in and split that mortgage payment. It will also mean splitting the utility bills: win-win.

 Companionship: Sure, you have…

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If you're sitting in your apartment right now thinking: I wish I could paint it, but my lease doesn't allow it, maybe it's time to talk to a Santa Cruz real estate agent about purchasing a new home.  Before you rush off to the store to look at paint samples or, more importantly, sign on the dotted line of any mortgages, consider the pros and cons of buying.


1. Financial Investment: Given the gloomy news on foreclosure rates across the country, it is easy to forget that buying Santa Cruz real estate is also a means of saving and investing.  The money you pay in rent to your landlord goes to your landlord; the money you put toward a mortgage goes toward building equity in your home.

2. Pride of Ownership: By buying a home, you will be able to…

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All things must pass. No matter how the gardening at your Santa Cruz home went this year, it’s getting time to move on and change with the seasons. Here are some tips to help you:

• Dig those sweet potatoes. Harvest sweet potatoes before the first frost, or they will be ruined. If you wake up and find the frost has hit before you had the chance, run out there immediately and at least cut the vines off at the base of the plants. This may stop damage to the roots, but you still need to dig your sweets before the next frost. After digging, cure them by keeping them in a warm, dark place like the attic of your Santa Cruz home. This sweetens them up and gets them ready for storage. After curing, store them somewhere that never goes below 40 degrees; they…

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Halloween is a fun and exciting time, especially for children. To ensure that youngsters and your Santa Cruz home make it safely through the festivities this year, follow these Halloween safety tips:

1. Eliminate trip hazards. Remove bikes, toys and garden hoses from your Santa Cruz home’s front yard and porch. Sweep and rake leaves.

2. Replace burned out lights. Trick-or-treaters have a hard enough time seeing through their masks; don’t increase the danger by keeping them in the dark.

3. Restrain pets. You don’t want your pet to jump on a trick-or-treater, or even worse, bite someone.

4. Use a flashlight or glow stick to illuminate your carved pumpkin. Lit candles are dangerous, especially around small children or crowds of people.


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In today’s precarious job market, many luxury homeowners are finding they can’t afford their massive, custom-designed properties any longer. As the once rich are having to quickly sell or abandon their Santa Cruz real estate, you might be able to snag a good deal on a distressed luxury home.

There are many horror stories associated with short sales and foreclosures, but if you do your research, are patient and can act quickly, you might be able to purchase the home of your dreams. If you want to take advantage of this sour market, then consider the following guidelines — and happy house hunting!

• Find an agent who has experience with distressed real estate. Interview Santa Cruz real estate agents to find out their history of dealing with…

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Flyers, open houses and stagnant real estate websites don’t cut it anymore. Property buyers and sellers are more technologically savvy than they’ve ever been, and they rely on social media’s instant communication forums for information, advice, suggestions and reviews to guide their decision-making processes.

Real estate agents’ roles within the industry have evolved — they’re no longer just gatekeepers.  Now, they need to be interpreters between their clients and the constant stream of social media information.

To determine if a Santa Cruz real estate agent is socially savvy online, ask the following questions:

 Strategy – Before signing a listing agreement with an agent, find out what marketing strategies he or she usually implements. Is he or…

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You might be scratching your head right now wondering why in the world you would want to hire a real estate agent when you’re buying a Santa Cruz home for sale by owner (FSBO). You may even have the misconception that real estate agents can't work for you if you want to buy a FSBO.  That's not true. 

Real estate agents can represent your best interests when purchasing FSBOs, just like they do when purchasing homes listed with a real estate agency. You get the same service from your agent whether he or she is helping you buy a traditional Santa Cruz home for sale or a FSBO.

Here are three benefits to working with a real estate agent when buying a FSBO:

1. It could save you thousands of dollars.

Most people consider buying a FSBO because they…

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Investing in real estate is not a get-rich-quick scheme by any means.  Late night infomercials claim to show you how to retire in months after trying their methods for investing in real estate. Unfortunately, the only ones getting rich are them.

But, you can build for your future by investing in the right Santa Cruz real estate in the right way. Here are five tips to give you some guidance on how to buy that second, third or even fourth piece of real estate as an investment:

1. Shop smart. Look for homes or land in desirable neighborhoods or in up-and-coming neighborhoods.

2. Keep your property. You should not buy Santa Cruz real estate for the purpose of flipping it.  That was a short-lived fad that ended up costing many people thousands of…

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