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Jose Guzman's Blog

By Jose Guzman C | Agent in Sunny Isles Beach, FL
  • What country has the most affordable real estate markets? Guess what, the US.

    Posted Under: Market Conditions, Home Buying  |  January 25, 2014 3:37 PM  |  502 views  |  No comments
    The U.S. has the most major markets in the world where buying property is considered affordable, according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Study, an analysis of 360 cities in nine countries.

    Pittsburgh leads the pack in affordability among major cities around the globe. Other affordable major U.S. cities that topped the list were Detroit; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Rochester, N.Y.; Atlanta; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Indianapolis; and St. Louis.

    Of the 360 worldwide markets evaluated in the study, 95 were labeled “affordable” (of which 84 were in the U.S.). On the other extreme, 67 metros in the study were labeled “seriously unaffordable markets” (23 in the U.S., led by San Francisco).

    The study showed that those who pay the most in the world for housing are often getting the least as far as house size.

    “The smallest houses are in the most expensive market (Hong Kong), while the largest houses are in the United States, which has the best major-market housing affordability. (Ireland has the best overall housing affordability),” according to the report.

    See the complete report in PDF here
  • Ideas for flooring in your home

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate  |  January 22, 2014 8:58 AM  |  470 views  |  No comments
    Your home is your paradise and if you are planning to renovate your home, goes for the changes that are not only eye catchy but also comfortable for you and your family. Remodeling of the home is associated with revolutions and amendments adjusted in every nook and cranny of the home. If you are going to change the flooring of your home there are some tips for flooring of different parts of you house. 

    Bedroom flooring: 

    There are plenty options when it comes to flooring in your bedroom. Being the most private and personalized part of your home, your bedroom is the place which grabs a big part of your budget whenever you are remodeling your home. You can use carpet, tile, hardwood, bamboo, cork or laminate. Play with different materials in different rooms. You can opt for striped light and dark shades in your boy's room so that if your son is going to create mess, which is unavoidable, the flooring can withstand the burden. Also the flooring can bear heavy traffic of the folks coming in the bedroom. For more powerful scratch and water resistant flooring you can choose laminate. 

    Living room flooring: 

    It is the most used part that withholds most of the traffic coming in and out of the house. It is highly recommended that the flooring should be strong enough that it can endure all such amendments done with your furniture or to the increasing and decreasing ratio of visitors. For this purpose you can opt for hardwood flooring. Being classy and sophisticated in look it is the perfect choice for your living room whenever you are remodeling your home. 

    Kitchen flooring: 

    Design the floor of your kitchen in such a way that it not only looks pretty but also gives a practical impression. You can choose from vinyl, tile, natural stone, wood, cork or laminate. A floor covering that is water resistant and durable such as tile is a best choice to protect against potential water damage. Make sure when you choose your floor to order a little extra of the product in the event that you drop something like a pot on your floor. If the flooring material is damaged, you will be sure to have enough to repair the floor because often floor manufacturers have high turnover of their products to insure a continual buying cycle. Most flooring contractors add 5-10% additional square footage of the flooring product to their purchase order to insure they have enough for the project and to provide the client with a little extra flooring for future use.

    by: Builder Brian
  • Watch Where You Step: Understanding Your Carbon Footprint

    Posted Under: Going Green  |  January 22, 2014 8:46 AM  |  529 views  |  No comments
    While making visits to national parks or forest preserves, you'll often be told to  leave nothing but footprints. This is always a good policy in these types of situations. However, we often forget, or simply do not know that wherever we go, we actually leave two sets of footprints. Your physical footprint is, for the most part, a harmless indentation left behind wherever you step. Your other footprint is what is known as your carbon footprint, essentially the level of greenhouse gases your lifestyle and activity emit into the environment. We'd like to help you understand not only what your carbon footprint is, but also how to measure it and identify some simple ways to reduce it and to save energy. 

    Your Carbon Footprint: What Is It? 

    By definition, a carbon footprint is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product, or person. This means that if you live a lifestyle that requires the use of a greater amount of energy and fossil fuels that form greenhouse gases through combustion, the larger your impact on the environment and your carbon footprint will be. Often people consider their carbon footprint to be the result of their immediate use of fossil fuels and energy usage, like cooking with natural gas or using petroleum to run their automobile. However, your carbon footprint consists of many activities that can be far less obvious. This may include the fossil fuels used to transport the food that you buy at your local grocery store, or the energy used to dispose of the waste produced in your household. All this comes into account when trying to make an accurate estimate of what impact is left behind by your daily activities and choices. 

