Monday, October 21, 2013

Capital Home Builders is Building to a Higher Standard!

We are focused on high quality built homes not square footage!
Capital Home Builders Designated as a RESNET Energy Smart Homes Builder for Committing to Build Energy Efficient Homes and Marketing Their Homes HERS Index Score
ThomasvilleGeorgia based home builder Capital Home Builders has entered into an agreement with the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) to provide new home buyers an important measurement of long-term energy performance of each new home the company builds.  The intent of the agreement is to raise consumers’ knowledge of new home energy performance by using RESNET’s HERS Index.  Use of the HERS Index will differentiate homes built by Capital Home Builders from other homes for sale in the Thomas County housing
Capital Home Builders is custom energy efficient home builder. The company was the first homebuilder to acquire the ENERGY STAR designation in South Georgia.  For more information on the company visit their web site at

The RESNET HERS Index is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. The HERS or Home Energy Rating System was developed by RESNET and is the nationally recognized system for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance. Certified RESNET Home Energy Raters conduct inspections to verify a home’s energy performance and determine what improvements can be made to increase it. For more information go to

Izzy of Capital Home Builders, said RESNET’s HERS provides a quantitative measure of energy efficiency and permits comparisons between homes.   “It is expected that Capital Home Builders’ agreement with RESNET will serve as a model to other local and regional builders that would have positive outcomes for consumers and the new home industry,”

Steve Baden, executive director of RESNET lauded Capital Home Builders’ leadership for improving the energy performance of new homes.  “Today’s new homes are much more efficient in comparison to homes built just a decade ago.  These homes are more affordable to maintain, comfortable and have a higher value.  Thanks to leaders like Capital Home Builders, builders are increasing the energy performance of the homes they build.  This is good for consumers, the environment, the local economy and our national security.  It is great to have such a quality builder like Capital Home Builders educating homebuyers on the RESNET HERS Index.”
RESNET EnergySmart Builder
In making the commitment Capital Home Builders has been designated by RESNET as an RESNET Energy Smart Builder. RESNET Energy Smart Builders are leading the transformation of the housing towards high energy performance homes. These leading builders are committed to having all of their homes energy rated following RESNET’s stringent standards and marketing their homes HERS Index Score.

Energy-efficient homes seem to sell faster, fetch higher prices

Capital Home Builders Energy-efficient homes provide more efficient, healthful, and comfortable living environments by treating the structure as a complete system, where every component must work in harmony. Energy-efficient homes also use fresh-air ventilation and pressure-management techniques that maintain better air quality and comfort. AND, a properly balanced heating and cooling system means maximum energy efficiency. We are the only builder in Thomasville and South Georgia to have the best built homes and the only builder to have all of our homes "HERS Rated"
Some research projects in California, Oregon and Washington offer hints that energy efficiency and sustainability certifications for homes may result in easier sales and higher prices.

Home energy efficiency and sustainability have been major policy priorities for the Obama administration, but lurking in the background are two consistent questions: Beyond the documentable savings on utility bills, do such steps add to the resale value of a home? And do they make it easier or faster to sell your property?

