How To Lower Your Utility Bill This 2017 New Years

How To Lower Your Utility Bill This 2017 New Years

1. Unplug Gadgets

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), small, unused gadgets are responsible for draining 100-billion kilowatt hours per year of unnecessary energy loss. When left idle, these same 100 billion kilowatt hours cost households a staggering $10 billion annually.

As referenced in Time magazine, Rob Caiello, vice president of marketing for AllConnect, suggests unplugging video games, microwaves and even battery chargers to keep rising energy costs at bay.

Quick tip: Because it may be inconvenient to unplug each item individually, consider plugging in all energy-draining smaller gadgets or appliances into the same power strip to make powering down easier.

2. Lower The “Heat” In Your Water Heater

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that water warming accounts for up to 18% of a household’s energy consumption. Setting your water temperature to 120°F can help you see small changes in your energy bills over time. It can also serve as an invaluable safety precaution, preventing injuries like hand-scalding or bath-time related injuries in households with small children.

Though, as Jay Best, founder and president of Green Audit USA, shared with LearnVest,  “Don’t go below 120 degrees, as some bacteria can grow at lower temperatures.”

3. Prevent Heat-Loss From Your Fireplace

Many families rely on fireplaces to heat a house and prevent extensive wear-and-tear on their heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) units during winter. This makes your fireplace an unlikely culprit of heat-loss. However, drafty fireplaces are one of the main sources of escaped heat that can show up within a home.

To prevent heat-loss from your fireplace and chimney, try one of these energy-saving solutions:

  • Insert caulking around the fireplace hearth.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless ready to build a fire.
  • If you don’t plan to use your fireplace, seal and plug the chimney flue. Keep in mind, once plugged and sealed, you’ll need to reverse the process before making a decision to safely resume active use of your fireplace.
  • Install tempered glass doors.
  • Opening the dampers, located at the bottom of your fireplace, can greatly reduce heat-loss.

Alternatively, you can also open a nearby window, approximately one-inch, and close all doors leading into the room to achieve the same effect.

4.Keep A Clean Landscape

Overgrown or crowded greenery can prevent airflow from reaching the HVAC elements of your home. Not only does this hamper performance, but the additional shade can serve as a catalyst for your unit to “freeze over” in the winter.

To lower winter energy bill costs, and protect the health of your HVAC, keep landscaping near your central heating and air unit uncrowded and well-trimmed. (Bonus: This can also keep your house looking its absolute best when company comes over for the holidays.)

5. Decrease Drafts From Electrical Outlets

Electrical outlets in residential spaces are not often insulated. A lack of proper insulating behind electrical outlets can lead to cold air sneaking in through these unexpected energy-zappers, and increase the amount of heat required to warm a home.

To decrease the amount of air that enters through your outlets, remove the cover plate and use a quality caulking or foam filler to help seal off drafts that may be present. With just a few minutes of DIY work, you can make a huge impact on that skyrocketing winter-energy bill.

6. Bundle Up

Keeping your thermostat at a steady, set temperature may keep you consistently warm, but it also raises your electrical bill more than you might realize (especially in the evenings, and when nobody is in the home).

Putting on an extra sweater, or reaching for that nearby blanket — instead of cranking the thermostat — can help prevent your HVAC from working overtime. According to Dr. Christopher Winter, medical director at Charlottesville Neurology Sleep Medicine, people who sleep in colder rooms not only sleep more efficiently, but are also healthier in general than those who sleep in warmer spaces.

If you need more incentive for making things a bit colder before bedtime, a four-month study, conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH), revealed those who slept in rooms at 66°F burned more calories while awake than those who did not, and were at a lower-risk category for developing certain metabolic diseases.

7.Inquire About Special Programs

If it’s time for an appliance upgrade in your home, many electric companies — even the government — may offer rebate incentives you can take advantage of when replacing an old appliance with an Energy Star-approved model. This can offset, significantly, the cost of a new appliance and lower your energy bill long-term.

