My Motto

To Live, Laugh and Learn, and in no specific order



Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Maybe Next Year

  • I always enjoy looking at pictures getting tips on the best ways to decorate for the Holidays as I used to be that person that spent a whole week decorating the entire house and putting a tree everywhere I could find a spot.  The last several years we have not been able to stay at home for Christmas as all of our family is up north so all the decorating has gone by the way side with a little less done every year.  It's just so depressing to come home after the first of the year and then have to put it all that away, so I just stopped putting myself thru that.  I just love a beautifully decorated home thou as it makes it feel some warm, inviting and festive and I just love all the Christmas lights whether they are colored or clear, twinkle or don't.  Each year since we've been going north at Christmas I tell myself I'm going to go ahead and decorate anyway to help get into the "holiday spirit", but then each year comes and goes with just some wreaths on my front windows and maybe a pine swag and bow on my mail box and if I'm really energetic Ill string lights on it .
    I've found that adding a couple poinsettias by the fireplace and on the dining room table, and melting balsam fir in my scentsy pot does seem to do the trick for the " I'm not decorating because I wont be home"  person. 
    Maybe next year.  Ill keep you updated

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Copyright 2016 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Should you have your property taxes raised?  

You might want to .....read on 

 

Yes you can appeal your property tax bill, but is it really the smart thing to do?  Before you do anything you need to talk to your Realtor, especially if your home is currently on the market or you are going to be selling soon.

Tax assessments are kind of like the Zillow Zestimates which by the way, most seller's hate.   No one comes in your house to actually do an appraisal, its a drive by or sit at your computer analysis, and is quite often completely off base.    Realtors understand this and take it with a grain of salt, but BUYER'S think its gospel and anyone with internet can find out this information

If your property is assessed to low, buyer's will try to low ball you and tell you your asking too much for the house, so you actually might want to appeal your value to get it assessed higher.  Paying a little more for taxes can be worth it in the long run.

Now if your property is assessed extremely too high for the neighborhood, then yes I would suggest going this route, but if its just a little too high, you might just want to leave it alone. 

Call me or your Realtor and they can help you make the correct decision and guide you thru the process. 





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Copyright 2016 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Thursday, September 22, 2016

If I could only get yard crashers to come to my house

  • Your Guide to Choosing Patio Stones

    With so many patio stones on the market, it can be hard to choose. So we’ve done the research to help you make the right choice for your home. Read
  • If you have any awesome ideas or pictures of your outdoor spaces I would be happy to post them on my blog.  I know I'm not the only one that drools over landscaping and outdoor d├ęcor pictures. 
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Copyright 2016 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Love my outdoor spaces

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Copyright 2016 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Friday, December 11, 2015

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Copyright 2015 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

KNOW SOMEONE MOVING

If you know of anyone that is considering moving whether its in the same town, or even to a different state, I can help as a Relocation Specialist with ERA King Real Estate.  There are cash back programs  available for buyers and sellers  when they go through me if they qualify.  Send me an email with the contact information and I'll take it from there.      julien@era-king.com

Thursday, January 30, 2014

YOU GOT TIME?


YOU GOT TIME?

Last week I received notice that my application was accepted to participate in BETA test program for a new mobile real estate app  designed to help you stay organized and on task in this mobile on the go world we now live in.

     
 
In the application I was to list the “techy” things and the programs I currently use to help keep me organized and up to date in my real estate business.  I also had to detail my thoughts on how I was going to be able to reach my 2014 goals, and I realized that  in every note I was making in preparation of my application there was always one key common word that I kept writing down and that was TIME
Time can be your best asset if used properly, but to most its an enemy  because they waste so much of it.  How many times do you hear people say “ I didn’t have time” , when really what they should have said was “I didn’t take the time”  We all have 24 hours in a day, its how we manage it that makes or breaks us.  You have the same number of hours per day that Albert Einsten and all the other great leaders in history before us had, so I didn’t have time is nothing more than poor management skills.
 
