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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/2/2016

a tiny houseThe latest trend in minimalist and frugal living is owning a tiny house. If you haven't yet seen them on your newsfeed, tiny houses are loosely defined as homes that are 400 square ft. or less. As you'd expect, there are many challenges to living in a space so small; challenges both spacial and legal. Ask yourself these questions before making the move to a tiny home.

Do I really need all this stuff?

Part of the American Dream has always been to someday own your own home. Over the years, those homes have grown ever larger, even while family sizes are decreasing. Many of us have tried to make our lives more minimal in one way or another, whether its shrinking our wardrobes or cleaning out the attic. If you want to live in a tiny home you'll have to totally rethink what you consider to be the necessities of life. You'll have to prioritize and choose between things like having a television or having a bookshelf. Furthermore, you'll need to have items that serve dual purposes. Your dinner table, for instance, will also serve as a desk or working surface, namely because it will most likely be the only surface large enough in your home to do these things on.

Where will you park your home?

Finding a place to put a tiny house is one of the most difficult challenges tiny-home owners face. Almost all tiny houses are built on wheels. This is due to various state laws and zoning permits. You may also face difficulties gaining access to water and electricity. For this reason, many tiny house owners park their home on someone else's property and hook up to their utilities. Part of the reason many people want a tiny house is to be more independent, so this is obviously a huge barrier to achieving that goal.

Are you bashful about the bathroom?

There's hardly a thing that we take more for granted than bathrooms. If you're going to live in a tiny house you should be prepared to rough it when it comes to doing your business. There are some instances when you can hook your tiny house up to a sewage system. But in most cases, tiny houses rely on RV toilets or composting toilets. The benefits of disconnected toilets are that you can travel in your home and not have to worry too much about finding a bathroom. The disadvantages, however, will require some grit on your part. No sewage connection means you'll have to empty your tank or your composting toilet. This creates another obstacle to tiny living, as you don't want to be dumping refuse anywhere near your home. And if you live in a residential area there are state laws which regulate the use of composting toilets.

Is there another option?

Tiny living isn't for everyone. Whether you have a family or hobbies that require space, or just because you would feel claustrophobic living in a space this small, buying a tiny house maybe isn't for you. But there are other options. Perhaps you don't need a tiny home but rather a small and cozy one. Or you could try being more minimal in other ways like clearing out unnecessary items from your home and having a yard sale. Regardless of what you do, being minimal is a mindset, and having the intention of simplifying is already half the battle.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 8/5/2016

Green building or the practice of building better homes using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient promotes resource conservation through energy efficiency and water conservation. This practice complements and expands the traditional builder design concerns of durability, utility, economy and comfort. In the regions, where summer heat can be horrific and fierce winter winds are sure to blow, many new homebuilding contractors incorporate eco-friendly techniques, practices and products to create a healthy and comfortable home that promotes energy efficiency and reduces operation and maintenance costs. Green building practices do not necessarily increase the original construction cost. However, they do lower operating cost over the lifetime of the structure. Today, designers, architects, and home building contractors are “raising the bar,” setting new standards in upscale home construction. The latest advances in Internet technology and the ready available of wireless communication have given birth to a treasure chest of “smart home” amenities that serve to enhance green building practices and products. Cutting Heating And Cooling Costs Reducing the overall operational energy your home consumes for cooling, heating, lighting, ventilation, appliances and equipment during its life is a worthy goal. Not only do you save money and quickly recoup your original investment, but you also help reduce your carbon impact on the environment and do your part to protect the planet. Real estate market research shows that, when and if you get ready to sell your home, an energy-efficient smart home sells faster and at a higher price than a comparable property without green building and smart home energy conserving amenities. Installing extra insulation above the regions minimum building codes is a wise investment that pays for its self over a very short amount of time and then continues to pay a return on investment over the lifetime of the home. Known in the building trade as “Super Insulation” refers to the amount of insulation material needed to maintain heating costs at 33 percent or more than conventional methods. Summer Home Cooling Solutions During the brutally hot days of late summer, a sprinkler system installed on the roof ridge can envelope the entire home is a cloud of cooling mist. Electronically controlled with a smart home app, rooftop sprinklers can operate on automatic temperature control signals, or activate anytime with a click of an app. Working with your architect and builder, the same sprinkler system can be installed to provide a fine cooling mist to patios and pool decks. Water Conservation Water conserving plumbing fixtures use less water and do the same task without compromising performance while reducing water use and therefore water bills. No matter the size of your budget or the scope of your building plans, it is important to research green building products and practices, as well as the latest innovations in smart home technology. While all the options may not apply to your situation, you are sure to find several amenities to enhance comfort and save home operational costs.    




