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Solar Products for Your Home

December 14, 2017
Solar shinglesCredit: SunTegra

 

Article by: Ascent Real Estate

Solar power in your home is good for more than just going green and reducing your carbon footprint, it will help you save money on electricity and gas! In addition, if for any reason your power goes out, solar products are still going to work for you. The world is working to move towards more renewable energy, especially where homes are concerned, so stay ahead of the curve and invest in these solar products for your home today. When it comes to selling your home, your home may have a higher value from these investments. Living in sunny San Diego makes solar energy appealing since we have sunny days the majority of the year. Learn more about the large variety of solar products for your home.

 

Credit: Flickr

 

Solar Garden and Patio Fountains

For outside enthusiasts who enjoy sitting and relaxing in their yard, solar garden and patio fountains are a great investment. Instead of having to place a fountain near an outlet, these fountains can go anywhere, no wires or batteries to worry about. The calming sounds of the flowing water and the ease of mind knowing you don’t have to worry about tripping over a cord or replacing the batteries makes solar garden and patio fountain a great addition to your yard décor. Some fountains have separate panels that stake next to the fountain, while some have a panel integrated into the top bowl for a more aesthetic appeal and to maximize ray catching.

Solar Stepping Stones

solar stepping stonesCredit: Wayfair

 

 

Throw out your plastic PV stake lights and replace them with solar stepping stones. The solar stepping stones are stylish and provide the same amount of light the stakes would. These are a great addition to your yard if you don’t have a pathway and want to create one, or to place next to a pathway in your yard.

Solar Generator

solar generator
Credit: Goal Zero

Although it’s unusual, power outages happen, especially during hot days in the summer. It’s best to be prepared as well as you can. With a solar generator, you can feel confident that you will always have some power at the ready in case an emergency does happen. Although solar generators do not provide the same amount of power as a gas generator, they do provide enough energy to power essentials for survival like mini fridges, phones, and other small items. Having one of these handy could save a life.

Solar Attic Fans

solar attic fan
Credit: Flickr

Running the AC all summer can take a toll on your electric bill, which is where solar attic fans can come in handy. Solar attic fans blow in your attic to help cool it down, which will cool down your entire home. This will result in the AC turning on less and thus saving you more money on AC in the summer. This is a good first step in creating a more energy efficient home in San Diego.

Solar Powered Pool Heaters

solar pool heater
Credit: Flickr

It’s quite common for a San Diego homeowner to have a pool in their backyard. Unfortunately, the pool is only swimmable for barely a quarter of the year because the water is too cold. Luckily, there are solar powered pool heaters that can help keep your pool warm all year. Solar powered pool heaters have panels installed on the roof where cool water from the pool circulates and flows through tubes in the panels and then goes back into the pool.

Solar Powered Water Heaters

Solar Water Heater
Credit: Flickr

Solar powered water heaters come in different types, one is an active heater (it has pumps and controls) and a passive heater which doesn’t have pumps or controls. Active systems tend to be a bit pricier but allow for more leniency in design and placement to hide the tank. Solar powered water heaters require certain needs like the geography of the house and other concerns so it’s best to speak with an expert when considering it.

Solar Powered Security Lights

Credit: Real Goods

Even if you live in a generally safe neighborhood, security lights can always scare off a criminal or potential burglar. Save yourself from the hassle of replacing batteries or worrying about the cost of electricity and install solar powered security lights for the security of knowing you will always have a light on when you need it. These are exceptionally handy during power outages and in yards with long driveways or houses that are on dark streets.

Roof Mounted Photovoltaic Solar Panels

solar panels
Credit: Flickr

These are the most common solar panels you will see on people’s houses and they are nothing new. These panels have the same photovoltaic cells that have been used for the past 20 years. The most current solar panels are thinner and more aesthetic today and soak up more of the sun’s rays than before which means you won’t need as many as before to get the job done.

Solar Shingles

Solar shinglesCredit: SunTegra

These are your alternative to solar panels if those aren’t for you. Solar shingles are placed with your other roofing material for a less obvious solar solution. Although they are more aesthetic than the panels, they don’t handle as much energy consumption as the panels.

 

If you have questions on solar products or finding a solar-powered home, just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

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Homeownership Has Its Benefits

December 7, 2017

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more. Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

Real Estate @ A Glance – November 2017 Edition

November 28, 2017

Local Market Update - San Diego County - Real Estate
Here is the latest scoop on the local and state housing markets. For specific information on your neighborhood or a market analysis on your home please  Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perks of Selling or Buying a House Over the Holiday Season

November 16, 2017

Photo © Studio D – Adobe Stock

 

Spring is often considered the best time of year to sell. Families can find their dream house, make their purchase, and move in all before the new school year starts. But there are perks for home buyers and sellers who decide to list at the end of the year.

