Green Home Renovations – Why Are They So Popular?

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It’s one of the biggest trends in home renovations, but just why are so many homeowners choosing to „go green“?

Because green home renovations give you benefits that other upgrades can’t, like:

1. They make your house stand out

No matter when you try to sell your house, having a bunch of green upgrades will help set it apart from the competition. Remember, you’ve got to convince buyers to choose your home over all the others that are on the market in your neighborhood!

2. They lower your living expenses

With costs for just about everything else going up, it’s nice to know that there’s a way to cut back on your utility bills. Depending on the renovations you make, you can drastically reduce your energy and water bills.

For example, getting double or triple-paned windows can shave 30% off your energy bills.

By replacing the old appliances in your kitchen with ones that come with an Energy Star rating, they’ll actually pay for themselves within 5 years!

If you seal the cracks around your home, it can add up to big savings. In fact, the Department of Energy says that the average American home has enough cracks in it to equal a 3×3 foot hole in the wall! Imagine how much of your air conditioning and heating bills are being wasted!

If you’re not sure exactly where to start, consider getting an energy audit. Odds are your local electric company offers them for free!

3. They make your home healthier

If you think that only good things can come from a fresh coat of paint, think again. The average paint comes with VOCs (short for „Volatile Organic Compounds“). Low and no VOC paints are much more eco-friendly — and, as an added benefit, they’re much safer for the people living around them. In fact, it can be incredibly dangerous for pregnant women to be around VOCs.

By using low or no VOC paints now, you can breathe in healthier air — and then have a big selling point whenever your house goes on the market!

4. They look great

Bamboo floors are one of the most common green home renovations, and it’s easy to see why. They look just as elegant as traditional hardwood, and they come in just as many different shades — but they’re much better for the environment.

That’s because bamboo is a grass, instead of a hardwood. In fact, bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants on the planet. The trees that have to be cut down to make hardwood floors can take decades to grow back, but bamboo grows back at a rate of two inches per hour!

5. They give your older home a new feel

Even if it’s been standing for decades, making a few green home renovations can make your home look and feel much more modern. And, remember, countless surveys show that homebuyers respond much better to that new vibe!

6. They help the local economy

Some green building materials get to take advantage of the title just because they didn’t have to use up a ton of gas to get to you. Since they’re not riding on diesel-fueled trucks for thousands of miles, they’re helping you breathe in cleaner air. As an added benefit, by buying them, you’ll get to spend your hard-earned money with a locally-based company, instead of sending your money halfway around the world!

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Source by James Paffrath

What Factors Affect Home Resale Value? Simple Home Improvements To Increase Your Home’s Value

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It’s never too early to start thinking about selling your home, and many real estate experts say that the best time to start is before you even buy it. If you’re buying a new home, chances are you’re going to be selling it in five, ten, or twenty years from now. While reselling may be far from the top of your priority list, there are a few interesting facts to keep in mind. Some attractive features of your new home might turn out to be investments that don’t pay off when it comes time to sell, while other features that you overlook now could have a positive effect on your home’s value over time.

When looking for a new home, your top priority should still be your own needs and desires, but it can’t hurt to have „resale value“ in the back of your mind. After all, a home is a huge purchase, and it can turn out to be a great investment.

All features of a home will essentially be built into the price. If you do your best to learn about the true value of these features, especially their effects on the value over many years, you will have a better idea of how much you should be paying initially.

Features that add to your home resale value

Good location

Real estate experts agree that a good location is the biggest factor in adding value to a home. The home should be in a growing community; close to freeways and commercial areas, but not so close that the neighborhood is too noisy or congested. It’s also a good idea to check city records for any proposed land use action that will affect the area. The neighborhood may look peaceful now, but the city could be planning on tearing down the green space to build a new freeway. Planned city action could drastically change the value of the house over time, positively or negatively.

Large kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house. It’s a central location for gatherings, and it’s a room in which you spend a great deal of time. Large kitchens that are open, accessible, and adjacent to dining and family rooms will add substantially to your home resale value.

Three or four Bedrooms

Bedrooms provide room to spread out, secluded workspaces, or extra space for a growing family. As far as the home resale value is concerned, three or four bedrooms is ideal. If the house has five or more bedrooms, make sure they’re not inflating the price too much. You shouldn’t be paying much extra for more rooms, as they won’t add significantly to the resale value. Also, if the home has less than three rooms, your pool of buyers will be limited and you could have a harder time selling in the future.

2.5 Bathrooms

One bathroom in the master bedroom, one shared bathroom, and a half bathroom for guests is ideal. If the house has more than 2.5 bathrooms, make sure it’s not inflating the price, as more bathrooms will do little to increase the resale value. Two bathrooms is also an acceptable number, but any less than two will hurt the value of the home.

Large, rectangular lot

Most buyers are looking for a fair sized, rectangular, level lot. Small yards, odd shapes, or sloped lots will decrease the home resale value. There should be enough space in the front and back yards for a person to consider them accessible. Enough room for decorations or activities is a huge plus.

Closet space

A walk-in closet for the master bedroom is a very desirable feature. Aside from the master bedroom, a home should have enough closet space scattered throughout. A lack of closet space can alienate certain buyers, and depreciate the value of the home.

Two-Car garage

Depending on the location of the house, a two-car garage is most desirable. If the house is surrounded by other homes with larger garages, it might be best to consider a larger garage size to match. In general, two is the magic number. More or less could affect the home value in undesirable ways.

Hidden, main floor laundry room

A laundry room should be out of sight to avoid becoming an eyesore, and it should be located on the main floor of the house. An easily accessible laundry room can cut back on trips up and down stairs. Remember, even if an inconvenient laundry room isn’t an issue for you, it could be an issue for your potential buyers, and it could hurt the value your house.

House size vs. surrounding houses

The size of the house can either increase or decrease its value, depending on its location. If the house is a large luxury house surrounded by smaller homes, the surrounding houses will drag down the value over time. On the flip side, if the house is small or medium and it’s surrounded by larger homes, the value could increase over time. If you’re looking at a home, compare its value with the values of the surrounding homes, keeping size in mind.

Surprising Features that don’t add to home resale value

A view

While a pretty view is easy on the eyes, it doesn’t do much for the value of a house, and it could be costing you a lot of money. Compare the price of the house that has a view with another comparable house in the area that doesn’t have a view. Is the price inflated because of the view? Chances are, when it comes time to sell, you won’t be getting the extra money back from the sale.

Fancy landscaping

Unless you are thoroughly impressed with the fancy landscaping, don’t pay extra for it. Landscaping can be the sign of a hobby or investment made by the previous owner. If you can’t imagine yourself enjoying the landscaping in the future, let the seller know. If it doesn’t interest you and you’re not willing to invest the same amount of time and money as the previous owner, the landscaping will eventually deteriorate, and you won’t get your money’s worth when it comes time to sell.

Swimming pools

Houses with swimming pools were very popular a few years ago, but with the recent awareness of dangers and injury statistics, families with children are steering clear of them. Unless you want a pool for your own recreational use, make sure you’re not paying extra for it, as you won’t be seeing a return on the investment.

