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Deborah Bremner's Blog

By Deborah Bremner | Agent in 90049
  • Cash for Caulkers?

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Los Angeles AFB  |  May 8, 2010 2:21 PM  |  700 views  |  1 comment
    First there was "Cash for Clunkers".  Then you could trade in your old appliances for a federal rebate.  And now, we have "Cash for Caulkers", a new federal incentive program passed yesterday.

    According to the National Association of Manufacturers, more than 86 million single family homes in the United States were constructed before modern building codes. Many of them are not well insulated and have outdated heating and cooling systems.

    As a response to these problems, and in an effort to spur manufacturing in an industry that has declined rapidly during the recession, Congress yesterday passed the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act.

    The two-year program is designed to spur home energy retrofits by providing direct incentives to homeowners to install American-made energy-saving products. It is expected to create 170,000 new jobs and save families close to $10 billion in energy bills in the next decade.

    Home Star includes two types of consumer incentives:

    Silver Star – This provides in-store rebates for specific energy-saving investments, including insulation, duct sealing, windows and doors, air sealing and water heaters. Rebates would not exceed $3,000 or 50 percent of the total project cost.

    Gold Star – This rewards homeowners who conduct a comprehensive energy audit and implement a variety of measures to reduce energy use. Consumers receive $3,000 for a demonstrated savings of 20 percent, plus an additional $1,000 for each additional 5 percent energy savings – capped at 50 percent of the project cost.

    The legislation, which has been endorsed by President Obama, is also supported by a broad range of groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Home Builders, North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Alliance to Save Energy.  It is seen as a green building victory.
  • What do buyers want in a home? One survey offers clues

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Los Angeles AFB  |  April 10, 2010 7:50 PM  |  613 views  |  No comments
    A recent study of more than 22,000 homeowners who bought their homes within the last nine years found that current homeowners plan to be “more practical” in their next purchase, focusing on livable space rather than unnecessary upgrades.  According to an LA Times article, some of the more relevant changes in consumer choices are:

    • 1. Many of the luxury amenities once considered necessities among home buyers, such as community clubhouses, dog parks, golf courses, and 24-hour security, are no longer priorities, according to the survey.  Repeat buyers also said a swimming pool isn’t a must, but a children’s playground with walking paths are essential.
    • 2. One of the takeaways from the survey, according to an architect firm, is that buyers nowadays should rethink space.  For example, buyers should look for kitchen cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling for added space and efficiency.  They also should pass on high-priced focal stairways, opting instead of steps that are tucked away and out of sight.
    • 3. Buyers also should be on the lookout for dead space.  If the dining room or media room is eliminated, at least some of the square footage should be dedicated to secondary bedrooms.  The once-standard 10-by-10 bedroom no longer is acceptable to most buyers.
    • 4. The survey also found that many buyers have transitioned toward green features, such as high-efficiency appliances, insulation, and windows that are not large areas of glass.  However, many buyers did not report the use of recycled materials as a necessity.
    • 5. Other findings from the survey show that large kitchens, with islands, are desirable, as are main-floor master bedrooms, and two-car garages.
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