Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Know Your Home Value with Electronic Appraiser

Calculating proper home value is a very important factor for selling or even purchasing a house. Over-estimation or Under-estimation of home value might lead to non-sale of your valuable house. And similarly, you can get cheated too if you over-pay for the property that is not worth so much. So, it is very much necessary to get the proper estimation of your house value when it comes to purchasing or selling it.

For this, you can hire the A real estate professional a real estate professional & get the estimation done. But the valid question is, will the a real estate professional himself have the exact house value estimation detection ability, or may be even he might be mistaken in that. So, to avoid all these de-motivating factors, there is a perfect key to this problem- Electronic Appraiser. This is the device that helps you to calculate & get a customized home value reports.

There are different types of home-values that can be obtained through Electronic Appraiser- Complete Valuation Report, Comparable Sales Report, Full Traditional Electronic Appraisal & Find a real estate professional Service. The Complete Valuation Reports are also known as Automated Valuation Model, which is a highly computerized house value that has been designed to outshine the traditional electronic appraisal methods. These home values are almost equivalent to the reports used by the banks & loan lenders during the loan obtaining process.

The Comparable Sales value is also a computerized sales report and is said to be a perfect choice if you are looking for a recent sale within an area. The Traditional Electronic Appraiser is the most complete valuation product as far as the customers’ satisfaction is concerned. This is the basic valuation report used by the property lending institutions. A licensed appraiser will fix-up an appointment with you, visit your home & will provide you with a written report containing all the information about your house in terms of market value. This report consists of the comparable sales, formulas & qualifications of the Electronic appraiser.

If you want to plan this procedure through real estate professional, we can provide you with that also. This service is very quick & free of cost and very anonymous indeed. With this, you can choose the best real estate professional who will guide you for purchasing or selling the house.

Electronic Appraiser has many important features, mentioned above, which makes it a very better house value calculating device. Unlike the risks that are taken by the actual real estate professional, our procedures are very simplified & effective, as well as loss-proof.

For more details on calculating home values with the Electronic Appraiser, log on to www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

4 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Real Estate Agent

After you get your home appraised and have a good idea of how much you can expect to receive for the sell of your home, it is time for you to start deciding how you are going to go about selling the home. Of course, you might decide that you want to represent yourself in the sell of your home. But, if you prefer to hire a real estate agent to help you through the process, there are several key questions you should be sure to ask. This way, you can be certain to get the right agent for the job and to achieve the best possible results. To that end, here is a look at a few of the key questions you should be sure to ask when interviewing potential real estate agents.

How Long Have You Been in the Real Estate Business?

Ideally, you want to work with a real estate agent who either has many years of experience in the field or who has a mentor with a great deal of experience in the business. One benefit to working with a newer agent is that they tend to provide their clients with a great deal of attention. Just make certain the agent has a competent mentor that he or she can contact if problems should arise.

What Strategies Will You Use to Sell My Home?

Your real estate agent should have a solid plan in place for successfully marketing your home to potential buyers. This may include implementing a direct mail campaign, creating flyers and using the Internet to advertise your home. Ask the agent to explain the methods that he or she plans to use and why using these strategies should be an effective method for selling your home.

What Makes You Better Than Other Real Estate Agents?

In addition to helping you learn more about what you can expect from the agent, asking this question also helps you can gain a better understanding of the qualities and characteristics the real estate agent thinks are important. Obviously, you will need to pick an agent who exhibits the characteristics you find to be most important as well. For example, is it more important for the agent to be an excellent negotiator or are you looking for someone who is friendly and easy to reach by phone or email? Choose the agent who best suits your personal needs.

What is Your List Price to Sales Price Ratio?

The agent’s list price to sales price ratio represents the difference between the price you are asking for the home compared to the price at which the agent sells the home. As a seller, you are looking for a real estate agent with a high list price to sales price ratio, as this indicates the agent does a good job selling properties at the price the owner is asking.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for http://www.electronicappraiser.com/, which is a leading provider of on-line home appraisals and offers a nationwide personalized instant informational report about home appraisal. For more information, please visit .
http://www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Increasing the Curb Appeal of Your Home

When it comes to increasing the value of your home, you may not need to look as far as you thought. In fact, making a few simple changes can potentially increase your home's value while also helping you get it sold more quickly. So, what is the secret? The answer is curb appeal.

What is Curb Appeal?

