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- Ask for recommendations from people who have just sold a home in your area, or call a local real estate office and speak to the manager; ask the manager to recommend an agent who specializes in your type of property.
- Choose an agent who specializes in your area. Particularly in larger towns and cities, it’s wise to find a realtor that specializes in your neighborhood. A realtor’s neighborhood-specific knowledge can assist you with making savvy investments that account for factors other than just the property itself (schools, local amenities, neighborhood culture, etc.).
When it comes to selling your property, a realtor who specializes in your area will have a particularly distinct knowledge of what the neighborhood market is like, comparable recent sales, and winning strategies. While realtors who cover a more wide-ranging area can certainly also obtain this information through industry databases, personal experience within a smaller area will give you that extra edge.
- Invite the agent to your home for an introductory meeting. Since you will be spending a lot of time with this person, it's a good idea to establish trust and a solid working relationship early on.
- Put together an information sheet that lists your home's features and best qualities, especially those that people might otherwise overlook. Give this to the agent, who can use the information to write an attractive listing to help sell your home.
- Ask the agent how he or she would establish a price and promote your home.
- If you are unsatisfied with the agent's plan or personality, graciously thank the agent for taking the time to meet with you, and repeat the process with another agent.
- If you are happy with the agent, make a commitment to yourself to stick with him or her; it can be time-consuming to jump from agent to agent.
The real estate office can tell a lot about the agent you'll be
working with. Is the office attractive and organized-looking? Is it
easily accessible? Is the office open 7 days a week? If not, does it have a schedule showing at what time you'll be able to get the agent in? Is the agency a member of a multiple-listing service - that is, are its listings available to all other agents and their buyers?
Remember that the agent doesn't have the final word - you do.
Don't let your agent pressure or hurry you into making careless
decisions. You own the property and in as much as you depend on the agent for advice and real estate agency, you have the power to say "it's a Yes," or "it's a No."
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People are talking about the tiny house movement. What is it? Is it small houses that are being moved down the street to tiny lots? Is it a political movement? This movement is all about a segment of society that states that people are downsizing the space or spaces that they live in.
If you haven't heard of it, the tiny house movement is a growing trend and not just a fad. It's been featured on network television all over the world. What makes the tiny movement so big, and what determines what a small home is? The average house in America is just less than 3,000 square feet in size. Tiny houses are built with the focus on smaller simplified living so they average around 400 to 500 square feet at the most. Some small houses are very tiny, at around 65 square feet.
But Why the Movement toward Downsizing Houses?
This movement is all about efficiency, saving natural resources, and saving the environment. People who have been concerned about these factors in society have been very concerned at the amount of natural resources (and accompanying waste) that's generated every time a standard size home is built.
And if you include all the resources that go into maintaining older standard size houses, a good argument can be made that the old adage of "Bigger is better" is not better anymore. For example: If a tiny home of about 200 square feet is built in remote areas away from sprawling cities, the house leaves virtually no impact or carbon footprint on the natural environment around it. And in many areas small houses are using solar panels for their energy source.
Smaller Homes Are Economically Friendly Too
When you consider many automobiles today cost over $50,000, it's easy to see the economic value in getting involved in the tiny house movement. Small homes or houses can cost as little as $37,000 if you buy a pre-fabricated or pre-built one. If you build it yourself you'll save a lot more.
A lot of people think that buying a tiny home means living in a cardboard box or something like that. Not so. Because the cost of a tiny house is so low, builders can focus on higher quality building materials that are more energy-efficient and last longer than materials used in traditional home building.
The small house movement is also providing an affordable means of home ownership to people whose homes were destroyed during hurricanes in the southeastern U.S. in the past ten years. Some people whose houses were completely demolished could not afford to rebuild, or they did not have sufficient insurance coverage to rebuild the home they had before. So tiny homes provide a comfortable and safe life for them.
Downsizing to Simple Housing Is the Answer for Some
There are some people who have not been affected by natural disasters or financial meltdowns. They simply want to join the movement because for a lot of people in today's hectic society, simplicity is king. Many people in society during the last few decades have found themselves working long work weeks and getting little time off, only to spend that time constantly maintaining a large house that they hardly ever spent any time in. Although small homes will always be just that, the tiny house movement is growing into something big.