 
 
We manage our money, we know how much we have, where its at and where it has to go, ,  and we even invest it to make more, but we fall short when managing the best commodity that we have,  which is TIME.

 

Time is more valuable than money….You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. How are you spending your time????  ~Jim Rhon

 

        

  If you worked every day as hard an as efficient as you do the day before vacation, just think how successful you could be.    It’s the LIST that you make and the deadline you have to work on that makes that day a successful accomplishment,  so why is it you don’t do that every day?

 

  Every day that I drive to the office I automatically lose an 1 hour 15 minutes of precious time just in travel, so I'm going to manage those other hours the best I can, to get the most success I can from it,  or the gas that I just used up to get to and from was a total waste. 



Here are a few of my thoughts on using time to my best advantage to stay efficient 
 
 
 
                              SCHEDULE YOURSELF A ROUTINE AND RULES AND STICK TO IT
 
        I have a schedule for my basic daily work tasks, which consists of things I need to do everyday to stay on top of things and in business. and try the best I can to stick to it.  I've found that keeping to a routine makes for a smother and more productive day.  Get yourself a 24 hour calendar and start blocking off time for the basics you do everyday and you might have to tweak it the first couple weeks to see what schedule works best for you, but once you have that time slot designated and its working, your already on your way to an efficient routine 
                                                       USE YOUR TIME WISELY
 
          Work from a List.  Every Sunday evening I make out a list of the things that I really want to get accomplished (over and above my daily lists) in the coming week, and then every evening I make a list of what I want done and things needed to be completed for the next day.  This works excellent for me and once my daily tasks are done then I can go to my "what I want to get accomplished this week" list and start chiseling away at that.   This way you prioritize your jobs, so when you get called to show houses or to go look at a house for a listing that day you that your weren't expecting you have a clear mind because your have to jobs are done and you wont have to worry about things you still haven't taken care of yet. 
 
                                                          PRIORITIZE YOUR EMAILS  
 
 
The first thing I do in my daily work schedule is prioritize my emails   I only read an answer emails first that are important and pertain to my clients or business that are imperative and need to be addressed ASAP.  I have several folders in my Outlook email program and move the rest of the emails to those category folders to look at when I'm done working for the day, so its on my own time.  There’s always interesting email articles about real estate items or sale ads from merchants on the next hottest item, but those emails aren’t going to make or break me that day so I move them to a folder to read later on my own time.   If I was an employed worker for someone else I  wouldn’t be able to read personal emails at work so why should I do it in my own business.  
 
                  **  TREAT YOUR WORK HABITS AS IF YOU WERE WORKING FOR AN EMPLOYER **
 
                                 FACEBOOK , has nothing to do with work, so leave it at home.  
 You can do a status update, post articles or video tours of your listings to your  business page without even opening up Facebook, so read it and watch your friends funny videos on your own time.
 
It's all about common sense and self control, and applying it to your daily habits
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Home Ownership Matters



REVIVING REAL ESTATE......... THE AMERICAN DREAM OF HOME OWNERSHIP


This was the theme we choose for our motto and direction as a plan of attack for our marketing and  clients, and I just read where the National Association of Realtors has also adopted the campaign that HOME OWNERSHIP MATTERS, and is even having a Rally to Protect the American Dream with a march at the Capitol on May 17th.  We are hoping  good things will come from this rally that will pave the road so that more people can take pride in being a home owner. 

Realtor Rally
TODAY'S MARKET
There is no better time in history than now to be purchasing a home with the interest rates being so low, and with the home prices the way they are.  We do believe, and stats are proving that the market has hit it's bottom in our area and  that values are starting to rise in certain areas.  We had a couple appraisals come in last week with steady to increasing values being marked on the reports which is an excellent sign, and it sure beats the declining market option.   Now that doesn't mean the value of your house is going to jump back up to where it was over night as this is going to be gradual, if we don't have any other economic set backs in the near future. 

