We are all starting to feel the shorter days and the colder nights. Winter will officially arrive on December 21st and with it comes with several months of snow and cold. The 2017 winter outlook predicts freezing cold temperatures and average snowfall. Instead of going into hibernation mode, COListings wants you to enjoy the season in your current or new home with these seven ways to stay warm and save money.
When you have the heat on, the last thing you want is a cool breeze blowing on you. Most ceiling fans have a reverse setting that allows the fan to run in the opposite, or clockwise direction. This allows for the air to still circulate without a direct breeze. Because warm air rises, running the fan in the clockwise direction grabs the warm air and forces it out and down the walls. The air will circulate resulting in a balanced temperature in the room. This will not only make your home more comfortable, but you can save up to 10% on heating costs.
Lower the temperature
Although some manufacturers suggest you set water heater thermostats at 140º F, most households usually only require them to be set at 120º F. You can reduce the hot water temperature by setting your water heater to the "normal" setting. You will still get nice warm showers and the savings are 7%-11% of water heating costs.
Use energy technology
Using energy monitors like a programmable thermostat is a convenient way to make sure your home is warm when you are home and saves energy when you are away. Keep the temperature lower during the day and at night. Don't forget to lower when you are away for several days. This results in a 15% to 30% reduction on heating costs.
Block those breezes
Most modern homes are equipped with weather stripping around the door and a threshold at the bottom edge of external doors, but as a house settles, these often stop being efficient. The same applies to windows. Seals can be compromised over time. You should be comfortable in your home and you don’t want to pay to heat the outside. Make sure to use caulking or replace draft materials. Doing so can save you 5%-10% each year.
Layer up windows
You can insulate your home by simply keeping curtains or blinds closed to keep out the winter cold. Open during sunny days to let in the heat of the sun. Close them at night to hold the heat in.
Keep it closed
By closing doors of rooms that aren’t used frequently, the warmth produced by your furnace can be focused on the rooms that you do use. Once you need the room, the doors can be opened a few hours beforehand so you or your guests are comfortable. Another way to keep warm and save money is to keep the garage door closed. This will utilize the insulation it provides your home. Your pipes will be protected and your furnace will not have to work harder than it needs to.
Check your vents
Make sure you keep all vents open and unblocked. Furniture, blankets and animal beds in common areas can keep the air from circulating throughout the room. Don’t forget about children’s rooms where clothes and toys on the floor often block the source of heat.
Heating your home during the winter months makes up almost 50% of your electric bill. With these simple tips from COListings, you can keep the winter chill outside so you can enjoy your home.
It’s almost Christmas! You know what that means: it’s time to channel your inner Clark Griswold. Most will spend hours untangling lights while pretending they are having a good time hanging decorations that will only be up one month. While many homeowners take this very seriously, we found some that took on the challenge with a big dose of humor.
These special individuals are the perfect combination of funny and lazy.
Their Christmas spirit is through the roof!
I wonder how many car accidents this decor will cause.
Looks like Santa had to make a pit stop after drinking all that milk. Don’t eat the yellow snow.
Hopefully this isn’t Rudolph.
Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now....hmm. I guess there were some reindeer layoffs at the North Pole.
A traditional Advent calendar has 24 days. A case of beer has 24 cans. Coincidence? You decide. Beery Christmas!
The lights on this house may look like a general tangle at first, but look closer. They strung lights to resemble a mysterious crab spider. That is so Christmassy.
I think these homeowners might have a few cats in the house.
Whoa there over achiever!
Too bad Christmas lights don’t come with spell check.
Happy Holidays from your COListings team!
Friends and family will soon gather to spend hours preparing food, watching football and overindulging on a Thanksgiving feast. Once the dishes are cleared and the most coveted food coma nap is taken, all gears shift toward the biggest shopping day of the year: Black Friday.
While most bargain hunters are scavenging stores for fantastic deals, most don’t stop to think the same excitement could extend to shopping for a home. What most aspiring homebuyers don’t know is that there is a secret “Black Friday” of real estate, and it's when you would least expect it.
According to traffic data on Realtor.com, the number of scheduled open houses on the week leading up to and over the Thanksgiving weekend is a small fraction of the number from the week prior. But, what happens right after the holiday? The Thanksgiving slowdown usually lasts as long as the guests. By the following week, it’s business as usual.
So, what does this mean for serious buyers that choose to schedule showings while everyone else is preparing and then digesting turkey? They will be dealing with equally determined sellers all while facing less competition. This is the recipe for a better deal on a home and a chance to get the contract you might not otherwise get!
While Black Friday is entirely conducive to impulse buying, it’s a good idea to keep your wits about you and go in with a plan. Buyers need to prepare for their shopping spree and know what houses you will want to see and make sure they have the money to get it with a loan pre-approval.
If you decide to hold off as a buyer, know that since lower rates are still available, value, demand, and competition will increase and it will happen before the popular spring and summer months. December is actually one the busiest times for real estate searches. Many people are still off of work due to the holiday and have more time to search for a new home, which might just be a New Year’s Resolution.
