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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Are you ready?

Posted By Amy Preister At 2:34 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Are you ready to make a move this year?

3 Factors You Can’t Ignore In The 2017 Housing Market

Published on Thursday - December 15, 2016

What fundamental indicators should investors examine before investing in the 2017 housing market?

The real estate market has been brimming with investment opportunity for the better part of 2016. With record-low mortgage rates, prices for homes not only skyrocketed, but sold at record pace. With only a few weeks to go in 2016, the trend of prosperity is expected to continue, as many anticipate a bigger and more profitable year from the 2017 housing market.

From an investor’s perspective, one of the ways to determine how a market will fare — whether short or long-term — is through market factors (or indicators, if you will). Real estate market trends essentially work as indicators to not only reveal how a market is performing, but also where it’s headed. While no one has the power to see into the future, and the real estate market is as unpredictable as they come, market factors can better assist investors in determining which areas they should invest in. The difficult part, however, is understanding which 2017 housing market factors to follow.

2017 Housing Market: 3 Factors To Consider

Real estate market trends

For those considering real estate investments in the new year, here are three important market factors to consider before investing:

1. Mortgage Rates 

The success of the 2016 real estate market was encouraged by record-low mortgage rates. Last year saw 30-year mortgage rates at or below 3.5 percent for 16 weeks during the year — occurring only once before. For the 2017 housing market, however, the trend of falling mortgage rates is expected to end.

Interest rates have already begun to move. Since the presidential election, mortgage rates have gone from 3.54 percent to 4.13 percent. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve confirmed their stance on borrowing costs by pushing rates up a quarter percentage point for the first time in 2016, citing an improving economy and labor market as the culprit.

“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the committee decided to raise the target range,” Fed Chair Janet Yellen said at a news conference on Wednesday. “Our decision to raise rates should certainly be understood as reflecting the confidence we have in the progress the economy has made and our judgement that will continue.”

“This is a vote of confidence in the economy,” Yellen added. “The economy has proven to be remarkably resilient.”

Yellen also announced there may be gradual interest hikes in the coming years. Current forecasts predict 2017 will experience three rate increases, with projections of additional hikes in 2018 and 2019.

That said, investors shouldn’t worry too much about the increase in interest rates. Although rates have risen, they are far from high in comparison to historic standards. Additionally, an increase in interest rates doesn’t necessarily guarantee that mortgage rates will go up.

“Instead of reacting irrationally, take a minute to listen to what the market is trying to tell you,” says Than Merrill, my business partner at CTHomes and FortuneBuilders. “If for nothing else, rates are only increasing in lieu of the strengthening economy, and one sector — in particular — stands to benefit from sound economic fundamentals: housing. While it’s true rates will more than likely rise, the strength of the economy should be enough to offset the resulting borrowing costs.”

The bottom line for investors is to carry on; don’t let minute adjustments to mortgage rates affect your commitment to real estate. Instead, follow through with due diligence and leverage your knowledge of this market factor to your advantage.

2. Inventory Stays Tight

Another factor of the 2017 housing market to watch is inventory. The real estate boom of 2016 was partly fueled by scant inventory levels, as the number of available homes on the market hit record-lows, producing a frenzy of buying and selling activity during the year.

The overall supply of homes — or lack thereof — is expected to continue. Housing inventory at the end of October was at a 4.3 percent month supply, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), representing a 0.5 percent decline from last month to 2.02 million existing homes available for sale, and 4.3 percent below last year’s 2.11 million. Inventory levels for housing have fallen year-over-year for 17 consecutive months.

Growth in new construction is expected to be slowed in 2017, although recovery is in motion. According to Pantheon Macro Chief Economist Ian Shepherdson, new construction will likely be subdued in 2017, despite demand for more inventory.

“Home builders behavior likely is a continuing echo of their experience during the crash,” Shepherdson said. “No one wants to be caught with excess inventory during a sudden downshift in demand. In this cycle, the pursuit of market share and volumes is less important than profitability and balance sheet resistance.”

Moving forward, a popular prediction among analysts is that housing inventory will increase slightly next year, although not enough to anticipate growth. Next year is expected to witness a tidal wave of first-time homebuyers, particularly millennials, entering the 2017 housing market. This influx of homebuyers should only further tighten housing supply next year. The good news: many investors are expected to move on to new sectors of the market, helping to make it easier for first-time buyers to compete and purchase starter properties.

“The housing market over the next couple of years should get a big lift in demand from these new buyers. The one caveat is it’s essential that there’s enough new and existing supply at entry-level prices for them to reach the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.

3. Home Appreciation Slows, But Doesn’t Stop

Although low inventory levels have been a problem for homebuyers, it’s been a blessing for homeowners. Home prices across the country grew by 4.8 percent in 2016, and are expected to continue at an above-average pace in 2017. The NAR estimates home prices will increase by four percent next year, which represents a decent and consistent increase in home values that benefit homeowners and investors a like.

According to Redfin, home prices for the 2017 housing market are expected to fare better than anticipated. The online database site predicts median home sale prices will increase 5.3 percent from last year, with existing-home sales forecasted to increase 2.8 percent.

“We believe price increases will hold steady despite slowing sales growth, because homebuyer demand is stronger now than it was at the same time last year, and because we foresee a small uptick in homes for sale,” said Nela Richardson, chief economist at Redfin.

The 2017 housing market is expected to usher in an assortment of opportunities for real estate investors and homeowners. The purpose behind examining market factors is to better position yourself to succeed. Understanding the inner-workings of the real estate market, or at least attempting to do so, will not only help you better understand the complexity of the market, but also what to pay attention to moving forward.

Posted By Amy Preister At 11:47 AM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Monday, February 6, 2017

To Remodel or Not to Remodel...

It's Hammer Time! 4 Concrete Reasons to Remodel Your Home in 2017

 | Jan 26, 2017

You know how you’ve always wanted to expand your family room to make it more open? Or how you’ve been dying to add an extra bathroom that you can have all to yourself? Well, our magic eight ball says the outlook is good for your home upgrade dreams: 2017 is a great time to finally take the plunge and renovate or remodel.