If you take advantage of the lower prices now, thats just that much more equity you will have in your home once this market has bounced back. 

I know for sellers its a hard pill to swallow when you can't get out of your house what you paid for it, but on the flip side, you can also purchase a better house at a lower price.  So its really a wash when you think about it.  If you sell $300k quality home for $275K (-25k) but buy $325K house for 300K (+25k) you have recovered your $25k you thought you were losing on the sale, so everybody wins!!!

That theory won't work for every transaction or everybody because situations are always a little different, but for the most part, about 80% of the time this is a true evaulation. 

It's a tough market out there now and not everybody can even qualify for a loan, but with our direction and motto in place and the NAR backing us, we hope to help anyone that makes an effort to be able to purchase a piece of the American Dream.
If you need help getting your credit in line or have questions on how to get it corrected, give us a call and we will do our very best to help.  It's not hopeless, it just takes effort. 

Julie, Bonny and Lynne

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Newest Trends for Bathrooms

WANT A TRENDY BATHROOM?.....    Here's some of the newest trends......
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Copyright 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Thursday, February 16, 2012

DO IT YOURSELF

Does your Kitchen or Bath need a Facelift? 

If you have been wanting to update your Kitchen and or Bathrooms, but just don't have the budget to put in all new, then this is an article you need to read.   Here is a great way to get a new fresh look for your cabinets with out spending alot of money, and it also saves the landfills if your wanting to go Green.   There is even a HOW TO video at the end of article.

Let me know if you try this and how it went for you.  Better yet, email me your before and after pictures and I'll add it to my blog to show off all your hard work. 

ENJOY
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Copyright 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Thursday, January 5, 2012

CREATE A HOME INVENTORY FOR INSURANCE

DO YOU HAVE AN INVENTORY OF YOUR HOMES CONTENTS?

Recently, friends of mine have had the aweful experience of being robbed, and even the worse heacache of trying to find receipts so that they can make a claim with their insurance. Just like most of us, we really don't think it will happen to us and we don't keep good records of what we have. We have an idea in our head what we paid for it, or what all we even have, but that doesn't satisfy the insurance company, nor reimburse you for the money you have now lost. 

Make doing an inventory of your homes contents one of your priorities for 2012. I hope that none of you ever have to go thru the experience of a theft, fire or tornado, but you will be thankful you took the time to do this if it does happen to you.
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Copyright 2012 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'VE FOUND SOME GREAT APPS

Ive found some great APPS for the Iphone and Ipad I wanted to share with everyone.  I don't know about you, but I don't usually have that much time to look over all the new apps that come out, and usually only add one that I've either read about or someone else has told me about.  And the best part is that these are all FREE!!!!

DECORATING  APPS

If you are looking to update your home with a new paint color, but don't know what you want or how it will look,  you need to download the FREE app by BEHR (paint company) This is my very favorite app right now as I'm trying to decide on wall colors for the house we are building.    You can pick either a room from their library or upload your own picture and pick wall colors to see how they will look. You can find any color, shade and hue you want from their color map.    It is absolutely amazing how a rooms feel can change when you switch the colors around.  You can make one wall one color and add an accent color to another.   You can even change out the color of the bedspread from the bedroom pictures in their library of rooms.  You can save your favorite colors so you don't have to worry about trying to find them again.

Sherwin Williams also has a great app ( only for iphone right now) for picking colors and matching colors by using your phone to take a picture of a color you like.  The formula is on each color so you can take it straight to your favorite paint store. 

MagicPlan is also a free app that will actually draw out your room to scale and make a blueprint of its dimensions so you can design your furniture layout or flooring. 

FOR YOUR SAFETY

CrimeReports is a new one that I have recently added that will daily update any crime that is committed and reported in your area, as long as your local area offers this service.  You can find out about traffic accidents or if anyone in your neighborhood has been robbed etc... You can even set it up to send you alerts every time a new crime is reported.  Very easy to set up and use.  If you don't have a smart phone or Ipad you can even put this website on your computer www.crimereports.com

If you have any apps you think I or others might be interested in, please feel free to comment on this blog. 










