Joseph Reidy's Blog
Most of the time, we build homes to our taste rather than to their environment. And while it’s important to have a home that you love to look at, it’s also necessary to take your local climate and surroundings into account.
One of the best up-and-coming home architecture styles features something called “passive solar” design.
In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to passive solar and talk about why so many homeowners are choosing passive solar homes in today’s age of rising energy costs.
What is a passive solar home?
Passive solar homes utilize four main things to ensure the lowest possible energy usage:
The building site
The area’s climate and weather
Strict building standards involving top quality materials and airtight construction
Let’s talk a bit about how these three features help make passive solar homes the most energy efficient homes currently available.
Choosing a site for a passive home can be a complicated and scientific endeavor. In colder climates, this means allowing the home to utilize as much sunlight as possible. The building site, therefore, has to take into account the sun’s path throughout the year to provide the home with the best angles for maximum sunlight.
Since sunlight travels lower on the horizon in the winter months and higher in summer months, roofs and overhangs are designed to let in maximum light in the winter time and block out light that would overheat your home in the summertime.
Airflow throughout your home is vital to maintaining comfortable temperatures year-round. Passive homes rely on a heat exchanger system that uses heat from warm areas of your home to heat air that is vented in from the outside.
This means that the air in your home is constantly being circulated and heated without relying on too many outside sources.
Building materials are another key part to passive solar homes. To make an airtight home, special types of sealing and insulation is used.
Furthermore, insulated areas of your home are designed to absorb sunlight throughout the day and slowly release heat after the sun goes down, providing a natural source of heat for the entire 24 hour cycle.
Can I convert my current house into a passive solar home?
While making a home adhere to passive house standards typically requires planning at the construction phase, there are some ways to utilize passive solar techniques in your current home.
Making your home airtight, using thermal mass to slowly heat your home overnight, and taking advantage of heat from the sun are all things that can be retrofitted to a home.
Making these improvements can take time, especially if you plan to change window locations or build an overhanging roof. However, you might find that the upgrades will save you money on energy costs and add to the resale value of your home.
Stress is something that many people today have adopted as a normal part of life. A stressful lifestyle can promote many diseases and other harmful things to your health. It may be normal for most, but it doesn't have to be a part of your everyday life.
Here are five ways you can manage stress in your life:
- Meditate. It's easy to become so caught up in the things we are doing or need to do, that we forget to be present where we are. Start by sitting or lying down in a quiet area. Close your eyes and breathe naturally without the urge to control your breath. Begin to focus on the rise and fall of your breath and release any negative thoughts you may have. Meditating for 15 minutes each day can help you to calm your mind and start each day mentally rested.
- Exercise. You don't have to join the local CrossFit gym to fit in a workout. Exercising could be simply going for a walk each afternoon to wind down from the day's activities or practicing yoga each morning before you get ready for work. Choose an activity that is enjoyable and gets your heart rate up.
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Food has a lot to do with the way your body reacts to stress. During a busy day, the last thing your body needs is another cup of coffee. Caffeine can cause you to become more stressed by giving you a temporary lift only to leave you down and agitated later. Replace your afternoon cup of caffeine with a cup of herbal tea. Also, fill your meals with fruits and vegetables rather than processed foods.
- Take a break. If there is something or someone who is continually triggering stress into your life, permit yourself to walk away for a while. For example: If you're overwhelmed with the pile of bills that needing payment, walk away and come back to the task when you're relaxed. Nothing works to our benefit when we're stressed out doing it.
- Share with someone. A lot of freedom can happen when we share how we're feeling with someone we trust. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed over a situation, pick up the phone and call a close friend. If you find yourself chronically stressed, consider seeing a professional counselor who can guide you through other methods of managing.
Stress takes so much out of us mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Take back your life by reducing your stress and focusing on your health.
You may have heard the term “escrow” in your experience with real estate. You might know it’s an account, but what exactly does it do for you as a buyer? An escrow account is what your lender uses to make payments on things like property taxes, insurance, and more. The lender collects your monthly mortgage payment, and part of that cash goes into an escrow account.
This type of account is an excellent option for homeowners because your bills relating to being a homeowner will all be paid without you having to do anything. It makes budgeting a breeze because there aren’t any complicated calculations involved. Every month, your lender collects 1/12 of the estimated tax bill and insurance cost for the home. The rest of your mortgage payment covers the principal and interest on the loan of the house.
Are Escrow Accounts Mandatory?
You’ll find that most lenders require you to have an escrow account. The purpose of the account is to keep the home safe as collateral for the loan. The bank has an interest in the proper insurance behind the property. The taxes also need to be paid on time in order to keep the property in good standing. If the taxes aren’t paid, a tax lien will be placed against the house.
