Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 2/11/2018

Whether you're environmentally conscious or just want to save a few dollars on your utility bills, there are simple ways to do both. One of the first steps to conserving electricity and water is to become more aware of when and how you're using it.

A major challenge for many parents is to get their kids to turn off lights, appliances, and water faucets when they're not using them. With persistence, you can hopefully get them to understand the importance of saving money, controlling costs, and conserving resources.

Dependable Old Appliances Are a Mixed Blessing

Toilets and household appliances can last much longer than their expected life span, but after a certain point, you're getting diminishing returns. If your toilets are more than 25 years old, for example, you're wasting gallons of water with every flush. Inefficient toilets from just a couple generations ago use as much as six gallons of water every time they're flushed. According the Environmental Protection Agency, recent advances in toilet design are now enabling families to use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush while still getting superior performance. In dollars and cents, families that replace old, obsolete toilets with Watersense-certified models can save more than $110 a year (and nearly 13,000 gallons of water). The EPA says utilities may even offer rebates and vouchers that can lower the price of a WaterSense labeled toilet. (As a side note, toilet use in homes accounts for nearly 30 percent of an average family's indoor water consumption.)

If your washing machine was manufactured before 2003, it's another source of wasted water and energy. The newer Energy Star-certified clothes washers can save about $45 a year in utility bills, based on typical usage patterns. They use about 25% less energy and 45% less water than the old, standard models. The EPA also says that if you have a dishwasher made before 1994, it wastes approximately 10 gallons of water per cycle. By switching to an energy-efficient model, an annual savings of $35 a year can be realized by the average family.

There's actually a wide range of Energy Star-certified products available that can save you money on utility costs and help conserve water and electricity. In addition to washers, dryers, and dishwashers, other energy-efficient appliances include dehumidifiers, refrigerators, freezers, air purifiers, water heaters, heating and cooling equipment, computers, televisions, pool pumps, and much more. Energy efficiency -- or a lack, thereof -- is one factor to consider when deciding whether to repair or replace old appliances, HVAC systems, or plumbing fixtures in your home.

Not only will you save money when your home is operating efficiently, but you'll enjoy the satisfaction that comes with minimizing waste and making the most of natural resources.

Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 2/4/2018

If you want to enjoy a fast, profitable home selling experience, it helps to prepare as much as possible. In fact, if you craft a home selling strategy, you should have no trouble achieving your home selling goals.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you create a successful home selling strategy.

1. Consider the Buyer's Perspective

Think about how a homebuyer may perceive your house. Then, you can prioritize assorted home improvement projects and incorporate them into your home selling strategy.

For example, if your home's front lawn is messy and cluttered, now may prove to be a good time to hire a professional landscaping company. With support from this company, you can transform a subpar front lawn into a stunning one and bolster your house's curb appeal.

On the other hand, if you find that your home interior needs to be updated, you should perform assorted home interior upgrades. By doing so, you can enhance your house's interior and make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your residence.

2. Assess Your House Both Inside and Out

Ultimately, a home seller's goal is to maximize the profits from his or her home sale. If you include a home inspection as part of your home selling strategy, you can take the necessary steps to upgrade your house prior to listing it.

During a home inspection, a property expert will analyze your residence both inside and out. When the home inspection is finished, the property expert will provide you with an inspection report that details his or her findings.

Review a home inspection report closely. This report contains valuable insights that you can use to enhance your home's exterior and interior. It also may help you discover innovative ways to improve your house's value.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to crafting a home selling strategy, there is no need to work alone. Luckily, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you put together a successful home selling strategy in no time at all.

A real estate agent will teach you about the real estate market and help you set realistic home selling expectations. In addition, this housing market professional is happy to provide you with expert home selling insights to ensure you can optimize the value of your house.

Moreover, a real estate agent can offer comprehensive support at each stage of the home selling journey. He or she can help you list your house and promote it to the right groups of buyers. Plus, a real estate agent can provide recommendations as you review a home offer and ensure you can make an informed decision about whether to accept, reject or counter a proposal.

If you want to get the best-possible results from the home selling journey, it helps to establish a home selling strategy. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can craft a successful plan to sell your house.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 1/28/2018

Thereís a lot that goes into the process of buying a new home. Buyers often think that once the closing process in complete they can move their stuff in and things will go back to normal. But they are often caught off guard throughout that first initial year by maintenance tasks. Tasks that they could have been prepared for at the beginning if only they had known. So today I want to talk about how to stay one step ahead when you first move in to avoid surprises months later or worse years down the line. For the most part, these should each take you all of ten minutes a few times a month.

Be sure to write in reminders on your calendar for monthly maintenance and annual inspections to stay on top of any issues that may arise. Maintenance is key to good homeownership. Youíll save money in the long run as you find and repair issues when they are still minor. Youíll be so glad you didnít find out the hard way - by a burst pipe or major crack in your foundation.

Speaking of maintenance and saving money, wait to invest in top to bottom renovations, especially those that are purely cosmetic. Buying a new home is a large investment and most families need time to bounce back financially from the buying and moving process. Funnel what finances you do have towards initial repairs that will need to be made. And since you no longer have a landlord to depend on when repairs need to be made it is wise to start building an emergency fund for future home repairs.