I LOVE REFERRALS, so if you know of anyone that is looking to either buy or sell real estate,(doesn't have to be in Alabama)please send me an email, and I will see what I can do to help.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BE SAFE THIS CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS TIME IS SUCH A BUSY TIME OF YEAR, and with everything we try to do to make sure everything is perfect, we sometimes just don't think about the hazards this season does present. 

There are a lot of desperate people this time of year, and theft is usually at its highest point, so be alert and extra cautious when you are out shopping, and in your homes.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL
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Copyright 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's Not The White Picket Fence Anymore

It's not the white picket fence consumers are looking for today, it's the updated Kitchen and Master Bathroom or main bath if thats all you have to offer in your home. 
I'm going to focus today on the Bathroom. 

BOOST YOUR HOME VALUE ON YOUR BATHROOM

 I'm really not sure if it's because we  live such a hectic life style that we are all looking for that Calgon take me away room, but this room is very important to the sale of your home. 
From the popularity of the TREND to the ROI (return on investment) the highest area of importance in your bathroom remodel is the sink and fixtures.  That really surprised me, I thought it possibly would be the shower and or tubs or possibly flooring.  The counters and vanity where next followed by the floor then the tub/shower.
So if you go by this article, and it's from HGTV, and I believe they are on top of the trends, focus your efforts on the sink first.  This article I've attached is great because it will actually show you different products you can use, and even a "how to" if you want to tackle this your self.
BOOST YOUR HOME VALUE ON YOUR BATHROOM

Let me know how you like this article. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CREDIT SCORE VS. MORTGAGE RATE

The Higher Your Score, The More Money You Save

Unlike the BLOGS I've written in the past, where I stated the importance of your credit score in being able to get a loan to purchase a home,  I'm now going to show the importance of why that score needs to be a high as you can get it.   The higher your score the less it will cost you at closing.
I know that in this economy many are struggling and getting someone to just qualify for a loan is a feat in itself, but i want you to think past just qualifying and work towards that higher score.

Your FICO score has always influenced the mortgage rate for which you’re eligible, and  In 2008 it began to change your loan fees.
 
In response to major mortgage market losses, in April 2008, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac introduced something called Loan-Level Pricing Adjustments (LLPA). Loan-level pricing adjustments are “discount points” added to a mortgage rate, based on a specific borrower’s risk to the lender.
A discount point is a loan fee, paid at the time of closing. 1 discount point is equal to 1 percent of your loan size.

Assuming a 20% down payment, look at how discount points change based on credit score. Fees get massive for FICOs under 700.
  • 740+ FICO : There are no discount points required. This loan is “low risk”.
  • 720-739 FICO : 0.250 discount points are charged to the borrower, or $250 per $100,000 borrowed
  • 700-719 FICO : 0.750 discount points are charged to the borrower, or $750 per $100,000 borrowed
  • 680-699 FICO : 1.500 discount points are charged to the borrower, or $1,500 per $100,000 borrowed
  • 660-679 FICO : 2.500 discount points are charged to the borrower, or $2,500 per $100,000 borrowed       (copied from Trulia.com)
Now, not many new home buyers just have that kind of extra cash just laying around. Therefore, as an alternative to paying discount points with cash, many choose to “roll up” the fees into their respective mortgage rates. In general, 1.000 discount point can be “traded in” for a 0.250 increase to your mortgage rate.
Example : A consumer with a 680 FICO score is required to pay 1.500 discount points at closing, or can alternatively accept a mortgage rate increase of 0.375%.
This is why it’s important to keep your credit score high. There are real dollar costs for having scores under 740.   

If your not quite sure what makes up a credit score, or what you can do to improve it,  email me and I'll forward you some articles that help to explain this.  Our mortgage department here at ERA King would also be happy to help you.

