Posts Tagged ‘real estate’

Building Science Principles: consider going PRO?

January 15, 2013

bpi logoSome of you out there may know builders, home inspectors, Realtors, Bankers and Students, or may be one yourself.  Well, we all have something in common, “homes!” We live in them, own them, rent them, some work on them and we sure know when they are not working right.

Making a home comfortable safe and healthy takes a lot of work, and I think it only helps if we share that knowledge.  That is why we help educate homeowners on how they work and don’t work and how we can make them better.

Maybe you, or someone you know, is in a profession that could benifit from a little insight into building science.  Maybe you are looking to explore new career opportunities.  This could be a first step towards great things.  The certificate is a preview of some of the things one needs to know for the professional level certification our advisors obtain and we live by here at GreenHomes America.

At GreenHomes we pride ourselves in the training and certifications our employees will attain as well as sharing their knowledge with our customers. The study guide for the certificate is over 200 pages.  And more information can be found here:  http://www.bpi.org/professionals_certificate.aspx

Even if you are not interested in a certificate in building science, BPI has some good information for homeowners and explains why we do what we do, check it out!

Thanks,

Jason.

 

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Strengthen the country by investing at home, in your home!

January 30, 2012

 Since the housing market unraveled 5 years ago, home prices have fallen by a third nationwide, which is by the way, more than they did during the Great Depression. Depressing?  Maybe, but it has caused many homeowners to reconsider selling, and invest in their homes in some really good ways.

I think for many of us current economic times have caused us to reconsider our priorities.  We have been forced to reset our “unrealistic expectations” clocks if you will.  But look at some of the great lessons learned a few generations ago: frugalness, recycling, and best utilizing what we have instead of discarding things for something new when it’s not necessary. Sort of “green” isn’t it?

We are in different times in this nation than we were in the 1930’s which ended with our participation in World War II.  Hopefully instead of beginning a busy industrial era by entering another world war, we rise can to the call in a war against in-efficiency, and where better to do that but at home? Creating jobs here at home and spending our dollars in our local communities seems like just the ticket.

In the housing market it is hard to say what will happen in this coming year, but some are already seeing a rise in sales. What is for certain is that combating energy in-efficiency is here to stay, and in doing so you will be rewarded for your efforts whether or not you intend to sell your home.

Investing in your homes reduces your expenses now and over the long term, especially as energy costs rise.  It increases your comfort immediately, as well as over the years.  And energy efficiency is increasingly recognized by the real estate industry and professional appraisers.  The measures you have performed on your home will increase the resale value for years to come if you do decide to sell in the future.  Do your part and join the “war” effort right at home!

 

Home Affordability: Total Cost of Ownership

January 23, 2011

As a green real estate agent, I think energy efficiency features are important.  But not for the obvious reasons.  I appreciate them because I think buyers who understand energy efficiency make for happier home owners – it helps you manage your home costs better.

For years, mortgage lenders have trained us to focus on PITI.  We figure out how much home you should buy based on Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance.  But that is only part of the picture.  For example, the Institute for Market Transformation notes that energy costs are a significantly larger aspect of a family’s monthly budget – much bigger than the taxes and insurance we base mortgage calculations on. 

So how can you make better choices and get more control over your monthly budget?  It’s time to start thinking about the Total Cost of Ownership.  Total Cost of Ownership means you factor in your mortgage, plus Transportation, Utilities and Maintenance costs. 

Today there’s no one-stop resource for evaluating Total Cost of Ownership.  But the resources are evolving fast.  Here’s a list of the best Total Cost of Ownership resources right now:

Transportation

  • Abogo (as in “abode” + go) helps you see the transportation costs associated with one address vs. another
  • Look for the Walkscore badge on more and more listings for sale; or, visit the site to enter an address and see how walkable it is and what the public transit options look like

Utilities

  • A home energy makeover, like the retrofits GreenHomes America is known for, is a great investment that will cut your monthly costs
  • If you are shopping for a home, ask for the utility bills over the past 13 months and background details on retrofit work done, and the results of any before and after testing

Maintenance

  • Condo associations have performed Reserves Studies for years.  Homeowners can use the same approach.  A reserve study considers how old the key systems in your home are, how long you can expect them to last, and helps you budget funds to proactively replace or update them as needed.
  • A good home inspection, combined with a home energy assessment is a great tool to create your own home maintenance plan. 

So start thinking about  Total Cost of Ownership for a better way to enjoy your home and manage your family budget.

Laura Reedy Stukel is an EcoBroker Certified real estate agent and nationally recognized consultant, writer and speaker on home energy efficiency.  She is a market transformation expert, focused at accelerating home retrofits at key real estate leverage points.  Her work is unique, focused on energy efficiency projects fueled by the power of consumer choiceSM.

Home Retrofit is a Great Way to Add Value to Your Home

October 4, 2010

As a green real estate agent with my EcoBroker Certification, I hear a lot of buzz about green homes. But if you are like most Americans, buying a new home, let alone a green-built new home is not in the cards for you.  That’s why I think a home retrofit – an energy efficiency makeover – is such an important real estate tool.

A retrofit is important today, at tax time and in the future when you go to sell your home

Today a retrofit is important because it will cure what ails you.  Whether you have hit GreenHome’s website because you want to save money on your energy bills, stop that annoying little draft in the baby’s room or help the planet, a home retrofit can help.  Best is the saving money part. Other home remodeling projects like an updated kitchen won’t love you back with money-savings every month the way a home retrofit will!

If you act by December 31st, your retrofit will pay off at tax time too.  You may be able to claim a 30% credit for many of the materials you have installed as part of your retrofit.  It’s a great opportunity to see a payback even sooner on your improvements! 

Studies are starting to emerge that show the value of energy-savings in a home at resaleOne early study shows that home buyers are willing to pay up to $5000 more for a home with good energy efficiency improvements.  Buyers know they will save while they live in a home like that and are willing pay a bit more for that benefit upfront.  Be sure to share before and after utility bills with your real estate agents so you can showcase your home’s utility savings when it is time for you to move.

When you look at all the figures, the numbers add up nicely!  Today, the typical retrofit saves an American family between 10-30% on their energy bills.  At tax time, the tax credit could help you with a $1,500 maximum discount on improvements completed in 2010.  That means a $5,000 project would cost you only $3,500.  In the future, trends are saying a buyer might be willing to spend up to $5,000 more for an efficient home like yours.  When is the last time you came out $1,500 ahead for something that saves you money and makes you cozier every day?

Laura Reedy Stukel is an EcoBroker Certified real estate agent and nationally recognized consultant, writer and speaker on home energy efficiency.  She is a market transformation expert, focused at accelerating home retrofits at key real estate leverage points.  Her work is unique, focused on energy efficiency projects fueled by the power of consumer choiceSM.


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