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With 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.
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.
Everyone needs a little bit of friendly advice from time to time, and that’s especially true when dealing with real estate. It’s a tough world out there for a buyer. It’s doubly tough in a market like the one we have had over the past several years. So here are a few buyer-oriented real estate tips that may help you as you approach this market. The goal of these tips is simply to provide current and helpful items to consider so you can make the best possible buying decisions.
First, when you decide it is time to purchase a home, start by making a list of what you are looking for with your real estate purchase and stick to it. Put your most important items on the top of the list and work down in order of what is less important. Decide on what would be deal breakers from the start, and you won’t be confused and unsatisfied later.
Be sure to keep all aspects of the home you are thinking about purchasing in mind. While the physical aspects … size of rooms, the kitchen and so on are important factors, avoid focusing solely on a few things. Other considerations such as traffic patterns, distance from work, noise levels, do you feel safe, the quality of the neighborhood, have you met the neighbors? These and other issues hugely impact your experience once you are living in the home.
Buying a home with a great view might be what you are looking for, but remember it may have disadvantages, too. Usually, it costs significantly more than the rest of the houses in the neighborhood. Its resale value can also be negatively affected, as the potential buyers might not appreciate the view as much as the original buyer did. There is also a good possibility that over time new structures will be erected, significantly altering the original panoramic view; be sure you know what is going to happen to the land … and views you are looking … at in the future. So, yes, having a great view may be nice, but do your due diligence and always try to pay as little extra as possible for the view.
For those of you real estate investors or first-time hom owners seeking to purchase properties at courthouse auctions, it is always wise to conduct a thorough title review before bidding. In this way, successful buyers avoid getting stuck with a house that remains subject to unpaid taxes, contractor’s liens or other mortgage obligations that were not cleared up. Don’t take it for granted that these issues were all eliminated at the foreclosure; check for yourself and be certain that you will not have clouds on the title. This could be a costly problem.
As an investor, you must look past the cosmetic aspects of the house you are looking to purchase. If the walls are dingy, it only takes a few dollars to buy a can of paint and freshen up the look. Conversely, the previous owner may have covered up the ills of the past with that same few dollars of paint. Look at location and major repairs and do not overlook the small things, as small things can become big things fast. Do an in-depth inspection, bring a contractor with you when you are looking at a home you may be interested in bidding on. Be sure you have a good estimate of what the repair and improvement costs are going to be and what the market value after repairs (ARV) will be. The ARV is important to know, you do not want to be overpriced for the market area, or if you plan to flip the home, if there is enough profit potential in the deal.
Last week, The Mecklenburg Times turned its focus from the devastation of homeowners in today’s market, to the success of the real estate agents behind the scenes, working their hardest to sell these homes and get their clients the best deals out there. Showcase’s very own short sale expert, Michael Simonini, was asked for his input and expertise on the situtation.
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
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
To take advantage of low mortgage rates and low interest rates while you can, contact a Realtor who can help you! Click here.
Charlotte is the 18th-largest city in the United States, according to a projections based on the latest U.S. Census data.
The Charlotte area has 729,781 residents as of Monday, up from 569,858 in 2000, according to projections compiled by Business First of Buffalo, N.Y. Business First is a sister publication of the Charlotte Business Journal.
The population projections are generated by a computer formula the publication developed in 2000 and recalibrates annually. The formula uses a decade of U.S. Census Bureau data to extrapolate growth trends.
Thinking about relocating to Charlotte, NC? Click here for information regarding affordable homes in the area!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nancy Braun, Owner & Broker-In-Charge
Local Real Estate Brokerage Uses Foreclosures to ‘Pay It Forward’
Showcase Realty partners with the national REO4Kids effort to raise money for children’s charities through the sale of REO properties.
CHARLOTTE, NC (October 18, 2010) – Nancy Braun, Owner and Broker of Showcase Realty, LLC, has recently teamed up with REO4Kids to become one of the few brokerages across the US donating $100 to children’s charities per REO Asset she sells. In 2009 Nancy’s group donated over $200,000 and expects to donate more than $250,000 in 2010. Because foreclosures affect inner city kids more than anyone else, the group has elected to help the Boys and Girls Club of America as well as Make-a-Wish. Showcase also donates to No Paws Left Behind to help the animal victims of this foreclosure crisis.
The recent partnership of Showcase Realty with REO4Kids is not only raising money for deserving charities but also shining a positive light onto the unfortunate situation that is home foreclosure.
“This is a huge opportunity for Showcase Realty to ‘Pay it Forward’. We want to hold the torch and lead the way for other agents and brokerages to use real estate as a way to give back to their local communities as well as the larger national community in this time of economic need,” says Braun.
Braun, who has been a successful real estate agent for14 years, opened Showcase Realty in 2008. In addition to General Brokerage, the firm launched foreclosure and short sale divisions to address the surge of foreclosures, short sales and distressed properties in the real estate market.
Visit CharlotteREOBroker.com or REO4Kids.com for more information. To find out more about current REO homes Showcase Realty has to offer send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
With the expiration of the tax credit, home sales have been dropping sharply around the nation. Experts reported that “Completed transactions of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and co-ops dropped 25.5 percent in July from the year-earlier total, falling to the lowest level since 1999.” Smart investors stand to make a killing during this economic downturn. With sellers experiencing pressures to move and increasing number of foreclosures, especially in the Charlotte area, homes are being sold far below tax values. It is the perfect time to explore REO properties and start bidding!
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