If you own a rental property, discuss the possibility of upgrading to appliances labeled “Most Efficient” — a step up from the Energy Star seal of approval. This will not only save you money on your utility bill, but prepare your passive income property for future renters.

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And the same is true of your winter energy bill; it’s a little late, after you receive that astronomic winter energy bill, to begin the process of making your home more energy-efficient.

Just know by taking small, simple actions — and by paying attention to “how” and “when” you consume energy in your home — you’ll do far more than lower your utility bill in the coldest months of the year. You’ll build wealth, one penny at a time.

HAVE A HEALTHY & HAPPY  NEW YEARS

FROM Diamond Dust Property Management LLC

TO YOUR FAMILY

Posted in DIAMOND DUST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT | Leave a comment

Happy Thanksgiving

This is the perfect time of year for us to take the opportunity to let you know just how thankful we are that you allow us to be of service to you.

On behalf of our office, at the Diamond Dust Property Management LLC, we would like to extend our best wishes to you and your family to have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.

Kim-Cards-v1 - Copy

 

Posted in DIAMOND DUST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT | Leave a comment

Why Should You Get Started In Real Estate?

Time

Time might be the one thing money can’t buy. No matter how much money you have, you will never be able to get back the time you spent accumulating your impressive bank account. What you can do, however, is create more time for yourself in the future. And if real estate has taught me one thing, nothing can rival the amount of time investing in real estate awards savvy entrepreneurs. In fact, it’s quite common for people to become real estate investors for the sole purposes of owning their own time.

Cash Flow

Not surprisingly, the most common reason people start investing in real estate is because of the money they have seen other people accumulate — and for good reason. If for nothing else, real estate is an investing vehicle capable of realizing impressive profits for those that are willing to put in the work. Few investing platforms, for that matter, can match the earnings potential synonymous with today’s best investors. That said, it only makes sense that cash flow is a priority for those who want to get started in real estate.

But what exactly is cash flow? As it’s name suggests, it has everything to do with the income of a respective investor. In its truest form, cash flow represents the amount of capital left over after all the bills on a subject property are taken care of.

Tax Benefits

While not as widely advertised as its cash flow counterpart, tax incentives associated with owning real estate can quickly eclipse even the most ambitious pay days. In fact, there are scores of investors that will swear tax benefits are more beneficial than cash flow. When someone asks you “why you should get started in real estate,” it’s hard not to point out how advantageous some of today’s tax breaks can be.

For starters, it is entirely possible to deduct any interest you pay on a mortgage. According to Investopedia, “Homeowners can deduct the portion of their mortgages attributable to interest payments on their tax returns. These payments are higher during the early years of the mortgage and gradually decrease as the mortgage is paid off.”

While less popularized, but no less beneficial to homeowners, there is one tax deduction in a class of its own: depreciation. For what it’s worth, depreciation can turn a good investment into a great one. According to Investopedia, depreciation allows investors to “recover the cost of income-producing rental property,” the whole cost. Through depreciation, rental property owners can write off a portion of the home’s cost for up to 27.5 years.

The important thing to remember is that nobody is going to hold your hand through the process. Any attempt to take advantage of the tax benefits that coincide with real estate should be met with a proactive mindset. More specifically, there is only one way to ease your tax burden through real estate come tax time: due diligence and a working knowledge of what is within your rights to deduct. As always, consult a tax professional before you decide to make any deductions of your own; just know that real estate is ripe with great tax incentives.

Equity & Appreciation

In a sense, both equity and appreciation go hand-in-hand; it’s rather difficult to have one without the other. That said, real estate investors should appreciate a great equity position on any property they own. Few things can combine to benefit an investor more so than these two indicators. But what is it about them that remains so attractive? Why should you get started in real estate for the purposes of realizing equity and appreciation? Let me explain.

If history tells us anything, it’s that homes appreciate in value much more often than they depreciate. While this may be hard to believe after experiencing one of the worst recessions in American history no more than a decade ago, consider how far we have come. Home values are roughly within two percent of their 2006 peaks, and that is after a significant downturn. If you were lucky enough to buy in 2012, you are likely the beneficiary of some impressive appreciation rates. If you waited until later, there is always the option of improving your equity position.

