Tips To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly,


Tips To Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly

 

 

Trying to make your home more eco-friendly is easier than you might think. There are several small things you can do, in each room in your house, to make your carbon footprint a much smaller one. The more we do to go green in our homes the better off our environment will be.

With changes in the climate a serious threat to our way of living, it is the responsibility of every person to make changes to their everyday lives that will have a greener impact and help to slow down the effects of global warming. One of the easiest places to start is by making your home more eco-friendly.

Going green at home does not require you to spend lots of money; in fact, it can actually save you money! Whether you take on small projects or large overhauls, every step we take towards being more energy conservative is one step closer to making the world a better place for the next generation. Here are some tips to help you get started and make your home more eco-friendly.

 

 

 

 

Living Room Energy Savings

The living room is typically one of the most used rooms in the home, and often responsible for a large portion of the energy that your home uses. Make a more energy efficient living space and go greener by following these simple to install tips:

  • Replace the light bulbs: Swapping your incandescent bulbs for energy-saving Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) bulbs will save you money on your electricity bill as well as being better for the environment. It is estimated that CFL bulbs use roughly 70% less energy than traditional incandescent ones.
  • Unplug your appliances: Even when your TV or games console is switched off or on standby it uses electricity. Get into the habit of unplugging things at the end of the day to save energy and money. Take a quick walk through your home and it will become abundantly clear how many devices you can unplug to conserve energy.
  • Use draft excluders: When all the family is in the living room it is a good idea to heat that room and use a draft excluder to prevent heat escaping under the door. They come in a variety of colors and styles too.
  • Have carpets fitted: Carpet will make your living room feel warmer and cozier, but if full carpet is not an option, laying a rug on your wooden floor can have the same effect. The extra insulation can help reduce heating costs.
  • Install dimmer switches: Turning the lights down low creates a nice cozy atmosphere and uses less energy, which will also save you money. The savings are dependent on how dimly you light the room and the type of light bulbs you use.
  • Open the drapes: During the day when the sun is shining, open the drapes and let the sun warm your home naturally; this even works in winter. Using natural lighting is an easy approach to conserving energy.
  • Close the drapes: When the sun goes down and your heating comes on, close the drapes to prevent heat from being lost through the windows. This simple step can reduce heat loss by as much as 15% in an average home.

 

 

Kitchen Energy Tips

The kitchen is the hub of many American homes, and it is often packed full of energy-guzzling gadgets and appliances. Here are some ways you can cut down your kitchen energy usage:

  • Cook in batches: Cooking meals in batches and freezing portions will save energy, time, and money. Defrost and reheat the meals in the microwave throughout the week because microwaves use less energy than conventional stoves. How much less? The energy savings typically start at 30 percent and go up based on usage.
  • Choose low energy appliances: Many older models of dishwashers, fridges, and freezers  are not very energy-efficient. When they need replacing, opt for low energy ones instead. Look for the Energy Star logo to improve energy efficiency, maximize your eco-friendly efforts, and have the kitchen you always wanted.
  • Clean your refrigerator coils: Dust and grime can build up on the coils, preventing your fridge from working as efficiently as it should. Clean the grime away and it will use less energy.
  • Place your refrigerator in the shade: If your fridge is in direct sunlight it will be a couple of degrees warmer, have to work harder, and use more energy to stay cool inside. Every little bit of energy conservation helps.
  • Fill your dishwasher: Running your dishwasher uses around half the water it takes to wash the dishes by hand. Ensuring it is full before running will be more time and energy efficient. Using it in energy-savings mode, if available, will help cut consumption even more.
  • Compost your food waste: Rather than throwing your leftovers and food scraps down the garbage disposal, collect them in a small bin in the kitchen, and invest in a compost bin for your garden. It will help keep you on track with your outside eco-friendly options.
  • Keep your freezer full: A full freezer will run more efficiently than a half-empty one. Try filling it with those batch-cooked meals to save time throughout the week.