Multiple stories

In the past, multi-story homes were very popular. Recently, the market has made a surprising shift, and now single-story homes are far more desirable. The exception is single-story homes surrounded by multi-story homes. In most cases, a single-story home will pay off more in the end.


Though they are quaint and comforting, fireplaces do little to increase the value of a home. Let the seller know that you’re indifferent to the fireplace, and you don’t see it as an additive feature of the house-at least not one that’s worth paying for.

Home Improvements That Increase Home Resale Value

While you’re looking for a home, or if you’ve already moved in, you can always think about ways to increase the resale value. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Home improvements

While you’re browsing homes, look at any „less than desirable“ features as an opportunity to make some home improvements. Any ideas you have, from paint color to new furniture, could go a long way toward increasing the home’s value. Assess your own skills, or form a relationship with a contractor, and view the home from the perspective of a restorer. If the lot is sloped, could a new terrace or porch do the trick? If the home only has two bathrooms, could a new half bathroom be added in? Can you turn the home’s imperfections into assets?

Kitchen & bathroom renovation

If you’re checking out a new house, and the kitchen or bathrooms appear uninviting or cramped, consider the cost of renovating these rooms compared with the money saved from purchasing the house in such condition. Even do-it-yourself fixes, like new tiles, new cupboards, or a new coat of paint can increase the value drastically. Keep in mind that most buyers scrutinize the kitchen the most, with the bathrooms a close second, followed by the master bedroom. If you see beauty potential in these rooms, you could turn that potential into profit.

Remove wallpaper

Most buyers don’t like wallpaper. The design is often dated, and buyers don’t want to have to remove it themselves. Here’s where you can turn a hindrance into an opportunity. If you’re willing to put in the effort to remove the wallpaper yourself, you can significantly increase the home’s resale value. When the wallpaper is removed, make sure to paint the walls a neutral color, as this allows a wider range of buyers to essentially project themselves into the home and imagine their lives within its walls.

Your house is your home

While these facts represent the opinions of many real estate experts, thinking about home resale value is still a guessing game. You’re betting that today’s valuable features will retain their value in the future. There are many proven trends, and it’s always a good idea to educate yourself on the local markets and neighborhoods in which you plan on commencing your search. While your house is a large investment, it’s also simply a home. You need to find a house that you can see yourself living in for many years. Keep these tips in the back of your mind, begin your search with confidence and optimism, and when you’ve finally found a new home it will be a positive financial investment, as well as an investment in the future of you and your family.

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Source by D Patrick Pflager

Cold Calling in Commercial Real Estate

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Commercial real estate is an easier property market segment to work in because it is built around logic and not emotion. Most of the prospecting calls and meetings you make are with people that are ‚business savvy‘, and know real needs and solutions when they see them.

The emotion seen with owners in residential property is not a problem in commercial real estate however you do need to know what you are talking about given that commercial is a complex investment property type and the property owners are usually very aware of what is going on. For this reason, and to all the newcomers to the industry, you must know your product very well and be able to talk to it from many angles. Without this many property owners will discount your relevance to them.

Get Your Head and Thinking Straight

B2B cold calling is an essential part of daily activities in commercial real estate however it frequently fails because most salespeople sound like they are making a cold call. Here are two essential rules of cold calling success in commercial real estate:

  • It is the ‚how you do it‘ that really matters to the call conversions to appointments.
  • What you ‚think about‘ in doing the regular call process also is a critical part of the method.

Change the Name – and you will change the results you get

‚Cold calling‘ implies something less than ‚warm‘ and pleasant. To solve this problem, I prefer to think of it as ‚Call Direct‘. It is a more positive mental image than anything that is ‚cold‘! To be successful in making these calls, you must sell the process to yourself and believe that you are good at it.

When calling a prospect in commercial real estate, most salespeople are trying to ‚get‘ something from someone. They are trying to ‚get‘ an appointment or ‚get‘ a listing. The fact of the call is that no one wants to ‚give‘ something to someone they do not know, like, trust and respect. This is why most commercial salespeople fail miserably at this process.

But ‚getting‘ is not the purpose of ‚call direct‘. ‚Call direct‘ is a discarding or disqualifying process. It is just like panning for gold or digging for diamonds. You have to turn over a lot of dirt before you find the gems. If you do not understand or accept this principle, then you will become frustrated and think that your efforts are not working. You will give in far too easily (this is what most people do and they therefore struggle to achieve great levels of listings and transactions).

Your objective in ‚call direct‘ is to disqualify as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. That eliminates the time and money wasted in sending literature or seeing people who will never use your services, and it stops the fruitless follow-up calls that lead nowhere but to frustration.

You only have 30-45 seconds to deliver a specific and compelling reason for the person on the other end of the telephone to ‚want‘ to continue the conversation. Skip the small talk and get right to the point. Be a ‚top performer‘ in the call process.

You will be most effective when your 30-45 seconds causes the prospect to identify a real estate related problem in their mind that you can help them fix. People will talk to you if you shed light on a problem they need to have fixed; only for that reason.

Problems in commercial real estate typically focus around loss of rent, tenant problems, wasted time, inefficiencies in returns, competition pressures, disposal needs, functioning of the property, age of the asset, or repositioning etc.

If the prospect (not you) identifies something that is having negative ramifications on their property performance (a problem) AND they are serious about getting rid of that problem, then you ‚may‘ have a possible reason to continue.

If there is a possible fit between you, then you can set an appointment to explore the possibilities of helping that prospect in some way get rid of that problem. There is no point in setting up an appointment simply because the other person lets you do so. You must determine that they are relevant to you, they are the decision makers, and that they have an interest in what you are talking about.

Protect your time by qualifying the correct people over the telephone before you make that appointment. There are a lot of prospects out there who think that they are the ‚decision maker‘, and in reality are nowhere near those that are. Think like a ‚top performer‘ and protect your time; it is the most important resource that you have.

What to Say?

Have you ever been stuck to know what to say when you call prospects in commercial real estate? If you are like many people you will use a script that is fairly typical and ‚all about you‘. The process has poor results and ends in low call conversions to appointments. You have to change the call process significantly so that it has some relevance to ‚them‘. When you do this your call conversions will rise.

The object of the call is only to get appointments with relevant people. That is the only thing you should be ’selling‘ in the cold call. The call should be used to identify if there is a genuine need on the part of the person that you have called, and then only to set up a meeting.

You are a skillful and relevant commercial real estate consultant in your market, and on that basis you are calling people to see if they have a property need and if you can help them with that.

Remember this fact and make it the foundation of your calls. There is no purpose in setting up meetings with people that really do not need you, or have no ability to make a decision on commercial real estate matters. This market today is not something in which you should waste time. Your time is money and money is precious.

The Call Structure?

The ‚call direct‘ structure is so important and must be centred on the prospects situation and not yours. Try this as a basic approach.

