DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2015
Making a few changes around the home can lead to big savings, and doesn't everyone resolve to save more in the new year? Here are a few ideas:
Energy audits:Utility companies may offer an energy audit (some for free) where experts come in to assess how a home consumes energy and identifies areas for improvement. Inspectors may perform the audit remotely or by visiting your home. It's been known to save as much as 30 percent on monthly bills. Search for an energy auditor near your ZIP code at theResidential Energy Services Network.
Adjust your water heater:Lower the water heater by just 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and you may be able to curb your heating costs by 3 percent to 5 percent. A cover for your water heater can also keep the heat in and save an extra 4 percent to 9 percent.
Change the light bulbs:Swapping out your current bulbs for low-energy ones can help reduce lighting costs. A 60-watt bulb, which costs about $6, will save between $30 and $80 over its lifetime. With households typically having a minimum of 50 bulbs, home owners could see a potential $1,500 in savings.
Wash your clothes on cold:By using less hot water for laundry, you can save about $60 per year. Dryers account for 12 percent of energy in an average household, so line-drying clothes could save an extra $200 per year. If you do use the dryer, make sure you clean your vent, which can reduce energy costs by $9 to $12 per month.
Get rid of cable:Cutting the cord to your landline or cable can save you $100 a month. As an alternative, aChromecast, which streams shows from your smartphone or computer to your television, costs just $35.
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So you have decided you are ready to buy your first home.... Now what?
"Earlier this year my husband lost his job and a little over a month after that I was out of work on maternity leave. Neither of us were getting any pay. Prior to this our house was already on the market. After a few months of trying to sell our home and running out of savings. We decided we had to do something or we would have to foreclose on our home. After many tears, we decided that a short sale was the best option for our family. The realtor we were with referred us to Ms. Debra Smith because she could better help us with a short sale. She was AWESOME, so comforting and understanding of our situation. She assured me that this would not haunt us forever. She stayed on top of this sale. I felt almost as if I was her only priority. I could not have asked for her to be anymore reassuring that she was going to make this sale happen for us. I received constant updates of what was going on and where we were with the sale. The day of the closing when we were done signing papers, I had a small break down and she again assured my husband and I that we would recover from this and it would only "ding" us for a little while. Anyone I know looking to buy/sell a home, I will refer to her and make sure they know what she did for us and assure them they will NOT be disappointed.