Housing groups and housing officials say that definitive statistical data covering multiple regions of the country are scarce. But some localized research projects in Oregon, Washington and California offer promising hints.
In a study covering existing and new houses sold from May 2010 through April of this year, the Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit group based in Portland, Ore., found that newly constructed homes with third-party certifications for sustainability and energy efficiency sold for 9% more on average than noncertified homes in the six-county Portland metropolitan area. Existing houses with certifications sold for 30% more.
The raw sales data in the study were provided by the Portland Regional Multiple Listing Service. "Certified" houses were defined as those carrying Energy Star or LEED for Homes designations or Earth Advantage home certifications. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) The latest study was the fourth in an annual series conducted by Earth Advantage, each of which has shown clear price premiums for certified houses.
But officials caution that using average sales prices pulled from MLS data without trying to measure "comparable" homes against one another directly may not be conclusive. For instance, newly constructed certified houses may be more expensive to start, and existing certified homes may be larger and more likely to be in higher-cost neighborhoods where homeowner adoption rates for energy-efficiency measures are higher.
Nonetheless, said Dakota Gale, Earth Advantage's manager of sustainable finance, looking back at four years of studies, "we can still see a consistent trend that third-party certification continues to result in a higher sales price, even during the past year when home sales were down."
A study conducted two years ago by the institute in Seattle and Portland identified what may be another plus: Homes marketed with energy-efficiency certifications appear to sell faster on average than those without. The study tried to come up with rough comparability in appraisal terms between certified and noncertified properties, and it found that in Portland, certified homes spent 18 days less time on the market after listing than noncertified counterparts. In both Portland and Seattle, researchers documented price premiums — 9.6% in Seattle, 4.2% in Portland — in a statistical analysis with a 95% confidence level.
A recent study on houses in San Diego and Sacramento published by the National Bureau of Economic Research took a different tack: When you install photovoltaic solar panels on your roof, how much do you get back in market resale terms, beyond monthly energy savings?
Researchers examined a sample of home sales in the $500,000 range in both metropolitan areas between 2003 and 2010 and found that, on average, solar panel installations cost owners $35,967. But with federal and state subsidies, the net average cost came down to $20,892. This net expenditure, in turn, yielded an increase in appraised value by $20,194 — a 97% rate of recovery on the investment.
Though less than 100%, the rate is much higher than most home improvements in the most recent "Cost vs. Value" study conducted by Remodeling magazine — well above major kitchen and bathroom renovations.
Kevin Morrow, senior program manager for green building at the National Assn. of Home Builders, says that although many newly constructed homes come with energy and sustainability certifications, banks don't necessarily recognize their value when it comes to providing mortgage money.
For example, bank underwriters often do not include reduced monthly utility costs in the household income/household expense ratios that affect the maximum mortgage amounts available to buyers.
"The case needs to be made" to lenders, he said, "that, hey, these houses will cost less to operate, so they should be worth more."
Morrow added that appraisers are part of the issue as well if they don't have the training to recognize and credit extra value to houses that have money-saving solar installations, geothermal heating and cooling, Energy Star appliances, water conservation features and other green improvements.
The Appraisal Institute, the largest group representing that industry, says it has sponsored "green" appraisal courses for 2,300 appraisers during the last two years. It says it strongly supports efforts to better incorporate energy and environmental factors into mortgage underwriting and home valuations, including a possible congressional mandate requiring it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Incentives to buyer's agents raise steering concerns

Through my regular weekly readings I ran into this article that I just had to re-post. It is very interesting how in our current real estate market how some agents will look at the incentives and % of commission they will earn before they select a property to show there clients. An agent have to put their clients best interest first before their own and sad to know that an agent can block the showing of a property just because it does not carry a desirable commission, incentive or just because they do not like the properties listing agent. Interesting article follow the link for an informative piece.

Incentives to buyer's agents raise steering concerns

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

House Expo "Greening your Home Workshop"

Saturday March 24, 2012 House Expo “Greening your Home Workshop”

What a great event this was, it was great to network with familiar local businesses and meet new ones. I had the great opportunity to present our local consumers with a workshop assisting them on how they can be a little greener in their existing homes.

I am the 1st Ecobroker Certified Real Estate Agent in the South Georgia area with Rose City Realty, Inc. You may wonder what exactly is an Ecobroker Certified Agent?

It is a designation that helps me stay current with the growing green real estate market. It is an opportunity for me to benefit my community and the environment.

I can assist buyers with identifying true energy efficient features in homes that unfortunately are on the rise being aggressively marketed using buzz words to attract green minded consumers while assisting sellers market energy efficient features correctly and avoid the GREENWASHING effect.

We all want to save money on our utility bills without investing too much money but keep in mind that for repairs resulting from an energy audit also increases a home’s value and if you want to claim your home as an energy efficient one a Home Energy Rater would have to perform the assessment. For $1.00 you save in energy it increases your home value by $20.00. So, it’s not a very bad investment.