  • Tell them your name and company
  • Ask permission to talk to them for 60 seconds
  • Tell them that they can end the conversation if they want to after that point.
  • Get right to the point by focusing on their needs (not yours)
  • Help them identify their business problems by offering a ’short menu‘
  • Never try to convince a prospect to take your services or have a meeting without qualification; instead let them convince you it is worth your time and effort to meet with them.
  • Honour your agreement and let them off the hook if they do not want to engage

Here’s an example of ‚call direct‘ for Commercial Real Estate Sales or Leasing:

  • Brian, this is John Brown from Atlas Commercial Real Estate. The nature of the call is property related.
  • Can I take 60 seconds of your time to chat and then you can tell me if we should continue speaking?
  • Thanks for that…. I will be brief.
  • I am just calling to see if commercial property is an issue for you in this market, particularly with sales or leasing needs.
  • ‚Results are on the radar‘ for many local property owners at the moment, and we have some ways of helping with that.
  • Is that an issue for you?
  • That’s not a problem Brian, as I said I just want to see if we are a clear fit or a match and can help you in any way.
  • Many property owners are concerned about their returns or occupancy situation in the face of more competition or market pressure. They are looking for ways to increase reliability and consistency of the property’s performance.
  • Its good insurance in this market.
  • Brian, that being said, could these be things be issues for you in the future?….. Or is everything running 100% smoothly?‘

In less than 60 seconds you will know if you have someone on the line that is relevant to you. If they do not have any commercial real estate problems that you can fix, then it’s over (for now). Remember, they may not have a property problem today, but they may have one in the future. Put them in the database for another call if you think it is relevant.

If you make ‚call direct‘ a scheduled business event at the same time in your daily diary, and you action it with consistency, you will be amazed how much new business you will dig up. Understand also that ’no‘ is an ‚ok‘ word that, when given by the prospect, simply needs qualification in case some future need is still hidden in the discussion. You will get many ’no thanks‘ comments as part of the call process. Do not try and push or convert every ’no thanks‘ to an agreement for a meeting, unless you really know that the prospect is truly relevant and that they will have a need in the future.

Make this call process part of your daily business model and continue it even when you become more successful. As you get more referral business from ‚happy‘ clients you should still continue the call process as it is foundational to permanent and real success in all types of commercial real estate markets. The only other essential element to incorporate in this activity is a good database program where you can register leads and feedback. This will be your funnel for future business.

As simple as all this sounds it is surprising how many people do not do what I have explained here. They loose focus and quickly revert to old random habits and actions; they then get random results. Your success in the commercial real estate industry is centred around your choices and your ability to change your habits on the things that really matter to your business. Get the message? Happy hunting!

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Source by John Highman

Environmental Risk Aversion for Waste Derived Biomass

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1.0 Introduction

This 21st century has become an age of recycling where a lots of emphasize is placed on reuse of material to curb current environmental problems and maximize use of depleting natural resources and energy conservation. Modern day sustainable use and management of resource recommend need to incorporate recycling culture in our ways of life including technological process. Biomass is not left behind in this; the use of biomass energy resource derived from the carbonaceous waste of various natural and human activities to produce electricity is becoming popular. Biomass is considered as one of the clean, more- efficient and more-stable means of power generation. And it has become imperative for marine industry to tap this new evolving power generation mode especially the use of micro generation approach considering the mobile nature of ships.

Biofuels exist in solid, liquid or gas form thereby potentially affecting three of our core markets. Solid biofuels or biomass tend to be used in external combustion, however its use in the shipping industry has been limited to liquid biofuel due to lack of appropriate information economics forecasts, Sources of biomass include by-products from the timber industry, agricultural crops, raw material from the forest, major parts of household waste, and demolition wood, all things being equal using pure biomass that do not affect human and ecological chain make it suitable energy source. Biomass has low sulfur content means biomass combustion therefore considered much less acidifying than with coal, for example. Also, the ashes from biomass consumption, which are very low in heavy metals, can be recycled.

One advantage of biomass compared to other renewable-based systems that require costly advanced technology (such as solar photovoltaics) is that biomass can generate electricity with the same type of equipment and power plants that now burn fossil fuels. Many innovations in power generation with other fossil fuels may also be adaptable to the use of biomass fuels. Various factors have hindered the growth of the renewable energy resource, however. Most biomass power plants operating today are characterized by low boiler and thermal-plant efficiencies; both the fuel’s characteristics and the small size of most facilities contribute to these efficiencies. In addition, such plants are costly to build.

Biomass remains potential renewable energy contributor to net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by offsetting CO2 from fossil generation. The current method generating biomass power is biomass fired boilers and Rankine steam turbines. Recent research work in developing sustainable, and economic biomass focus on high-pressure supercritical steam cycles , use of feedstock supply system, and conversion of biomass to a low or medium gas that can be fired in combustion turbine cycles, resulting in efficiencies one-and-a-half times that of a simple steam turbine. biofuels has potential to influence marine industry, and it as become importance for designers and ship owners to accept their influence on the world fleet of the future especially the micro generation concept with co generation for cargo and fuel for  ships.

The paper discuss conceptual work, trend , sociopolitical driver, economic, development, and future of biomass with hope to bring awareness to local, national and multinational bodies making biofuels policies as well as maritime multidisciplinary expertise in regulation, economics, engineering, and vessel design and operation. The paper also discusses how the shipping industry can take advantage of growing tide to tap benefit promised by waste use power generation system.

2.0 Biomass developmental trend

The concept of use of Biofuels for energy generation has has been existing concept, and in the face of challenges posed by environmental need, its growth is likely to dominate renewable energy market. Following the advent of peanut oil diesel engines developed by Rudolf Diesel in 1911 the production and use of biofuels worldwide has grown significantly in recent years. The current world biofuels market is focused on: Bioethanol blended into fossil motor gasoline (petrol) or used directly and biodiesel or Fatty Acid Methyl Ester diesel blended into fossil diesel. However the use of The Fischer-Tropsch model that involve catalyzed chemical reaction to produce a synthetic petroleum substitute, typically from coal, natural gas or biomass, for use as synthetic lubrication oil or as a synthetic fuel seem promising and negate risk posed by food based biomass. This synthetic fuel runs only in diesel engines and some aircraft engines. Oil, product and chemical tankers being constructed now are likely to benefit much more from use of biomas. However use on gasoline engines ignites the vapors at much higher temperatures, which pose limitation to inland water craft.

Biomass generation and growing trend can be classified into 3 generation types:

  • first generation‘ biofuels relate to biofuels made from sugar or starch, producing bioethanol, and vegetable oil or animal fats producing biodiesel. First generation biofuels provoke increasing criticism through their dependence on food crops and issues over biodiversity, land use and human rights. Hybrid technology for percentage blending is being employed to mitigate food production impact.
  • Second generation biofuels mitigate problem posed by the first generation biofuels. They do not affect food crops because they are made from waste biomass from agricultural and forestry, fast-growing grasses and trees specially grown as so-called „energy crops“. With technology, sustainability and cost issues to overcome, second-generation biofuels are still several years away from commercial viability and many second generation mass produced biofuels are still under development including the biomass to liquid. Fischer-Tropsch production technique.
  • third generation biofuels are green fuels like algae biofuel made from energy and biomass crops that have been designed in such a way that their structure or properties conform to the requirements of a particular bioconversion process. They are made from such as sewage, and grown on ponds.

