Are You Ready to Move? 11 Signs That the Answer is ‘Yes’

Moving is a big deal. Think of all the things that you’ve likely accumulated over the years and have stored all over your home, not to mention the process of selling your home and looking for a new one that will suit your lifestyle – and your budget.

Before you make a move, make sure you’ve thought long and hard about whether it’s time for you to move onto something new. There are plenty of things to consider before making this decision, so make sure to give yourself enough time to contemplate a potential move before you plant a For Sale sign on your front lawn.

Here are some signs that you’re ready to move.

1. You Can Make a Pretty Penny Thanks to the Current Market

If it’s currently a seller’s market where you live and you’ve already seen a few of your neighbors make a huge profit from the sale of their homes, you might want to jump on the bandwagon yourself. If you have your home appraised and find out that it’s worth much more than what you bought it for, you might be tempted to cash in.

If you do decide to take advantage of the seller’s market in your area, keep in mind that you still have to purchase something and will be on the buying end. If you’re moving in another area that happens to be in a buyer’s market or you’re considering downsizing and buying something cheaper, then perhaps now might be a good time to make your move.

2. You’re Having a Tough Time Keeping Up With Your Mortgage Payments

The last thing you want is to end up in default on your mortgage. If that happens, you run the risk of foreclosure. If you’re currently finding that your mortgage payments are just too much for you to handle, consider downsizing to something less expensive so you can take some pressure off your finances.

3. Your Current Home No Longer Suits Your Needs

Maybe you need more square footage or a larger backyard. Or perhaps a single-story home might be easier for you to get around in than your current two-story home. Whatever the case may be, it’s possible that your current home is no longer giving you what you need. If that’s the case, selling your home and buying one that has all the features you need to better suit your lifestyle might be a wise decision.

4. You Got a New Job Opportunity in Another City

A very good reason to sell is if you are offered a new job in a different city. In this case, the commute wouldn’t make much sense. Instead, selling your current home in favor of one closer to your new place of work would be warranted.

5. You’re Close to Retirement

Empty nesters and retirees often sell the homes they spent many years in and raised a family in and buy something smaller, easier to maneuver in, and easier to maintain. The type of house that may have suited you in your younger years might not be suitable as you get older. At his point in life, trading in your current home for another might be a good choice.

6. You Want to Upgrade Your Lifestyle

Maybe you’ve climbed the ladder in your career and are more financially stable these days. In that case, you might have the finances to afford the finer things in life and may want to make some improvements in your home and neighborhood. Moving up is another great reason to sell what you currently have and buy something that better suits your more sophisticated tastes.

7. The Neighborhood is Showing Signs of Decline

Have you been noticing lots of boarded-up storefronts, poorly-maintained yards on the street, and even unruly behavior from neighbors over the recent past? What about the crime rate? Has it been going up in your area?

Any number of factors can negatively impact a neighborhood, which can then pull down property values. In this case, you might want to get out while you can still get a relatively good deal on your house and trade it in for a home in a neighborhood where property values seem like they’ll be on an upward trend.

8. You Want to Make the Switch to Suburban Living (or Vice Versa)

Both suburban living and city living have their perks, but one might be better for you than the other. If you currently live downtown, you might want to move to the ‘burbs in order to have more space, less noise, and less congestion. On the other hand, you might be living in the suburbs right now but might prefer being closer to amenities and have the ability to walk everywhere you need to go that downtown has to offer. 

9. Your Current Commute is Draining You

Is the long drive or train ride into work starting to get to you? If so, making a move to someplace close to work is probably for the best. Even if you end up with less for more money, the trade-off might be worth it to save time and reduce the stress levels associated with long commutes.

10. You’re Considering Buying a Vacation Home and Need to Free up Some Capital

Do you dream of owning a vacation property but are unable to afford a second home while you’re still paying your current mortgage? Would you be able to afford having two homes if you trade in your current property for something more affordable? If so, the money freed up from the sale can be applied to a vacation home to be enjoyed year-round.

