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Add a gas-burning fireplace insert if you want clean air and the ultimate in convenience. Unlike old decorative gas fireplaces, today's gas inserts are heat-producing dynamos that use natural gas or propane to power a steady flame dancing on fake logs, decorative modern glass chips, or stones behind a sealed glass face.Gas inserts are available as vented units or unvented units. Direct-vent units are safest. They draw in outside air to keep the flame burning and exhaust all the combustion gases and water vapor released by burning gas. Ventless inserts have a higher efficiency rating (92% to 99% vs. 60% (1 comments)
To successfully appeal your property tax bill, you first need to do a bit of sleuthing into your real estate assessment. Read your assessment letter A real estate assessment is conducted periodically by the local government to assign a value to your home for taxation purposes. An assessment isn't the same as a private appraisal, and the assessed value of your home isn't necessarily how much you could sell it for today. Real estate assessment letters are mailed to homeowners annually, or perhaps every two to three years, depending where you live.The letter will include some information about your property, (2 comments)
Deciding whether to repair or replace roofing is largely an exercise in timing--you don't want to reroof too soon and waste money, but you don't want to wait too long either. Be alert to early signs of a roof leak If you check the condition of your roof at least once a year, you should be able to plan in advance for necessary repairs. Early signs of trouble include dark areas on ceilings, peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs, damp spots alongside fireplaces, and water stains on pipes venting the water heater or furnace. From the outside, you (0 comments)
If you plan to stay in your home for another 10 to 15 years, it may be worthwhile to upgrade to the latest efficient appliance. Image: George Doyle/Getty Images When deciding to repair or replace appliances, consider age, repair cost, pricing, energy efficiency, and whether to modify your kitchen to accommodate a new unit. Use these six guidelines to home in on the smart choice for you the next time your appliances behave badly. 1. Still under warranty? Here's the simple part. Check the owner's manual and your records to see if the unit is still under warranty. If so, (2 comments)
An annual check-up on your homeowners insurance can result in a healthier policy and a healthier pocketbook. What type of coverage do I have? There's no rule of thumb for how much your homeowners insurance should cost. Insurers use numerous factors-age, education level, creditworthiness-to determine pricing, so the same policy could run you more than your neighbor. In recent years the average annual premium was $804. Oshinsky advises against scrimping on insurance because big increases in coverage probably cost less than you'd think. He recently purchased a liability policy that cost $250 for the first $1 million in coverage. Adding another (0 comments)
For what the typical family wastes every year on air leaks--about $350--you can plug energy-robbing gaps, start saving money, and enjoy a more comfortable home. 1. Insulate around recessed lights Most recessed lights have vents that open into the attic, a direct route for heated or cooled air to escape. When you consider that many homes have 30 or 40 of these fixtures, it's easy to see why researchers at the Pennsylvania Housing Research/Resource Center pinpointed them as a leading cause of household air leaks. Lights labeled ICAT, for "insulation contact and air tight," are already sealed; look for the (0 comments)
Getting your home's heating system professionally serviced every year will keep it running smoothly and help keep heating costs under control. Who does the job? The simplest way to get the work done is to hire your fuel company to do it. Oil companies and gas utilities usually provide this service, or you can hire the contractor who installed the equipment. Also, some plumbers handle heating systems. What is involved? The technician will clean soot and corrosion out of the combustion chamber where the fuel is burned, and check it for leaks or damage. He'll inspect the flue pipe for (0 comments)
Annual inspections keep flames burning right Creosote-combustible, tar-like droplets-is a natural byproduct of burning wood. The more wood you burn, the wetter or greener the wood, and the more often you restrict airflow by keeping your fireplace doors closed or your damper barely open, the more creosote is produced. Soot build-up, while not flammable, can hamper venting. One half-inch of soot can restrict airflow 17% in a masonry chimney and 30% in a factory-built unit, according to the CSIA. Soot is also aggressively acidic and can damage the inside of your chimney. The more creosote and soot, the more likely you (0 comments)
Unemployed or significant Reduction in income No longer want the home Loans greatly exceed the value of the home (most home owners owe 50% more than the current value of their home) Have failed at loan modification Consider a Loan Modification if:
Employed and no major change in income. Want to keep the home. Only need the loan's interest rate or term altered. (2 comments)
By preparing for a real estate short sale, you can emerge with a great home at a favorable price. 1. Get help from a short sale expert A real estate agent experienced in short sales can identify which homes are being offered as short sales, help you determine a purchase price, and advise you on what to include in your offer to make the lender view it favorably. Ask agents how many buyers they've represented in short sales and, of those, how many successfully closed the transaction. 2. Build a team Ask agents to recommend real estate attorneys knowledgeable in (0 comments)
When you buy a fixer-upper house, you can save a ton of money, or get yourself in a financial fix. 1. Decide what you can do yourself TV remodeling shows make home improvement work look like a snap. In the real world, attempting a difficult remodeling job that you don't know how to do will take longer than you think and can lead to less-than-professional results that won't increase the value of your fixer-upper house. Do you really have the skills to do it? Some tasks, like stripping wallpaper and painting, are relatively easy. Others, like electrical work, can be (6 comments)
Here are six tips for negotiating the best price on a home. 1. Get prequalified for a mortgage Getting prequalified for a mortgage proves to sellers that you're serious about buying and capable of affording their home. That will push you to the head of the pack when sellers choose among offers; they'll go with buyers who are a sure financial bet, not those whose financing could flop. 2. Ask questions Ask your agent for information to help you understand the sellers' financial position and motivation. Are they facing foreclosure or a short sale? Have they already purchased a home (2 comments)
Consider before you ignore or outright refuse a very low purchase offer for your home. A counteroffer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale. Check your emotions A purchase offer, even a very low one, means someone wants to purchase your home. Unless the offer is laughably low, it deserves a cordial response, whether that's a counteroffer or an outright rejection. Remain calm and discuss with your real estate agent the many ways you can respond to a lowball purchase offer. Counter the purchase offer Unless you've received multiple purchase offers, the best response is to (1 comments)
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.