With this being said, remember in order to properly claim an entire home as energy efficient the proper documentation needs to be provided in order to back the claim. I see way to many listings claiming an entire home as energy efficient by just changing an A/C unit or changing to a programmable thermostat and watch out the home miraculously becomes energy efficient. The latest one I read was a material was labeled as energy efficient sadly to have been said by a real estate agent that thought that by adding these two words would highlight the listing. Listings like this constitute misrepresentation of a listed property and so many alike this one.

By greening existing homes the proper way sellers can proudly market and price their homes according to the type of energy efficient feature upgrades it incorporates and enjoy the monthly savings and sellers can than sell their homes not solely on square footage but for the type and value of energy efficient upgrades.

The following are some simple and easy steps that may achieve some energy savings on existing homes. It is very essential to perform a home energy audit first before any changes are done in hopes to reduce your energy consumption. An energy auditor is a certified building analyst that can identify areas of the home that can be a financial and an energy drain and provide the homeowner with an assessment before any work is done. Do not be afraid to request the type of certification your energy auditor holds.

If homeowners follow the auditors suggestion they will find an improvement in comfort, an increase in the level of efficiency and decrease in monthly utility cost. By making the proper improvements the home could easily reduce its energy use.

Once improvements have been made a new energy audit is suggested to acquire the improved efficiency of the home or if you want to claim your home as an energy efficient one a Home Energy Rater will be able to provide a rating which lenders recognize for lending purposes for high efficiency homes like a Qualified Energy Star home which is now available in Thomasville built by local builder Capital Home Builders in 2007. They were the first local builder to bring this energy efficiency awareness and what is possible in a home.

Green home renovations can be overwhelming especially the larger more expensive ones but for a simpler approach to greening an existing home consider the following for quick, inexpensive retrofits that can be done.

  1. Replace incandescent bulbs with CFL’s buy the ones that are Energy Star Qualified to ensure the savings & quality of the product. By changing the 5 most used in your home can save up to 75%. Or if you are able to buy LED lights you can save between 75-80% Energy Star Qualified LEDs use only 20-25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional bulbs.

  1. Install Programmable Thermostat by making this installation you’re able to pre-set you’re A/C to energy saving settings while you are away or sleeping. It will do this automatically. Many models come with a filter sensor.

  1. Replace your Air Conditioner Filters Energy Star recommends that you check your filters every month for excess debris that can restrict air flow.

  1. Insulate your hot water heater & furnace by properly insulated hot water heaters & furnace you can reduce heat loss by 25-45% reducing your energy bill by 4-9%. Read the installation/warranty to make sure this doesn’t void the warranty. Installing a water heater timer in order for your water heater not to continuously run when you are not using it. Especially, if you are one of the homes that have two water heaters. A licensed plumber maybe needed for this process. You can also set your water heater at 120 degrees this will add to your savings.

  1. Fill air leaks with caulking or weather stripping. Cracks around windows and doors can be major energy drain on your home as they decrease the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by allowing air to escape. Exhaust-vent covers like dryer vents, range hood vents, bath fans and other interior ventilation equip. typically terminate outside the house in a plastic or metal cover that has one or more louvers on it. The louvers are designed to be in the closed position whenever the fan is not in use, so that outside air doesn’t leak in. An energy auditor can identify these areas.

  1. Water conservation- install aerators on facets and install a low-flow showerhead. Aerators attach to your faucets to decrease the water flow while maintaining high pressure. Water flow on every faucet in your home makes up around 15% of a typical home’s indoor water use, reducing the water flow on every faucet in your home can easily save a significant amount of water. Look for hardware with the EPA water sense label for products that are at least 20% more efficient than standard models.

Remember that products that carry the Energy Star & the EPA water sense labels ensure that you’ll get the savings they promise to deliver. There are no short cuts. In order to make energy efficiency claim in a home it needs to be backed by proper documentation as prove that the home delivers the claim.

7. Another area to address is the duct work. Properly sealed ductwork can help prevent air leakage. 20-30% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks and poor sealed connections.