11. You Want to Send Your Kids to a Better School

If you have school-aged kids, you’ll likely want to send them to the best school possible. But maybe the choices in your neighborhood aren’t the greatest. Moving into prestigious school districts is a common reason why people move, and it might make sense for you too. If you’re looking to get your kids into a decent school, selling your home and buying one nearby the school of your choice might be something to seriously consider.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of signs that might pop up that are telling you that it’s time to move. If any of these signs apply to your situation, get in touch with a seasoned real estate agent who can help you determine if a move is right for you. And if it is, they’ll also be able to help you find something up your alley.

How to Snag a Low-Interest Rate on Your Mortgage

Out of all debt payments that you may have on the books, a mortgage payment will likely be one of your biggest. After all, mortgages are taken out to pay for real estate purchases, which are hefty expenditures. Thanks to mortgages, however, consumers across the country have the ability to make these large purchases that they may otherwise not be able to afford.

But the overall cost of a mortgage can be directly affected by the interest rate charged. When rates are low, mortgages are much more affordable, while the opposite is also true when rates spike.

Right now, rates are still somewhat low compared to what they have been in years past. In fact, since the housing crash in 2008, mortgage rates have hovered near historic lows for years, though they are now starting to creep back up.

While there is little that buyers can do about the posted mortgage rate, there is still a lot that can be done to keep the rate that lenders offer as low as possible.

Here are some ways to help you get a low-interest rate on your mortgage that can help you save thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Shop Around

Much like you would comparison shop before purchasing any goods, you’ll want to do the same with a mortgage in order to get the lowest interest rate. Taking the time to compare what different lenders are willing to offer can really save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Even a fraction of a percent can make a huge difference in how much you end up paying.

You may also want to consider working with a mortgage broker who will do all the comparison shopping for you. That way you only have one loan application to fill out, and your mortgage broker will take that information and look around from their network of lenders to see who is willing to offer the lowest rate and best mortgage terms.

Give Your Credit Score a Boost

A huge factor that comes into play in terms of the interest rate offered to buyers is credit scores. Generally speaking, the higher the credit score, the lower the interest rate, and vice versa. If your credit score is anywhere over 760, you will likely get the lowest rate possible. But if your score is less than 650, you’ll probably wind up with a much higher rate, which will make your mortgage a lot more expensive.

Buyers with high credit scores present a much lower risk to lenders because they will be more likely to make their mortgage payments on time. Those with low scores, on the other hand, are perceived as a higher risk. And in order to hedge against this elevated risk, lenders tend to charge low-credit borrowers a higher interest rate.

Giving your credit score a boost is a great way to ensure a lower interest rate when you’re ready to apply for a mortgage. If your score could use a little improvement, consider taking the following steps:

  • Pay all your loan bills on time
  • Don’t spend any more than 30% of your credit card limit
  • Don’t apply for any additional loans or lines of credit
  • Have any errors on your credit report fixed
  • Pay down your debt

Boost Your Down Payment

The more money you’re able to put towards your home purchase, the better in terms of the type of interest rate you may be able to get. Making a higher down payment can effectively reduce the amount of money you need to borrow and will also reduce your loan-to-value ratio (LTV), which is a measure of the loan amount relative to how much the property is valued at. A lower LTV is viewed more favorably by lenders, who will often reward borrowers by offering a lower rate.

Not only can you decrease the interest rate charged to you, but you can also save more money by not having to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). This type of insurance premium is charged to borrowers who put less than a 20% down payment towards their mortgages. If you can come up with at least 20% of the purchase price of your home, you can avoid having to pay these extra fees.

Pay Down Your Debt

The amount of debt you carry relative to the income you bring in will have an impact on the interest rate your lender offers you, as well as your overall ability to secure a mortgage at all. If you carry a lot of debt, adding another debt to the pile might overburden your finances.

Lenders will look at your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) to assess your current debt relative to how much money you make. If your income is barely enough to cover your current financial obligations, then your lender may not approve your mortgage application. If your application is approved, you may be subject to a much higher interest rate.

Ideally, lenders like to see DTIs no higher than 36%, though 43% has often been the acceptable limit. If you’re looking to get a lower interest rate on a mortgage, work diligently to pay down your debt and inevitably reduce your DTI.

