Real Estate Headlines for Columbus Day

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and today some of us have the day off because of it. Well, not all of us. But regardless of our vacation days, it’s good to recognize a man that took one of the biggest risks of all time and is credited with discovering the place many of us now call home. But before you head off to a parade in his honor, here’s your weekly dose of real estate headlines.

Where’s the biggest hot spot for the world’s wealthy property investors? Answer: Dubai.

Speaking of Dubai, imagine you had $250 million. Ok, now imagine using that to buy a four-level penthouse in Dubai.

Housing affordability has hit a four year low.

Here are 5 common mistakes first-time homebuyers make.

This is pretty ridiculous, but here’s a look at some home renovation overachievers…like someone who added pillars to their living room.

FrugalRules.com has some tips for how buyer’s should approach visiting an open house.

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, just bought an entire block’s worth of real estate to protect his privacy.

In Orange County, CA they’re seeing the real estate recovery fuel a ton more jobs.

The National Association of REALTORS found that home buyers value environmentally friendly features.

And finally, AOL Real Estate has some incredible homes that were designed by women.

The post Real Estate Headlines for Columbus Day appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

Why the Faucet in Your Home is Better Than Bottled Water

Tap or bottled, that is the question. We’re not quite sure when the negative stigma surrounding tap water first started, but we’re here to try and dispel it. Did you know that 30.8 gallons worth of bottled water was consumed, per American, last year alone? (BEVNET) That’s roughly 246.4 bottles of water that one person consumed each year. The bottled water industry reported about $11.8 billion worth of sales in 2012. (BEVNET) We support making the healthy choice of choosing water over other artificial thirst quenchers but when you’re at home the water from your sink just might be a better option than what’s in the plastic bottle.

According to Harvard University Office for Sustainability, “…bottled water is less regulated than tap and up to 40% of bottled water in the US and Canada is actually filtered municipal tap water.” So why pay for what you have coming through your home’s faucets anyway? The report also goes on to state that if a person was to consume the daily recommended amount of water each day for a year, the annual cost for using water bottles would exceed about $3,000!

So join the revolution and switch to tap. We now know that tap is just as healthy, if not more, than bottled water. What we also know is that bottled water is not always healthy for the environment. Plastic takes years to decompose and only further burdens our already inundated landfills. Recycling water bottles is crucial, but it is still creating unnecessary waste given the fact that you can just as easily use that glass in your cabinet instead of that disposable container.

Next time your feeling thirsty at home, try filling up from your faucet. For those who want to be extra cautious try installing an attachable water filter to your faucets spout. Also, one of the more recent trends is to carry around stylish, reusable canteens. They can be found almost everywhere–from grocery to department stores. This will allow you to make your water portable and helps reduce waste.

There is also a really cool product out right now called Boxed Water is Better. Instead of using plastic, they chose to use a box which 76% of which is derived from trees, which makes for an easier recycling process. And while they are in the business shipping water out to millions around the world the company also states, “…we really care about the world’s water supply. 10% of our profit is donated to world water relief foundations.” Now that’s a great cause and incentive to make the switch away from using plastic!

Photo by Steven Depolo

How to Reduce Your Water Footprint

There is no doubt that conserving water is a crucial element in the fight to save the environment. Organizations, corporations, and homeowners have all made this issue a priority. It is important to be mindful of your home’s usage of water as responsible global citizen, but let’s not overlook the fact that it can also save you a lot of money.

Here are some great tips from National Geographic (yes,that National Geographic or NatGeo as the kids call it these days) that will hopefully give you more ideas on how to integrate water-saving techniques into your home’s routine.

1. Check for Leaks
In a recent study, National Geographic found that roughly 10 gallons of water are lost per day due to leaks in faucets from sinks, showers, outdoor spouts etc. That’s a lot of water! Check to ensure your fixtures are up to the latest standards and try to repair those leaks if possible. NatGeo goes on to state, “If you use a low-flow shower head, you can save 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.”

2. Use Cold Water
When possible minimize your usage of hot water. Wash clothes in cold or cool water instead of hot water and take cool showers when possible. If your bathroom looks like there is a fog machine in use, the temperature is probably a little too high.

