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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

Asking Prices and Inventory for Homes in Portland Oregon


As of April 08 2013 there were about 8,039 single family and condo homes listed for sale in Portland Oregon. The median asking price of these homes was approximately $274,000. Since this time last year, the inventory of homes for sale has decreased by 24.4% and the median price has increased by 9.6%.

April 08, 2013 Month/Month Year/Year
Median Asking Price $274,000 +3.4% +9.6%
Home Listings/Inventory 8,039 +0.8% -24.4%

Recent Asking Price and Inventory History for Portland

Date Single Family & Condo
Inventory
25th Percentile
Asking Price
Median
Asking Price
75th Percentile
Asking Price
04/08/2013 8,039 $185,000 $274,000 $439,000
04/01/2013 7,836 $185,000 $269,900 $429,900
03/25/2013 7,975 $184,990 $269,900 $429,950
03/18/2013 7,998 $184,900 $269,900 $429,000
03/11/2013 7,979 $181,900 $265,000 $425,000

Portland Asking Price History

The median asking price for homes in Portland peaked in April 2007 at $354,740 and is now $82,790 (23.3%) lower. From a low of $239,125 in February 2011, the median asking price in Portland has increased by $32,825 (13.7%).

25th, Median (50th) and 75th Percentile Asking Prices for Portland Oregon

Portland Housing Inventory History

Housing inventory in Portland, which is typically highest in the spring/summer and lowest in the fall/winter, peaked at 23,354 in July 2008. The lowest housing inventory level seen was 7,938 in April 2013.