Perks for Sellers
Since most sellers wait until spring to list their home, there are typically fewer homes available for sale over the winter holidays, which means less competition. If sellers price their home competitively and stage it right, they can make their house stand out from the sparse crowd, catching the attention of more buyers.

When You’re Selling…
You can still celebrate the holidays but keep it simple. Instead of hosting a large party, invite a few family members and friends for a quiet dinner in, or head to a restaurant to keep your kitchen tidy and open-house ready. When decorating, remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays in the same way. Stick to more neutral decorations that transcend any religious event like candles and winter flowers such as paperwhites and poinsettias. Whatever decorations you use, keep them to a minimum so your house remains the center of attention.

Perks for Buyers
Despite the limited selection, buyers can also benefit from purchasing over the winter holiday season. Often a homeowner will put their house on the market in winter because they can’t or won’t wait until spring—that is, they need an immediate sale. Buyers who purchase during the winter holidays might find sellers more willing to negotiate on price or contract terms.

When You’re Buying…
Buying a house is stressful enough without the added pressure of celebrating a family holiday at the same time. To enjoy the season, prepare for your purchase in advance. Before you start your home search, figure out what type of home you want and where it should be located. Decide on a budget and get preapproved for a mortgage. And don’t RSVP “yes” to every party invitation you receive; you will need to keep some time available for viewing homes with your agent.

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more. Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

7 bogus pricing myths sellers shouldn’t fall for

November 9, 2017

 

Weighing sellers’ expectations against market realities can be a delicate dance

  • Sellers tend to overprice and spend a tremendous amount of effort trying to defend their price, even if the market doesn’t support it.
  • Pricing a home correctly is a partnership between sellers and their agent, not a battle of wills.

When it comes down to it, the most important advice a real estate agent can give sellers is how to price their home. No matter how beautiful or well-maintained a property may be, how many upgrades it has or how well it shows, if a home is not properly priced, it’s going to be a tough sell.

The battle for agents most often lies with aligning what sellers’ think their home is worth with its true market value.

These disparate realities can be difficult to merge when working with a seller to set a list price or on a price adjustment.

Here are seven pricing myths that often get in the away:

1. It is better to price the home on the high side because the seller can always come down. If buyers are interested, they can make an offer.

Well, not quite. If a home is overpriced, a seller risks losing potential buyers who aren’t stretching their search into an uncomfortable price range.

The asking price sets the stage and may invite or dissuade buyers based on the dollar amount. Just as you would painstakingly prepare your home for sale, you never get a second chance to make a first impression price-wise.

2. If a home is priced just right, a seller risks leaving money on the table. 

Actually, the opposite is true. A well-priced home tends to generate a lot of interest and can result in multiple offers.

A shorter marketing span brings strong offers that could result in a home selling for over asking price.

Buyers are less likely to play “let’s make a deal” and nit-pick every little thing; they feel the urgency of competing with other interested parties for the same house.

3. The price gets better with time. If it doesn’t sell this time, the seller will get a better price by re-listing next spring, next summer, etc.

It has been said before, but it needs to be said again: A home that sits is not like fine wine — it does not get better with time.

The longer a home stays on the market, the more likely buyers are to question its value.

Subsequently, any offers that come in tend to be perceived as too low by an already-frustrated seller who thinks there weren’t any buyers for their home while it was on the market the first time.

Granted, some seasons can be better than others — and that really depends on where a home is geographically located.

Trying to attract maximum traffic in the dead of winter may not be the best strategy, but if priced aggressively, a seller may just get that serious buyer who is ready to close.

Waiting to re-list again may mean competing with other houses on the market that are both nicer and offer more bang for their buck.

The additional carrying costs of a mortgage, maintenance and upkeep as well as the possibility of needing to make repairs to an aging roof or AC system eat into the profitability of commanding a better price next year.

If the home is somewhat dated on the inside, price out the cost of replacing granite counters, updating appliances, repainting and other upgrades, and it will likely be much less expensive to adjust the price without as much hassle.

4. X price is as low as the seller will go.

When faced with an offer that is less than what they want, sellers love to draw a line in the sand and dig their heels in over an arbitrary number that they deem to be “their bottom line.”

Who decides what a property is ultimately worth anyway? Buyers see the glass as half empty versus half full, and in some markets and real estate cycles, they are holding the cards.

Sellers can decline an offer based on a number, but they may never get there with another buyer, and a subsequent offer may be lower or layered with conditions and complications.

5. An offer should come in close to asking price.

Sellers are often disappointed at the initial price when an offer is received and ask “why so low?”

Does a seller really think a buyer is going to be generous with their initial offer?

Unless it is a really hot property, priced aggressively or in a low-inventory market, no buyer is going to willingly offer more than they have to, especially on a first pass. They want to get a sense of the seller’s flexibility or lack thereof before deciding their next move.

6. Outdated features shouldn’t impact the selling price.

So the home has “upgrades” circa 1990 with white melamine cabinets, beveled edge laminate counters and builder grade 12-by-12-inch tile with brass fixtures, and the seller expects the buyer to pay full asking price or close to it?