Tom Howser writes about small houses as well as reducing one's carbon footprint and living a sustainable lifestyle.
It's amazing to think that the shipping container that brought your TV from overseas can now be the home that you live in.
In the early 1950's in America families could buy a modest new home for around $20,000 after you added in the property taxes, furniture, appliances and move-in costs. In today's real estate market in the United States, purchasing the same type of house in a typical middle class neighborhood might cost you around $200,000 depending on the location and other factors.
But now many people looking to buy a new home are buying them for the same price as their parents or grandparents did in the 1950's at around $20,000. The difference is they're buying homes not make of wood or traditional materials. They're buying shipping container homes. That's right-homes made from used steel containers that once carried merchandise on large ships. And they're not what you would first imagine. These are nice, desirable homes.
Shipping Container Homes Are Easy To Get and Easy To Get Into
A lot of people are looking into using recycled cargo containers as a material source for building homes. They certainly are a green alternative to other materials and using them does a lot of good for the recycling community. We don't notice it very much but there are quite a lot of unused, empty cargo containers sitting at ports all around the world doing nothing but taking up space. Or worse yet, being sent off to landfill.
Manufacturers of goods and the shipping companies that ship those goods see them as disposable items, throwaways just like the soda cans so many consumers still don't see value in. It's actually rather expensive for countries to ship unused and empty containers back to their country of origin and quite often it's cheaper to buy new containers when the need for them arise.
Costs for cargo containers vary but on average you can get a used one for about $1,500. The average container has about 350 square feet of space. Someone who wants a 3,000 square foot home would have to pay approximately $80 per square foot to have a home built using traditional methods. In some parts of the U.S. it costs well over $100 per square foot.
Container homes cost about four and a half dollars per square foot (the cost is just for the frame, not including the construction and finishing work). But do the calculations and you'll see the basic (frame only) cost for a 3,000 square foot home built from recycled containers is about $13,500. Even with the added cost of having to configure and finish the basic units to make them into a home it's still quite a savings over traditional home building methods.
Shipping Container Homes Are Being Accepted As Part of Society
So far the most popular places for building cargo container homes has been in parts of Asia and in the former Soviet Union. But recently shipping container houses have started showing up in the United States, specifically in southern California.
Of course it does take a bit of construction work to fix up these steel containers including installing insulation, plumbing, electrical, windows and doors. Yet, when all is said and done, the homes are made from recycled materials, cheap and unique. And this is just what many green home owners are looking for right now.
Derrick Taylor writes about container homes plus other unique green housing designs and architecture.
Real estate investors who have been battered by the 2007 financial crisis and subsequent recession have become increasingly frustrated with buying traditional property assets. Yet they remain in no man's land when making attempts to revive their fortune. To the contrary, investors who have successfully survived the financial crisis, knows that in times of economic turmoil, they must jump ship to stay afloat. As traditional property assets lose their appeal, it is time to look elsewhere. Generally, the average investors typically tend to sit back and wait for the next big booming economic wave. Whereas, savvy property investors spend time creating that new wave in a safe boat.
During the rubble (or collapsed economic cycle 2007-2012), reallionaires have been switching to new property sectors, in particular, green real estate, whilst novices are still buying traditional assets. This newly emerging property sector, green real estate (GRE) may be defined as a convergence between green technology and the reinvention of ageing property assets, such as, car parks reinvented into solar car parks or EV recharging stations. The green property sector consists of property assets, such as, solar farms, agro-fuel estates, landfill gas sites, energy from waste facilities, solar car parks and bio-fuel plantations to name just a few. An astonishing US$211 billion was invested in this asset class in 2010, up by US$51b on its 2009 figures. As a result, green property is the most highly sort after property asset among reallionaires and there are some lucrative reasons why.
For starters, reallionaires are putting their money into the green real estate sector because it has pulling power when it comes to attracting capital. Not only are the World Bank and Sovereign wealth funds lending millions to developers and owners of green property projects, but many financial institutions and private equity firms are also throwing cash at developers of such property assets. As reported in various UK's Newspapers, property tycoon, Vincent Tchenquiz through his acquisition vehicle, Consensus Group, raised over £71 million from sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors to acquire and develop solar farms, wind farms and bio-fuel refineries in South Africa. Likewise, in 2010, Vattenfall secure £150m from the European Investment Bank to develop a wind farm in Thurness Point, Kent UK.
