5 Ways to Save Money on Your Energy Bill

unnamedYour energy bill can be a serious drain on your bank account, especially in a frigid winter or hot summer. Here are a few easy ways to save:

  1. Buy an Advanced Power Strip

    When electronics are not in use, they can still use a small amount of electricity. An advanced power strip prevents idle electronics from using power.

  2. Replace Light Bulbs

    There are many bulb options besides that use far less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs. Some options include:

    • Halogen Incandescent
    • Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
    • Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
  3. Purchase Energy-Efficient Appliances

    Appliances with an ENERGY STAR rating use anywhere from 10-25 percent less energy than traditional models.

  4. Weatherize Your Home

    Some weatherizing projects may require the services of a professional, but there are some you can do yourself. Such as:

    • Check and caulk air leaks around your windows
    • Hang blackout drapes
    • Seal any gaps or leaks around the attic access
  5. Time-Based Energy Savings

    Smart meters can help you reduce the amount of power you use during peak usage times. Another option is a home energy management system that helps you coordinate the use of your appliances at off-peak times.

 

 

Danene Strand
Mortgage Consultant
(801) 645-5363
danene@vfund.com
NMLS# 442493 

veritas lending

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Welcome Jeff Hogg

Welcome Jeff Hogg
Jeff Hogg joins RE/MAX Metro as a realtor. He services the Wasatch Front.

Before becoming a real estate professional, Jeff attended the University of Utah and received a degree in project management. Jeff’s mentor recommended that he consider joining RE/MAX Metro. Turns out, he found it to be a great fit.

When not working, you can find Jeff riding his bike or hanging out with his kids. They enjoy cycling, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing, water sports and gardening.

Realtor’s Guide to Snapchat

Are you using Snapchat for your real estate business? Snapchat isn’t just for teens and celebrities. In fact, 57 million Americans use Snapchat and more than half of new Snapchat users are older than 25. Furthermore, seven out of 10 Snapchatters are millennials. Here’s a few pointers to make the most of your Snapchat marketing efforts.

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Unique to Snapchat, your profile photo is composed of four photos that create a moving GIF. Get creative. Your profile photos can be serious to silly or even tell a story. Your profile also contains your snapcode or username. This code provides an easy way for people to find and connect with each other and is likely the reason you’re seeing tons of screen shots of Snapchatters profiles on other social networks.

Connect

Start by adding your network. Search for those you know by username or Snapcode. Work with your existing contacts to find others already using Snapchat. You also can connect with and follow people, pages and stories that interest your clientele such as the top 10 who are dominating the real estate industry. Tastemade and BuzzFeed also are extremely popular.

Start snapping

First, let’s cover the basics. Snaps can be photos or videos up to 15 seconds. When you take a snap, you are doing so for one of two purposes: sending a snap to individuals or sending a snap to your story. You contribute to your story while it shares your snaps for the past 24 hours. Utilize your story to showcase a behind-the-scenes look at your life and business. Another great aspect of your story is the ability to see who has viewed your content. Knowing who has viewed your content could produce potential leads and other growth.  

The possibilities are endless in real estate because the industry is so visual. So, what are you waiting for? Get snapping today!

New Build Advice

Are you building a home in 2017? That’s exciting news! Now, here’s what you need to know before you break ground on your new house.house-1158139_1280

Location
The old real estate adage “it’s all about location, location, location” couldn’t be more true especially when you’re constructing a new house. Housing, zoning and even real estate laws vary state-by-state, county-by-county and city-by-city. Understanding the laws relevant to where you are going to live is paramount to new build success. Our agents make it relatively easy to learn and digest all of the information you need about permits and home building regulations.

Price
Building a home can be more complicated than simply purchasing one. Instead of using a lump sum to buy a home, you have to decide upon all the conjoining labor, materials and finishes to acquire a final price. Often times this means balancing different materials used in different parts of the home to stay within budget. Aside from cost, personal preference plays a large role in choosing materials. However, certain materials continue to stay trending in 2017 such as granite counter tops while others like bamboo flooring can stay in 2016. Concerning the general market, experts predict that mortgage rates, home sales and prices will continue to rise in the coming year.

Reputation
While there are many builders in the sea, not all of them are created equal. It’s vital that you shop around. Do your research and check the reputation of builders you are considering. Start by searching reviews online. Find out what did their previous liked or disliked. Then inquire about builders from family, friends and coworkers who have recently built a home. We recommend using builders who are members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Green
The trend of going green and building homes that are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly has been gaining popularity for more than a decade now and continues to do so in 2017. Selecting energy-efficient options when building your dream home will pay off in the long run due to reduced utility costs and increased resale value. Materials and products across the board have gotten better throughout the years. However, there are styles that are better still. Take windows for example, overall windows are more efficient but picture windows that do not open are better at protecting your home from drafts.

Resale
Whether this your first or fifth build, it’s highly unlikely that it will be your last. No matter how much you end up loving the house, you should be mindful of its potential resale value. Avoid adding so many upgrades that force you to overprice your home for the neighborhood. Don’t go crazy and choose anything too out of the ordinary. In reality, our homes are investments and as a general rule of thumb ask yourself, “Will the features I am considering appeal to others?”

