"Come for a day and stay for a lifetime…"(R)

Energy Efficient Tips to Beat the Heat

by Carla Griffin on August 16, 2017

 

As we enter into the lazy hazy days of summer, most of us are seeking refuge in our air conditioned homes with our sprinkler systems running on all four cylinders. Unfortunately, as temperatures skyrocket rise so do our energy bills, and if you live on acreage, or have a large home, you might be spending a small fortune to pay the piper. The good news is even though you may not be ready to downsize your home, there are a few energy saving tips to help downsize your wallet.

Xeriscaping is the principal of creating a garden scape that relies on minimal watering, ideally surviving on natural rainfall. Using native plants, and hardy drought tolerant varieties, creating lush, water saving curb appeal is more than just rock, and a few cacti. Amend your existing soil with rich organic materials, install an efficient drip system, and watch your garden flourish with little fuss. If you’re wondering what to plant, your local nursery can help you choose flowers, and shrubs indigenous to your region.

Dine Alfresco. When the thought of turning on the oven, or slaving over a hot stove has you running for the nearest Dairy Queen, utilizing a gas or charcoal grill can keep you cooking at home without your AC having to compensate for it. Beyond burgers, and hot dogs, you can whip up everything from eggs, to apple pie using far less energy than the hours you’d spend firing up kitchen appliances.

Improve Circulation by installing a ceiling fan. According to Energy.gov, these fans save energy by allowing you to turn up the air conditioner temperature without losing your cool, and cost a thrifty penny per hour to run versus almost forty cents for central air. Take advantage of cooler evenings by opening up windows, and place a fan in front of them to improve air flow. Trilogy’s SheaXero homes feature programmable thermostats that automatically adjust the temperature to prevent any wasted energy, and substantially lower monthly cooling costs.

Go Unplugged. Gadgets like chargers, lamps, and whatever else spends all day connected to an outlet continue to drain energy even when not in use. Thankfully long summer days allow for more natural light instead of relying on electric sources but take inventory of the items in your home that can be powered down, and use a surge protector for multiple items, switching it off to cut the power for good until you need it.

What will you do with your energy savings? A summer vacation may be calling your name because the only thing you should be spending more of is time doing what you love.

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Four Benefits that Reverse Mortgages can Offer Seniors

by Carla Griffin on August 11, 2017

Baby boomers: the ideal reverse mortgage candidate?

According to newly-released government data, 32% of Americans aged 65 to 69 are employed—the highest percentage in 55 years.

In addition, 19% of Americans aged 70 to 74 are still working, up from 11% in 1994.

Economists expect even higher rates of working seniors in the coming decades, for reasons that include longer lifespans, rising healthcare costs, and challenges building retirement savings.

Baby boomers and seniors can supplement living costs using a reverse mortgage
For those who don’t want to continue working during their retirement years, the reverse mortgage is a remarkable tool. It  can provide additional income which may allow some seniors to retire.

Also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), a reverse mortgage converts part of your home equity (wealth) into a lump sum of cash, a monthly check, or a line of credit. 

The reverse mortgage doesn’t need to be paid back as long as you live in the home, and you retain the title (ownership) of the home. This means you’re responsible for paying property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and other expenses.

With Americans 62-and-older having a staggering $6.3 trillion worth of home equity as of June 2017, the reverse mortgage has become a potent tool for certain baby boomers and seniors.

Reverse mortgage eligibility
To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, the following requirements must be met:

  • At least one borrower must be 62 or older (In Texas all borrowers must be 62 or older)
  • Have approximately 50% or greater equity in your home
  • Be able to pay for ongoing property charges including property taxes, homeowners insurance, and HOA fees
  • Be able to maintain your home
  • Live in the home – if you’re absent from the home for more than 12 months, the reverse mortgage must be paid off
  • Receive reverse mortgage counseling from a third party counselor prior to obtaining the loan

Reverse mortgages can benefit baby boomers and seniors in a range of situations
While reverse mortgages aren’t meant for everyone, here are some situations they can be ideal.

  • You have extensive home repairs, such as a failing air conditioner or leaking roof
  • You need a “rainy day fund”  to prepare for unexpected emergencies, medical bills, and investments declining in value
  • You enjoy living in your home and don’t want to move
  • You want to buy a new home and not have a mortgage payment
  • You want to live a more active lifestyle

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A Home Equity Conversion Mortgage for Home Purchase can be life changing for many Senior Borrowers! 

People decide to move for multiple reasons.  Maybe their current home is too big or too small. Perhaps they would like to be closer to family or maybe the current home no longer meets their needs.

Whatever the reasons, the exciting news is Seniors 62 and older can combine Reverse Mortgage proceeds with a down payment from their current home sale or other assets, to purchase a new home that better suits their needs.

What is the HECM for Home Purchase?

  • An FHA-insured Reverse Mortgage
  • Enables Senior homebuyers age 62 or older to purchase a new primary residence and obtain a reverse mortgage in simultaneous transactions
  • Senior borrowers can live in the home with no monthly mortgage payments (borrowers must remain current on property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and HOA dues)

By utilizing the Reverse Mortgage for Home Purchase, senior home buyers have found that they can buy more home with less cash out of pocket!

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Spring into this new season!

by Carla Griffin on March 12, 2017

Spring into the new season with potted vignettes that exclaim “out with winter” and “in with buds and blooms.” Here is a container combination — with pastel-petaled tulips, sunny daffodils, bright green foliage and sweet strawberries — that capture spring in all its glory.

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Set your clocks forward 1 hour on Sunday, March 12!

March 9, 2017
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Temporary Property Tax Relief available for victims of California’s winter storms

March 3, 2017

  Thus far this season, California has been hit hard by the elements, as many of you are likely too well aware, as torrential precipitation has dumped an overwhelming amount of water on both the northern and southern portions of … Continue reading

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3 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger

February 7, 2017

If you’re remodeling a kitchen and looking to create more space without having to add on or move walls, your design choices may make a big impact. First, start by selecting lighter colors, such as grays and whites. Then consider … Continue reading

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Destination Living: Resort communities deliver the luxury life

January 31, 2017

  One’s home can be a respite, a place to relax, unwind and recover from the exigencies of the day. It can also be a place to rejuvenate the body, renew the spirit and revive the soul. Bay Area resort … Continue reading

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See How Peninsulas Can Get You More Storage and Countertop Space

January 29, 2017

  Make the most of a compact kitchen with a mini peninsula    For those who can’t swing a micro island, either due to the size or the layout of their kitchen, perhaps a petite peninsula can fill the need … Continue reading

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FRESH START 2017

January 15, 2017

     A new year, a new beginning, and for some a much needed clean slate.   It is remarkably noteworthy, how many of us just want to put 2016 behind.    Alas, we’ve arrived!    As you kick off 2017, … Continue reading

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