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Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly

Eco Friendly, Consumption, Conservation, Enviroment, Green energy, Clean, Go Green, Charlotte NC real estate, Charlotte NC investors, Charlotte NC foreclosures, Charlotte NC homes for sale, Charlotte NC short sales, Showcase Realty, Charlotte NC Short Sale Agents

Eco Friendly, Consumption, Conservation, Enviroment, Green energy, Clean, Go Green, Charlotte NC real estate, Charlotte NC investors, Charlotte NC foreclosures, Charlotte NC homes for sale, Charlotte NC short sales, Showcase Realty, Charlotte NC Short Sale AgentsWith the increasing number of environmental problems these days, each of us has the responsibility to do something to help save the environment. In your own simple ways, you can help through making home improvements that do not only beautify and add value to your home, but also helps conserve the environment. Below are some of these eco-friendly home improvement tips.

 

Monitor your electricity consumption. This is made possible through buying digital displays that allow you to monitor your electricity consumption similar to a meter in a taxi. In this way, you would be less wasteful.

 

Install skylights in your roof. Installing skylights helps natural sunlight in illuminating your house, especially in those pesky dark areas in your house.

 

Use solar panels or a miniature wind turbine. Solar heating is very useful, especially in providing basic energy within your home such as lighting and heating water. The good thing about this is it makes pure and clean energy. At the same time, you can store the energy in a battery for later use. You can also install a miniature wind turbine which can also help generate renewable energy.

 

Invest in low wattage light bulbs. Such kind of bulb helps save energy easily. It’s sometimes brighter than the standard light bulbs but consumes lesser energy.

 

Improve your roof. There had been researches conducted indicating that roof color and the types of material you use in your roof can greatly lower the temperature in attics. For instance, consider using white tiles when re-roofing as it has properties that can reduce heat gain.

 

Install a motion detector outside your home. Such devices help a lot in saving energy because your light fixtures will only be activated by motion sensors or a timer.

 

Make use of low flow showerheads. These items are a worthwhile investment because they help cut down water usage and save energy expenses.

 

Purchase energy-efficient appliances. Investing in such items is one of the most effective ways of saving energy. Remember, home appliances use about 18% of a typical home’s total energy bill so investing in energy-efficient appliances can help lower down your expenses. These appliances bear “Energy Star” logo which means they use 10% to 50% less energy and water than other standard models.

 

Save water through using certain devices. There are actually some devices you can purchase that help save water. For instance, you can use an aerator on all your household faucets to cut your annual consumption of water into half. You can also install a low-flow toilet to increase your water savings.. But aside from this, you should also do some behavioral changes that save water too.

HUD Home Buyer Webinar

Webinar Education

This week on December 19th there will be a HUD Homebuyer webinar hosted by Nancy Braun, Owner of Showcase Realty, perfect for homebuyers and investors. In this Webinar we will discuss who can purchase HUD homes and when. Myth battles fact in common misconceptions about HUD homes.

Did you know?

-HUD does not provide direct financing to buyers of HUD Homes.

-Almost anyone can buy a HUD home.

– You can purchase a HUD home at a 50% discount from the original list price if you meet certain qualifications.

-You can purchase a home with just $100 down!

We will also be discussing different investment strategies and discuss a very common “Get Rich Quick” strategy made popular by TV shows.  We will also advise you on what investment properties to avoid and the realities of being an investor. You will be a LANDLORD at some point (if you want a steady income property).

Much more will be discussed at the FREE HUD Home Buyers Webinar! Attend it on Thursday December 19th at 2-3 PM! You will also receive a FREE HUD Tool Kit after the Webinar so don’t hesitate to register for the event today!  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8895772902378965762

How color of a room can affect you

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Does the color blue relax and calm you? Do you feel anxious when you are in a yellow room? Well, did you know that your environment has a direct effect on your emotions and your state of mind?

 

Although people perceive colors differently because it’s subjective, there are certain colors that have a universal effect on people. Hence, it is important that you know these effects to assist you in deciding the color of your room and other parts of your house. Below is a guide to help you out.

 

Red. Red has been strongly associated with anger and intensity, which is why you should avoid using this as the main color of your room. But it also stimulates a person’s energy that promotes enthusiasm and liveliness.  Hence, it’s good to choose this color for your living room or dining room as it helps draw people together and stimulates conversation.