 

 

 

Bedroom Eco-Friendly Advice

The bedroom is another room that you spend a lot of your time in, both sleeping and relaxing, so make sure you follow these tips to keep things eco-friendly in there:

  • Use eco paints: When it comes to redecorating your bedroom choose eco-friendly paints with low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Eco-friendly paints are better for the environment and better for your health. Water based paints contain less VOCs than oil based paints.
  • Choose a non-toxic mattress: When it is time to replace your old mattress (every 7 to 10 years), choose a new one that has not been treated with synthetic chemicals or toxic materials. Choosing one made with organic cotton,  wool, or latex made from rubber tree sap, is a good way to be more eco-friendly and still get a good nights sleep.
  • Choose organic linens: Non-organic cotton accounts for around 25% of the world’s insecticide use, so switching to organically grown cotton sheets, or those made from sustainable bamboo fibers, is much better for the environment. They are also softer to the touch.
  • Ditch the air purifier: An air purifier makes the air in your bedroom cleaner to breath, but it also uses a lot of energy. Unless you have allergies or asthma, a houseplant or two in your bedroom will clean the air just as well without the constant hum.
  • Unplug your phone charger: Most of us charge our phones overnight next to our beds, and leave them plugged in constantly. Try to get into the habit of unplugging your charger each morning as it will still draw electricity from the grid whether it is charging your phone or not.

 

 

 

 

Bathroom Energy Efficiency

A great deal of energy is used in the purification of water before it reaches your bathroom faucets and shower. By cutting down on water usage you can help the environment. Here are tips to help you conserve energy in the bathroom:

  • Turn the faucet off: When you are brushing your teeth, do not leave the water running. Instead, fill a glass with water, turn off the faucet, and use the glass of water to rinse your mouth and wash your toothbrush. According to the EPA, this simple step can save up to 8 gallons of water each time you brush your teeth.
  • Fix that leaky faucet: Did you know that up to 48 gallons of water can be lost each week from a leaky faucet? All the more reason to get it fixed as soon as you notice it is leaking in order to prevent that water from unnecessarily being wasted.
  • Install a low flow shower head: You will not notice the difference in water flow, and you will still be as clean as a whistle, but you will be using a lot less water with each shower you take.
  • Install a water saving toilet: Or use a cistern displacement device to reduce the amount of water that gets flushed away each time. Depending on the model you replace, your savings could be up to 4 gallons per flush.
  • Do not flush every time: It is not always necessary to flush the toilet after every single use. If there is just you and your family in the house, flush it after every two or three trips instead and you will use a lot less water. Use common sense if you use this option.
  • Open the window: After showering, crack the window open to let the excess humidity escape. If it stays in the room it can lead to mold, which then creates a situation that may involve using harsh chemicals to clean away the mold or mildew.
  • Shower instead of bathing: Taking showers instead of baths typically uses up to 14% less water. It also takes less energy to heat the water for a shower than it does to run a hot bath.

 

 

 

 

Going Green Around the House

There are so many other ways that you and your family can make your home life much more eco-friendly. Some of these go green in the home tips include:

  • Recycle: There are so many everyday items that can be recycled, including all types of paper and cardboard, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, and aluminum cans. If you live in one of the eleven states with bottle bills, you can even redeem plastic bottles and aluminum cans for cash!
  • Have double glazing installed: Up to 25% of heat can be lost through the windows, but having double glazed windowsinstalled throughout your home will keep a lot more of the heat in, making your home feel much more cozy without the need to crank up the thermostat.
  • Wash clothes on a cold cycle: Using the cold cycle on your washing machine will still wash your clothes effectively, but it will save you energy and money too. The results might surprise you so give it a try.
  • Hang the laundry out to dry: Using a dryer is obviously a quicker way to dry your clothes, but they use a lot of energy. Make the most of warm or windy weather and hang your laundry outside to dry naturally.
  • Layer up before turning the heating up: If you are feeling cold, throw on a sweater or get under a blanket before you reach to turn the heating on or turn it up. Keep throws or blankets handy so you are not tempted to reach to the thermostat.
  • Switch to paperless billing: Choose to receive credit card statements and utilities bills via email rather than in the mail. Many companies even offer a discount on their services if you choose to view and pay your bills online. You can even get much of your snail mail delivered online if you ask.
  • Cut down on chemical use: Opt for chemical-free cleaning products, or better still, make your own! Ingredients that you already have in the cupboards, like baking soda, vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice can be used to make a variety of cleaning solutions.
  • Install solar panels: They are not cheap, and it can take years to recoup the upfront costs, but if you live in a sunny climate and plan on living in the home long-term, they could be a great option. A decent reduction of power consumption is what you can expect if you install solar panels.

There are lots of other ways that you can live a greener lifestyle, both in and out of the home, but adopting a few of the tips shared above is a great way to start. If you have children, try to get them into eco-friendly habits from an early age, as they are the ones that will benefit the most from taking care of the planet in the long run.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Jerry Wilson of Finance America


The topic of this interview with Jerry Wilson is buying Investment Property.   He shares his insights of what it takes and what to expect in 2017 when it comes to financing residential income property.    Jerry Wilson has been a Morgage Professional over 25 years.   He has funded nearly 1 Billion dollars in transactions.

