Category Archives: Home Ownership


How to Save on Energy Costs

When purchasing a home, you will likely want to do everything you can to minimize your maintenance and upkeep costs. One way to accomplish this goal is to take steps to make your home more energy-efficient. Whether interested in Nashville condos or a home in Davis, here are five simple ways to save on energy costs.

Energy Cost Reduction Tip #1: Replace Faucets

One simple and inexpensive way to save on energy costs is to replace your faucets with a more energy-efficient model. Not only can you save on water by choosing a water-efficient model, but leaky faucets that drip once per second actually waste 20 kilowatts per month. The same concept is true when it comes to showerheads.

Energy Cost Reduction Tip #2: Install More Insulation

Adding more energy-efficient insulation to your attic will help maintain a more comfortable temperature in your home. By keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, you will not have to pay as much each month to heat or cool your home.

Energy Cost Reduction Tip #3: Replace Appliances

Another energy-savings option is to replace your appliances with more efficient models. While it would certainly be costly to toss away appliances that are perfectly functional, you should select Energy Star models when the time comes to make replacements.

Energy Cost Reduction Tip #4: Install a Programmable Thermostat

You can also save energy and money by turning your temperature down just two degrees and bundling up in a blanket or extra clothing. This small change will help you save 24 kilowatt hours per month, which can add up to a significant savings over time. To assist with keeping your thermostat set at a more efficient level, you might want to consider purchasing a programmable thermostat. One good way to keep costs down while staying comfortable when at home is to program the thermostat to automatically go down at the time you leave each day. By programming it to go back up a half hour before you return, the home will be a comfortable temperature by the time you arrive.

Energy Cost Reduction Tip #5: Replace or Repair Windows

Depending on the quality of your windows, you might find it advantageous to replace them with new ones. If your budget can’t handle replacing your windows, you can make them more energy efficient by repairing them where necessary. Simple steps such as installing new weather stepping can go a long way toward making your windows more energy-efficient. A little caulk can go a long way toward making your windows more energy-efficient as well. The same holds true for using caulk over cracks and small holes around telephone wires, pipes, drains, vents and other places where energy leaks may be a problem.

About The Author – Josh Anderson is a Realtor with Keller Williams Nashville, working with buyers and sellers in Tennessee’s music capital.

Avoiding Mortgage Fraud

The National Association of Realtors is reporting a 20% increase in mortgage fraud for the 3rd quarter of 2011 compared with the same quarter in 2010. Some of this is due to increased reporting and investigation by law enforcement but there is an unfortunate number of people taking advantage of the distressed property market and home owner’s misfortune. If you find yourself in financial trouble there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your financial investments including your home. In the most recent report California was second highest in mortgage fraud reports.

1. Be proactive with your creditors – don’t just avoid their letters and phone calls. Reality has sunk in for many companies and more and more will work out payment plans, interest rate and even in some cases principal reduction among other options.

2. Don’t respond to credit councelors that contact you on the phone or by mail looking to “help” you reduce your debts – the majority of these offers (pay us a fee and we will help save your house) are the ones that law enforcement and consumer protection agencies are targeting.

3. Get real information on your options. Vist or Go through the information on the website. Keep your Home California lists events sponsored by legitimate companies and organizations aimed at providing information. There is an event called Help for Homeowners at the Sacramento Convention Center on March 20th from 1-8 PM.

Whatever has created your current financial difficulties although it can be painful to research solutions in the long run you will feel better about facing your difficulties instead of ignoring them. They won’t just disappear or get better without some sort of plan. There is a lot of help/resources available for homeowners in financial difficulties. Take advantage of FREE resources to help you and stay away from anyone who seems to be making incredible promises for a price, application fee, membership or anything else designed to take advantage of you when you are feeling vulnerable.

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Baby Proof Your Home Office

Authored by Kevin Hughes

If you’re a parent, entrepreneur and have a home office, you may be concerned about being able to have baby with you while you work, but providing a safe and fun environment for your child. Here are some tips on how to set some boundaries and keep them clear for toddlers and even younger children.

Pretend You’re a Baby

Inspect your home office from their level – look for things that would be interesting to touch or chew on that would be within their reach. Make a list so you don’t forget to remove the hazard later.

