Monday, June 27, 2011

4th of July Events around Lake Ray Hubbard

Wow … Can you believe it’s almost the 4th of July!?! What are your plans for Celebrating the holiday? In typical Lake Ray Hubbard fashion, there are lots of Fun, Family, FREE events going on to Commemorate the 4th!  
ROCKWALL … Celebrate with the Freedom Fest at the Harbor! Friday, July 1st enjoy Live Music at the various Restaurants & Bars and a Firework Show over the Lake at dark. Saturday & Sunday the Freedom Fest continues from 12-5 at the Harbor with Live Music on the Main Stage that overlooks the Lake, 2nd Annual Boat Show, & Vendor Booths.
ROWLETT … Celebrate the 4th of July on Main St in Downtown Rowlett (4000 Main St) from 6-10pm. There’ll be Live Music from the “Time Machine” (one of DFW’s top cover bands), Food, Children’s Activities, & MORE.
GARLAND … At the Firewheel Town Center, there won’t be any fireworks this year, but they’ll be having a Patriotic Picnic in the Park area on Saturday, July 2nd from 12-4pm. Bring your blanket & picnic baskets and spend the afternoon enjoying:  Live Appearances from Radio Disney, Performances by Ken Savage & the Best Kept Secret, Bounce Houses, Rock Climbing, Face Painting, an Uncle Sam stilt walker, and lots more!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Time Home Improvement Projects, Dallas TX

Summer Time is here ... let the Home Improvement projects begin!  Whether they're classified as maintenance, updating or energy saving, they should make your homeownership more enjoyable while increase the value of your home!
Remodeling magazine's 2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report suggests that some improvements are a better investment than others.  Front door and garage door replacements are two of the easiest and return the greatest percentage of cost on resale.
Kitchen and bathroom updates transform an older home and instantly give visitors and buyers a fresh impression. Countertops and appliances can be expensive but yield great results.  Painting the cabinets and replacing the hardware is much less expensive to change the look and feel of the rooms.
Energy efficiency enhancements can improve your enjoyment of the home and help save money on utility costs. Here's a list of a few energy efficient changes. You can also find more ways to be energy efficient & save more money here.
  • Replace older appliances - refrigerators, ceiling fans, water heaters, air-conditioners
  • Add insulation or radiant barrier to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter
  • Seal air leaks around doors and windows; holes in attics and crawl spaces with caulk, spray foam or weather stripping
  • Seal all heating and cooling system ducts
Before doing your next Home Improvement on your Dallas home, try looking through the eyes of a buyer to see what features date your home the most. This could help create your order in which you tackle the projects.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Buyers & Mortgages, Dallas TX

One of the challenges Home Buyers are having with financing may be their own understanding or lack thereof about Mortgages.

In a recent survey done by research firm "Ipsos" for Zillow, a surprising number of incorrect answers to true or false questions were given by prospective buyers.

Over 3/4 didn't realize how the mortgage rate was determined for a borrower thinking that annual income was the most important factor. In addition to annual income, other considerations lenders evaluate are Credit Scores, Debt-to-Income and Loan-to-Value ratios.

A variety of myths seem to have influenced some of the common answers such as ... Interest Rates are set and released once a day; FHA Loans are for first-time buyers only; Prequalification commits the lender; Lender fees are not negotiable and Adjustable rate mortgages always go up.

Buyers' misunderstanding of actual mortgage practices may give some insight into why more buyers aren't taking advantage of the greatly reduced prices and incredibly low mortgage rates.

While getting solid information about mortgages and being pre-approved from a lender are very important, it is only one step in the home buying process. Success in buying a home in today's unique market should begin with a real estate professional that will coordinate all of the different parts of the transaction including mortgage, title, insurance and inspections. If you are interested in Buying a Home or know someone who is, I'd love to work with you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Make your TEXAS House Energy Efficient

Raise your hands if you want to save some money. 
      energy efficient house
Duh, who doesn't! 

By making some changes in your house and in your habbits, you could save 30-40% on your energy bills. Here are some ways to do just that ...
As much as half of the energy used in our homes go to Heating and Cooling. By doing 2 simple & inexpensive things to our home's heating & air conditioning (HVAC) systems, we can have a big effect on our utility bills.

 Check your filter every month, especially during winter & summer, if the filter looks dirty, change it. It's recommended to change your air filters at least every 3 months because a dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to warm or cool your house, thus wasting energy and $$$. 
 Have your HVAC units checked by a professional twice a year (best done in Spring & Fall) ... to make sure all parts are in working condition & ready to go for Summer and Winter! Other ways to make our Heating and Cooling more Energy Efficient are to:
  • Install Radiant Barrierswhich can lower cooling costs between 5%–10%! It's usually in attics (on the walls & floor insulation) as well as around water heaters, pipes, & inside of garage doors. Basically, the Radiant Barrier "reflects" the heat to reduce summer heat gain inside the house, which helps lower cooling costs. Here's a great site for more info on Radiant Barriers & how it can be installed 
  • Replacing your windows with Energy Star Windows would be the best, but a great inexpensive alternative would be to Install Solar Screens on your windows, or at least the ones that get most of the afternoon sun. Solar Screens are the most effective window treatments that you can apply to your home for lowering energy bills. They essentially reflect the direct sun rays off the screen, create an extra area of shade between the window screen & window pane, and also absorb some of the heat in the screen material itself ... all while still allowing you to have a view out of your window. If you're in the Dallas/Ft Worth area or in Houston, I highly recommend Lone Star Solar Screens!!!
  • Install a Programmable Thermostat & Use it ProperlyKeep the temperature set at its "energy savings" set-points for long periods of time (~8-10 hrs). It's suggested that during the day, when no one is at home, set the temp back 8° F of what you'd like it to be when you get home in winter & set it 7° F up in summer. For the night, at bedtime, set the temp back 8° F in winter and set it up 4° F in summer. Here's a quick & informative video about Programable Thermostats
  • Apply Caulk and Weather-Strip around windows and doorframes that leak air.

Now that we talked about ways to lower your energy usage for Heating & Air Conditioning, the next biggest energy theives are the Appliances. Best thing to do here is replace them as needed with Energy Star Appliances. I recommend starting with the Water Heater. Speaking of water, if you install Energy Efficient Shower Heads you can save ~10,000 gallons of water a year! In addition, if you attach Low-Flow Aerators to your sink faucets, you can save ~4,000 gallons of water a year!
Energy Efficient House

And last but not least, here are some super easy & inexpensive ways to save $$$ and make your house more energy efficient:
  • Switch your Light Bulbs to those squigly "compact fluorescent light bulbs" (CFL). They now make them with a "cover" so you don't see the weird squigly bulb.
  • Plug all major Electronics into a Power Strip & when you are done using the electronic, turn off the power strip. This is a great electricity saver especially for TV's & Computers.
  • Unplug any Power Chargers/Adapters (like what you use for your cell phone) when the equipment is disconnected from the charger or when it's fully charged.
I hope you're able to implement some, if not all, of these suggestions to significantly reduce your home's energy useage, especially in the hot Texas summers, save lots of ca$h...all while doing a little more to help our world! REDUCE - REUSE - RECYCLE