1. Put lamps in the corners: Did you know you can switch to a lower wattage bulb in a lamp or lower its dimmer switch and not lose a noticeable amount of light? When a lamp is placed in a corner, the light reflects off the adjoining walls, which makes the room lighter and brighter. 2. Switch to a laptop: If you’re reading this article on a laptop, you’re using 1/3 less energy than if you’re reading this on a desktop. 3. Choose an LCD TV: If you’re among those considering a flat-screen upgrade from your conventional, CRT TV, choose an LCD screen for the biggest energy save. 4. Give your water heater a blanket: A fiberglass insulation blanket is a simple addition that can cut heat loss and save 4% to 9% on the average water-heating bill. 5. Turn off the burner before you’re done cooking: When you turn off an electric burner, it doesn’t cool off immediately. 6. Add motion sensors: Adding motion sensors to playrooms and bedrooms cost only $15 to $50 per light. 7. Spin laundry faster: The faster your washing machine can spin excess water out of your laundry, the less you’ll need to use your dryer. 8. Use an ice tray: Stop using your automatic icemaker. It increases your fridge’s energy consumption by 14% to 20%. Ice trays, on the other hand, don’t increase your energy costs one iota. 9. Use the dishwasher: Dishwashers use about 1/3 as much hot water and relieve that much strain from your energy-taxing water heater. Added bonus: you don’t have to wash any dishes. (From House-Logic 12/10/10)
All posts for the month October, 2011
Friday Five: ‘Occupy’ Rally Helps Home Owner:
Protesters aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement rallied to help a California family stay in their home. Is this the beginning of an union between home owners and the movement? I hate to be a critic of our President, but he missed the mark “big time” this time. The quarter million of Americans that will benefit from his loan modification plan DO NOT LIVE IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS! Unbelievable!
Read, and listen Bloggers. This will not help “Mainstreet American’s”. The guidelines are too strict, and most don’t qualify. Our President has missed the mark. You have to be current for the last 6 months, with only 1 recorded late pay, and have a Fannie or Freddie loan. Shucks….. a whole lotta hype last night about nothing.
nder the new program, homeowners who owe more on their homes than they are worth will be able to refinance no matter how much they are underwater, as long as they are current on their payments.
More than 1 million homeowners could get cheaper mortgages as a result, officials estimated. The revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) will also streamline the refinancing process, doing away with certain types of appraisals and underwriting requirements, and reducing or eliminating fees that prevented homeowners from refinancing in the past. But hundreds of thousands more could not qualify — mainly because of the previous 125% loan-to-value limit on the program or because banks would not take on the risk. Read more.
Interest rates continue at historic lows. Home prices in many markets are more affordable than ever and housing affordability conditions are the best ever. So why aren’t more people buying homes? One reason is exceptionally tight lending criteria have made it difficult for any buyers to take advantage of such attractive affordability. Investors with cash are sitting are collecting golden eggs. Higher rents are also attracting investors to the market. Investors accounted for 18 percent of home purchase activity in July; the share reached 22 percent in August. Investors can anticipate solid home price appreciation over the long haul (Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, 10/18/11).
Sometimes home owners don’t know their houses are haunted until a remodel disturbs the spirit world.
What prompts this supernatural silliness? It may be a recent home improvement project. “When you remodel, you change the restful spirits’ environment, and it may not be comfortable with the outcome,” according to David’s Ghost Hunting Blog, which collects ghost stories. “Some may bother you just to let you know, ‘Hey! You may have changed the house, but I’m still here!”
Click the links to read the “Boo Stories” 1.) After a major kitchen remodel, a Virginia home owner believes a ghost repeatedly locks her son in the basement, even after she has removed all keys from sight. 2.) Soon after a young couple bumped out the front of their house, an otherwise friendly ghost began making trouble. The ghost stole tools, pulled down drywall, and pushed workers. 3.) Through the years, claims have surfaced that the White House is haunted. Mysterytopia has pictures of a 1950 remodeling that shows, if you look hard enough, an apparition supposedly standing in the middle of the renovation. 4.) Soon after remodeling began on the historic Felt Mansion in Holland, Mich., shadowy figures appeared and doors opened and closed themselves. Click on this video and decide for yourself if the mansion is haunted. Have you disturbed the ethers during a remodel at your house? Share your otherworldly story! (House Logic; 10/18/11, L. Gordon).
