24 Ways to Conserve Water at Home [Infographic]

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Much of the U.S. is currently in some sort of water stress, with many states (we’re looking at you, California!) in a severe drought. To keep with the good housekeeping vibe of our blog, here are some tips to conserve water at home. You can make a difference in water conservation by starting in your own backyard.

Conserve-Water-at-Home

 

  1. Check Faucets and Pipes for Leaks
    A small drip can waste 20 gallons of water per day.
  2. Install Faucet Aerators
    These simple additions to your faucet use less water and give the impression of higher water pressure.
  3. Put Mulch Around Plants
    This slows the evaporation of moisture in the yard.
  4. Don’t Use the Toilet as a Trash Can
    Each flush with trash in it wastes about 5 gallons of water!
  5. Use Dish and Clothes Washers Only for Full Loads
    Otherwise unnecessary water will be used.
  6. Insulate Water Pipes
    Avoid wasting water while you wait for it to heat up.
  7. Displace Water in Toilet Tank
    Place a weighted water bottle in the toilet tank. This causes the tank to use less water per flush. This simple measure will save gallons of water per day.
  8. Water Plants in the Morning
    This is the ideal time to get the most out of your water.
  9. Wash Vehicle Only as Needed
    …as opposed to on a schedule.
  10. Try Xeriscaping
    This is basically a non-sensical word for landscaping with plants that need minimal water.
  11. Cook in as Little Water as Possible
    This also helps retain nutrients in the food.
  12. Shorten Showers
    Cutting two minutes off of each shower can save up to 150 gallons per month.
  13. Use Recirculating Pumps
    These systems should be in place for any fountains, pools, ponds, etc.
  14. Check for Toilet Leaks
    Put food coloring in the toilet tank. If it leaks into the bowl on its own, the entire system needs to be replaced. That toilet is probably wasting gallons of water per day.
  15. Aerate Your Lawn Periodically
    This will allow moisture to reach the roots in your lawn faster.
  16. Sweep Patiods and Sidewalks
    This is more efficient than power washing.
  17. Use Leftover Ice Cubes
    Instead of just tossing them when you finish a beverage, place them on a potted plant.
  18. Use Garbage Disposal Sparingly
    This requires water to run through and rinse.
  19. Leave Lawn Clippings on Grass
    Loose clipings over the lawn will help the grass hold in moisture.
  20. Know How to Turn Off Automatic Water Systems
    This knowledge will be imperative when it rains naturally or when the system malfunctions.
  21. Group Your Plants with Similar Watering Needs
    This will make the watering and lawn maintenance process much more effecient.
  22. Use a Hose Nozzle
    Whether you’re watering plants or washing your car, a hose nozzle can save up to 100 gallons per use.
  23. Rinse Foods
    Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl full of water rather than washing them under a running faucet.
  24. Scrape Dishes
    …rather than rinse them.

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When to Reduce the Price of Your Home

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It can be difficult to reduce the price of your home. You talk with an agent. You picked a price that you believed was reasonable in your area for your home. However, no one makes an offer after several weeks on the market. Looks like it’s time to reduce the price of your home. Even if you do not want to, you may have to reduce the price just to sell your home. Here are some scenarios to consider when it’s time to reduce the price of your home.

Reduce the Price of Your Home

When to Reduce the Price of Your Home

If you’ve shown your home a few times, and 20-30 guests have already come in and out of it without making an offer, then it’s time to reduce the price of your home. Even if they haven’t said that the price is too high, the fact that they will not make you an offer is because the price is nowhere near what anyone is willing to pay for your home.

Talk to your agent about how you should reduce the price of your home. Ask them for advice; their expertise and seasoned experience should allow them to come up with a solid number on what your home is worth as well as how much you should sell it for.

Compare Your Price

Take a look at what some comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for. What was the price point? Were they about the same size and in the same area as your home? If so, you may want to price your home around the price that they sold.

Reduce the Price of Your Home

Look at Active Listings

Be sure to take a look at active listings on the market as well. If you see an active listing set around your price range, then you know that you’ve set your home at a good price. Perhaps you just want to sell your home too quickly. If it’s reasonably priced for your neighborhood, give it some more time.

How Much Should You Reduce?

Let’s say your three-bedroom home is listed for $202,000. Sounds like a fair price. However, let’s say that the average listing surrounding your home is $190,000. Even if your home is much nicer than the average listing in your area, you are still at a $10,000 price over the average listing price. So how should you reduce the price of your home now? A good rule to follow is to reduce to the next $10,000 neighborhood-price range below your current listing price.