Ensure Steady Employment

For obvious reasons, lenders prefer to work with borrowers who not only make a decent income but are steadily employed. Having a permanent full-time job is safer than a contract position. Ideally, you should be able to prove steady employment for a minimum of two years. The longer, the better.

If your employment past shows sporadic periods of unemployment over recent years, you’ll be hard-pressed to not only snag a low-interest rate but get approved at all. If time is on your side, get your employment situation in order to boost the odds of securing a mortgage at a relatively low-interest rate.

Consider an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

If rates are expected to stay low over the next two to five years, then an adjustable-rate mortgage might be a good way to get a lower interest rate. These types of mortgages come with a low-interest introductory period, which usually lasts anywhere between two to five years.

The rates offered during this period are typically lower than those with fixed-rate mortgages, which is why they’re often an attractive option for borrowers.

But once this introductory period is over, the rates will usually increase. Adjustable-rate mortgages are therefore ideal for those who either have an appetite for risk of rates increasing or who may have intentions of selling their home before the introductory period ends.

Lock in a Low Rate

If it’s anticipated that rates are expected to increase over the next little while, it may be worth it to go with a fixed-rate mortgage instead of an adjustable-rate mortgage. With a fixed-rate mortgage, you have the opportunity to lock in a lower rate and hedge against an increase in mortgage rates over the near future.

You can even ask your lender to lock in the rate sooner rather than later – even while your mortgage is being processed – in order to make sure the rate stays put. Your lender might charge you a fee for this, but it might be worth it if you have reason to believe that the rate you’ve been quoted is likely to increase soon.

The Bottom Line

If there’s any way for you to knock even a fraction of a percent off your mortgage interest rate, you can effectively save yourself a ton of money in mortgage payments. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to help ensure that you’re offered the lowest rate possible. Consider working with a mortgage specialist who will be able to guide you throughout the mortgage process and make recommendations of what you should do to put you in the best position to snag a low-interest rate on your mortgage.

Bad Signs to Look For Before Buying a Home

Buying a home is a big commitment, so you obviously want to make sure that your purchase is a sound one. That’s the reason why you might go back a second time – or even a third – before putting in an offer, then maybe even return once or twice more before sealing the deal. You want to make sure the home and the surrounding neighborhood justify the money you’re spending on the property.

When you’re scoping out homes, you might have some items on your must-have list that you’ll be keeping an eye out for. But there are also some negative things that you should look out for that may be signs that the home or the neighborhood is not up to par, including the following.

Cracks in the Exterior

While fine cracks in the foundation wall might be OK, large ones that are at least a half-inch wide or are uneven might be cause for concern. Out of all issues with a home that can be the most cumbersome and expensive to fix, structural issues would be it.

If you notice any large cracks, that might be a red flag that the foundation is faulty. This could be a result of shifting or sinking soil underneath, grading issues, or other reasons. You may want to call in a structural engineer to check out the cracks to make sure there’s no serious underlying issue with the structure or foundation that will end up costing you a lot more than what you had intended to spend.

Paint Covering Up Water Damage

Some homeowners may try to conceal any water damage done to their ceilings or walls by painting over it. What homeowners might not know is not only are they not fully covering up the damage, they may also be allowing mold to fester, which can become a health hazard.

Pay close attention to any uneven patches of paint. If it seems as though certain areas were painted over, take a closer look. There just may be signs of water damage underneath.

Lots of Room Fresheners and Scented Candles

While it’s perfectly fine to freshen up the smell in a home when it’s on the market – and even recommended – overdoing it with the fresh smells might be a cover-up for something lurking. Find out if there is something that may be releasing a foul odor in the home, such as mold, pet urine, sewage, or a leaky pipe.

No Permits For Improvements Made

If it’s obvious that some work was done on the home – such as a room addition or a new deck, for instance – ask to see the permits for the work done. If the seller can’t produce them, the work may have been done without a permit. This could spell trouble for you if the building inspector in your area catches wind of the work done.

If that happens, you’ll need to not only pay for the permit yourself but even possibly go through the motions of having to apply for it and get it approved. The inspector could even go so far as to force you to take down whatever work was done.

