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Your Air is Inferior!

Home (Indoor Air Quality) Improvement

October 28, 2013 by Scott Bowen

AC_diagram

 

Detailed shot of inside workings of an AC unit.

Indoor air quality is a growing concern for many homeowners. As we spend more and more time indoors, and the air outside becomes increasingly polluted with contaminants; many people are looking for ways to ensure that their home is a safe haven of purified air. Between the contaminants you track in from outside and the large amount you create inside from day-to-day activities, it can be quite difficult to keep the air in your home fresh and clean. Here are a few simple things you can do to improve your home’s indoor air quality:

 

Reduce the Amount of Dirt You Track In

Some large foot mats positioned right inside of any doors leading outside will capture much of the dirt and filth that may otherwise make its way farther into your home. Dirt that gets tracked in with shoes tends to make its way into the air, as well as other contaminants contained within it. If you have a large enough mat, guests can remove most of those unwanted tag-alongs without having to consciously wipe their feet. Just make sure to regularly remove the build up of dirt from the mat where it belongs: outside.

 

Go Fragrance-Free

Many air fresheners contain unwanted pollutants that can irritate the respiratory system. While it may be making your home smell nice, the chemicals that produce the lovely aromas may be filling your air with unwanted contaminants. Consider using all-natural alternatives to keep the pollutants to a minimum.

 

Inspect Your Appliances

Older appliances may emit increased amounts of pollutants, such as asbestos, into the air. Have your aged appliances tested for high amounts of pollution emissions and discuss with an expert what options you have to reduce this unwanted byproduct.

 

Ventilation Issues

Opening windows is a temporary solution to a lack of ventilation in your home. (Re: “Stuffy”) While it can provide some much needed fresh air, it is by no means a solution to the problem. Your system may be improperly designed. You may consider having your system evaluated by a professional in order to determine what, if any, improvements are needed to bring your system up to standard.

 

Dehumidify

Dehumidifiers reduce the moisture in the air; a key component that cultivates mold-growth. Mold spores in the air are not only uncomfortable to imagine breathing in, they can have negative health impacts if not dealt with. Of course a healthy balance is needed; as too little humidity has its own set of issues as well. Speak with an expert to determine what works for you and your home.

 

Most importantly, make sure that you are replacing your system’s air filter on a regular basis. And if you’re not keeping up with regular maintenance on your system, then any fresh air that is brought in has to pass over dirty, contaminated coils.

 

To really get the best air you can breathe, you may be interested in a whole-home air filtration and purification system. For further information, contact Thomas HVAC for a free assessment to determine what options are best for your home comfort.

 

 

Scott Bowen

Comfort Consultant | Thomas HVAC Company

256-858-4822 | scott@coolhuntsville.com | www.coolhuntsville.com

 

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You’re Going on a Vacation- How to keep your home safe.

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You’re all packed up and heading out on a week long and well needed vacation. The last thing you need is to be on a beach or snowy mountain somewhere and worry if your home is safe. Take a look at some useful tips to help keep you focused on your needed rest and relaxation.

 

One simple method which has become much more accessible in recent years is a home security system. Better yet, home automation systems are quickly taking over this market and providing 24 hour access to your home when you are away. There are several different companies that specialize in the home automation industry, as well as some major brands that are starting to garner more visibility in the market. The pricing on these installations can get pricey, even into the thousands of dollars depending on the size and layout of your home. We have also seen several companies marketing towards the DIY installation. These are relatively inexpensive and can be installed by the average Joe, no offense if you are a “Joe”. A few differences from the DIY to the professional installations are obvious but not all. For starters the cleanliness of the install, meaning the exposed vs simple wire covers. Others can include actually mounted vs simply placing on a mantle or counter. So, if you decide to take this route to secure your home research and decide what is best for your situation. If you want my opinion, Call Me.

