By G. M. Filisko, contributing writer, HouseLogic
Working with sellers looking for another way to make their home stand out? Suggest they dip their toes into a yard-watering system that saves water and money.
Almost one-third of the water the average family uses—an average of 100 gallons a day—ends up in home owners’ yard and garden, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The trouble is that as much as half that water is wasted. It falls on sidewalks or evaporates before it ever reaches the ground.
Sellers can impress potential buyers with a water-saving irrigation strategy, and you can show them how with tips from the July “Outdoor Projects that Save You Money” article package now available at the REALTOR® Content Resource. Here’s information you can share with sellers:
1. Drip irrigation systems save water because they put it only where you want it—directly to plants’ roots, which cuts down on waste and also reduces weeds. A drip system is basically a long, thin plastic tube sitting on the ground or, less often, buried right below the surface. Small fittings, called emitters, release water at rates of one-half to four gallons an hour. The tubing is attached to your outside faucet with a valve. A new drip system cost from $50 for about 20 plants to $200 or more for a whole yard. Continue reading »
By Michelle Flaherty
Has the incentive for first-time home buyers to break into the market just gone away?
My non-scientific market research has shown me that it has not. My buyer clients are still excited about the house hunting process, low interest rates, and attractive offerings at low prices – and I’m hearing the same from my peers.
In fact, the drop in interest rates over the past two weeks has created a long-term incentive even more attractive than the first-time home buyer tax credit – and *bonus* – it’s not costing taxpayers a thing.
How does this work? Consider the first-time home buyer using an FHA loan to purchase a $200,000 property. For the first five months of 2010, when buyers were snatching up tax credits like hotcakes, the typical FHA interest rate was 5.25 percent. Over the life of their loan, a buyer who locked in at 5.25 percent would pay a total of $412,621.13 in mortgage payments (including principle, interest, and PMI – not taxes or insurance). Now, with the 4.5 percent FHA rate, that same buyer would pay a total of $380,994.95.
The post-tax credit buyer will save $31,626.18 with the better rate, or $23,626.18 better than they would have done by going under contract in April, closing by the newly-extended Sept. 30 deadline, and collecting the $8,000 tax credit. The caveat, of course, is that their monthly savings only totals $87.85, so they would have to remain in their home for 7.6 years to collect $8,000 worth of savings. But after that, they’re doing better every month!
Michelle Flaherty is an associate broker with Prudential Northeast Properties, serving Greater Portland, Maine. Visit her Web site at www.michelleflaherty.com.