3. Choose a Shower Over a Bath
Did you know, the average bathtub takes about 70 gallons of water to fill? That’s a ton of water! Well, not literally a ton, but you get what I mean. Showers are clearly the better option.

4. It’s Okay to Run the Dishwasher
Running the dishwasher, especially if you fill it to maximum capacity, actually has the potential to be more energy efficient than hand-washing dishes! According to NatGeo, “Energy Star dishwashers use about 4 gallons of water per load, and even standard machines use only about 6 gallons. Hand washing generally uses about 20 gallons of water each time.”

5. Your Diet Plays a Part in Water Conservation
Possibly the most astounding statement I came across in my research was this one from NatGeo: “The water it takes to produce the average American diet alone—approximately 1,000 gallons per person per day—is more than the global average water footprint of 900 gallons per person per day for diet, household use, transportation, energy, and the consumption of material goods.”

Remember, water is a precious resource that everyone in the world has to share. Hopefully these tips can help you to be more conservative with your water usage and in return save a little extra cash.

For more incredible statistics and facts please visit the full article used for this piece.

Picture by Maarten Van Damme

Slideshow: Unique Energy Efficient Homes

One of the biggest trends to hit society has been energy conservancy or as the young people say, “going green.” While in the beginning the idea of going green seemed trivial, now there is no denying that being energy efficient is something we can benefit from. By being conscious of the environment we not only protect our planet, and all that inhabit it, but we should also take pride in our contribution to the greater good.

Take a look at what some homeowners across the country have done to not only make their homes “greener,” but save a few bucks in the process!

1. Customized Heating and Cooling- $1,495,000

Homeowners of this beautiful Delaware home decided to go with a 3 zone HVAC (Heat Ventilation Air Conditioning) system. Zone heating and cooling is an ideal option for conserving energy and maintaining costs. It allows you to heat or cool particular areas of the house that are most frequently used while keeping temperatures down in rooms that are not used as much. Listed by Joan Goloskov with Coldwell Banker Preferred.

2. Being Green Inside and Outside- $2,090,000

The owners of this Massachusetts home decided to go green by installing an eco-stone driveway. Eco-stone is a popular option amongst those looking to make their homes just a little greener. Unlike concrete, or other non-porous surfaces, eco-stone is permeable and allows water to go beneath the stone’s surface which helps prevent flooding, erosion and better protection of wetland and aquatic ecosystems. Listed by Francesca Trainer with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

3. Designed with LEED Standards in Mind-$2,794,000 

Built by the renowned designer Michael Torrey of Avalon Construction Corp, this Malibu home is the epitome of green. The whole home is LEED certified, which is the gold standard when it comes to building green. On top of that you’ll find energy efficient appliances throughout the entire home. Listed by Madison Hildebrand with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

4. Soaking Up Sun in New Mexico- $1,850,000 

This New Mexico home takes full advantage of the state’s powerful sun exposure by using a state of the art photovoltaic system. Photovoltaic systems are essentially large sheets of solar panels. These not only help to power homes, but also significantly reduce your utility bills. Listed by Judy Buck with Coldwell Banker Lota Realty, Inc.

5. Taking Green to a Whole New Level- $2,494,000 

To stay warm in the winters and cool in the summers, this Illinois home takes being one with the earth to a whole new level with its use of geothermal heating and cooling systems. These systems use geothermal energy, which is energy that is created and taken directly from below the Earth, to efficiently control the climate of the home and limiting the home’s carbon footprint. Listed by Donald Stein with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

Why Energy-Efficient Home Improvements Might Close the Sale

A few green updates could give your home a competitive edge against others on the market.

Just in time for Earth Day which happens to be this Sunday, April 22!

We recently began an exciting blog partnership with Allstate Insurance. Check out our first guest blog post on their community blog: Why Energy-Efficient Home Improvements Might Close the Sale and look for future posts from All State guest blogger Pauline Hammerbeck.

Have you made a green update to your home? Tell us about it!