By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Homes constructed using passive design principles may soon grow in popularity, thanks to a recently debuted Habitat for Humanity home in Washington, D.C., that proved ultra energy efficient homes can be constructed at an affordable price.
The “net zero” home promises its home owners no heating or cooling bills, ever.
Passive homes follow some of the highest energy standards for slashing utility costs. These homes have lower energy consumption by being super-insulated and airtight. For example, the Habitat for Humanity home uses up to 90 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a typical home.
And the price — unlike many other passive designed homes — is reasonable: $200,000, which fits the typical cost of a Habitat Humanity home in the Washington, D.C., area.
What’s more, the home owners stand to potentially save nearly $72,000 on energy costs over the course of their 30-year mortgage.
Passive homes, in general, usually are about 15 percent more expensive to construct due to special materials.
Homeowners still have time this year to rack up a $200-$500 federal tax credit on new windows and doors, according to consumer website HouseLogic. The key is ensuring they install products that fit the Feds’ exacting standards.
Lead the way to those tax savings by branding, printing, and hand-delivering a free article, Understanding Energy Ratings for Windows and Doors, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the October “Cooler Weather Prep: Windows and Doors” article package. Continue reading »
By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Home Styling LLC
When I first met with a recent client, Stuart, he shared memories of raising his family, gatherings with friends, and 23 years in his beautiful 3,200-square-foot contemporary home.
The home offered tremendous open space and wonderful features, but for the past several years, key rooms in the home were converted to Stu’s home office suite. The living and dining room housed desks, chairs, and video editing equipment — an uninviting space for a young family seeking a place to call home and make their own memories.
Real estate professional Ellen Levada of Calcagni in Cheshire, Conn., recommended our staging services to make the home attractive to buyers, get it sold, and for top dollar. With a new home already purchased, Stu was motivated and understood the importance of staging to sell. After our initial meeting, he embraced our proposal to stage 14 rooms and showcase the open floor plan, square footage, and wonderful architectural details of the home.
Buyers today want move-in condition homes with updated decor that can easily fit their lifestyle and furnishings. Fresh modern paint choices in several of the rooms and new carpeting provided a neutral canvas for furnishings and decor. Our team then transformed 14 rooms in the home in a single day to “wow” buyers and help establish an emotional connection to the space. Continue reading »
Weatherstripping is an easy and cost-effective way for home owners to save money on energy costs and improve comfort by reducing drafts, reports the U.S. Department of Energy. And many home owners install it themselves.
Show your clients how by this free article to your e-newsletter: How to Replace Weather Stripping, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the September “Maintenance to Do Now” article package. Continue reading »
Owners with mold in the home may face a double-whammy: Their insurance policy may not cover the damage it’s caused.
Mold needs water or moisture to grow, but not all causes of water damage are covered by homeowners’ policies, reports the Illinois Department of Insurance. Standard homeowners policies don’t cover water damage caused by “maintenance” problems, such as continuous or repeated water seepage or leakage, humidity or condensation problems, or landscaping or drainage problems. Homeowners policies also exclude water damage caused by floods. Continue reading »
Submitted by Blu Homes
The housing stock is getting older in many parts of the country, and more home owners are facing the need to make drastic upgrades. In some cases, home owners are facing an even bigger decision, such as whether to tear down and rebuild a new home.
The following infographic from Blu Homes, a builder of prefab green homes, provides information to help home owners reach a cost-effective decision on whether to renovate or rebuild, including even how to recycle your old home and ways to incorporate green features too. Continue reading »
By Brooke McDonald, guest contributor
Wood floors (like people) look best with regular TLC. Aside from daily cleaning, sensitive wood floors require occasional in-depth maintenance that goes beyond a sweep or vacuum. Think of tired professionals and run-down moms. What do you do to revive their dull pallor? You send them to the spa to experience the health benefits of a massage, exfoliating body wrap, or facial. Then, voila – spa-goers come home revived!
To maintain a healthy glow, a hardwood floor has its own menu of spa treatments that must be followed regularly. For starters, after they’ve been in use for some years, wood floors needs to be sanded and finished afterwards by a protective sealer that will give them a natural sheen. Other wood floors may require patching in spots that undergo intense damage. Some wood floor owners also choose to have their wood floors stained to change their color.
But a “screen and recoat” might just be the ultimate spa experience for a floor, resulting in the best-looking floor you’ve ever seen. It’s an essential, routine step in-between standings that will guarantee a longer-lasting floor.
By Brandon Smith, guest contributor
A simple preventative maintenance program can go a long way in keeping a home’s plumbing system at its best condition. Some people think that maintaining the structure of shower drains, pipes, toilets, etc. is tedious and expensive. However, it is more practical to spend a little money on preventive measures rather than hire a contractor to repair or replace your entire plumbing system.
These tips can stop you from paying for plumbing damages that could have been easily avoided: Continue reading »
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Painting can dramatically change the look of a space, enhancing its aesthetics and possibly even making it look more spacious. Painting is one of the most popular do-it-yourself jobs of home owners, and while it’s one of the easiest too, there is an art to painting.
The Paint Quality Institute offers up some of the following tips in prepping the walls to make sure a home owner’s paint job doesn’t end up looking like an unprofessional DIY job:
–Repair surface imperfections. Use a spackling compound to fill any cracks or holes so that the surface is smooth before you start painting. You can use a stain-blocking primer to repair any areas that have water stains or discoloration, according to the Paint Quality Institute.
–Clean the walls. Before you start painting, wash the walls and woodwork with a detergent-water solution. Rinse the surfaces and let them dry completely.
–Choose your paint carefully. Continue reading »
Forty-three percent of Americans admit to being disorganized, according to the 2012 Ikea Behind Closed Doors survey. That translates into 55 minutes a day the average American spends looking for things.
Help home owners ratchet down their stress levels — especially with the proliferation of stuff they acquire during this back-to-school season — by emailing a free article, How to Get Rid of Stuff and Declutter Your Life, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the September “Back to School? Live the Clutter-Free Life” article package. Continue reading »