Why? Well, according to home improvement experts, your renovation will cost less today than if you were to wait until next year—for a variety of reasons.

“Concrete doesn’t double in a month, but costs do continually tick up,” says Dan Bawden, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers and owner and CEO of Legal Eagle Contractors in Houston.

Bawden says renovating will never get cheaper than it is now.

If you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, that news might bum you out. But we take it to mean 2017 is the most cost-efficient time to renovate. Do it soon—here’s why.

(For a chance to win $20,000 to spend on the home of your dreams, enter the realtor.com® Entryway to $20K sweepstakes at realtor.com/entryway20k. No purchase necessary. See official rules.)

Reason No. 1: Consumer confidence is improving

As job growth increases and wages improve, people generally feel good about the economy and their future. That makes them also feel good about investing in home improvements.

“Remodeling decisions are made by families based upon their consumer confidence,” Bawden says.

And that confidence, for now, is increasing. In December 2016, the Consumer Confidence Index posted another gain and reached 113.7—a virtually giddy number compared to when the index tanked to its all-time low of 37.7 in January 2009, the height of the Great Recession.

Bawden calls today’s confidence levels a “rising tide of optimism.”

“Last year we had a record year in my company, and I think 2017 is going to be a great year,” he says.

Reason No. 2: Contractor and construction worker availability is decreasing

Now we know 2017 is shaping up to be a busier year for contractors. That’s good news for the economy! But the bad news is this: The busier those contractors get, the longer you might have to wait to begin a remodeling project. Bawden says he already has a six-week wait period to begin new jobs, which is partly due to a dearth of skilled tradesmen available for hire.

And there’s a double whammy: There’s also a national shortage of construction workers—and these workers are not getting any younger.

“The average guy working for me is 55,” Bawden says. “It’s hard to find new people who are good.”

So if you’re hoping to squeeze in a home remodel or renovation, it’s better to do it now, before you’re relegated to the back of a very long line.

Reason No. 3: Financing is still affordable

Although some people might be sitting on piles of cash they can use for a remodel (we’re not jealous or anything), many rely on financing—often by borrowing against the equity in their homes. And these days, it’s a great time to take out a home equity loan or line of credit because home prices are rising and loan rates are still low.

But loan rates are certainly on the rise. At the end of November the interest on home equity loans stood at 4.82%. By the end of December, the rate was 4.97%. And in mid-January of this year, we’re looking at an interest rate of 5.21%.

Still, keep this mind: Even though borrowing costs are rising, so are home values. Lower inventory and mounting demand have bolstered home prices. The median existing-home price in November 2016 was $234,900, up 6.8% from November 2015, according to NAR research.

As the value of your home increases, so does your equity. And it’s primarily the equity in your home—the difference between the fair market value of your home and what you owe—that supports a loan you can use to add that bathroom or replace the roof.

“Having more equity opens up more opportunity,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of realtor.com®. “Since interest rates are low and equity is up, now would be a great time to look into applying for a home equity loan.”

Reason No. 4: Material costs will increase

No matter how low U.S. inflation might be, prices for building materials manufactured around the globe always seem to go up. Even though inflation may be low here, it could be rising in Italy, where the bathroom tile you love is manufactured. Or tariff pressures might make that slab of granite from Brazil more expensive.

The result is that building costs, labor, and insurance, always rise—perhaps not quickly, but inevitably. And wouldn’t you rather remodel when it’s cheaper?

“If you (renovate) a house two years from now, it will be more expensive,” Bawden says. “Prices are always going up.”

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning freelancer who's written about real estate and home improvement for realtor.com, Yahoo, AOL, and many others.
 
Posted By Amy Preister At 12:56 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, December 1, 2015

We have a winner!!

We have a winner!!! Congrats Leon and Vicki Albert will be putting on their boots and singing along with Garth on Friday.  Thanks to all who entered and helped us!  Stay tuned for the January give away.
Posted By Amy Preister At 8:12 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Monday, November 30, 2015

Want to win Garth Brooks tickets?

Want to win tickets to Garth for this Friday?????????????????

It's that time of the year when we reflect on our business and decide what we can do better to improve our level of service for 2016. 2 of our goals are to get to 500 likes on our Facebook business page and 500 families on our email/mailing list. We are going to be doing a contest each month and also monthly promotions so you WANT to be a part of this group!! So...we are giving away 2 tickets to the Garth Brooks concert on 12/4-this Friday at 7:00 for your help! All you have to do is email me back with your name and phone number. Feel free to share this email too! It's that easy! Tomorrow at noon we will pick the winner, so you only have 24 hours. We love our "friends in low places" and want to say thank you for thinking of us for your real estate needs!
Posted By Amy Preister At 1:29 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

To List or Not To List Your House During the Holidays?

This time of year gets so busy for everyone and by the looks of the weather the snow is coming soon! Many sellers have the notion that it is best to wait until after the holidays to list their home, but I am here to tell you differently!!! The 12 Days of (why to list your house before)Christmas 1. People who look for a home during the Holidays are more serious buyers 2. Serious buyers have fewer houses to choose from during the Holidays and less competition means more money for you 3. Since the supply of listings will dramatically increase in January, there will be less demand for your particular home. Less demand means less money for you 4. Houses show better when they are decorated for the Holidays 5. Buyers are more emotional during the Holidays, so they are more likely to pay your price 6. Buyers have more time to look for a home during the Holidays than they do during a working week 7. Some people must buy before the end of the year for tax reasons 8. January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Since transferees cannot wait until spring to buy, you must be on the market now to capture that market 9. You can still be on the market, but you have the option to restrict showings during the Holidays. 10. You can sell now for more money and we can negotiate a delayed closing or extended occupancy until early next year 11. By selling now, you may have an opportunity to be a non-contingent buyer during the spring, when many more houses are on the market for less money. This will allow you to sell high and buy low. 12. We want to be the agents that decorate your yard with a SOLD sign!
Posted By Amy Preister At 2:53 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

We are Growing and Need Help to Provide Top Notch Service!