Everything In One Place
You’ll receive an annual statement from your lender that will show you how much money was collected and placed in your escrow account. Escrow payments often change because insurance premiums and taxes tend to change quite frequently. The amount being put into escrow may change a few times throughout the year. The lender keeps track of all this for you, saving you some time.
Bills That Need To Be Paid
Whether you have an escrow account or not the bills that are included must be paid one way or another. It’s a good idea to speak with your lender before you buy a home to find out that bank’s procedures around these insurance and tax payments. Property tax and home insurance are items that you’ll need to budget for regardless of how your lender does things. An escrow account can be much more convenient for many buyers.
Escrow is just another one of the many essential terms that you’ll come across as a homebuyer. Knowing the advantages and purpose of the account helps you to be informed as you dive into the home buying process.
Selling a home sometimes can be a hassle, particularly if a homebuyer wants to negotiate. Fortunately, expert real estate agents are happy to help you take the guesswork out of a home selling negotiation.
Ultimately, there are several reasons why you should consider hiring a real estate agent to handle a home selling negotiation, including:
1. A real estate agent boasts comprehensive experience with home selling negotiations.
Let's face it – a home selling negotiation can be stressful. But with a real estate agent at your disposal, you can receive plenty of guidance as you make the final push to sell your residence.
A real estate agent is a master of the art of negotiation. As such, he or she will help you seamlessly navigate a home selling negotiation.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can help you up to date as a home selling negotiation approaches its conclusion. This housing market professional will even provide honest, unbiased recommendations, ensuring you can make informed decisions at each stage of a negotiation.
2. A real estate agent will ensure both you and a homebuyer get the best results possible.
As a home seller, your goal is to get the best price for your residence. Meanwhile, a homebuyer likely wants to purchase your residence at a price that suits his or her budget perfectly.
Finding common ground with a homebuyer may prove to be difficult. Lucky for you, a real estate agent will work with both a home seller and a homebuyer to guarantee both parties are satisfied with the end results of a negotiation.
A real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to understand your home selling goals and help you plan accordingly.
Furthermore, this housing market professional will serve as a liaison between you and a homebuyer. He or she will work directly with you and a homebuyer to finalize a home sale agreement that meets the needs of both property seller and buyer.
3. A real estate agent will help you overcome any challenges during a home selling negotiation.
There is no need to let challenges arise during a home selling negotiation. Conversely, a real estate agent will help you identify any potential problems and mitigate such issues before they escalate.
For example, a homebuyer may make a variety of home improvement demands after a property inspection. And if a home seller refuses to complete these property improvements, a homebuyer may walk away from a home sale.
A real estate agent will help a home seller prep his or her house for a property inspection. Plus, he or she can provide details about a homebuyer's demands after a property inspection and help a home seller determine the best way to proceed.
Ready to finalize a home sale? Collaborate with a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you during a home selling negotiation and ensure you can optimize the value of your house.
Let's face it – most homebuyers have limited time and resources at their disposal. As such, it is crucial for buyers to do everything possible to optimize their time and resources throughout the property buying journey. Because if a buyer maximizes his or her time and resources, this individual can boost the likelihood of enjoying a successful homebuying experience.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a homebuyer get the most out of his or her time and resources.
1. Craft a Homebuying Strategy
If you know you want to buy a home, you should develop a property buying strategy. That way, you can map out the steps you'll need to take to find and acquire your dream residence.
A typical homebuying strategy should account for your budget, timeline and other property buying factors. If you analyze these factors, you could streamline your quest to discover your ideal house.
2. Narrow Your Home Search
You plan to buy a house as soon as possible, but you still have no idea where you want to reside. Fortunately, if you hone your house search to a few cities and towns, you may be able to quickly and effortlessly find a great home in an area you can enjoy for years to come.
As you get ready to start a home search, consider your long-term plans. For instance, if your ultimate goal is to work in a big city, you may want to focus on houses in or near major metros. Or, if you want to raise a family, you may want to search for residences near outstanding schools and parks.
In addition, perform lots of research into various cities and towns. If you conduct plenty of research, you can find out whether certain areas match or exceed your expectations and tailor your house search accordingly.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a property buying expert who understands what it takes to find a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price. Thus, if you hire a real estate agent today, you can get the help you need to reap the benefits of a seamless home search.
Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your property buying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. He or she also will respond to your homebuying concerns and questions throughout the property buying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent ensures you can receive expert support as you try to find your dream house.
A real estate agent will make it simple to search for houses that fall within your budget and correspond to your homebuying criteria too. Plus, if you want homebuying recommendations or suggestions, a real estate agent is happy to provide them.
Want to enjoy a fast, successful homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble making the most of your time and resources as you search for your ideal house.