Uneven Floors

Floors that are obviously uneven could be a sign of structural issues. As already mentioned, this can be a costly problem to fix. In addition to floors that are not level, look for doors and windows that stick when you try to open and close them or bubbling on the floors. 

Lots of For Sale Signs

So far, we’ve been talking about the home itself. But in reality, you’re buying into the neighborhood, too. As far as the area itself is concerned, there are a few things to look for, and one of them is an overabundance of For Sale signs. If you notice that there are plenty of homes for sale in the area or on your street, find out why.

While it may just be that the demographics are changing – such as empty nesters downsizing and making room for younger families – there could be more serious issues at the hub of all the for sale signs. Tanking property values or an increase in crime are issues you’ll definitely want to know about before you put an offer on a home.

Plenty of Empty Storefronts

Like the For Sale signs on residential properties, too many vacancies in commercial units could also be a sign that a particular neighborhood is not doing so well. Bustling businesses is a good sign in neighborhoods, but entities that are either going out of business or are bailing on the area for a better one is not a good sign of a healthy neighborhood.

All the Homes Look the Same

If you’re considering buying in an HOA community, take a look at how uniform all the houses are. While HOAs typically have restrictions about what homeowners can do to their exteriors, too much uniformity might be a sign that there is little wiggle room to deck out your home the way you’d like to.

Music is Playing in All Rooms

Having music played during showings or open houses might be fine, but it could also be used to mask any noise pollution in the area, such as a nearby train, planes flying overhead, or the neighbor’s dog barking.

Neighbors’ Homes Are Poorly Maintained

Speaking of the neighbors, look at how they maintain their properties. If they’re unkempt, that could affect the value of the property you intend to buy.

The Bottom Line

Buying a house is a big deal, so make sure you take your time scoping out different properties and the neighborhoods they’re located in before you make an offer. There’s a lot of money at stake, so you want to make sure that the house and the area you buy into are exactly what you’re hoping for without any unpleasant surprises down the line.

Should You Accept the First Offer on Your Home?

When it comes to real estate transactions, sellers may often hold out for a better offer and might not necessarily take the first offer too seriously. They’ll often hold out in hopes of something bigger and better coming along.

Not only that, but it’s also common practice for buyers and sellers to barter with one another and participate in a little back-and-forth negotiating. For sellers, it’s expected that the first offer that comes in will be open for a counter offer. After all, getting the highest price on a home sale is the ultimate goal.

But are there ever times when it’s wise to take the first offer given? Do all real estate deals necessarily have to involve tossing the first offer or countering offers, or is it OK for sellers to take the first offer on their home? Further, should sellers even entertain the first buyer that shows interest? Or should they wait to see if there’s something better out there?

Here are a few situations where taking the first offer might be something to consider.

You’re Motivated to Move

If time is of the essence and you need to move sooner rather than later, then that first offer might be one to take seriously. Whether you need to move because you’ve been relocated to another city for work, or the kids are starting school soon, or the closing date on your new home is coming up, you might have a very good reason to want to move sooner rather than later. And that may entail taking the first offer that’s given to you.

Of course, you don’t want to settle for a sub-par offer. You’ll certainly want to assess the offer – as well as any others you may get – and make sure everything is satisfactory. The offer price, closing date, deposit amount, and contingencies all play a role in the strength of an offer. That said, taking too long to accept an offer can put a huge stress on you and your finances.

The First Offer is Solid

Before you finalize your listing, identify what type of offer would be deemed an attractive one, That way when you do get an offer, you’ll be able to better assess whether or not it’s worthy of acceptance.

Weigh the offer against the initial criteria you established with your real estate agent. If that first offer meets – and even exceeds – these standards, there’s little reason why you shouldn’t grab it and seal the deal.

Your Home Has Been Sitting on the Market For a While

As mentioned earlier, a listing that sits on the market for too long will become stale. And a stale listing doesn’t fare too well among buyers. Instead, buyers will start to think that there’s something potentially wrong with the property. After all, why else would a home sit on the market so much longer than other comparable properties?

