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Go Green: Ways to Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

Anna Smith

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There are so many ways that our lives impact the earth that we live on. The vehicles that we drive, the equipment we use and the food that we buy all affect our environment. While a lot of people are environmentally conscious about what they do and use in their homes, there is always room for improvement. There are a few different ways that we can go green to make our homes more environmentally friendly.

Install Solar Panels

According to Humless, solar power has a long lifespan, produces no emissions and can be used indoors which creates a clean, sustainable power source for homes. There are panels that can easily be installed onto your roof. They are usually placed on the side of your roof where you get the most daytime sun, but many people choose to install their solar panels on both sides of their home. If you don’t want to purchase these panels, many companies have rental programs that require you to pay a minimal fee each month or year. You’ll be saving a lot of energy and money as well as avoiding extra use of fossil fuels.

Use Energy Efficient Appliances

If your appliances are several years old, it might be time to invest in something a bit newer and more efficient. The older an appliance is, the more energy it is going to consume. Newer models of refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers are all designed to be extremely efficient. Many of them have Energy Star ratings that can help you find efficient products and shop for the best deal.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

All homes have a thermostat that controls the temperature inside the home. You probably have your preferred temperature for the winter and summer, but, according to Air Experts, you can use a programmable thermostat to save a little bit of energy each day. Most programmable thermostats will allow you to set a temperature for four different points in the day. When you’re going to be gone at work, you can set the furnace to run less intensively. You can also change the temperature during the nighttime hours. Curling up under your blankets in the winter allows you to drop the indoor temperature a few degrees.

There are so many ways that we can make our home more environmentally friendly. This is not to mention that you can also save money in the process. You can start with simple methods of saving energy. As you learn more, you can incorporate additional ideas.

You might also like: Going Green? Don’t Be Surprised if You Start Feeling Better Too

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What to Consider Before Buying a Vacation Rental

Anna Smith

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Buying a vacation rental is a big decision, and it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve done your research before making such a large commitment. Here are some important things to consider before buying a vacation rental.

Location

The most important item that you should consider before buying a vacation rental property is location, location, location. Is there a high demand for your vacation market? Are you close enough to shops, cultural sites, tourism destinations, maintenance companies, and grocery stores?  Considering questions such as these will help you find the best place to purchase a vacation rental. Although properties in high demand areas will be more expensive, the return on those properties is much greater.  Location is more important than initial price. 

Rental Income

In order to buy a vacation rental, many homeowners will have to take out a second mortgage. Because of this, it’s important to make good financial decisions, such as making sure that the rental property can cover its own monthly costs. Consider how much rental income you can reasonably generate, and if it can offset your mortgage.  In the vacation market, there will most likely be an “offseason,” or a time of the year when renting is slow.  As the owner of the property, you must find a way to maintain your rental income, whether that is through ensuring continual renters, charging enough during the busy seasons that you can cover some decreased costs during the offseason, or both.  

Added Maintenance Costs

Oftentimes vacation homes are located in expensive areas.  “Expensive” areas could be areas that are more remote (i.e. mountains, wilderness, and national parks) or areas with high population and desirability, like beaches or big cities.  Regardless of the area in which your vacation home is located, maintenance costs will likely be much higher than in an average neighborhood. Scarce contracting resources in remote areas, or high contracting overhead and demand in high populated areas are contributing factors to this.  Recognizing that maintaining your vacation home oftentimes can be more expensive than maintaining your primary home is important before buying a vacation rental.

Home Styles

The style of your vacation home can impact its popularity among renters. Popular home styles in the United States include colonial houses, farmhouses, Victorian homes, Cape Cod homes, mid-century modern homes, and craftsman homes. Beach houses and cabins are also quite popular among vacationers. You might consider buying a home and remodeling it to fit one of these popular styles. You could also choose to build instead of buying. When you build a home, you get to choose from a variety of custom home styles. The flexibility that comes with building a custom home can be a great asset.

Amenities

One factor in ensuring that your vacation rental has enough renters is making sure that your house has the amenities that your target market desires. It’s a good idea to research the needs and wants of your particular target market. For example, a beach townhouse will not have RV and ATV parking areas, and a cabin might not have the same amenities as a beach house. It’s important to make sure the house has what the people want. While you might want to consider buying a home that has specific amenities suited to the needs of your target market, there are several amenities that generally appeal to most people. A pool table, hot tub, and TV are generally safe bets for vacation homes. If you want to attract renters, put money into the amenities.  You want to give renters something that they wouldn’t get at home.

Marketing Strategies

As the vacation rental market is becoming more popular, it’s likely that you will have a good amount of competition. There are hundreds of properties on all the major listing sites, and it’s not always easy to get your property to stand out from the crowd. Before buying a vacation rental, you should take some time to lay the foundation of a marketing strategy that can help you drive traffic to your vacation home. You can find renters better as you create an attention-grabbing listing, and advertising your properties on several online platforms. You should also research property promotion and pricing strategies before buying a vacation home.

Taxes and Interest Rates

Taxes and interest rates vary by location.  A vacation home in California is much more likely to have higher rates than a cabin in the woods of Idaho.  If money is tight and this is your first location home, pay close attention to taxes and interest.