Put simply, the curb appeal of a home is a measure of its attractiveness when viewing the property from the road. In other words, it refers to the first impression your buyer is likely to get. In order to determine your home's level of curb appeal, you should ask yourself whether or not your home looks appealing as you pass it on the road or as you pull up in your driveway. If your home lacks curb appeal, you will lose out on many potential buyers before they even come inside your home. Therefore, no matter how attractive your home looks from the road, you should do everything you can to make it look even more appealing before you put it on the market.

How Can I Increase Curb Appeal?

In order to increase the curb appeal of your home, you should first identify the most attractive exterior features of your home and then find ways to enhance them. Sometimes, simply adding a little edging or weeding away the vegetation growing between the bricks in your walkway can go a long way toward improving your curb appeal. Other inexpensive ways to improve your curb appeal include:

Removing any mold or mildew growing on your driveway, house or sidewalks
Clean your windows, gutters, siding, decks and patios
Put away items so your lawn is free of clutter
Rake your leaves, mow your lawn and get rid of the weeds growing in your yard
Trim trees and pushes so they are neat and attractive

You might also need to repaint the outside of your home, add some new landscaping, replace your door or complete a few other changes that will require spending a little money. Nonetheless, the investment will likely be minimal, while the rewards can be fantastic.

Is There Anything Else to Keep in Mind?

While making your house look more attractive from the main road during the day is certainly of very high importance, you should also consider how your property appears at night as well as from other vantage points. For example, can your backyard be viewed from another road? If so, you should make an extra effort to make this part of your property look attractive from the road as well. Similarly, it is a good idea to enhance the curb appeal of your home at night, as you never know when a potential buyer will pass by. Simple additions such as placing lighting along your driveway, adding a decorative street lamp or other lighting around your doorways and windows will help make your home more attractive both day and night.


About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for http://www.electronicappraiser.com/, which is a leading provider of on-line home appraisals and offers a nationwide personalized instant informational report about home appraisal. For more information, please visit .
http://www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Estimating Your Home’s Value

While the best way to get an estimate of your home’s value is to consult with a professional appraiser, it is possible to get a ballpark figure on your own. By coming up with your own estimate, you can better determine if you are ready to contact an appraiser and put your home on the market. In general, there are two things to consider when trying to estimate the value of your home: How does your home compare to similar homes in the area have recently sold for and how much do you adjust to compensate for superior or inferior features of your home.

Considering Comps

When trying to develop an estimated value of your home, you will first need to compare your home to other similar homes that have sold in the area. The homes you use for comparison purposes are referred to as “comps or comparables.” It is important to note that market activity can change dramatically in just a few months’ time. Therefore, it will do you little good to compare your home to a home that sold over a year ago if there are homes that have sold recently. Rather, you should only consider those homes that have sold in the last six months or less. In actuality, however, it is best to only look back at the past three months.

If your home is in a market that is not particularly active, it may be difficult to find comps in your area. Similarly, if your home has special features that are not regularly found in homes in your area, you may not be able to find a reasonable comp to use for comparison purposes. Significant international and national events, such as war and elections, can also cause sudden changes in housing prices.

Amenities and Other Considerations

In addition to comparing your home to other similar homes in your area, there are several other factors that need to be considered when estimating the value of your home. These include:

• Age of the home
• Amenities
• Location
• Size
• Condition

In general, you should compare your home to a home that is of similar age to your home. Homes of a similar age and location typically also have similar amenities. Of course, this isn’t always the case, as your home may include other special amenities such as a pool, a bonus room, a great view, or a particularly large garage.

Ideally, you should compare your home to other homes that are in the same area as yours. If there has been no recent activity in your area, however, you might need to compare your home to other homes in neighborhoods that are similar to yours. In order to find a neighborhood similar to yours, look for one with homes that were built around the same time as yours and that are of comparable size.

The size of your home is another important consideration. The total square footage of your home, the number of rooms in your home, and even the size of your garage will all have an impact on the value of your home.

Since so many factors are involved with determining the value of a home, it can be difficult for a homeowner to develop a precise estimate of its value. Therefore, in order to get a more accurate appraisal of your home, it is best to enlist in the services of a professional appraisal service, a local real estate agent and or a on-line valuation company.


About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for http://www.electronicappraiser.com/, which is a leading provider of on-line home appraisals and offers a nationwide personalized instant informational report about home appraisal. For more information, please visit .
www.electronicappraiser.com .

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Friday, February 22, 2008

What is A Home Appraisal?

You are ready to make that big purchase, maybe it is your dream home or it could be an investment piece of real estate. Whichever it may be, the purchase of real estate is a complex financial transaction that requires multiple parties to pull it off.

