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Showing posts from December, 2013

Can You See the Savings?

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If you’ve considered changing your light bulbs to energy-saving LED bulbs but decided not to make the investment because the prices were too high, you might want to investigate again.  The prices have come down considerably. An initial investment now will generate immediate returns through energy costs and because they last longer, you won’t need to replace them for years. The life of LED bulbs is projected to be from 35,000 to 50,000 hours compared to an incandescent bulb at 750 to 2,000 hours.  For normal home use, a LED bulb could last more than 20 years. 80-90% of the energy used by fluorescent and incandescent bulbs is wasted by the heat generated.  In contrast, cool LED bulbs converts 80% of the electrical energy to light energy. • The color of LED lights is bright white, more like daylight, instead of the warm yellow of incandescent or the greenish tint of fluorescent bulbs. • LEDs light up instantly instead of building to their intensity like some of the fluorescent bulbs. • L…

The Perfect Last Minute Gift

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It’s part of holiday tradition to celebrate with family and friends and to share gifts with our loved ones.  There’s no measuring how much is spent on the combined effort and money to find the perfect gift. The challenge is to identify the right gift in the right color and size; something they really want and need; and something that won’t break the budget. “Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost a Cent” are suggestions that have been offered on numerous Internet sites attributed to an anonymous writer.  They may be just what you need to find the perfect gift. • THE GIFT OF LISTENING...but you must really listen. No interrupting; no daydreaming; no planning your response; just listening.

• THE GIFT OF AFFECTION...be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds.  Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

• THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER...clip cartoons and share articles and funny stories.  Your gift will say “I love to laugh with you."…

Up to $500 for Doing Home "Work"

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The energy-efficient home upgrades tax credit is scheduled to expire on December 31st this year.  If you need to make improvements to your home, this could be an incentive to do it before the end of the year.  If you have already made qualifying improvements without realizing the tax credit is available, it may seem like a holiday gift you weren't expecting.The equipment must be installed to qualify for the credit which can put you under a time crunch.  Heating and cooling systems, insulation, windows, doors, skylights, water heaters and home weatherization may qualify. The Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit has been available for purchases since January 1, 2011.  The tax credit is 10% of up to $5,000 of qualifying improvements which would make a maximum of $500 tax credit. The cumulative maximum amount of tax credit that can be claimed by a taxpayer in the different years this law has been in effect is $500.  If it has been claimed in previous years, the taxpayer is not eli…

Winter Maintenance

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With a 2,000+ mile long winter storm affecting much of the country, there are plenty of home owners who wish they were better prepared.  Even when you live in warm climates, some of these things are important to check periodically. Preparing for the change of seasons can make your home more comfortable and protect your investment.  Regular maintenance extends the various components of a home and can generate savings in operating costs while avoiding expensive replacements. Weather strips around doors and windows should be checked for possible air leaks. Caulking around windows and doors should seal out moisture and air leaks. HVAC should be inspected and serviced by a professional annually. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested regularly. Ductwork and supply lines from water heaters should be insulated. Fireplace chimneys should be cleaned regularly and fireplaces should be inspected for cracks in mortar and to see if the damper closes prop…

Motivated Sellers, Better Prices and Less Competition

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The Winter Home Buyer Report conducted in the second week of November by REALTOR.com® revealed the sentiments of current home buyers expecting to buy a house during the winter months.  It appears that there is pent-up demand with buyers who were unable to purchase a home recently. Most cited as an impediment to purchase was the challenge of low inventory.  Strong demand coupled with short supply explains why home prices have been increasing. "This summer and spring home buying season was particularly challenging for buyers, especially first-time home buyers trying to compete with all-cash offers and bidding wars because of reduced inventory.  In fact, a quarter of the winter home buyers revealed they are in the market now because they were unable to find a home during this last home buying season," said Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications at REALTOR.com®.  "While buyers are still experiencing challenges with inventory and approximately one in fiv…