Electrical Cords and Plugs

Baby will likely want to explore those cords and have an adventure with them, or push those funny looking holes in the wall. Both these things can result in disaster. Cord tidies and plug protectors are your best friends. Use them for every cord and plug, even the power strip.

Decide Where Baby will Be All Day

If you choose to have your baby with you, make a play and nap section in the office. Have a play pen and/or crib with plenty of toys and things to do. Remember, while your working, your attention will be on your tasks. You may even want to have baby gates if space permits, so that you can work and not have to worry about what baby is up to, because you know right where they are and what their limits are.

Sharps, Hot Items, and Heavyweights

Make sure that all sensitive equipment is out of the way, and don’t forget these items, either:
Paper Shredders – either keep it unplugged unless in use, or put it way up high out of baby’s reach.
Letter Openers & Scissors – keep out of reach from baby.
Other Sharps – Thumbtacks, paper clips, and writing instruments are all hazards for baby.
Hot Beverages – Make sure your coffee or tea is well out of baby’s reach and from “pull-down” reach as well.
Paperweights and books – Treat these the same as a hot beverages.
Plants – Make sure any plants are safe to chew on, or that they don’t have any sharp edges to them.

Finally, remember to instill boundaries early on what is off-limits for little ones. Sometimes you have to be the bad guy in order to keep baby safe. What they might think is fun, you realize would be a trip to the hospital – or worse. It’s okay to be the bad guy in this case, because you’re the adult, and you know it’s for your child’s safety. If you set up the room well, and ensure a fun play space for baby, you’ll actually be a hero!

About The Author: Kevin Hughes is a Boise Idaho real estate agent servicing buyers and sellers in Idaho. If you’re looking for a great home in Idaho, you can visit Kevin’s website where you can search great cities like Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and Eagle.

Solar electricity and home value

The idea of going “off the grid” has been around in various forms in Davis for years. A number of neighborhoods have passive solar designs the most prominant Village Homes and the new development in South Davis also features solar power in every home. There are too many other factors that make value in Village Homes higher than typical homes in Davis – it is hard to extract if the passive solar designs that are outdated compared with today’s systems adds value – I have noticed that sellers have thrown in modern heating/cooling systems in order to attract buyers. There have only been 3 sales of Solar powered homes in Davis since January 2010 – those sales did not indicate that the buyer paid any more money for the home with a solar system in place.

Solar Electricity in Davis

There are valid environmental and social reasons to spend the money to put in solar electricity. If you are a homeowner who is planning to stay in your home for an extended period of time you will get your money back. Combined with attractive rebates and tax credits from the State of California also makes this more attractive. As long as you are not doing it as a way to increase the value of the home.

There are a few programs out there that may increase the availability of solar energy in Davis – with either small neighborhoods sharing a system or individual owners “buying” into solar energy. There is also talk that they would be able to sell essentially shares back if they were to sell. Or even financing for solar systems that would be tied to property taxes that would transfer if a house is sold – these currently are ideas for the future. With continued electricity and gas prices increases there will be more and more alternative energy sources that may prove to be cost effective and who knows, someday may add significant value to a home.

Top ways to make your house more green

It feels like every other commercial this week is promoting ways to go green. So here is a list of easy ways to improve the environment after you change to florecent light bulbs and recycle everything.

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  • Unplug cell phone chargers when you aren’t using them. They take electricity even when a phone is not being charged
  • When thinking of installing hardwood floors – choose bamboo. Bamboo grows very fast (think six years vs. 50-100 years for a comparable tree wood.
  • Give up drinking bottled water – yes Davis water may not be the best tasting but if it’s filtered it may be better for you than some of the bottled water on the market. Those little plastic throw away bottles are not good for the environment – there are so many choices now for filters, reusable water bottles. It is easy to focus on the money saved also by not buying individual water bottles.
  • If you have an older furnace a new furnace could save 25% of your current heating costs vs. a furnace from the 1980′s.
  • Move to Davis. My husband and I have been a one car family for a while now. Davis is a very bike friendly place and it is possible to do just fine by biking and sharing a car.
  • What are some of your favorite ways to stay green?