Would you mind taking a quick moment today to think about who you may know who is super talented, however, may not be in the right position in their current job or looking for a change to, or in the real estate industry? Would you consider connecting us? We are looking for someone who will be a rock star Executive Assistant with major responsibilities to organize and run our top producing real estate team. This role is not for the faint of heart-there are big shoes to fill. We need a strong minded, organized individual who will keep chaos away and propel us towards our next big goal. Please send all inquiries to amypreister@gmail.com and I'll be happy to give them all of the details. Having a real estate license is not required, but definitely preferred. Thank you for your help with our hunt! The market has been great and we look forward to sharing our success with this opportunity.
Posted By Amy Preister At 2:56 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wanting to Put in a Pool?

It's getting to be that time of year... weather is warmer, days are longer, summer is right around the corner. Have you ever thought about putting in a pool? Of course there are many neighborhoods with "community" pools but it's just not the same as being in your own backyard! But, after reading this article I think it's best to buy a house that already has one! In west Wichita there are 16 houses on the market with in ground pools ranging from $134,900 to $1,750,000. More and more buyers are asking for homes with pools, are you one of them? Does a Pool Add Value to a Home? Published: July 10, 2013 By: Julie Sturgeon Learn how a pool affects the value of your home, and get advice on construction and maintenance costs. What To Know About Building A Pool Pool Building Concerns If you want the ultimate backyard gathering spot, nothing fits the bill like a swimming pool. Does a pool add value to a home? No. And yes. In general, building a pool is not the best way to add value to your home. You’re better off making physical improvements to your actual house instead of adding a pool to your yard. However, a pool can add value to your home in some cases: If you live in a higher-end neighborhood and most of your neighbors have pools. In fact, not having a pool might make your home harder to sell. If you live in a warm climate, such as Florida or Hawaii. Your lot is big enough to accommodate a pool and still have some yard left over for play or gardening. Still, that’s no guarantee you’ll get a return on your investment. At most, your home’s value might increase 7% if all circumstances are right when it comes time to sell. Those circumstances include the points made above, plus: The style of the pool. Does it fit the neighborhood? The condition of the pool. Is it well-maintained? Age of the pool. If you put a pool in today and sell in 20 years, you probably won’t recoup your costs, especially if the pool needs updating. You can attract the right buyer. Couples with very young children may shy away from pools because of safety issues, but an older childless couple may fall in love with it. But only you, the homeowner, can determine the true return on investment. A pool can add value to your quality of life and enhance the enjoyment of your home. You can’t put a price tag on that. But we can put a price tag on how much a pool costs to build and maintain. The Cost to Build a Pool The average cost in the U.S. to install, equip, and fill a 600-sq.-ft. concrete pool starts at $30,000. Add in details like safety fences (most states require them), waterfalls, lighting, landscaping, and perhaps a spa, and you’re easily looking at totals approaching $100,000. Costs also depend on the type of pool you choose. Gunite is the most popular in-ground pool. Gunite is a mixture of cement and sand, which can be poured into almost any shape. It has replaced concrete pools as the sought-after standard. Fiberglass shells and those with vinyl liners fall on the lower end of the budget scale, but the liners typically need replacing every 10 or so years. Changing the liner requires draining the pool and replacing the edging (called coping), so over time, costs add up. Most homebuyers will insist that you replace a vinyl liner, even if it’s only a few years old. Filtration and Heating The filtration pump is the biggest energy hog in a pool system, so you want to get the most efficient pump possible. The good news here is that new, variable-speed pumps use up to 80% less energy than old single-speed pumps, cutting operating expenses dramatically. At about $500, these cost more up front, but some local utilities offer rebates through participating pool dealers. You can further cut energy costs by setting the pump to run at non-peak times, when rates for electricity are lower. If you’re planning to heat your pool, gas heaters are the least expensive to purchase and install, but they typically have the highest operation and maintenance costs. Many pool owners opt instead for electric heat pumps, which extract heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the water. Heat pumps take longer than gas to warm the pool, but they’re more energy-efficient, costing $200 to $400 less to operate per swimming season. Regardless of heating system, covering the pool with a solar blanket to trap heat and reduce evaporation will further lower operating costs. Maintenance Expenses All pools require that the water be balanced for proper pH, alkalinity, and calcium levels. They also need sanitizing to control bacteria and germs, which is where chlorine has traditionally entered the picture. These days you have a variety of options, including systems that use bromine, salt, ozone, ionizers, or other chemical compounds that can be less irritating to skin. Chlorine remains the most popular because the upfront costs are reasonable, and you don’t have to be as rigid about checking the levels on a set schedule. But as far as your wallet is concerned, they all even out in the end. In a seasonal swimming climate, budget about $600 annually for maintenance if you shoulder the chemical balancing and cleaning yourself; in a year-round climate, it’s more like $15 to $25 per week. To save yourself the task of once-a-week vacuuming, you can buy a robotic cleaning system for between $500 and $800 that will do the job for you. In locations where the pool must be opened and closed for the season, add another $500 each time for a pro to handle this task. Insurance and Taxes A basic homeowners insurance policy typically covers a pool structure without requiring a separate rider, but you should increase your liability from the standard amount. It costs about $30 a year to bump coverage from $100,000 to $500,000. Many underwriters require you to fence in the pool so children can’t wander in unsupervised. In some areas, adding a pool may increase your annual property taxes, but it won’t necessarily add to your home’s selling price. For that reason, try to keep your total building cost between 10% and 15% of what you paid for your house, lest you invest too much in an amenity that won’t pay you back. Julie Sturgeon has written about residential pools for nearly a decade. Her family was clueless when they bought a home with an in-ground pool, but they have avoided making a major mistake with it yet.
Posted By Amy Preister At 3:11 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas to All...

