Insulation in a Hot Climate

Insulation in a Hot Climate

Insulation is a regional topic. For a Phoenix home, the best advice can prove disastrous. A local contractor can help you insulate your home correctly.

However, almost all of the insulation advice I’ve seen online is focused on cold climates. I thought it was high time to give some attention to those who live in the Sunbelt.

My work is mostly based in Florida so insulation in a hot climate is easy in my backyard. How can you tell if you live in a hot environment? If more days are spent using heat than air conditioning, you’re in a hot environment. You will live in a cold environment if you heat more days than your air conditioner.

A side note: The Nest Thermostat offers cool reports that show you how much time you have cooled and heated each month. The information was extremely helpful when we got it recently.

This is a very black-and-white delineation. For those in the middle, you will likely need to use a bit of both insulation techniques.

Hot Climate

Insulation for a Hot Climate

Insulation slows down heat transfer and works the same regardless of where you live. In a southerly climate, the heat is trying to get in from outside. There are three types of heat transfer: radiant, convective, and conductive.

Think about the temperature delta in hot climates. If you live in Houston, Texas, and the temperature outside is 96 degrees F, and the indoor temperature is 76 degrees, then that’s a 20-degree difference that you will need to overcome. Let’s say you live in Burlington Vermont, where the temperature outside is 14 degrees. It takes 54 degrees to reach a comfortable temperature of 68°F in winter. That’s huge!

Although it may seem difficult to maintain a properly insulated building in the south, it’s much more simple than in the north. You don’t have to worry as much about insulation in hot climates as you would in cold.

If you live in the southwest, where temperatures regularly exceed 110 degrees, your situation might be slightly different. However, the ideas in this article still apply. These ideas can be taken further.

Spray foam insulation is the most effective type of insulation in hot climates. It has a significantly higher R-value than other types. Insulation’s R-Value is a measure of its effectiveness.

Spray foam insulation is very popular because of its incredible R-value per in. Spray foam insulation can be applied to exterior walls as low as 4 inches in depth. This allows for a more effective layer of insulation. Spray foam can be expanded into cracks and gaps, sealing air leaks inside your home. The cost of spray foam is more expensive, but it’s well worth the investment.

Insulation: Where can you find it?

In a hot climate, there are two places where you should spend the majority of your insulation dollars. These two low-hanging fruit will produce big results for the least investment. Let’s get started.

The Attic

The scorching sun of the south will turn your attic into an oven. This is the place to start if you want to lower your energy bills. To keep heat out of your attic, focus your energy (pun intended!) on the underside and not the floor.

There are many options for insulation, including spray foam, radiant barriers, spray foam, and batts made of rock wool, denim, or fiberglass. In a previous post, I discussed the various types of insulation available and how to choose the best one.

After you have insulated the roof to its maximum extent, it’s time for the attic floor to be finished. If your attic is finished, the emphasis should be on the roof. However, for those with unfinished attics, all of it is acceptable.

Blown-in insulation is very affordable, simple to install, and can help reduce your energy bills. For as little as $600, you can fill your attic with as much insulation as you need (for a 1300 SF home, it’s $600). ).

You should be aware of a few things when you are trying to insulate an attic.

Weatherstrip Doors and Windows

Weatherstrip Doors and Windows

Your windows and doors are the next most likely to allow heat in and AC out. It’s not about the windows being single-paned. It’s about air sealing. Heat transfer through doors and windows occurs because of tiny gaps that allow air in.

Weatherstripping a window properly costs less than $20, as opposed to replacing windows that can run into thousands of dollars and which don’t give a return on investment.

These openings can be sealed to eliminate hot drafts and reduce your energy bills.

Don’t Waste Your Money Insulating Here

My 1920s bungalow is located in Orlando, Florida. For a family with four children, our monthly energy bill is less than $175 per month. To keep my bills low, I have used insulation strategically and sparingly. I will show you places you shouldn’t insulate. The payback is so small that it’s worth it.

The Crawlspace

The crawlspace is probably the most comfortable part of your entire house all year. It is protected from the sun and is relatively cool in winter and warm in summer.

You shouldn’t insulate an area outside that is typically within 10deg of your inside temperature. Although I don’t mind if you want to insulate your crawlspace, it is usually not worth the effort, time, and expense.

