Blog :: 07-2014

Vermont Ranks 5th Nationwide in Energy Efficiency!

VT Energy

When it comes to energy efficiency, Vermonters are among the most savvy and conscientious in the nation!

While Massachusetts overtook California, the leader for the past 4 years, for the top spot, Vermont still made an impressive showing by coming in 5th overall.

The American Council for and Energy-Efficient Economy awarded Vermont the top score overall for our utility and public efficiency programs as well as our policy programs. Our "innovative and aggressive programs" help to conserve energy across the state's economy while our budget allows for the most expansion of electrical efficiency of any state in the nation. Therefore, Vermonters are able to bring in the highest incremental electricity savings of any population in the United States!

If you're in the market for new appliances, find out the most energy efficient purchases here!

View the full FORBES article here

10 Landscaping Projects for Maximum Curb Appeal

Landscaping Ideas

A survey of more than 1,200 home owners by the Home Project Council identified the following DIY outdoor projects as most desirable:

1. Plant a garden

2. Use decorative pebbles, stones or rocks for landscaping

3. Build a deck

4. Create a fire pit or barbecue pit

5. Build a patio or walkway using concrete pavers or bricks

6. Install or build a shed or storage building

7. Stain or paint siding or windows

8. Build a privacy fence

9. Stain or paint exterior concrete surfaces (patio, pool deck, driveway, sidewalk, etc.)

10. Repair or seal concrete cracks in patios, steps, or driveways

The most difficult or intimidating DIY outdoor projects home owners identified were building an outdoor kitchen; pouring concrete slabs for patios, steps, or sidewalks; or building a deck, according to the Home Project Council's survey.

Cost Vs. Value Study Finds Remodeling Really Pays Off

 

If you are considering a home improvement project to boost the quality and appeal of your  home, this list of top 10 midrange and upscale projects will give you the biggest return on your effort when it comes time to sell!

Top 10 Midrange Projects

1. Entry Door Replacement (steel) Job Cost: $1,162 Resale Value: $1,122 Cost Recouped: 96.6%

2. Deck Addition (wood) Job Cost: $9,539 Resale Value: $8,334 Cost Recouped: 87.4%

3. Attic Bedroom Job Cost: $49,438 Resale Value: $41,656 Cost Recouped: 84.3%

4. Garage Door Replacement Job Cost: $1,534 Resale Value: $1,283 Cost Recouped: 83.7%

5. Minor Kitchen Remodel Job Cost: $18,856 Resale Value: $15,585 Cost Recouped: 82.7%

6. Window Replacement (wood) Job Cost: $10,926 Resale Value: $8,662 Cost Recouped: 79.3%

7. Window Replacement (vinyl) Job Cost: $9,978 Resale Value: $7,857 Cost Recouped: 78.7%

8. Siding Replacement (vinyl) Job Cost: $11,475 Resale Value: $8,975 Cost Recouped: 78.2%

9. Basement Remodel Job Cost: $62,834 Resale Value: $48,777 Cost Recouped: 77.6%

10. Deck Addition (composite) Job Cost: $15,437 Resale Value: $11,476 Cost Recouped: 74.3%

Top 10 Upscale Projects

1. Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) Job Cost: $13,378 Resale Value: $11,645 Cost Recouped: 87.0%

2. Garage Door Replacement Job Cost: $2,791 Resale Value: $2,315 Cost Recouped: 82.9%

3. Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl) Job Cost: $14,236 Resale Value: $11,124 Cost Recouped: 78.1%

4. Window Replacement (vinyl) Job Cost: $13,385 Resale Value: $10,252 Cost Recouped: 76.6%

5. Window Replacement (wood) Job Cost: $16,798 Resale Value: $12,438 Cost Recouped: 74.0%

6. Grand Entrance (fiberglass) Job Cost: $7,305 Resale Value: $5,163 Cost Recouped: 70.7%

7. Deck Addition (composite) Job Cost: $35,158 Resale Value: $22,881 Cost Recouped: 65.1%

8. (tie) Bathroom Remodel Job Cost: $51,374 Resale Value: $32,660 Cost Recouped: 63.6%

(tie) Major Kitchen Remodel Job Cost: $109,935 Resale Value: $69,973 Cost Recouped: 63.6%

9. Roofing Replacement Job Cost: $34,495 Resale Value: $21,731 Cost Recouped: 63.0%

10. Bathroom Addition Job Cost: $72,538 Resale Value: $43,936 Cost Recouped: 60.6%

The data used in the Cost vs. Value Report was collected with the help of REALTOR® Magazine in an online survey between August and October 2013. More than 4,500 NAR members participated from 101 U.S. cities, up from 81 cities included in last year's survey.

Construction cost estimates were generated by RemodelMAX.

Rental Payments Could Soon Affect Credit Scores

Renters who have never been late with a rent payment will find that their stellar record wont do anything to lift their credit scores when it comes time to shop for a mortgage. But that may soon change: Two of the main credit reporting agencies, Experian and TransUnion, reportedly are starting to incorporate verified rental payment data into credit files and using it to compute the consumers' credit scores when they apply for a mortgage.

"At a time when record numbers of first-time buyers are missing in action in the home-purchase market -- many of them in part because their credit scores don't make the grade -- the non-reporting of key credit records is costly to them and the economy as a whole," The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Some companies also are stepping in to ensure renters get their on-time payment histories included when applying for a mortgage. ECredable, an alternative credit data company, says it will verify renters' payment histories that haven't been reported to the major credit bureaus, and then generate a credit report and score. Potential home buyers are then urged to present the report to mortgage loan officers and ask that the information be considered in their application for a mortgage (which the lender is required to do under federal credit regulations).

{Source: "Credit Scores Might Soon Reflect Rental Payments," The Columbus Dispatch (June 29, 2014)}