Just like tanker revolution influence on ship type, demand for biomass will bring, will bring capacity, bio -material or completed product from source to production area and then to the point of use, will bring technological, environmental change will require ships of different configuration, size and tank coating type. As well as impact on the tonne mile demand will change accordingly.

Effect on shipping is likely to follow shipping large scale growth on exports and seaborne trade from key exporting regions, particularly South America. Brazil has a key role. Brazil has already been branded to be producing en-mass ethanol from sugar cane since the 1970s with a cost per unit reportedly the lowest in the world. And it is currently exploring ethanol

Table 1 – World ethanol consumption 2007


World ethanol consumption –

51 million tones, 2007

Us and brazil


EU and China –

17% – surplus of 0.1 million tones

US deficit –


EU deficit –

1.3 mt

World – deficit


Recent year is also witnessing  emerging trade on biofuel product between the US, EU, and Asia and whilst Brazil exports the most ethanol globally at about 2.9 million tonnes per year, the top importers of the US, EU,Japan and Korea have increasing demand that will have to be satisfied by increased shipping capacity. Seaborne vegetable oil supply is increasingly growing

Table 2 – Biofuel growth

Vegetable oil

33 mt in 2000 to 59 mt in 2008

Palm oil

13 mt in 2000 to 32 mt forecast in 2008.

a 7.5% p.a growth rate

Soya bean

7 mt to some 11.5 mt in 2008,


imports – 5.7 mt in 2001 to an expected 10.3 mt for 2008


3.1 mt in 2001 to 5.2 mt forecast for 2008


Production capacity- 1.9 mt in 2002 to 11 mt in 2007, with 2007.

50% of total capacity.

Recently biofuel is driving a new technology, Worldwide; the use of biofuels for cars and public vehicles has grown significantly. With excess capacity waiting for source material it seems inevitable that shipping demand will increase.

3.0 Inter industry Best Practice

3.1 Land based use – 

  • UK pumps mandate at least 2.5% biofuels. This target will rise to 5% by 2010. Also in the UK, the first train to run on biodiesel went into service in June 2007 for a six month trial period. The train uses a blended fuel, which is 20% biodiesel and the operator, Virgin Trains, is confident the mix can be increased to at least a 50% mix with the further possibility to run trains on fuels entirely from non-carbon sources.
  • On January 15, 2006- Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA lunch a program to test a 20% blend of biodiesel (B20) in its buses. In two months they used approximately 45,000 gallons of B20. As a result of the test, in April 2006 they began using biodiesel fleet-wide. In addition to using B20 in the winter months, COTA has committed to using 50-90% biodiesel blends (B50 – B90) during the summer months. This is projected to decrease regular diesel fuel consumption by over one million gallons per year.
  • 26th of October 2007. buses in the UK running on B100 was launched on  In a pilot project. Argent Energy (UK) Limited is working together with Stagecoach to supply biodiesel made by recycling and processing animal fat and used cooking oil.
  • For power stations, B&W have orders in the EU for 45 MW of two-stroke biofuel engines with a thermal efficiency of 51-52%. Specifically, these operate on palm oil of varying quality, and in the future, it is expected that more engines, whether stationary or marine, will be developed to run on biofuels.

·         US DOE has funded five new advanced biomass gasification research and development projects beginning in 2001(Vermont project)

·         2008 – Ford announced a £1 billion research project to convert more of its vehicles to new biofuel sources. The first trial oft, Last year. BP Australia has now sold over 100 million liters of 10% ethanol content fuel to Australian motorists, and Brazil sells both 22% ethanol petrol nationwide and 100% ethanol to over 4 million cars, It is a trend that is gathering momentum.

  • In a program initiated by the Swedish National Board for Industrial and Technical Development in Stockholm, several Swedish universities, companies, and utilities are collaborating to accelerate the demonstration of the advanced EVGT for natural-gas firing, especially in small-scale units. A natural-gas-fired EVGT pilot plant (0.6 megawatts of power output for a simple gas-turbine cycle) should start operation in Lund, Sweden, in 1998.

·         AES Corporation is a leading company in biomass conversion internationally. At AES Kilroot in Northern Ireland, the team recently completed a successful trial to convert the plant to burn a mixture of coal and biomass. With further investment in the technology, nearly half of Northern Ireland’s 2012 renewable target could be met from AES Kilroot alone.

3.2 Aero industry–

  • Virgin Atlantic – Air transport is receiving increasing attention because of environmental concerns linked to CO2 emissions, air quality and noise. Virgin Atlantic in collaboration with Boeing and General Electric aircraft alternative fuels project for aircraft. A successful test flight from London to Amsterdam flight took place on 24th February of this year, running one of the four jumbo jet engines on a mixture of 20% coconut oil and babassu nut oil, with 80% conventional jet fuel. This fuel was specifically chosen due to its performance at low operating temperatures. The test was successful, with no noticeable difference in performance. Except that; imitation that biofuel mix used was in no way sustainable in the quantities required by the demands of the aviation industry. In a way to mitigate this Virgin is looking to us use of Algae based fuels as it is predicted that they may be suitable for use at low temperature.

3.3  Maritime industry 

  • The use of land based transportation, is growing, however the use for sea based transportation need to be explored. Biofuels  for ship will be advantageous. In recent UK pilot project where Buses are run on B100 Argent Energy (UK) Limited is working together with Stagecoach to supply biodiesel made by recycling and processing animal fat and used cooking oil. Marine engines with their inherent lower speed and more tolerant to burning alternative fuels than smaller, higher speed engines tolerance will allow them to run on lower grade and cheaper biofuels.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) unveiled a palm oil-based biodiesel since 2005.Optimistic outcome of the trial made RCCL confident enough to sign a contract in August 2007 for delivery of a minimum 15 million gallons and for the four years after, a minimum of 18 millions gallons of biodiesel for its cruise ships fleet. The contract marked the single largest long-term biodiesel sales contract in the United States.
  • In early 2007, United States Coast Guard indicated that their fleet will augment increase use of biofuels by 15% over the next four years.
  • In the marine industry, beside energy substitute advantage, biolubricants and biodegradable oil  are particularly advantageous from an environmental and pollution perspective. Bio lubrication also offer higher viscosity, flash point and better technical properties such as increased sealing and lower machine operating temperature advantageous use in ship operation.

Time has gone when maritime industry could afford nitty gritty in adopting technology, other industry are already on a fast track preparing themselves technically for evitable changes driven by environmental problem, Global energy demands and political debate add further pressures to find alternative energy especially bio energy  because of hybridization of old and new system advantage it offer. The implication is that shipping could be caught ill prepared for any rapid change in demand or supply of biofuel. Thus this technology is in the early stages of development but the shipping industry need top be prepared for the impacts of its breakthrough because Shipping will eventually required be at the centre of this supply and demand logistics chain again. Table 3 shows the projection for the main present players.