    How to Measure Your Carbon Footprint? 

    Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world, ranking #2 in total emissions (other countries near the top include China #1, India #3, Russia #4 and Japan #5) but #1 in emissions per capita. Since this much larger footprint is made up of many much smaller individual footprints, it is important to understand your contribution and responsibility to the greater whole. Individually, the average American produces 9.44 tons of carbon dioxide on their own each year! Did this surprise you? The link below will help you to calculate the size of the carbon footprint of your household:http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html. 

    How to Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions? 

    Taking small steps to reduce your carbon footprint and saving energy is actually fairly simple. Here is a list of some easy things that you can do to live a more environmentally healthy lifestyle. 

    - Limit Consumption of Bottled Water . The production, consumption and disposal of bottled water leaves a rather significant carbon footprint. It requires the combustion of fossil fuels to make the bottle, transport it, and dispose of it if it's not recycled. In-house filtration systems can reduce your impact and cost for water. 

    - Unplug Appliances That Are Not Frequently In Use . Most of these items have a standby mode that wastes energy even when they're not in use. Unplugging is the best way to ensure that unnecessary energy is not lost. With a powerstrip, you can even switch off more than one appliance at once. 

    - Use Cold Water . No, I'm not suggesting that you start taking cold showers. Using colder water to wash clothes that do not require a hot water wash is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. While washers already require a lot of energy to run, it takes even more to heat the water. Using cold water whenever possible can make a big difference and will increase your energy saving. 

    - Recycle And Reuse. Recycling uses a lot less energy since it is reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that would come out of creating a completely new product. 

    - Upgrade The Energy Efficiency Of Your Home . New energy efficient light bulbs, filters, and appliances could have a massive impact in reducing your carbon footprint. Less energy used means less greenhouse gas emissions. Even just maintaining and taking care of the appliances and products you already own can ensure a smaller footprint without spending a lot of money. You can measure the energy efficiency of your home and your potential energy savings at www.energyresults.com. 

    With easy steps like these, you are on your way to increasing your energy savings and reducing the size of the carbon footprint left behind. We all have a role in trying to shrink the adverse impact we have on the environment, not only as an individual, but also as a member of a household, as a citizen of a country, and as an inhabitant of planet earth.
  • Going Green Is So Much Simpler Than Most People Think

    Posted Under: Going Green  |  January 22, 2014 8:37 AM  |  502 views  |  No comments
    An increasing number of people are now wanting to do their part to save the planet due to the worsening problems caused by global warming. Unfortunately, numerous people assume that going green is costly and time consuming. Read on to discover several immediate things you can do to get on on the path to living green. 

    Recycling is the top way to start. A lot of people continue to place glass and aluminum items in their normal garbage even though recycling is not that hard to do today. In the US, it's not hard to locate a trash service that offers glass and aluminum recycling choices. Many people still continue to discard these items even though recycling bins are not hard to find. It merely takes a few minutes to wash off the cans and bottles before placing them into the recycle bin. 

    Newspapers are another item that overburden our landfills. Virtually all people will merely take their daily paper and toss it in the garbage when they are done with it. But, there are many other uses that you can get out of your newsprint other than poring over it it. Did you know that you can keep your windows clean using newspapers? If you're tired of seeing small white fragments and streaks on your windowpanes after you clean them with paper towels and cleaner, try to use old newspapers instead. Several community groups run regular paper drives. Merely compilepile all of your old newspapers, put them in a stack, and see if the paper drive organizers will come to your location and pick them up. 

    One more thing that could help you to start to live green is to begin walking a bit more. Lots of people routinely drive short distances merely to buy one thing at their local corner market. If you just walk to the store, not only could it take less time, because you won't have to locate a parking spot, but you will be saving money on gas and helping to save planet Earth by not burning those fuels. 

    If you wish to save even more on gas, take the chance to car pool when you can and only mow your lawn two times a month instead of weekly. A gorgeous lawn is good to have but skipping an additional week before you mow again shouldn't significantly affect it. Using a manual push mower like those more normally used many, many years ago will help to save the environment even more. Numerous hardware shops still carry this type of mower. 

    When people make up their mind to try green living, it's easy to make a few lifestyle modifications that will benefit our environment. Likewise, you can find lots of info all over the Internet on other ways to start living green, you only have to look for it.

    by: Collin Rojas
  • Is Mortgage Refinancing Right for You?