Twas the night before Christmas And all through the town Not a Realtor was out Or seen driving around. All the listing and selling Just had to wait Cause the big Man was coming And I cannot be late. All shopping is finished Some business undone Now it’s time to sit back And enjoy all the fun. The cookies and cakes Were all such a sight Thanks to Publix and Kroger I got it just right. The tree was all trimmed With pretty bright balls Most of the lights were aglow To the splendor of all. The stockings were hung On the mantle askew Busy as I’ve been It will just have to do. The presents were wrapped Or stuffed in a bag No bows or a ribbon And barely a tag. I sat down to relax And to put up my feet A tall glass of wine Is just what I need. Off in the distance And what did I hear A cell phone a ringing Instead of reindeer. Should I answer or not I just can’t decide Then I say what the heck I can’t let it slide. On the other end of the call I hear the sweet sound The offer was accepted And no more counter round. On the Eve of the Day I just had not planned To have such great news And it be so grand. Do I call them right now For my buyers’ relief To share the joy of the moment On this nice Christmas Eve? So I pick up the phone And press out their number Not worried a bit that I might disturb their slumber. An equally tired voice came on the other end of the line And I spread the good cheer That sounds so sublime. Your counter was accepted It is over and done Rejoice and be glad For your new home has come. The thanks started pouring Coming over the line You’re the best Realtor ever Where do we sign. I bid them adieu and a Merry Christmas from me A Realtor’s work never stops I say with such glee. It is time to bed down And shut down for the night Santa has just come For my buyers delight. It matters not what is lying under my tree, My Christmas is doing For the clients of me. I am so very thankful That I have another chance To do what I love I feel I could dance. Make merry and be happy It is a great day For Christmas can happen Whenever we say I am here for you and will do what it takes To find you a home No matter how late. Spread the word to the town I can help you just right Merry Christmas to all And to all a Good Night. By Debbie Reynolds
Posted By Amy Preister At 2:56 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Do you know of someone who is looking to buy right now?

We have an amazing inventory of 16 homes priced from $39,000 up to $389,900 and even some vacant lots for sale. Now is the time, with rates still hovering around 4% for $175,000 house with 3.5% down, the payment is $1200! Go to our home page, Facebook page, You Tube channel, Pinterest board or Zillow to see what we have to offer!
Posted By Amy Preister At 3:47 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring Clean-Up Coupon and Tips

Looking for some help with your spring cleaning!?

Check out this great offer and advice from our friends at JUNKPRO.

Save up to $50 on your
Spring-Cleaning junk removal

         Core Value of the month:
EMBRACE AND DRIVE CHANGE
        

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Save up to $50 off a Full Load this spring. 

It's Spring-Cleaning time, and 1-800-JUNKPRO is here to help.  We are offering you a savings of $50 off a full load or 10% off any size load if booked by April 30th, 2014


  1-800-JUNKPRO 50d 2014  1-800-JUNKPRO 10p 2014


The first and one of the biggest parts of Spring-Cleaning is de-cluttering. And with spring already here, we thought we’d share some tips to help you get started and make it go a little easier.  

Spring-Cleaning Tip 2014

 

Tip #1. CREATE A STAGING AREA

This can be in your garage or anywhere else inside or outside your house where you have the space needed to be able to separate: 1. Items for donation, 2. Items for recycling, and 3. Any trash.

If you have a large project, one trick is to have two different colored garbage bags to separate the donatable items and the trash. It allows you to sort easily, and if you have any helpers, it makes things very clear. 

Tip #2. CLEAN EACH ROOM ENTIRELY

Spring-Cleaning can be overwhelming. Often it takes 2 or 3 day to do. So take each room and finish it in its entirety. Clean it from top to bottom, taking all items you don’t need or love to the staging area. Finishing the entire room before moving on will feel great and will provide more motivation for you to move on.

As a general rule… if you haven’t used it in 6 months and you won’t use it in the next 6 months, get rid of it and enjoy the space!

Tip #3. WORK FROM THE TOP DOWN, INSIDE OUT

When you do your Spring-Cleaning, you’ll want to work each room from the top down and from the inside out. This prevents you from dragging any dirt, through an area that you’ve already cleaned.

Tip #4. DISPOSE OF ANY HAZARDOUS MATERIAL SAFELY

If you have any hazardous material such as oil, cleaners, yard chemicals, or similar items, they should be taken to your closest hazardous recycling facility. If you’re not sure of where the closest one is, call 1-800-JUNKPRO and one of our friendly operators will be happy to point you in the right direction. Some municipalities have an area at the public works department that accepts these items for free.

A great way to keep your car clean while transporting these items is to put them in a big plastic tote style container.

NOW FOR THAT PILE!

This is the easy part! Call 1-800-JUNKPRO and schedule a pick-up! “We make it go away”. If it’s in good shape, we’ll donate it. If it’s too far past its prime, we’ll recycle it. If it cannot be donated or recycled, it will be disposed of properly.

Our friendly uniformed PROs arrive on-time, do all the carrying and loading, then leave the area broom-swept.

WHY WAIT?

We charge based on the space your items take up in our truck. We can pick up 10% of a truckload every year for the next 10 years or a full truckload in 10 years. You might as well enjoy the space now!

Make yourself a deadlineCall 1-800-JUNKPRO to set your appointment or Book online NOW!

 

Offer expires 04/30/2014

Posted By Amy Preister At 9:01 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When to Start Spring Planting in Wichita

When to Start Spring Planting in Wichita

Wichita, Kansas endures cold winters that prevent gardeners from working the soil until March. As long as there's not frost in the soil, container-grown perennials and woody plants can be planted any time. Planting times for annual flowers and vegetables vary by type.

Significance

  • Different plant species tolerate different levels of cold and frost. Dormant perennials and woody plants transplant well and will begin growing later in spring as weather appropriately warms. Some annuals like pansies and snapdragons appreciate cool early spring conditions in Wichita, as do cool-season veggies like spinach and lettuce. Frost-tender plants like tomato, corn, bean and most annual flowers must be planted after threat of spring frost.

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Time Frame

  • The average last spring frost date in Wichita is between April 11 and 20. Plant cool-season flowers and veggies outdoors anytime from March 10 onward, but plant warm-season (frost intolerant) flowers and crops after April 20. Warm-season crops perform best when the soil warms above 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Considerations

  • Experienced gardeners sow seeds indoors before the conditions outdoors are suitable for veggies or flowers. Count back 4 to 6 weeks before the anticipated time in spring to plant outdoors and sow the seeds to sprout into little plants; then transplant these seedlings outdoors. For example, sow tomato or pepper seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last spring frost date

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For more information on gardening in Kansas, the Kansas Garden Guide is made available from Kansas State University.  Click on the link HERE to find out how to get your guide today!



