Tag Archives: Green

Is Green Really Worth the Green?

I caught a news piece this morning while at the gym.  The title was something like the one above.  The segment dealt with the question, Do energy efficient upgrades in a home make a difference in the sale price? Even with long-term energy savings, the short and resounding answer was, “NO.”  While it makes all the difference for the environment, the sale prices do not reflect the upgrades, whether it be solar, added insulation, dual flush toilets, Energy Star appliances, etc.  The target then got pinned on appraisers.  They bluntly said that it was the appraisers fault… [paraphrased] The appraisers are behind the curve on this one.  It’s the appraisers that have not gotten up to speed and are not giving correct value to these items.  When an appraiser sees a furnace, whether it’s energy efficient or not, they just see a furnace…”

Now I have friends that are appraisers that will read this and have an acid reflex response (a little sour taste in their mouth).  And I know theses appraisers do know the difference and can spot energy efficient systems.

I would love a response/rebuttal from the appraisal world.  Sound off.

And don’t kill/hate the messenger – I’m just reiterating what I saw on the news this morning.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Energy Efficient Home In Sacramento CA

I am fortunate to do regular work with the developers, Housing Group Fund, especially in acquiring and selling properties.  They recently partnered with Smud (our local utility company) on a home in a middle to lower-income area to rehabilitate it and make it energy-efficient.  Yesterday they held an open house for the real estate community.  They had the Quad-Lock blocks on display (see an earlier post of mind on this product, on this home).

This home is a great example of what true stimulus can accomplish.  Neighborhoods that usually do not get attention like this, could be transformed.

A friend of mine and appraiser, Ryan Lundquist, was there too and put together a fantastic video showing off the home.  Check it out below.

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Philosophy Meets Real Estate in Sacramento CA and Beyond

While this post has everything to do with, and is focused on the details of the real estate market, the economy, investing, buying and selling property, my little neighborhood in Curtis Park, Sacramento, sometimes I can get a little philosophical.  What is the meaning of life?  What is the purpose of my life?  How do the situations and the context which I find myself shape life?  Are there forces at work bigger than the indexes?  Is this depressed economy doing something in our culture and country that may actually be positive?

I mused the other day over the thought that storms and hard times in my life have been the things that has been pivotal or a “rescue” of sorts for my life.  Let me give you an example.

When I hit the ripe age of 31, I started having chronic back pain.  This was the same time as we had our first child.  I have painful memories of not being able to carry my newborn son very far in the Baby Bjorn (front carrier), due to back pain.  My wife just thought I was trying to get out of carrying the baby 🙂  I tried a lot of quick fixes like a hot pad, muscle relaxing creams, simple stretching, and more.  I continued to not be very active and I lost sleep due to the discomfort.  As a result, I made a determination that I had to seek physical therapy and strengthen my core muscles, or I may go through the rest of my life with a dull, (kind of) bearable back pain.  I could not deal with the idea that I would not be able to carry, let alone wrestle with my sons as they got older.  As a result, I buckled down, swallowed my pride and got help.  I now stretch daily, am aware of my posture, wear orthotics, work out 4-5 days a week (focusing on core muscles) and am in the best shape of my life.  Oh yeah, there are nightly wrestling matches with my boys, now 4 and 6 years old.  I can sleep soundly and walk/run long distances without pain.  This pain-in-the-back changed my life for the better.

Whether it be a health situation, a tragedy of some sort, or a financial crisis, the “storms” in life will reveal in us who we really are and what lies at the core of our being.  I wonder, is this housing storm revealing what our nation is really about?  While it’s tragic for many (including myself), is there something underneath it all that is good?  Is there a corrective measure that we need as a country that will be of great benefit in the long-run?

I read an article lately about “The return to frugality” – how saving money is back in vogue.  Trends show that people are staying home and finding inexpensive ways to be entertained.  Maybe couples are conversing more and experiencing greater intimacy?  Maybe families are doing things like going on bike rides together, or spending a day at the park with a picnic lunch?  Maybe people are reading more?  Maybe consumption is down (I know that is not helping our economy in the traditional ways)?  Maybe people are shopping more locally?  Maybe people are saving resources by not driving as much, or using as much power?  I’ve heard that micro farming is becoming a big thing for some families, or at least there is rise in growing your own produce.  Maybe neighbors are talking more and sharing ideas and bonding over a shared plight?   Maybe people are looking after their physical health more?  I notice the gym is packed on Fridays with “furlough Fridays” in effect for state workers,.

I got to thinking a little deeper…. Usually I try to escape storms and run away from them – this is the rational thing to do, right?  However, if I am constantly trying to escape the thing that could radically change my life for the better, maybe I should attempt to look at storms a bit differently?  Do I just continue to put “Icy Hot” on my dull back  pain, or am I going to embrace the trauma and enter into a larger, positive, more life-impacting shift?

Your deep thoughts?

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Can Anything Good Come Out of West Sacramento?

Yes!

West Sac. has gotten a bad rap over the years, but this article give some hope toward their progress, in the arena of solar energy and the environment.

Check out the article

Enjoy,

Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker

916.669.9030

Going “Green” in an Affordable Way in Sacramento

I was at Costco. and saw that they carry dual flush toilets now – I was shocked.  And for 80 bucks!  I don’t know if it’s any good or not, since I’ve seen them sell in the past for at least $200 and up.

I recently had a conversation with another real estate agent, relaying how one of my clients who rehabilitates homes, puts dual flush toilets in them.  The agent had never heard of a dual flush toilet.  While they are not new, it’s interesting how few people are aware of them and  to see Costco. getting in the game.  I guess if they can sell a billion of them and there is a buck to be made…  I’ve always thought that things like this need to be main stream for great impact to be made.  I hope everyone buys one or several and has them installed in their homes.

Oh, and now that our water is being metered in Sacramento, all the more reason to conserve.

Check out how these toilets function.  Also, watch the video on the link – good stuff to remember.

[note: toilet pictured above is not the one they sell at Costco.]

Cheers,

Keith Klassen

How walkable is Sacramento? Handy tool when buying Real Estate

There is a lot of talk around this issue of walkability, especially in Sacramento’s urban areas.  A friend of mine said to me the other day, “If I were to move, one of my criteria is that I have to be in walking distance to a bakery,” as donuts were the topic of our provocative conversation.  I am fortunate, there are several bakeries in walking distance from me (Freeport Bakery and Marie’s Donuts just to name a few).

You probably already know the answer to this question, but check out this website to walkscore.com and see where your neighborhood ranks.

For kicks I typed in my address (thinking our neighborhood is very walkable) and came up with a score of 69 out of 100 = “somewhat wakable.”  So I then typed in a  friend’s address who lives in Natomas… as imagined 43 out of 100 = “car-dependent.”  Our old home in Boulevard Park/Midtown gets 86 out of 100 = “very walkable.”

A fun and interesting website, especially in light of our changing cultural values when it comes to how we view our planet.  And, as fuel prices increase, cities become more dense, and as people realize their longing for community, this “walkability measure” will be even a larger factor when buying a home.

Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Home Improvements

Heads Up! The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allows tax credits for energy efficient home improvements. The offer for credits began on January 1, 2009 and runs for two years.

The new rules give you through December 31, 2010 to qualify. The maximum credit is now equal to 30% of the first $5,000 spent on high-efficiency improvements. I found more info on this at www.energy.gov/taxbreaks.htm.

Four years ago, Congress passed the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 for purchases made in 2006 and 2007. The good news is that even if you took advantage of tax credits then, you are probably able to benefit again. I believe this is certainly worth a look.