Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 9/22/2013

Everything green is all the rage, and recently there has been an increased demand for green homes. Some experts estimate a projected demand  of a $100 billion sub-market by 2016. In 2011, green homes made up roughly 17 percent of the market and are expected to reach two out of five homes by 2016. The list of reasons to buy a green home is extensive. Green homes are friendly to the environment. Consumers also believe that green homes will have better value in the future. Green homes may cost a little more to build now but have shown to save money in energy efficiency over time. According to a survey conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction, ninety percent of homeowners surveyed said energy efficiency is important because of personal values, and because of lower energy bills. They also cited other factors like indoor air quality, material durability, use of post-consumer materials and sustainability-focused waste management practices. Consumers may also be able to save money on their mortgage or receive a federal tax credit for buying a green home or doing eco-friendly home improvements. For certain efficient home improvements, you can receive a federal tax credit equal to 30‰ with a cap at $1500 for the purchase of energy efficient technologies such as

  • Water Heaters
  • Furnaces
  • Boilers
  • Heat Pumps
  • Air Conditioners
  • Insulation
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Roofs
  • Stoves that use qualified Biomass Fuel
 




Categories: Money Saving Tips  


Posted by Thomas Murphy on 8/18/2013

The sun is out and it is the perfect time to use that solar energy to work and make some homemade ice tea. Not only is ice tea refreshing it is also very easy and inexpensive to make at home. You can even try using some of your favorite herbal teas.  Here is a quick and simple recipe: What you need: 6 to 8 tea bags 1 quart hot water (4 cups) 1 quart cold water (4 cups) 1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey, optional Directions: Bring hot water to a boil in a 2-quart size sauce pan. Add the tea bags. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. If the tea sits for too long, it will be bitter. Remove the tea bags. Put the cold water into a 2-quart size pitcher. Pour the hot tea into the pitcher, over top of the cold water. Make sure to put the cold water in first. Add the sugar or honey if you like, stirring to dissolve it completely. Put the pitcher into the fridge to cool. Grab a chair outside and relax and enjoy your homemade tea. If you have a homemade recipe perfect for the warmer weather please share.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/30/2013

The cost of heating can really take a toll on us over the colder fall and winter months. Having a programmable thermostat can help in cutting heating costs and still staying warm. But just having one isn't enough - you need to know how to use it to its full potential! Programmable thermostats have the ability to be programmed so that you can have multiple temperature settings through out the day. The benefit of this, is not having to think about turning down the heat before you leave for work, or cranking it up when you get home. Instead, you get heating at the exact temperature you want, when you want. So what temperatures should you set it to exactly? While you are home and awake, setting it to 68 degrees is a pretty standard temperature. While you are away from home, or sleeping, reducing it to 58 degrees should be tolerable. Of course, reducing the temperature even more than that while you are out of the house is possible, just don't make it too low and freeze your water pipes. Reducing your thermometer by 10-15 degrees for 8 hours (like while you are at work) you can save 5-15% off your heating bill. So the benefits can really pay off for reducing your heat while you are at work. For example: if you pay $200 a month in heating, reducing the heat by 15 degrees during the day will save $10-$30 a month which can add up to $60-$180 for the year if you use the heat for 6 months. Finding ways to cut costs is important to everyone during tough economic times. Every penny counts. So add this money saving tip to your list and you could start racking up the savings.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 5/26/2013

When the weather heats up so does the grill. Outdoor cooking can be easy and delicious but in order to get the best results you have to take good care of your grill. The time to maintain your grill is minimal but the payback can be tremendous. Here are some proper grill maintenance tips to keep you cooking for a good-long time. Clean the Grill Grate Your grill grate is where the food goes, thus it sees the most action. After getting a fire going, clean the grill grate.  If you cook with high heat it is easier to clean the grate. Each time you turn on the grill, let the grate heat up for about five minutes. This will burn away any food or debris that remains. Use a grill brush to take care of the rest. Do not clean the grill grate directly after cooking on it. Pick off any large pieces of food that may still be there, but leave the blackness encasing the grate. It will actually help protect it from rust between cooking. Oil the Grate Dip a wadded paper towel or cloth in a little oil and wipe it evenly over the grate. Oiling your grill grate helps prevent food from sticking. Do not use too much oil, because it could start a fire. Clean the Grill Clean out the ash from inside the grill and about once a month give the grill a good once over. Leaving the inside of the grill "dirty" for a few weeks can have its benefits as it acts as a seasoning and also aids in maintaining temperature control. Give the inside of grill a cleaning with a dry paper towel or cloth to remove any fallen food or excess ash. You can clean the outside of the grill with a good scrubbing so your guests won't be afraid when they see your grill. Storing Your Grill It may seem obvious, but cover your grill. This way you will keep the elements out and prevent the grill from rusting and from an early demise. Daily grill maintenance really pays off over time so now you can throw some food on the flame enjoy your grill for many years to come. Do you have a great grilling tip? Please feel free to share your tips on the comments section below.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 3/17/2013

One benefit of owning a home is that come tax time, there are a variety of things you can claim deductions for. Whether you have someone prepare your taxes for you, or do them yourself, it is good to know all the types of deductions you can take to ensure you lower your taxes as much as possible. First things first, in order to take advantage of the deductions you will likely need to itemize, which is a bit more complicated than the EZ form you previously used. Whether you file a single or joint tax form, you get an automatic deduction for yourself. But when you itemize, you often make out better with a higher overall deduction. Each year, the various deductions change, so it's always good to keep your eye open around tax time for updates for the tax year. A quick Google search can give you some places to start. Even deductions that have been around for a long time can change on the specifics, so make sure you stay informed! Here are a few deductions that are standard:

  • Mortgage interest paid in the tax year,
  • Points you paid on your mortgage,
  • Property taxes paid including any that were prepaid and listed on the settlement sheet when you closed on your home,
  • Energy efficient improvements (there are only specific items that this can be used on and can vary year to year),
  • Medical expenses more than 7.5% of the adjusted gross income (this one is scheduled to increase to around 10% in 2013, making it harder to meet)
As mentioned earlier, deductions can change each year. In past years you were able to deduct energy efficient home improvements such as adding insulation, or there were incentives for being a first time home buyer. You never know what other deductions may pop up, so it's always worth saving receipts just in case!  




Categories: Money Saving Tips