If you want to take advantage of the secret Black Friday of real estate, grab a pumpkin spice latte with your COListings agent today who will help you put together your Black Friday game plan.
During this time of year, we all reflect on what we are thankful for. Whether you feel blessed to host Thanksgiving in your new home, or are working with an agent toward your dream home, it is easy to see the reasons to be thankful for an outstanding real estate agent.
Planning involves analyzing the local real estate market to set the right list price or know if a home is overpriced. Planning is making sure your home looks its best. Planning is using their resources to reach prospective buyers. Great agents plan their time so they are available when they need to communicate with other parties. Planning is being involved during inspections and appraisals. Finally, great agents strategize and map out the next several steps to keep it all on track.
Behind the scenes planning propels the process towards closing. Your agent knows what needs to get done and moves you through various stages with your involvement at a minimum. This is due to the fact that they took the time to understand exactly what you expect. When you do want to be filled in, your agent is ready and able to advise you.
With all the paperwork and timelines associated with a real estate transaction, your agent has your back as they scour through each line item to make sure dates are right, numbers add up, and that your best interests are at the forefront. Negotiations and decisions with a good agent are made based on how it will affect you.
A common goal of all parties is that you get to the closing table. Your agent has to work seamlessly with seller and buyer’s agents, title companies, homeowner associations, and mortgage brokers to make sure all parties of the transaction are doing what they need to do and when they need to do it. They are on your side and look to build a long-term relationship rather than make a quick buck.
They take on stress
Buying or selling a home is a serious financial transaction. Not to mention one with vast emotional and practical considerations. An agent should know how to take charge to limit the stress on you. It’s easy to be daunted by the idea of prepping your home, making necessary fixes or even cleaning. Good listing agents take on the burden and alleviate unnecessary worry from an already stressful time in your life.
Your confidence in a highly capable agent gives you peace of mind knowing that you don’t have to watch over every detail. Agents take the pressure off of you. They take your late night calls, explain forms in ways you understand, and walk you through the next steps to get the job done.
They maintain a relationship
Good agents know that their services continue long after you close. As a homeowner, it is important to be aware of what's going on in the market around you. Great agents keep track of comparable homes and keep their past clients informed. When you find yourself in a position where you need their expertise again, you have an established relationship and they are willing to help you, or anyone you referred, with the same great service.
Unfortunately, not all real estate agents are created equal. If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, don’t let it happen again. If you aren’t comfortable with your current agent, don’t move forward. Contact COListings to find an agent that you will be thankful for.
If you live in Colorado, there is one thing you know about fall. Now you see it, a week later you don’t. November is a transitional month that can be cold, but not freezing. Then, all at once everyone is scrambling to prepare for the below freezing temperatures and accumulating snow. Before the change sneaks up on you, your friends at COListings wanted to share a November maintenance checklist to help you get ready for the rough winter ahead.
Make it safe
You know it all to well. The whole household is woken up from a dead sleep by a chirping smoke or carbon monoxide detector coming from an unknown location. You don’t have any replacement batteries and you turn the house upside down looking for any electronic that might have one with a little juice to get you through the night. If you change your batteries every November, you not only eliminate the unwelcomed alarm, but dead batteries cause 24% of smoke alarm failures, which puts your family at risk. Make a habit of testing alarms each spring and fall to make sure your home and family are safe.
Keep the heat
When you need heat in Colorado, you really need it. Make sure to replace your air filter if you haven't in the past three months and clean out heating returns. This will ensure you are warm while you save money throughout the cold months. You can also call in a professional to inspect and tune up your HVAC system. It might be worth the money so you are not suddenly without heat and have to pay for an emergency repair.
Bundle it up
In order to save money and keep your home warm, make sure to find and seal up areas that let the cold air in and the warm air out. The most common are along baseboards, windows and doors, outlets and lighting fixtures. You can easily caulk these areas and install weather-stripping on your own. Don’t forget about winterizing your sprinkler systems. If you get the system blown out in November, you won’t be frantically calling around to get it done before an unexpected polar vortex. Make sure to unhook any hoses from external faucets and wrap the main sprinkler valve to prevent cracking.
It does seem never ending. Just as you finish raking your lawn, you turn around and your grass is covered with more leaves. Nevertheless, you do want to make sure you clean up around the outside of your home to make sure your lawn is in the best shape possible before it has to make it through several long cold months. Piles of leaves left behind can cause mold on your lawn under several inches of snow. You can mulch leaves since smaller pieces can decompose and provide extra nutrients for the winter. In addition to raking, don’t forget about bringing in the lawn furniture and/or cushions. It is hard to believe, but in just a few weeks they will be covered with ice and snow.
Little unwelcome guests will soon be turning to your garage, attic or basement to warm up during the cold months. Make sure to replace damaged roof tiles and vents before it snows. Don’t forget to seal up holes around pipes and cables. If you have had pest problems in the past, it may be worth the cost to have a professional pest service check for possible entry points in your home to ensure pests stay out of the pantry.