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  • Inflatable, portable PhotonGrill cooks your food with nothing but the sun

    The barbecue of the future is here. Meet PhotonGrill, an inflatable 100 percent solar-powered grill that lets you ditch the charcoal for greener cooking. Perfect for camping and areas with fire bans, the lightweight, fire-free and fuel-free PhotonGrill is designed for portability and easily folds down to fit in a backpack. The best part? Its NASA-inspired technology is so efficient the grill reaches 500F in just five minutes.

    Recently launched on Kickstarter, the PhotonGrill is available at a discount for early bird backers and comes with a lightweight carrying case, solar-optimized pan, BBQ tongs, and an air pump. The portable and durable grill weighs only seven pounds and can easily be set up in just three minutes. A pot can also be attached for cooking. An optional add-on module will transform the PhotonGrill into a highly efficient power generator so you can charge your electronics with sun-powered electricity wherever you go.

    Heres how the PhotonGrill works: once fully inflated, the grill, made of lightweight plastic film, takes on the form of a reflective parabolic mirror that concentrates the energy contained in the rays of light into a small area, creating highly-localized energy thats powerful enough to cook with. The design team says the technology was based on experiments carried out by NASA in the 1960s

    By using heat to thermally deform the plastics polymers structure, the plastic is able to remember and transform into the desired parabolic shape when inflated, says the PhotonGrill team, who also claim the grill has 1,000 watts of power. Set atop a stable tripod, the parabolic mirror is made with highly robust polymer foils tested to ensure they can withstand all contingencies, even a large splash of boiling grease. PhotonGrill is looking to raise $111,964 on Kickstarter to bring the solar-powered grill to production.

    Courtesy of California Association of REALTORS. Click Here for Original article.

  • Americans Think Homeownership is a Sound Investment

    Media Contact: Jane Dollinger / 202-383-1042 / Email

    WASHINGTON (October 14, 2015) A vast majority of Americans believe that buying a home is a solid financial decision, and most believe they could sell their home for at least its initial purchase price, according to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors. The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that a preponderance of Americans think that now is a good time to buy a home.

    The survey, which measures consumers' attitudes and concerns about housing issues in the nation's 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas, found that more than eight in 10 Americans believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision, and 68 percent believe that now is a good time to buy a home. Seventy-one percent believe they could sell their house for what they paid for it, a jump of 16 percentage points from 2013.

    When asked for reasons about why homeownership matters to them, respondents answers did not change significantly from past years. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top three reasons to own a home.

    "Homeownership is part of the American Dream, and this survey proves that dream is alive and thriving in our communities," said NAR President Chris Polychron, executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. "Realtors believe that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream in a safe, responsible way, which is why NAR advocates homeownership issues and educating potential buyers about achieving their property investment goals."

    The number of renters who are now thinking about purchasing a home has increased since the last survey in 2013, up from 36 percent to 39 percent. Sixty-one percent of renters stated that owning a home is a priority for their future. According to the survey, 80 percent of respondents believe that pre-purchase counseling programs and classes are very or somewhat important. Forty-five percent of homeowners who said they did not take a counseling program, reported they would have taken part in one had it been easily available to them.

    Attitudes about the housing market have improved in recent years. Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated that they feel activity in the housing market has increased in the past year, compared to 44 percent in 2013 and 12 percent in 2011. Eighty-nine percent expect home sales in their area to either increase or remain the same. Concern about foreclosures has also declined, with only 15 percent of respondents indicating that foreclosure is a major concern.

    In addition to improved attitudes about the housing market, survey participants also showed an improved outlook regarding the economy. Only 36 percent think that job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem, a substantial drop from 45 percent in 2013.

    Perceived obstacles to homeownership have remained mostly unchanged compared to recent years; 78 percent of respondents point to college debt and student loans as the main obstacle to making a home purchase affordable. Seventy-six percent of participants said they have a full-time job but still did not make enough money to purchase a home. Seventy-four percent believe they do not have enough money for a down payment and closing costs.

    As the market has improved, concern about the cost of housing has increased. Two-thirds of survey participants said that home prices are more expensive than they were a year ago. There is additional concern over the lack of available housing; 41 percent said the lack of affordable homes is either a very big or fairly big problem in their area, an increase of 9 percent points from 2013.

