5 Energy-Efficient Tips to Consider Before You Move In

Everyone loves energy efficiency. The less energy you use, the less you spend.

Of course, efficiency isn’t always easy. And the way you set up your new house makes a difference.

Start with these five tips to make your new home much more energy-efficient.

1. Replace Incandescent Bulbs

Some homes may still use incandescent bulbs. However, these bulbs spend the most energy and only last about a year. If you’re not sure how to identify an incandescent bulb, just look for the small metal coil inside it.

For a minor investment, you can replace old bulbs with LEDs. LED bulbs use only a small amount of energy and last up to 10 years. Compare the lumens on the old bulbs so you get the right amount of lighting in each room.

2. Install Ceiling Fans

When people list a home for sale, they often remove ceiling fans to make the room look simple with less clutter. It’s unfortunate, as ceiling fans are a great way to circulate air throughout the room.

For each room with a ceiling light, check to see if it will support a ceiling fan. Many models offer lighting and circulation.

Be sure to learn how to use the fan in every season. For example, you can change the direction in winter to keep cycling warm air toward the floor.

3. Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat

If your new home has an older thermostat, upgrading to a smart thermostat is relatively easy. These thermostats let you adjust settings on your phone, with other unique features.

Thermostats increase energy efficiency by turning down heating or cooling when you don’t need it. If you create the proper settings, you’ll always feel comfortable without having to do anything.

Choose appropriate settings to get the best efficiency. But, of course, cranking it up to the max will always use more energy, whether it’s on a schedule or not.

4. Improve Insulation

Adding insulation to an existing home is a great way to lower heat transfer. That keeps the home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. But, of course, you might have no idea how much you need or what you have now.

If you can get to the attic, go up there to see which kind you have. Batts and rolls are common, as are spray foam and blown-in insulation.

It’s easy to hire a professional to increase the insulation, and it’s not necessarily expensive. That way, you can focus on your household move.

5. Seal Air Leaks

Existing homes often have gaps around the doors and windows. Those gaps allow heated or cooled air to escape.

But how do you know that you have a problem? If the spaces around doors and windows feel hotter or colder than the rest of the house, it’s time to seal the leaks.

In most cases, all you have to do is fill the gaps with a bit of caulk. However, if the windows or doors seem very old, it might be time to plan to replace them.

Your Residential Move

Increasing your energy efficiency doesn’t have to be too hard. You can do it before you move into your new home. Contact us for more information about making your relocation easy.

Becoming a First-time Homeowner? Here Are Some Tips

Buying a home is a significant undertaking and can be both scary and exciting. But, just as with any other major project, success depends on careful planning, research, and attention to detail along the way. 

Start Saving

Start saving several years before you hope to buy. The down payment required depends on the type of loan you take; some require as little as 3.5 percent, but others require more. In all cases, the more you pay down, the more likely you’ll be to obtain a favorable mortgage and the lower your monthly payment.  A down payment calculator can help you set a goal.

You’ll also need to save money to cover closing costs, which can be between 2 percent and 5 percent of the loan amount. Then, you’ll need money for moving out of your current rental and initial repairs and decorating. And, you’ll still want to keep six months of expenses in reserve after closing in case of illness or job layoff.

Decide What You Can Afford

A general rule of thumb is to keep your housing costs at about 30 percent of your gross income. Many lenders will allow you to qualify if your total debts, including the mortgage, are less than 43 percent of your income if your credit scores are good. However, if you pay this much, you may feel house poor for a few years.  Use estimating tools to help you determine what you can afford comfortably. 

Check and Strengthen Your Credit

The better your credit score, the better interest rate you’ll be able to obtain on your mortgage. Even a slight percentage difference in the interest rate can make a big difference in your monthly payment. So check your credit and take steps to improve it.

Qualify for a Mortgage

Prequalify for a mortgage before house shopping. Many sellers will not take your offer seriously if you don’t have a written approval letter. If you shop before getting the preapproval, you may find a home you love only to have your offer rejected.

Talk to at least three potential mortgage lenders to get the best deal possible regarding rates and customer service. Consider both conventional and government-backed loans such as FHA, VHDA, and VA when looking at lenders. Also, research first-time buyer assistance programs in your area to see if you qualify.

Choose a real estate agent. 

You want a real estate agent who will scour listings for houses that meet your needs. You also want one who will stick with you through home inspections and closing procedures. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, and coworkers. Interview several and specifically ask about their experience with first-time home buyers. 

Consider Homes Carefully

Weigh the pros and cons of different types of housing. For example, condos and townhomes may be less expensive, but they will be less private. Consider your housing priorities; for example, is a large master suite the most important, or do you value the size of the yard. If you plan to stay long-term, consider whether it will meet your needs 10, 15, or 20 years from now.

Also, prioritize neighborhood amenities.  For example, are recreational amenities within the neighborhood essential, or is commuting time the driving factor? Research each potential neighborhood to see how well it fits your priorities.

Select a Mover

When it’s time to choose a household moving company, talk to friends, family, and your realtor to get referrals for reputable, established companies that have years of experience and excellent reviews. Get at least three in-home survey quotes for the moves and make sure they are licensed and insured.  

When you’re ready for your next move, contact us. We can provide you with a stress-free full-service move, so you can start enjoying your new home quickly!