Read more: http://www.ehow.com/facts_7739292_start-planting-wichita.html#ixzz2wQE3eXOL

Posted By Amy Preister At 10:14 AM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Friday, March 14, 2014

Attic Cleaning: What You Can’t See Can Hurt You

Attic Cleaning: What You Can’t See Can Hurt You

Attic cleaning removes allergens and respiratory irritants that can make your family sick.

Attic cleaning probably isn’t your idea of a good time. But the dust, dander, and mold in that often-neglected room could be irritating your family’s lungs and kicking up allergies. Plus, a clean attic will enable you to put your great attic ideas into action.

“No one thinks about their attic, but it’s a problem area,” says Mike Tringale of theAsthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Attic allergens and irritants constantly seep into your living area through ceiling hatches, doors, recessed lights, and heating and cooling systems (especially if they’re located in your attic).

Attic Cleaning Basics

  • Dust walls, window frames, and rafters with an electrostatically charged cloth (think Swiffer) or duster (cost: under $10), which grab twice as much dust as cotton cloths. Don’t forget to dust exposed roof trusses, attic fan blades, light bulbs, fixtures, hatches, and door frames.
  • Vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum cleaner (cost: $200 to $400), which channels all vacuumed air through a filter designed to remove even microscopic particles. A less expensive choice: Install a top-quality, high-efficiency filter bag in your vacuum (cost: $8 to $10).
  • Line shop vacuums with a plastic bag, which traps irritants and makes debris disposal easy.
  • Wear a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) mask (cost: $13), which filters a high percentage of airborne particles.
  • If you suffer from asthma and allergies — 60 million people in the U.S. do — hire a professional to remove the debris. Prices for pro attic cleaning vary depending on region and nature of the cleanup. Get an estimate before hiring a cleaning contractor.

Keeping Irritants Out of Your Attic

Preventing mold growth and sealing out insects and vermin helps reduce irritants in your attic.

Mold: Small roof leaks and old, cracked caulking can let in moisture, which may lead to mold damage. Once a year, and after each big storm, walk around your home to inspect your rooffrom all angles. Repair any loose, missing, or broken shingles. Check windows for missing caulking or cracked panes.

Don’t bother buying a home mold test kit, which may register mold spores that are constantly in the air anyway. If you suspect mold, or can see a mold-covered area that’s larger than about 10 sq. ft., call a certified indoor air quality professional to evaluate your situation.

Dust: Many of those tiny dust mites you see floating around are really dust mite particles, roach parts, and vermin dander made of dried saliva, urine, and feces.

These dust proteins can trigger allergic reactions, so search for tiny cracks and openings in your roof, walls, and windows where vermin and insects can enter. Seal attic air leaks with caulk and polyurethane foam, and repair any holes in attic ventilation screens that are under the eaves and in gable ends. 

Posted By Amy Preister At 10:33 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, February 27, 2014

Help Us Grow Our Business!!!

Help Us Grow Our Business!!!

We have had the pleasure of working with so many wonderful clients and families, and are asking these friends to help us grow our business. If you enjoyed your experience working with the Preister and Partners Team, please take a few minutes to give us a GLOWING REVIEW on Zillow.

Follow this link to be directed right where you need to go:  REVIEW US     
Amy Preister on Zillow
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Posted By Amy Preister At 9:33 AM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Friday, February 7, 2014

December 2013 Existing Home Sales Rise, Seven Year High

December Existing-Home Sales Rise, 2013 Strongest in Seven Years

Media Contact: Walter Molony / 202-383-1177 / Email

WASHINGTON (January 23, 2014) – Existing-home sales edged up in December, sales for all of 2013 were the highest since 2006, and median prices maintained strong growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 1.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.87 million in December from a downwardly revised 4.82 million in November, but are 0.6 percent below the 4.90 million-unit level in December 2012.

For all of 2013, there were 5.09 million sales, which is 9.1 percent higher than 2012. It was the strongest performance since 2006 when sales reached an unsustainably high 6.48 million at the close of the housing boom.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said housing has experienced a healthy recovery over the past two years. “Existing-home sales have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011, with job growth, record low mortgage interest rates and a large pent-up demand driving the market,” he said. “We lost some momentum toward the end of 2013 from disappointing job growth and limited inventory, but we ended with a year that was close to normal given the size of our population.”

The national median existing-home price for all of 2013 was $197,100, which is 11.5 percent above the 2012 median of $176,800, and was the strongest gain since 2005 when it rose 12.4 percent.

The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $198,000, up 9.9 percent from December 2012. Distressed homes – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 14 percent of December sales, unchanged from November; they were 24 percent in December 2012. The shrinking share of distressed sales accounts for some of the price growth.

Ten percent of December sales were foreclosures, and 4 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 18 percent below market value in December, while short sales were discounted 13 percent.

Total housing inventory at the end of December fell 9.3 percent to 1.86 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.1 months in November. Unsold inventory is 1.6 percent above a year ago, when there was a 4.5-month supply.

The median time on market for all homes was 72 days in December, up sharply from 56 days in November, but slightly below the 73 days on market in December 2012. Adverse weather reportedly delayed closings in many areas. Twenty-eight percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month, down from 35 percent in November, which appears to be a weather impact.

Short sales were on the market for a median of 122 days in December, while foreclosures typically sold in 67 days and non-distressed homes took 70 days.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.46 percent in December from 4.26 percent in November; the rate was 3.35 percent in December 2012.

NAR President Steve Brown, co-owner of Irongate, Inc., Realtors® in Dayton, Ohio, said that with jobs expected to improve this year, sales should hold even despite rising home prices and higher mortgage interest rates. “The only factors holding us back from a stronger recovery are the ongoing issues of restrictive mortgage credit and constrained inventory,” he said. “With strict new mortgage rules in place, we will be monitoring the lending environment to ensure that financially qualified buyers can access the credit they need to purchase a home.”

First-time buyers accounted for 27 percent of purchases in December, down from 28 percent in November and 30 percent in December 2012.