Of the many people involved with a real estate transaction, including the Realtor, mortgage company, title company and financial institution, all want to make sure that the value of the property is in line with the amount being paid.

This is where the appraisal comes in. An appraisal is an unbiased estimate of what a buyer might expect to pay - or a seller receive - for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. To be an informed party, most people turn to a licensed, certified, professional appraiser to provide them with the most accurate estimate of the true value of their property.

To start the real estate appraisal process, first there must be an inspection. An appraiser's duty is to inspect the property being appraised to ascertain the true status of that property. The appraiser must actually see features, such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure that they really exist and are in the condition a reasonable buyer would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the property, ensuring the proper square footage and conveying the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser looks for any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the house.

Once the site has been inspected, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of real property: a cost approach, a sales comparison and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

The cost approach is the easiest to understand. The appraiser uses information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to determine how much it would cost to construct a property similar to the one being appraised. This value often sets the upper limit on what a property would sell for. Why would you pay more for an existing property if you could spend less and build a brand new home instead is the reasoning behind the cost approach? While there may be mitigating factors, such as location and amenities, these are usually not reflected in the cost approach.

This is where the sales comparison comes in. Appraisers use the sales comparison method through getting to know the neighborhoods in which they work. They understand the value of certain features to the residents of that area. They know the traffic patterns, the school zones, the busy throughways; and they use this information to determine which attributes of a property will make a difference in the value. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the vicinity and finds properties that are ''comparable'' to the subject being appraised. The sales prices of these properties are used as a basis to begin the sales comparison approach.

Using knowledge of the value of certain items such as square footage, extra bathrooms, hardwood floors, fireplaces or view lots (just to name a few), the appraiser adjusts the comparable properties to more accurately portray the subject property. For example, if the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject does not, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home. If the subject property has an extra half-bathroom and the comparable does not, the appraiser might add a certain amount to the comparable property.

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - the appraiser may use a third approach to valuing the property. In this case, the amount of income the property produces is used to arrive at the current value of those revenues over the foreseeable future.

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the subject property. It is important to note that while this amount is probably the best indication of what a property is worth, it may not be the final sales price. There are always mitigating factors such as seller motivation, urgency or ''bidding wars'' that may adjust the final price up or down. But the appraised value is often used as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money that the property is actually worth. The bottom line is: an appraiser will help you get the most accurate property value, so you can make the most informed real estate decisions.


Greg Sullivan is the President of www.electronicappraiser.com, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal service. For more information, please visit www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

How A CMA Can Help You

A comparative market analysis, or CMA, is a real estate agent's evaluation based on local listing and sales data used to determine the probable sale price of a property in the current market. For a seller, a CMA can help you determine a listing price. If you are a buyer, the CMA will help you decide on what to offer for a listing.

Although reports can vary from a two-page list of comparable home sales to a 50-page comprehensive guide, the length and complexity of the CMA depends on the real estate agent's business practice. However, standard comparative market analysis reports contain the following data:

1. Active Listings - Active listings are homes currently for sale. Such listings are not completely indicative of market value because sellers can ask whatever they want for their home, but they will give you an idea of averages.

2. Pending Listings - Pending listings are formerly active listings that were under contract. These homes have not yet closed, so they are not yet a comparable sale. Unless the listing agent is willing to share information about the pending sale -- and many are not -- you will not know the actual sold price until the transaction closes. However, pending sales do indicate the direction the market is moving.

3. Sold Listings - Homes that have closed within the past six months are your comparable sales. These are the sales an appraiser will use when appraising your home for the buyer, along with the pending sales (which will likely have closed by the time your home is sold). Look long and hard at the comparable sales because those are your market value.


When examining comparable sales remember to choose homes that most closely resemble your home. It is difficult to compare a tri-level home to a single-story home. Select the homes from this list that are mostly identical to your home in size, shape and condition, such as: similar square footage, similar age of construction, similar amenities, upgrades and condition and similar location.

4. Off-Market / Withdrawn / Canceled - These are properties that were taken off the market for a variety of reasons. This number can be used as a high water mark. The reason these homes are removed from the market may be due to prices being too high. The median prices of this group will almost always be higher than the median prices of comparable sales. However, listings cancel for other reasons such seller's remorse, the DOM was too long, repair requests, or the seller fired the agent.

5. Expired Listing - This group will reflect the highest median sales price because they did not sell and were probably unreasonably priced. Some of the expired listings could also show up as an active listing, listed by a new agent at a new price. Listings also expire because they were not aggressively marketed or because the home was in need of repairs.