The best time to stir up interest in your listing is right out of the gates within the first week or two after the listing goes live. It gets increasingly more difficult to generate interest a few weeks after a listing initially goes up on the market.

If you get a decent offer within the early days of listing your home, you might want to seriously consider it. It’s not uncommon for sellers to lose out on a good offer when they give up on the first one that comes in the door simply because it’s so early on in the game. Waiting around for a better offer doesn’t always work out.

You’re in a Strong Buyer’s Market

If the market is ripe for sellers, you might have a lot of demand for your home and a large pool of qualified buyers to choose from. But if the market is cooling in your area and demand is weaker, that may limit your pool of buyers.

Your home could be in great shape, located in a desirable area, and priced aggressively. But if the market is not in your favor, the first good offer that is put on the table should probably at least be considered. This is even truer if your home is not as desirable or located in an area that isn’t highly sought-after, which can further put a cap on the pool of interested buyers.

You’ve Got an All-Cash Offer

It’s tough to turn down an all-cash deal. Even if the amount being offered is slightly lower than what you may have wanted, taking an all-cash offer can eliminate the waiting game that usually accompanies offers that are contingent on the buyer securing a mortgage.

When there’s no need to bite your nails hoping that a mortgage – or even a home inspection – goes through, the deal can proceed with minimal issues.

The Bottom Line

The truth is, there’s no rule set in stone that you shouldn’t accept the first offer that you get for your house. Whether or not you do will depend on a number of factors, including the specific situation, the market, and your home, for example.

The first couple of weeks that a home is on the market is the busiest time for listings and is the time when the most interest and activity are seen. Once those couple of weeks have passed, interest and activity start to fade, which is why it’s important to take advantage of this window of opportunity to find a willing buyer.

If you get an offer right away, don’t discard it. Instead, consider it, especially if it’s a sound offer. Many times sellers get burned by taking a gamble on finding a better offer, only to be left with a listing that grows more staler by the day.

Of course, if the offer is sub-par, perhaps waiting for a better one to come around might be the better option. Just be sure to make your decision after careful consideration and collaboration with your real estate agent.

JUST LISTED IN SAN RAMON: 215 Reflections Dr #21

215 Reflections Dr #21, San Ramon, CA 94583

$445,000 | Beds 1 | Baths 1 | 624 SqFt

Great Location in San Ramon! Located in The Desirable Reflections Community This One Bedroom, One Bath Home Boasts An Open Floor Plan and Vaulted Ceilings. Situated On The Second Floor, As You Walk in You Will Notice An Updated Kitchen, Attractive Stone Flooring, New Patterned Berber Carpet, Update Dual Pane Windows, Newer Hvac System, Indoor Laundry, A Fireplace in The Living Room and A Balcony That Includes A Storage Closet. Close To The Marketplace Shopping Center, San Ramon’s New City Center, The Popular Iron Horse Trail, City Hall, Central Park, Target Greatland, Chevron Corporate, Restaurants, Shops and More! Enjoy The Community Pool, Exercise Facility and Soothing Fountains Within The Gated Complex!

FULL LISTING

JUST SOLD IN NEWARK: 7579 Mayhews Landing Rd

7579 Mayhews Landing Rd, Newark, CA 94560

$770,000 | Beds 3 | Baths 2 | 1,232 SqFt

Charming single story rancher in the heart of Newark! Close to schools, shops, and easy commute access. Loads of potential with a large open kitchen area, efficient layout with good size bedrooms. Backyard has open space to create a relaxing atmosphere.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE HOME
Close to Silicon Valley!

FULL LISTING

JUST SOLD IN DUBLIN: 6588 Amador Valley Blvd

6588 Amador Valley Blvd, Dublin, CA 94568

$655,000 | Beds 3 | Baths 2.5 | 1,300 SqFt

This immaculate Dublin home is located in the sought-after subdivision of Heritage Commons. Beautiful 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths with approx. 1,300 sq. ft. of living space and a 2-car garage. As you enter the home, a large family room with a fireplace greets you. The kitchen is in pristine condition with plenty of counter space and storage. The main level also comes with a powder room and access to the garage with plenty of space for storage. Upstairs the master bedroom is spacious with a well-designed master bath with plenty of space and dual shower heads. Conveniently located within the subdivision, near the community pool, access to commute areas (580/680 freeways & Dublin BART), shops and restaurants. Walking distance to all 3 levels if highly rated Dublin schools, as well as the popular Iron Horse Trail and Dougherty Hills Dog Park. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to own a wonderful home in Dublin…The second fastest growing city in the state of California!