Windows Replacement

Do not waste money on replacing windows. FCC has often taken replacement window companies to court for misleading advertising and lying. No window can reduce your energy costs by between 30-50% and 30%-50%. Weatherstripping original windows will allow you to keep your money and windows.

Exterior Walls

It is expensive to remove plaster or siding to fill walls with insulation. This can also cause problems. Although I don’t advocate the insulation of walls, you should have good water management before you fill a wall with any type of insulation.

Old houses are often without a way to prevent water from getting into their walls. Once you fill them with insulation (aka a sponge), you can get mold, rot, and other health problems. Deep energy retrofits are possible, but you should think about the return.

It will take 14 years for you to see the return on your investment if you spend $25,000 to renovate your house’s shell and save $150 per month on your utility bills. When it comes to insulation, always consider the return on investment.

final thoughts

Final Thoughts

Whether your buying or selling a home, hopefully, this gives you some insight into how to use insulation in a hot climate. It is not as difficult as it might seem.

Always start with the lowest-hanging fruits and work your way up as time and money permit. It will pay off in the long term. So, do it this way.

What You Should Know About Flat Fee Real Estate Brokers

Flat Fee Brokers

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, it’s important to understand the different types of brokers available. A flat fee broker charges one flat rate for all their services with no additional costs involved. They charge a set percentage of your final sale price with no hidden fees, which can save you thousands on commissions. These real estate brokers work with buyers and sellers helping them reach their goals through negotiation, marketing, and customer service that is tailored to fit each individual client.

What is a Flat Fee Broker?

The flat fee real estate model evolved from the desire to help buyers and sellers save money on commissions related to home sales, which is typically what a real estate agent is paid for their work. While some traditional brokers flat-out refuse to consider flat fees, there are many that have accepted this approach with great results, offering great value and service through one flat rate. This type of brokerage model usually saves homeowners 5% – 7% or more on average than paying typical commission rates of 3%. 

Why Should I Hire a Flat Fee Broker?

You Will Save Money

Flat-fee services are often preferred by home sellers because they can be much more affordable than full-time real estate agents. Although you’ll still have to pay a fee, it is a fraction of what a full-rate real estate agent would charge. Selling your home without access to the Multiple Listing Service is not recommended. Unless there is someone who is interested in buying your home, the MLS is how agents and buyers find your house. Flat fee brokers will allow you to access the MLS, which is the bulk of what you are paying them.

Flat fee real estate brokers

There Are No Obligations to Stay Dedicated to the Flat Fee Broker

You agree to terms and conditions when you sign up with a full-service agent. Unless your home is sold, you are bound to the agreement. If your agent or you decide that it is not in your best interest, the relationship will end. A flat fee broker allows you to leave whenever you like, but you must pay the fee. This is crucial because sellers may need to fire agents for misunderstandings, poor advice, or lack of attention.

Flat fee real estate brokers

You Pay Them For Services that are Right For You

You pay the full commission to a real agent for all of their services, such as establishing a sale price, home staging advice, key lockbox installation, MLS listings, agency signs, social media marketing, open houses, and more. Flat-fee agents will not likely provide all these services for their low fees. You are basically paying less for them to do less. The great thing is that a flat-rate broker may allow you to pick the services you require assistance with. This allows you to tailor the services to your requirements and avoid paying for services that you may feel are unnecessary.

Flat Fee Brokers Provide the Latest Technology

Only brokers and agents have access to the most sought-after technology for both buyers and sellers. Agents and brokers can also use technology to analyze market data to price your home. This is an important service, but flat-fee services in real estate provide the same access and many of the same technologies.

Flat fee real estate brokers

Your Schedule is What Matters

Flat-fee realty agencies are a great way to sell your home. You don’t have to follow an agent’s schedule. You are free to schedule open houses and closings according to your own schedule. The process can be completed as quickly or slowly as you wish.

Flat fee real estate brokers

Conclusion

Flat-fee agencies are a great alternative for those who want to save as much of their money as possible while also learning about the current real estate market. A flat-fee agent is the best choice if you only need limited support or MLS access. Do some research and contact a local flat fee broker today to get the best out of what you spend to sell your home or buy a home.