A real estate agent's knowledge of the local market can affect the accuracy of a CMA, particularly in a neighborhood with a lot of variability in the housing stock. Unless the agent has actually seen the comparable listings, he or she may not draw the correct conclusions. So pick your agent carefully and you too can benefit from the value of a CMA.

Greg Sullivan is the President of www.electronicappraiser.com, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal service. For more information, please visit www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why Should You Use A Realtor®

We all want to save a few bucks when we can. But there are times when scrimping is not worth it and in the end, it could cost your more than you can save.

Hiring a Realtor® is one of those times when it isn’t wise to scrimp. When the stakes are high, as with the investment of purchasing or selling your home, your want a professional on your side.

So what can a licensed Realtor® offer you?

1. Help you determine how much house you can afford. Sometimes lenders have limited options when it comes to purchasing a home. A Realtor® can help you get more creative and possibly even connect you with a lender who can be more flexible with your funding options.

w2. When looking for that ideal home, you either need to have the time to peruse the listings or leave it to a realtor, whose job it is to know all of the listings. By giving your Realtor® an idea of what you are looking for, they can keep their eye open on your behalf while watching the price range.

3. If you are moving to a new city or town, you want to know the ins and outs of the community. A Realtor® can give your local information such as what the zoning rules are, where the local schools are and what the environment is like. All of this can be of great help to you before making your big investment in a town you are unfamiliar with.

4. If negotiating price is your weakness, whether in selling or buying, a Realtor® can help do this for you. The Realtor® can also help you with date of possession, inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. During the evaluation of your property, your Realtor® will follow up with due diligence. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. The Realtor® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property.

6. When selling your home, the Realtor® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

7. When it comes to promoting your home for sale, the Realtor®, who sees people day in and day out looking for property as well as other realtors, can be your perfect marketing strategy. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer.

8. Your Realtor® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. Your Realtor® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

9. Last, the Realtor® can answer questions and tie up loose ends before the closing of the house. They complete the paperwork and resolve issues, which can save you many headaches.


About the Author: Greg Sullivan is the President of www.electronicappraiser.com, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant information about house values. For more information, please visit www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Improving Your Home’s Resale Value

Are you getting ready to sell your home and want to get the most for the value? If so, there are a few simple things you can do that won’t necessarily cost you a fortune.

First of all, when potential buyers drive up to your house, the first thing they see is the front of your house. Knowing that the exterior of the house usually is a good indicator of the inside of the house, you want your home to have curb appeal and make buyers want to see the rest of the house. So here are some quick things you can do.

1. Mow the lawn regularly while your home is on the market. If you have patches in your yard where grass doesn’t grow, you can either sow some grass seeds or sod the areas. If the bare area is at the base of a tree, you could turn the spot into a flowerbed.

2. While we’re on the subject of flowerbeds, be sure to keep these areas weeded when trying to sell your home. Adding pine straw or mulch can freshen up your yard and make your yard look well cared for.

3. Add some color to your yard by planting flowers. You can use them in beds, hanging baskets, or flowerpots. Planting flowers can help to liven up a house, especially if the home is older or more traditional. And, be sure to pick vibrant colors over pastels or white in order to give the full effect.

4. Clean your windows. People always look out of the windows when they’re viewing a home. So, cleaning the windows will help the view from the interior and the exterior!

5. Use a pressure washer to clean sidewalks and driveways. Pressure washing cement, especially, can make it look as though it was freshly poured.

6. Make your front door inviting. Since most potential buyers enter your home through the front door, you want to pay attention to this part of your home. If there are any shoe marks at the base (or hand marks near the handle), be sure to clean those. Depending on the type of door you have, you can also give it a fresh coat of paint.

7. Examine your home’s exterior. If your home has siding, check to see how clean it is. If you see collected dirt or pollen, you can clean these surfaces fairly easily with a pressure washer. If your home is painted, check to make sure the paint is not chipping away. If your home was painted recently, you may just want to hose off (or gently pressure wash) any visible dirt. If your home is in need of new paint, be sure to choose neutral colors.

8. While your pet may be your pride and joy, even a friendly dog’s barking may frighten a buyer. If you can’t remove your dog, try to confine it to the garage or dog run. Many buyers are allergic to cats, so be sure litter boxes are clean.