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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 3/25/2016

You may think buying a short sale is a good deal and many times it can be a good option. Short sales can also be fraught with complications and often can easily fall apart. Here is a list of things to be aware of so your short sale doesn't become a long shot. • When a house is placed for sale as a short sale the owner doesn't always have the authority to sell the house at the advertised price. The owner hopes the bank will accept that price as a short sale. • The negotiating process is far different than a regular sale. You often will first negotiate with a seller but remember the bank has the final say-so. • You are making an offer to purchase blind because many lenders will not even discuss a short sale with a seller until a purchase contract is in place. There is no guarantee the lender will even accept a short-sale offer. • Short sales often are not short at all. They can be long, drawn-out affairs. Be prepared for it to take months. • Even though the lender may have taken their time on the short sale approval, once approved the lender often require the sale to close within a short period of time. Due to the way many short sales happen, a buyer may have to put out money for a home inspection, appraisal, credit report and application fees paid to their lender and the sale may not even happen. So while short sales can often be a good deal they can also be a long shot. Take your time, do your research and be sure to work with a real estate professional to help guide you through the potential pitfalls of a short sale.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 12/18/2015

Trying to buy and sell a home at the same time can be tough. Sometimes these buyers and sellers are referred to as being in a sandwich because they are in the middle. The reason this can be difficult is because there is no guarantee that your new home will close at the same time as your old home. Selling and buying a home at the same time is possible but you will need help. Here are a few tips on how to get into your home while closing on your own home: 1. Hire a real estate professional. This is almost an impossible task without having a seasoned professional by your side. There are lots of details that go into selling and buying and an experienced real estate professional will know just what to do to get you to both closing tables. 2. Sell first, and then buy. This is probably the easiest and safest plan. List your home for sale and secure a buyer. You can either close on your home before purchasing another one, or ask the buyer for a contingency to allow you time to find a new home before closing on the previous one. There are many advantages to selling first, it allows you to know how much you can spend on a new home, and you don’t have to worry about temporary financing. 3. Try to schedule the closing date on the purchase of your new home on the same day, but after the closing on the home you are selling. This way, you can stay in your present home until you move into your new one. Bottom line, when it comes to selling and buying a home use the expertise of your real estate professional. Your plans may change depending on your circumstances and your local market.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 10/30/2015

The story is always the same, buying a home is always a good investment. It doesn't matter the study, the year, the market, the results are always the same. Owning a home is a good investment. Homeownership provides both economic and psychological benefits. A survey released earlier this year by the magazine Better Homes and Gardens found that eight in 10 respondents said homeownership is still a good investment and believe owning a home is a smart financial move and a source of pride. Here are some results of the 2,500 people surveyed online:

  • 86% of home owners still feel owning a home is a good investment.
  • 85% feel “owning a home is one of their proudest accomplishments.”
  • 69% of Americans who don’t currently own a home agree with the statement, “No matter what happens in the U.S. housing market, owning a home is still an important goal in my life.”
  • 68% of Americans plan to spend money on their homes in the next six months, with roughly half (49%) expecting to pay up to $1,000.
 







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