Table3  – projection


Growth (1990-1994)

Projection (2020)

United states






4.0 Sources of biomass

North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) region. Supply has classified biofuel into the following four type’s vizs: agricultural residues, energy crops, forestry residues, and urban wood waste/mill residues. A brief description of each type of biomass is provided below:

  • Agricultural residues from the remaining stalks and biomass material left on the ground can be collected and used for energy generation purposes this include residues of wheat straw and corn stover.
  • Energy crops are produced solely or primarily for use as feedstocks in energy generation processes. Energy crops includes hybrid poplar, and switchgrass, grown on idled, or in pasture, and in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
  • Forestry residues are composed of logging residues, rough rotten salvageable dead wood, and excess small pole trees.
  • Urban wood waste/mill residues are waste woods from manufacturing operations that would otherwise be landfilled. The urban wood waste/mill residue category includes primary mill residues and urban wood such as pallets, construction waste, and demolition debris, which are not otherwise used.

The most important agricultural commodity crops being planted in the United States are listed in Table 4. Corn, wheat, and soybeans represent about 70 percent of total cropland harvested.

Table 6 shows representative characteristics for different subcategories of urban wood waste and mill residues.

5.0 Risk and Uncertainties

Although a significant amount of effort has gone into estimating the available quantities of biomass supply, the following risk and uncertainties that need to be incorporated into design and decision work on biodiesel use are:

  • Risk to land use – Our planet only have 295 land, for example Brazil has some 200 million acres of farmland available, more than the 46 million acres of land,  required to grow the sugarcane needed to satisfy the projected 2022
  • Evolving competing uses of biomass materials, the large market consumption, pricing and growing need.
  • In agricultural waste, the impact of biomass removal on soil quality pose treat to agricultural residues that need to be left on the soil to maintain soil quality could result in significant losses of biomass for electric power generation purposes.
  • Impact of changes in forest fire prevention policies on biomass availability could cause vegetation in forests to minimize the potential for forest fires could significantly increase the quantity of forestry residues available.
  • Potential attempt to recycle more of the municipal solid waste stream might translate into less available biomass for electricity generation.
  • Impact on the food production industry as witness in recent food scarcity crisis

5.1 Regulatory impact


The EU has stated that by 2020 a target of 20% of community wide energy will be renewable. Further to this, all member states are to achieve a mandatory 10% minimum target for the share of biofuels in transport petrol and diesel consumption by 2020.. The legislation provides a phase-in for biofuel blends, including availability of high percentage biofuel blends at filling stations.  The United States Congress passed the Renewable Fuels Standards (RFS) in February 2008, which will require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2022. In parallel to this, work is continuing to reduce emissions further in vehicles. Political drivers in Asia vary according to region. In Southeast Asia, the centre of world production for palm oil, coconut oil, and other tropical oils, political support for farming is the key driver.

The issue affecting shipping is whether to refine and use biodiesel locally, or export the unrefined oil for product production elsewhere. In the short term the economics have favored the exports of unrefined oil – which is good news for us. Over the next ten years, with the cost of oil rising, and strict emission reductions in place, the need for increased biofuel production is likely to increase. as well as creating a net positive balance fuel. According to the IEA, world biofuels demand for transport could increase to about 3% of overall world oil demand in 2015 and double by 2030 over the 2008 figure. This does not sound so significant but as we show later it has a significant impact on the specialist fleet capacity demand. As we said before, predicting the trade pattern of biofuels adds a layer of complexity to the overall  nergy supply picture and our oil distribution system.

We also believe that this forecast will be the minimum seen as the political pressures will cause the level to rise beyond 3%. To put the scale in context, the current oil tanker fleet of vessels 10,000 dwt or larger comprises of some 4,600 vessels amounting to 386 million dwt. These include about 2,560 Handysize tankers. Additionally, there are some 4,400 more small tankers from 1,000 to 10,000 dwt accounting for 16 million dwt. Our projections show a significant role for seaborne transport, even using conservative bases with high proportions of locally supplied biofuels. This is a significant fleet segment that poses technical and regulatory challenges. As we have discussed, the requirements cannot be fully defined because many market factors remain uncertain, but ship owners who are building new vessels or operating existing vessels should consider this future trade through flexible design options that we will introduce later.

5.3  Potential Impacts to Shipping


The key political drivers for biofuels are environmental concerns, energy security and agricultural policy. The tonne mile demand for future tankers will be greatly affected by national, regional or global policy and political decision making in these areas. There is a greater flexibility in the sourcing of biofuels than there is in hydrocarbon energy sources and this may be attractive to particular governments. Once the regulatory framework is clear, economics will determine how the regulations will best be met and seaborne trade will be at the centre of the outcome. In many parts of the world, environmental concerns are the leading political driver for biofuels. Reflecting these concerns, the global Kyoto Protocol, was negotiated in 1997, and this further provides a driver for the use of biofuels.

5.4  Shipping Routes and Economics Impacts


The above trend analysis discussed indicate potential capacity requirement from shipping, so far  North America, Europe and South East  Asia are the key importing regions where this growth is concentrated. This includes the Latin American counties of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay and Southeast Asia’s Indonesia and Malaysia will remain key suppliers for the palm oil, Philippines and Papua New Guinea have potentials for vegetable oil and agricultural while Thailand has potential for sugarcane. This trade potential will determine future trade route from Malacca Straits to Europe, ballast to Argentina, to load soybean oil to China, and then make a short ballast voyage to the Malacca Straits, where the pattern begins again, a typical complicated fronthaul / backhaul combinations that can initiate, economies of scale need top reduce freight costs and subsequent push for bigger ship production and short sea services like recent experience of today’s tankers.  According to plateau case study the following regional impact can be deduced for shipping.



North America


33 million tons


ethanol and biodiesel.: 50:50

30 million tons


ethanol and biodiesel.: 50:50

18 million tons

North America demand – policy work support biofuel use in the us and 32 Handysize equivalent tankers will be needed to meet US demand in 2015. with technological breakthrough there will be need for 125 vessel 2030.

European demand – Due to environmental requirement and energy security believed to be politically acceptable in the EU but economics may drive a different outcome.80 Handysizes with some due to the growth in trade and longer voyage distance.  With technological breakthrough for 2nd and 3rd generation biofuel growth will need growing to 145 in 2030 Aframax vessels if the technical issues can be overcome.

Asia demand  – In plateau case  50 Handysize equivalents are required in 2015 and 2030 with forecast vessel sizes being Handysizes with some Panamax vessels 162 vessels total in the three regions.

By adding up all the regions, with biofuels as only 3% of world transport demand, we are looking at a fleet of about 400 Handysize vessels to accommodate the demand and supply drivers by 2030 and 162 by 2015. The total vessel forecast for 2030 could means 2,560 vessels of 81 million deadweight tons.

As regions identify these growth markets and recognize the economies of $/tonne scale that can be achieved, as shown here, with bigger tonnage, we are seeing natural investment occurring. New port developments in concerned trade rout will be required to accommodate large Panamax vessel and parcel size for palm oil exports. on the long haul routes.