9 Benefits of Working with a Realtor to Sell or Buy a House

9 Benefits of Working With a Realtor to Buy or Sell Your Home

Reduce Stress

Selling or purchasing a house can be a stressful task for anyone, especially for first-timers. Fortunately, it is a process that you can go through with a professional such as a real estate estate agent. When sellers and homebuyers work with an agent, the process is less stressful and runs smoother than if sellers and homebuyers managed everything on their own.

Here are more reasons why you should consider working with a Realtor:

The Right Skills and Experience

When it comes to selling or buying a home, you do not need to know everything. You can hire a Realtor to help you out. The secret is finding the right agent. For the most part, Realtors charge almost the same amount, so, why not work with an individual with advanced skills and experience. If you’re a buyer, chances are good you can get the Realtor to work for you for free – paid by the seller of the home you buy.  Hiring a professional will give you time to focus on other things.

Realtors are Knowledgeable

Realtors know about different neighborhoods more than anyone else. They have knowledge about sold properties, active properties, prices and so much more. If you are looking for new construction, for example, a Realtors know all builders in that area.

Working with a knowledgeable Realtor in your desired area and one who understand the forces of the market is beneficial and imperative to sellers and buyers. Moreover, the specialists can access a broad array of homes for sale that are not public yet or listed, giving you a competitive advantage over other home buyers. 

On the other hand, if you want to sell a home, working with a real estate agent gives you the potential of being broadly marketed.

Realtors Negotiate the Best Sales Contract Terms

Having impeccable negotiation skills is crucial when it comes to negotiating complex business contracts. It is always a good idea to work with a real estate professional with experience.

For example, if you found a home with less desirable features, and you are interested in purchasing it, your Realtor can ensure measures are in place for you to purchase the home at the best price.

Realtors also boast of analysis of comparable skills, which can help ensure your dream house is priced according to the market rates.

Professional Networking

Realtors are well known for their networking skills. They come in contact with other professionals often, most of whom provide services that you will require to either sell or buy a home. However, because of their liability, many Realtors will not be willing to recommend companies or other professionals over others. 

Nevertheless, they know professionals and companies with a reputation for competency, efficiency, and pricing. Still, these agents can provide you with a list of people they have worked with and share information to help you make an informed decision.

Negotiation Skills and Confidentiality

The best Realtors in the market negotiate well because they are always professionals and do not attach feelings or emotional aspects to business transactions. Some are particularly skilled negotiators. 

Top producing agents are not messengers who deliver information on buyer/seller offer, they are highly trained individuals who handle their clients’ matters in the best light. In addition, these professionals are supposed to keep client data confidential.

Dependable During Emotional Times

There is so much to a home than a roof with four walls. For many people out there, owning a home is one of the major achievements in life. Having someone who is not the only objective, but also concerned can help home buyers to stay focused on matters that are more important.

Answers to Questions 

Sometimes, businesses that close smoothly can come back and haunt. However, in case of such an occurrence, you can always contact your Realtor to clear the confusion. Many overlooked questions during closing may pop up. A good specialist is always ready to assist. 

Increase the Bottom Line

If your plans for 2019 include either selling or buying a home, then you can begin by looking for a local real estate specialist who can help you make professional decisions and also help you close business transactions successfully.

An Underestimated Profession

An Underestimated Profession

Real Estate Agents: An Underestimated Profession

Real estate is becoming an increasingly important aspect of every person’s life. It is becoming a stage of life that every individual would have to go through to comfortably own a home, especially for the convenience of their family. Demographics are dynamic, it is common knowledge that the general world population is growing, and so are the resources that people must share. Careful utilization of resources is important in our current fast-paced lifestyle.

 

The field has become a field where people are carrying out fraudulent activities, such as selling a fake or unauthorized property, and the buyer ends up paying for nothing. This is probably what necessitated the development of a career like real estate agents. They are the ones who are usually responsible for ensuring a smooth transaction where the buyer can buy a home and the seller is able to sell it, at an agreeable price. There are however rules that people need to understand before they undertake to deal with the designated agents.

