While we are on the subject of resolutions, if you are resolved (see what I did there?) to make your home a more green and sustainable one, there’s no better time to incorporate energy-saving measures than during the cold months. Here are five simple things you can do to make your house more efficient…
#1 Install a Programmable Thermostat
The advice is usually to turn down the temperature during the winter, but wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a warm house?Programmable thermostats let you pre-set temperatures and schedule when the furnace goes on and off. If you use them correctly you could see up to $180 in savings each year. More sophisticated devices like the Nest learn your daily routine an automatically adjust temperatures based on your habits. We got a NEST at our house a couple of years ago. I like it, even though it turns the heat on about 30 minutes too early in the morning for me. It wants the house to be of a comfortable temperature for when I get out of bed, but makes the room too warm to sleep in. Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to fix that.#2 Install Ceiling Fans
Fans move cool and hot air around your living space, allowing you to turn the temperature down in winter and raise it during summer. During the wintertime, you can reverse the fan’s direction to clockwise to keep the warm air moving down. Plus you can hang your clothes on them for a winter air dry. (Okay…that was a joke)
#3 Eliminate Air Leaks
Use a door draft stopper and caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows to cut down on the cold air coming in. I actually have the worst door ever for this. I’ve got to get someone out to fix it. We took the weatherstripping off when we had our house painted. However, the weatherstrip was installed wrong because the door jam need to be completely re-done. I just talked to a contractor today get him on the schedule to come fix that.
#4 Use Power Strips
Did you know that many of your appliances use electricity whether they are on or not?Standby power is electricity that’s being used by things like TVs, computers, appliances, and phone chargers, even when the devices are in stand-by mode or even off.
Plug electronics, chargers, and appliances into power strips and switch them off when you’re not using the devices. You could save up to $200 per year! Or you can buy outlets with a remote control that allows you to turn the whole outlet off.
#5 Change Your HVAC Filter
If you change your filters monthly, you may lower your energy bills by 5 to 15 percent. Plus stop that annoying wheezing sound they make when they get dirty.
Simply put, dirty, clogged filters make the HVAC system work harder.
The savings can be substantial if you keep your filters clean as the average household spends approximately $2,200 on heating and cooling costs every year. Getting the HVAC system regular yearly maintenance is also beneficial.
Did you know that there are great down payment assistance programs in Southern Oregon? We have regular fundraisers to help fund the Home Foundation First Time Home buyer Grant Assistance Program.
In 2016 we surpassed $100,000 given to over 100 home buyers, and we still have more money to give. In fact we just raised an additional $30,000.
How do you qualify?
First you need to use a local Realtor (such as myself).
2nd, you need to use a local lender (I’m happy to refer you to one of the good ones who understand the program)
Your household income does not exceed the State of Oregon median income level (this number varies based on family size)
Be a first time home buyer, or have not owned a home in the past 3 years.
If you think this might sound good to you, contact me and we I’ll get you the information to get started. firstname.lastname@example.org
While it is true that many home shoppers stop looking during the winter, many shoppers still are active.
In the Rogue Valley, we usually do not have to deal with snow or slick roads to hamper home shopping. The biggest issue I usually face in the winter is having enough daylight to show properties to those people who work full time jobs. Starting right about now, by the time it is 6 O’clock, it is hard to see outside. And that will only continue to be a smaller window of time as we approach Winter Solstice.
Reasons why shopping in the winter is tricky
- Roads are slick
- It gets dark early
- Don’t want to change schools for children mid-year
- Fewer homes on the market than in the spring
- Properties are looking their “worst”
Advantages to shopping in the winter
- Houses look their worst…they only get better from there
- Sellers may be more motivated
- Less competition from other buyers
- Might be more likely to take contingency offer
- Home inspections more likely to find bad gutters or water in the crawlspace
I have been looking at the prices of homes in the local market and am seeing the opportunity to get first time home buyers into homes. There are loan programs out there still that help first time buyers get loans. FHA has a good loan that requires only 3% down. There is a Rural Development loan program that will loan 100% of the purchase price. And conventional financing is still a good option for people who have managed to save some money, get gifts, or inheritances.
I have reposted the article that I just read about the increasing percentage of homes that are being sold to first time buyers.
I love working with first time buyers. It really allows me to educate and guide people through a process that they have not yet seen. There is a lot more work involved with a first time buyer, but I have become personal friends with everyone I have ever helped as a first time buyer.
Buying one’s first home is kind of like having a child in a way, and I get to be the cool Uncle.
Quoted from http://www.crs.com/Community?comments=901:
Sales To First-Time Homebuyers Rise: NAR
First-time homebuyers are making up a larger share of the buying market due to low home prices, abundant supply and affordable interest rates, according to new research by NAR. The 2008 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers finds that the number of first-time home buyers rose to 41 percent this year, up from 39 percent in 2007, and 36 percent in 2006.
“Although modest, this is a meaningful gain for the 12-month period ending at the close of June, and more recent independent data show a stronger uptrend in first-time buyers who are helping to reduce excess inventory,” says NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.
The study shows the median age of first-time buyers was 30, down from 31 in 2007, and the median income was $60,600. The typical first-time home buyer purchased a home for $165,000 and plans to stay in it for 10 years, up from seven years in 2007.
The median age of home sellers was 47, and the median income was $91,000. Three-fourths were married couples who had lived in their homes for six years and were moving a median distance of 19 miles. Their home was on the market an average of eight weeks.
Eighty-one percent of home buyers and sellers used a real estate agent. Nine out of 10 would definitely or probably reuse their agent or recommend them to others. These results are consistent with 2007 findings. Mon, Nov 10, 2008