Protecting our groundwaters

Homeowners who actively help minimize household-related sources of pollution are truly contributing to the preservation of our environment.  The way we use and dispose of common household products can affect both the quality of our soil and our freshwater resources.    

Our ground waters can be contaminated by chemicals contained in household cleaning supplies, pesticides, plant fertilizers, used motor oil, paints, varnishes, thinners and pool care chemicals, which leave your home as wastewater.  Properly disposing of potentially harmful materials can help reduce the amount of pollutants that enter our waters.      

Try to purchase biodegradable household products, because they are less toxic to the ecosystem.  Check the ingredients in each product, and when possible, buy a product that will clean multiple surfaces in your home.  Always read the labels on household chemicals such as tub and tile stain remover or oven cleaner.  Follow the directions regarding the use, storage and disposal of all cleaning supplies.  Never pour household chemicals or yard care products directly on the ground or into open drains, culverts, or storm sewers.  If you must use pesticides and fertilizers on your lawn and garden, keep them away from surface water and wells, and do not use them on bare or eroded sections of your yard.

A strategic time to buy

We’ve all seen the news reports about the real estate market slow down.  Those reports have motivated many home buyers to wait until they are certain that the market has reached the bottom before they buy, so they can get the best deal.  This might not be the best strategy, here’s why:First, it is nearly impossible to accurately predict the real estate market’s ups and downs.  According to several analysts, prices generally are now at or near the bottom of the cycle.  In some areas the market is already coming back and seeing a gradual increase in values. The larger selection of homes that are listed these days makes it easier for you to find your ideal home in the right location.  Once the slump is over, that selection will dwindle.  With so many properties on the market, sellers are willing to negotiate price and terms and even offer incentives. This is the best way to make a deal rather than waiting for home prices to drop significantly.    Mortgage financing is still available at near record low interest rates.  True, it’s tougher to qualify for a loan today, but if you have good credit and a decent “credit score” you should have no problem in obtaining financing with very favorable terms. Many lenders are still offering 95 and 100% financing.  Rarely will you see the combination of factors we have in the market today.  Take advantage if you are in the market to buy.  It is a great time for first-time buyers and investors!

Power of energy effeciency

       In today’s environmentally challenged, energy conscious world, it pays to be efficiency minded when considering the energy features of a prospective property.  According to the National Association of Home Builders, there are specific elements that identify energy efficient homes.  An educated homebuyer should be familiar with each one.

        Look for double paned windows with low-e coating that conserve heat during the winter and deflect the summer sun.  Confirm that the house is fortified with the proper amount of insulation in the roof, walls and floor.  Check that the heating and air conditioning systems are as energy efficient as possible. Heating and air conditioning account for up to fifty percent of a home’s utility bill.  Take note of the landscaping around the home.  Intelligent placement of trees and shrubbery can have a significant impact on cooling your home. Consult Energy Guide labels when choosing your lighting fixtures and appliances.  The label will estimate the operating costs of that particular item. Although it may be a challenge to take everything into account now, when the first utility bill arrives in the mail you will be happy you took the time and improved your “energy I.Q”.