Until next time, start working on improving that score, you really never know when you are going to need it, and improvement doesn't happen over night.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Short Sale/ Foreclosure and your Credit Score

I'm always getting asked the question does a Short Sale hurt your credit score as bad as a Foreclosure, and while I have always received different answers to this question, Here it is in Black & White straight from FICO.
If you do a deed-in-lieu or a Short Sale with no defiency balance, it doesn't hurt as bad as a foreclosure, but if there is a defeciency from the Short Sale, it hurts your score the same as a Foreclosure.


Everybodies situation is different, and there can be underlying circumstances to each case, so if you are one of those many American's that have landed on rough times during this economy, don't fret, with some help and guidance you can own a Home again.  When, is the question you need to find out the answer to, because no one answer is going to be the same for everybody.
Get lined up with a Lender that will help you with this process and guide you so that your future will have a mortgage in it again someday.
We have a great Mortgage department at ERA-King Real Estate, and any of our staff can help you get on the right path. 
Drop me an email or give me a call and I'll help you get  an appointment set up to see what we can do to get you in your own Home again.

DO KNOW THAT CREDIT SCORE ISN'T THE ONLY OBSTACLE IN GETTING A MORTGAGE.  You can have a great score, but if your debt to Income ratio is off or if you have any judgments or Liens, you can still be denied.   STUDENT LOANS are one of the biggest culprits..... you must pay them. 


I LOVE REFERRALS, so if you know of anyone that is looking to either buy or sell real estate,(doesn't have to be in Alabama)please send me an email, and I will see what I can do to help.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

IS YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL CORRECT

We review our utility bills and other bills that we must pay but have you ever really looked at your tax bill.  Pay attention to the details that are being used to assess the taxes for your home, as they may be incorrect and could save you some money, but be prepared that if you challenge your taxes because you feel there is incorrect information,  and an audit is done, your taxes might go up because of updated remodeling etc...
As a Realtor, I daily use the websites that report the counties tax assessment of the homes, and frequently run into information that I believe should probably be challenged if I was the home owner of that particular property.  We are all human and mistakes can be made.
When your property is being assessed, unless you give them updated information, they are truly only guessing at the interior construction of your home, (bedrooms, baths, fireplaces, living space basements etc...) as the people that do the assessing do not enter your home, they only drive by it and take exterior pictures and measurements. The only other information they have is from when the house was originally built, information you offer, or from building permits as remodeling projects are done.
Do be aware that having a high assessment could be an advantage to you if you are considering selling in the near future, as the public can access any of these records, and will use that information when making an offer on your home, so a low assessment might hurt you.
If you think your taxes need to be reviewed, give me a call or email me, and I will help you gather the information needed to take to the tax assessor for a review.   

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Copyright 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®




I LOVE REFERRALS, so if you know of anyone that is looking to either buy or sell real estate,(doesn't have to be in Alabama) please send me an email, and I will see what I can do to help.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What kind of LIGHTBULBS do you use??

I don't know about you, but I'm still not a big fan of the energy saving compact flourescent lightbulbs, as I like the old style, the incondescents.  It's the warm cozy glow they give off that keeps me buying them, and I have to admit that I am hoarding bulbs from 15 -100 watts in fear that I won't be able to get them anymore. Everytime i'm in a store and walk by the lightbulb section I buy a few more to add to my collection, especially the lower wattage ones ,the 15-25 watts. 
Yes the new compact flourescents do save on energy cost, and have a much longer life span than the incondescents, but I'm just not ready to be completely converted yet, even though I do have a few in my house now. 
If you want to do your part to save on energy cost, whether you are a condescent or incondescent person, do read this article, as it will give you some good tips and what to do and not to do when it comes to lighting energy.   Article by RISMedia
Do Your Part: 5 Ways to Lower your Lighting Cost 



I LOVE REFERRALS, so if you know of anyone that is looking to either buy or sell real estate,(doesn't have to be in Alabama)please send me an email, and I will see what I can do to help.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

7 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

It's been awhile since I have blogged anything about credit scores, but it is still the biggest reason people are turned down when applying for  loans to purchase a house or even rent an apartment.
This article is just some of the basic concepts that you can implement to get your score up, but you should really contact a Lender and work with them since everyone's situation is different. 

