Friday, July 30, 2010

Are You Ready for Some Football??

What NFL team do you see playing in the superbowl at the new Cowboys stadium?

I'm happy as long as the Dallas Cowboys are playing.

Yes, I'm keeping it that simple.

Friday, July 23, 2010

HUD and VA to Prevent Homeless Vets

To prevent homelessness among veterans, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Veterans Affairs will jointly invest $15 million for housing assistance in five communities near military installations.

These installations will each receive $2 million: MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa; Camp Pendleton in San Diego; Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas; Fort Drum in Watertown, N.Y.; and Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash. In addition, VA medical centers in the following areas will each receive $1 million: Tampa, San Diego, Dallas, Syracuse, N.Y., and American Lake in Washington.

HUD will provide rental assistance, including security deposits, utility payments, and case management. The VA will offer healthcare.

Source: HUD and VA Offices of Public Affairs (07/22/2010)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Buyers Should Shop for the Best Rate

Anyone shopping for a new mortgage these days should shop around, says Cameron Findlay, chief economist for LendingTree.

Although mortgage rates look astoundingly low, the spread between what the bank receives and what it pays investors has actually increased, giving banks more room to negotiate.

Applicants with good credit scores should aggressively seek the best rates they can find by comparison shopping, starting with the bank they usually do business with.

Source: The New York Times, Jennifer Saranow Schultz (07/17/2010)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tips to Keep Cool and Save Energy

It's Cool to Save Energy

*Shades, curtains, trees. Keeping direct sunlight out of your house will keep temperatures down. Plant trees for shade, or use curtains or shades in the summer, especially on west- and south-facing windows. If you plant trees, make sure they're not evergreen: You want the leaves to fall off in the winter to help with heating.

*Filters. Check and change (if they're disposable) or clean (if they're permanent) your air-conditioning filters at least once a month. Also periodically clean the coils on both the outside and inside A/C units as well. These steps are simple, can reduce your power bill by 10%, and will prevent the No. 1 cause of service calls. And while you're cleaning coils, might as well pull the refrigerator out and vacuum those coils too.

*A/C ducts. Do you close the vents in rooms that you're not using? Well, don't. Closing more than 10% of your vents can create an air pressure imbalance that will reduce your air conditioner's efficiency. So if you've got central air, let it flow.

*Light bulbs. Unless you've been living in a cave, you already know that CFLs use less electricity and last much longer than conventional bulbs. They also produce a lot less heat. And now you can get them in virtually any shade and configuration. If you haven't seen them lately, look again. Read more about it at the Energy Star website.

*Ceiling fans. A fan will allow you to set your thermostat at 78 degrees and make it feel like 72 degrees. They're cheap at the local home-improvement warehouse, and can be easily installed by those with moderate skills. Energy Star-certified ceiling fans do even better, moving air up to 20% more efficiently than conventional models. And if you get a light kit, get one with compact fluorescent light bulbs. They produce 70% less heat. Note: Ceiling fans make the air feel cooler on your skin, but they don't actually lower the temperature. Which means that if you're not in the room, it's not doing anything. Turn it off.

*Experiment with your thermostat. Try raising your setting a degree or two and see if you notice. If you don't have a programmable thermostat, check them out, especially if you're the type to forget to dial up the temp when you leave for work. And when you're home.

*When it's hottest, be cool. When it's the hottest part of the summer day, don't run appliances that create heat. The hot part of the day is the time for iced tea and TV.

*Turn it off. According to the EPA, TVs that aren't even turned on cost the average American household $5 a year. Plug your TVs, cable boxes, DVD players, video games, etc., into a power strip and use the power strip as an on/off switch.

Yes, these seem like a no brainer to most people. There are some that don't even think about the simple things of changing your AC filter.

Let's Cool off people.

Courtesy of Smart Spending

Thursday, July 1, 2010

3 Things Condo Buyers Should Know

Now could be a great time for home buyers to find a great deal on a condominium.

Here are three things that potential buyers of condos should consider:

1. Is this condo likely to fall further in price? Part of the answer is in falling or rising local inventory – even if sales have picked up recently.

2. Is this a fair price? Condo prices are more volatile than single-family homes. One big consideration is whether buyers in this particular complex are likely to be able to qualify for a mortgage. If the complex has too many renters, for instance, the Federal Housing Administration won’t approve loans to buy units.

3. Is the condo association in good fiscal shape? Are they maintaining the grounds and the amenities as well as staying on top of needed structural improvements?

Source: Money Magazine, Beth Braverman (06/29/2010)

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Tax Credit Extension Passes; Senate OKs Flood Bill

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Tax Credit Extension Passes; Senate OKs Flood Bill