Since all of the homes in your neighborhood are at a $190,000 price range, you should reduce the price of your home to the $199,000-$190,000 neighborhood-price range as well. Try lowering your home to around $199,000 or 198,000. Even though that is only $3,000-$4,000 less than $202,000, there may be some buyers out there who want to stay within the $200,000 neighborhood-price range of your area. So by reducing the price of your home listing into the $10,000 neighborhood-price range, you will now see more buyers interested in your home simply because it is under $200,000.

Reduce the Price of Your Home

So if your home is way over the neighborhood-price, talk to your agent about lowering the price. They’ll guide you with as much advice as you need to go about pricing your home. Always make sure that you have the right expectations about your real estate investment, and you will see great results.

Other Reasons Why Your Home Won’t Sell

Wait! My home is listed for around my neighborhood-price range. In fact, it’s listed lower than most of the homes in my area! Why won’t it sell?

Great question. Let’s take a look at the other important factor to getting a buyer to make an offer on your home. Did you prepare your home for the open house, or did you leave all of your personal items out for display along with those old chairs that you won’t get rid of? Well, there’s your problem. Talk to your agent about staging your home for your open house, and you should be able to attract buyers interested in your home.

Reduce the Price of Your Home

Whatever the reason your home won’t sell, try to put yourself in a buyer’s perspective. If you do, you will see all of the things that you should do to make your home the best possible choice for the future buyer. Just make sure to reduce the price of your home if necessary.

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10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

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Earth Day is a holiday that celebrates everyone’s one-true home: planet earth. We all have heard lots of ways that we can help our earth on a grand scale, but let’s just start out with some smaller alternatives to go green. Since Earth Day is coming up, we wanted to share some awesome ideas for in and outside of your home on how you can celebrate.

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

1. Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

For this Earth Day, why not replace those old light bulbs with some amazing, energy-efficient light bulbs. Not only do they save money on your electric bill, but they help save the environment too! This way, your home will be lit while keeping the earth glowing by saving energy.

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

2. Make a Compost Heap

If you have a garden in your yard, why not start a compost heap for Earth Day? A compost heap is essentially a pile of garden and common foods that decompose to produce compost. A compost heap consists of lots of different things: vegetable and fruit scraps, egg shells, leaves, grass clippings, wood ash, and coffee grounds, etc. As you can see a compost heap can be a range of different things, so instead of throwing those table scraps of left-over food away, why add them to a compost heap for your garden?

3. Save Water

You can save water in your home by lots of little tricks. By turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth, you are saving lots of water that is otherwise wasted by going down the drain unused. You should also take a shower instead of a bath. By taking a shower, you are only using about 10-12 gallons of water, when compared to taking a bath, which uses up to 20 gallons to fill the tub. Now that’s a lot of water that can be saved!

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

4. Ride Your Bike

Ride your bike to work or school, depending on how close you live, to save the environment from toxic gases! The earth would love a breather from all of the chemicals being put into the air for this Earth Day.

5. Recycle

This goes along with keeping trash in the trashcan. Be sure to put your recyclables (i.e. cans, bottles, unsoiled papers, newspapers, plastic) in a recycling bin. You can even label some different bins in your home as designated recycling bins for all of your recyclable materials.

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

6. Pick up Trash

Why not spend your Earth Day at the beach or walking around your town with friends and help the earth by picking up any trash that you find. However, be careful to wear protective gloves in case there are any broken pieces of glass that you find.

7. Use Earth-Friendly Cleaners

If you plan on cleaning your home this Earth Day—perhaps to also get spring cleaning out of the way—make sure you use earth-friendly cleaning products. There are lots of cleaners out there that do not harm the environment like harsher cleaners with lots of chemicals.

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

8. Plant a Tree or Flowers

Planting a tree is a great activity to do on Earth Day. Not only is it fun, but you’re able to celebrate Earth Day outdoors and with some friends or family by planting a tree in your back or front yard. If you don’t have the room for a tree, you can always take the time to plant some flowers to make Earth Day, and your home, a beautiful celebration! Side note: trees and landscaping add value to the price of your home too!

9. Buy from Your Local Farmers Market

By going to your local farmers market on Earth Day, you’re helping local farmers maintain their business and make a profit. Be sure to get lots of fruits and vegetables while you’re there, and don’t forget to try the jams and jellies!