    Posted Under: Financing  |  December 17, 2013 7:23 AM  |  625 views  |  No comments
    These days, it’s hard not to be enticed by the historically low mortgage refinancing rates. Now could be the perfect time to refinance, but is refinancing your loan right for you? Here are a few points to take into consideration if you’re thinking about refinancing your home loan. 

    The Benefits of Refinancing 

    Beyond potentially saving you thousands of dollars, refinancing your mortgage can also help you consolidate debt and pay off other bills. Your life has probably changed from the time you first got your home loan. Perhaps you got a better paying job or you have a new baby on the way. You may have new expenses that never existed before, or you may be making more money than when you started. In many cases, refinancing your home loan could save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars – money which could be well spent in other areas of your life. Ideally, your mortgage should not be costing you above one third of your total gross income. If you’re dealing with a high interest rate, you’ve been hit with an adjustable rate that has skyrocketed, or you’ve experienced a drop in income for whatever reason – it’s a good idea to consider refinancing and locking in a better rate. 

    Working with a Trusted Lender 

    Working with a trusted lender is one of the best decisions you can make when you decide to refinance. Trusted lenders, like Aurora Bank (Equal Housing Lender, member FDIC) for example, understand a multitude of product options and can explain those options to you as well as the costs that are involved in the refinancing process. 

    Know Your Options 

    There’s no shortage of lending companies vying for your business. But it pays to do your own research as well.Take advantage of online mortgage calculators and run different scenarios based on your income, property tax, and extra payments you can afford to make.See exactly how much home you can afford and create a spectrum of possibilities for refinancing. Then, speak with a home loan consultant who can help you with your financing needs.You may be pleasantly surprised at just how much money you’ll save by refinancing at today’s low rates. Overall, honest, exceptional service and a dedication to customer satisfaction are what make the best mortgage refinancing lenders stand out.
    by: Jess Hall
  • Watch Where You Step: Understanding Your Carbon Footprint

    Posted Under: Going Green  |  December 17, 2013 7:16 AM  |  634 views  |  No comments
    While making visits to national parks or forest preserves, you’ll often be told to “leave nothing but footprints.” This is always a good policy in these types of situations. However, we often forget, or simply do not know that wherever we go, we actually leave two sets of footprints. Your physical footprint is, for the most part, a harmless indentation left behind wherever you step. Your other footprint is what is known as your carbon footprint, essentially the level of greenhouse gases your lifestyle and activity emit into the environment. We’d like to help you understand not only what your carbon footprint is, but also how to measure it and identify some simple ways to reduce it and to save energy. 

    Your Carbon Footprint: What Is It? 

    By definition, a carbon footprint is “the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product, or person.” This means that if you live a lifestyle that requires the use of a greater amount of energy and fossil fuels that form greenhouse gases through combustion, the larger your impact on the environment and your carbon footprint will be. Often people consider their carbon footprint to be the result of their immediate use of fossil fuels and energy usage, like cooking with natural gas or using petroleum to run their automobile. However, your carbon footprint consists of many activities that can be far less obvious. This may include the fossil fuels used to transport the food that you buy at your local grocery store, or the energy used to dispose of the waste produced in your household. All this comes into account when trying to make an accurate estimate of what impact is left behind by your daily activities and choices. 

    How to Measure Your Carbon Footprint? 

    Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world, ranking #2 in total emissions (other countries near the top include China #1, India #3, Russia #4 and Japan #5) but #1 in emissions per capita. Since this much larger footprint is made up of many much smaller individual footprints, it is important to understand your contribution and responsibility to the greater whole. Individually, the average American produces 9.44 tons of carbon dioxide on their own each year! Did this surprise you? The link below will help you to calculate the size of the carbon footprint of your household: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html. 

    How to Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions? 

    Taking small steps to reduce your carbon footprint and saving energy is actually fairly simple. Here is a list of some easy things that you can do to live a more environmentally healthy lifestyle. 

    - Limit Consumption of Bottled Water – The production, consumption and disposal of bottled water leaves a rather significant carbon footprint. It requires the combustion of fossil fuels to make the bottle, transport it, and dispose of it if it’s not recycled. In-house filtration systems can reduce your impact and cost for water. 

    - Unplug Appliances That Are Not Frequently In Use – Most of these items have a standby mode that wastes energy even when they’re not in use. Unplugging is the best way to ensure that unnecessary energy is not lost. With a powerstrip, you can even switch off more than one appliance at once. 