Another reason why reallionaires are adding GRE assets to their property portfolio is due to the knowledge that it attracts near zero taxes and other types of investment incentives. It is now common knowledge, that the acquisition of green real estate is largely a tax free investment. Under Governments' legislation in the UK and Europe, investors operating in the GRE sector pay less taxes, in comparison to their counterparts investing in mainstream commercial property. Additionally, capital gains tax is waived on most green property assets, such as, recycling centres. Further, other benefits reallionaires accrue from buying GRE, include, tax rebate, tax credit, carbon credit, Government loan guarantees, grants and feed-in-tariffs. Such incentives and promotional policies helped in making this sector recession proof over the last five years.
Third, but not last, reallionaies are in love with green property assets because, unlike other assets, it offers property investors three to four sources of income. Generally most property assets give investors a rental income (depending on the type of owner structure used). Nevertheless, in addition to rental income, GRE provides investors with carbon credit income and feed in tariff income. Reallionaires become mega rich by acquiring high performing assets that provide them with multiple streams of income. To this end, it is abundantly clear why reallionaires and other super rich investors are chasing green real estate assets.
To date, most of the world's richest property investors have bought into to the green real estate phenomenon. Reallionaires, such as, Samuel Zell, Vincent Tchenquiz, The Duke of Westmister and John Whittaker and more, have all invested millions in this fast growing lucrative sector. In addition to reallionaires, there are a number of super rich entrepreneurs who have also jump on the green property bandwagon, including, Michael Dell, Warren Buffet and the Google founders.
To find out how you can make millions by investing in the top 10 green real estate assets today, email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Mr. KT Cunningham, Author, Asset Manager, Investor, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist.
Mark Edwards lived in a draughty Georgian house in the village of Shrawley in Worcestershire. He and his wife felt that they were fuel poor and were constantly frustrated with the soaring cost of fuel bills for their home. Their son joined an eco-action committee at school and through this initiative he urged his parents into thinking green. As a result they decided to build an eco house in the garden of their home which would incorporate all of the latest green technology available.
The project did not go smoothly and there were huge delays because they lost their builder and therefore Mark had to become project manager, it took four years to actually finish the project. During this time his wife Lucy wanted the existing house to be as eco friendly as possible and so Mark put the other house, known as Valley Views, on the market for £550,000. Mark at this time was exhausted through his efforts on V`lley Views and cash-poor. However due to his enthusiasm he is now an advisor on the Grand Designs road shows tour.
Mark was inspired by the Guerkin building in London when he designed his home and wanted the house to reflect it but he had to think about what the planners would actually accept. So the house has an unusual curved wall in reference to the Guerkin with magnificent rural views and state of the art energy saving capacity. The four bedroom house costs just £3 a day heat and installed in the rooms are skirting board radiators, sheep's wool insulation and a warm and cold air filtering system. There is no need for a kettle in the house because a hot water tap produces water which is at boiling point; kettles are often referred to as using short sharp amounts of electricity so this device certainly helps the electricity bills.
Mark had to travel to Germany to meet with someone who knew all about the latest German technologies and how he could adapt them to the British climate and houses. British weather is a lot damper than Germany so the technologies had to adapt to this. As a result some of these ideas were then incorporated into the family's old house which has now reduced its carbon footprint by an amazing 47%. Many other people around the country are doing just the same in their homes and are urging British builders and architects to do the same.
At present when people are buying a house it is not their green credentials which sell it to them but mostly its price, position and appearance unfortunately. Andrew Yates of Eco Arc Architects has been building groundbreaking carbon neutral houses in Findhorn in Scotland since 1986 and has noticed that green building is becoming a lot more main stream. His clients now include the National Trust and the Royal Horticultural Society as well as doctor's surgeries and individual homes. Individual homes that he has worked on range from £180,000 up to £1.4million, so all kinds of homeowners are deciding that they best way to go is green.
Miss Fiona Davies is Sales Director for http://www.ecofriendlyhomescompany.com/. She has worked in the property and land sector for the last ten years. All articles on the website are written uniquely by her. The Eco Friendly Homes Company develops high quality green homes for our clients.