  1. Proper insulation in existing homes. The place where usually insulation needs to be checked is the attic. This will be one of the best ways to prevent heat loss and to keep your energy bill down. Make sure the insulation is in good condition and insulate with high quality insulation.
Extra Insulation is a misunderstood concept. When checking your attic insulation for adequate amounts and it is determined that you do not have the adequate r-value to start with by adding insulation to acquire the R-value that is recommended is not per say extra insulation.

Also, by installing your new insulation batts perpendicular to the old ones, you now have the opportunity to cover and insulate the ceiling joists, and you're also covering any gaps between the old batts. So installing the new batts perpendicular to the old ones will definitely result in a better overall insulation job.

Remember to use unfaced batts for your new insulation so that you don't double up the vapor barrier, and maintain at least a 3-inch air space around older, non-IC-rated, recessed light fixtures, masonry chimneys, and anything else that produces heat. [i]

9. Refrigerators can be an energy drain if they were made before 2001 older fridge are very inefficient and upgrading, if all possible to an Energy Star label one will yield a significant savings, of course if it is in your budget to do so.

Other Energy Savings Tips around the house

Rainwater Harvesting

Water can be collected in rain barrels that would normally pour off the roof through gutters downspouts. The purpose for this is:

It conserves water & helps lower cost and saves about 1300gals of water. This water can later be used to water your plants.

Another concept gaining popularity with homeowners is the creation of rain garden landscaped areas planted to wild flowers and other native plants that soak up rain water mainly from the roof of a house or other building. The rain garden allows 30% more water to soak into the ground. Rain gardens are important as cities grow and increased stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces becoming a problem.

Stormwater runoff from developed areas increases flooding carries pollutants from streets, parking lots and even lawns into local streams and lakes; and leads to costly municipal improvements in stormwater treatment structures. While an individual rain garden may seem like a small thing, collectively they produce substantial neighborhood and community environment benefits.

This workshop was put together to bring awareness to my community on how to make changes in our homes that will save us money, add comfort, avoid greenwashing, increase existing home values through proper documentation and help the environment all at the same time.

If you should have further questions on how to green your home the right way and avoid legal ramifications contact me at Rose City Realty, Inc I look forward on to hearing from you.

[i] Inman news

Friday, February 17, 2012

9 ways to keep lid on energy bills

Air leaks can infiltrate surprising places

By Paul BianchinaInman News®

No one likes wasting money, especially in these tough economic times. So it certainly makes sense -- dollars and cents -- to make a small investment of time and supplies to close up those heat-wasting air leaks around your home. It'll pay back big dividends in reduced energy bills and a warmer, more comfortable house this winter. So let's look at some of the areas where those drafts may be lurking, and see how to take care of them.

1. Doors and windows: This should be an obvious one. If you can see gaps between your siding and your windows or exterior doors, close them up with a bead of clear or paintable acrylic latex caulk. Larger gaps can be filled with foam backer rod before applying the caulking.

2. Exterior penetrations: Some of these areas are going to be obvious, while some may take a little bit of searching. Some examples of exterior penetrations where air can leak into the house include exterior faucets, dryer vents, exterior electrical outlets, exterior light fixtures, holes that have been drilled for phone and TV cables, conduit penetrations, exit points for plumbing drains, and penetrations for air conditioning lines. Closing these penetrations may require a variety of different techniques, including caulk, expanding spray foam, or, in the case of electrical boxes and fixtures, specific gaskets that are designed to fit the boxes.

3. Exhaust-vent covers: Dryer vents, range hood vents, bath fan vents, and other interior ventilation equipment typically terminate outside the house in a plastic or metal cover that has one or more louvers on it. The louvers are designed to be in the closed position whenever the fan is not in use, so that outside air doesn't leak in. Check all of these louvers to be sure they're closing completely, with no air leaks. If they aren't, you can adjust the spring tension to hold them closed more tightly; add foam weatherstripping tape for a more air-tight seal; or replace the entire vent cap with a new one.