Housing Inventory for Portland Oregon

Portland Asking Price and Inventory History

Date Single Family & Condo
Inventory
25th Percentile
Asking Price
Median
Asking Price
75th Percentile
Asking Price
April 2013 7,938 $185,000 $271,950 $434,450
March 2013 7,969 $182,923 $267,425 $427,213
February 2013 7,981 $179,900 $262,450 $419,731
January 2013 8,250 $179,075 $259,217 $404,725
December 2012 8,627 $178,900 $259,720 $405,750
November 2012 9,408 $179,675 $260,950 $408,963
October 2012 10,259 $179,900 $267,160 $418,600
September 2012 10,828 $179,900 $268,975 $418,450
August 2012 11,102 $179,675 $268,725 $418,500
July 2012 11,140 $177,600 $266,598 $411,651
June 2012 11,362 $174,825 $259,675 $399,950
May 2012 11,227 $169,713 $252,463 $399,450
April 2012 10,820 $169,160 $249,910 $397,940
March 2012 9,683 $174,450 $259,450 $406,225
February 2012 10,549 $169,225 $248,250 $388,025
January 2012 10,833 $169,080 $246,960 $381,960
December 2011 11,461 $169,925 $248,375 $385,675
November 2011 12,018 $174,750 $250,972 $397,425
October 2011 12,846 $179,530 $258,720 $399,900
September 2011 13,509 $179,939 $259,900 $399,900
August 2011 14,672 $179,360 $256,590 $395,540
July 2011 14,772 $178,150 $253,188 $389,225
June 2011 14,762 $176,475 $250,970 $386,970
May 2011 14,582 $173,184 $249,160 $375,780
April 2011 14,748 $169,950 $242,400 $364,975
March 2011 15,458 $169,800 $239,675 $359,575
February 2011 15,531 $169,675 $239,125 $354,725
January 2011 15,001 $170,760 $239,158 $356,380
December 2010 16,118 $176,200 $242,700 $363,363
November 2010 17,018 $180,160 $249,330 $373,780
October 2010 17,614 $184,975 $253,375 $381,975
September 2010 18,282 $189,100 $258,925 $390,950
August 2010 18,579 $190,940 $261,150 $397,160
July 2010 18,160 $195,163 $267,475 $399,000
June 2010 17,488 $196,853 $268,875 $399,800
May 2010 17,035 $198,880 $269,620 $399,818
April 2010 17,279 $198,000 $266,750 $392,500
March 2010 16,495 $195,600 $264,460 $393,960
February 2010 15,382 $194,938 $264,450 $395,198
January 2010 14,895 $197,819 $267,425 $399,225
December 2009 15,329 $199,897 $272,038 $402,212
November 2009 15,902 $202,750 $277,760 $417,780
October 2009 16,573 $209,675 $283,646 $428,225
September 2009 17,165 $210,000 $289,475 $436,100
August 2009 17,595 $211,760 $292,880 $444,320
July 2009 17,819 $212,950 $294,950 $449,000
June 2009 17,870 $213,460 $294,920 $449,100
May 2009 17,713 $211,475 $293,291 $445,250
April 2009 17,978 $212,525 $289,925 $444,725
March 2009 18,506 $214,153 $289,930 $443,360
February 2009 18,449 $216,014 $293,968 $448,125
January 2009 18,872 $219,952 $297,855 $452,809
December 2008 19,842 $223,220 $302,773 $458,508
November 2008 20,983 $226,382 $307,532 $464,024
October 2008 22,086 $229,650 $312,450 $469,724
September 2008 22,973 $233,730 $319,580 $474,990
August 2008 23,314 $235,200 $322,000 $475,725
July 2008 23,354 $236,074 $324,550 $475,000
June 2008 22,657 $239,150 $324,920 $479,459
May 2008 21,505 $239,900 $325,000 $480,947
April 2008 20,669 $239,900 $324,937 $479,912
March 2008 19,381 $241,300 $324,860 $485,960
February 2008 18,409 $240,485 $324,925 $479,912
January 2008 17,659 $243,500 $324,962 $481,765
December 2007 18,584 $245,120 $327,975 $489,355
November 2007 19,926 $248,665 $330,475 $486,425
October 2007 20,762 $249,950 $337,260 $493,980
September 2007 20,656 $253,425 $339,900 $497,749
August 2007 19,837 $257,712 $342,975 $499,124
July 2007 18,710 $261,120 $349,120 $499,930
June 2007 17,670 $264,282 $349,950 $507,949
May 2007 16,386 $264,900 $350,975 $512,662
April 2007 15,059 $264,900 $354,740 $517,740
March 2007 13,897 $264,450 $353,850 $523,425
February 2007 13,814 $258,517 $349,800 $516,750
January 2007 13,726 $255,810 $349,637 $507,441
December 2006 14,746 $257,149 $348,246 $499,949
November 2006 15,671 $258,837 $348,750 $499,900
October 2006 16,027 $259,640 $348,834 $499,900
September 2006 15,239 $261,098 $349,675 $499,937
August 2006 14,029 $264,925 $350,737 $518,587
July 2006 12,864 $264,920 $350,470 $525,980
June 2006 11,261 $264,925 $349,975 $530,937
May 2006 9,804 $262,340 $350,940 $532,360
April 2006 8,701 $256,433 $346,433 $526,224

 

 

Department of Numbers

The Department of Numbers contextualizes public data so that individuals can form independent opinions on everyday social and economic matters.

 

3 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes Can Cost Thousands, by Steph Noble


Buying real estate for the first time is a very exciting step in life.

It is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments that you make, so it’s very important to navigate the purchasing process wisely.

Many first-time home buyers make rookie mistakes that bring on negative consequences and a lot of frustration.

Outlined below are common errors home buyers make, so you can learn from their missteps and avoid them yourself.

 

1. Buying More Than What You Can Truly Afford

Just because the bank says that you qualify a certain amount for a mortgage doesn’t mean that you have to choose a house at the very top of this price range.

Many people get carried away and buy the most expensive house that they qualify for.

If something unexpected happens, they may find it difficult to keep up with their monthly mortgage payments later on.

Remember that you will also have student loan payments, vehicle costs, credit card bills, health insurance, groceries, retirement savings and other expenses, so make sure that your mortgage payments will comfortably fit within your budget.

 

2. Failing To Get A Home Inspection

Before buying a house, you should always have a professional inspection done. Not doing so is a big mistake.

You don’t want to get stuck with hidden damage that could saddle you with the expense of ongoing repairs.

Hiring a professional to assess the home’s condition is absolutely essential before making your final decision.

