Tesla to install world’s largest backup battery for LA

Tesla to install world’s largest backup battery for LA

General Articles of Interest

In the latest development to solidify Tesla’s position as more than just a luxury electric car maker, the California-based company has been chosen to produce a lithium ion battery solution to power the city of Los Angeles during peak energy times. Following the massive methane leak near L.A. last year that caused more environmental damage than the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, authorities demanded a peak time solution that would not carry such enormous health and environmental risks. Tesla will design and build exactly that solution at its new Gigafactory.

Nearly a year ago, one area just outside L.A. turned into a homeowner’s worst nightmare, after the nearby Aliso Canyon natural gas reservoir sprang a leak, sending 1.6 million pounds of methane into the atmosphere and displacing around 8,000 local residents. Methane spewed from the reservoir for months before workers finally declared the leak permanently sealed. In response to what has been called one of “the worst disasters in U.S. history,” the California Public Utilities Commission urged utility companies to come up with sustainable utility-scale energy solutions to supply power during peak times—and they wanted something that could be brought online by Dec. 31, 2016. Because battery power doesn’t require the vast infrastructure that water and gas pipelines do, Tesla became the choice provider. In fact, Tesla “was the only bidder awarded a utility-owned storage project out of the solicitation,” according to the company’s release….Via inhabitat.com

 

10 Unexpectedly Awesome Benefits Of Getting Older

10 Unexpectedly Awesome Benefits Of Getting Older

Lifestyle

Life has a depressingly simple trajectory. You’re born, you grow up, you spend a few years looking and feeling great and then you hit middle age and slowly sink into a quagmire of loneliness, despair, and terrible sex. Finally, you wind up sharing a care home with Grandpa Simpson and wondering why your kids don’t visit anymore.

 

At least, that’s the cynical view. But there’s a more positive way of seeing things. A way which suggests that aging is less of a slow decline and more of a doorway through which unexplored regions of awesomeness lie.

 

How many times have you caught a cold this year? As most of our readers are in the 18–35 range, we’re going to guess around three. That’s standard for young people. But our readers over 50 will have different answers. On average, they will have caught between one and two.

 

When we’re born, each new virus is like someone taking a sledgehammer to our immune systems. As we get older, our bodies get better at remembering certain invaders and fighting them off.

 

By the time we near 40, we’ve got a Facebook-sized directory of many of the bugs going around, with the result that we find it much harder to get sick in some ways. Of course, an older person’s immune system gets weaker in other ways, and serious illness can result from that. However, science has shown that everything from allergy symptoms to migraines declines as we enter late middle age.

 

As general rule, life satisfaction dips the longer you live. From age 18 to the mid-twenties, most people rate their own happiness as taking a sharp plunge before plateauing for a while and then plunging again when they approach 40. By middle age, most of us are at the lowest we’ve ever been in our lives.Then something unexpected happens. Things start to pick up. By 60, we’re as happy as we were at 18. By 70, the average person is more satisfied with his life than he’s ever been. read more at listverse.com

Here’s something you might want to know: 4 things that most overlook when moving.

Three Trends in the Seattle Housing Market to Keep an Eye On

Three Trends in the Seattle Housing Market to Keep an Eye On

Seattle Market

Ever since the 2008 recession in particular, Seattleites have been unsure as to how this market is shaping up. Thankfully, the market has largely been on the mend, as evidenced by three trends that have emerged since 2008: decreasing foreclosure rates, increasing home sales prices, and a buyer-friendly condo market. Quickly Dropping Foreclosure Rates Seattle area foreclosure rates have been dropping steadily, particularly within the last few years.

 

If you are interested in buying, selling or even upgrading property in the Seattle area, you may be wondering what to expect from the housing market. Ever since the 2008 recession in particular, Seattleites have been unsure as to how this market is shaping up. Thankfully, the market has largely been on the mend, as evidenced by three trends that have emerged since 2008: decreasing foreclosure rates, increasing home sales prices, and a buyer-friendly condo market.

 

Quickly Dropping Foreclosure Rates Seattle area foreclosure rates have been dropping steadily, particularly within the last few years. This shift is mirrored in many cities across the country, and is generally understood to indicate a strengthening economy. Lower foreclosure rates can also have a positive influence on property values, serving to increase sales prices in neighboring homes.

 

Increasing Sales Prices As the economy improves and foreclosure rates decrease, homes in the Seattle area are selling for higher prices. The median sales price of homes in Seattle has largely recovered from the 2008 recession, and continues to rise each year. This year, Seattle homes are valued at an average of six percent more than they were last year. For those seeking to sell their houses, this upward trend is a welcome change.

