News for Homeowners

Andy Sutton here, from On Point Property Inspections…

andy_sutton.jpg…we want you to know that we care about you and want to do all we can to help you enjoy your home. So here’s what we are doing: we’re searching high and low for great tips and strategies to help you maintain your home, reduce your utility bills, and provide you with easy to follow “Do It Yourself” projects that increase your return on investment. Our hope is that if you implement this information and take care of your home, you will truly enjoy living there.

Lower Cooling Cost With A Do-It-Yourself Project 8/18/2010

radiant.jpgAfter three months of the average outside temperatures of 100 degrees my utility bills were outrageous. If you live in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill or any of the surrounding areas you may have experienced the same pain in the wallet as I did. I started doing some research on a cost effective ways to reduce energy cost and here is the best option.

A radiant barrier can be easy installed with no special tools in your attic space on the underside of the roof between the rafters. This can save you hundreds of dollars over time. According to The Florida Solar Energy Center, a radiant barrier can reduce the total heat transfer down through the attic during peak daytime conditions by as much as 40%, which can significantly reduce your homes air conditioning system’s cooling lodes. There is even a tax credit you can receive on your 2010 federal tax return that helps recoup 30% of the purchase price up to $1500.

A reflective foil car shade works the same way a radiant barrier works in your home. Just as the car shade keeps the interior of an auto cooler when it is parked in the sun, radiant barriers keep your home’s interior cooler when installed in your attic where the sun’s radiant energy is absorbed. In the winter, a radiant barrier basically performs in reverse, helping to keep rising heat from the home’s interior from escaping through the roof.

North Carolina Energy Efficient Appliance Replacement and Rebate Program 06/01/10

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If you live in North Carolina and buy a new ENERGY STAR® appliance on or after June 1, 2010, you’re eligible to receive a rebate of between $75 and $300. Act quickly because rebates can only be issued for as long as there are funds available for this program (over $800,000 available to start with). Check out http://ncappliancerebate.com/ for all the details.

Home inspections help you sell 03/24/2010

When you’re ready to sell your home in the current market, you need to take every step you can to ensure a timely sale at the price you want. A surplus of homes for sale means that yours needs to stand out in style, amenities and quality to make an impression on potential buyers. The more steps you take to make your house sale-ready, the better results you’ll get.

Home buyers want to know the home they’re considering is safe and sound, and the best way to establish that is to hire a home inspector. Twenty years ago, it seemed extravagant to hire a home inspector, but today it’s standard practice.

Buyers will often bring their own inspectors to the table, so you need to start by hiring one yourself. Hiring a professional will give you a realistic perspective on what’s going on in the bones of your home.

“In a down market, a pre-sale inspection can make a home stand out,” says David Tamny, president of the American Society of Home Inspectors. “More and more, sellers are obtaining pre-sale inspections to help uncover and address potential issues before the first prospective buyer walks through the door. This simple step allows for better planning and lowers repair costs, adds value to the home, and it could increase the likelihood of an offer.”

Tax Credit Extension Update 11/7/09

I was so glad to hear that current home owner can now benefit from the tax credit for buying a home. This is a great incentive for anyone who is in the market to buy a home because of relocation, upgrading or downsizing.
So here are the details…

1. The eligibility pool has changed – first time home buyers (those who have not owned a primary residence in the past three years) are still eligible up to a maximum of $8000 for the tax credit. In addition, current homeowners are also eligible – up to $6500 – as long as they have owned their current homes for at least five years. The credit is for primary residences only – second homes are not eligible.

2. The tax credit expiration dates are as follows – contracts for new home purchases must be signed by May 1, 2010 – with the closing of that transaction to be completed no later than July 1, 2010.

3. Income limits have changed for eligibility –the new limit for single filers is $125,000 – that’s up from $75,000. For married or joint filers, the new cap is $225,000 – that’s up from the previous figure of $150,000

4. There is also a value cap for eligible homes – the tax credit only applies to homes valued at or below $800,000.

Stimulus helps homeowners save money 9/28/09

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, generally known as the stimulus package, offers special tax credit incentives to homeowners to encourage energy efficiency — the best part is it’s easy.

Homeowners can get up to $1,500 maximum tax credit for energy efficient home improvement product expenditures. The tax credit is 30 percent of the cost of eligible products up to $5,000 total through 2010. The tax credit applies to products that make improvements to the building envelope, like adding insulation to attics, basements, crawl spaces, exterior walls and properly insulated HVAC systems, since those changes significantly impact energy efficiency.

“Homeowners can save twice with insulation — with up to 20 percent savings on their heating and cooling energy bills and a 30 percent tax credit,” says Gale Tedhams, director of sustainability, Owens Corning. “Thanks to the stimulus bill, homeowners have never had a better opportunity to make an immediate difference in the comfort and affordability of their home and help save the planet — and it is easy!” (ARA)

Homeowners can check out Energy Star for more information.

Here are some great tips to help you grow gorgeous grass next season: start with soil, end with seed. 8/31/09

Take care of some essential lawn chores this fall and you’ll reap the rewards next spring – in the form of a lush, healthy, beautiful lawn. In fall, lawn grasses actually grow faster and become especially strong as the weather cools. Give them some TLC now, and a good lawn will stay green and lovely, and a poor lawn can start to look better.

When it comes to labor intensive fall lawn chores like aerating and dethatching, brute force isn’t necessarily the best, most efficient way to get the job done.

Try a labor-free, all-natural option that is a liquid product, like LazyMan Liquid Gold. You can tackle the tasks of aerating, dethatching and soil conditioning with a hose-end sprayer in a matter of minutes.

Non-toxic and all natural, LazyMan Liquid Gold’s polymers penetrate hard soil and alternately attract or repel water molecules, opening pathways to allow free passage of moisture and nutrients. A brew of microbes feeds on dead plant tissue in the thatch layer, reducing thatch by half with just three applications at four-week intervals. Finally, humic acids and soil fungi promote soil fertility and plant growth. (ARA)

To learn more about lawn care, visit www.outsidepride.com.