At ERA-King Real Estate we have our own in house Lending department, ERA Mortgage, and they are great to work with and will help you to get your credit score where it needs to be to purchase a Home.  Just give me a call or send an email and I will give you the contact information.


Here is an article I found from Frontdoor.com that hits the basics


7 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Credit Score


By Karin Beuerlein, FrontDoor.com

Published: 6/05/2008                                                               

To improve your credit score, start by paying your current bills on time.

You've already heard the bad news. The housing crisis has tightened up credit markets, and it's harder to qualify for a mortgage loan. Credit scoring has always been an important part of the loan approval process, but suddenly it bears more weight than ever.

If your credit is shabby, you'll need to shore up your score to convince a lender you're worthy. Here's how to boost your point total:

1.Be on time. Before you worry about cleaning up what happened yesterday, get right with today and focus on your current bill-paying performance. Pay on time, and pay more than the required minimum payment each month on outstanding credit balances.

2.Shrink your credit ratio. The credit-scoring process looks at the ratio of your debt to the total amount of available credit you have, so add up your credit limits to see where you stand. Your long-term goal is to get rid of all your debt, but a good, short-term target is to shrink your ratio to less than 50 percent. Then 40, then 30, and so on.

3.Pay off a card, but don't close it. Because of the aforementioned credit ratios, reducing your available credit hurts your score. If you have a $3,000 balance on one card with a $5,000 maximum and no balance on a card with a $10,000 maximum, closing the unused card suddenly makes your credit ratio skyrocket from a benign 20 percent to a troubling 60 percent. Resist the urge to close an account when you've paid it off; lock the card in a drawer instead.

4.Get current on any outstanding debts. Got collection agencies on your trail? Pay off your late accounts, but remember that paying off a delinquent account will not erase it from your history. You simply have to wait; the further the delinquency recedes into the past, the better off you'll be. If you have a good explanation for falling behind, a lender may be sympathetic if you've paid off the debt.

5.Take a magnifying glass to your credit report. Credit reports often contain score-dinging errors. Check yours via www.annualcreditreport.com, and look for obvious mistakes like erroneous balances or accounts you don't recognize (which can be a sign of identity theft). Make sure lenders have reported your credit limits accurately, because they affect your credit ratio.

6.Restrain yourself with new cards. Don't open up new accounts to increase your available credit. This strategy doesn't necessarily boost your score and can actually hurt it, according to MyFICO.com. If you'd like to have a new card, apply for one, but don't open multiple accounts at the same time. This looks like risky behavior to a lender.

7.Allow some time to pass. Following these tips will improve your credit score, but give them time to work their magic.

Here's a general timetable:

•Corrected errors on your credit report should boost your score immediately;


•Paying down balances takes a little longer to work (depending on how much you pay off and how often your lender reports to credit bureaus), so you may see results in a few weeks or a few months;


•Paying off delinquent accounts gives you some leverage with lenders, but improvement in your actual credit score will be slow, so be patient
 
 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HOW TO LOWER YOUR ENERGY COST THIS WINTER

Now that Summer is coming to a close, and cooler weather is on it's way,  we need to get our Homes ready for the cold weather of the winter months to come.
We hear every year about how to seal windows and doors etc..to keep out the drafts,  and save on our energy bills, but we don't hear much about preparing the ATTIC and BASEMENT.
I ran across these 2 articles that go into detail about what to check for in these critical areas that can go along way towards saving you some precious money this winter.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, by following up on problems, you can lower energy bills by 5% to 30% annually, and I don't know of anybody that wouldn't want to capitalize on these savings. 

Hope these can help you towards saving some money this winter.......

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Copyright 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®