President Obama’s tax proposals innclude getting rid of some corporate tax breaks enjoyed by oil and gas companies and corporate jet buyers, and restoring some Bush-era tax rates for high-income households. If the Bush tax cuts expire as planned in 2012, the top two income tax rates will revert to 39.6% and 36% from 35% and 33%, respectively. These high-income earners are a minority! The President says the proposed tax increases would boost revenue by $750 billion over a decade. It’s not quite the multi-trillion figure the U.S. needs to pay off the deficit. You can see now why both Democrats and Republicans have a problem with it. It’s not quick fix, can’t even call it a bandaid.
If rents rise at the pace of current inflation (3.2% a year) the renter will pay $900,000 for housing over 30 years, while the home owner will pay $540,000 because his payment continues to be $1,500 a month. If his house appreciates 1% a year, the home owner heads into retirement with $100,000 in equity in addition to the $300,000 he paid for his house. The home owner does have to keep paying housing expenses like property taxes and insurance, but the monthly mortgage is paid off. Meanwhile, the renter has paid nearly twice as much to keep a roof over his head for 30 years, has given up $400,000 in retirement assets, and has to continue paying rent during retirement.
“If Americans don’t recover soon from their pessimism around home ownership, we predict another fallout from the financial crisis will surface many years from now when a nation of renters tries to retire. They won’t have equity in their homes. Their paychecks will be stretched to the limit, not leaving room for saving and investing for retirement and other financial goals such as college funding. Instead of their expenses reducing through retirement, they will look straight down the barrel of increased rent payments for the rest of their lives.” (HouseLogic, Oct 14, 2011)
If you’re interested in a particular product or service, trying before you buy might seem like a no-brainer. What starts as a free trial or for a very low cost may end up costing you real money. Some dishonest businesses make it tough to cancel, hiding the terms and conditions of their offers in teensy type, using pre-checked sign-up boxes as the default setting online, and putting conditions on returns and cancellations that are so strict it could be next to impossible to stop the deliveries and the billing.
Here’s What To Do: 1.) Research the company online. See what other people are saying about the company’s free trials. Complaints from other customers can tip you off. 2.)Find the terms and conditions for the offer. That includes offers online, on TV, in the newspaper, or on the radio. If you can’t find them or can’t understand exactly what you’re agreeing to, don’t sign up. 3.) Look for who’s behind the offer. Just because you’re buying something online from one company doesn’t mean the offer or pop-up isn’t from someone else. 4.)Watch out for pre-checked boxes, look for already-checked boxes. That checkmark may give the company the green light to continue the offer past the free trial or sign you up for more products, only this time you have to pay. 5.) Mark your calendar. Your free trial probably has a time limit. That way you’ll know right away if you’re being charged for something you didn’t order. Last read your bank and credit card statement thoroughly so that yo understand what’s in place to protect you. Learn more:
Yurts: The Ultimate Low-Impact Housing- great for those of you with camps, or land you’ve purchased for a vacation home.
If you’re a well-rounded individual, you might be attracted to the idea of living in a yurt — those charming little cupcake-shaped dwellings made of sticks and canvas that have been much in vogue on the steppes of Mongolia for the last several thousand years. Actually, yurts are increasingly popular in North America, too, where they are prized for their easy-to-build, go-anywhere adaptability. In fact, yurts make perfect getaway cabins and backyard retreats. Yurts are widely available as kits, making them good DIY projects. Most kits contain walls, structural members, rafters, windows and doors, and weatherproof coverings, and cost is relatively modest: You’ll spend $5,000 to $6,000 for a 16-foot-diameter yurt. Note, however, that flooring and other niceties, such as plumbing and electricity, are not part of the basic yurt gestalt. Hey, nothing is “weird” these days. Hey, it looks better than a trailer! Would you consider a yurt? How would you use it? Written by John Riha, 9/20/11. House Logic. http://www.pacificyurts.com/