Solar is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Each year, hundreds of thousands of homes go solar, adding thousands of new jobs and preventing massive amounts of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
It has never been a better time to go solar. However, the rapid technological advancements and the growing market of solar power companies means that you have several options to consider if you’re thinking about going green.
Types of residential solar power
The first thing to understand about solar power is that there are several different types you can get for your home. From roof-installed solar panels to off-site solar farms, you have options when it comes to powering your house cheaply and efficiently.
Leasing and purchasing PV panels
One of the most common ways that people power their home with solar power is by leasing rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels from a solar company. There are different leasing options available from different companies, so it’s a good idea to shop around the solar providers in your area.
Leasing is a great option for those who don’t have the funds to purchase panels but still want to lower their monthly electricity bill. Companies who offer leasing often install and maintain the panels for free. The panels will be hooked up to your local energy grid. Each month, your electricity bill will be reduced by the amount that is produced by your panels. The way the solar company earns is by selling a portion of the solar produced back to the energy company and by collecting incentives from state and federal governments.
Purchasing your panels outright has its advantages. When you purchase your own panels you can more greatly reduce or even eliminate your monthly utility bills without giving a cut back to the solar company. However, this also means you’re responsible for the care and maintenance, and insurance of the panels.
Many people would love to reduce their electricity bill and help reduce carbon emissions, but they just can’t stand the look of solar panels on their roof. Fortunately, off-site solar farms are also growing in popularity. This type of solar power comes with all of the same benefits of rooftop solar except that it isn’t located on your house.
Typically a vacant spot of land is used as a solar “farm.” Community members can opt to lease or own a portion of the farm to contribute towards powering their home.
This option is particularly beneficial to those who lack roof-space, or who have a roof that doesn’t receive an optimal amount of sunlight.
As I mentioned earlier, solar power is an industry that is rapidly changing. If you’re not ready just yet to install solar panels or join a shared solar community, it’s still a good idea to look ahead at emerging technologies.
One such example is Tesla’s new solar roofs. The idea is that instead of installing panels, the roof itself comes with panels built-in. What’s more, the roofs are said to last longer than traditional roofs, and they’ll come in a variety of styles which mimic traditional shingles and comes in Tuscan, textured glass, and slate options.
The spare room. How is it that they always seem to be a catchall for random household items and never quite turn into a useable room? If you’re tired of walking by your spare room and it’s dismal mish-mash state keep reading for tips to turn it into a room you’ll be excited to use.
Art studio. Whether you were born with a paintbrush in hand, haven’t touched one since high school or have always wanted to learn how an art studio can bring creativity into your life and home. Invest in an easel and a paint set to get started. But be sure to cover the floors for easy clean up! Unless that is you want to go for the splattered look.
Reading room. Turn your spare room into a cozy reading nook by installing floor to ceiling bookshelves and some reading chairs. Create a room others will envy by building a window seat snug between two bookcases. Add ambiance with thick, ornate curtains and a plush area rug.
Music room. Have you been longing to learn piano or guitar for years? Set your spare room up to be a practice space by installing soundproof walls and adding some instruments. Hooks on walls to hang your growing guitar collection or a small bookshelf for sheet music will keep your room neat and organized.
Crafting room. If you have more craft supplies than you know what to do with you would probably benefit from a craft room. By dedicating space to your hobby you can organize your projects to be picked up at will and safely stored when you are ready to dive back in. If you have more than one craft you prefer you can even set up station dedicated to each one throughout your room. Add a cozy sitting chair for knitting or needlepoint or a large desk for scrapbooking or sewing.
Playroom. Give your kids a space of their own by creating a playroom to store all their toys and have ample room to play with them. The extra space allows you to add fun playtime extras like a rug with a racetrack printed on it or a large dollhouse. A playroom also helps kids transition from playtime to other activities throughout the day.
Movie theater. If you are a movie buff consider turning your spare room into the ultimate home movie theater experience. Large reclining chairs with cupholders add the comfort of the movie going experience. Pick up a screen projector and popcorn machine to recreate that theater feel.
Don’t let the extra space your spare room offers go to waste. Clear out any clutter that’s built up over the years and dedicate it to a new hobby, a long loved pastime or a place for your family to gather and spend time. Your options are endless so get creative and then get to work!
Contingencies are a great resource when it comes to both buying and selling a home. Both buyers and sellers tend to ask for certain contingencies to be included in the purchase contracts for a home. These contracts have a time limit on them to give both buyers and sellers time to get the things that the contracts state done. This time frame is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of several weeks’ time between the signing of the sales contract and the closing of the deal on the home.