5.5  Biomass  Ship Technologies Impacts


A variety of methods could turn an age-old natural resource into a new and efficient means of generating electricity. biomass in large amounts is available in many areas, and is being considered as a fuel source for future generation of electricity. Biomass is by its nature both bulky and widely distributed and electricity from conventional, centralized power plants requires an extensive distribution network. Traditionally power is generated through centralized, conventional power plant, where biomass is transported to the central plant, typically a steam or gas turbine power plant, and the electricity is then distributed through the grid to the end users. Costs include fuel and transportation, power plant construction, maintenance, and operation, and distribution of the electric power, including losses in transmission.

Electrical efficiency



thermal efficiency -40 %

$2,000 per kilowat


45 %

$1,500 per kilowatt,

However, micro-biomass power generators located at the site of end-use seem to offer a path for new solution for energy. Recent development in towards use of micro biomass will equally offer best practice adaptation for marine power. Biomass is used at or near the site of end-use, with heat from external combustion converted directly to electricity by a biomass fired free-piston genset . Costs include fuel and acquisition and maintenance of the genset and burner. Since the electricity is used on site, both transmission losses and distribution costs are minimal. Thus, in areas without existing infrastructure to transmit power, there are no additional costs. In this case it is also possible to cogenerate using the rejected heat for space or hot water heating, or absorption cooling. Previously, option two has not been feasible, since there have been no small (less than ~50 kW) devices for directly and efficiently converting biomass energy to electricity. Micro-biomass power generation is a more cost-effective means of providing power than central biomass power generation. In particular, areas where there is a need for both power and heat – domestic hot water and space heat and absorption chilling – are attractive for cogeneration configurations of this machine. Biomass can be generated using single or ganged free-piston Stirling engines gensets. These micro-biomass generators offer a number of advantages over centralized biomass fueled power plants. They can be placed at the end-user location taking advantage of local fuel prices and do not require a distribution grid. They can directly provide electrical output with integral linear alternators, or where power requirements are larger they can be ganged and drive a conventional rotary turbine. They are hermetically sealed and offer long lives through their non-contact operation.

Biomass for electricity generation is treated in four ways in NEMS: (1) new dedicated biomass or biomass gasification, (2) existing and new plants that co-fire biomass with coal, (3) existing plants that combust biomass directly in an open-loop process,18 and (4) biomass use in industrial cogeneration applications. Existing biomass plants are accounted for using information such as on-line years, efficiencies, heat rates, and retirement dates, obtained through EIA surveys of the electricity generation sector.

Emissions offsets and waste reduction could help enhance the appeal of biomass to utilities  An important consideration for the future use of biomass-fired power plants is the treatment of biomass flue gases. Biomass-combustion flue gases have high moisture content. When the flue gas is cooled to a temperature below the dew point, water vapor starts to condense. By using flue-gas condensation, sensible and latent heat can be recovered for district heating or other heat-consuming processes; this increases the heat generation from a cogeneration plant by more than 30 percent.  Flue-gas condensation not only recovers heat but also captures dust and hazardous pollutants from flue gases at the same time. Most dioxins, chlorine, mercury, and dust are removed, and sulfur oxides are separated out to some extent. Another feature of flue gas condensation is water recovery, which helps solve the problem of water consumption in evaporative gas turbines.

Biomass open door for another way rather than competing with fossil fuel plants a substantial opportunity exists to generate micro-biomass electric power, at power levels from fractions of a kilowatts through to tens or hundreds of kilowatts, at the point of en d use. At these power levels neither small internal combustion engines, which cannot use biomass directly, nor reciprocating steam engines, with low efficiency and limited life, can offer the end user economic electric power. Free-piston Stirling micro biomass engine engines are an economic alternative. Stirling offers the following advantages over significantly larger systems:

  • Stirling machines have reasonable overall efficiencies at moderate heater head temperatures (~600ƒC)
  • cogeneration is simple
  • large amounts of capital do not have to be raised to build a single evaluation plant with its associated technical and economic risks
  • A large fraction of the value of the engine alternator can be reused at the end of its life
  • Stirling systems can be ganged with multiple units operating in parallel.

United States: 1996, P1-R96-STAB-00-NTH (Washington, DC, November 1996). l.

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Flip Checklist Budget – What You Need to Include on Your Budget for House Flipping

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Many people are enticed into house flipping by television images of people ripping materials out of a dilapidated house, refurbishing it, and selling it for a substantial profit. The profit realized from each flip can be modest or substantial – or the investor could lose everything depending on decisions made before or during the process.

My house flipping budget checklist

Before you go shopping for the perfect rehab-to-flip property, you need to create a budget for the entire project, not just the purchase and rehab expenses.

The first item on your check list does not have direct monetary value and cannot be added into the expenses column. However, it is an important „ingredient“ to your budget: an excellent credit score. Unless you are funding a flip entirely with cash or through private means, an excellent credit score works in your favor with the banks – especially when the loan is for a high-risk project like a house flip.

Now, let’s look at the specifics of your budget:

• The After Repair Value (ARV): determining the ARV of your potential flip is the starting point on which you can base your expected return on investment (ROI) when the house is put on the market. A trusted realtor can help you estimate the ARV of the property.

• Rehab costs: these will vary widely depending on how much rehab work needs to be done. A budget repair form can be handy for tracking all the repairs needed.

• Financing/carrying costs: these include not only the loan but also the costs of carrying the house until it is sold:

o Financing loan(s)

o Property taxes

o Utilities (gas, water, electric)

o Property insurance

o HOA/Condo fees

An important point to note here is that the longer the rehab work takes and/or the longer the post-rehab house stays on the market, the greater your carrying costs and the lesser profit you may realize.

• Realtor’s fees: you can sell your flipped house yourself (FSOB – For Sale by Owner) but if you are looking for the fastest turnaround on your investment – and profit – relying on a good real estate agent is worth the commission fee (and actually helps you save money on your flip project in the long run).

• Forgotten costs: these are additional expenses of house flipping that are often overlooked, including:

o Inspection fees

o Interest on loans

o Contingencies

o Closing costs

One experienced house flipper’s average budget was broken into these cost percentages:

• 53.25% = Purchase Price

• 20% = Labor

• 6.5% = Materials

• 8% = Carrying costs, utilities, commissions, etc.

• 12.25% = Profit

Realistic budgeting = reduced risk

There is nothing that can completely eliminate the risks inherent in house flipping but creating a realistic budget is one of the key ways to mitigate some of that risk. Another way to „manage“ some of the risk is to become as thoroughly knowledgeable about house flipping before you make your first investment. And a final way to manage risk is to follow the old adage and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Best wishes for your house flipping success!

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Property Management Fees Explained

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When you hire a property management company to serve as the liaison between yourself and your tenants, you want to be sure you’re getting the best possible property management services for the money. The services a property management company provides can range from ala carte to an all-in-one inclusive package. Along with that comes an array of fees for each. There is no set in stone fee structure we can provide you. But we can educate you on what common fees to expect and what each is commonly for. In the end it will be up to you to compare company fee structures and choose the best one that fits within your budget. Below are some of the most common fees and what service they provide.