    For adult millennials under the age of 35, the burden of student debt is their chief concern, with 86 percent of respondents naming college debt as an obstacle to homeownership. Over half reported that their housing costs are a financial strain on their budget, 65 percent are concerned about high rental prices, and 60 percent are concerned about high home prices. However, millennials tend to have a more upbeat and positive view about the future of the nation than older Americans, with 42 percent of millennials saying that the country is headed in the right direction compared to only 20 percent among those aged 50 and older.

    The 2015 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NARs Housing Opportunity Program. The telephone survey polled 1,000 adults nationwide in the 50 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. An additional 250 interviews were conducted with millennial adults (born after 1981) from the same geography. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

    The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

    Courtesy National Association of Realtors. Click Here for Original Article.

  • After a training class with Janice Strong of Strong Appraisals and the changes that we are now facing with Conventional financing and FHA starting in January, my best advice would be for sellers to get a home inspection BEFORE they list. Because of the new "grading" practices it is in the sellers best interest to make sure thatALL Health & Life Safety issues are addressed prior to listing, or at the latest before the appraisal is ordered to avoid delays in closing or possibly not closing at all. Something to think about might be that the seller addresses/pays forthe home inspection and the buyer addresses/pays for the appraisal.....hmmmm, just a thought!

  • Are you wondering what to do to increase the value of your home? Thinking of putting your home on the market but not quite sure where to put your money? Well the answer is....save your money and clean up your house! Break out the storage boxes and put unnecessary items away, clean your baseboards, dust the lighting, get the marks off the walls, wipe down cabinets, clean your front door, organize closets and muck the garage! Of course if your paint is dingy and your floors are in disarray and you can afford it - take care of it and it will make a world of difference. Lighting can be replaced at minimal cost and can really update your home but the biggest factor and the least expensive way to make your home more salable is clean, clean, clean! Don't forget the outside, pick up toys and yard supplies, make sure your entry is attractive and clutter free - 1st impressions are key. Always clean up pet mess and make sure any unnecessary vehicles are removed form the property. It might seem simple but it will make the biggest difference of all and cost the least amount of money!

  • Reading Realtor.org magazine, I came across this little tidbit...Right now is a great time to buy but it is difficult to bring buyers off of the fence and into a contract! Call me and lets talk about the market. Let me show you the great buys in your price range and provide you with some comfort in knowing that you are getting an excellent value at incredible interest rates!

    Three Reasons to Buy a Home Now Stocks are up 50 percent from the March 2009 bottom. Some commodities have risen dramatically. The only asset class left in the cellar is real estate, says Michael Murphy, editor of the New World Investor stock newsletter.As a result, Murphy is advising investors to buy now for these three reasons: Desperate sellers: Both home owners and lenders are eager to unload a flood of foreclosed and underwater properties. Buyers with the patience to push through these complex deals can save a bundle. Little competition. Because most people dont have what it takes to negotiate their way through short sales and REOs, patient investors are winners. Low rates. Mortgage rates are at their lowest level in 40 years. If you believe inflation is inevitable, lock in now.Source: MarketWatch, Michael Murphy (08/19/2010)

  • 6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price

    While youd like to get the best price for your home, consider our six reasons to reduce your home price.

    If you don't receive any offers for a few weeks, check out other comparable houses on the market and what they're going for. Image: Liz Foreman

    Home not selling? That could happen for a number of reasons you cant control, like a unique home layout or having one of the few homes in the neighborhood without a garage. There is one factor you can control: your home price.

    These sixsigns may be telling you its time to lower your price.

    1. YOURE DRAWING FEW LOOKERS

    You get the most interest in your home right after you put it on the market because buyers want to catch a great new home before anybody else takes it. If your real estate agent reports there have been fewer buyers calling about and asking to tour your home than there have been for other homes in your area, that may be a sign buyers think its overpriced and are waiting for the price to fall before viewing it.

    2. YOURE DRAWING LOTS OF LOOKERS BUT HAVE NO OFFERS

    If youve had 30 sets of potential buyers come through your home and not a single one has made an offer, something is off. What are other agents telling your agent about your home? An overly high price may be discouraging buyers from making an offer.

