Going green ~ upgrades to save money
Going green is great for the environment, but that’s not the only benefit. When you make green upgrades in your home, it can also lead to some major savings.
1. Solar panels: The upfront cost is big, but the long-term savings are huge. Solar panels will cost several thousand dollars to install, but ongoing maintenance costs are very low, and a typical system could save you hundreds of dollars per year. You can even sell your surplus electricity.
2. Wood furnace: Wood-burning furnaces are relatively inexpensive, and though the yearly savings aren’t as dramatic (about 10% on heating bills), it adds up over the long run.
3. Insulation: There’s a good chance your insulation isn’t very efficient, especially in older homes. Look into installing floor, cavity, wall, and loft insulation to reduce your heating bills.
4. Rain barrels: Rain barrels are extremely inexpensive, and provide gallons of free water to use when you wash your car or water your garden.
5. Geothermal system: OK, so the price tag is scary at first. A geothermal system uses the earth’s temperature to heat and cool your home, but can cost $30,000 to install. But tax credits allow you to get a lot of that money back, and the energy savings average about $1,900 per year. If you plan to be in your home for a decade or two, it’s a great investment.
As the resident of Beautiful Altadena, you can participate at the Town Council and the Community Center meetings to listen to the neighborhood developments and voice your concerns.
The Altadena Town Council meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Altadena Town Council meetings are recorded and televised during the month on Charter cable channel 56.
The Land Use Committee is a standing committee of the Altadena Town Council. Purpose of the committee is to study and recommend important issues on zoning, codes, and other property and real estate issues concerning Altadena. Land Use Committee meetings are held at 7:00 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.
The Traffic Committee is a special committee of the Altadena Town Council. The committee reviews and speaks about issue that are significantly relates to roads, byways, traffic and speeding issues. The Traffic Committee meets the first Monday of the month. Meeting is at 7:00p.m.
All meetings take place at the Altadena Community Center 730 E. Altadena Drive directly adjacent to the Sheriff’s Station.
Altadena is a community near the foothills with few restaurants locals can visit for a fun dining experience. To name a couple, there is Pinocchio’s on Lake Avenue (Pasadena) serving great pastas and pizzas and Amy’s Patio Café with tasty breakfast/lunch/dinner plates.
I have seen few restaurants come and go on the corner of Altadena Drive and Lake Avenue. One day, I noticed the location going through a renovation. Hungry for good eats, I was curious what was coming to the site. El Patron Mexican Food Restaurant, Yes, a wonderful Mexican Food Restaurant arrived to Altadena, and has been there now for 5 years.
The menu consists of the familiar tacos, burritos and combo plates which are all delicious. What to look for is “Especialidades De La Casa” which are the house specialties. Here are my favorites:
My favorite ~ The Chicken Mole at $9.99 is a plate of moist chicken with thick, brown mole sauce blended with many spices and gives you a kick in each bite. The Chile Verde at $9.99 is a satisfying dish with large chunks of pork marinaded in a flavorful green sauce.
For a satisfying small bite(s), go for the tacos. At $2.85 Al La Carte, you can try them with variety of meats. I tried Asada, Carnitas, and Pollo which were all great.
El Patron serves four kinds of in-house salsas aside from the regular fresh tomato salsa. These four salsas or sauces come in different range of heat, and colors. Dark brown, bright green, orange, and red. Make sure to ask for them at the table. Burritos offer a large meal with a generous amount of meat, rice and beans. El Patron uses Frijoles which are cooked pinto beans rather than re-fried beans.
The seating is rather limited. There are about 5-6 large tables and few tables for 2 guests. Expect a wait on Friday and Saturday. Order to go if you are in a hurry.
Feeling like great Mexican Food? Take a drive up Lake Avenue and check out El Parton. I know you will love the small neighborhood atmosphere and of course the great food. MUY BUENO!
Mortgage Rates have increase this week, a 3rd consecutive week to show a rise.