Reducing the amount of materials and energy required to build or maintain a home can help to substantially reduce your carbon footprint. At the same time, a green approach to home ownership ensures greater peace of mind, physical comfort, and preservation of a sustainable investment over the lifetime of the home.
Save money while living a more responsible green lifestyle - whether buying a condo, remodeling a home, planning new construction, or just wanting to take simple environmentally conscious steps forward. Here are some of the many interesting paths to a greener home:
The use of recycled materials; formaldehyde-free insulation, nontoxic paint, and intelligent energy-aware construction methods are just a few of the ways to create a more Earth-friendly home.
• Optimum Value Engineering (OVE) techniques are those design and framing strategies for wood or "stick-built" construction that were developed by the Forest Products Laboratory in collaboration with the National Association of Home Builders. Buildings employing OVE practices use less lumber and achieve higher insulation values without compromising structural integrity.
• That translates into lower construction costs and less energy consumption over the life of the home. The amount of lumber bought, transported, wasted due to overage, and transported away from the site as trash is greatly reduced, while thermal and acoustic insulation is boosted.
• A study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders Research Center (NAHBRC) found that OVE framing techniques can potentially save as much as $1.20 per square foot when compared with conventional wood framing methods.
• Pre-fabricated architecture is also making progressive strides forward. An entire generation of green designers is offering aesthetically award-winning houses and condos that can be built quickly in a modular manner, because much of the work is done off-site. That not only reduces environmental impact but also saves the homebuyer substantial expense.
Systems and Appliances
There are a variety of ways to harness green energy as a homeowner, and one of the best is to install appliances rated with the Energy Star designation. Some states even offer "healthy home" certification for energy efficiency that can qualify the homeowner for tax rebates or other perks.
• Passive heating and cooling techniques can be also employed by almost any homeowner to capture or deflect solar heat with a reflective roof, intensive insulation, or just strategically placed old-fashioned ceiling fans. An open floor plan with good cross-ventilation, in fact, can actually reduce energy bills significantly by making a home easier to cool in summer - so green options do not necessarily have to be radically futuristic.
• For those who decide to install solar panels or wind turbines, there is an increasing amount of government support being offered. Both state and federal tax incentives are available, depending upon where you live, and many local utility companies also provide assistance.
• The utility company may, for example, help install the equipment or share the cost of the system. Homeowners who tie their panels and turbines into a public grid can also "run the meter backwards" by selling the excess energy that they produce back to the utility company. Then the power will be redistributed so it can be used by other customers who share the grid.
Green Products for the Home
Homeowners can also choose more environmentally safe and beneficial products such as "on-demand" water heaters, energy efficient light bulbs, low-VOC paints, and flooring or counter top products made from renewable materials like bamboo, cork, and recycled plastic or glass.
• Conventional house paints contain toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). But low or zero-VOC paints and finishes perform just as well and they are more pleasant to use because they do not have the strong odors associated with high-VOC paints.
• Cork bark can be sustainably harvested without damaging the health of the cork tree. Then it grows back within a year or two. Cork is a great insulator and is unusually resilient - making it exceptionally comfortable underfoot. It also cleans up easily and is acoustically superior, so it is a quiet choice for any room in the house.
• Bamboo is harder and more durable than many varieties of hardwood, yet it also happens to be the fastest growing plant on the planet. As one of the most rapidly renewable sources of potential building materials on Earth, it is also beautiful to look at and gives off a warmth and glow that will enhance any ambience at a highly competitive price.
If you decide to build an outdoor deck, check out the newer decking materials made from recycled plastics. They look and perform like wood but have none of the harsh chemicals and annoying splinters that are found in conventional pressure-treated lumber. Maintain a healthy canopy of trees outside to shade the home and reduce air conditioning costs, keeping in mind that trees and plants clean the air - making the environment better for everyone.
Jeffery A. Hammerberg, Author
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As the founder for a think tank which happens to operate online, I generally have the final say in who gets to join, and who doesn't. I've been rather alarmed in recent years by the number of folks attempting to join who had taken environmentalism almost as some sort of religion without having all their facts straight. Further, far too many of them have been brainwashed by academia to the point that they don't even really know the true definition of capitalism, and have in mind this nonsense that money is evil, and free markets aren't fair.
