Friday, June 29, 2007
Location: West Hill Park.
See you there!
For Ludlow real estate information, visit ISellVermontRealEstate.com.
Friday, June 22, 2007
More buyers are taking the environment into account when searching for a home—they’re looking for earth-friendly features that translate into lower energy bills and less pollution.
This growing trend gives you the opportunity to make your listing stand out from the rest by calling attention to all of its energy-efficient amenities, from properly-sealed windows to Energy Star appliances.
Whether your listing is a brand new condo or an old Victorian, just a bit of investigating can uncover many “green” features that will grab buyers’ attention. Use this list to identify areas of the home where energy efficiencies may be lurking:
- Appliances and lighting. From the laundry machine to the dining room chandelier, energy-efficient products are proven to save money and consume less energy. To confirm that various products outperform average standards, look for the blue-and-white Energy Star label. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issues this designation only to products that are among the most efficient on the market. The Energy Star Web site provides a comprehensive list of all Energy Star Qualified Products.
- Insulation. Air leaking through exterior surfaces—such as walls, windows, the roof, and the floor—can waste 25 percent to 40 percent of the energy used to heat or cool a home, according to Energy Star. Local building codes and the U.S. Department of Energy specify acceptable insulation, measured in R-values. The higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation. If your listing has insulation that surpasses local standards, that’s an advantage you can tout to potential buyers. Be sure to mention insulation installed in attics and crawlspaces. Also, don’t forget to point out wraps, sealants, foams, and tape installed to reduce air moving through the gaps around framing, piping, electrical wiring, and outlets.
- Windows. Depending on the climate and total glass area, windows account for 25 percent to 50 percent of a home’s heating and cooling needs. But technological advances in window materials mean much better energy efficiency. U-Factors rate insulating ability for windows; the lower the U-Factor, the better the insulation of the window. Typical U-Factor values range from 0.25 to 1.25. If your listing has insulated window frames or frames made of low-conductance materials (wood, vinyl, or fiberglass), you should call out these features to potential buyers.
- Heating and cooling systems. Efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment consumes less fuel, emits less pollution, and generally requires less maintenance. A furnace’s heating efficiency is measured by the annual fuel utilization efficiency rating, or AFUE. The U.S. Department of Energy requires all furnaces sold in the United States to have a minimum AFUE rating of 78 percent, which means that the furnace converts 78 percent of the fuel to heat. Only ratings of higher than 90 percent earn the Energy Star label. Similarly, air conditioners should have at least a 10 seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER. Energy Star requires a SEER rating of 12 or higher.
If the home has zoned systems that allow different areas to be heated and cooled separately, let potential buyers know that these features deliver additional operating savings. Point out programmable thermostats with timers and variable-air controls, as well as ceiling fans. Let buyers know if a fireplace has glass doors and a heat-air exchange mechanism, which returns warmed air to the room instead of letting it escape. And don’t forget to promote radiant flooring, which heats from the ground up and eliminates the draft and dust problems associated with forced air heating systems.
- Landscaping. Well-done landscaping can greatly reduce heating and cooling costs, protect the home from winter wind and summer sun, and help control noise and air pollution. Also, some species of trees, bushes, and grasses require less water than others, or are naturally more resistant to pests so they require fewer pesticides. Learn what kind of plants and trees are growing around the house and promote all of their benefits to buyers. For more details on what to look for, visit Landscaping for Energy Efficiency, an online guide from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- The entire house. Some new homes are rated for overall efficiency by the Energy Star program. A new home certified through the Energy Star program performs at least 30 percent more efficiently than houses built to the 1993 Model Energy Code (or 15 percent more efficient than your state energy code if that is more stringent). The Energy Star designation is verified by an accredited home energy rater and displayed on the inside of the circuit breaker.
Even if your listing isn’t a home that buyers would traditionally think of as being green, it is sure to have at least some eco-friendly features that will give it a marketing edge. Let potential buyers know how the home will help their energy bills and the environment, and you may be surprised at how fast you can clinch the sale.
- Energy Star ProgramThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency introduced Energy Star in 1992 to identify and promote energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The label is now on appliances, lighting, home electronics, and other products. It also covers new homes and commercial and industrial buildings.
- Glossary of Energy-Related TermsThe acronyms alone can be confusing! If you can’t recall what AFUE measures or what SEER stands for, come to this glossary for clarification. You’ll also find definitions for hundreds of energy-related words.
- Energy Savers: Tips on Saving Energy & Money at HomeThis site, from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, offers energy-saving tips for all areas of the home, plus a variety of booklets you can download and print in English or Spanish.
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable EnergyThis portal site by the U.S. Department of Energy provides links to other Web sites and online information on energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Besure to visit my website for all your Ludlow VT real estate needs.
Friday, June 15, 2007
So sit back, turn up your speakers and click on the link below. And please share it with friends, family members and co-workers. They’ll love you for doing it!
Click here to watch the movie
Monday, June 11, 2007
Purchasing a Vermont vacation home is an exciting venture, but there are some things to think about that are different than when you purchased your primary residence.
1. What is the travel time between your primary home and the second home location? Is it a doable drive or travel distance, or will it become a deterrent to actually enjoying your vacation home?
2. What type of activities does the vacation home location offer and are these activities of interest to you? It is a good idea to visit the vacation home location at various times of the year to get a better idea of what the area is really like.
3. If you are financing your vacation home, interest rates are generally higher and down payments larger. I am glad to put you in touch with a local lender for you to talk loans with.
4. The interest paid on the mortgage for your vacation home is tax deductible, if you don't rent it out for more than two weeks a year. But unlike your primary residence, the profit you make from the sale of the property is subject to capital gains. One way around capital gains is to sell your primary residence, move into your vacation home and live there for two years before you sell it.
5. Insurance is another consideration. Homeowners insurance in a vacation home is usually higher than on your primary residence because it is vacant for much of the time.
One of the best recommendations I have for you is to get the assistance of a well qualified Realtor who knows the area who has lived in the area for awhile. If you are thinking of buying southern Vermont vacation home, I'm your Realtor!! Give me a call at 800-659-1819 # 103 or visit my website. I am a long time resident of Vermont and a long time Realtor. I'd love to help you buy your dream Vermont vacation home!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Freddie Mac's weekly Primary Market Mortgage Survey reports a slight increase in rates this past week due to economic growth outside of the housing market, with a healthy consumer sector and improving business spending.
Interest rates this past week on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.42 percent compared to the previous week's rate of 6.37 percent. This time last year, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.67 percent.
Are you shopping for a mortgage for your Vermont home? This can be a daunting process, but I am glad to refer you to a reputable, knowledgeable and competitive mortgage lender who will take the time to explain your loan options to you. This will allow you to make an educated decision about which home loan is best for you. Just give me a call at 800-659-1819 #103. I'm here to help.
Be sure to visit my website to learn more about mortgages and the home buying process.