According to Len Kiefer, Chief Economist (Freddie Mac) stated, “Rates keep climbing.” 10-Year Treasury yield has reached its highest point since 2014 which reflects a potential economic growth. Mortgage has followed the surge in Treasury yield. The 30-year mortgage rate moved 11 basis points to 4.15 percent. This is the highest since March of 2017. This could create a challenge to home buyers with higher mortgage rates and higher home price.
Freddie Mac national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 25:
- 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.15 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 4.04 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 4.19 percent.
- 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.62 percent, with an average 0.5 point, increasing from last week’s 3.49 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.40 percent.
- 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.52 percent, with an average 0.4 point, increasing over last week’s 3.46 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.20 percent.
Daily Real Estate News | Friday, January 26, 2018 (Source Realtor Magazine/ NAR, Freddie Mac)
Did you know there are so many events going around in your neighborhood. February is month for Valentine. Want to learn Latin Dance? On February 8, there will be a free lessons are available at San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, with complimentary wine, food, and DJ. Don’t miss the Chinese New Year Festival in San Mario Huntington Library, February 17-18. Check out more events and enjoy!
Open floor plans have been extremely popular in new homes, and for homeowners who are remodeling their current homes. Per National Association of Home Builders, 84 percent of new single homes have full or partial layouts and plans.
There are Pros and Cons in renovating your home to an open floor plan. Before knocking your walls done, consider the following to decide what is right for you.
- Open floor plan will make your home/ space feel bigger because you eliminate unused space.
- You will get more light through the home with the openness of the plan.
- Open floor plan makes it easy to gather around and socialize putting all in one space.
- The plan brings flexibility to home design without having to make a major architectural change.
- Smell from cooking and heat can travel and be more present. Food smell can linger around.
- Open floor plan means less private and noisy. You will notice it may be noisier due to lack of walls.
- Open floor plan mean you can’t hide things. You need to be tidy as less space to hide a mess.
- The style is popular now. Though the trend does not look like it will fade away any time soon, all styles could change over time.
Source: Realtor Magazine/ NAR
Rental properties are one of the best ways to earn passive income and build wealth, but “passive” is a little misleading—it can still be a substantial amount of work. However, with a little planning and dedication, you can run your properties efficiently while also keeping your tenants happy.
Treat it like a business
Successful businesses have plans and procedures that keep things running smoothly, and the same should be true for renting and managing your properties. That means committing to customer service, outsourcing work appropriately, and paying close attention to income and expenses. Don’t just assume that you’ll collect a check each month and everything else will be a breeze.
Thoroughly vet your tenants
Collecting applications, interviewing tenants, and checking references means a lot of legwork up front, but it’s worth it in the long run. Choosing the right tenant could mean going years without incident—no late payments, no legal issues, and no property damage. Choosing the wrong tenant could mean monthly calls and visits to collect late rent, expensive property damage and repairs, eviction processes, court dates, and a whole lot of stress.
Make sure your lease is rock solid
Lease agreement laws vary from state to state, so don’t cut corners—find a lawyer who specializes in lease agreements. You’ll be glad you were thorough if you ever have legal issues with a tenant.
*Article courtesy of Breakthroughbroker.com
Even the most happy-go-lucky dogs and cats have some preferences about the spaces they occupy. If you want to keep you pet as happy and comfortable as possible, here are some things to take into consideration.
Dogs don’t like hardwood
Carpet is more comfortable for your dog when it comes to laying down and sleeping, but it’s also preferable when your dog is on its feet. Dogs typically don’t like hardwood floors because they feel less traction under their paws. They may even try to dig in with their claws to improve traction, possibly damaging your floors. As a compromise, you can place soft, thick rugs on the floor to help your pets relax. You can also place booties or rubber rings on your dog’s feet for better grip.
Fireplaces can be scary
You’ve surely seen a dog get spooked by the sound of 4th of July fireworks. A fireplace isn’t nearly as loud, but can still have a similar effect. Plus, those pops and crackles from the flames are a far more regular occurrence. A quieter gas fireplace is more dog friendly. You can also give your dog a chew toy or bone as a distraction before lighting a fire.
Our pets are family members! Make sure they are safe and happy at the house.