Meeting And Removing Contingencies
During the time that you have between the sales agreement and the closing of the home, you’ll be working to either meet the contingencies or trying to have them removed. This can be done through renegotiating or having work orders completed. In some cases at this point the entire purchase may be called off.
Standard Or Not?
Some contingencies are very common and it would be a bad choice to reject them. Buyer’s inspection contingencies, for example, are quite common. In this case, closing is subject to the approval of an inspection report. If a buyer really loves a property and is in the “desperate” category, they’ll often end up waiving this and take the home as is. Your realtor and attorney will be able to inform you of what types of contingencies are the norm.
Some of the things that buyers and sellers see on these contracts are a little out of the ordinary or are less convenient. They become a matter of negotiation. Some sellers may ask that the deal is contingent upon them closing on another home. If you need a home in a hurry, you may want to reject this and request a time limit. As a buyer, you always risk failing to reach a contract with your seller when you ask for these changes. Anything that you’re able to handle in a contract is worth it if you really love the house, but there’s a balance. As a buyer, you can do the same, requesting a contingency that you sell your house before the new home is purchased.
Most standard home purchase contracts include a contingency that the buyer is able to secure financing to buy the home. There’s also a time frame for the intended financing to be secured. The only way to skip these contingencies is to have an all cash offer, which is pretty rare!
Other contingencies that are almost a must include the inspection contingency and the title contingency. These protect the buyer in order to be sure that the home has a clean title and no major damage. These allow buyers to back out of a buying a home if there is more work to it than they thought. The title contingency also protects renters or squatters from selling a home that they do not own.
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As the percentage of senior citizens continues to grow every year, more and more homeowners are taking a serious look at the possibility of having their aging parents move in with them. An increasingly popular idea is the notion of creating an “in-law apartment” to provide a private, but nearby living space for older members of the family.
As an alternative to remodeling one or more rooms to accommodate a live-in relative, some homeowners build an addition to their house. Those with an acre or more of land (and the budget) sometimes consider building a separate guest house on their property. In most cases, though, people tend to convert a portion of their homes to a secondary living unit.
If you’re considering going this route, it’s necessary to check with your town or city government to make sure you’re in compliance with local ordinances, building codes, and zoning laws. Sometimes the approval process might be relatively simple, while in other situations, it could be more restrictive or complicated. The requirements vary widely from one location to another, but you never know until you ask!
A knowledgeable real estate agent can provide you with a lot of helpful information on the topic of in-law apartments. To find out whether your home is already approved for “multiple-unit occupancy,” your local assessor, building department, or building inspector can provide the answer. They can also fill you in on requirements, restrictions, and guidelines for converting a living space to a secondary dwelling unit.
By approaching it with an open mind and a little bit of optimism, you might be pleasantly surprised with the practicality of welcoming an aging parent, grandparent, or other member of your extended family into your home. A separate living space may also be the ideal solution for a recent graduate or older adult child who isn’t quite ready for the cost of full independence.
If you’re currently in the market for a new home, you may even want to expand your “wish list” to include properties that have an approved secondary unit on it. Whether you’re anticipating future family needs or toying with the idea of using the space to generate rental income, there are several potential advantages to having an apartment or guest house on the premises.
Your real estate agent can provide you with data on the availability of residential properties with “in-law apartments” and multiple unit occupancy features. They can also offer valuable insights on the future marketability of the property. While your main objective at this point may be finding a long-term place for your family to call home, choosing a property that’s a good investment could make real estate ownership even more rewarding down the road.
Adding a residence to the real estate market can be stressful, particularly for a first-time home seller. Fortunately, we’re here to help you maintain a positive outlook as you await offers on your house.
Now, let’s take a look at three tips to help a first-time home seller remain calm, cool and collected after he or she lists a residence.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
Although a first-time home seller might expect dozens of offers in the days following a house’s addition to the real estate market, it may take some time to stir up interest in a residence. However, a home seller who establishes realistic expectations from the get-go will know how to stay the course throughout the property selling journey.
A first-time home seller should understand both the best- and worst-case scenarios. That way, a home seller will know how to respond to any potential pitfalls that may arise.
Furthermore, a first-time home seller should have a plan in place for what will happen after a home offer is accepted. This will ensure a home seller is fully prepared to vacate a house as quickly as possible.
2. Learn About the Housing Market
The housing market is exceedingly complex, especially for those who are selling homes for the first time. Conversely, a first-time home seller who takes a diligent approach can gain the real estate market insights to make confident decisions.