FHA EASES CONDOMINIUM PROJECT APPROVAL REQUIREMENTS: Temporary guidelines will increase number of condominium projects eligible for FHA approval


WASHINGTON – The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today published new guidelines under its condominium approval process intended to increase affordable housing options for first-time and low- to moderate-income homebuyers.  Effective immediately, FHA’s temporary guidance will streamline the agency’s condominium recertification process and expand the eligibility of acceptable ‘owner-occupied’ units to include second homes that are not investor-owned.    Read FHA’s mortgagee letter.

These provisions will expire in one year and serve to revise FHA’s condominium approval process until the agency can implement a more comprehensive condominium rule change.  Today’s guidance:

  1. Modifies the requirements for condominium project recertification;
  2. Revises the calculation of FHA’s required owner-occupancy percentage; and
  3. Expands eligible condominium project insurance coverages.

Streamline Condominium Recertification

FHA-approved condominium projects require recertification after two years to ensure that the project is still in compliance with FHA’s eligibility requirements and that no conditions currently exist which would present an unacceptable risk to FHA.  For existing condominium projects seeking recertification, FHA will now only require applicants to submit documents reflecting any substantive changes since the project’s prior approval.

Calculation of Owner-Occupancy

The procedure for calculating the required owner-occupancy percentage (50 percent) is modified to allow units that are not investor-owned to be considered owner-occupied for the purpose of Condominium Project approval.  A condominium is considered to be owner-occupied provided they are not:

  • Tenant Occupied;
  • Vacant and listed for rent;
  • Existing (previously occupied), vacant and listed for sale; or
  • Under contract to a purchaser who does not intend to occupy the unit as a Principal Residence or Secondary Residence.  The term Principal Residence and Secondary Residence have the same meaning.

Expansion of Eligible Condominium Project Insurance Coverage

Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) are required to maintain adequate “master” or “blanket” property insurance in an amount equal to 100% of current replacement cost of the condominium (exclusive of land, foundation, excavation and other items normally excluded from coverage). Insurance coverage for condominium project approval that consists of pooled policies for affiliated projects, state-run plans, or contains coinsurance obligations on the part of the policy holder is now permitted to satisfy this requirement.

 

 

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HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.

You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Castro on
Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.

 

Utility Issues with Rental Properties, by Troy Rappold, Rappold Property Management


When a rental property that is occupied by a tenant is sold to a new owner there are many details that require diligent attention. One of these areas is the utility billing and interim billing. Interim billing is one of the first things that you would want to cancel because an Owner doesn’t want to accidently pay for bill that isn’t their responsibility. This ensures proper and accurate billing. As a general rule, the tenant is responsible for all utilities for a single family home. In this case nothing changes if ownership changes and the tenant stays in place.  If the house is located in a city where the population is over 100K, the owner is responsible for the garbage service. In this case, the garbage bill is changed to the name of the new Owner.

 

As a local property management company, we have the garbage bills mailed to our office and we pay it out of the rental income on behalf of the owner. That way the charge will be reflected on the monthly statement. This is important because this expense is a tax write-off for the home owner. If the new Owner is going to move into the property, and the tenant is going to move out, then all utilities will be a prorated amount based upon the move out date of the tenant. If the tenant moves out on the 18th of the month, then they are responsible for 18 days’ worth of electricity, water, sewer, garbage and natural gas. As the property management company for the house, we track this and make sure all these charges are distributed correctly.

 

We also manage condominiums and often times the owner/investor will pay the Condo Association fees that include water, sewer and garbage. These charges are also a tax write off and can be tracked for the year. Although none of this is difficult to manage, it does need to be watched carefully so all parties involved pay only their share. This careful attention to detail is what we do here at Rappold Property Management.

 

Rappold Property Management, LLC

1125 SE Madison Street, suite #201

Portland, OR 97214

Phone: 503-232-5990

Fax: 503-232-1462

The Advantage of Property Management, By Troy Rappold


In business, the slogan “Just Do It!” rings true and will serve you well. In the world of Property Management this is applicable as well. After all, we are trying to grow our business and be successful when we manage your asset wisely and efficiently. However, more often than not our slogan is “Just Do the Right Thing!”

As property managers we work with many vendors who complete work on our properties. We want quick, quality repairs, and at a good price for our clients. Sometimes this requires tough conversations. Navigating this world is our expertise and it is part of why you rely on us.  Our fiduciary responsibility is always you, the client.

