Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home Buyer Tax Credit To Be Extended!!!

Great News! It has been tentatively agreed upon to extend the existing $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers!

The credit has also been expanded to also offer a new $6,500 credit for existing homeowners who have lived in their current residence for a consecutive five-year period in the past eight years.

Home buyers must be under contract by April 30, 2010, and close before July 1.

This is exciting news!!! Spread the word!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fixer-Uppers Made Easy

If you've been passing up on buying a home because of the expense of anticipated cosmetic repairs, you're missing out on a great opportunity. Sure, it used to be that if you bought a home and then applied for a home equity loan to pay for repairs, the result would be two separate loans (or worse, a mortgage plus a short-term loan for repairs that often had a much higher interest rate).

This is not the case anymore if you qualify for an FHA Streamlined 203(k) loan. The Department of Housing and Urban Development's FHA Streamlined 203(k) loan allows qualifying home buyers to finance up to an additional $35,000 into their mortgage to improve or upgrade their home before move-in.

With this product, home buyers can quickly and easily tap into cash to pay for property repairs or improvements, such as those identified by a home inspector or FHA appraiser. And the best part is, the additional funds are combined into your mortgage, so you only have to worry about one loan.

There are, of course, rules and guidelines we have to follow, and not every repair qualifies. But if you or anyone you know are interested in taking advantage of this great opportunity, it is definitely worth considering.

Check out my website for more Home Buying Tips!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What You Should Know About Home Inspections

Obtaining a home inspection is one of the most important steps in purchasing a home. A qualified inspector can point out potential costly problems with the home you are considering buying, and a good inspector will give maintenance advice and ultimately give you peace of mind about your home investment.

All home buyers -- whether they are buying an older home or building a new one -- should have the home inspected by a professional after making an offer and before closing. There are a few things you need to know before hiring a home inspector. First, the home inspection industry is becoming more professional and regulated. There are professional organizations with codes of ethics, like the National Association of Home Inspectors and the American Society of Home Inspectors, but membership is voluntary.

The average home inspection costs $300, which is paid on the day the inspector examines your home. Lower or higher fees do not necessarily reflect the expertise of the inspector. Finding an experienced home inspector who provides value for your money is most important.
The American Society of Home Inspectors (www.ashi.com) recommends interviewing at least three professional inspectors in order to find one you trust and with whom you communicate well. I can provide a list of local home inspectors for you to interview, and you should ask friends and family members for recommendations as well.

Ask inspectors about their qualifications. Do they have experience in the construction or engineering industry? Do they have special training or accreditation from a professional organization? How long have they been inspecting homes in the local area? Are they familiar with problems specific to our area like drainage issues, pests or building material failures?

Once you have found a qualified professional, it's important that you attend the inspection with me and your home inspector. Some buyers like to climb into the crawl space and attic with the inspector to look at the home's major systems. At a minimum, be on site to ask questions, examine the problem areas and learn about the ongoing maintenance your home will need.

The standard home inspector's report will review the condition of the home's heating, plumbing and electrical systems. The report will also include information about the structure including the foundation and basement, as well as the roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors. It may include also photos of problem areas or recommendations for repairs.

For more Home Buyer Tips visit my website at www.CristinaTheRealtor.com.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Appliance Rebate Program

Save Energy and Money with the Appliance Rebate Program!

Are your old appliances costing you a fortune? There is no better time to replace them thanks to the Efficiency Maine Appliance Rebate Program going on right now.

Replace an old air conditioner, dehumidifier, clothes washer or refrigerator/freezer with selected Energy Star appliances and you could receive rebates of up to $75.00 today, plus you will save even more with lower electric bills in the future.

Click here for more details.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Detect the "Energy Thieves" in Your Home

KILL-A-WATT® ELECTRICITY MONITORS

Detect the "energy thieves" in your home with the new Kill A Watt® Energy Detector.