Every time you pay the mortgage, you are growing your equity. But real estate investors have the added benefit of allowing someone else the privilege of paying off their mortgage, essentially turning their property into a savings account — a very big one. When you buy a property with the help of a mortgage, you have a monthly obligation to pay down the principal. However, nobody ever said the payments had to come out of your pocket. It’s entirely possible to rent out a property to a tenant, and use the rent they pay you to pay off the mortgage. Landlords can very easily improve their equity position in a property without using their own money every month.

It’s important to note, however, that neither equity nor appreciation should be your sole reason for investing in real estate. If for nothing else, these two things are more or less contingent on the state of the market as a whole. The amount of equity you have in a property and how much it appreciated by — or depreciates in some circumstances — are more reflective of market conditions than anything else. Property owners are more or less along for the ride, but what a ride it can be. With that in mind, equity and appreciation shouldn’t be counted on, but rather appreciated when they work in your favor.

So why should you get started in real estate? Quite honestly, there are countless reasons, but those I mentioned above are the most popular. If you want to get into real estate for the sole purpose of proving you can do it, feel free to do so. Perhaps you want to create a legacy to leave for future generations of your family. Whatever the reason is, make it yours and aim high. Only then will you truly know why you should get started in real estate. Follow  us Diamond Dust Property Management or call (561) 541-4409 to get started in real estate.

Posted in DIAMOND DUST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT | Leave a comment

Today Is Better Than Tomorrow

Today Is Better Than Tomorrow

Those currently taking the steps to learn how to begin a career in real estate will almost certainly be glad they did so today, as opposed to a decade from now. At the very least, investing in real estate takes time; accumulating wealth is the result of time and knowledge. While not necessarily the equivalent of compound interest, the sooner you get involved in real estate, the sooner you can start reaping the rewards. Start building equity in a home and find out for yourself.

It’s time that learning how to begin a career in real estate coincided with reading market trends. All you have to do is listen to what the market has to say to understand why now is a great time to invest in real estate. Allow us to work with you Diamond Dust Property Management LLC.

Posted in DIAMOND DUST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT | Leave a comment

Prices Are Relatively Low

Prices Are Relatively Low

Yes, it’s true: homes have appreciated a great deal since they hit rock bottom during the worst part of the recession. However, while prices have risen dramatically, many cities have yet to see their home values exceed their pre-recession peaks. What’s more, today’s low interest rates are making it much easier for real estate investors and regular home buyers to afford the property they want. Remember, lower mortgage rates make it possible to do more with the money you have at your disposal; that theory holds weight whether you are a first-time home buyer or a new investor learning how to begin a career in real estate.

It is worth noting that there are still great deals to take advantage of. That said, if you are one of the many people that want to learn how to begin a career in real estate, you should pay close attention to the foreclosure market. According to RealtyTrac, “there are currently 912,490 properties in U.S. that are in some stage of foreclosure.” While foreclosure filings have improved dramatically, it is still possible for savvy investors to find great deals on properties they can flip.

Contact Diamond Dust Property Management LLC                                                                     Allow us to help grow your portfolio.

Posted in DIAMOND DUST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT | Leave a comment

Rent is Rising the Fastest

The real estate industry has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the last 10 years. However, as the economy has expanded, so too has the housing market. In fact, homeowners are now privy to equity that they never thought they would see again. Appreciation has nearly returned home values to pre-recession levels. Subsequently, rent has seen changes of its own. It is common knowledge that rent in big cities like West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale is increasing at a historical rate, but the same can be said about smaller metros. Nearly every city across the country has seen a spike in rental rates – even cities that have struggled to recover. Rents are rising faster than the national average:          Allow Diamond Dust Property Management assist you with your real estate wealth.                       DiamondDustPropertyManagement.com (561) 541-4409

 

 

Posted in DIAMOND DUST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT | Leave a comment

5 Ways To Increase Rents And Improve Rental Property Value

Owning a rental property is one of the best ways to accumulate both short and long term wealth. However, owning a rental property alone doesn’t guarantee a positive return.  The best owners take an active approach in improving their property.  Without constant maintenance and upgrades even the best properties slowly deteriorate.  When they do instead of being an asset they turn into a liability.  Fortunately there are a few things you can do to always stay one step ahead of the curve.  By thinking outside the box and treating your property like the investment it is you will maximize the return.  Here are five things you can do to increase your rent and improve your rental property value.