 

These agents usually work on a commission basis. Most other occupations usually mostly have monthly salaries or wages. The agents however usually prefer to work on a commission basis. This could mostly be because they work in a diverse industry. The clients are just as diverse, and it would be limiting for them to settle for a salary. It is therefore advisable for potential buyers to be ready to work on a commission basis.

The agents are specially trained in their field of operation. It is therefore very relevant for the buyers to ask questions on anything they do not understand. However, the explanations are the only ones which are necessary. It would not be advisable to take their word as final. Especially in a field that is filled with so many fraudulent activities, it becomes very possible for such agents to take advantage of the customers. When it comes to legal issues such as the signing of purchase papers, guidance can be given, but not ultimatums.

 

Buying the home is the agenda of the buyer and not the agent. It is therefore only right that the buyers do not burden these agents with all the work. To have a smooth working environment between them, it would only be right that the customers make their expectations known. For instance, they could set a venue for their meetings as well as real-time frames. The greatest level of collaboration and assistance in real estate is that the agents are getting constant feedback from their clients. With constant feedback, the agent will be able to figure out what lanes to stick to, helping them find a home even faster.

 

It would also be a great help for the potential buyers and sellers in the house development market to understand the reasons why having an agent is necessary. These agents have previously, mostly, taken up courses in line with this field. For instance, they could be well conversant with the construction requirements. The education they possess would be of great help in picking out a home. However, even more, important than the education is the experience that these agents have acquired over time. As a buyer or a seller, one does not have to go through the trouble of learning so much about homes. Having an agent makes the transaction and the process a lot smoother.

 

The agents are also in a better position to give information about the neighborhood. When one is making a purchase of a home, it is an important process because it means that is where they would settle for a larger part of their life. The nature of the surroundings (environment) would, therefore, be o great importance to the buyers. For instance, they would be able to point out the areas where the demographics are lenient or where there are better amenities, such as schools or hospitals.

 

These agents understand the nature of the market and would, therefore, be able to value property confidently. For instance, with the appearance of a building or its actual agent, the agent would be able to factor in important factors such as depreciation and manage to value a home comfortably. This way, the buyers are assured of value for their money, this also applies for beach front homes. They are less likely to purchase a home for more than it is worth.

The customers are also assured of a professional network. To buy or to sell a home is a process which requires a lot of paperwork. There are requirements for Realtors, Title & Escrow Officers, Interior Designers, Landscapers, and possibly the occasional lawyer. When dealing with an agent, it becomes easier because the agent creates a competent network, which is professional to ensure the customers get the value for the commission they pay. People underestimate the much a professional agent is worth in the process of buying or selling a home. After consideration of these benefits, they would have to reconsider their opinions.

Buying and Selling in the Current Real Estate Market

booming real estate markets

The Current Real Estate Market

 

The real estate market is at the best it’s been in years. In fact, the entire country is seeing a strong resurgence in property sales and purchases. This is due to more money on the market via domestic and international investors.

The housing market collapse of a few years ago is also considered a distant memory.  Whether buying a home or selling a home, even the interest rates are reasonable. So much so that real-estate experts are advising sellers and buyers to tap into a wealth of opportunities. With the real trends continuing to boom, now may be the perfect time to buy or sell your house.

 

The Current Real Estate Trends

 

home values increasing

home values increasing

Property values and sales are increasing across the nation. In fact, the current real estate trends are reflecting a new consumer confidence. In recent years, homebuyers and sellers have been able to achieve desired results. This includes selling their homes to buyers with the right offers. Buyers are also offering more due to increases in personal wealth across several industries.  Many SEO agencies are also blanketed by real-estate agents looking to promote new homes and properties. The social media platforms have even made home buying and selling easier across the board. With all these benefits, the current real-estate market continues to grow and expand at alarming rates.

