Is Your Home Summer-Ready?

As seasonal temperatures heat up, utility bills will also inch up as homeowners try to beat the heat. What can you do to prepare your home for the hot summer months and minimize the cost of keeping indoor spaces comfortable? A “do-it-yourself” (DIY) home energy audit can be a good starting point to help determine what areas to prioritize for energy efficient repairs and upgrades. By following the simple steps below, you can uncover the most obvious spots where your home is losing energy and where you may have opportunities to improve your home’s performance.

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Energy Efficiency And Real Estate Value

Studies continue to show that homes with green or energy efficient features can command a higher sales price. With the promise of lower utility costs and increased comfort, it’s no surprise that homeowners are willing to invest in an energy efficient environment. Although the potential benefits are clear, a recent Washington Post article points out that “…it’s often less than clear how such upgrades are valued in the real estate market by appraisers, lenders, or purchasers — or even how information about a home’s energy characteristics should be conveyed to real estate agents and potential homebuyers.” That is slowly changing…

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3 Drought-Friendly Solutions To Keep Your Yard Green

As you’ve probably heard by now, California is in the midst of one of its most historic droughts. With Governor Jerry Brown ordering mandatory water restrictions for the first time in the state’s history – it’s nearly impossible to keep a lawn green. So, is brown the new green? For those of you who aren’t ready to give up your field of green, check out these grass substitute options.

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3 Steps to Financial Independence for Millennials

The millennial generation is entering a job market and economy that comes with its own set of challenges. The Wall Street Journal reports that, “The financial crisis exacted a heavy toll on the generation of Americans now entering their 30s. Facing difficult job prospects, little-to-no income growth and a historically unprecedented level of student loans, their finances are in a more precarious state…” At the same time, this younger generation is empowered by technology and motivated by a strong desire for more freedom in their daily life.

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5 Ways to Find Your Dream Neighborhood

Most house hunters have a clear vision of their dream home. A gourmet kitchen. A yard for the kids. Lots of natural light. But how often is equal consideration given to the finer details of the location? How do you evaluate a neighborhood to determine if your dream home is truly in your dream location? Here are 5 ways to figure out if a neighborhood matches your lifestyle and investment goals.

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Is it Really Cheaper to Rent than Buy?

We all know that in the long run, owning a home is typically a sound investment. But, with home prices rising does it make sense to buy now? I started contemplating this question after a recent conversation with a friend. She and her husband purchased their three bedroom, two bathroom home in 2005, then sold it by short sale in 2010. They moved into a more spacious four bedroom, three bathroom rental in a nearby town. It had everything they wanted; lots of living space, a great school district, fantastic neighborhood, and an awesome location close to the city’s downtown.

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