FULL LISTING

How to Help Your Adult Children Buy a House

With the price of homes as expensive as they are these days, it can be tough for anyone to get into the housing market. Young adults who are just venturing out of their parents’ homes in hopes of getting a place of their own typically face sky-high real estate prices. And those who are graduating college typically have a huge student debt loan to pay off on top of all other living expenses.

It can be a big challenge to save up enough money for a down payment on a home, let alone all the closing costs associated with buying a house, the furniture needed to outfit the place, and the ongoing operating fees.

Let’s face it: being financially capable of buying a home when moving out of a parent’s home can be a major financial feat.

In many cases, young adults need their parents’ help to secure a home and a mortgage. Doing so can give them a big head start in life. An increase in housing prices and mounting student loan debt can be major obstacles that parents can help overcome.

But how can parents help their grown children buy a home when they’re trying to juggle their own mortgage and daily expenses? Of course, helping adult children buy a house is no simple feat. You’ll definitely want to carefully plan your strategy to assist your kids when they’re ready to fly the coop.

Here are some suggestions to follow to help your kids get into the housing market.

Buy a Home and Let Your Child Rent it From You

Many young adults end up renting when they leave their parents’ homes simply because they do not have the financial resources or credit history to secure or afford a mortgage. But rather than them paying rent to a stranger, they can rent from you instead.

If your current finances permit, consider buying a home for your child in your name and renting it out to them. While this is certainly a huge financial undertaking for you, you may be eligible to deduct your mortgage interest, property taxes, repairs, and certain home improvements come tax time on your “rental” property. Plus, the rent that your child pays you can cover the mortgage.

Buy a Home Together

If your adult child is working and has some level of credit established, consider buying the home together. Two working parties should have an easier time securing a mortgage for a home than a single working individual. If you take this route, you’d each share a certain stake in the home, depending on how you divide the equity. 

If at some point, your child is ready to take over the house on their own, you’d sell them the share that you had in it. Just make sure that your child is financially capable of holding up their end of the bargain in terms of paying their share of the mortgage and all other operating expenses.

Co-Sign the Loan

Your adult child might have a steady job and the money to comfortably cover the mortgage as well as a hefty down payment, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee mortgage approval. Lenders will want to check out their credit history, and if your child doesn’t have any credit built up yet – or has bad credit – it might be tough or even impossible to secure a mortgage.

If that’s the case, you may have the option to co-sign on the loan. In this situation, you would sign your name on the mortgage along with your child’s. As a co-signer, you would be responsible for making the mortgage payments in the event that your child defaults on the loan.

You’ll want to make sure that your child is responsible enough to make the payments on time and in full every month and that you have the finances available in case you ever have to step in to take over the home loan.

Cover Closing Costs

On average, buyers spend about 2% to 5% of the purchase price of their home in closing costs. This can amount to a hefty bill. If you can afford it, consider helping your child come up with the money needed to cover these costs, which typically includes appraisal fees, mortgage application fees, home inspections, homeowner’s insurance, and property taxes.

Give a Down Payment as a Gift

If you have access to cash – or have sources that will allow you to liquidate your money – consider gifting your child the down payment for a new home.

According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly one-quarter of millennials used a monetary gift from their family or friends as part of their down payment.

But giving your child money to cover their down payment is not as clear-cut as handing them a wad of cash. There are rules that need to be followed in order to provide a paper trail proving that the money being provided is indeed a gift to be used towards a down payment and not a loan. Such rules may vary from one lender or mortgage product to the next.

If the money being provided is classified as a loan, your child will have to pay taxes on it. On the other hand, taxes on gift money can be deferred up to $15,000 per child (or $30,000 for couples gifting their adult children). Be sure to speak with a tax specialist to determine whether or not any taxes apply in your situation.