The other piece of the puzzle we have to navigate is relations with tenants. Our job is to provide clean, safe, well-maintained housing. However, and this might come as a shock, sometimes tenants can have expectations that are out of line. Just because a kitchen counter has a scratch on it doesn’t mean we need to replace the entire counter top with new, beautiful granite from Brazil. Often times a property manager has to say “no” in the most professional and courteous way possible.

Real Estate management is an active, engaging industry. One cannot just buy an investment property and watch it appreciate or mature, like treasury bonds. Having the right management in place is just as important as buying the right property at the right price. We have the expertise and experience to navigate the difficulties and pitfalls for you. Here at Rappold Property Management we take our job very seriously and we manage your property as if it were our own.

 

 

Troy Rappold
Rappold Property Management, LLC
1125 SE Madison Street, suite #201
Portland, OR 97214
Phone: 503-232-5990
Fax: 503-232-1462
http://rappoldpropertymanagement.com

 

Landlords: Renters That Smoke, by Troy Rappold, Rappold Property Management, LLC


The ability to smoke in public and at apartment communities has been under attack for years. But what about rental homes? Often times an owner plans to rent their home for only a year or two. Certainly the owner does not want to receive the house back with the smell of cigarette smoke still lingering in the house. Even if the renter was a model tenant in all other respects, cigarette smoke can be very destructive. Smoking turns walls yellow (new paint job $1,200), it destroys carpets ($1,500), and it requires a deeper cleaning, perhaps with a deionizer ($500). The cost of all this stress…priceless.

The best approach? In all of our homes we have a no smoking policy. However, we do allow the renter to smoke outside, perhaps on the porch or deck. However, this issue can be a hard one to enforce. What if it’s cold outside? Who wants to stand outside when it’s only 35 degrees? The renter is easily tempted to stand inside the house or close to an open window and light up. Inevitably, smoke gets in the house and the home owner smells the evidence. A good suggestion is to do an inspection within the first month or two of a new lease if you know the renter smokes. Catch the problem early. Then do another inspection a few months later to make sure. If you detect smoke after the tenant moves out, a landlord can charge the tenant for the remediation of the smell. But this can be a tricky proposition. It is always best to be pro-active and keep this issue from becoming a possible expense.  It is less ideal to react and pursue a vacating tenant for money.

You can always call Rappold Property Management with questions about your single family home investment.

Troy Rappold
Rappold Property Management, LLC
1125 SE Madison Street, suite #201
Portland, OR  97214

Phone: 503-232-5990
Fax: 503-232-1462

 

4 Tips On Giving Your Mudroom A Makeover, by Steph Noble, Northwest Mortgage Group


4_Tips_On_Giving_Your_Mudroom_A_Makeover

From crunched-up leaves stuck to bottoms of shoes to bulky coats shed as soon as kids walk through the door, mudrooms are ideal for keeping outdoor dirt, wet clothing and outerwear from being strewn throughout your home.

Mudrooms not only keep the rest of your house clean, but they also designate a spot for those last-minute grabs, such as coats, umbrellas and purses, when you’re running out the door.

These rooms are great catchalls. However, an organized mudroom can make your life and those hectic mornings much less stressful. Below are smart tips for getting your mudroom ready this fall.

1. Put In Seating

After shedding outer layers, the next thing anyone wants to do after coming inside on a cold, wet day is to take off their mucky shoes. So make sure there is a built-in bench or convenient chair for people to sit down and tend to their tootsies. Whether taking off or putting on shoes, it makes life a little more comfortable.

2. Install A Sink

A mudroom is supposed to be the catchall for everything dirty from the outdoors. With this in mind, a sink for washing off the grime and mud makes sense. Then you can clean your clothing in the contained space without having to haul them to the kitchen sink or laundry room.

3. Create Cubbies

Even though this space is designated as a drop-off point before entering the main living space, you don’t want everything just thrown into one big confusing pile. Create individual cubbies for every person in your household. Each cubby should contain a shelf for purses and backpacks, hooks for coats and a low place for shoes.

4. Splurge On A Boot Warmer

While electric boot warmers can be a little expensive, you will definitely think it’s worth the money when it’s freezing outside and your shoes are damp. Electric boot warmers heat your shoes on pegs and dry them out at the same time. They also work well on gloves.

Fall is a mudroom’s busy season; so get it in shape with the tips above. With all the coats hanging on their hooks, shoes in their cubbies and dirt contained to this designated space, your life will be a little more organized and much less stressful!

 

 

 

Steph Noble
Northwest Mortgage Group
(503) 528-9800
http://www.stephnoble.com
http://www.nwmortgagegoup.com