Another simple way to help keep your home safe while you are away is to install dusk till dawn adapters on a few exterior lights. This idea works the same way as keeping cockroaches away. Bugs or varmints generally do not like a well lit area. Neither do burglars, for the most part. You can find the adapters in any big box store or at a local hardware store near you. They are relatively inexpensive and take very little installation. Another lighting method is to install a few timers inside your home to give the appearance someone is home. Set the timers for approximate times when you are maybe eating dinner and maybe watching tv. Be sure to have the timers to go off around the time you generally go to bed. A teenagers bedroom could probably stay on all night. Teens-text-at-night

 

Here is a final thought on how to keep your home safe when you are traveling. There is a  huge movement online nowadays to post about the fabulous vacations you are getting geared up for or that you have booked. For starters I love seeing the crystal blue waters and snow capped mountains on your timeline. What I would rather not see is that you just went on a spending spree and opted for the 60″+ tv or that you just got the latest Xbox or after winning the Tennessee Lottery you finally got that exotic, “only 100  made”, Range Rover. Most of us are happy for you, but a hand few may be more happy for themselves and are waiting on the perfect opportunity to win their lottery, without playing if you get what i mean. So, it’s ok to post how IMG_1017 your living, just understand someone may be waiting for that invitation (Selfie of we  are leaving on vacation) post to stop by and see what you have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Easy Steps to Buying Your First or Fifth House

After months of searching online and getting nowhere, here you are. Now you know the 4 Easy steps to buying a home.

First, as 90% of buyers today, start with a home search online. As long as you’re here why not search here? We have all active listings shown on North Alabama’s MLS index. In addition to our MLS I also offer several “For Sale By Owner listings”. That is an extra step in giving you every option to find the perfect house.

Second, You found it! Congratulations! I knew if you started here you could more than likely finish here. Wasn’t that easier than driving around town for countless hours hoping to see “the house” around the next corner.

Third, this is the fun part. All you have to do is sit back and let years of negotiating and getting the best deals for our clients, work for you.

Fourth, Sure there were several points in the process that were high pressure or potential deal breakers, but you didn’t need to stress over any of them. We always keep a positive outlook and keep the process moving forward. Now we celebrate the big moving day.

Yes, it is that easy. Give it a try.

 

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7 Local Backyard Oases You Want to See

I’ve seen many housees in the past years that I would not schedule a return without protection in some form or fasion. Iv’e also seen houses that made me want to stay for a few hours and just relax. The latter being the exception. I thought it might be neat to put together a short and sweet ppost showing some of the great local backyard oases in and around my area. The following are several pools and outdoor kitchens you may want to look into a bit closer. Feel free to comment and or share.

 

custom-concrete pool

Pool with a fountain
Pool with a fountain
Custom Stone raised pool
Custom Stone raised pool

 

Custom Outdoor Kitchen with tongue groove ceiling
Custom Outdoor Kitchen with tongue groove ceiling

 

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Custom concrete with fountain

 

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Outdoor Kitchen overlooking pool

 

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Custom Heated Pool with Mountain views

 

If any of these homes interest you and you would like to take a closer look, feel free to contact me for a showing appointment.

 

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Fannie Mae Shows Signs of a Recovering Market

2013 was an extraordinary year for a lot of Real Estate Pros. Many conversations about the housing market are ending in a much different matter than they had in years past. Lately the story is, “Wow”, We are really seeing an increase in home prices and a decrease in inventory”. Years ago this comment would have been accompanied with a graphic of a donkey with mouth wide open laughing hysterically.

The Real Estate market is definitely showing signs of growth and movement. Today home prices are beginning to slightly increase and whispers of a “Sellers Market” are rolling off agents tongues. This truly makes people a little more comfortable with the country still trying to pull out of the recent crash. All of this still would simply be mostly “lip Service” if not for the the giants of the mortgage market producing such impressive numbers. Let’s take a look at Fannie Mae and data released in a recent article by Timothy J. Mayopoulos President and Chief Executive Officer, Fannie Mae 

In the statement Fannie Mae reveals their financial performance, over the past few years, has improved significantly, and in 2013 reported “84.0 billion in net income and $38.6 billion in pre-tax income, the highest annual income and annual pre-tax income in our company’s history”. In addition to this improvement Fannie Mae also has strengthened the underwriting and eligibility standards as so to promote a more sustainable housing market as related to homeownership.