This is an ongoing monthly fee charged to the owner to compensate the property manager for the responsibilities of overseeing the management of their property. This fee can vary from as little as 3% to over 15% of the monthly gross rent. In place of a percentage some managers may charge a flat monthly amount which again can vary from $50 to over $200 per month. All property management companies generally charge this fee.

Lease-Up or Setup Fee

This fee is charged to the owner to compensate the property manager for their initial time invested and resources used in setting up an owners account; showing property and/or other activities resulting in tenant placement. I guess you could look at it as a „finders fee“ for placing a tenant in your property. Once a tenant has been placed and first rent income comes in, the property manager will deduct this fee from the rent proceeds. Some property managers have been known to require this fee upfront prior to tenant procurement. Usually this fee is non-refundable once the property manager has started the process of tenant procurement or any legwork has been initiated with the property. This fee can vary from none to as much as the first months rent, and usually is a one-time fee per tenant.

Lease Renewal Fee

This fee is charged to the owner when a property manager renews a current tenants lease and covers the costs of initiating paperwork or communication involved in implementing the new lease document. A property manager may also justify this fee if they perform a year end inspection of property. This fee can vary from none to $200 or higher, and may be charged every time a lease renewal is implemented.

Advertising Costs

Depending upon the property management company’s contract, either they will pay the advertising costs or the owner or they could split the costs. If the manager is willing to cover this cost, most likely they will charge the lease-up or setup fee as outline above. If the management company covers this cost make sure to find out what type advertising or marketing of your property is included. If it’s placing your listing on their own web site and other free online classified sites you may not be getting your monies worth. They are many good rental or tenant resource online web sites that bring in qualified tenants for a reasonable fee and you will want to consider these. And don’t forget about print media, yard signs, listing on the MLS or even an open house. Nothing is worst than having your property vacant, bringing in no money only because you or your property manager skimped on advertising.

Maintenance Mark-up Charges

This is one of those costs you may never really of known about or had it disclosed to you. A „Mark-up“ is a charge over and beyond the final bill on maintenance and/or repair work done to your property initiated by your property management company when using their vendors or in-house maintenance staff. This should be disclosed in your Manager/Owner contract which usually will state the markup as a percentage above the final invoice from vendor. For example, your manager had to call a plumber to replace the dishwasher in your rental property. Total charges for completing the job: $400. If your property manager contract states you will incur a 10% markup on all maintenance work the actual cost to you will be $440. Just one of those things to be aware of as these all eat into your profits.

Early Cancellation Fee

The dreaded „3 months and no tenant“. Your property manager insist he or she’s doing everything they can to find you a tenant. But here it is 3 months and still no tenant; what do you do. Well, look at your Manager/Owner contract and that might be your deciding factor. I am not a fan of this fee, and believe it to be an unnecessary fee and for you manager out there this could be the deal breaker. I’ll tell you why; if a property manager is doing their due diligence and keeping the owners in the loop as far as decision making, market conditions and communication lines open an owner will not be second guessing his property managers abilities. The odds of this scenario happening is unlikely but you must be prepared for it. A cancellation fee can range from none to over $500. To be fair, some managers legitimately deserve this fee especially if they have pocketed advertising costs, incurred lots of legwork and time invested in your property.

„You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me“ Fees – These are ones I have personally had the pleasure of running into.

  • Your property is vacant, but we still will charge our monthly commission or a small flat fee.
  • „A For-Rent Yard Sign Fee“. I believe this was $25/mo.
  • „Preventive Maintenance Fee“. This was to cover the „just in case“ and changing out A/C filters. If „just in case“ never happens they still pocket the money. I believe this was $20/mo and I still was charged for filters.

In Summary

Read your Manager/Owner contract, understand what you are signing, ask lots of questions and know what the fees will buy you in services. A good real estate lawyer can help in negotiating the terms in a contract that suit both parties. These contracts are not set in stone. If your property manager will not negotiate, there are other property management companies that are eager to earn your business.

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Phoenix Housing Market As of January 2013: Our Real Estate Market Update

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Summary of the Phoenix Housing Market: January 10, 2013

Price per square foot in the Phoenix Real Estate Market

The average price per square foot in the Phoenix Housing Market grew to $108, up $2 from the past month. The year over year (YOY) rise is $24 from last December 2011, while the complete growth in cost per square foot from the bottom of the market (March-April 2011) is $31.

In the Phoenix Real Estate Market the first half of December was dominated by substantial sales of high-end properties while the concluding few days witnessed a growth in more affordable residences, especially with short sales. Prices consequently rose higher and stronger by the third week of December only to plummet sharply in the concluding days.

Active Residential property Listings in the Phoenix Real Estate Market.

The beginning of January 2013 is the 1st span in 6 months that listings in the Phoenix housing market have receded. The decline was a little over 900 listings as January began with 17,155 listings in the Phoenix MLS. The Phoenix Real Estate Market normally averaged 20,000-25,000 active home listings in the Phoenix MLS before the real estate upsurge and resulting foreclosure devastation. It will be essential to watch this number as we precede into the spring purchasing season. The number of home listings on the Phoenix housing market goes a long way in determining if we are living in a buyers market, the seller’s market or a normal market.

The Phoenix Housing Market and Foreclosures

The Phoenix Housing Market is enjoying a large increase in price per square foot thanks to the remarkable decline in foreclosure-type homes, which are typically bank owned properties and short sales. The reduction is 44% from prior December and 85% from December 2010. Property owners in the Phoenix Real Estate Market are no longer needing to contend with the unfairly low price of foreclosures.

More regarding Foreclosures in the Phoenix Real Estate Market

Passages of these next 3 paragraphs were drawn From the Cromford Report, from which I am a paid subscriber and have the right to reproduce: December was truly an unpleasant period for people who have a preference for Phoenix foreclosures. Brand-new Notices of Trustee Sale for Maricopa County came in at 2,112 in total which included 1,994 for residential residences. The last time we had fewer than 2,000 residential notices in the Phoenix Housing Market in a month was May 2007.

Documented Trustee Deeds totaled 1,399 of which 1,302 were residential. This is the lowest monthly amount of Trustee Deeds since November 2007 in the Phoenix Housing Market. As a sign of the times there were almost as many residential foreclosure notices canceled (1,881) as new ones filed (1,994). There were 8,758 residential notices active (i.e. pending foreclosures) as of January 1.

This is 82 % below the peak level of 47,606 in December 2009. Total distressed residential inventory (active notices plus REO) stands at 14,547, down 77 % from the peak of 62,123 in February 2010. We are clearly almost at the end of the foreclosure wave in the Phoenix Real Estate Market.

Phoenix Housing market: The Short-Term Prediction

We recently wrote on how the ongoing price per square foot trend for residences under a purchase contract can accurately forecast the cost per square foot for houses sold 4 to 8 weeks into the future. The price for pending sales leveled out in December so we are able to anticipate the sales price per square foot to level out in January. Prices are going higher to begin January 2013 so we may forecast price per square foot in February to continue upwards.