 

h/t bullocksbuzz.com

 

You Need to Recover from Your Expired Home Listing

You Need to Recover from Your Expired Home Listing

Home Seller's Tool Box

Everyone says selling your home is one of life’s great emotional rollercoasters. From making the leap to moving day, the process is one of surprises, anticipation, and (hopefully) celebration.  But what happens if your home doesn’t sell?

If your home’s been on the market for the length of your contract with your real estate agent and it hasn’t sold, your home is on its way to becoming “an expired listing. The sting of the experience lingers. How do you move on from an expired listing? Here are some tips to learn and even grow from the experience:

1. Admit it happened and acknowledge it’s not uncommon. It can be tough to tell people that your home didn’t sell. But you’re not alone. It happens often and it happens for a variety of reasons. Many factors influence this, but if you’re going to make your next move, you have to be open to learning what you can from the heartbreak.

2. Look for lessons, but avoid blame. The number one reason homes don’t sell is a failure to price accurately. This isn’t your fault and it isn’t your agent’s fault… it’s a shared responsibility. Did you feel a price was one you “had to get”? Did your agent fail to present a compelling case for an accurate price? Were there other factors besides price you should consider as part of the whole package?

3. Abandon worrying about what is beyond your control. If you’re selling in a buyer’s market, there’s nothing you can do about it. If the market crashes, or they discover pesticides in your neighborhood’s water system and values plummet, you aren’t responsible and shouldn’t feel the burden of guilt or anxiety. It’s not easy, but sort through what’s truly not your fault and try to distance yourself from those factors.

4. Decide on what you can do next. Review your agent’s approach to selling and your comfort with the relationship. Was there enough communication? Do you feel the home was marketed to the standards of the market? Did you do all you could to make the house welcoming to buyers? Were there curb appeal issues you might want to resolve? Do you want to try again, or should you take a break?

5. Act on your next steps. Decide if you’d like to keep your agent or find a new one. If you move on, take your lessons with you, but don’t demonize the past. Accept, forgive, and get back to the dream!

Listing expired? I can help.

read more at activerain.com

9 More Things You Can Make Instead of Buy

9 More Things You Can Make Instead of Buy

DYI Projects

We’re here with nine more suggestions of things around the house you could save money on in the long-run by DIYing.

1. Curtains If you want incredibly heavy, huge and intricate curtains — well you might be better off finding a deal to buy if you’re not particularly DIY-inclined. But, consider a DIY set of curtains before you press “purchase,” as many options exist for making your own, oftentimes for much less than you could purchase them. Try these ideas: Making Your Own Curtains: Easy Instructions from Across the Web.

2. Patterned fabric. There are a ton of beautiful, colorful, patterned fabrics out there just waiting to be made into curtains, pillows, sheets and more. But you know what? Some of them can cost a pretty penny. If you’ve got the DIY inclinations, try making your own patterns for your DIY textile projects. You could make your own mudcloth, stencil on fabric or even stamp your sheets, for example.

3. Gifts They not only cost less, but handmade gifts often mean more to both the gift giver and gift receiver. Some ideas here.

4. Toys Since a kid’s tastes change pretty rapidly, you can save money by DIYing toys to keep their attention. Try these: 10 Darling DIY Toys that You Still Have Time to Make!

5. Granola Granola can be made in bulk, just to your liking and easily at home. Why do I keep buying it? Try this great make-at-home recipe before buying your next batch of granola: How To Make the Best Granola.

I do this all the time, takes me about 30 minutes using bulk food from Central Market. Much better than store bought and with fewer calories. Can’t make enough of it to keep up with demand.

6. Floating shelves/wall hooks Need some stylish shelves and extra storage? Make your own, pretty easily! DIY Shelves: 5 Sleek DIY Shelf Storage Projects Under $50.

7. Frames for art It doesn’t always make sense to DIY your own frames for art — you can often find deals on frames for smaller pieces of art with a little bit of searching — but oversize large pieces or oddly-sized and shaped pieces could cost you a lot of money to have professional framed. Consider the price of making your own, instead. How to Build a Custom DIY Floating Frame for Artwork, DIY Ideas for Framing Large Artwork and How To Make a Magnetic DIY Frame for Artwork…in 10 Minutes are great ideas.

8. Candles Why buy a pricey candle when you can make a cute and fragrant one from a clementine? How To: Make a Clementine Candle.

9. Hummus I always forget to make hummus, and then spend a lot of money buying it pre-made from the store (because I love and eat a lot of hummus). But you can make this tasty and healthy dish at home easily — and make a lot of it at a time to save and store for snacking later. This Tasty recipe is a good place to start: How To Make Hummus from Scratch-4 Ways.

