Simple Steps to Shrink Your Home’s Delaware Energy Bills
Right about this time during most years, if yours is a typical Delaware home with typical cooling capacity, its energy consumption will rise (just as it does in the chilliest depths of winter). It isn’t at the top of most homeowners’ summer to-do list, but now is an ideal time to take a hard look at how to reduce your Delaware home’s energy consumption.
According to the people who study these things, now is actually an ideal time to assess how your home’s energy use can be improved. That’s because—according to the U.S. Department of Energy—three-quarters of all U.S. homes have air-conditioning. The Consumer Energy Alliance says that cooling demands account for “approximately $29 billion annually to individuals and families.” If you’re used to an abrupt rise in your own Delaware energy bills right about now, your family’s budget confirms the claim.
Professional energy audits take between a half an hour and four hours—and are almost always worth the cost. But short of that, there are many budget-saving actions you can take yourself, right now. Here are some of them:
· Clean or change your filters
· Raise the thermostat (rule of thumb is that a 7-10 degree change can save 10% every year)
· Upgrade to LED bulbs
· Clear space around air vents
· If the attic is suitable for frying eggs, see about getting better insulation or (better still) an attic fan
· Check your water heater temperature. Recommended: 120F.
That third bullet-point is a beauty. LED bulbs don’t just use 75% less energy—they also emit less heat (a summertime add-on). Yes, they seem to cost a lot more— but not when you consider that they last 25 times longer!
- Written by Jimmie Bachand
Delaware ‘For Sale’ Signs’ “Startle” Power
Every now and then we have to shake our heads at how much the electronic transformation has changed daily living in Delaware. Electronics have invaded practically everything—from home wifi to ultra hi-def TV to cell phones that double as search engines.
As you read this, you’re only a couple of clicks away from being able to summon up all the current Delaware homes for sale that fit your chosen criteria. Want to check out 3-bedroom single family residences currently listed for $400,000 or less? Click click: here they are—complete with pictures (and perhaps a video tour). It’s a revolution that’s still ongoing, too—one bound to produce surprises we haven’t even imagined.
Yet, despite the sweeping changes in Delaware real estate marketing, there is one old standby whose power and utility hasn’t changed one whit. It is master of the real (nonvirtual) realm.
The two words in point are “For Sale”—specifically when they appear on one of my eye-catching front yard signs. Their power is undeniable; proven time and time again. As soon as a ‘for sale’ sign appears in a front yard, the secret is out! Everybody in the neighborhood quickly notes the nearby property that’s suddenly available. If family or friends have been thinking of moving closer, it’s a possible solution. If a neighbor has been looking for more room (or thinking of downsizing), likewise. Prospects who have been eyeing the area will write down my phone number and give me a call. Even casual passersby who hadn’t been entertaining the idea of buying a home may suddenly find themselves mulling the possibility: “I hadn’t been thinking of a change, but I saw your sign over on _______, and we were wondering how much they’re asking…”
The truth is, the good old-fashioned ‘For Sale’ sign still packs a wallop—possibly because it sticks out so startlingly on an otherwise unchanging residential street. It’s an unexpected direct communication. And whether or not prospective buyers have even been thinking of themselves in that category, everyone gets the message: what if that place could be mine?
- Written by Jimmie Bachand
What Four Word Goal do Most FSBO Sellers Fail to Meet?
When you boil down what most people are looking for when it comes to choosing their Delaware agent, it’s usually an outcome that can be summed up by a simple 4-word phrase, “best price, least hassle.” It’s no different whether you’re buying or selling.
For Delaware home sellers, the best price, least hassle observation certainly holds—but it might not be the first thing that leaps to mind. That is probably, “get it sold!” The price/hassle factors may prevail after all is said and done, but at the outset, simply accomplishing the Big One (selling your home) is likely to overshadow everything else. Larry the Cable Guy’s famous, “Git ‘er done” is a lot more than just a throwaway laugh line.