 

Yellow. Yellow is a color usually associated with happiness and being cheery. Hence, it’s a perfect color for kitchens, bathrooms, and dining rooms. However, this isn’t a color you must consider for rooms because it’s likely that people will lose their temper. Babies also tend to cry more when inside a yellow room.

 

Blue. Blue is well-known to have a calming effect so it’s one of the best colors for a room but it should be softer shades of blue since darker shades have an opposite effect. It also helps in in bringing down blood pressure and slowing down respiration and heart rate. At the same time, warmer blues have a relaxing effect in social areas so you can also use this in family rooms, living rooms, and large kitchens.

 

Green. Similar to blue, the color green also has a calming effect that helps relieve stress as it relaxes them. It’s even associated with fertility so it can also be one of your choices for the bedroom. It can also be used in other parts of the house like; the kitchen, as it cools things down, the family room or the living room as it encourages relaxation, warmth, comfort and togetherness.

 

Orange. Orange is a color associated with enthusiasm, excitement, and energy. However, this isn’t the color you should choose for your bedrooms or social areas, but it’s a great color for your workout room. It brings out all the energy you need to do your fitness routine.

 

Purple. Purple is color that conveys wealth, royalty, and sophistication. It also conveys wisdom as well as spirituality. But like the color blue, you should choose the lighter versions of purpose such as lilac and lavender if you like to use this for your bedroom.

 

White. The good thing about white is it helps make the room appear bigger and spacious, but it also makes the room seem unfriendly. It’s also described as cold, bland and sterile which is why hospitals usually use white as it creates a sense of cleanliness and sterility.

October 30, 2013

4 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe for Halloween

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Whether you like it or not, trick-or-treaters are surely coming to your home this Halloween. They’ll be dressed in different costumes like ghosts, vampires, fairies or super heroes. Although this is a fun and exciting event for everyone, there are times that accidents happen. But if you plan ahead of time, you can help make the Halloween an accident-free and fire-safe day for everyone. Take these simple effective steps discussed below.

 

  1. Keep away lighted candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from the doorsteps, yards or walkways. Yes, it really looks nice seeing lighted candles during Halloween especially at night. But if you don’t want accidents from happening, be sure to keep them away from your doorsteps, yards or walkways where any trick-or-treaters can easily brush his/her costume against the flame. Aside from this, keep away any candles from your curtains, decorations and other items that may easily flame up. Needless to say, never leave any burning candles unattended. To be safer, better use the “flameless” LED or battery-operated candles.

 

  1. Get rid of any obstacles from your yard or pathway. We have to remember that trick or treating happens usually at night so all trick-or-treaters will be visiting your decorated house when it’s dark. To be safe for everyone and to avoid accidents from happening, get rid of any obstacles from your yard, steps, or porches. This includes cleaning up your garden hoses, yard toys, lawn ornaments, and other items that you think might cause accidents. You should also sweep your sidewalks and steps from any wet leaves.

 

  1. Make use of LED pathway markers or glow-in-the-dark tapes. Rather than using candles in lighting any pathway, steps or a small rise in your driveway or porch, just use LED pathway markers or glow-in-the-dark tapes to help trick-or-treaters in finding their way to your front door where candy awaits.

 

  1. Keep your pets inside your house or away from the backyard. As much as possible, if you have pets like dogs, keep them first in a safe location away from the area where trick-or-treaters would possible pass. Remember, dogs are a territorial type of animal and they can bark or even snap at someone in defense of their surroundings. On the other hand, other pets like cats get anxious when they hear loud people or noise and that might cause them to run away.

A Brief History of Halloween

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Just like other holidays and important events, Halloween has evolved a lot since it started thousands of years ago. As one of the world’s oldest holidays, it has been celebrated today by more individuals from different parts of the world than ever before.

 

The term Halloween was originally spelled as “Hallowe’en,” which is contraction of All Hallows Eve, a term for the day before All Hallows Day, otherwise known as All Saints Day. The latter is a Catholic holiday celebrated on November 1 since the early Middle Ages where Christian saints along with martyrs are commemorated.

 

The history of Halloween originates in the ancient Celtic festival regarded as Samhain, a celebration of the end of the harvest season in the Gaelic culture. The ancient Gaels believed that, on October 31, there is an overlapping of the boundaries between the world of the living and the dead. At the same time, the deceased would come back to life and will cause havoc like sickness. Based on the prehistoric observance, Halloween used to mark the end of summer and the onset of winter where people celebrated it with sacrificial offerings, homage to the dead, feasts, and bonfires.

