Online calculator helps to determine the costs and benefits of rooftop solar

Homeowners in San Diego County have a new tool when considering the costs and benefits of installing rooftop solar panels.

The local nonprofit Center for Sustainable Energy launched a web page this week that allows residents to see how much they could save on their electrical bills based on a number of factors.

The web-based “Solar Savings Calculator” is intended to inform consumers who are considering whether to contract with a particular installation company, said Christina Machak, senior research analyst for the center.

“The value proposition for solar depends on lowering a homeowner’s monthly electricity bills,” she said. “The calculator gives a household-specific look at what homeowners can shave off their monthly utility bills in actual energy and dollar savings.”

The calculator uses location data to determine how much sunlight a particular home gets exposed to, as well as energy consumption patterns for residential customers of San Diego Gas & Electric. Users can download a detailed history of their electricity use from the utility and then upload it the center’s website.

The tool also uses updated information on the state’s net-energy-metering program, which determines how customers are compensated for the solar power they generate. In general, if ratepayers produce more electricity than they consume in a given year, they are paid a wholesale market price, which is less than the retail price, for that excess energy.

read more at: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/environment/sd-me-solar-roof-calculator-20170817-story.html

Selling a historic home – San Diego has several, here are some tips

frank lloyd

Overcoming a Recalcitrant Owner

Misty Brownell calls the sale of the Cooke House in Virginia Beach last November “the highlight of my 14-year career.” The 3,000-square-foot passive solar house, completed in 1960, included a 70-foot semicircular great room with a 40-foot sofa designed by the architect, a spa and sauna, and a bank of windows looking out on Crystal Lake. Her challenge was not the house, which was in great shape, or the location, also great, but the 91-year-old homeowner, who was ambivalent about letting it go.

The house had been on and off the market for about 15 years without receiving a single offer when Ms. Brownell, a Realtor with Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty, received the listing in March 2016. The owner had a magnificent art collection, and Ms. Brownell spent several months convincing him to put it in storage. “With a house of this magnitude, you really needed to remove all that stuff to see the house. This was the work of art,” Ms. Brownell said.

Having succeeded in her request, Ms. Brownell created a video to demonstrate what living in a Wright house might be like. And she did extensive research on the architect, and the market for his houses, which prompted her to lower the asking price to $2.75 million from $3.75 million.

read more at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/realestate/living-in-and-trying-to-sell-a-frank-lloyd-wright-house.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

disclaimer: for information and entertainment purposes only

Getting mortgage approval could be easier than you think

So what does it take to get approved for a mortgage to buy a house this summer, whether you’re a first-timer, planning to move up or downsize? Maybe not all that you think.

For most people, the key requirement is that you’ve got the right package of stuff — acceptable credit score, down payment, financial reserves, debt-to-income ratio — to get an acceptable grade from the automated underwriting systems or “black boxes” installed at the dominant investors in the market, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Though the intricate webs of algorithms and big data spun inside Fannie’s and Freddie’s black boxes are kept under tight security, we do get monthly read-outs on some of the characteristics of loans they’re approving.

For example, in June the average FICO credit score for home purchase loans at Fannie and Freddie was 754. That’s a big reach for millions of would-be buyers. It’s well above the national average FICO score of 700 and considerably higher than what was typical during much of the previous two decades. (FICO scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating lower risk of default.)

Debt-to-income ratios are another major factor hard-wired into the black boxes — and can be deal-breakers in mortgage applications that otherwise look pretty good. DTI refers to the ratio of your monthly credit-related expenses — including current rent, mortgage payments, credit cards, student loans and the like — compared with your monthly gross income. If you have $6,000 in income and $2,500 in total debt payments, your DTI is 42 percent.

Fannie’s and Freddie’s average DTIs look strict, but there’s actually more wiggle room for mortgage applicants this summer than any time in recent years. The average DTI for Fannie and Freddie during June was 39 percent. FHA, which tends to be more forgiving on debt matters, had average DTIs in June of 43 percent. But Fannie, Freddie and FHA recognize that even solid, creditworthy applicants can be carrying high debt loads in the current economy, and they are open to higher DTIs than the monthly statistics suggest. In an important policy change taking effect this month, Fannie raised its permissible maximum DTI to 50 percent. A study released last week by the Urban Institute predicts that this change alone could open the mortgage door to 95,000 additional homebuyers. That’s potentially a big splash.

read more at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-re-0730-kenneth-harney-20170725-column.html

Disclaimer: for information and entertainment purposes only