All-cash sales comprised 32 percent of transactions in December, unchanged from November; they were 29 percent in December 2012. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 21 percent of homes in December, up from 19 percent in November, but are unchanged from December 2012.

Single-family home sales rose 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.30 million in December from 4.22 million in November, but are 0.7 percent below the 4.33 million-unit pace in December 2012. The median existing single-family home price was $197,900 in December, up 9.8 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 5.0 percent to an annual rate of 570,000 units in December from 600,000 units in November, and are unchanged a year ago. The median existing condo price was $198,600 in December, which is 10.9 percent above December 2012.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast slipped 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 640,000 in December, but are 3.2 percent higher than December 2012. The median price in the Northeast was $239,300, up 3.6 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest fell 4.3 percent in December to a pace of 1.11 million, and are 0.9 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $150,700, which is 7.0 percent higher than December 2012.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 3.0 percent to an annual level of 2.03 million in December, and are 4.6 percent above December 2012. The median price in the South was $173,200, up 8.9 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West rose 4.8 percent to a pace of 1.09 million in December, but are 10.7 percent below a year ago. Inventory is tightest in the West, which is holding down sales in many markets, and multiple bidding is causing it to experience the strongest price gains in the U.S. The median price in the West was $285,000, up 16.0 percent from December 2012.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. For additional commentary and consumer information, visitwww.houselogic.com and http://retradio.com.

Posted By Amy Preister At 10:05 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Is Now the Right Time to Buy and Sell Real Estate?

Housing Outlook 2014: 10 Predictions From The Experts

Straw Bale House Construction WM

Straw Bale House Construction (Photo credit: Rubber Dragon)

In 2013, the housing recovery was a welcome bright spot for the economy: prices were shooting up, fewer homeowners were underwater, and builder confidence was finally on the upswing. It’s looking like 2014 should be another good year for housing–mostly. Here are ten things housing experts expect to see in 2014:

1. More homes will be available
Short supply drove rapid price increases at the beginning of 2013, but watch for that to change next year. Realtor.com notes that the inventory (homes available for purchase) shortage began to soften in February. New construction and rising prices should bring more homes, both new and old, on to the market in 2014, helping inventory return to traditional levels.

2. Mortgage rates will rise
Online real estate database Zillow predicts rates will hit 5% by the end of 2014–well up from the 4's and 3's of late, but still well within normal levels. New Fed Reserve chief Janet Yellen is expected to continue Ben Bernanke’s policy of keeping mortgage rates low by buying blocks of mortgage-backed securities, but the Fed’s bond-buying taper could push rates higher. “While this will make homes more expensive to finance – the monthly payment on a $200,000 loan will rise by roughly $160 – it’s important to remember that mortgage rates in the 5 percent range are still very low,” says Erin Lantz, Zillow’s director of mortgages. Really. “Prior to the Federal Reserve’s 2008 decision to buy $85 billion in debt per month, the 36-year average was 9.2%, and never below 5.8%,” notes Glen Kelman, CEO of Redfin.

MortgageRate

Zillow: National mortgage rates, 30-year, fixed-rate

3. Mortgages will be easier to get
“The silver lining to rising interest rates is that getting a loan will be easier,” says Lantz. “Rising rates means lenders’ refinance business will dwindle, forcing them to compete for buyers by potentially loosening their lending standards.”

4. Home prices will rise 3%
Redfin and Zillow are predicting that home prices will rise between 3% and 5% in 2014. For comparison’s sake, 2013 saw jumps of 5% nationally, with increases of more than 20% in some hot spots. “These gains, while beneficial in many ways, were also unsustainable and well above historic norms for healthy, balanced markets,” says Dr. Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist. “This year, home value gains will slow down significantly because of higher mortgage rates, more expensive home prices, and more supply created by fewer underwater homeowners and more new construction.”

5. Fewer homeowners will be underwater
Rising prices helped 2.5 million homeowners with underwater mortgages regain positive equity status during the second quarter of 2013, according to Realtor.com. By Q3, a CoreLogic report found that about 6.4 million homes were still in negative equity at the end of Q3. Watch for that number to shrink in 2014.

6. Affordability will decline
Despite the slower pace of price increases, home affordability will decline as mortgage rates rise. The real culprit is income levels, which aren’t keeping pace with the increases in housing costs. In 2013, the National Association of Realtors’ Home Affordability Index dropped to a five-year low. Experts predict the trend will continue in 2014.

7. Ownership will decline
In 2014, Zillow predicts, homeownership rates will fall below 65 percent for the first time since 1995. “The housing bubble was fueled by easy lending standards and irrational expectations of home value appreciation, but it put a historically high number of American households – seven out of ten – in a home, if only temporarily,” says Humphries. “That homeownership level proved unsustainable and during the housing recession and recovery the homeownership rate has floated back down to a more normal level, and we expect it to break 65% for the first time since the mid-1990s.” Watch also for adult children to move out of their parents’ homes, starting their own households and further decreasing the overall homeownership rate.

8. Americans will move
Rising prices, a reversal of underwater mortgages, and easier credit will free Americans up to move. But next time they’ll choose smaller homes in more affordable locations. Redfin is predicting that new lending regulations–which make it harder to borrow more–will send Americans to less expensive hubs like Portland, Denver, Austin, Richmond, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, and Raleigh.

9. Foreclosures will fade
The once booming foreclosure market has slowed, with September 2013 the 36th straight month of year-over-year decreases in foreclosure activity, nearly 33% down from the end of 2012. The declines should continue with the overall housing recovery.

10. Home buying process less crazed
During the bust, investors bought as many as one out of every five homes in America, according to Redfin. The perfect storm of increased inventory, higher prices, and fewer foreclosures means that investors are stepping out of the buying market, giving way for regular folks. Add to that the loosening credit rules, and the housing buy market begins to look more normal. “All in all, more inventory, less competition from investors, and more mortgage credit should all make the buying process less frenzied than in 2013,” says Kolko of TruliaTRLA+2.59%.

Posted By Amy Preister At 1:46 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Thank you for a successful 2013, and thank you for allowing us to have the pleasure of working with you!

A little real estate humor below...

