Archive for July, 2010

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Save Money and the Environment by Conserving Electricity

July 21, 2010

You can save money and the environment by conserving electricity.  Here are four easy ways to start conserving electricity and saving yourself money today:

  1. Save money and the environment by conserving electricity.Don’t just turn off; unplug.  Just because an appliance or device is turned off, doesn’t mean it isn’t using electricity.  Devices that are plugged into an electrical outlet are responsible for approximately 5-10% of your monthly electrical usage.  When you are not using your hair dryer, toaster, cell phone charger, etc., turn them off and then unplug them until you use them again.
  2. Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs.  Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) lasts 10 times as long as regular incandescent light bulbs, use about 75% less electricity, can save $30 over the lifetime of the bulb and ends up paying for itself within six months.
  3. Energy Star.  While the Energy Star appliances may be a little pricier up front, over time, they actually save you money thanks to their efficient use of electricity.  An Energy Star appliance uses 10-50% less electricity than standard appliances and they help reduce air pollutants and emissions.  Also, many utility companies as well as government agencies offer rebates when you purchase a new Energy Star appliance to replace an old, outdated appliance.  Check with the salesperson and your local utility company for more info.
  4. Daytime use.  If your house is empty during the day, you should set your thermostat higher (like 85 F).  Set your programmable thermostat to go off approximately 30 minutes before you typically get home so that the house will be cooled off before you get there.  If you are home during the day, you may want to open all the windows as soon as possible to help cool off the interior of your house naturally.

By following these simple rules, you can save money and the environment by conserving electricity.  Do your part for the environment and your pocketbook. 

Yvonne Martin, The Martin Team, Let My Family Bring Your Family Home to Hammond Real Estate

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Help for Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

July 7, 2010

There is help for Hammond homeowners facing foreclosure.Are you struggling to keep up with your mortgage payments?  Are you worried you might lose your Hammond home if you don’t get help soon?  Rest assured that there is help for homeowners facing foreclosure.  The government has set up HAFA, HAMP and HARP programs specifically for distressed homeowners.

The Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA) is set up to give both lenders and homeowners financial incentives to sell a home under a short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure rather than let it go to foreclosure.  Since a lender has to agree to forgive part of the loan amount under a short sale, they stand to lose money and may not allow a short sale to happen.  With the financial incentives from the HAFA program, they are more likely to allow it.  Also, currently, if a home is successfully sold under short sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, a homeowner participating in the HAFA program will receive $3000.

The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) is designed to help homeowners who wish to stay in their current home but are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments primarily due to higher interest rates.  HAMP allows homeowners to try to modify their current loan at a lower interest rate, making the payments more affordable and allowing the homeowner to retain ownership of the home instead of losing it to foreclosure.

The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) allows homeowners who are up to date on their current home loan the opportunity to refinance their home at a lower interest rate, even if the value of their home is less than what is owed.  But, if you are behind on your payments, you will not qualify.

Additionally, there are other options for homeowners who are facing foreclosure, including the Second Lien Modification Program (2MP) for help modifying a second mortgage (used in conjunction with HAMP), bringing cash to closing, mortgage loan workout and lender workout.  You should consult your real estate professional to guide you in finding help if you are a homeowner facing foreclosure.  They will have access to reliable resources and should be up to date on the most recent programs available.

Yvonne Martin, The Martin Team, Let My Family Bring Your Family Home to Hammond real estate