Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gas Saving Tips

Over the past few years, we’ve seen fuel prices increase to record highs, affecting our daily commutes and travel plans. To ease the pain at the pump, follow these easy tips:

1. Don’t tailgate. By keeping your distance from the car in front of you, you can take your foot off the gas pedal to slow down instead of slamming on your brakes.
Gas Savings: Driving aggressively lowers your gas mileage by 33% on the highway and 5% around town.

2. Drive the speed limit. Stay within the posted speed limits, and your vehicle will sip fuel instead of gulp it. Gas Savings: Speeding along at 75 mph, as opposed to 65 mph, can increase fuel consumption by 25%.

3. Close your windows when you’re on the highway. While air conditioning reduces fuel efficiency, you’ll create more drag on your car with the windows open. However, when you’re cruising around town, turn off the AC and run the fan instead.

4. Reduce weight. Remove anything you don’t need from the car. This includes ski racks in the summer, bike racks and golf clubs in the winter and luggage racks when you’re not traveling.
Gas Savings: Extra junk in the trunk can reduce gas mileage by 2% or 8 cents/gallon, while sports racks can reduce gas mileage by 5%.

5. Keep tires properly inflated. Look in your owner’s manual or on the side of the door to find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. However, don’t over inflate them as you’ll reduce tire grip and could cause an accident.
Gas Savings: Underinflated tires increase fuel consumption by 3%.

6. Keep your car in top shape: change the air filter, spark plugs and fluids as advised by your owner’s manual. While the fuel savings of a new air filter is debatable, there’s no doubt that keeping your car in good condition will improve its performance.

7. Don’t idle! Turn your car off if you won’t be moving for more than a minute.
Gas Savings: Idling can cost up to half a gallon of gas an hour, especially if your car has a large engine.3

8. Avoid rush hour and combine your trips. By anticipating traffic conditions and combining trips, you’ll keep your engine warm and reduce fuel consumption.
Gas Savings: Improves fuel economy by 5-10%.

Friday, August 10, 2012

July 2012 - Market Update

The shrinking inventory of homes for sale continues to play a major role in the Washington DC Metro Area housing market with the total inventory of active listings at the lowest of any month since August 2005 while on the pricing front the median sales price in July was the highest in five years. The limited quantity of homes for sale is causing the median days-on-market to decrease -currently at 23 days, lowest July-level since 2005- and the sale-to-list price ratio to rise - currently at 96.3 percent, highest July-level since 2006. The condo market continues to strengthen, posting the highest year-over-year increases of all residential property segments in sales, new contracts, and median sale price. For more analysis continue reading below. 

Active listings are at their lowest level in seven years; back-to-back months of historic lows for new listings. There were 9,650 active listings in the DC Metro area at the end of July, which represents the lowest level of inventory for any month since August 2005. The 4,579 new listings entered in July represent a 14.8 percent decline from July 2011, and the lowest July-level on record with metro-wide data available back to 1997. The shrinking inventory of homes for sale is having an impact on the market as evidenced by the lowest July-level median days-on-market since 2005 (23 days), and the highest July-level sale-to-list-price ratio since 2006 (96.3 percent).

Sales are up from last year, down from last month; condo market continues to lead growth. There were 4,164 sales in July in the DC Metro Area, a 5.1 percent increase from July 2011, and the fourth consecutive year-over-year gain. Detached home sales are up 3.4 percent from this time last year, and townhome sales rose 1.9 percent. The condo market leads in growth for the second straight month, with sales up 12.7 percent from July 2011. All property segments recorded their highest July sales level in three years.

The median sale price dropped nearly $15K from last month, but is still the highest July-level in five years. After several months of double-digit price increases for much of the metro area, median sale price growth has slowed, even decreasing in several jurisdictions. At $385,050, the median sale price for the DC Metro Area rose 4.1 percent from this time last year, the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year price gains. For the second month in a row, the condo segment posted the highest median price growth, up 4.4 percent from last year, an $11,750 increase. At $485,000, the median sale price for detached homes rose 4.3 percent from July 2011, a $20,050 increase. The median sale price for townhomes edged up 0.6 percent to $357,000. Year-to-date median sale prices are up in all jurisdictions and rose 7.4 percent for the metro area from the same period last year.

Growth in new contracts has slowed; townhome and condo contracts up, detached homes down. There were 4,569 contracts signed in July in the DC Metro Area, up 0.1 percent from July 2011, but down 10.2 percent from last month. Historically, new contract activity has slowed between June and July in the region; however the double-digit drop is sharper than the 10-year month-over-month average change of -8.4 percent. The townhome and condo markets posted year-over-year growth in new contracts of 4.0 percent and 6.0 percent respectively. This is the 15th consecutive year-over-year gain for the condo market, which continues to enjoy strong demand based on lower price points, escalating rents in the region, and easier financing. New contracts on detached properties fell by 4.4 percent from this time last year.

(Information provide by RBI RealEstate Business Intelligence)

Monday, August 6, 2012

August home maintenance checklist

While the humidity is high and temperatures still seem to hover near 90 each day, August is still the time to start thinking about the fall and making sure your home is in good shape to avoid any unnecessary costs.
MSN Real Estate has compiled a great August home maintenance checklist for homeowners. From cleaning up the lawn to checking your faucets and hot water heater here is the list for you look over.
If you aren't in the mood to tackle some of the projects - or they are above your pay grade - you can check out our trusted referral page here.