  • Add A Bedroom. One of the great things about real estate is that you can change just about anything with the property. If you want to increase the size of a room you can explore the option of knocking down a wall. If you want to replace the cabinets in the kitchen you can give the room a face lift. An option you should look at in your rental property is adding an extra bedroom. Not only will this give you an extra room for your tenants but will have a great impact on the resale value. The most likely option for this would be if you have a dining room off of the kitchen. The reality is that formal dining rooms just aren’t as popular as they once were, especially in rental properties. By adding a wall and a closet you may have enough to turn your dining room into a bedroom. This can add 10-15% to your monthly rent and be a great selling point down the road.
  • Interior Upgrades. Adding a bedroom in your rental property would be a home run but may not always be practical. Instead of making wholesale changes there are plenty of minor upgrades you can make. Tenants are very much like buyers in that they like new things. Sure, you can stretch your old dishwasher to last a few years but with all of the seasonal sales available buying a new one may be more beneficial. The same is the case with any outdated or worn down appliances. Most renters would consider paying slightly more per month on a unit with updated appliances. The same is the case with the overall general appearance of the property. The hallway walls might not be dirty but think of what a fresh coat of paint would do. Every year or so you should consider adding new paint to the interior. If you are using the same neutral colors you won’t have to waste time priming or worrying about a second coat. A final interior upgrade you should consider is with the fixtures. In much the same way as the appliances old fixtures give a horrible first impression. Updating these will not break the bank and will increase short and long term value.
  • Exterior Upgrades. The exterior of your rental property is where first impressions are created. Not only does a strong exterior help generate tenants but it can keep them in your property for an extra lease or two. When most landlords think about the exterior they think about the yard and landscaping. These are important but they are just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to create value and demand you should look at the presentation of the exterior. Consider cutting down any large trees or bushes that may hinder the appearance of the property. Think about resealing the driving or transitioning from stone to pavement. The improvements you make to the exterior can make all the difference.
  • Amenities. There are several items in a property that can greatly enhance the appeal. Renters want their residence to feel like home. One of the ways you can do this is by adding every convenience. The first item you should look at is an onsite washer & dryer. A dedicated laundry room in the basement or some portion of the property adds immediate value. For many tenants this amenity alone can be a decision maker. Another amenity that retains value is a deck. Your deck doesn’t have to be a giant, elaborate structure. Something relatively small off of the back of the home is often enough. On the flipside you should avoid amenities such as pools and swing sets that take up space and only fit a niche audience. As much as you may like swimming many tenants do not want to have to deal with a pool. When it comes time to sell a pool can actually be a hindrance instead of a help.
  • Create A WOW Factor. As soon as potential tenants step foot in the property you want to create a “wow” factor. Regardless of the market there is still plenty of competition out there. You want potential tenants to leave your property with a positive impression. One of the ways you can do this is by updating the flooring. You don’t need to replace the existing flooring but you should definitely rebuff the hardwood floors or steam clean any rugs. Little things such as new welcome matts or new patio furniture give the house a clean, welcoming feel. Whenever renters or buyers leave your property after a viewing you want to create a favorable, lasting impression.

It is not enough to purchase a rental property and wait for checks to roll in. You need to take a proactive approach on building and sustaining value.  The little things you do and minor improvements you make will help increase rents or build long term value.                                    Let the Professional at Diamond Dust Property Management LLC HELP YOU WITH ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE PROPERTIES. 561.541.4409

Happy July 4th

 

Posted in DIAMOND DUST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT | Leave a comment