Laws and Regulations

There are laws and regulations that govern the vacation rental market. These rules will vary depending on the local laws for each location. You should make yourself aware of these rules before you buy a vacation rental, as these local laws could highly impact your decision. General rules that apply to most locations include obtaining a permit and business license, obeying taxation rules, safety regulations, and insurance regulations.

Continuous Cash Flow

Because purchasing a vacation rental is a big investment, it’s a good idea to calculate your expected cash flow before you commit. You should do some market research and talk to other vacation rental landlords and business professionals. Try to get an idea of the amount of vacation renters in your prospective area. Making sure your vacation rental will be regularly frequented with interested renters is one important factor in the success of any investment. You should also try to estimate the number of needed repairs and maintenance for your property. If your property will cost more money than it brings in, it’s clear you will have a problem with continuous cash flow.  

There are many benefits that can come with investing in a vacation rental property. It’s a great way to supplement your income, cash in on tax benefits, and increase your enjoyment. Considering these few ideas before making that investment will help you make an informed and intelligent decision.

Here’s another article you might like: 3 Cost-Saving Tips for Vacationing with Your Family

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How to Make the Most Out of 3 Kitchen Design Dilemmas

Anna Smith

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A kitchen is the place in your home where people cook delicious meals and gather and spend time together. Although it’s a great place to be with each other, the way a kitchen is designed can be a little awkward or dysfunctional sometimes. It may take some time and creativity, but you can turn your kitchen design dilemma into something great.

Small Kitchen

Nobody likes a cramped kitchen. Fortunately, there are so many ways you can make your kitchen look and feel bigger. First, color will be your best friend. You want to use lighter finishes because dark finishes make your kitchen look smaller. This goes for your paint choices and cabinet/countertop colors as well. Using mirrors, glossy granite countertops, and glass tiles can also make a huge difference. Also, try, be as minimalistic as possible. Clutter only makes things look smaller and removes space that can be utilized—and you probably need all the space you can manage!

Odd Layout

An oddly planned kitchen can be hard to deal with. Whether it’s too narrow or an appliance is not in a good spot, it can be frustrating. However, you can feel reassured that there are many ways to turn odd into artistic. If you have little pockets of awkward space, find ways to utilize it. You could always install extra shelving or countertops. Consider making a tiny home office where you can keep shopping-lists, a mail station, and school supplies for the kids. For that thin slice of wall, install a narrow tray storage rack or place hooks to keep aprons. You can always make an awkward, random wall into an accent wall to spice things up.

Mismatching Appliances and Cabinetry

Nothing looks more fashionably dysfunctional than a mismatched kitchen. When your kitchen’s cabinetry doesn’t mesh with your appliances, it can make your kitchen look smaller and feel unsettling. But don’t worry, you don’t need to get all new appliances to make things work—you may just need a new paint job. For example, if you have white appliances and wooden cabinets, paint your cabinets grey or another soft color, like steel blue or sage. Then, get a couple of accent items, like black towels or brass décor to make the colors meld and pop at the same time.

The days of having an awkward and dysfunctional kitchen are over. Whether you have a small kitchen, one with an odd layout, or everything is mismatched, you can be rest assured knowing that with a little creativity and effort, you can finally have your dream kitchen.

Here’s another article you might like: Home Improvement Projects That Will Save You Money in the Long Run

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Is Your Love of DIY Projects Making Your Home Less Green?

Anna Smith

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person holding blue and white tread

Do-it-yourself projects have become a popular hobby over the years. While they can sometimes be cheaper than hiring a professional, they aren’t always what they are cracked up to be and can end up just being a band aid that covers up an even bigger problem.Not only can a DIY project be more work than it’s worth, it could also be damaging to the environment and make your home less green than you want it to be.

Making Waste

A DIY project takes various materials, whether it be raw or repurposed materials to create something new. However, it can lead to a lot of waste. If you’re doing a DIY project that involves paint, there’s a chance you can spill that paint, which could be potentially dangerous for the soil, if you’re painting outside. Even after the project is finished, there may be potential leaks or spills from the finished project which could also be bad for the environment.

Improper Installation

Another way in which DIY projects could be making your home less green is the fact that many of them are installed improperly. Certain projects have a higher risk of going wrong when installed by the homeowner instead of by a professional. In fact, HVAC systems are only 55% to 70% of optimal compared to a properly installed one. This can lead to dangerous results not only for yourself, but also for your house and the environment. Plus, it can be expensive to repair damages caused by a project being improperly installed.

Being Irresponsible

In addition to improperly installed projects and wasteful projects, sometimes DIY projects are not responsible toward the environment. Instead of being focused on improving the environment or at the very least, not hurting it, DIY projects release dangerous fumes into the air, or expose live wires in the wall, or lead to spills that seep into the ground releasing poisonous chemicals into the environment. Being irresponsible with DIY projects could lead to potential harm of the environment, yourself, and others.

While do it yourself projects can be fun to do on your own, consider the negative consequences that they can pose. In order to prevent waste, improper installation, and being irresponsible, try to find DIY projects that improve the quality of your home and are eco friendly.

Here’s another article you might like: Go Green: Ways to Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

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