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Blog › March 2014

Home Staging Worth the Money, Effort? Yes.

Nearly every home seller hopes to get their property sold quickly and at top dollar.

Staging may be just the thing to help in that quest, according to the National Association of REALTORS’® 2017 Profile of Home Staging (http://bit.ly/2tGmtXe).

Using things like furniture, color, lighting, and accent pieces, professional stagers transform for-sale homes from ho-hum to oh-ah and work to make a property appeal to the largest number of prospective buyers

And their work has an impact: 39 percent of sellers’ agents said that staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time the home is on the market, according to NAR’s report.

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

 

Additional findings include:

  • The most commonly staged spaces include the living room (83 percent), kitchen (76 percent), master bedroom (69 percent), and dining room (66 percent).

  • Staging the living room was found to be most important to buyers (55 percent), followed by staging the master bedroom (51%), and the kitchen (41 percent).

  • Seventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for buyers to visualize a property as a future home.

 

Weatherize your home - save money!


Weatherize your home, save now

A terrific way to make a dent in that retirement gap is by modifying some habits and slashing your energy consumption.

Sure, you could do a top-to-bottom home upgrade and incorporate the most cutting edge efficiency features. But, again, small changes  can yield long-term savings. Many are cheap and painless. Here are five.

1.Fuel savings. The site http://www.fueleconomy.gov offers tips on making your car operate efficiently as possible, including:

  • Emptying your car trunk. Every extra 100 pounds in your car can reduce your miles per gallon by up to 2%. Roof racks reduce aerodynamic drag and kick up fuel costs. A loaded roof rack can decrease your fuel economy by 5%. 
  • Sticking to the speed limit. Consider that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is equivalent to paying an extra $0.24 per gallon for gas.

2. Holiday lights.Those tiny twinkling lights seem innocuous, but they do chew up energy. As you do your holiday decorating, keep in mind that replacing old strings of lights with light emitting diodes (LEDs) can save money.

According to NSTAR, a Massachusetts-based utility company, opting for ten strings of mini-LED lights instead of to ten strings of standard mini-lights can save you nearly $12 in energy costs in just a month. For more information, see NSTAR’s comparison of holiday lights at http://www.nstaronline.com/residential/energy_efficiency/holiday-lights.asp.

3. Water heating. Warming up water is the second largest energy expense in most homes and it typically accounts for about 18% of utility bills. Three free or almost-free ways to reduce your bill this season include:

  • Setting the water heater’s thermostat to 120°F.
  • Using less water by taking shorter showers, using low-flow showerheads, installing aerators on kitchen and bathroom faucets, and washing clothes in cold water. For more water-saving tips, see http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/reduce-hot-water-use-energy-savings.
  • Insulating your water heater. The cost of a water heating insulating blanket kit is less than $30. For most, a DIY installation takes less than two 

4. Weather stripping and caulking. So they’re not the most glamorous projects, but spending a couple hours caulking (here’s a step-by-step how-to, http://energy.gov/energysaver/projects/savings-project-how-seal-air-leaks-caulk) will seal up air leaks, such as those around window and door frames. And doing some weather stripping projects can cut drafts, making your house cozier and your winter energy bills a little less pricey.

5. Vampire power. Those glowing lights from appliances and devices – your TV, DVR and microwave – that aren’t in use constantly suck small bits of power, known as vampire or phantom power, and cost you money every single month. The simplest way to reduce such waste is by plugging equipment into power strips that can be turned off with a single switch.

Also disconnect cell phone and other battery chargers because they chew up energy even when they’re not powering up devices. 

For more about standby power, see http://www.standby.lbl.gov/faq.html and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57Ctkd0Lwac

 



GOVERNMENT SITE REVAMPED


The Government of Canada recently revamped its site for seniors and now provides a single spot where you can access information on services and benefits, programs and initiatives, and taxes.

It also lets you to click on a map to find province-specific community, social, and government resources.

For more information, see http://seniors.gc.ca