 

Twas the Night Before Christmas – A Realtor’s Poem
Prepared by: Cindy and Brian Cook

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the open house,
Not a buyer was stirring, not even a mouse.
The scentsy was burning; the home staged with care,
In hopes of St. Sell-It would soon be there.

The realtors were busy making the beds,
While visions of dollar signs danced in their heads.
Their broker was sitting at the office, and I making a map,
Had just settled, that buyers don’t fall in your lap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the comfy couch to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and hoped for a buyer with cash.

The “For Sale” sign glittered in the new fallen snow
Giving my hopes of a buyer a bit of glow.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Mini Van full of buyers, a sale could be near.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment the house was their top pick.
More rapid than eagles the buyers they came,
And they whistled, and shouted, their comments the same.

Now buy it! Let’s sell it! Now get an offer and put it in contract!
Get all of the signatures and send it right back!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
The house inspector has looked at it all!

The closing date has been set and we’re just waiting on the bank.
The interest rates have been rising but now they have sank.
We have the closing docs, it’s ready to close.
Got the closing gift, a gift card from Lowes.

The buyers and sellers have arrived at the title place
The VIP room is ready; it’s been a crazy race.
The licenses have been copied and doc ink is still fresh,
Now it’s moving time, so hopefully everyone has gotten some rest.

I’ve gotten my check, and my clients have a smile,
Hopefully they will send me a referral in a very short while.
But as I said at closing and drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!!

Posted By Amy Preister At 9:36 AM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet Refacing
 
The Different Ways to Reface Your Cabinets

There are a variety of ways you can reface your cabinets. You can change the doors of your cabinets. Or, you can add new hardware to your cabinets. Cabinet refacing also can involve changing the color of your cabinets.

One way to change the look of your cabinet doors is by adding wood veneer to your cabinets. This can be done if your cabinets are smooth. By placing wood veneer on top of your existing cabinet doors, you can achieve a whole new look without having to replace the cabinet doors. And, veneer is easy to install, with the simplicity of a peel-and-stick backing. Wood veneer also comes in a variety of colors.

Another way to reface your cabinets is by actually removing all of your doors and drawers. This is a bit more expensive, and a bit more labor intensive. But, by replacing your doors and drawers, you can choose other styles of wood that may be more updated. You can then update your hardware to add a completely new look.

There are a variety of ways to change your cabinets. Cabinet refacing just takes a little bit of creativity and bit of construction knowledge. But, in little time, you can get a kitchen that looks brand new!

Posted By Amy Preister At 1:41 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Have You Decorated For Fall Yet?

15 Best Autumn Decorating Tips and Ideas

Autumn or fall is the best time of the year to incorporate earth tone colors into your home decorations. The return of cooler temperatures, fall colors, and nature changing before our eyes is all the evidence we need that autumn is officially here.  Adding autumn touches of decor to your home will help you transition into the new season with excitement of the passing of the year. From the exterior to the interior of your home, fall decor colors can be rich and robust or subtle and subdued.  Choose your style and see how these 15 decorating tip and ideas will make you want to jump into a pile of leaves to celebrate autumn!

Autumn Decor 15 Best Autumn Decorating Tips and Ideas 1.)  Display artwork that depicts fall themes/colors:

In your front foyer or located on a predominate wall; fall artwork can change the mood in your home instantly.  Consider nature themes with fall colors in oranges, rusts, and golden yellows. If you prefer more abstract art, oil paintings with browns, reds, and burnt umber will make a statement without being obvious.

2.)  Dining room table centerpieces/settings can welcome in fall:

Depending on if you want to go formal or casual for your table, choose colors that reflect your home decor and the season.  Consider using red and yellow apples for an informal organic and edible centerpiece.  Remember, the centerpiece doesn’t have to be stagnant, add or detract from it throughout the season for added visual interest.  For more formality consider place settings and table linen that has hints of fall colors and themes.

3.)  Dress up your front porch with fall inspiration:

Use tall corn stalks, raffia, or straw to wrap around entry porch columns and mailboxes. Use thick colored ribbon in deep oranges and browns to contrast with the straw. Carry these same materials into lanyards or garlands around your front door and entry.

fall porch e1284653875559 15 Best Autumn Decorating Tips and Ideas

Source – Pottery Barn

4.)  Use your fireplace to showcase seasonal décor:

Your fireplace mantel has been waiting for this season! Whether you look in your yard, or you travel to an arts and crafts store, dried leaves and pine cones make great décor. Small pumpkins, gourds or dried leaf vines, and colorful candles will brighten your mantle and spirits.

5.)  Cooler temperatures mean cozy sitting areas:

As the temperatures begin to fall, bring out the fall colored throw blankets to place on couches or in adjacent baskets. Complimenting fall colored throw pillows will complete any cozy nook for you cuddle up and enjoy a good book.

6.) Bring the aromas of fall into your home:

Fall decor can be visual but it also involve your other senses like smell.  Pumpkin pies, cinnamon apple cider, and first burning of your fireplace are all welcome aromatic ways to make your home feel full of autumn inspiration. Consider using  candles, incense, or boil a pot of spices – cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg to instantly transport your home into fall mode.

fall spices 15 Best Autumn Decorating Tips and Ideas 7.)  Use your imagination with fall D.I.Y. projects:

Fall is the perfect time to visit home improvement stores and arts and crafts stores for inspiration. Look for workshops and home decorating tips being offered for free at these locations.  Fall decorating cable television programs on home improvement networks are also a good resource for grabbing inspiration.

8.)  Fill jars with seasonal colored items:

For simple and inexpensive display items, fill mason jars or decorative glass jars with candy corn, or other colorful novelty items.  Try filling various sizes with colorful dried beans, or healthy after school snacks for the kids.  Décor can be functional and beautiful!

9.)  Welcome guests with a beautiful autumn wreath at your front door:

Simple grapevine wreaths are gorgeous on their own.  If you prefer more adornment consider adding pine cones, leaves, berries and corn husks to your wreath.  If you have a large home with many windows that face the entry of your home, consider placing matching wreaths hung from these windows as well.

fall porch door e1284653646516 15 Best Autumn Decorating Tips and Ideas

Source – Pottery Barn

10.)  Bring fall to the exterior of your home with light:

Luminaries are not just for the winter holiday season, they are perfect for fall too as the sun starts to set earlier in the afternoon. Battery powered candles placed inside paper bags with sand in the bottom, makes perfect luminaries.  For the traditional type, place candles inside bags and light individually at dusk.

