Home Buying Guide Part 1

Buying a house for the first time can be both an exciting and a scary venture. It’s difficult to know what to even look for in a house. There are extra factors to consider as well, such as your current living situation. Sometimes first time home buyers are living in a difficult situation and the pressure to move into a better space is real. It is critical that you do not settle in your home buying purchase.

So how do you avoid settling and spending your hard earned money on a house that you don’t love. Make a list of the absolutes that are really important to you and refer to them when you are looking for your home that meets all your criteria. List everything you cannot live without so that you can be satisfied with your new home. Here are some ideas on what should be on your list.

Price of the House

In thinking about your price point for buying your home you just consider more than just the amount you can borrow. Make sure you do your homework and know how much your mortgage is going to be including property tax. So many first time buyers think because the bank will let them borrow a certain amount that they can afford the house. This is not the case. You need to know ahead of time how much the mortgage will be and then look at your budget after all your fixed and variable costs and make sure that you are not buying a home that is going to make you house poor.

Location, Location, Location

You might think you know exactly where you want to live but be open minded. Spend some time driving through different neighborhoods and talking to the people that live there. Do you fit into the neighborhood? Is it close to the freeway, grocery store, schools, the gym, etc? What are the schools like? When we moved into our neighborhood, we loved the convenient location because it was close to everything. However, what we didn’t think about were the schools. We since realized that we like the elementary school in our neighborhood but would rather send our kids to middle school somewhere else. Also there are not many families in our neighborhood and our kids are the only young children on the block so they don’t have any friends close by to play with. These are all things to consider about the location.

How many Bedrooms

When we bought our first house we didn’t have any children and my wife was pregnant so we thought three bedrooms would be plenty. We thought we would move into our second house before we out grew the first one but the market changed and we were forced to stay in a house that is too small. So when you list how many bedrooms, you need to think about the future and how many kids you have or plan to have. Think about guest rooms. Do your in-laws visit frequently? Do you want to have a room for them or would you rather them stay somewhere else? Think about an office space. So make sure to think about all these things before you consider how many rooms you really need.

These items make up a small sample of the factors you should consider when it comes to buying a new home for yourself and family. We at Living Green have a few more items for you to consider but we will get to those in our next article. Stay tuned.

 

Types of Foundations

When you are looking to buy a home, the first thing you should determine is the type of foundation. The foundation is the first part of the home constructed and sets the groundwork for the remainder of the home. This is the most important part of the house and a properly designed foundation bears the weight of the entire house while protecting it from the climate, moisture, ground movement, etc. There are a few main types of foundations used by builders depending on factors such as the budget, location, soil, type of house and climate. The main types used are Slab, Crawlspace, and Basement.

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How Affordable is Alternative Energy?

With all of the recent developments in green technology you have to wonder if the Solar Panelsalternative energy sources that are on the market are available at a reasonable rate. Most consumers will support green technology because of its positive impact on the environment and lowering of monthly expenses, however these alternative energy sources can be costly to operate and install. Here are a few of the most popular sources and what you need to know for your home:

Solar Panels

The most popular type of alternative energy on the market today is solar panels. When they first hit the market they were so costly that it was too expensive to get them installed on your home. However, the technology has become cheaper to produce which has made it easier for people to install on their own residence. Solar panels are placed towards the sun, which in turns absorbs the sun’s rays called photons. These photons are captured by the solar panel called a photovoltaic (or PV) panel. This PV panel then converts the stored energy from the sun into usable energy through the panel architecture. These panels are usually clustered together into grids so they can collect the maximum amount of energy possible. The average cost can be anywhere from $15,000 to $29,000 depending on how many panels you wish to install, and what type of weather you have at your home.

Geo-Thermal Heat

Another popular and slightly more affordable solution is fitting your home for geo-thermal heat. This process involves tapping into the earth’s temperature just below the frost line where the earth is consistently an even 50 degrees. Imagine if it is freezing out, but your home already has a baseline of 50 degrees, it is a lot easier for your home to get warm with a strong and consistent foundation. The same is also true for locations that are hot. If your home starts out with a consistent temperature of 50 degrees you will not have to move much air around to make your home comfortable and cool. There are typically tax credits and incentives for doing a program like this. A typical install of a geo-thermal unit could run anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 and depending on the tax credits and incentives you find it could be much less. Furthermore, you will receive immediate monthly savings by switching away from your existing heating and cooling system.

Water Collection Tanks

This is the most affordable method of alternative energy on this list. The method is where all of your gutters on your home funnel into a lager above ground tank. This system collects rain water from nature and allows you to save it for future use. You can have the tank heated and it can provide you with hot water for your home, or you can use it for your lawn irrigation. This is way to capture the water that nature provides without having it wash away. You will be able to access this water at your convenience when you need it. These tanks can range from $1,000 to $3,000 with installation raising the price some depending on the type of tank you purchase.

In closing, there are several options of alternative and clean energies that a home owner can consider installing in their personal residence. These options can have a pretty high price for installation but the monthly maintenance cost is reasonable and often times lower than what you were paying for already. While the cost will deter some home owners, others will proceed with this type of purchase because of the monthly bottom line and the positive effect it will have on the environment. If you are considering one of these options contact a local professional that can help make the best decision for your home and budget.

 

Photo Credit – www.digitalistmag.com

How Can you Make your Home More Energy Efficient

If you decide to move forward on a new home purchase you may find that the home of your dreams is no longer the efficient home it once was. While it may have the desired layout that you wanted and has the space that you need it may be drafty and too cold at night. It certainly is discouraging that your new home is not as comfortable as you need it to be. There are however, many steps that you can take to help improve its overall efficiency.

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How to Clean the Green Way

Keeping a house clean can be a daunting task with all the responsibilities of work Green Cleaningand family. Most of us understand the implications of chemicals on our health and the environment but when it comes to cleaning our house especially our bathrooms, natural household items are most effective and readily available. It is easy to roam the cleaning isle at the local grocery store and pick out a product that will do the job, but what we need to know is that there are other natural inexpensive products that can do the job just as well or better.

There are basically three products you can use to clean your entire house. These are baking soda, lemon, and vinegar. With these three natural household items you can easily clean your house, save money on cleaning supplies and help the environment at the same time. You can use lemon juice mixed with water to clean the windows and mirrors in your house and straight lemon juice can also be used to clean vinyl couches, tile floors or tarnished brass and copper pieces.

When it comes to natural cleaning vinegar is the magic word. You can clean most everything in your house simply with a spray bottle of a half vinegar, half water solution. You can use this on the surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen. For clogged drains first put half a cup of baking soda then half a cup of vinegar and rinse with boiling water. Repeat if you need to and your drain will be clog free. For persistent smells you can place a bowl of vinegar in the room overnight to remove the odor.

Many of us have dealt with pesky fruit flies that are both annoying and difficult to remove. To rid your house of these flies place a plastic cup with apple cider vinegar and some dish soap in your kitchen or other areas of your house. The fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar and the dish soap traps them in the cup.

These are just a few of the ways you can use natural cleaning products to keep your house free of toxic chemicals that are detrimental to your health and the environment. These methods are easy and convenient. You can use vinegar, baking soda, and lemon to replace all the numerous specialty products such as stain remover, toilet cleaner, bathroom scum spray, counter top cleaner, oven cleaner etc. Instead of buying all these toxic products, you can now clean most of your house with just vinegar and use baking soda and lemon as needed. These methods ensure your household to be happier and healthier.

Photo Credit – www.organicfacts.net