4. Gaps around interior vents and recessed lights: Inside your home, heated air can be leaking out around that same ventilation equipment, where vent pipes pass through the walls or ceiling, or where vent covers meet wall and ceiling surfaces. Recessed light fixtures can also be real air-leakers. Around the vent pipes and recessed light cans, seal any gaps with caulking. For the vent covers and recessed light covers, remove the covers, then adjust the springs and/or add foam weatherstripping tape to create a tight seal between the cover and the ceiling.

5. Heat-duct penetrations: Gaps around heating-duct cans where they pass through the floor or wall allow cold air to enter from the crawl space, while gaps around ceiling-duct cans allow heated air to escape into the attic. To close those drafts, first remove the register, then use a combination of caulking and/or metallic duct sealant tape to close any gaps between the sheet metal cans and the floor, wall or ceiling surface.

6. Fireplaces and woodstoves: Lots of gaps can occur around these appliances. With a conventional fireplace, keep the damper closed except when burning a fire to prevent heated air from escaping up the chimney. Consider investing in a set of air-tight doors, which close off the air leaks and also make your fires more efficient. Look for gaps around woodstove and gas fireplace flue pipes, and air leaks around masonry chimneys. Use a metal collar if necessary around flue pipe penetrations, and seal gaps with heat-resistant sealant specially formulated for this application.

7. Attic and crawl space hatches: These can be real air losers if they're not weatherstripped, so take care of that with some foam tape. Make sure the hatches are insulated as well.

8. Interior doors to unheated spaces: If you have any interior doors that lead to unheated spaces, including basements, garages or attics, be sure the doors are weatherstripped to prevent air leakage. If possible, replace older, hollow-core doors with solid-core or, better yet, insulated metal doors.

9. Sill plates and penetrations: This one's not as easy to deal with, but it's well worth the effort to try to do whatever you can with it. Air can leak both into and out of the house through gaps where the sill plate meets the foundation or the siding, and around plumbing and wiring penetrations drilled through wall plates in various areas. If you have a gap between your siding and the bottom of your exterior wall, especially in older homes where the use of sill sealers was not a common practice, consider closing up this big air gap with a bead of caulking or expanding foam. In the basement, crawl space and attic, if you can access any of the pipes and wires that pass through the wall plates, seal the penetrations with expanding foam.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Standing Tall: A Modern Seattle Remodel

Through my weekly readings I ran into this article and it sounds like other parts of the country professionals are having the same issues this hillbilly town has. The specs low quality, cookie cuter and mammoth type of homes going up in neighborhoods where quality construction homes coexist. This is my opinion and my right to free speech for those that want to talk about my opinionated views. 

By Robyn Griggs Lawrence
September/October 2006
Seattle’s historic Magnolia neighborhood sprawls across a peninsula just south of the Ballard Locks, offering sweeping views of the Cascade Mountains and the busy shipping canal connecting Lake Union to Puget Sound. Architect David Vandervort has lived atop a hill in this community for 22 years, and he’s watched with some trepidation as massive homes have gone up on lots where much smaller houses once stood, shifting the neighborhood’s character and scale. So when the generic post-war house next door went on the market, Vandervort saw an opportunity. He could showcase his firm’s commitment to solid, sustainable design and help preserve his neighborhood’s character and integrity.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mortgage rules put recovery at risk

A plan to jump-start housing
By Jack Guttentag
Inman News™

This Editor's note: This is the first in a three-part series.

Policy proposals for dealing with our current depressed economy are largely at an impasse. Monetary policy has gone about as far as it can go, while fiscal policy is hamstrung by political constraints on any measures that enlarge the federal debt.

Housing policy, in contrast, has enormous expansionary potential that can be released merely by revising or eliminating some of the many unproductive rules governing how home loans are granted.
These rules originate from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and in some cases from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). In combination, these agencies touch the vast majority of all home loans being written today.

Most of the rules apply to who is and who isn't qualified to borrow and, for those who are, how much extra they have to pay for deviations from pristine status. The liberalized rule changes would reduce expected losses to the agencies because the additional housing demand that resulted from them would stabilize home prices.