Ideally, the gift should be made at least a couple of months in advance of the mortgage application. There might also be some paperwork to sign verifying that the money is a gift and does not need to be paid back.

The Bottom Line

If you can swing it financially, you’d be doing your adult children a huge favor by helping them out when it comes time to buy their first home. While renting is always an option, buying and owning property comes with its own unique benefits. Getting into the market sooner rather than later can help your children start building equity and can even help them establish strong credit with every mortgage payment they make.

How to Create a More Sustainable Home

The average household wastes 51 MMBtu’s every year, and a typical home wastes about 30% more energy than an energy-efficient home does. What’s more, the average household creates 4.4 pounds of trash per person per day.

That’s a lot of garbage and a lot of energy wasted. We can definitely do better, and we have been. More and more, homeowners are adopting tactics that make their homes much more sustainable, which inevitably helps to cut down on trash and wasted energy and makes our entire planet a better, healthier place.

So, what can you do to create a more sustainable home? Here are a few suggestions.

Make Compost

Collect things like egg shells, coffee grinds, and vegetable peels to create a healthy compost that can enrich the soil of your outdoor garden.

Reuse Bags

If you’ve still got plastic bags in the home, consider washing them after each use and reusing them instead of throwing them out.

Repurpose Goods

Rather than tossing your unused items in the trash, consider repurposing them. For instance, an old t-shirt can easily become a rag that you can use to clean with.

Plant Native Plant Species in Your Yard

Native plants tolerate your local conditions much better than foreign species, which means they require far less water to thrive. This, in turn, means less water being used.

Install Low-Flush Toilets

Every time you flush the toilet, you use about six gallons of water. Low-flush toilets can drastically cut that number by 75%.

Install Low-Flow Showerheads

Showers use up the third largest amount of water in a home, behind toilets and washing machines. The average shower uses 17.2 gallons of water. By installing a low-flow showerhead, not only will you be using less water to shower but you’ll also be cutting down on the energy needed to heat it.

Plant Shady Trees

Cut down on the amount of energy needed to cool your home by planting trees that can adequately shade your house. 

Install a Solar Water Heater

Water heaters use a lot of energy to heat the water in your home. A solar water heater uses much less energy and does just as good a job.

Install Energy-Efficient Appliances

These days, appliances are much more energy-efficient, using smarter designs that require less energy to do the same job as traditional appliances. In fact, you can save as much as 13% in energy every year.

Use Eco-Friendly Cleaners

Instead of the chemical-laden products that you get at the grocery store that can end up in our rivers and lakes, consider using natural solutions, such as baking soda, white vinegar, and even lemon juice. 

Collect Rainwater

Get yourself a couple of rain barrels to collect rainwater to be used to wash your car or water your lawn rather than wasting hose water to serve the same purpose.

Caulk and Weatherstrip Doors and Windows

A lot of energy can be wasted through cracks in window and door frames. Caulking and weatherstripping can effectively insulate these openings and ensure that no air is allowed to seep in or escape, reducing energy used to keep your home comfortable. 

Repair Leaky Pipes

Even tiny leaks can waste a ton of water, so make sure to have all leaks fixed.

Install Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

LED and compact fluorescent bulbs can save a ton of energy in your home. Though they may be more expensive than traditional bulbs up front, they wind up saving you a great deal of money over the long run because they last so much longer.

Use Ceiling Fans

Cut down on the amount of work that your air conditioner has to do and make use of ceiling fans. To make sure the cool air is being pushed down, make sure that the fan is turning in a counterclockwise direction.

Unplug Small Appliances When Not in Use

Leaving small appliances idle when not in use still uses up energy. Consider unplugging your coffee maker, toaster oven, and blender when not in use. Also, completely shut down your computers at night. Even when they’re in “sleep mode,” they still use some amount of energy, so shut them down.

The Bottom Line

You might not think that your home makes much of a difference in terms of keeping the planet and environment healthy considering the millions of other homes around you. But when everyone takes a step in the right direction, good things happen. Adopting any one of the above-mentioned tactics can help you create a more sustainable home and even save you a great deal of money at the same time.