    - Use Cold Water – No, I’m not suggesting that you start taking cold showers. Using colder water to wash clothes that do not require a hot water wash is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. While washers already require a lot of energy to run, it takes even more to heat the water. Using cold water whenever possible can make a big difference and will increase your energy saving. 

    - Recycle And Reuse – Recycling uses a lot less energy since it is reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that would come out of creating a completely new product. 

    - Upgrade The Energy Efficiency Of Your Home – New energy efficient light bulbs, filters, and appliances could have a massive impact in reducing your carbon footprint. Less energy used means less greenhouse gas emissions. Even just maintaining and taking care of the appliances and products you already own can ensure a smaller footprint without spending a lot of money. You can measure the energy efficiency of your home and your potential energy savings at www.energyresults.com. 

    With easy steps like these, you are on your way to increasing your energy savings and reducing the size of the carbon footprint left behind. We all have a role in trying to shrink the adverse impact we have on the environment, not only as an individual, but also as a member of a household, as a citizen of a country, and as an inhabitant of planet earth. 

    by: Energyresults
  • Online Health Insurance: The Truth About Cheap Quotes

    Posted Under: General Area  |  December 17, 2013 7:13 AM  |  257 views  |  No comments

    Looking for low cost health insurance quotes? Good. You are taking that most important step of shopping around for the best price. But more importantly, you undstand that it is important to have health insurance, and perhaps, even more importantly, understand that the real purpose of health insurance, as for any insurance, is protection. That is, you do not get health insurance to act as a sort of discount off the price of doctor and hospital services. The point of insurance is protection in the event of catastrophe. Yes, health insurance costs are high and continue to rise, but do not forget that the reason you are seeking health insurance quotes online--and even offline--is to insure you get the most protection (not discount) for the best (lowest) rate.

    Getting health insurance quotes is now extremely easy with the use of the Internet. Take advantage of online insurance quote availability to get an idea of the range of premium prices offered. Even if you don't want to buy online, you will have a better understanding of what the insurance agent is talking about, and when it comes time to put ink on the contract, you will be making a more informed decision. Remember, too, that quotes are free and come without obligation.

    When you look for cheap health insurance quotes, online or off, you must also consider type of health care you want and what that means in terms of how your care is delivered to you. Health insurance is a much more than a matter of co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles. When you get a health insurance quote, you are getting a quote on a certain kind of plan. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a single "best" plan. You will find that there are some plans that will serve your needs better as an individual, and plans that will be better for both you and your family's needs. Plans will vary according to what services they offer, and you will probably have to make some hard choices as to what services are most important. No plan will pay everything; there will always be out-of-pocket costs associated with your medical services, though some plans will pay more for the services you deem most important. So, health insurance quotes are really the tip of the iceberg to a very important subject.

    Cheap Health Insurance Quotes and the HMO, PPO, FFS/indemnity plan, and POS

    *HMO--An HMO is a health maintenance organization. An HMO contracts with doctors, hospitals, and other medical providers to form a sort of network. As a member of an HMO, you are required to use the providers in that network. You pay the HMO a certain amount of money per their payment arrangements in order to receive medical services.

    *PPO--A PPO is a preferred provider organization. A PPO is similar to an HMO in that there is a network of medical providers that you can use. However, the PPO does not require you to use that network and allows you see doctors and go to hospitals out of network. Normally, you do not need a referral to see doctors out of network. However, in that event, you do pay more for the service. That is, the amount of coverage is less.

    *POS--A POS is a point of service plan. A point of service plan is very much like an HMO except that POS doctors can refer you out of the network of providers to see a specialist. In a POS, you would not refer yourself, and if the plan does refer you out of the network, you do pay more for the service.

    *FFS--A FFS or indemnity plan, is a fee for service plan. In a fee for service, you are billed by the service. You are usually not required to use a network of providers. That means you choose which doctors, hospitals, and specialists you want to see and use. Because you make the decision about who you see and where you go, there is no need for a referral to see a doctor. The only limiting factor is whether or not the provider accepts the insurance of the fee for service plan insurance.

    Low Cost health insurance quotes have a lot going on behind the scenes. Seeking an online quote? Now you have a better idea of what that quote is for. When you visit an insurance agent to talk health care, be sure to look thoroughly into the options available to you. Your health insurance quote represents a package of insurance services, and it is important for you to understand the relationship between the quote and the services you may be purchasing.

    by: Evan Davis
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