9. Remove the clutter from inside your home. If your home has too much furniture, overflowing closets, junk sitting in corners, and crowded kitchen and bath countertops, potential buyers cannot see your home. Removing clutter will make your home appear bigger and brighter

10. Clean your house. Buyers want to move into a clean home. They feel more assured of that prospect if the home is spotless at it’s showing. Clean walls, baseboard trim, window sills, light switches, doors, and light fixtures. Steam clean carpets and dust window blinds. Dust/wash off lint from the washer and dryer, even wash off the furnace and hot water heater. A sparkling clean home is sure to impress!

11. Do everything you can to brighten the interior of your home. Pull back your curtains and drapes so prospects can see how bright and cheery your home is. Let the sun shine in! For an evening showing, turn on all the lights - both inside and outside. Light adds color and warmth, and makes prospects feel welcome. During the winter, maintain a comfortable temperature even if you are away for an extended time.

About the Author: Greg Sullivan is the President of www.electronicappraiser.com, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal services. For more information, please visit www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Inexpensive Ways To Give Your Home A Facelift

If you are looking to sell your home or even have it appraised, you want to get the most value you can for your money.

Those of you who have taken up home improvement projects know that there is a monetary return for every improvement investment. Although the actual cost and payback for each project can vary, depending on both your home's condition and overall real estate market values in your region of the country, here a few things you can do that will most likely improve your home’s worth.

1. Make your kitchen really cook. The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home. Potential homebuyers make a beeline for this room when they first view a home for sale, so make sure your kitchen looks clean and reasonably updated.

For a few hundred dollars, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones.

If you've got a slightly larger budget, you can give the cabinets themselves a makeover. You don’t need to replace your cabinets, hiring a company to reface them can give you the same results for less money. If you're handy, you can order your own replacement cabinet doors and door fronts from retailers like Lowe's Home Improvement or The Home Depot and install them yourself.

2. Give appliances a facelift. If your kitchen appliances don't match, order new doors or face panels for them. Many dishwasher panels are white on one side and black on the other, so if you are trying to match everything up, slide out the panel and flip it around.

A more cohesive-looking kitchen makes a big difference in the buyer's mind -- and in the home's resale price.

3. Buff up the bath. Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Simple things like adding a new toilet seat and a pedestal sink are pretty easy for homeowners to install, and they make a big difference in the look of the bath.

If your bathroom floor is old and discolored, try replacing tiles with easy-to-apply vinyl tiles or a small piece of sheet vinyl. You may not even need to take up the old floor. You can install the new floor right over the old one.

If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider re-grouting the tile and replacing any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units may require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.

4. Step up your storage. Old houses, particularly, are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas, try adding do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets.

5. Add a room in a week or less. "If you have a three-bedroom house with a den, the only reason the den can't be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn't have a closet. If you add a closet to that room, you've now got a four-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value."

6. Mind the mechanics. Spending a few bucks on nitty-gritty stuff such as repairing leaks, wrapping or fixing loose wires, and fixing any faulty outlets.

7. Look underfoot. Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colors.

If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs. Unless it is truly hideous, most Realtors don't suggest replacing wall-to-wall carpeting right before you sell your house. The new homeowners may want to choose their own carpeting after they move in.

8. Let there be light. If you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room's lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days. If you have a ceiling fan and light, you can also buy replacement fan blades (leaving the fan body in place) to update the fixture's look.

9. Reframe your entry. Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home.


About the Author: Greg Sullivan is the President of www.electronicappraiser.com, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal services. For more information, please visit www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Improving the value of your home with bamboo flooring

If you are looking to increase the value of your home, replacing old carpets or tile with a beautifully laid bamboo floor will certainly help. And if your home isn’t up for resell and you just want to have beautiful flooring, using bamboo is an elegant and affordable way to go.

Bamboo flooring may only be a little over ten years old, but its beauty and environmental factors have spoken for itself. And, floor experts have discovered that bamboo is actually harder than hardwoods such as Maple and Oak. Not only that, bamboo is extremely eco-friendly, and stands up the look, feel, sound, and warmth of its hardwood peers.


When we think of bamboo, we see reeds of tall grasses growing in tropical locations. So how does a grass become transformed into a wood floor? For starters, only a particular type of Bamboo is used, most often the Moso variety. Once Moso poles reach 40 to 50 feet in height, they are harvested and dried. The drying process is slow, typically four years in the sun. The bamboo is then sliced into thin uniform strips and planed on all sides. The pieces are converted into flooring made of either two or three layered horizontal or vertical laminated pieces. Bamboo can either be nailed to a wood subfloor or glued directly to a concrete sub-floor. Floating is not recommended. There is a variety of moldings made available as well to hide expansion gaps and for staircases.