In addition to developing stronger requirements for home buying eligibility, Fannie Mae has also worked to help owners avoid foreclosure by “completing more than 1.5 million workout solutions since 2009. In 2013, we completed 234,000 foreclosure prevention solutions. Less than 1 percent of the single-family loans in our book went into foreclosure in 2013, and we strive to help every at-risk family find an alternative to foreclosure.”

Below is a graphic giving a few numbers to grow on. Take a look and decide for yourself if you still should be standing on the sidelines or if it is time to Move forward?

fannie mae numbers at a glance

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Bad, Bad Real Estate!

As the Real Estate market turns the corner and begins the ascent back to sustainable numbers, we are starting to see increased inventory. With this increase we are also getting new photography ideas. While spending hours per day viewing hundreds of listings and images for clients, there seems to be a great number of Agents who should have their picture taking license revolked.

Understandingly, it is extremely difficult to get a perfect picture to successfully market a home online. To be honest, some  are not even trying. A simple smartphone takes better pictures than a large part of what can be found online.

For the ones who do use a camera that does need to be wound after each click or dropped off at a discount store for processing, a simple scan of your surroundings first could go a long way. Take a look at a few images recently compiled from a local MLS. These homes are currently being marketed online with these photos.

If any of these images are of your house or you took the photo or know who did please keep the identity hidden. This is in no way a solicitation of business nor an insinuation to hire a different Realtor. It is simply a lighthearted light shedding exercise to help increase the quality images used for Real Estate marketing online.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

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A little decluttering maybe?
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People in the picture?
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Dirty sinks, clutter, blurry, time stamp on the picture?

 

 

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YIKES!
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What is this even of?
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This could be a scary ghost sighting? When you see it.
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A Blair Witch project?
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Showing the great small space perfectly?
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Looks like a picture was taken of a picture?
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Ready for spaghetti and syrup?
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Guess what this is and WIN?
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Must be a flip phone?
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What buyers want?

Times of needing to have a formal dinning area may have come and gone, but having a space to dine and entertain hasn’t.

Years ago folks wanted to have a formal dinning room so they could have a nice gathering over a meal and entertain guests. Well, that hasn’t changed except where it is located. Today buyers are wanting a warm comfortable open kitchen design where they can entertain guests and still be where the action is- “The Kitchen”. Even with the influx of restaurants in local places folks still want to have guests over for entertaining.
Today’s buyers want an updated kitchen area, generally overlooking a dinning area or den area.
So there is something to think about when you are updating your house for a market analysis. Should you take down that wall or simply update the kitchen. My recommendation is, if you’re going to update the kitchen then probably go ahead and take out that wall and open things up. Otherwise, leave the kitchen to attract a different buyer wanting a fixer upper.
Call me if you would like a Pre-market analysis and or “on the market ready” analysis.

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Huntsville Alabama “New Clinton Ave Project” to Bring Downtown Shopping Alive!

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HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — When Alabama Media Group moved its Huntsville hub downtown in October, one of the first things some of us noticed while walking around the corner for lunch was a nice downtown building on Clinton Avenue that was filled with mini-storage units.

What a waste of a prime downtown space, we thought.

Chad Emerson, the CEO of Downtown Huntsville Inc., must have had the same thought when he started his new job as downtown development guru in August. On Wednesday, Emerson announced The Clinton Avenue Project, something that’s apparently been in the works since just after Emerson arrived.

Chad Emerson-river.jpgChad Emerson, CEO of Downtown Huntsville, Inc.

Downtown Huntsville Inc. will lease six of the ground floor storage units and sub-lease them to small business start-ups that need a place to get off the ground.

“It gives local, small business entrepreneurs an opportunity to test whether their retail concept can be successful in an urban, walkable setting like downtown,” Emerson told AL.com business writer Lucy Berry.