 

3. Disregarding Your Future

When you are buying real estate, don’t just think about how the home will work for you in the immediate future.

Also consider what your needs will be five, ten or even 20 years from now.

Find out the development plans for the neighborhood.

Look for reputable schools if you intend to start a family.

And consider whether the street’s home values are likely to increase or decline in the future.

 

Your Next Steps

Don’t let the home-buying process overwhelm you!

Learn from these common first-time home buyers’ mistakes, so you can avoid them.

A great next step toward planning for your first home purchase is to consult with a trusted, licensed mortgage professional who is trained in providing the best advice on how a new home will affect your budget.

 

 

Steph Noble
http://stephnoblemortgageblog.com/

Great Staging Tips To Set A Buyer’s Mood At Your Home For Sale, by Steph Noble


Staging is the art of preparing your home for sale before showing it to prospective buyers.

The point of staging is to highlight the house’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and make it more appealing.

With the right decorating techniques, you can win buyers over the moment they step through the door.

Below are a few staging tips to help make your house irresistible to potential buyers.

 

Put Everything Away

The first step is to put away anything that is not essential. This will open up the house so that it appears more spacious.

Even if you have to rent a storage unit, finding a new home for all of your family’s projects and collections should clear some space and help buyers imagine their own belongings in your home for sale.

Pay special attention to entryways and narrow hallways to improve your prospective buyer’s sense of spaciousness.

 

Get Rid Of Clutter

Be sure to clear off the things that gather on kitchen counters and surfaces, such as old magazines and stacks of mail.

Also, emptying out your closets of half of the things inside them will make them look much roomier.

Use this time as an opportunity to thin the number of largely unused items that your family has collected over the years.

And look on the bright side; moving into a new house will be much easier after you have donated your unneeded items to a charity.

 

Fresh Scents Make Sense

You would be surprised by how much the sense of smell comes into play when buyers are viewing a house.

To avoid turning buyers off with pet or smoke odors, make sure you give each room a deep clean, including the air vents and carpeting.

Just covering up stale odors with air fresheners won’t do the job.

 

Let In The Light

Buyers are looking for spacious rooms with a lot of natural light, so make sure you open the blinds and turn on all the lights.

If you have rooms that are a bit dark, you can add floor lamps to make them brighter or flowers to suggest sunlight.

Home staging can make a big difference in how potential buyers see your home for sale, so make sure you set the mood to make it as attractive as possible.

 

 

 

http://stephnoblemortgageblog.com

 

 

3 Stress-Free Packing Tips For Moving Into Your New Home, by Steph Noble


Moving everything in your house to your new |Oregon| home can be an overwhelming task.

You never realize how much stuff you actually own until you try to fit it all into boxes and move it somewhere new.

When you are packing up your things to relocate, here are some helpful tips to make your moving experience much easier:

Start Packing In Advance

You don’t have to wait until the day before you move to start packing everything in your house!

As soon as you find out that you are moving, you can start packing the items you don’t often use, such as your seasonal decorations, photo albums and family keepsakes.

If you pack a few items per week, you’ll have almost everything packed by the time you are ready to go except for the essentials you use every day.

Establish A System

Rather than randomly throwing every item you see into a box, think ahead and create a logical plan for your packing.

Before you start, develop a simple record-keeping system.

Give every box you pack a number and write a corresponding list detailing the items in that box.

This way, when you arrive you will know exactly where to find each item.

Stay Organized

You will want to keep all of the items from each area of the house together so they can be unpacked easily.

For example, keep all of the boxes of kitchen supplies together and then put them straight into the kitchen when you arrive at your new home.

You could even designate a color for each room in the house and put colored stickers on the boxes so that the movers or anyone helping you can easily determine in which room a box belongs.

Bonus Tip: Sometimes Less Is More

One final consideration that can make your move easier is to use your move as an opportunity to pare down your unused belongings.

Plus, you won’t be left wondering why you decided to move things from one home to another once you start unpacking.

As with many things, the more organized you are when packing, the less stressful it will be when you arrive and at your new house.