    3. YOUR HOMES BEEN ON THE MARKET LONGER THAN SIMILAR HOMES

    Ask your real estate agent about the average number of days it takes to sell a home in your market. If the answer is 30 and youre pushing 45, your price may be affecting buyer interest. When a home sits on the market, buyers can begin to wonder if theres something wrong with it, which can delay a sale even further. At least consider lowering your asking price.

    4. YOU HAVE A DEADLINE

    If youve got to sell soon because of a job transfer or youve already purchased another home, it may be necessary to generate buyer interest by dropping your price so your home is a little lower priced than comparable homes in your area. Remember: Its not how much money you need that determines the sale price of your home, its how much money a buyer is willing to spend.

    5. YOU CANT MAKE UPGRADES

    Maybe youre plum out of cash and dont have the funds to put fresh paint on the walls, clean the carpets, and add curb appeal. But the feedback your agent is reporting from buyers is that your home isnt aswell-appointed as similarly priced homes. When your home has been on the market longer than comparable homes in better condition, its time to accept that buyers expect to pay less for a home that doesnt show as well as others.

    6. THE COMPETITION HAS CHANGED

    If weeks go by with no offers, continue to check out the competition. What have comparable homes sold for and whats still on the market? What new listings have been added since you listed your home for sale? If comparable home sales or new listings show your price is too steep, consider a price reduction.

  • Are you recently unemployd? Are you struggeling to make your mortgate payment? Please read the below arcticle posted by the National Association of Realtors!

    By August 1, all mortgage servicers participating in the Making Home Affordable Program will offer extra help for homeowners struggling to make their monthly mortgage payments because of unemployment. The Unemployment Program will offer homeowners a forbearance period to temporarily reduce or suspend their monthly mortgage payments while they seek re-employment.

    The minimum forbearance period is three months, although a mortgage servicer may extend it depending on the investor and regulator guidelines. If a homeowner becomes re-employed in that time, the forbearance period will end and the homeowner will be evaluated for a mortgage modification under the Making Home Affordable Program. Unemployment benefits will no longer qualify as income for the mortgage modification program.

    During the forbearance period, a homeowners monthly mortgage payment must be reduced to no more than 31 percent (or less) of their gross monthly income. The servicer can decide to temporarily suspend payments in full. The payment amount and due dates will be decided by the servicer depending on investor and regulator guidelines.

    To qualify, a homeowner must meet the following eligibility criteria:

    The mortgage must be a first lien mortgage, originated on or before January 1, 2009, and the unpaid principal balance must be equal to or less than $729,750 for a one-unit property.The property must be the homeowners principal residence.The mortgage has not been previously modified through a Home Affordable Modification.The homeowner was ineligible for a Home Affordable Modification.The homeowner is either behind on payments (but not by more than three consecutive months) or it is reasonably forseeable that the homeowner will fall behind.The total monthly mortgage payment is greater than 31 percent of the homeowners gross monthly income. If the payment is less, it is up to the servicers discretion if they will offer the program to the homeowner.The homeowner will be unemployed at the start of the forbearance period, and is able to document this because they will be receiving unemployment benefits in the month the forbearance period begins (even if the benefits expire before the forbearance period ends).

    A mortgage servicer may require that, based on investor and regulator guidelines, homeowners have received at least three months of unemployment benefits before they begin a forbearance period.

    There is no cost to apply to the Unemployment Program, although late charges may accrue while the homeowner is being evaluated for the program or in the program. A mortgage servicer may not collect late charges from the homeowner while they are still in the forbearance period.

    Servicers may not initiate foreclosure proceedings or conduct a foreclosure sale while a homeowner is being evaluated for the Unemployment Program or in the forbearance period.To determine if you qualify for the Unemployment Program, contact your mortgage servicer. You should learn your eligibility within ten days of submitting complete documentation to your servicer.If you have any questions after speaking with your servicer, or need assistance applying to the program, call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) to speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor for free.To read the guidelines for the Unemployment Program for all mortgages not held by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, click here.

  • Buying And Selling Tips?Are You Looking For Infomation And Tools To Help You Protect, Maintain, And Enhance The Value Of Your Home? Visit HouseLogic And How Not To Only Enhance The Value Of Your Home But Also Tips On Buying And Selling!Resources For Home Owners >Resources For Home Buyers And Sellers >

    As always, please call me or e-mail mefor a free market analysis, buyers consultation or relocation packet!

  • I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

    Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

    While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

    Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.