Here’s a sample of the small businesses that will incubate in the storage units: Anne Condit will open up Live Easy, a handcrafted art and goods store; Huntsville artist Christian Wegman will sell original paintings and prints; another unit will feature a rotating gallery for artists to sell their work for up to two weeks at a time; and John Whitman, a visiting University of Alabama in Huntsville professor and founder ofHuntsville Open Tech Coffee (HOTCoffee), will launch a new public service venture called Business Button in one of the units.

The city and organizations like DHI predecessor Big Spring Partners have been working for years, with some success, to revitalize a downtown that once was dominated by bail bond companies and lawyers offices.

Emerson and his one employee, Director of Communications and Branding Macy Chapman, along with a dedicated board of local business and “thought leaders” such as Chairman Evans Quinlivan and Vice Chair Scott Averbuch, are taking it quickly to the next level.

The accomplishments in just six months are almost too many to list, but here are some highlights.

The early success is evidence of the pent-up demand for unique, interesting, and walkable experiences

• The fun and creative “Pop-up Parks” competition brought people downtown in November to play Twister, visit outdoor coffee bars and Zen gardens built overnight in parking spaces around the courthouse square.

Chad Emerson Pop Up Parks.JPGDowntown Huntsville Inc. CEO Chad Emerson checks out the Pop Up Park entries on the Courthouse Square earlier this month. (Eric Schultz | eschultz@al.com)

• Tapping into the nationwide food truck craze, Downtown Huntsville Inc., sponsored astreet food gatheringdowntown that was wildly successful. The City Council has helped take advantage of the phenomenon by amending an ordinance to let food trucks serve downtown seven days a week.

• In January, Emerson and DHIpresented awards for Downtown Development of the Year (Belk-Hudson Lofts); Downtown Advocate of the Year (city planner Marie Bostick); and Downtown Event of the Year (Greene Street Market).

• On Feb. 9, DHI brings the “Retro Winter Games” downtown, complete with dodgeball, capture the flag and foursquare.

• There are plans in the works for a downtown putt-putt golf challenge sometime in the spring.

There are also bigger, more permanent projects in the works that the city and DHI are working together on, including a redevelopment of the old Holiday Inn property and a new convention hotel across from the Von Braun Center.

Emerson also has announced a “Blue Sky Idea” project to generate even more new and eclectic events and projects, even if they are dreams – like a downtown tram system — of what could be if we had millions to invest.

In such a short time here, Emerson, who came from a similar position in Montgomery, has become a trusted adviser to the mayor and local business leaders, and brought much-needed energy to the job of promoting and building a vibrant downtown.

In Emerson’s words: “The early success is evidence of the pent-up demand for unique, interesting, and walkable experiences. This downtown has so many assets that there’s no reason it shouldn’t become one of the best among peer cities.”

Written by Director of Community News Shelly Haskins for the Alabama Media Group editorial board in Huntsville

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It’s too cold to look

You hear it all the time in the late months, “It’s just too cold today to look for a house”. I agree it does get soo cold. Today for instance it will only get to 20°! Makes me shiver a bit talking about it. It is hard to get yourself moving when your bones and frozenmuscles are screaming to get back in the heat.

 

 

 

I say get a warm shower or bath to wake up your body and bundle up. Get up the car and go find a house. It’s kinda like guys not wanting to go to the mall on black Friday. There is no way in hell they are going to fight the crowds when they can procrastinate and get just as good a deal. So think about it. When does everyone want to look for new houses or go to open houses?, when it’s warm out. Everyone wants to look at the same time, so you have to jockey for the right house and possibly have to get in a bidding war. Don’t get into a bid war. Get up, get out and find the perfect house that you don’t have to fight anyone for. It’s your house, claim it.muscles are frozen and not wanting to acknowledge what you need to do.

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We all get caught up in what everyone else is doing, you know like everyone wants to go to the beach on Memorial day. It’s so much easier going on a different weekend, not to mention more affordable. Wait a couple of weekends and see the difference.

If you dig that sort of thing then by all means do it. If you want to get the best deal possible then try getting those bones in motion when it’s colder than Pluto outside and see what you can do.biglots-black-friday

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