 

Hot Markets across the Nation

 

According to real-estate firms and agents, there are areas of the nation that are just right for purchases and sales. In fact, the traditional hot markets have taken a backseat to some new regions in the industry. Again, this is due to more monies being invested – resulting in more residential developments and sub-divisions across the country. Here are some of the hot markets to keep a close eye on in 2018:

 

  •    Houston – The third largest city in America is at the epicenter of the current real-estate boom. In fact, there are more houses being built in Houston than other major metropolis. The Space City is also known for its luxurious condominiums, elegant penthouses, and lavish homes and apartments as far as the eyes can see.
  •   WilmingtonWilmington real estate has been on fire for years.  With its unique location of being a coastal area, but having lakes and rivers, there are many waterfront homes and vacation getaways in the Greater Wilmington area.  Many of the peripheral cities, such as Carolina Beach and Kure Beach have seen tremendous growth also.
  •    Florida – Despite the recent hurricane, Florida is still a great state for prime real-estate. In fact, there are more buyers and sellers in Florida than practically anywhere else in the Union.  Selling your condo in Panama City Beach has become very profitable recently.  The commercial  real-estate market in Florida has seen tremendous growth as well as new beachfront condo developments- along with high-rises, mid-rises, and wonderful townhomes and commercial real estate.
  •    Atlanta – once a hotbed for real-estate activities, Atlanta has regained its spot on the list. In fact, the City has seen property developments and mass growth. The suburbs are especially great for townhouses, one-story homes, two-story homes, and even mini-mansions.
  •   Boston – The Boston real estate market has been so strong that many of the articles you see about moving to Boston deter you to do so because the barrier of entry has gotten so high.  With Boston MA being such a large city and booming economy – many home buyers have chosen to live right on the outskirts of Boston and purchase homes in Quincy  or Cohasset MA.

 

These are only a few of the hottest real-estate markets in late 2017. As we approach the New Year, expect the real-estate boom to get even bigger. Remember, there are more homes being placed on the market due to the cooler weather. Similar, potential buyers are out in droves looking for open houses and meeting with real-estate agents.

With years of extensive industry experience, agents can connect you to all available listings on the market. This includes new homes, along with short-sales, flipped homes, and much more. Whether looking to buy or sell, you are always in good hands with local real-estate agents and firms.

 

Property Sales Increasing

 

property-boom

property-boom

Property sales are increasing in almost every state of the Union. This includes upscale townhomes, along with traditional brownstones and new contemporary homes. The latter features built-in entertainment centers for LED TVs, along with cozy fireplaces and ample leg room. These homes also feature smart appliances, as well as spacious bathrooms, bedrooms, dens and media rooms. Whether looking to buy contemporary or traditional homes, the market is as great as ever. In fact, you have the flexibility of bypassing low-ball offers for higher ones. Simply check the current property values in your respective sub-division or deed-restricted community. This allows you to base your asking prices on the current market trends – local, regional or even national.

 

Short Sales are Beneficial

 

If your home had lain dormant for several months, it may be time for a short sale. Remember, these sales are not just for owners that are in the red – or facing foreclosure. Short sales are a way to sell your home if the payoff on your current mortgage is more than what you can get on the open market. However, you may need to accept a reasonable offer – especially if your home has not been renovated or or is damaged in some way. 

For example: most sellers will have their homes power-washed and interiors cleaned for open houses and agent – buyer walkthroughs. However, short sales may not leave you with enough time to perform light repairs – or get your home ready for its new buyers .With this in mind, be flexible in terms of your asking prices, as well as offers that may even come from home rehabbing and flipping companies.

 

Real Estate Experts and Agencies

 

The market outlook and forecast is very positive. Despite current weather catastrophes and political upheaval, the market has remained steady for real-estate. I n fact, coastal properties have increased in sales in many areas. Whether looking for reserve or premium prices, home-sellers have access to a wealth of opportunities. While the market of yesteryear was turbulent at best, today is a positive change and break from the norm .Interest rates on home financing and loans are as low as they can be. Similarly, more buyers are investing in multiple homes for multiple reasons. This means entire cul-de-sacs with homes may belong to one particular buyer or group.

For more information on buying or selling your home, simply contact your local real-estate agent. You can also check the social media platforms for the latest real-estate industry news. As we head into 2018, the market is ripe with new offers and sales. Remember, people want to move when the weather is cooler – so this gives you an advantage. Simply continue to market your home with your agent -or you can hire SEO experts to formulate strategic plans for your residential home or commercial sales.

