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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.

 

infographic-online-home-search

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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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North Alabama Area school closings for Winter storm

EXIT

 

 

 

Alabama A&M Universitydelayed until 10am Tuesday
Albertville City Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Arab City Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Athens City Schoolsdelayed 2 hours Tuesday
Athens State Universitydelayed until 10am Tuesday
Bethel Baptist Schooldelayed 3 hours Tuesday
Boaz City SchoolsClosed Tuesday
Cherokee County Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Colbert County Schoolsdelayed until 10am Tuesday
Cornerstone Christian Schooldelayed 3 hours Tuesday
Country Day Schooldelayed until 10:30am Tuesday
Covenant Christian Schooldelayed until 10am Tuesday
Cullman City Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Cullman County Schoolsclosed Tuesday
DeKalb County Schoolsdelayed 3 hours Tuesday
Etowah County Schoolsclosed Tuesday
First Baptist Child Dev Centeropening 9am Tuesday
Florence City Schoolsdelayed 2 hours Tuesday
Franklin County Schools (AL)delayed 3 hours Tuesday
Ft Payne City Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Gadsden State Community CollegeAll campuses closed Tuesday
Guntersville City Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Hartselle City Schoolsdelayed 3 hours Tuesday
Huntsville City SchoolsDelayed 2 hours Tuesday
J. F. Drake State Technical Collegeopening 10am Tuesday
Jackson County Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Lauderdale County Schoolsdelayed until 10am Tuesday
Lawrence County Schoolsdelayed 2 hours Tuesday
Limestone County Schoolsdelayed 3 hours Tuesday
Madison Academydelayed until 10am Tuesday
Madison City Schoolsdelayed 2 hours Tuesday
Madison County Schoolsdelayed 2 hours Tuesday
Mars Hill Bible Schooldelayed until 10am Tuesday
Marshall County Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Muscle Shoals City Schoolsdelayed 2 hours Tuesday
Northwest-Shoalsdelayed 3 hours Tuesday
Oakwood Adventist Academydelayed until 10am Tuesday
Russellville City Schoolsdelayed 3 hours Tuesday
Scottsboro City Schoolsclosed Tuesday
Sheffield City Schoolsdelayed until 10am Tuesday
Snead State Community Collegeclosed Tuesday
St Bernard Prep Schoolclosed Tuesday
Tuscumbia City Schoolsdelayed until 10am Tuesday
Virginia Collegeopening 10am Tuesday
Wallace State Community CollegeClosing at 3 p.m. Monday, evening classes cancelled
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Small Lenders Hesitate Over New Rules

Small Lenders Hesitate Over New Rules

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | MONDAY, JANUARY 13, 2014

New mortgage rules that took effect last week could further hamper small lenders’ ability to issue loans, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Under the new rules, lenders must ensure that borrowers can pay back their loans. Loans that meet“qualified mortgage” standards will provide a safe harbor to lenders from future lawsuits, while loans issued outside of QM standards will carry more legal risk.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines “qualified mortgages” as loans that meet the ability-to-repay rule and in which borrowers spend no more than 43 percent of their income on debt. Furthermore, fees and other charges may make up no more than 3 percent of the loan.

Small lenders reportedly will tread cautiously in the new lending environment because they are worried about the legal risk of making loans that don’t meet new standards, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We’re going to be very conservative just to make sure that we’re in compliance and don’t get into trouble,” says Mark Walker, chief executive of Michigan Mutual Inc., a lender with 300 employees based in Port Huron, Mich. “There are going to be loans that we did in 2013 that we are not going to be able to do in 2014.”

Any lender who falls outside of the new rules may be unable to sell the loan to investors such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Large lenders—such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America—already have said they plan to continue issuing loans outside of CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage standards and will hold those loans on their own books.

But smaller lenders will likely think twice. Non-bank lenders will be particularly cautious since they often don’t use their own investment portfolios to hold the loans on their books, The Wall Street Journal reports.

For example, Linda Sweet, president and CEO of Big Valley Federal Credit Union in Sacramento, Calif., says her credit union will mostly stop making mortgage loans in 2014. Her credit union made about 30 mortgage loans in 2013.

“The burden of trying to comply with the regulation is just overwhelmingly costly for a small financial institution,” Sweet says.

CFPB announced it is monitoring the new rule’s impact closely on loan availability to see if any tweaks need to be made.

“I think we got the rule right,” says Peter Carroll, CFPB’s assistant director for mortgage markets. But he adds that “we don’t want to see credit get unduly cut for people, where there are responsible loans being made.”

Source: “Small Lenders Wary as Mortgage-Lending Rules Take Effect,” The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 10, 2014)