Bridget Alves                of Valencia

Blog - Full Service Real Estate Group, Inc

Sell your home faster by “going green”

Bridget Alves - Monday, December 14, 2015


In the past, home sellers have highlighted features like walk-in closets, modern kitchen appliances, and spacious bathrooms in order to entice prospective buyers. This day and age, these features are still big sellers, but the increased attention on “going green” these days provides sellers with a wealth of new opportunities for making their home even more appealing to the masses. You want your home to stand out, and one of the best ways to do that is to tout the fact that it’s environmentally friendly, as well as cost-efficient.

Below are a few key changes you can make if you want to market your house as “green” or simply save yourself some money in the long run:

  • Save water by changing out the old toilets to new, high-efficiency toilets that use less water. If you really want to go the distance, you can change out the faucets and shower heads to high-efficiency models as well.
  • Change out old light bulbs and replace them with new, energy-efficient lights. Additionally, adding dimmer switches will allow people to adjust the fixtures to allow just the right amount of light in, saving money on electricity.
  • Replace any drafty windows with new fixtures. Drafts don’t mean cold is coming in, they mean heat is getting out. The more heat your home loses, the more you’ll have to run your furnace, and the more energy will be wasted.
  • Speaking of the furnace, make sure all of the HVAC components are well-maintained. Additionally, opting for allergen-free filters or whole house air cleaners can provide you with another selling point that’s highly regarded by those who “go green.”
  • Installing solar panels can be a bit costly up-front, but if you plan to keep your home for a while, they more than pay off in savings down the road. Also, the sight of solar panels on a home is often a major perk for the environmentally-conscious home buyer.

These are just a few of the many changes that can be done to make your home more marketable, and therefore more valuable, as well as potentially save you some money in the long run.

Save money with drought-tolerant landscaping

Bridget Alves - Monday, October 26, 2015

It’s no secret that California’s drought is becoming an increasingly difficult problem. It’s already lead state officials to place strict limits on how much water a household can use without facing the possibility of fines. It’s even gotten so bad, that just last month, LA County officials placed millions of “shade balls” in the Los Angeles reservoir. These 4-inch balls are weighted down with water inside and placed into reservoirs to create permanent shade over the surface of the water. The shade lowers the temperature and greatly reduces the rate of evaporation.

So, what do these “shade balls” have to do with your home? Well, not much, but the idea behind them – that of saving water – can easily translate to the homeowner in the form of drought-tolerant landscaping. It’s estimated that 50% of a household’s water usage ends up going into the landscaping, whether it’s watering the grass or the plants, and drought-tolerant landscaping can reduce the overall water usage by 50-75%. 

Using less water helps conserve what little we have left, but it will also pay dividends as your monthly water bill shrinks considerably. Going drought-tolerant doesn’t mean you have to pull out your plants or pave over your grass, it just means changing the plants you do have to something that requires less water to survive. It can also translate into less maintenance via replacing your grass with gorgeous flagstones or tiles. There won’t be any need for weekly visits from a landscaper (or their weekly charges) when all you need to do is lightly water the plants once or twice a month.

Not only will drought-tolerant landscaping help save you money, it can make your home even more desirable when you’re trying to sell it. Who, apart from lawn enthusiasts, wouldn’t be interested in a home that not only costs less money to maintain (thanks to needing less water) but takes up less time for the minor maintenance it does require? There are also a wide variety of tax benefits that drought-tolerant lawn owners are qualified to receive. 

Cool your home efficiently

Bridget Alves - Monday, August 17, 2015

Here we are in mid-August, with summer in full-swing. It’s hot, it’s dry, and if your air conditioner isn’t running efficiently, it could be costing you an arm and a leg. When you’re showing your home, you want the temperature to be just right; and that means making sure that the air conditioner is running as efficiently as possible. If your home isn’t as cool as it should be, or your electric bill is astronomical, taking the following steps before you call the technician may save you time, money and headache.

If your air conditioning unit is on the ground, take a look and make sure that there’s nothing around it that could be obstructing the air flow. You want to keep an area of at least 2’ on every side clear of debris, leaves, plants, etc. All of these things can easily block the intake and force your machine to work harder and burn more power. 

Next, if the machine is running, turn it off and take a look at the fan. Are any of the fins bent? If so, the fan isn’t performing optimally. If you feel safe, you can take the screen off and remove the fan to put any bent fins back into their original position. If you do this, ensure that the power is off (at the breaker, not just on the machine) so you don’t get hurt. If you don’t feel safe, a technician can always do this for you.

While you’ve got the unit open, clean out any leaves, twigs and other debris that may be in the machine. You want the air to flow as freely as possible, and having free-floating junk in there can easily block airflow openings.

Last, take a look at all of the vents and ducts that are clearly visible leading from your AC. You want to check for cracks, holes or any other fissure that can easily be seen. If you find any, seal them up with heat graded foil tape (despite the name, duct tape doesn’t do the job as well). Covering up holes will ensure the air gets to the rooms you want and doesn’t get vented into a wall or the basement.

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