Resolved to Living More Sustainably?

While we are on the subject of resolutions, if you are resolved (see what I did there?) to make your home a more green and sustainable one, there’s no better time to incorporate energy-saving measures than during the cold months. Here are five simple things you can do to make your house more efficient…

#1 Install a Programmable Thermostat
The advice is usually to turn down the temperature during the winter, but wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to a warm house?

Programmable thermostats let you pre-set temperatures and schedule when the furnace goes on and off. If you use them correctly you could see up to $180 in savings each year.  More sophisticated devices like the Nest learn your daily routine an automatically adjust temperatures based on your habits. We got a NEST at our house a couple of years ago. I like it, even though it turns the heat on about 30 minutes too early in the morning for me. It wants the house to be of a comfortable temperature for when I get out of bed, but makes the room too warm to sleep in.  Maybe some day I’ll figure out how to fix that.

#2 Install Ceiling Fans
Fans move cool and hot air around your living space, allowing you to turn the temperature down in winter and raise it during summer. During the wintertime, you can reverse the fan’s direction to clockwise to keep the warm air moving down. Plus you can hang your clothes on them for a winter air dry. (Okay…that was a joke)

#3 Eliminate Air Leaks
Use a door draft stopper and caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows to cut down on the cold air coming in.  I actually have the worst door ever for this. I’ve got to get someone out to fix it. We took the weatherstripping off when we had our house painted. However, the weatherstrip was installed wrong because the door jam need to be completely re-done. I just talked to a contractor today get him on the schedule to come fix that.

#4 Use Power Strips
Did you know that many of your appliances use electricity whether they are on or not?Standby power is electricity that’s being used by things like TVs, computers, appliances, and phone chargers, even when the devices are in stand-by mode or even off.

Plug electronics, chargers, and appliances into power strips and switch them off when you’re not using the devices. You could save up to $200 per year! Or you can buy outlets with a remote control that allows you to turn the whole outlet off.

#5 Change Your HVAC Filter
If you change your filters monthly, you may lower your energy bills by 5 to 15 percent. Plus stop that annoying wheezing sound they make when they get dirty.

Simply put, dirty, clogged filters make the HVAC system work harder.
The savings can be substantial if you keep your filters clean as the average household spends approximately $2,200 on heating and cooling costs every year. Getting the HVAC system regular yearly maintenance is also beneficial.

Zombie Apocolypse

It is kind of funny that the popularity of zombies has hit the real estate market.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, based off a study by Reuters, the media has started referring to homes that are vacant, but have yet to be foreclosed on as “zombie” homes. They are deteriorating because they are vacant and nobody is looking after the upkeep.

walkingdead_zombiHomes that have already been foreclosed at least have a maintenance crew that looks after basics..shuts the water off and checks on them periodically. Although I would have to say the maintenance is not very good. But at least it is something.

So what do you do if you have a zombie home in your neighborhood? By all means, keep your children and pets away from it. It will feed on their brains. Other than that, there is not a lot one can do in our area. If you knew the people who owned it, there still is a chance that it could be sold by a short sale. You could have them get in contact with me, and we could sell it and get new owners in there to take care of it.

Otherwise, it might just sit there for a long time. In the article, it says that possibly 50% of the houses in foreclosure in the state of Oregon are “zombies”. And with the current regulations, it could be a long time before the foreclosure process is completed, and that house comes on the market as a REO property. So you and the neighbors might just need to band together and take care of the poor zombie house until new owners can breath life into it again.

And again, if you knew the owners…put them in contact with me. Lets see if we can get a short sale done. Then the zombie would come back to life in only 4-6 months. 🙂


Cooking for the Holidays

This is mostly a copy of an email received about a holiday dinner that was being organized. I have changed the names…and added some small pieces just to make it funnier to me. Most of this is real, and I just think it is funny.

We might have to modify some stuff for people because of food allergies but everyone seems flexible and adaptable. So bring what you like and we’ll all enjoy!

Jerry is on a limited salt and no sugar diet…
Lucy doesn’t eat bacon or red meat so we just slap a chicken breast on the grill and she eats the other stuff.
Tom doesn’t eat cow dairy but will bring his own coconut sour cream and goat cheese to doctor his food up.
Terry is allergic to gluten but he’ll bring special gluten free stuff (like pasta and bread) for himself and he has dairy intolerances too.
Diane is allergic to avocados, peanuts and shellfish.
Teresa is a vegetarian, but eats fish.
David and Sam will not eat anything that are on the GMO list and prefer everything to be 100% organic.
And I’m on the Atkins diet, so I am not eating carbs.  

So we look forward to seeing everyone for the potluck..I’m sure it will be a great meal.

Now I love to cook. I cannot seem to cook for less than 15 people, so I love going to parties where I can bring food.

I put a lot of  love into my cooking, and get enjoyment out of it. However, I have a feeling that if I were to cook for this group of people..I would be the only one eating the meal.



Buyers are like dating


I was having a fun conversation today with a couple of Realtor friends of mine, and I came up with a theory about why I like to work with buyers so much.

Working with a buyer is like dating. And since I have been happily married for over 17 years at this point, I don’t actually get to (have to?) date. And to be honest, I like getting to know people in the way that you do when you spend that kind of time together.

When you get into a realtionship with a buyer, there are distinct stages usually. There is the finding each other stage. Now I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t use me as their Realtor. I can’t quite figure out why not, but houses do get sold without me, so I know it happens. So therefore, we didn’t meet and find out if we were “attracted” to each other.

Next there is the having coffee, getting to know each other stage. I like to do this one at my office, show them pictures of my dog, crack a few jokes, and ask questions about who they are, and what they are looking for in life (which is more helpful than knowing what they are looking for in a house. Most people don’t really know what they are looking for in a house, they just know it when they see it).

Then we decide we’ll go out. Generally involves spending a lot of time driving around together. We look at houses, and wonder what it would be like if we lived here. This is how “I” would remodel this place. If things are going really well, then there is always a chance that we might go out for a drink. Or there may not be those kind of sparks, so it is just a quick kiss on the cheek (not literally), and maybe we will try this again some other time.

Then the buyer finds a house, and that’s when the relationship might get a little rocky. Thing aren’t so perfect anymore because there is “someone else” involved (usually the seller and their realtor). But you have put time into this relationship, and you are going to see it through and be there for them. And you do, you work things out.

And then “BOOM”. they buy the house, fall in love with it and they move in and on with their lives, and suddenly they don’t need you as much anymore. You hope that they liked you well enough that they may introduce you to some of their friends who might want to date you, but the dating ends. You still see each other on occassions, but its just not the same anymore.

And the Realtor moves on…to date again.

The other conversation I had today was with my lovely wife, and we were joking about dating other people. (Seriously, we were joking). And after I had this thought about how buyers are like dating, I can now let my wife know that if she wants me to be faithful to her, she just needs to find me more buyers.

I can just see my ad now….(insert sexy voice over here) looking for a good time? Call Adam…he’ll show you all the real estate in Ashland like you’ve never seen it before.

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