Our complete and updated market summaries can be found on our blog under Phoenix Housing Tracker

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What Is the Difference Between Land and a Lot?

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The terms „lot“ and „land“ may be quite similar, but in the realm of construction, there are huge dissimilarities. First of all, all lots can be considered land but not all pieces of land can be considered lots. And here are the definitions:

The lot is a property ready for building a house. It usually is provided with all the utilities, including water, sewer, gas, electricity, telephone, etc. However, if they are not on the site, they’re not so far away.

The land is a property without habitable structures. A raw land is a term that defines a piece of property that is not yet ready for building.

The best choice for you is to buy a lot. It is much cheaper and it helps you obtain a construction loan a lot easier. A raw land also requires additional expenses in order to make the piece of land become habitable, and the extra costs are very high. It also implies spending a lot of time and energy.

All these factors influence the lender’s decision when analyzing your loan score. And there are many chances that you wouldn’t get the desired loan because of the raw land.

In case of raw pieces of land, the banks consider the risks as being higher and fewer banks offer a loan in such cases. A piece of raw land is also less marketable than a finished lot and therefore, fewer buyers are eager to invest their time, money and effort in such a property.

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Real Estate Leads – How To Get Free Real Estate Agent Leads

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Real estate leads are vital to any agent or brokers business. Home sale and home buyer leads have always been an important part of keeping a real estate business moving forward. With the advent of the internet and more than 80-percent of home buyers going on-line to look for their next home, internet leads are one of the most important marketing avenues realtors and brokers need to be using to increase their listings and income.

What many real estate agents don’t know is that there are a handful of real estate lead generation companies that generate the majority of leads on the internet. In fact they generate so many leads that they don’t have enough real estate professionals to sell them to. In order to help the home buyer or seller who went to the businesses website the lead generation companies have been giving the leads away for free, at least no up-front cost.

To get the free leads the real estate agent has to agree to pay a referral for any closed translation. The reason many agents don’t know about these leads is because only one or two of the large on-line lead generation companies offer this free referral service because it requires them to have a licensed broker within the company.

These business leads are very helpful for a realtor starting in the business or a broker who has multiple agents under them. Also, agents who want to increase their marketing and number of closings each month can use these leads to increase their business. Typically the lead generation company wants 1 to 2 years of experience representing home buyers or home sellers but if they don’t have any agents in your area then they will most likely take any agent. For home seller leads it is helpful if the agents have a network of investors who can buy houses fast. Many home sellers who go on-line and complete home seller forms need to sell a home quickly for many reasons. Some have large amounts of equity which allows them to sell price their home for a quick sale. Others are behind on their mortgage and would love to have an investor buy their home so they don’t lose it to foreclosure.

If you are a broker or realtor and looking to increase your business I suggest signing up with one of the lead generation companies who offers a no cost real estate referral program. Typically these companies do not charge you any sign-up fee, monthly fees or cancellation fees, just a fee for closed transactions.

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Help, I’m Scared – I Just Read My Home Inspection Report – Is The House Falling Apart?

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Oh My Gosh…pipes are leaking, roofing shingles are damaged, the furnace isn’t working properly, there are electrical issues, the deck needs attention….gheesh…What do I do now? Is this house, the house that I’ve fallen deeply in love with, falling apart?

Well…maybe so and maybe no. There is no perfectly constructed or perfectly maintained house…at least, I’ve never inspected such a thing nor do I expect that I ever will. Nevertheless, be assured that there are homes out there that are just plainly in very poor condition. Chances are, though, that the issues identified in a Home Inspection report are typical issues for a home of any given or particular age. While this isn’t always the case, the issues are very likely able to be repaired. Most anything can be repaired. Even more serious items e.g. structural issues, water intrusion and resultant damage, heating and air conditioning systems that need to be replaced etc., are able to be repaired. Once issues have been identified, irrespective of their severity, it then becomes a matter of whether or not they are going to be repaired, how and by whom they might be repaired, how much those repairs are going to cost, and what party is going to be financially responsible for those repairs.

First…and in my opinion…the details of what a Home Inspection is, and of how a Home Inspection report is typically used in a real estate transaction, should have been fully explained to the buyer by their real estate agent prior to the Inspection period. Then, at the beginning of the Home Inspection, the Home Inspector should explain to the client what they can expect from the Home Inspector, and from the Home Inspection report. The Home Inspection report, and again in my ever so humble opinion, shouldn’t be considered as an all-inclusive list to be used to beat the selling party severely about the head and shoulders. There will likely be…will almost certainly be…items in the report that, while required to be reported by the standards governing the Home Inspection, may not fall within the scope of the Real Estate Offer To Purchase Contact as items that are able to be asked to be repaired by the seller. That determination, or interpretation, is best left to a real estate agent or to an attorney. The issues identified in the report, in their totality, is information…information provided as part of the basis upon which to make an informed purchase decision. That’s why you had an inspection in the first place, right? You paid for a professional evaluation of the home to make a more informed purchase decision.

Second…take a half-step backward, take a deep breath or two, and re-read the report. I promise that the world hasn’t come to an end as the result of the report. If there are numerous individual items to consider, then try to itemize those issues in the order of their importance to YOU. The report may categorize the issues to some degree but the Home Inspector cannot decide what importance YOU should place on any given item. Neither should the Inspector be advising you as to whether or not you should purchase the home; such advice or guidance is simply outside the scope of a Home Inspection. There are two questions that I, personally, have never answered. The first is „Would you buy this home?“ and the second is „How would you rate this home on a scale of 1–10?“ There is too much that a Home Inspector just simply doesn’t know to be able to answer such questions. Sure, they know a great deal about the physical condition of the home by the time the inspection is complete, but that’s only part of the equation. They don’t know how much the home is worth, they don’t know the clients financial condition, and they don’t know what the financial arrangements might be. I suggest, too, that they shouldn’t want to know.

Third…set about gathering yet more information. Information…accurate information…and the resulting knowledge gained are your most dear of friends. You need to associate a dollar value with the needed repairs. Are the repairs going to require a structural assessment by a licensed Professional Engineer? Are the needed repairs such that they will require implementation by a licensed General Contractor? Can any of the items be corrected by a handyman who specializes in general repairs? Seek out and obtain estimates from the contractors that will be performing the repairs. Use all of the resources available to you to attain information and make good decisions. Your experienced, professional real estate agent, assuming you’ve retained that service, is in an excellent position to assist you in this endeavor. The typical professional real estate agent has, at their disposal, a vast wealth of knowledge and resources about how to go about dealing with the contents and issues of a Home Inspection report. That’s part of what they do in representing their clients during a real estate transaction.

Your success in your real estate transaction is at least partly dependent upon gathering appropriate information, processing that information, and making informed decisions based upon that information. Doing so in a calm, direct and straight-forward manner…with as little involved emotion as possible…will likely be contributory to a positive outcome.

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Source by Gary Gentry