Reality check!

The buyers are looking at how much they are going to have to spend to bring the home up to today’s standards and are going to deduct accordingly when formulating an offer.

7. The buyer’s offer is simply too far off the asking price to counter.  

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. A buyer has stepped up and put pen to the paper with a proposal. An offer is an invitation to negotiate and begin discussions about the property.

It can be easy to get offended, but it’s best to keep emotion out of negotiation as much as possible and work in good faith with what’s presented. A seller will learn quickly if it looks like a deal may come together.

Pricing a property is a delicate dance. The bottom line is that the market doesn’t guarantee as strong a price as sellers usually want or expect — unless the home is a highly sought after, rare type of property.

Setting the stage with the right pricing will often set the tone for how smoothly the listing experience will unfold.

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117. 

Meet Me Outside

November 2, 2017

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more. Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

How to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim After a Fire

October 26, 2017

By Tobie Stanger:  Consumer Reports

Follow these tips to make sure you’re compensated correctly:

The wildfires in California have destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. It’s a catastrophe that could happen anywhere, but if you have a homeowners insurance policy, which covers all kinds of fires, including wildfires, you’ll be covered.

The road to recovery, however, won’t start until you get in touch with your insurer or the agent who sold you the homeowners insurance so you can make a claim.

The insurance company will then assign an adjuster, who will assess the damage and submit an estimate for review by the insurance company.

The amount you’re paid will depend on the kind of coverage you have. While “replacement cost” coverage should cover the cost of repairing or replacing your home and any lost or damaged items, “actual cash value” coverage will pay you the value of your home and the damaged items inside, less depreciation.

To make sure you get your due, follow these tips:

Document all losses. After the fire, take plenty of photos of the damage and make a list of items that were destroyed or are in need of repair. Include the amount you paid for the items and gather any receipts you can find. “The more of that you can do before the adjuster arrives, the faster the process will go,” says Jeanne Salvatore, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, which represents the property and casualty insurance industry.

Verify the adjuster’s identity. After natural disasters there can sometimes be scammers trying to make money off your misfortune. To reduce the chance of being scammed, ask the insurance company for the adjuster’s name before he or she arrives, and then ask for identification before letting the person into your home.

MORE ABOUT HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

What You Don’t Know About Homeowners Insurance Could Cost You
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Show the adjuster all the damage. Make sure that you are home when the adjuster visits and that he or she gets a complete view of everything that was lost or damaged. It’s not enough just to walk through part of your home.

Document all contact with the insurance company. After the adjuster leaves, remain in contact by email so you have backup of all your communication. Keep notes about when an adjuster visits as well as any missed appointments, unreturned phone calls, what you discussed, and even if he or she was rude. While you probably won’t need this information, it will be useful if any disagreements have to be resolved in court.

Make copies of all documents. Copy everything you give to the adjuster, such as your list of property lost or damaged. If the adjuster advises you to start repairs, get that permission in writing, advises Steve Mostyn, an attorney in Houston who represents consumers against insurers.

Mostyn says that in an emergency situation, the first adjuster may be replaced by a new one during the claims process, so having correspondence in writing could be helpful to you. “There’s often not a good hand-off of information when the next adjuster comes in,” he explains.

Get additional estimates if necessary. If you have custom work in your house, an adjuster may not know how to properly estimate the value. Get an outside estimate from a contractor.

Discuss any exclusion or limits in your policy. If your insurer maintains that your policy doesn’t cover all the damages or if you think the compensation is too low, ask the carrier’s representative to explain in writing how he or she got to the estimate. The rep should also include any reasons for why certain items aren’t covered and whether there are any coverage limits.

If you feel the wording in the policy is misleading, contact a local plaintiff’s attorney who specializes in insurance law. The Consumer Federation of America notes that courts have consistently ruled in favor of policyholders on policy ambiguities. File a complaint with your state’s department of insurance.

Consider Hiring a Public Adjuster

If you have a very large claim, you may want to turn to a public adjuster, an independent adjuster who works on your behalf and represents you on the claim. But be aware of fees. In some states a public adjuster’s fees are capped, typically at 10 to 12 percent of the insurance payout. In other states there are either no caps or adjusters simply charge a flat fee.

To find a public adjuster, check with the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. When you reach the adjuster, ask for references from past clients and look to see whether he or she has several years of experience and a state license where required.

In the five states where no licensing is required—Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, South Dakota, and Wisconsin—contact an attorney who works with catastrophe victims to help you find a reputable adjuster, suggests Diane Swerling, vice president at Swerling Milton Winnick Public Insurance Adjusters in Wellesley, Mass.

Consider me your #1 resource for all things Real Estate! Selling, buying, upsizing, downsizing, relocating, investing, vendor referrals, shoulder to cry on during renovations and more.Just send me an email or call me at 619-888-2117.

 

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