 

Like the Celts, the European people during that time also believed the same thing; that the spirits of the dead would came to visit the earth during Halloween. However, they feared that the spirits would hurt them or cause problems, which is why during the night they wore costumes to look like ghost and other evil creatures. They believed that by doing such, the spirits would think they’re also dead and they would remain unharmed. As the Europeans migrated to the United States, they brought such tradition with them.

 

“Trick or treat” entered the picture when there was an increasing number of Halloween pranks and mischief during the 1920s and 1930s. Schools and communities want to curb the increasing number of vandalism that’s why they encouraged the “trick or treat” concept. But the practice we do and see today where children wear costumes doing “trick or treat” started only during the mid-1940s.

 

Today, Halloween is the second most commercially successful holiday next to Christmas and is the third biggest party being celebrated yearly behind New Year as well as Super Bowl Sunday. Men and women of every age now celebrates Halloween in different ways like decorating their homes, wearing odd costumes, joining parades, and more. But we all have to remember, as long as we celebrate Halloween in a safe and happy way, then there’s no problem with celebrating it in different ways.

Charlotte Home Prices Continue to Fall

Home prices have continuously fallen in 18 of 20 US States over the past year. This statistic was found by a report made by Standard & Poor’s Case-Schiller Home Price Index released early this month.

The Mecklenburg Times published an article on this data last week. According to that article, home prices in the Charlotte meto area fell 4.8 percent in January from the same month a year ago and the area’s home prices were down 1.1 percent from December to January.

“Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future,” David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee, said of the U.S. housing market.

“These data confirm what we have seen with recent housing starts and sales reports,” he said. “The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery. At most, we have seen all statistics bounce along their troughs. At worst, the feared double-dip recession may be materializing.”

Full article

For more information on affordable, available homes visit ShowcaseRealty.net

February 16, 2011

Still Looking for a Reason to Buy? FHA Raising Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums

FHA Announcement: Raising Annual Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Are you still in need of one more reason to kickstart the process of buying a home? You could possibly end up saving money if you choose to do so before April 2011.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced this week that it will be raising its annual mortgage insurance premium (MIP) by a quarter of a percentage point on all 30- and 15-year loans. This increase comes as part of a new premium structure for FHA-insured mortgage loans the FHA is putting in place in response to the Obama administration’s housing finance reforms. The new structure will apply to all new loans insured by the FHA on or after April 18, 2011. Existing and reverse mortgage (HECM) loans insured by FHA are not impacted by the pricing change.

The following is an excerpt from a DSNews article reported on Februay 15, 2011:

“FHA Commissioner David Stevens says the annual payment adjustment will increase borrowers’ costs about $30 per month and will help to strengthen the agency’s depleted coffers.
‘After careful consideration and analysis, we determined it was necessary to increase the annual mortgage insurance premium at this time in order to bolster the FHA’s capital reserves and help private capital return to the housing market,’ Stevens said in a statement.

He continued, ‘This quarter point increase in the annual MIP is a responsible step towards meeting the congressionally mandated two percent reserve threshold, while allowing FHA to remain the most cost effective mortgage insurance option for borrowers with lower incomes and lower down payments.’

The 25 basis point rise was proposed last week as part of the Obama administration’s report to Congress on reforming the nation’s housing finance system, and was detailed in President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget released Monday.

According to FHA, this premium change enables the agency to increase revenues at a time when it is critical to safeguard the stability of its Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund, which had capital reserves of approximately $3.6 billion at the end of FY 2010. The new pay structure is estimated to contribute nearly $3 billion annually to the fund.”

Full DSNews Article
Looking for Affordable Housing?

December 20, 2010

“For Sale By Owner” Not as Successful in 2010

Homes sold without the help of a real estate professional dropped to a record low over the past year. According to the 2010 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, unrepresented sellers made up only 11 percent of the market, down from 13 percent in
2009.

Owners who sell their home without the help of an agent usually sell to someone they already know. Factoring out those private sales, the actual number of homes sold on the
open market without professional assistance was a record low 5 percent, compared to 10 percent in 2004.

With the higher rate of foreclosed and short sale properties on the market currently, buyers need to use a certified Realtor to help navigate through a sale or purchase. It is not out of the ordinary for many Realtors to be unfamiliar with the process, and this can make the real estate journey a lot harder for the buyer.