Fun Winter Activities

ice-skating-235541_640As we settle into the winter season, enjoying the snow and fun that comes with the cold, now is the time to get outside and enjoy some wonderful winter activities. This year, take a moment to explore some of these events—

Running from December 1st until the 6th is the Simple Treasures Holiday Boutique in Ogden. This is a great craft fair with lots of items to get you in the holiday spirit. Plus, have some neighbor gifts you need to buy? This is the place to get all your holiday shopping done.

In the mood to see a live show? The Grand Theatre is putting on the play, Amahl and the Night Visitors, from December 1st until the 3rd. Or, if you are looking for a show that is more familiar, Centerpointe Theatre is putting on It’s A Wonderful Life!

If you’re looking to get out into the fresh air, make sure to visit the Station Park Holiday Ice Rink. If you’ve never been ice skating before, this is a fun experience for the entire family to enjoy. Another fun idea is to check out the Glass At The Garden at Red Butte Garden (running until December 18, 2016). This is a stunning art show of glass (which is also is available for sale).

What do you love most about winter? Tell us about some events and activities you love to do once the snow flies.

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Each year the week before Thanksgiving is National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. H&H week begins a time for everyone to start thinking about what they are thankful for. The perfect time to come together as a community and share compassion with neighbors who are experiencing hunger or homelessness. H&H week provides the opportunity for a chance to contribute to a national social movement. Get involved and help the National Coalition for the Homeless eradicate homelessness by solving the root causes of it. This year they are focusing on laws passed around the nation that prevent homeless people from doing and canstockphoto25790170experiencing life- sustaining activities.

You also can get involved at the local level. Ogden nonprofit organizations seek help from the community in gathering Thanksgiving turkey and other holiday donations. Catholic Community Services (CCS) and United Way of Northern Utah teamed up to start an annual Holiday Turkey Drive. This year marks their eighth year. They will be accepting turkey and holiday donations through November 23. The drive started on November 1, but so far only 13 turkeys have been donated. There is still time to donate as distribution to families in need starts November 18.

For many in our community a traditional holiday meal is out of the question due to lack of funds. This year’s goal involves serving 1,500 families with baskets filled with a Turkey and other food. With community donations at 13 and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints donations at 600, they are still short about 900 turkeys. Donations can be taken to CCS located at 2504 F. Avenue Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. or to United Way of Northern Utah located at 2955 Harrison Blvd. Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

10 Items that Side Track and even Derail Closing

Purchasing a home can be both exciting and nerve-racking. Prospective homeowners face tremendous amounts of waiting as the home buying process ensues. Here is a list of everything that can go wrong during the closing of your new dream home.canstockphoto14463396

Low Appraisals

The majority, roughly 66 percent, of buyers get financial assistance when purchasing a home. Mortgage lenders often require appraisals of the property to determine their worth even if the buyer and seller have already agreed on a price. In the case of a low appraisal, the borrower can make up the difference, find financing elsewhere, pay for an additional appraisal or back out of the transaction completely.

Financing Challenges

Unfortunately, pre-approval doesn’t always ensure financing. Last minute problems may arise if the borrower loses a job, gets divorced, makes major financial purchases or experiences any other change in circumstances. Delays can occur as new financing is obtained.

Property Liens

Before closing, a title search will be conducted on the property. If there is any unpaid debt that lists the house as collateral, the sale can’t move forward until all liens are cleared up.

Pesky Pests

An infestation is reason enough for a lender to back out of the deal, even if both parties want to continue with the transaction. Before closing, the buyer needs to have the home inspected for termites and other pests. In the case of a manageable infestation, treatment should be complete before closing.

Needed Repairs

An inspection will be conducted to assess the integrity of the house. The inspectors will look for insect infestations, damaged roofs, leaky pipes and more that can lead to delays. If repairs are needed, both parties decide whether the seller will make repairs before closing or compensate the buyer for making the repairs at a later date.

Inspection Delays

Often, many buyers ask to do a walk-through of the home after the sellers have moved out. The closing may be delated as both parties decide how to handle any issues that may have occurred since the last showing. Issues include furniture or rugs concealing damage, movers putting holes in the wall and more. The initial purchase contract typically outlines how delays should be handled.

Changing Terms

In October 2015, three standard forms were replaced with the Loan Estimate form. Mortgage lenders must send one of these with the terms of the actual loan off at least three business days prior to closing for the borrowers to review. If the terms needed to be changed during this time, the three-day window resets and thus extends closing.

Unprepared Buyers

A buyer is expected to show up at closing with certain documents including copies of the homeowner’s insurance policy, proof of insurance payment, photo ID and certified funds for the closing costs. Failure to bring any of the above mentioned items will post pone the closing.

Insufficient Paperwork

Typically title companies and attorneys prepare the forms and documents for signing after all inspections, appraisals and other paperwork has been submitted. But even professionals can make mistakes and incorrect or incomplete paperwork can be a headache.  Although typos and missing documents don’t usually squash a deal, errors can delay the closing process.

Cold Feet

Although rare, sometimes a buy or seller just simply changes their mind. No longer wishing to continue with the transaction midstream can have its consequences. For instance, the buyer would forfeit their earnest money if they back out. If the seller backs out, they could be required to pay costs incurred by the buyer for inspections, appraisals and lender fees.