Additionally, I am concerned with what happens when groups of like-minded people that do not understand reality get together in group-think designing what they believe to be the future utopia and epitome of human civilizations. They fail to realize their history, or how the real world works, rather they are more interested in talking about some sort of fantasyland, that someone else is going to pay for, and everyone is going to live happily ever after enjoying a heavenly existence. Okay so, let's talk and let me give you a case study and example here.
There was an interesting research paper put out by Deutsche Post DHL, a Futurist type Report on logistics titled; "The World in 2050," the press release appeared on February 27, 2012.
Anyway, the piece had an overview of 5-potential scenarios and in scenario one which is depicted as an; "Untamed Economy," with "Impending Collapse" the article stated;
"The world is characterized by unchecked materialism and mass consumption. This non-sustainable way of life is fed by the relentless exploitation of resources, a development that stokes climate change and causes natural disasters to mount. In a world characterized by tumultuous growth, demand for logistics and transport services climbs sharply. A global transportation supergrid ensures a rapid exchange of goods between centers of consumption. But as climate change advances, supply chains are increasingly disrupted, a development causing additional challenges for logistics companies."
Now then, I am not sure what type of fantasyland these folks are living in but I have some harsh and critical words for all this nonsense and global warming alarmism. You see, when I first heard about this report I was very excited in reading it, because I consider myself a Futurist in many regards, although I am not the type of Futurist who leans towards Plato utopian communistic theory. Further, to criticize consumption, is also to criticize capitalism, abundance, and all that the free-market can deliver.
It seems these utopians want to be free from want, and they want to make sure no one else can have what they want. That everyone should have only what they need to barely to survive, and nothing more, but that isn't what the human animal is about, nor does it take into consideration the innate characteristics of the species. We can't go around predicting the future without understanding the human animal. And we aren't going to be able to change the brain structure or the foundational genetics within to make people happy as minimalists by wishful thinking.
Now then, that's not saying we can't use genetic manipulation, drugs, pharmaceuticals, or future modification of the species to do it. But in that future aren't we really talking about turning human beings into a giant collective or Borg? Oh my gosh, 1984 here we come. As if all this nonsensical thinking wasn't enough, these futurist have to throw in the whole global warming religion issue, claiming there will be dystopia, or we can never reach our goals unless we do it their way, which happens to be destroying our energy infrastructure, changing the economic flows of civilization globally, changing the way we consume, the way we live, and submitting to the ultimate authority, namely their's.
It is interesting that the folks who were involved in this project, and this collaborative futurist work have played their hand, and now we see what they want to do, they want to control every aspect of our lives, tell us what we can and cannot have, hijack our energy infrastructure, and then promise us they will deliver what we need, which is what we will in the future agree to if we adopt their global warming religion. You only have to read between the lines just a little bit to see what's going on here, and it should scare you. If it doesn't scare you, I would submit to you that you are not paying attention.
In fact, most of the challenges we have in our economy, supply chain, and free-market system have to do with the same sorts of folks with their left leaning thinking trying to manipulate the flows of money, labor, production, and capital. It is obvious they want to do this well into the future, and if they aren't allowed to, they claim that we are all going to die because of global warming, that we will live some sort of a terrible existence. Well, I have news for you, all those folks who have promoted a utopian society in the past, trying to create something that will last for 1000 years - well, we've all seen what has happened, and mankind is not the better for their exploits, and exploratory projects with human civilization.
The reality is that when you look at the United States and the free-market system, and as we practice capitalism to our best ability, although we do fall down at times, we have created massive abundance, and it's worked quite well. This is the model we should follow, and anything to destroy this model is a threat to America's future. If those folks want to run their little game plan, and create their little communist nation state, or the folks in Belgium want to create a unified Europe, then let them go try, but as I look out around the world now, I see their projects have failed time and time again. And personally I don't think the United States should be bailing them out, or joining in cahoots with a nonsensical dream, or a new environmental religion.