Bamboo flooring comes in a variety of colors. Pretreated, coloring choices are natural and smoky amber. If the product comes to the states untreated, stains can vary from pinks to a variety of browns. Because bamboo is a grass rather than a tree, its finished appearance is very distinctive. Most distinctive is the eye-catching pattern of slightly darker bands produced by its nodes – a feature that clearly sets it apart from wood. Bamboo’s other aesthetic features include the tightness of its grain and the uniformity of its color.

These untreated and stained pieces of bamboo flooring are then given a final coating, typically made up of an aluminum oxide and polyurethane scratch-resistant topcoat. Coatings can be matte or glossy, with glossy tending to scratch more easily than matte.

Bamboo’s popularity has continued to grow with its discovery. The fact that it is a grass, a quickly renewable resource that yields a product 25 times faster than timber, has been of primary interest to the environmentally conscious. The beauty is an added bonus. With the cost of bamboo equivalent to oak flooring, it isn’t hard on the pocketbook either. Bamboo is also easy to clean and considered ideal for allergy sufferers, as they do not harbor dust mites.

When cleaning bamboo, a soft touch is best to prevent minute scratches on the surface. A padded cleaning head on your vacuum cleaner or a damp mop is most appropriate. This method will keep dust and debris from accumulating and scratching your bamboo floor. You should also take care never to over wet your bamboo floor. While it is resistant to moisture due to its tropical origins, it is best to minimize moisture exposure to help preserve the material. Mop spills using a damp cloth and dry immediately.

Putting area rugs on pathways that may experience high traffic. This keeps the bamboo floor from scuffing due to the high amount of traffic in a certain area. To prevent dirt and other debris from coming onto the floor from the outside, place exterior mats in entryways. Gravel and debris stuck in the bottom of shoes may scratch the finish of your bamboo floor.

If you have pets, remember to regularly trim your pets' nails to prevent them from scratching and gouging the bamboo floor. And of course, when moving furniture from one place to another, lift them instead of dragging them along the floor.

So if you are ready to transform the look of your home, putting in bamboo flooring will give you a huge start.

About the Author: Greg Sullivan is the President of www.electronicappraiser.com, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant information about house values. For more information, please visit www.electronicappraiser.com.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Makes A Home “Green”

Green is the new black, so to speak. Everybody is talking about going green and even building green. So what does it really mean to build green?

Defining green has been a challenge, even for those who are as green as you can get. To sum up green, the question would be – what type of environmental impact does the materials you are using have?

Assessing impact can mean on the front end or the back end. For example, in some instances, the product you use in building your home might not be green to build, but the results of that product can be beneficial. A good example would be if a window is installed in a way that maximizes the collection of low winter sunlight and blocks the summer sun, this saves energy and is green.

Because defining green is difficult, standards are starting to be organized and listed in the GreenSpec directory. This directory bases decisions about products on categories such as energy-consuming appliances and VOC-emitting paints, specific thresholds can be established relatively easily. But for many criteria, the lines are much fuzzier and judgment calls are required.

It is important also to note that multiple criteria often apply—in other words, a product may be considered green for more than one reason. Take recycled plastic lumber, for example: it’s made from recycled waste, it’s highly durable, and it can obviate the need for pesticide treatments. Straw particleboard products are made from agricultural waste materials, and they are free from formaldehyde off-gassing. A product with multiple benefits could qualify for GreenSpec on the basis of its overall environmental performance, even if it doesn’t meet a threshold in any one category alone. Conversely, a product with one or more green attributes might not qualify if it also carries significant environmental burdens. For example, wood treated with toxic preservatives has advantages in terms of durability, but it would not be listed in GreenSpec due the health and environmental hazards it represents.

The primary intent with any green building products directory is to simplify the product selection process.

Another way to build green is to conform to what is called LEED Standards. LEED or ‘The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ is a Green Building Rating System™ that encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

There are many resources available for consumers so that they can adapt their building materials and design to LEED standards. Building this way is probably the simplest way to go and there are many resources available to assist you.

So should you build green because it is popular? Not necessarily. You should build green because it is what will ultimately provide a ‘green’ future and not a black one.

About the Author: Greg Sullivan is the President of www.electronicappraiser.com, a leading provider of home appraisals offering a nationwide personalized instant home appraisal services. For more information, please visit www.electronicappraiser.com.

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