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

10. Donate

Earth Day can be about giving too! Take a box of your old or unwanted items in your home as well as clothes and donate them to a secondhand store or a charity of your choice. Not only will this declutter your home, but you will give a second use to items that you no longer want to someone who can find some great uses out of them.

However you celebrate for Earth Day, just be sure that you are doing everything that you can to ensure that mother earth loves her special day. You can check out more ideas on Earth Day and what you can do to save more energy in your home and benefit the earth here.

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Don’t Downplay the Down Payment [Infographic]

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Here is a breakdown of the monthly payments for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.8% interest on a $250,000 home based on different down payment options.

Don't-Down-Play-the-Down-Payment

3% Down Payment

New programs from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allow down payments as low as 3% under certain conditions. You can read more about this option by clicking here.

10% Down Payment

Buyers can qualify for a loan with less than 20% down; its just difficult. 10% became a more popular option after the recession.

20% Down Payment

The traditional down payment option! When a home is 20% paid off, the borrower can ask to stop paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). Read more about the benefits of a 20% down payment here.

22% Down Payment

Believe it or not, this is your ideal option. Once this much of the home is paid, there can legally be no PMI or government-required insurance.

Mortgage rate based on the last week of March 2015, according to BankRate.com. PMI and Mortgage Calculator found at GoodMortgage.com. Homeowners Insurance and Property Taxes based on national average rates. We’d also like to extend our citations and appreciation to U.S. News and Forbes for helpful resources in researching down payment topics.

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Is a Fixer-Upper Worth It?

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If you’re considering buying a home, you want the cheapest home in the nicest neighborhood. You see the images of the home online, and you wonder why it’s so cheap. Well, if you read the description of the home, there are probably a few things that you’re going to have to update. If a home looks great, is in a great location, but it’s very inexpensive, then it’s most likely a fixer-upper with a few issues that you just haven’t found out about yet. So, is a fixer-upper worth it?

Is a Fixer Upper Worth It?

Where to Begin

Start with math. That’s right, do some simple math to determine the costs that you predict will be the total of buying the home and renovating it. Let’s say the home costs $120,000 as is. It’s a great structure, but there is a lot of work to do to make it a beautiful home again.

After calculating what it would cost to get a new water heater, fix those broken steps on the staircase, repaint the living room, update the entire kitchen, and fix the bathroom sink, you’re looking at around 10-15 thousand dollars worth of work put into the house, depending on where you live. So, in total, your fixer-upper is probably going to cost you $130,000-135,000 after renovation. Sound worth it?

Well, if it does to you, go for it! As long as you’re great at fixing things, or you can hire someone else to do the work for you, then by all means, buy that fixer-upper. However, if you’re afraid of power tools, or taking on such a big project as updating an old home, then maybe buy that newer home down the street for a little more.

Pick the Projects that Add Value

You shouldn’t buy a home with lots of structural, plumbing, or electrical problems. Once these big issues are fixed, they add little value to the home because they are not visibly seen, so it’s better to leave homes with these issues off of your project list. A good choice to make when buying a fixer-upper is a home that mostly needs cosmetic repairs. New flooring, new paint jobs, updating windows, bathrooms, and kitchens are good choices to buy a fixer-upper to renovate and add value as well as make it a place you want to live.

Is a Fixer-Upper Worth It?

The best thing to do before buying that fixer-upper is to make sure that the real-estate contract includes an inspection before the final purchase. Now you can inspect the home yourself, but you should definitely consider having a professional home inspector look at the property for issues as well. The inspection will let you know whether the home is a good investment, or whether you should look for a better buy. If the inspection comes back with good news, then perhaps you should go through with buying the fixer-upper. Just don’t make any large home purchases without being certain that it is the home for you and not just another project. With an inspector, you can even have the seller pay for the repairs before you buy the home.

Is a Fixer-Upper Worth It?

Well, is a fixer-upper worth it? Going about buying a fixer-upper is not the type of decision you make over night. Buying a home is a decision that should take weeks or months of thinking about, so never go into purchasing a home that needs renovation lightly. Make sure you ask your agent, and your bank, about the possibility of a renovation home loan. It may take you years before it is completely finished, so this is truly a discussion and commitment to make with you and your family before you decide to buy a fixer-upper. Whatever type of home you decide to buy, good luck with renovating that fixer-upper, or cherishing your brand new home.

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