It is obvious what works, and what hasn't worked. Capitalism has worked, socialism and communism haven't, and therefore we should all take notice and move forward into the future of humankind with that knowledge. We should not dismiss it, deny it, or trample on that truth. The problem with goody-two-shoed environmentalist futurism is that all their theories are flawed, and their foundation is baseless nonsense - it's all a house of cards, and if you fall for it, the Joker of dystopia wins. Please consider all this and think on it.
Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net/
Are zoos really that self-sufficient? No, without the humans feeding the animals they would all die, and if you allow them to mix-and-mingle, total chaos would ensue almost immediately. Wouldn't you say that attempting to domesticate wild animals in this way is a lot like socialism, and after a while you can't return those animals to the wild, as they wouldn't have the brain power, prowess, or hunting skills to survive or prevent themselves from becoming someone else's dinner? Okay so, let's talk about this, specifically about the concrete jungle we call mega-cities, you know where many of you humans live and work.
Now then, there was an interesting Futurist Report which came out at the end of February, 2012, actually on leap-day, which is somewhat telling, as I believe it was a leap of faith more than anything else. DHL put out a paper titled; "The World in 2050," and one of the 5-scenarios was the potential for "Mega-efficiency in Megacities," and the press release for the paper stated that Mega-Cities;
"Are the main drivers and beneficiaries of a paradigm shift toward "green" growth. To overcome the challenges of expanding urban structures, such as congestion and emissions, megacities have become champions of collaboration. Robotics has revolutionized the world of production and services. Consumers have changed their habits: Products are now usually rented, instead of purchased. Highly efficient traffic concepts have relieved congestion. A global supergrid with mega transporters, including trucks, ships and aircraft, as well as space transporters, has opened important trade connections between the megacities of the world. The logistics industry has been entrusted to run city logistics, utilities, and system services for airports, hospitals, and shopping malls."
When I read that part of the multipage press-release, I thought to myself only a utopian communist or socialist futurist could have written it or rather the report it was excerpting from - and what they seem to be forgetting is that domesticating humans clearly doesn't work, they are a rebellious species, and certainly not meant for a 1984 or Borg type existence. Those who've tried to create a utopia in history, well, their pet project and visions of a 1000 year civilization have all ended tragically for all concerned.
Further, all the recent attempts at a green utopia have ended in costly bankruptcies, failed projects, and/or increased costs, which I might add have made the natives more restless, not less. There is a reason for urban flight to the suburbs, and there is a reason that there is a higher standard of living in the suburbs as opposed to the degraded cities of our time. There is also a reason for mega-slums outside all the major cities, and often a cancer brewing from within, even as there is a constant push for renewal, and economic development.
This whole "build it and they will come attitude" and motif is not meant to be, because if you build it, most likely humans will destroy it. Isn't that what usually happens, I mean let's be honest here. I am saying look at the statistics, scoreboard, or empirical evidence if you will, the numbers are in and it's clear, big cities are not quite as synergistic as they seem or are claiming to be. For the wealthy who live in cities, there is certainly abundance, but at whose expense, a question that I am shocked these well to do socialist refuse to ask themselves in all of their hypocrisy. And yes, it is true for them at least there is a lot of cognitive surplus to dream up these utopian plans of theirs, but I would submit to you that their level of cognition is blind to reality, thus, what good is it?
Mega cities still require mega power, mega-resources, and quite a bit to sustain them, but in the end they are not "sustainable" to borrow a catch phrase and common term from the left-leaning ramblings of socialism. Mega cities drain vast amounts of fresh water supplies from large amounts of land to funnel for their own usage, then these folks claim to be concerned about the environment, interesting I say. Even with all their "recycling" efforts and then busy patting on the back they create mega-trash piles elsewhere. The air quality is bad, and then their air blows out to the rest of us. The traffic is a mess, destroying productivity and efficiency.
But now this report says that in the future they will fix all that, and all they need is the money to build the city perfect, into their utopia at last. Really, then who is paying for it? If the city is so great and so efficient, why not have them pay for it themselves, why should the tax dollars of everyone else be funneled into the city for them to run another dead end experiment with a human utopia project? They've been taking everyone else's money for years, they'll always need more, want more, and promise us that someday, you'll see. Really, because you see LA, only when the smog clears, and it's time for these folks with all their communist tendencies and academic accolades to get some fresh air, so they can think.
Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net/
I often read articles stating that solar panels or "green items" will increase your home value. What about wind mills and other form of "green" ideas. Here's my take on these types of things such as insulated walls, wind mills, solar panels and anything else that is considered "green."
Nothing and I mean nothing will increase home value unless the market is willing to pay for it.
You see, all of these studies that show that solar panels or wind mills will increase your home value by 3% or 5% are taken from some text book or a study in some other part of the country. Real estate is local and cannot be moved and there are lots of moving parts in a real estate transaction that is much more important in determining the value than "green" homes.
The appraiser must look at the most important data to determine market value and they must be able to find homes with similar items to compare. Until the MLS system offers line by line items for such improvements and there are enough homes in the market to use for comparable homes, "green homes" will never be given much value.
Here's the issue with using this type of material or any type of "green" items to build your home. First, there is not enough market acceptable of these types of specialized construction methods. They will usually cost you more money to install. When an appraiser goes looking for real comparable sales to support these improvements, there will not be enough data in the market to support an increase of price or an adjustment in most cases because of the sheer lack of data.
The real reason to install "green" items in the home is to save energy in the long run, not to increase your home value.
When an appraiser looks at all of the comparable sales in the area, let's say they find 15 similar homes in your area. And when I mean similar, this is in reference to location, lot size, square footage, bedroom count other important amenities that Appraiser and Realtors can study. By pure luck, one of the Realtors talks about the ICF walls or the solar panels and you are able to search and find this home in the area. What are the chances that the home will offer some sort of similar square footage, design and lot size? Let me help you with the answer, slim to none.
So, here are some solutions to this problem
Create an entire development of "green" homes and make sure it is larger enough to really make an impact in the community. And when I mean "green" I mean, ICF walls, solar panels on all of the roofs, wind turbines around the entire development and in everyone's yard, homes built to with the correct windows for passive and active collection of energy. This will allow Realtors and appraisers to look at homes from these types of developments and really determine if they will increase value or if there is any real impact and if the market will pay for these improvements.
Make sure every MLS system in the entire country is correctly identifying the "green" items and putting them in the MLS so that Realtors and Appraisers can use this data to determine if the market is willing to pay for these types of things.
Until this happens across the country or in your home town, there is a slim chance that green items will have a big impact in increasing your home value.
Would you like to learn more about buying, selling, and refinancing a home from a real estate appraiser. if so, go to http://increasehomevalue.org/
In Spain, it is difficult to define a 'Spanish Real Estate Bargain'. Professionals agree that a bargain should be a combination of a good price, good location and good finance programme. A bargain should be a Spanish property sold at not more than the market price.
How can we define a property bargain in Spain?
Defining a Spanish Real Estate bargain is not a science, but nevertheless, our statement is that a bargain in Spain should satisfy the following criteria:
• A bargain should have a selling price lower than the selling price of other similar properties in the area, at the time.
• The Spanish property should be well-situated. Beware of badly located properties in Spain. Don't become over-passionate with the building layout and property specifications. These must be balanced with property's location, which should ideally be in or near an area having all the usual services and amenities and transport links.
• The value of the mortgage, or 'Loan to Value' (L.T.V.) should be between 70% and 100% (if required), which is already a good rate for Spanish Real Estate industry. However, it is important to remember that a cheap apartment or apartment with an L.T.V. of 100% is not necessarily a bargain.
Things To Have In Mind Before Searching For A Bargain
• Before buying, be ready to see a lot of properties. During the property boom, home buyers would visit 4 or 5 properties before buying, whereas nowadays they may have to visit up to 50 different properties.
• Be clear about what your goal is, in buying a Spanish Real Estate asset:
1. Is it for a permanent residence? If so, then you will have to carry on with all the expenses.
2. Is it a temporary second residence? In that case, are you going to be able to sustain the costs of the home when you are not there? If not, then you will be able to save on your mortgage for a few months, when you let it during those months.
3. Is it going to be a Buy-to-Let investment? Any Rental Yield (the profit dividend) above 4.8% can be considered an optimum yield in Spanish Real Estate nowadays and this could reach up to 8% in certain areas.
