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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.
Did you miss our radio show that aired live last Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 10:30 AM? No worries, if you missed it or want to listen again you can watch the podcast available now on ITunes and coming soon to www.charlottemarketradio.com.
Our last episode discussed one common dilemma most homeowners face and this is renting versus buying, which is better? According to Mecktimes and Trulia’s statistics, buying a house is better than renting one; specifically if you live within Charlotte, North Carolina. During the summer of 2013, buying a home was actually cheaper by 44 percent than renting. The difference between both narrowed since summer of 2012, where it was 54 percent cheaper to buy than to rent.
Furthermore, by Trulia’s estimate, the mortgage rate tipping point, when renting becomes cheaper than buying, is at 13.3 percent for Charlotte. And according to Bankrate.com, the current mortgage rates are 4.12 to 4.62.
The benefits of owning a home were also presented, here are a few:
On the other hand, the downside of renting was also discussed.
For first time homebuyers, there are special lending programs you can rely on like HUD homes. If you live in Charlotte, be sure to get a certificate first from attending an 8-hour Home Buyer workshop and get up to $7,500 which you can use as down payment and closing costs.
For those who have been hurt by the economic downturn by a short sale or foreclosure; good news because you can now purchase a house in much less time because of a recent change in the rules. FHA has loosened their guidelines allowing borrowers to get a home loan in as little as 12 months after a foreclosure or short sale.
Last but not the least, the 3 most common myths of buying versus renting were also discussed, which are as follows:
Myth #1 A bigger down payment is always better
You don’t need to put 20% as down payment..
Myth # 2 You get more for your money in the suburbs
Savings from lower-cost housing often are wiped out by unexpectedly high transportation costs.
Myth #3: Renters escape property taxes
Renters don’t pay property taxes directly; any business minded landlord factors in all of their carrying costs into their rental rates so it’s like they’re paying the taxes of the landlord.
For more information and elaboration on the topics discussed, listen to our podcast.
On the next episode of our radio show, we will discuss how to get your home ready for the market. If you have any questions or clarifications, please don’t hesitate to call us at 704-440-0007. We’re always happy to answer your queries.
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.”
For more information on affordable, available homes visit ShowcaseRealty.net
The Charlotte Business Journal published today that according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission unemployment in the Charlotte metro area dropped to 10.7 percent in February from 11.2 percent in January.
The following is an excerpt from this article detailing employment pertentages in the Charlotte Metro & surrounding areas:
“Mecklenburg County’s jobless rate in February was 10.2 percent, unchanged from the January level.
Here are the February unemployment rates for N.C. counties in the Charlotte region, followed by the January rates:
•Alexander: 11.1 percent, down from 12.3 percent.
•Anson: 12.9 percent, down from 13.8 percent.
•Cabarrus: 10.3 percent, down from 10.8 percent.
•Catawba: 12.2 percent, down from 12.6 percent.
•Cleveland: 12 percent, down from 12.4 percent.
•Gaston: 11.4 percent, down from 11.6 percent.
•Iredell: 11.1 percent, down from 11.4 percent.
•Lincoln: 11.5 percent, down from 12 percent.
•Mecklenburg: 10.2 percent, unchanged.
•Rowan: 11.3 percent, down from 12 percent.
•Stanly: 11 percent, down from 11.8 percent.
•Union: 9.2 percent, down from 9.6 percent.
As previously reported, North Carolina’s unemployment rate dipped to 9.7 percent in February from 9.8 percent in January.”
For the full article: Charlotte-area unemployment dips to 10.7% | Charlotte Business Journal
For an easy way to search for affordable and available homes in the Charlotte Metro & surrounding areas, visit ShowcaseRealty.net.
All of the agents and staff here at Showcase Realty are very excited to introduce our brand new website! Same url: www.showcaserealty.net but different layout!
We hope to add to it as we go and continue to supply all of the viewers with as much information as possible to help make your buying or selling journey a successful and smooth process. Please feel free to check it out and look around.
If you were signed up for a listing alert you will need to sign back up through the new site – and if you weren’t signed up for a listing alert this is the perfect time to do so! You will get email updates on new properties according to your search criteria, you can save your searches and mark favorite listings.
So go ahead and take a look: www.ShowcaseRealty.net
We look forward to sharing our information with you!
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.”
According to an article published on February 1, 2011 in DSNews, a study done by Movoto.com, a real estate site based in California, more than half of American families can afford to buy a new home based on income levels and listing prices. The following is an excerpt from the article which gives insight on the reasoning behind this statistic:
“While the site’s user search statistics show high interest in affordable price ranges, the company says buyers find it difficult to purchase short sales and foreclosures and banks are still reluctant to lend.
With 2010’s median family income at $64,400, at least 50 percent of families could afford to buy a home priced at $150,000 or higher, according to Movoto.com.
A person with an annual salary of $64,400 could reasonably afford a $215,000 home with a 5 percent down payment, an interest rate of 5 percent on a 30 year mortgage, and property taxes at 1.25 percent, assuming a monthly mortgage payment to monthly income ratio rate of 25 percent, the company explained in a statement.
However, these numbers do not add up to more home sales.
‘According to the numbers, buyer interest, affordability, and home price inventory have aligned,’ said Henry Shao, CEO of Movoto. ‘Median income levels can support mortgages at the most readily available housing prices, but we have yet to see a corresponding jump in sales.'”
HGTV is looking for fun, high-energy, enthusiastic people in Charlotte NC who are selling their first place! Singles, couples and families selling homes of all kinds are all invited and encouraged to apply.
My First Sale is kicking off its THIRD season, focusing on the trials and tribulations of preparing to sell, pricing/marketing, and ultimately selling your first place. We’re looking for fun and interesting people who are willing to share their personal and financial struggles during the home-selling process.
We’ll follow you for approximately 15 shoot days over the course of the process of selling your home. This real estate rollercoaster could include some of the more stressful days of your life, so if this sounds like fun, please apply! A modest thank you check for the featured seller(s) and their agent will be awarded. You’ll also receive a DVD copy of your episode, giving you a lasting memory of the process.
If you are a first-time home seller in the Charlotte, NC are or thinking about selling soon, give Showcase Realty a call or email and we can help you! There is an applicatin process for the show so hurry and contact us before casting is over in a couple weeks!
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
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.
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.