This electricity usage monitor and educational tool kit is available for free checkout from your local library. The monitor will help you detect the "energy thieves" in your home and the tool kit will help you put the lid on power consumption by appliances and electronics in your home or business.

The Kill A Watt® and tool kit is on loan in most Maine public libraries as part of a state-wide community outreach campaign by Efficiency Maine, a program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Mainers can check out the Kill A Watt® monitors, just as they would check out a book, from their local library at no charge. These monitors simply plug into electrical outlets and then allow a consumer to plug in any appliance to get readout on how much electricity the appliance uses and then calculate how much money it's costing.

The educational tool kits include a home energy savings tips brochure; instructions, informative resource sheet, and an energy tips bookmark which patrons may keep. An offer for two CFL light bulbs is in the kit as well.

For more information, visit Efficiency Maine.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Home Energy Saving Tips

Want to save money on your energy bills? Here are some energy-saving tips for you!

Heating & Insulation— By turning down your thermostat by 1 degree F, you can save 25-30 gallons of heating oil per year. That’s up to 3% of an average home's yearly consumption, or between $105-$128 per year at the current average rate of heating oil ($4.26/gallon). More Heating & Insulation Tips...

Cooling— Save up to 3% on your cooling costs for every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer. For example, raising it from 73 to 78 degrees can save up to 15% in cooling costs. More Cooling Tips…

Appliances— Wrap your water heater with a water heater blanket, especially if it's in an unheated area of your home. The blanket could save you up to 10% on water heating costs. More Appliance Tips…

Lighting — CFLs can give the same amount and quality of light as incandescent bulbs, yet use one-third the amount of energy and last ten times longer. A CFL can save over $30 in electricity costs over the lamp's lifetime compared to an incandescent bulb. More Lighting Tips...

Other— Install energy-saving showerheads in your home. You'll reduce hot water use and cut water costs by 10% to 16% without affecting comfort. More Tips…

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Asbestos in a Home

Many homes or buildings built before 1980 may still contain asbestos or old corrosive building materials. This should not make you overly concerned, because asbestos exposure is easily avoidable by taking simple precautions. Many green, Eco-friendly alternatives are available which not only provide a safe and health method of insulation, they can even help in reducing annual energy costs.

Tips and Prevention:


If any asbestos is located in the home, most experts suggest to just leave it alone and undisturbed. Asbestos that is not deteriorated and left alone will almost always not pose any risks. The best action may be no action at all. When its fibers are disturbed and become airborne, it can be a cause for concern.

Home professional consultants can provide an evaluation of the home. It is not always an easy process to determine whether or not a particular insulation contains asbestos. Anyone who is unsure about the insulation in their home should have the materials in question tested. If a home inspector suggests removal is necessary, it must be performed by a licensed abatement contractor who is trained and equipped in handling hazardous materials. They can perform the removal in public facilities, homes and work places.

Exposure to damaged asbestos can cause a rare but severe lung ailment known as mesothelioma. Diagnosis of these forms of asbestos lung cancer has been a difficult task because symptoms are so similar to other, less serious conditions.

Maine Going GREEN


Of interest to those involved in real estate, a citizen based environmental advocacy group called Environment Maine, is combining independent research and a tough minded strategy to overcome the opposition of special interests who seek to undermine pro environment approaches. Focusing to rid the state of asbestos use and other harmful materials, they also focus to protect the water and open spaces. Environment Maine is working hard to give the state the healthy environment that the people deserve.

Many realtors have understood this important aspect of our lives and can greatly assist clients in achieving a green home. Green building is the consequence of a design that will increase energy efficiency, water and have a direct impact on your health and the environment. Green construction brings together many techniques which aim to reduce or eliminate the impacts in which physical structures have on the environment.

The use of cotton fiber, lcynene foam and cellulose are viable alternatives that possess many of its superior qualities without the toxicity. The United Nations Environmental Program states that the use of these recycled building materials, on top of the installation of energy saving appliances and the maximization of natural lighting in a building, can reduce energy use energy use by 25 percent.