Thinking of Selling a Home in Panama City Beach?

sell your florida condo

Selling a Home in Panama City Beach

 

Let’s imagine this: Your babies have decided to make families of their own, and now you have an even larger family than before! This brings forth the thought, “where will everyone sleep for the holidays? My table isn’t big enough to seat everyone!” This sounds to me like it’s time to upgrade!

 

There are many reasons as to why you’d want to sell your home in today’s real estate market – more specifically your condo in Panama City, but take a look at these few factors before you take the plunge and to ensure a successful sale:

 

  1. First things first. It is imperative (I really don’t know how to stress this even further) that you and your agent are on the same page when it comes to selling your oceanfront property. Your property, an oceanfront condo overlooking the Gulf, would not be marketed the same way a ranch style home would be.My best advice would be in look into hiring a top producing agent. This person:
    1. Knows the competition. This person has lived and breathed their profession and knows anyone and everyone around them that could be labeled as competition. If your agent knows their stuff, they’ll know how to accurately beat out the competition and get you the most money for your time.
    2. Knows how to sell oceanfront property. This ain’t their first rodeo. This agent understands that he isn’t just selling a property, he’s selling a lifestyle. A good agent will see the bigger picture, and understand the importance behind staging the patio, or staging the dining room. S/he will want the potential buyers to feel right at home as soon as they step into your property. This could be their first waterfront condo, and first impressions are everything.
    3. Has a silver tongue. Agents are restricted to the number of characters they are able to put in a listing. This means that the right agent can identify the best words possible to sell your home in just the description.
    4. Knows how to take the best photos possible. Understand that the quality of the photos taken, and the angles of the photos, prove to be a key selling point when the property is on the market. S/he knows where the camera should be placed, how much lighting the room may need, and how everything looks in order to make the most out of every photo taken. Remember, “pictures are worth 1,000 words.”
    5. Your property is their property. Your agent needs to be in this 100% in order to make this successful. This means knowing the in’s and out’s of your property. Do you need flood insurance? How much is it? Do you have storm shutters? When were they replaced last? If new, when will they need to be replaced? What about my mortgage payment- what’s the price? These are just a few questions that your agent needs to know the answers to early on, in order to avoid any problems down the road.
    6. They understand what preparation is needed. Your agent needs to go above and beyond when it comes to your property. If there is trash located near the entrance, or near your property, they will ensure that it is picked up before photos are taken or interested buyers arrive. Same goes for the shoreline.First impression is everything and it is make or break.

panama city beach condos

Price It Right!

  1. Come on, Big Money! Listen, I am going to be 100% real with you: You want to sell your oceanfront condo quick? Price it right from the very beginning. You price too high, your house may sit on the market for a very long time before you get any movement. Your agent needs to start off with a CMA, Competitive Market Analysis, to determine the initial value of your house. Some of these factors include:
  • . Location: “Oceanfront” jumps out quicker than the word “ranch” does. Plus being local to shops, marketplaces, and dining helps with property value.
  1. Waterfront Size: It would be impossible to accurately judge the size of the Panama City Beach shoreline, however where your location is on the waterfront can either negatively or positively impact your price.
  2. Frontage: This is extremely important for your agent to assess. Frontage is defined as the width of a lot, measured at the front part of the lot. So in layman’s terms, the more frontage there is, the higher the price of the condo will be.
  3. Amenities: Most condos are sold as part of communities. This means that there is local access to the pool, fitness center, or even a gym. However, the use of these amenities is not free. They are included in an HOA fee provided by the community itself. Be sure your agent knows of all the amenities included with the HOA fee, so there is no confusion once the sale has completed.
  4. Appraisal (Optional, but Recommended): Even though this bullet is optional, your agent acquiring an appraisal would be an excellent idea. These appraisals cost anywhere from $300-$600 dollars, which is a drop in the bucket if your condo is worth a couple thousand dollars up to a million dollars. Think of it like this: You’re paying someone to appraise your property, in order to receive thousands of dollars extra on your property price. Sounds like a win-win to me!
  1. Cha-ching!

 

Congrats on successfully selling your condo on Panama City Beach! Hopefully these tips gave you a little more knowledge and things to look for when selling your home.

 

As much as we hate to say it, we hate to see you go! But are so happy you made so many memories here with us, in PCB.

 

It’s never goodbye, it’s see you later!