4. Is it going to be a Buy-to-Resell investment? Generally speaking, it will take considerable time for the price to pick up. Your buy to resell strategy should be for the mid to long term.
Do not purchase by yourself without a legal adviser - you may end up embroiled in a messy process and lose some money so that your bargain would become a liability.
Daniel Talavera is a Spanish journalist with a degree in Journalism from Universidad Cardenal Herrera in Valencia (Spain) and a Diploma in International & European Studies from Birbeck College (University of London).
He is currently the Editor of http://www.thespanishbrick.com/ and Director of Spanish-Real-Estate.co.uk. The Spanish Brick is one of the leading blogs in the UK specializing in the Spanish property market and property trends, publishing information, analysis and opinion on the Spanish territory for UK investors and home-buyers. Spanish-Real-Estate.co.uk is a London based organization that provides marketing, advertising and networking services in the UK, in order to back Spanish property stock.
Talavera's experience in the property industry started in 2005, writing on emerging markets including Poland, Brazil, Bulgaria, Romania and the Czech Republic. Talavera is the author of the book "Brazilian Property Market Profile", published by Property Secrets limited in 2008.
Decades from now, homes built in America and elsewhere around the world might be made of ultra-modern materials like steel and glass. But they also might be made of the most original and natural of materials, the earth materials beneath our feet. Many architects and engineers are taking this idea seriously and taking a fresh look at utilizing building techniques that our Earth's ancient people's used.
Environmentally Friendly and Very Inexpensive
In today's modern society, it's all too common to accept the belief that a building material or method has to be expensive and come from many years of research. Otherwise, it's not worth using, right? Wrong. Modern Society is taking a new look at a marvelous new (or not so new) building material that can be found in abundance everywhere, it's cost efficient in terms of heating and cooling costs, and it's really "just as cheap as dirt."
The truth is, we're talking about dirt, or more specifically, the natural materials found in and around the dirt that covers our planet. When it comes to inexpensive building materials, how much more inexpensive can you get? That's the great point of earth homes. You can't get any cheaper. And we're not talking about living in damp, dark caves either. We're talking about nice homes.
Long Lasting-Look at the Proof
Before you jump to conclusions and assume earth homes cannot survive in the elements (especially in the rain), consider this: Some of the most famous of all structures in various parts of the world are not made of glass and steel, they are made of earth. How about the Great Wall of China, a massive earth structure still standing strong after almost 2,500 years?
How about the great pyramids of Egypt? Mosques in Middle Eastern countries? Or adobe homes in the southwestern U.S. that are at least 100 to 200 years old? All of these examples are proof that earth homes made with the right combination of materials and the right material processing methods can last a very long time.
Some Typical Types of Construction
A common type of earth home in north and South America is what is called the Adobe home. The word adobe can be used to reference a certain design or style of home, but historically speaking the word actually refers to a specific building material used in earth homes. Adobe is a form of brick that is made with a combination of straw, clay and compacted soil. Adobe construction varies from one region to another; in some areas where modern materials are still introduced, Portland cement is added to the mixture for strength. In parts of South America where such materials are not available, fermented cactus juice is added to act as a waterproofing membrane.
Another building technique used in building earth homes is what is called "Rammed earth." This method resembles Adobe homes somewhat. Like Adobe, rammed earth utilizes soil and other ingredients that act as a means to keep water out. But adobe is suitable only in dry climates because the adobe bricks have to dry and cure sufficiently to remain strong. The rammed earth technique involves compacting the soil and natural cement ingredients into forms. After sufficient curing and drying time the forms are removed.
Beneficial and a Worthwhile Option
It's easy to see the environmental and economical benefits of earth homes, but are they really a practical option for family living? The answer to that is an absolute yes. Earth homes stay warmer in the winter because of the natural heat from the ground below. They stay cooler in hot weather.
They are very low maintenance structures and last a very long time as we have examined. They're very safe homes too. Earth homes are naturally fire and termite resistant. And what may be the best benefit of all is that they provide peace and quiet. The materials in earth homes are naturally very good at noise blocking. People who live in earth homes don't have to worry about "keeping up with the Joneses' " because they might not even notice that they're there.
Dwight Smoot writes about all types of earth homes that use our natural resources, save energy and create eco-friendly habitats for all.