For example, a first-time home seller should analyze the competition closely. By looking at the prices of similar houses that are available, this home seller can establish a competitive price for a house and increase his or her chances of a quick home sale.
A first-time home seller also should check out the prices of recently sold houses in his or her city or town. By doing so, this home seller can find out whether he or she is entering a buyer’s or seller’s market and plan accordingly.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Selling a home may seem like a simple process on paper, but challenges can quickly arise that prevent a first-time property seller from achieving his or her desired results. But with support from a real estate agent, a first-time home seller can get the assistance that he or she needs to remain confident at each stage of the property selling journey.
A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with selling a house and will help a property seller avoid such problems. In fact, a real estate agent is happy to provide expert guidance to help a first-time home seller operate like a home selling professional.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will respond to a first-time home seller’s concerns and queries. This guarantees a home seller can obtain unparalleled insights into how to set a competitive price for a residence, how to bolster a house’s interior and exterior and much more.
Want to keep things positive as you proceed along the home selling journey for the first time? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can maintain a positive outlook as you navigate the home selling cycle.
A home appraisal enables a seller to learn about the value of his or her house relative to the current housing market. As such, an appraisal represents an important opportunity, particularly for a seller who wants to maximize the profits from his or her home sale.
Ultimately, it helps to plan ahead for a home appraisal. If you prepare for an appraisal, you can use the appraisal results to achieve your home selling goals in no time at all.
Let’s take a look at three tips to help you get ready to perform a home appraisal.
1. Learn About Your Home’s Strengths and Weaknesses
What you initially paid for your house is unlikely to match the current value of your residence. Fortunately, if you understand your house’s strengths and weaknesses, you can prioritize home improvements and complete these upgrades. As a result, you may be able to boost your chances of receiving a favorable property valuation during a home appraisal.
Also, it may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection before you schedule an appraisal. That way, you can use the inspection results to determine which areas of your house need to be upgraded.
2. Assess the Housing Market
The present real estate sector will impact the valuation of your house. To establish realistic expectations for a home appraisal, it often helps to analyze the current housing market.
If homes are selling quickly, this likely indicates that a seller’s market is in place. This market favors sellers and may enable you to receive plenty of offers if you establish a competitive price for your home.
Comparatively, if homes linger on the real estate market for many days, weeks or months, a buyer’s market may be in place. In this market, you may need to set an aggressive price to help your residence stand out to potential buyers.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A home appraisal is an important part of the home selling journey. And if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can work with a home selling expert who can help you maximize your property valuation during an appraisal.
With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the home selling journey. A real estate agent can put you in touch with the top home appraisers in your city or town. Furthermore, a real estate agent can help you determine how to price your house to ensure you can stir up significant interest in your residence.
A real estate agent also is happy to help you review any offers on your home. If you’re unsure about whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuying proposal, a real estate agent can help you weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Ready to conduct a home appraisal? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can perform a home appraisal before you add your residence to the housing market.
When you’re buying or selling a home, you may hear the terms, “assessed value” and “market value.” There are few things that you should know about these terms. First, they cannot be used interchangeably. The assessed value is generally much less than the market value. If you’re buying a home, you probably would rather see the assessed value of the home as a price! If you’re selling, the same holds true for the market value of the home for you.
Market Value Is Used Differently Than Assessed Value
The market value is how much your home is worth on the market currently. The definition is exactly as the term sounds the home is looked at by an assessor and given a value. The assessed value is used to determine property taxes, among other things. As you can imagine, the assessed value can become a point of contention for many homeowners especially when it comes to paying their tax bills. Many homes end up being assessed at a higher price than their current value, bringing tax bills to higher levels. The market value is what the home will sell for when it is listed for sale.
Be careful when searching for a home to buy. Many sites list the assessed value along with the price of the home or estimated market value of the home. You don’t want to get these numbers confused when budgeting and searching for the perfect house.
If you’re getting ready to sell your home, pay little attention to the assessed value of the home. That is not what your home will sell for.
The market value is a good reason to hire a realtor to help you sell your home. Realtors are experts in finding the market values of homes. They will even do something called a CMA (comparative market analysis) for you to help you determine the right price for your home to sell at. This is where comparable properties in the area are examined for their selling prices and all the perks of your home and neighborhood are considered. The market value is determined by the price of the homes that have recently been sold in the area based on the location of the home and how close it is to certain amenities like schools, parks, and the probability of future construction.
Finally, know that the market value and the appraised value of a home have a lot to do with how much a lender will give you to buy the property. Every home that is being bought must go through an appraisal, to protect the lender from overpaying for a home.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, knowing your value terms can really be a help in understanding the sweet spot for pricing a property