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Minor Winter Repairs Equal Major Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Saver Guide, the typical U.S. family spends at least $2,200 per year on home utility bills, and heating and cooling accounts for the biggest portion – approximately 48 percent. The DOE says that those bills could be reduced by up to 25 percent by taking steps to efficiently manage those systems. Make these minor repairs for major savings this winter:

everydaycraftygoodness.wordpress.com

everydaycraftygoodness.wordpress.com

Cover drafty windows.

Use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of window frames during the cold winter months. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
Adjust the temperature. When families are home and awake, set the thermostat as low as is comfortable. When asleep or out of the house, turn the thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours and save around 10 percent a year on heating and cooling bills.

energy.gov

energy.gov

Find and seal leaks.

Seal the air leaks around utility cut-throughs for pipes (“plumbing penetrations”), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets. Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks around leaky doors and windows.

motherearthnews.com

motherearthnews.com

 

Maintain heating systems.

Schedule a service for the heating system. Find out what maintenance is required to keep the heating system operating efficiently. Replace the furnace filter once a month, or as needed.

 

 

 

etsy.com

etsy.com

Reduce heat loss from the fireplace.

Keep the fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Keeping the damper open is like keeping a window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney.

 

vintagerosegarden.tumblr.com

vintagerosegarden.tumblr.com

Depending on time of day, open or close window treatments.

Windows can account for 10-25 percent of a heating bill by letting heat out. Opening draperies and shades on south-facing windows during the day allows sunlight to enter the home and keep rooms warm. Conversely, closing window treatments at night reduces the chill.

Source: Appraisal Institute

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

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New Home Trends You Should Know About in 2015

by Courtney Soinski

Is your home ready for the New Year, inside and out? As we get closer to the end of December, many of us begin to crave some sort of change or daydream about making a fresh start.

You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel after transforming your surroundings into a fresh new look. If you’re planning on selling your home, it’s especially important that you keep it in tip-top shape and stay up to speed with new, popular home trends. You may even attract new home buyers!

Here are some of the top home remodeling trends in 2015, according to remodeling experts – Andy Lindus of Lindus Construction, Mike Blank of MBC Remodeling, and Jason Hampel of Moss Building & Design.

1. Bye-bye ceramic flooring…Hello luxury vinyl tile.

Increasingly in 2015, home owners will be using luxury vinyl tiles on their kitchen or bathroom floors instead of ceramic. This type of flooring gives a higher end look at a cheaper price.

homerenovations.about.com

homerenovations.about.com

2. More painted kitchen cabinets and less stainless steel.

You’ll begin to see painted cabinets in new kitchens along with white trim as we enter the New Year. People are also starting to move away from stainless steel appliances because they show fingerprints very easily.

navybeanlane.blogspot.com

3. Maintenance-free countertops.

It may be hard to believe, but granite countertops are on their way out. Although not gone completely, we will start seeing a much greater demand for high-end kitchen countertops that require little maintenance, such as soapstone, engineered stone, or zinc.

 

fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com

fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com

4. Cooler bathroom colors.

In the bathrooms of new trending homes, buyers are leaning more and more toward cooler colors on the wall and décor. Specifically, cool grays, green, blues and white will be popping up in remodeled bathrooms.

countryliving.com

countryliving.com

5. Adding “keeping room” off the kitchen.

An increasing number of residents are adding “keeping rooms” to their home’s layout. A somewhat small room located near the kitchen, it’s a great place where kids can play with their toys, or the room can even be a study or media room.

houzz.com

houzz.com

6. Bigger closets and bathrooms.

Another home design trend that you’ll see in 2015 is in the bedroom. Less money is being put into bedroom space. Rather, there is a higher demand for larger closets and bathrooms because people want to make better use of their space.

frontgate.com

frontgate.com

 

Now is the perfect time to think about redecorating your house to attract new home buyers in 2015. Just follow these top home design trends for the New Year. You’ll be glad you did!

 

Source: http://www.angieslist.com/articles/contractors-talk-home-remodeling-trends-2015.htm

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Five Essentials For Your 2015 Marketing Plan

2015-marketing-executive-resume-trendsBy Rebecca Chandler

Putting together a budget and a business plan for the coming year can be daunting, but with these five essentials, you can make sure your marketing plan is on track.

1. Don’t rely solely on search results for traffic to your website.

Optimizing your site for search engine optimization (SEO) and spending money on search engine marketing (SEM) are good tactics for driving traffic, but your overall strategy should include advertising your web (and mobile) sites offline.  Interrupt the day of your target prospect on the real streets of your real town with your url and you’ll drive more local traffic to your site.  Local printed real estate magazines, direct mail, display ads, even your brochures and business cards – all reach your prospects offline and drive the to your site.

2. Fully leverage mobile marketing this year.

Consumers this year will spend more time on their phones than watching TV or surfing on their laptop and mobile screens become the primary screen for accessing digital content.  Make sure your own website is optimized for mobile.  Do you have your own app?  Text code lead generation?  GPS enabled yard signs?  The mobile evolution is here.  Joining is not optional anymore.

3. Market your brand, not just your listings.

The problem with using only your listings for lead generation is that, as they sell, you have less exposure, and fewer leads.  Buyers and sellers looking for an agent to represent them are looking at more than your listings.  They want to know that you are knowledgeable, professional, and trustworthy.  A listing on an aggregate site does not convey those things.  Your brand needs a professional local marketing campaign to stay in front of local buyers and sellers – and strong branding paves the way to successful lead generation.

4. Make your sellers happy happy happy.

Happy clients become an extension of your marketing message.  They tell their friends and neighbors, post on social media, and their endorsements are vital.  Make sure they are overwhelmed by providing more than anyone else.  Professional photography, staging, local advertising, mobile marketing, and great service will make your sellers sing your praises – to a new set of clients.

5. Look for a trusted marketing partner.

Looking for a bundled marketing package from a professional real estate marketing company will not only save you time, but also money.  Packages from The Real Estate Book include local print, wide web exposure, personally branded mobile tools, out of market reach, tracking tools and more.  Scheduling a consultation with your local representative is a good way to get 2015 off to a great start!

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