These ideas seem to have been confirmed by interviews with actual American sellers and buyers. In the most recent National Association of Realtors®’ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the number of “go it alone” sellers fell to an all-time low. For-Sale-by-Owner sales have now dropped to 7% of all successful sales. When that percentage was first measured in 1981, it was 15%, and it’s been dropping ever since. If you assume that sellers choose a licensed agent because they know that professional guidance is the surest path to a completed sale, the growing popularity of their choice isn’t surprising.
There’s little doubt that choosing a licensed Delaware real estate agent results in significantly less hassle—but since the primary motivation of For-Sale-by-Owner sellers is usually monetary, you’d think the added hassle would at least result in a superior “best price” bottom line. Not so: according to last year’s statistics, the typical FSBO home, if it sold at all, went for $200,000—$65,000 less than agent-assisted sales.When it nears time for you to put your own Delaware home on the market, I hope you’ll consider me to be your agent. My track record demonstrates outstanding performance in the “best price, least hassle” department!
- Written by Jimmie Bachand
Sussex County Home: How Decade Sensitive are You?
First of all, a Spoiler Alert: It’s not fair to peek down where the answers are! Now that we’re clear on that, this is a quiz that will tell you how "Decade Sensitive" you are when it comes to Sussex County home décor. It took a little browsing around to put this together, but it sure was fun.
The idea is to match the décor item with the decade it is most closely associated with. Ready? GO!
A. Popcorn Ceilings
C. Sherwood Green & Stratford Yellow
D. Stainless Steel Appliances
E. Shag Carpets
F. Sustainable Materials
G. Kitchen Islands
Now that you’ve matched the items with the decade, you’ve probably noticed that there is a lot of ambiguity here, because Sussex County home décor themes didn’t just go in and out of style at the beginnings and ends of decades. The answers are combed from a variety of sources, but here is what the consensus (sort of) agrees on:
The 50s: Answer-C. Sherwood Green and Stratford Yellow were first popularized for kitchen appliances during the postwar era. The 50s can be forgiven for these unnatural apparitions, which might have had something to do with the advent of vinyl flooring in the kitchen …
The 60s: Answer-A. Popcorn Ceilings – Thank you, The 60s, for giving us this innovation. They were popularized for conveying a "textured" look, adding insulation, and cutting down sound. We’ve been scraping them off ever since…
The 70s: Answer-E. Shag Carpets (of course!). Sometimes associated with the 60s, but unmistakably reaching peak popularity in the 70s, a "period when wall-to-wall carpeting was fairly new." Its fluffy look and feel remained popular until The 90s, when it is said to have "faded into oblivion." Hardly—it’s still causing vacuum cleaner jams in Sussex County homes with cool "vintage" décor.
The 80s: Answer-B. McMansions, aka "garage Mahal," "starter castle," and "Hummer home." They may have been around since The 70s, but the term first appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1990. Even the wisecracking nickname couldn’t curb the irresistible advantages of the mass-produced luxury home. Unexpectedly, some of them turn out to have been quite well-built.
The 90s: Answer-G. Kitchen Islands. If you placed these in The 80s, you’ve got a good argument, because that’s the era when modern kitchen design really took off. In The 90s, though, the ‘island’ first took its place in the majority of new kitchens spacious enough to make it practical. They are still everywhere, so you’re forgiven if you put them in The 2000s or Now.
The 2000s: Answer-F. Sustainable Materials. Even defining "sustainability" can get you into an argument (it could be salvaged wood countertops; might be granite), but the Green movement that took off in The 60s began to get serious government support in the New Millennium.
NOW: Answer-D. Stainless Steel Appliances. You can’t get away from them: today’s prospective Sussex County home shopper is finding glistening stainless steel refrigerator and oven doors in kitchens all over the place. This finish may have been around for more than a decade, but is NOW available at so many price points it’s hard to think of a single décor item that is as widespread—or one that’s more likely to stay popular long into the future.
With or without the stainless steel appliances, if yours is one of the Sussex County homes that will be listing this spring, do give me a call!
- Written by Russell Stucki