Finding a Realtor that can assist you and your needs is the best way to find a home or have your property sold in a timely manner.

For help with this process you can contact Showcase Realty by clicking here to get started on your way to selling or purchasing a property.

December 15, 2010

Interest Rate RoundUp, Mortgage Rates on the Rise

The election is over and so is the need to keep interest rates artificially low. If we absorb the pain now, we’ll be less likely to remember it during the 2012 election. Don’t wait! Rates are rising!

Interest Rate Roundup for Dec. 2, 2010 from Bankrate.com

Mortgages
4.71% (30-year fixed)
0.36 (average points)

Here’s a look at the state of mortgage rates from Bankrate.com’s weekly national survey of large banks and thrifts conducted Dec. 1, 2010.

Mortgage products took a sharp leap upward this week, with the 15- and 30-year home loans rising significantly amid signs that the U.S. economic recovery may also be gathering strength.

The 30-year fixed rate mortgage shot up 13 basis points, to 4.71 percent, its highest level since last summer. A basis point is one-hundredth of 1 percent.

The story was much the same for 15-year fixed rate mortgages, although their ascent was not as steep, climbing 10 basis points to 4.07 percent.

The rises were more moderate for adjustable-rate mortgages. The popular 5/1 ARM rose 8 basis points, settling at 3.74 percent. With a 5/1 ARM, a mortgage has a fixed rate for the first five years, and is adjusted annually — based on market conditions — for the remainder of the loan’s term.

It was the highest rate for 30-year mortgages since July. Bankrate’s July 21 national survey found an average rate of 4.74 percent, after which home loans began a descent that lasted until early November and brought mortgages to record low rates.

Although it is difficult to establish a direct relationship — and the housing market remains troubled by virtually every measure — the strengthening of mortgage rates is occurring as the tepid economic recovery is also gaining momentum.

On Wednesday, the Institute for Supply Management, which tracks manufacturing industries, said factory output has now risen for 16 months in a row. In addition, a Federal Reserve survey found that 10 of its 12 regions are seeing economic expansion, while the other two — St. Louis and Philadelphia — have mixed conditions.

The economic indicator most relevant to housing, however, is unemployment. The country will get an indication of whether the labor market is recovering on Friday, when the government releases figures for unemployment and job creation for the month of November.

Find out monthly mortgage payments using Bankrate’s mortgage calculator.

— Gregg Fields

Read more: National mortgage rates for Dec. 2, 2010

To take advantage of low mortgage rates and low interest rates while you can, contact a Realtor who can help you! Click here.

November 26, 2010

Foreclosure Freeze is Thawing! Important news for buyers & sellers

According to Fannie Mae, they are lifting some of the holds on eviction actions and REO closings that were put in place in September 2010. The holds were placed in response to the issues of possible defects with affidavits submitted in foreclosure actions. This means the homes that were removed from the market will be placed back on the market and closings will be able to proceed over the next week as Fannie Mae works through lifting the holds.

The following are instructions for brokerages Fannie Mae has issued to inform them of the current situation and how to proceed.

“Effective November 24, 2010, Fannie Mae is issuing the following instructions for REO properties relating to all loans which were formerly serviced by GMAC, Bank of America, PNC Mortgage Corporation, JP Morgan Chase, One West Bank and Sovereign Bank in all states previously on hold:

1. Our prior guidance with respect to evictions and lockouts for each of the affected servicers remains in effect at this time.

2. Proceed with scheduling and holding the closings of Fannie Mae REO property as agreed between the parties. If a title issue arises with respect to the potential defect of an affidavit used in the underlying foreclosure, the Closing entity will identify the issue in AMN as they would any other title issue and will work with their title representative for further instructions.

3. Please reach out to all buyers that have been awaiting closing to ensure that they can now move forward. They may reschedule to an earlier date if needed. It is possible that their loan and/or closing files will need to be updated before their closing can be scheduled.

4. Please reach out to those buyers that elected to terminate their contracts to determine if still interested in purchasing the property. All details of the contact and response must be noted in AMN. We require response/update in comments within 72 hours of this notice if the buyer associated with the terminated contract wishes to re-engage.

Over the next week, impacted properties will be removed from their current “Unable to Market” status in AMN and will again be available to market.”

For more information regarding the foreclosure freeze or for help buying a home that was taken off the market due to a title defect, please click here.