11.)  Change slipcovers over furniture for simple color change:

Colorful slipcovers can quickly and inexpensively add color to any room.  Slipcovers can be formal or casual depending on the weight of the fabric and color. Decide on which fits your décor, and consider formal dining room chair slipcovers, as well.

12.)  Alternate accessories in individual rooms:

Add fall colors to every room in your house by changing throw pillows, area rugs, bed and bath linen to fall colors that blend with your décor. Try grouping small pumpkins on a kitchen counter top to add instant color and fall inspiration to an ordinarily boring counter top.

fall bedroom e1284656414808 15 Best Autumn Decorating Tips and Ideas 13.)  Start preparing for Halloween:

Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, the colors and symbols can be incorporated in your home decor inside and out. Use pumpkins and  shades of orange and black throughout your home to get ready for this holiday in October.  If you opt out of the scary Halloween theme, throw a festive ‘welcoming autumn’ party to have neighbors and kids welcome in the passing of the seasons.

14.) Plan fall activities with family:

The fall is a great time to celebrate homecomings for school sports, attend sporting events and pick apples in orchards! Involve your family and enjoy the outdoors before the cold winter creeps up on us!

15.) Hang heavier drapery and curtains:

Now that the cooler temperatures are settling in, prepare your home by switching out the lighter fabrics for heavier ones.  Deeper colors and heavier fabrics will feel warmer and hold more air out of the room.  Changing to fall shades to match your decor will bring instant color from floor to ceiling.

Enjoy the fall with these 15 decor tips and ideas.  Bring in warmth and enjoy your home before it is bustling with activity for the winter holiday!

Posted By Amy Preister At 8:39 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Reduce Your Winter Energy Bills

15 low-cost ways to reduce your winter energy bill

Winter heating bills are expected to rise up to 13% this year. Take these steps now to reduce your heating costs. 

This post comes from Susan Ladika at partner site Money Talks News.

Money Talks News on MSN Money

As you dig out your sweaters and winter coats and prepare to ward off the cold, you also should think about ways to ward off higher energy bills in your home.

More than 90% of American households can expect to pay more to heat their homes this winter because of higher fuel costs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

How much more you pay between Oct. 1 and March 31 will depend on how you heat your home.

  • Homes that heat with natural gas are expected to pay an average of $679 this winter -- up 13% from the previous year.
  • Homes heated with propane can expect a 9% increase, to $1,666.
  • If you use electric heating, your costs are projected to nudge up 2%, to $909.
  • If you use heating oil, your costs are expected to dip 2%, but you’ll still pay a whopping $2,046 on average.

Here are some simple, low-costs steps you can take to cut your winter heating bill. None of these changes require big investments to put them into place, yet they can add to big savings for you.

Focus on the furnace

Home heating is a big energy user, accounting for 45% of your bill.

  • You can save 5% to 15% of your heating costs by lowering your thermostat by 10 or 15 degrees for eight hours a day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That's up to 1% in savings for each degree you lower your thermostat.
  • Because of limitations with various forms of heating, that might not be the best choice if you have a heat pump, electric resistance heating, steam heating or radiant floor heating. If you have one of those systems, just lowering the thermostat a degree or two, and leaving it there, will save you money in the long run.
  • Be sure to replace your furnace filter regularly -- monthly depending on the kind you buy. Some filters run as little as a couple bucks, but don't help clean the air. More expensive filters do a better job of removing particles from the air. You can find a review of various types of furnace filters at BobVila.com.

Water heaters

Water heating is your second-biggest energy user, accounting for 18% of your bill.

  • Make sure the thermostat on your water heater is set at 120 degrees. That cuts the amount of heat lost into the surrounding area, according to the nonprofit Residential Energy Services Network.
  • Wrapping your older water heater in an insulation jacket and insulating your hot water pipes also will help save you money.

Home insulation ThinkStock-Jupiterimages
Cracks and gaps
 
There are plenty of places where warm air can seep out of your house, while the cold creeps in.
  • Thoroughly check the interior and exterior of your house for cracks and gaps. Pay particular attention to areas around chimneys, furnace flues, pipes, electrical outlets, windows and doors.
  • You can fill in small spaces with caulk, and use spray foam to seal bigger openings.
  • By installing a door sweep under exterior doors, you’ll prevent cold drafts from blowing in. They're often available for free when your utility company has a community event.

Attic and basement

  • Your attic may be insulated, but it's easy to overlook the attic door. Adding a layer of insulation to the door will prevent heating from rising into that space.
  • While you're in the attic, check your ducts. If you find any rips or holes, use mastic or foil tape to seal those.
  • Then check the basement. RESNET recommends checking the basement rim joist at the top of the basement wall, where the cement meets the wood frame. It's often a source of heat loss, so be sure to add insulation.

Windows

Inefficient windows can account for 10% to 25% of heating loss, according to the DOE.

  • Instead of a costly window replacement project, you can install window film that resembles plastic wrap and helps retain heat. The film is applied on the interior of your windows, and can be easily removed when spring rolls around.
  • Another way to reduce heat loss is to keep drapes closed at night or when the sun isn’t streaming in. The DOE says closing the drapes can reduce heat loss by up to 10 percent. When it's sunny, open your blinds or drapes and let the sun pour in and warm your home.

Chimneys

Unless you're using your fireplace, keep the damper closed. A chimney creates a draft, pulling air from the room. An open damper lets warm air -- and your money -- go up your chimney like smoke.

Ceiling fans

You probably don't give a second thought to using ceiling fans in summer to keep your house cool. Most ceiling fans have a switch so you can set the blades to rotate in reverse, pushing the warm air that’s near the ceiling down toward the floor.

You can find a whole host of energy-savings tips you can put into practice all year long at Energy.gov or from RESNET.

Posted By Amy Preister At 1:20 PM • Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)
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