April 2012

Found 14 blog entries for April 2012.

When homeowners think about protecting their home’s assets, they may immediately think about large maintenance issues, like a new roof. But checking on—and updating, if necessary—small details can have a huge impact on the health over your home over time, saving you big dollars by warding off monumental repairs. Below, is an outline of a handful of things you should keep up-to-date to lower bills and avoid costly repairs later on, regardless of whether you plan to stay or sell.

Check the ventilation
Spring can be wet, and a build-up of moisture can peel paint, cause mold and mildew and ruin flooring, carpets and fixtures. At the start of the season, check out kitchen or bath ventilation fans, and consider installing dehumidifiers anywhere prone to

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Even though Earth Day has come and gone, it’s a good time to remember that energy efficiency can help “green” the planet while keeping more “green” in your wallet, says the Alliance to Save Energy.

In fact, based on April data from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Alliance has calculated that the average U.S. household will spend about $2,100 on home energy this year.

“Consumers who experienced high winter heating bills and are already contending with spiraling gasoline prices are eager to spend less on home energy this spring and summer,” said Alliance President Kateri Callahan. “Energy efficiency not only significantly cuts home energy costs, it also increases indoor comfort.”

To help U.S. consumers go green and save green this spring, the

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Now that spring is in full swing, Americans across the country are taking advantage of the warmer weather and longer days by spending more time outdoors. If your lawn isn’t quite ready for neighborhood picnics and impromptu gatherings, the following tips will help you get your grass up to par.

Tip #1: Let the lawn go brown during dry spells
It's human nature to want to water a browning plant. But in the case of grass, the color change is merely an indication that the plant is entering a natural state of dormancy designed to conserve nutrients. "From an agronomic standpoint, most grasses can easily survive a month without water," says Doug Soldat, turf scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If you can't live with brown grass, the time to water

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The week ended with mortgage rates still at 4% and the 10 year bond at 1.96% down .02% for the week and in the middle of its narrow trading range for the week.  All-in-all, a stable but uncertain market. Europe is as stable as i'ts been but everything is relative.  Spain has to do something about its debt issues and the world is hoping that the silence is just Spain developing a great plan. 

US existing home sales came in at 4.48 million, down 2.6% from February and well below the consensus of 4.62m and outside the consensus range of 4.5-4.72 million.  This is contrary to the hopes from the RE/MAX report earlier in the week that overall sales were up.  Existing home sales are still up 5.2% for the year.

MBA reports that purchase mortgage applications

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One way to give your tax refund legs is to invest it in your home. While the housing market may still be experiencing difficulties, real estate remains a great long-term investment. BMO Financial Group offers the following real estate-related options for your tax refund:

First-Time Homebuyers
Today's historically low interest rates along with more reasonable home prices make home buying a great opportunity and a tax refund can be used toward a down payment. There are a number of loan options along with grant and down payment assistance programs that are perfect if you are a first-time homebuyer. But, before you set out to buy a home, it's best to talk with a mortgage professional and be pre-approved.

Refinance Your Home
With rates at historical lows,

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This week started by focusing on Europe and ended focused on China.  Twice we saw the 10 year T-bill drop below 2%.  Once it came back up but today it barely ended there at 1.99%. 

Early in the week we saw the 10 year bond drop below 2% as Spain’s situation looks more and more dubious.  Then last night reports from China that their GDP slowed more than expected at 8.1% - the lowest level in 3 years -  sent investors running for cover into US and German bonds.  The German 10 year bundt dropped to its lowest level in history.

The DOW ended the week down, below 13,000 again.  The S&P ended had its largest weekly drop of 2012, down 2% as the dollar strengthened against the Euro and US consumer confidence eroded again.

As far as mortgage rates go,

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Kitchens are one of the most popular rooms in the house to have remodeled, followed closely by baths. In terms of selling, remodeling your kitchen can be a major boon; minor kitchen remodeling has 85.2 percent ROI, according to a Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report.

Here are some tips to help you remodel your kitchen, even when constricted by time or money.

Be Choosy. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), the No. 1 way to decrease the cost of your remodeling project is by making smart product choices.  Be sure to compare products and companies to see if you can get a similar—or even identical—outcome with a less expensive product.

Spread it Out. If you’re working on a tight budget, spread your

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The roller coaster ride continues.  Early in the week, we saw rates drop again as fund managers re-positioned funds to pre-quarter end positions – good for rates.  And then the Fed Open Market Committee minutes were released, surprising the markets with a firmer stance against further purchases of bonds and supporting a perceived position of higher rates.  Then the unemployment report was released which showed fewer people applying for unemployment benefits – poor for rates.  But then we see today that the economy created significantly fewer jobs than had been expected (down 100,000 from last month and 80,000 below projections) – good for rates.  However, unemployment dropped from 8.3% to 8.2% - bad for rates.  SO…….. if you are confused, so are the 

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 The Boulder Valley is well known for many things, whether it’s our environmental-friendly people and companies, our highly intelligent and educated work force, the University of Colorado, our scenic countryside or our fairly wealthy population. But none of these individual characteristics alone can define our community to the world. What is the Boulder Brand? Or, better yet, what should it be? Even the city of Boulder is seeking ideas from the public on the Boulder brand in hopes of passing a bond measure in 2012 for a capital project that’s in line with whatever brand idea is chosen. In an effort to make our community more aware of the Boulder Brand ideas being discussed for the city and the Boulder Valley as a whole, RE/MAX of Boulder will feature

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Spring has come to Colorado early this year, and it appears the housing market will follow the upswing in temperatures.

In February, Boulder area single-family home sales hit 172, a nearly 9 percent increase compared with February 2011’s 158 sales and about a 3 percent increase compared January’s sales of 167 homes.

 In the attached-unit market, 62 homes sold in February compared with 54 sales a year ago (a 22 percent increase) and 52 sales last month (a 19 percent increase).

Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor Association, says the sales of single-family homes in February represents the seventh out of the last eight months in which Boulder area markets saw an increase of 8 percent to 12 percent in sales

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