Tag Archives: Money Magazine

Top 10 Most Expensive Mistakes You’re Making on Your Home

Homes cost a lot of money to maintain. But are you spending extra money unnecessarily on upkeep? Here are 10 of the most expensive mistakes you could be making in your home.

1. Using Traditional Light bulbs

If you still have incandescent light bulbs in your home, you could be throwing a lot of money away every month on inflated electric bills. Over its life span, an incandescent bulb can use $180 worth of electricity. A CFL will only use $41 worth of electricity over the same time period. Even better is the LED bulb, which only uses $30 per bulb. Think what replacing every light bulb in your home could do to your home’s bottom line.

2. Ignoring a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet that drips one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year, which is enough water to take more than 180 showers. Some of us live in areas where water is plentiful, but for those of us in areas plagued with drought, this could be costing you a fortune, besides being wasteful.  Fix or replace your leaky faucet and save a ton on your water bill.

3. Using the Wrong Air Filter Size

We all sometimes forget to change out the air filters for our HVAC systems or accidentally buy the wrong size. But using the wrong filter or a dirty filter can increase your power bill and cause expensive problems for your furnace down the road. Use the correct filters for your system, and set a reminder to change them after the recommended amount of time. You won’t regret it.

4. Not Customizing Temperature

Invest in a customizable thermostat. If you’re away at the office all day, you can program your heater to shift down a few degrees while you’re gone and then shift back up shortly before you return home. Heating or cooling an empty home wastes a lot of money in energy costs.

5. Not Adjusting Air Vents Properly

Is one room in your home hot, while the others are cold? Oftentimes homeowners will crank up the air conditioning in the whole house to combat hot temperatures in one area. Instead, adjust air vents to direct the flow of air more evenly throughout your entire home. Professionals will come regulate this to ensure that your entire home is receiving the same amount of air conditioning or heating.

6.Over Watering Lawn

Many homeowners have their sprinkler systems programmed to come on in the early morning hours for optimum lawn health. This can become a problem, however, if you’re never around to see what you’re actually watering. A broken sprinkler head could be causing a fountain, or the trajectory of your sprinkler may be directed at a fence instead of your lawn. Periodically run your sprinklers during the day so you can see how they are performing when you’re not around.

7. Water Heater Temperature Set Too High

Unless you have a tankless water heater, your water heater is keeping the water in its tank hot 24/7. If you don’t keep an eye on the temperature as each season changes, you may be paying too much to heat your water. Decrease the temperature in the summer, and bump it back up when winter comes.

8. Leaky Windows and Doors

Leaky windows and doors are great places for cold, winter winds to enter your home. Many homeowners simply ignore them and crank up their heaters. Caulk leaky windows and put rubber seal around doors to keep winter winds out and warmth in.

9. Paying a Handyman

Don’t pay a handyman for a job that is simple enough to do yourself. If you’re unsure of how to do something, look up video tutorials online. Doing simple tasks yourself can save you a lot of money.

10. Ignoring Curled Shingles

It may be easy to ignore problems on your roof, but it will only lead to bigger problems later. If you see any possible issues with your roof, repair them as soon as possible, as this will save you significant costs later.

By Cary Teller; RISMedia’s Housecall

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From the ‘Gen Z effect’ to the housing crunch: It’s a good time to invest in Triangle real estate

This is a very interested survey and so true!

The Triangle has moved up three positions to No. 4 on an authoritative national ranking released Thursday that identifies emerging trends in real estate investment.

The survey by Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Urban Land Institute say the region is among a robust market of smaller and secondary cities with young, educated workforces and diverse economies that are reshaping investment opportunities. Joining the Triangle in that trend are Salt Lake City, Fort Lauderdale and Nashville. Seattle topped the list.

“It’s a major shift we’ve been observing,” Mitch Roschelle, a PwC partner and author of the report, said in an interview Wednesday. “Raleigh-Durham has been a beneficiary. If you go back 10 years and look at the average size city in the top 10, they were two or three times the size of the cities in the top 10 today.”