For initial repairs that will need to be made be sure to hire professionals to take care of any and all that are technical. Donít try to fix repairs yourself that you arenít qualified to do. And no a Google search isn't enough to qualify you to do electrical or plumbing work. Youíve just made a major investment. So ensure to protect that investment for years to come by having things done the right way the first time. This also saves you money in the long run from having a professional come to undo your mistakes and set it up the right way. Or worse, from medical bills.

Keep a binder to track and save receipts for all home improvements. Doing so will help you to maximize your tax-free earnings if and when you decide to sell your home. And while the line between home improvements and repairs can get vague in some areas itís best to track everything. Invest in an accountant, especially for your first year of homeownership, to help you sift through these receipts and maximize your returns. This binder will also come in handy for years to come. Youíll be able to refer back to when you purchased a new water heater or last had a home inspection done, for example.

Invest in sufficient home insurance. Not all basic plans include fire and flood protection. You will also need life insurance policies if you have dependents. This will ensure that if anything were to happen to you, your dependents would gain ownership of the house. And since you now own a large asset it is wise to ramp up your car insurance policy.

Donít get caught off guard. Take 10 minutes a few times each week after youíve closed on your house to set up these appointments and systems. For such a small amount of time, they have major pay off. And come tax season or time to make a repair youíll be so glad you did.

Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 1/21/2018

Selling a house is no small feat, particularly in a competitive real estate market. As such, home sellers may be prone to make mistakes if they don't plan ahead for potential pitfalls.

Common home selling mistakes include:

1. Listing a Home Without Performing Housing Market Research

Let's face it Ė selling a house can be stressful. In many instances, home sellers will want to speed through the home selling journey Ė something that may lead these sellers to list residences without evaluating the real estate market in advance.

Spending even a few minutes looking at the prices of homes in your city or town may make a world of difference. Ultimately, the more housing market research that you perform, the more likely it becomes that you'll be able to optimize the value of your house.

Take a look at the prices of available homes in your city or town that are similar to your own. Also, evaluate the prices of recently sold houses in your area. With this housing market data at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than ever before to price your residence competitively and boost your chances of a profitable home sale.

2. Accepting an Initial Offer on a Residence

The first offer that you receive on a residence may prove to be the best offer. However, in some cases, the initial offer may fall short of your expectations.

Immediately accepting the initial offer on a residence may prove to be costly. Fortunately, a home seller who understands the housing market can take a data-driven approach to determine how to proceed with any offer, at any time.

Performing a home appraisal before you list your residence can provide valuable insights into a property's value. Then, you can list your house for a competitive price, one that helps generate substantial interest in your house and may lead to offers at, near or above your initial asking price.

In addition, don't forget to consult with a real estate agent. If you receive a home offer and are unsure about whether to accept, reject or counter it, a real estate agent can provide expert advice to help you make an informed decision.

3. Ignoring a Real Estate Agent's Recommendations

A seller's agent is committed to helping you optimize the value of your residence, and this housing market professional will offer recommendations as you sell your house to ensure you that can get the best results possible.

If you ignore a real estate agent's recommendations, you may miss out on a golden opportunity to sell your house. A real estate agent provides housing market analysis and insights, along with honest, unbiased recommendations about how to overcome a wide range of home selling hurdles.

Furthermore, a real estate agent always has a home seller's best interests in mind. This housing market professional also is available to respond to a home seller's questions, guaranteeing that a home seller is fully supported at each stage of the home selling journey.

Ready to sell your house? Collaborate with a real estate agent, and you should have no trouble achieving your desired results.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 1/14/2018

For home sellers, there is no need to let your house linger on the real estate market for weeks, months or years. Instead, you can set yourself up to accelerate the home selling process today.

What does it take to speed up the home selling process? Here are three tips to help home sellers do just that.

1. Offer a Competitive Price.

Evaluate the prices of homes currently available in your area that are similar to your own. Also, assess the sold prices of comparable residences in your city or town that were purchased recently. With this housing market data in hand, you'll be able to determine a fair price for your house.

Although you should try to price your house competitively, it is important to remember not to sell yourself short as well. Fortunately, if you perform sufficient housing market research, you can better understand how you should price your house to streamline the home selling process and optimize the value of your home.

2. Clean Up Your House.

Homebuyers will be attracted to residences that feature pristine front lawns and dazzling interiors, along with houses that will not require any major repairs in the near future. Comparatively, homebuyers likely will shy away from houses that look messy and cluttered.

Devote time and resources to clean up your house's interior and exterior Ė you'll be happy you did. If your home looks great inside and out, you can boost your property's chances of making a positive first impression on homebuyers. As a result, your home may prove to be more attractive than other residences on the real estate market, ensuring you should have no trouble generating significant interest in your house.

You may want to consider staging your house too. With staging, you will need to remove your personal belongings from your home and declutter your residence. And ultimately, staging your house may help you further accelerate your journey through the home selling cycle.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent.

A real estate agent has one goal in mind: to help you sell your house as quickly as possible. Thus, your real estate agent will do everything possible to guarantee that he or she can promote your house to the right homebuyers, at the right time.

With an experienced real estate agent at your disposal, you can improve your chances of generating substantial interest in your home in a short period of time. Your real estate agent will use many platforms to promote your residence, and by doing so, ensure you can speed through the home selling cycle.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent will keep your best interests in mind throughout the home selling process. Therefore, if you want to get rid of your home quickly, your real estate agent possesses the skills and know-how to help set up a fast sale without sacrificing the value of your residence.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you accelerate the home selling process in a buyer's or seller's market.