6 Tips to Save Electricity This Summer
1. Cut down on energy leaks. This includes turning off lights and other electronics. When you leave a room, shut off the light behind you. Unplug electronics that aren’t being used, such as cell phone chargers, small appliances like toasters, or power strips that provide power for many appliances. Big-screen TVs, DVD players, digital photo frames, and other appliances use more energy than you realize, and certain appliances use energy even if they are turned off.
2. Spend time outdoors. Spending a lot of time indoors will naturally lead to higher energy costs because you will be using lights, electronics, and air conditioning. Spending more time outdoors means you can turn off indoor electronics, and in the process, you will enjoy this beautiful city. Turn off all electronics before leaving the house.
3. Close blinds, storm windows, or shades during the day. The sun can heat up a room very quickly. Keeping the sun from shining into windows will cut down on cooling costs, and many stores sell curtains specifically designed for this purpose.
4. Use fans instead of air conditioning. Circulation is important to using less air conditioning during the summer. Cool down the house early in the morning by placing a box fan in the window and opening up another window at the opposite end of the house, in addition to turning on ceiling fans..
5. Use air conditioning efficiently. Set the thermostat to 78, and don't lower it. If you want to invest in an energy efficient air conditioner, these are 10-15% more efficient.
6. Use electricity during off-peak hours. If you plan to use electronics like a washer and dryer, air conditioning, and computers or televisions, try to do so during off-peak hours like early in the morning or late at night. Electrical companies charge less for energy consumed during off-peak hours. It is recommended you wait until after 6 pm to cook, do laundry, or wash dishes on days the temperature is over 90 degrees.
3 Steps to Buying a Vacation Home With Friends
Owners have to be comfortable sharing ongoing expenses, like property management fees, utilities, insurance, and repairs.
To protect all owners when the unexpected happens, and to avoid hurt feelings and strained friendships, hire an attorney to set up an LLC, then purchasing the home through that company. Your attorney can draft an operating agreement that clears up expectations on everything from how utilities are shared to how a buyout would work if one owner wanted to sell and the others didn’t.
Keep in mind that the vacation-home market moves quickly, and with multiple stakeholders needing to agree that a property is the one, it’s best to decide on your shared criteria before you start looking. This is especially important if you’re searching from afar or if one person will be doing most of the home touring on behalf of the group. That way, when you find the right home, you can put an offer together quickly. You should also enlist a local real estate professional with expertise in the destination where you’d like to buy. That person is best qualified to help you identify homes that are a good value, that will perform well in the local vacation rental market, and that are in locations likely to appreciate.
If you find the right people to partner with, approach it like a business transaction, and act quickly when you find the perfect home, you’ll be sitting back and enjoying your dream home before you know it.
*Information from Zillow Porchlight
4 Tips for Buying a Fixer-Upper
Knowing the zone is important because it will tell you what you can and cannot do to the home. To research your prospective home’s zoning requirements; you can visit its municipality’s website, or arrange to meet with a staff member, who can walk you through the legalities.
A home inspector will look for structural issues and advise you on things that may or may not need to be replaced, such as plumbing, electricity, and roofing.
Depending on where you live, you may eligible for tax abatement, a tax credit for homeowners who improve their property’s value.
*Info from Zillow Porchlight
Tips for Joint Base Charleston Home Buyers
1. Don’t wait. Buyers
who start their hunt early will likely face less competition and have just as
many homes for-sale to consider. And if
you love a house, do not hesitate to put in an offer. The people that saw it
yesterday slept on it last night and are ready to put in an offer today.
2. Shop around for a mortgage. Buyers
shouldn’t take the first rate-quote they receive and should talk to more than
one lender. A lower interest rate could equate to thousands in savings over the
life of the loan.
3. Don’t discount buying new. Buying
new most likely means less competition and a wider selection of homes. But a
caveat: New-homes typically cost more.
5 Tips for Spring Lawn Prep
Time for spring cleaning and that includes the yard. Here are some tips on how to start your Joint Base Charleston yard off right this year.
Proper mowing, irrigation, and feeding practices are the best possible weed prevention, but established weed populations require drastic measures. If your lawn has bare spots, fill them in now with sod or seed so weeds don’t sprout and get a foothold.
If your existing lawn is an annual one, remove it with a sod cutter. Perennial grasses, like Bermuda or St. Augustine grass, are much tougher to remove, so you’ll likely have to either solarize with clear plastic sheets for several weeks or resort to an herbicide.
Once you’ve dug up the grass or otherwise eradicated it, replace it with soil and a grass variety appropriate to your region.
Amend the bare soil with topsoil or composted manure, and begin laying down the sod or planting seeds by following the label instructions. After planting, water it often until the new grass becomes established.
Start the season off right by mowing more often, on a higher setting, and in alternating directions.