 The report guides potential investors, but it also gives the rest of us another way of looking at the changing Triangle.

Young, skilled workers are driving the economic growth in these secondary cities, the report says. The Triangle benefits from the universities in the region, an influx of new residents and growth in 15- to 34-year-olds that is more than six times the national average. The cost of doing business, which is below the U.S. average, and disposable income growth that is 40 percent above the average are also attractive, the report says.

 The report included other trends:

▪ The “Gen Z effect”: Traditional stores will have to understand the “gadgeteria” attraction of this post-millennials demographic group, the oldest of whom are now turning 19. The report contends Gen Z rejects the millennial’s embrace of open, collaborative work spaces in favor of more personal and private offices.

▪ Housing shortage: There’s been an increasing housing squeeze that’s only going to get worse with more than 150 million millennials and Gen Z youth, exacerbated by baby boomers who are staying in their homes longer. But that’s an opportunity for developers to build smaller, more energy-efficient houses, townhouses and condominiums that are affordable starter homes.

▪ Apartments: With demand for affordable rents from the younger generations comes a strong market in multi-family housing.

▪ Senior squeeze: There isn’t enough housing for seniors, a segment expected to grow across the country by 25 million in the next 15 years.

by: Craig Jarvis: news&observer

Energy Efficient Home Hacks to Complete Before End of Summer

It’s hard to believe that the end of summer is almost here!  The soaring temperatures of the time come with sky-high energy bills. If you’re looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency as your HVAC kicks into overdrive, consider adding these energy efficient home hacks to your weekend warrior to-do list.

Increase Insulation
Air leakages can occur anywhere in your home, resulting in your AC unit having to work that much harder to keep your home comfortable. Adding a new layer of insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to make a home more energy efficient. Best of all, you can do this easy hack yourself! Before laying any new insulation, be sure to plug up any large openings and seal off small cracks, especially around attic hatches, window frames, and electrical outlets.

Smart Home Automation
It seems like almost every electronic device now has a smart alternative on the market. Though it’s easy to write off this technology as a luxury, most of these devices can actually go a long way in helping to reduce your energy usage each month. Whether it’s a thermostat that learns your family’s habits or a dishwasher that only runs during off-peak energy hours, smart home appliances and devices can go a long way in helping curb your family’s energy demands.

Close Your Blinds
Sometimes the best hacks are also the easiest—and cheapest! By simply closing your blinds, especially for south- and west-facing windows, you have the potential to save upwards of seven percent off your energy bill, as well as lowering the ambient temperature by up to 20 degrees. Considering that almost 30 percent of unwanted humid summer heat comes in from your windows, it makes sense to drop the shades on the afternoon sun. Better yet, if it’s in your budget, replace those worn-out windows altogether. Energy Star has found that most homeowners can expect to see an average 12 percent drop in their home’s energy consumption after replacing single-pane windows with Energy Star qualified alternatives.

Landscape to Lower Energy
Think of landscaping as your exterior blinds, and plant a few trees along the south side of your home to help block direct sunlight from ever making it to your windows. Ensure that any tree you plant is a leafy variety, rather than an evergreen, so that you can get exceptional shade in the summer and plenty of warming sun in the leafless winter months. Similarly, plant evergreen shrubs around your home’s foundation to add year-round insulation

Cooking Counts

Summer is virtually synonymous with grilling, but did you ever consider just how much energy you can save by sparking up some charcoal instead of your oven? Not only will you be sparing yourself any operating costs, but you’ll also prevent your HVAC from having to combat the added heat your culinary masterpiece is likely to create.

The best way to make your home as energy-efficient as possible is to have a professional perform an energy audit. The typical audit usually only takes a couple hours of your time, but it has the potential to save you thousands of dollars in reduced energy expenses year round.

With a little planning ahead and a few upgrades, you’ll be saving energy daily!

By Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel – from Housecall