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

How to Survive a Seller’s Market

Home Buyers Tool Box

House hunting is challenging enough at any time; shopping during a seller’s market is a whole new level of difficulty—and that’s what would-be buyers are seeing across the country. The supply of homes is low in this seller’s market, demand is high, and seller’s are in control. If you’re not careful, you’ll be left drying your eyes with the broken shards of your rejected bid. Sound painful?

 

It is. So you’d best bring your A-game, or don’t bother showing up at all. Check out the seller’s market survival tips below to stand out from the competition and get the edge. Even though you may hear you’re in a seller’s market, where’s the proof? While the market varies based on where you live, you can watch for these two red flags:

 

Look through our listings for your area. If the majority of houses have been sitting on the market for more than six months, it’s not a seller’s market. But if only those ultraluxe properties have been on the market for over a few months, that indicates houses are getting snatched up quickly.

 

To succeed in a seller’s market, you have to make house hunting a priority—not just something you fit in here and there on the weekends if you have nothing better to do.

 

Treat house hunting as if you were looking foe a job. Scour listings regularly, and if someone calls about a viewing, head in at their earliest convenience—not your own—and follow up promptly if you feel it’s a fit. In hot markets, talk is cheap—especially if it’s a buyer swearing he has plenty of money for a down payment or will have no problem getting a mortgage.

 

The way to be taken seriously is to show up with hard evidence in hand these claims are true: a mortgage pre-approval letter, plus a “proof of funds” form from your bank showing you have enough to cover the down payment. That way, the seller knows you can put your money where your mouth is.

 

Typically, when home buyers make an offer, they do so only with contingencies. For instance, they’ll buy the home if the inspection goes well or if they can secure financing. But in a seller’s market, it may behoove you to drop one or two of these caveats to stand out to sellers, who generally would prefer as few hurdles on the way to closing as possible.

 

Check out our fear factor guide on which contingencies you should consider ditching and which you should keep at all costs. For instance, if your credit history is spotless and you’re all but guaranteed to get a home loan, waiving the financing contingency may not be a big deal. But it can be far dicier to waive the inspection (what if the house has major flaws?) or a title contingency (what if there’s a lien or back taxes on the home that now must be paid by you?).

 

Consult with your Realtor®, too, about what’s worth the risk. In your typical home-selling scenario, buyers make an offer below the seller’s asking price, then negotiate upward from there. But in a seller’s market, “often there is little to no room for price negotiations,” says Ralph Modica of the Modica Team at Compass in New York City. In fact, if there are multiple bids, you could end up paying well over asking.

 

So how high should you go? Don’t waste your time lowballing a seller. Always put in an aggressive offer. At the same time, you don’t want to blow your budget to smithereens—remember, you’ll still need to make those monthly mortgage payments. “It must be a decision that the buyer feels very comfortable making,” Modica advises. Bid strong, but don’t overextend yourself financially. In seller’s markets, it’s not unusual to feel outpriced in your favorite neighborhood.

 

But that may merely mean you need to start scouting farther afield—like, say, in an up-and-coming neighborhood nearby. “Sometimes properties sit, even in a seller’s market, because of a problem that is scaring other buyers away,” Malmberg says. Yet those “flaws” (e.g., an extra five-minute drive from school or some renovation work that needs to be done) might not be such a big deal to you. While such houses may not be ideal for all, “finding a house this way can also cut down on the amount of competition you will face.” And that means you hold a few more cards—a welcome change in a seller’s market. read more at realtor.com

Are You A Do It Yourself Home Buyer? | 10 Tips You Should Know

Are You A Do It Yourself Home Buyer? | 10 Tips You Should Know

Home Seller's Tool Box

So if you want to be a home buying do it yourselfer, there are some things you need to know. 

Maybe you don’t think real estate agents serve a useful purpose, just collecting big checks for opening a few doors and pushing some paper around.  There’s a lot more to it than that and a great real estate agent will more than earn their commission check, it’s totally your right to forge your own path. So if you want to be a home buying do it yourselfer:

Here are 10 tips you need to know.

1.  The listing agent for a home works for the SELLER, not you!  Odds are there’s no better deal for going without an agent and because the agent does this dozens of times a year and probably has for years, their experience is most likely going to trump your negotiating skills.  Not trying to be rude, it’s just the way things are.

2.  A For Sale By Owner (FSBO) home seller doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.  For instance, the requirements to fill out and provide a copy of the Residential Property Disclosures and a Lead Disclosure.  And don’t assume they priced their home lower because they don’t have a listing agent to pay.  In general, they’ll actually price HIGHER than the general market going rate for homes listed with an agent.

3.  Builder’s reps work for the builder.  It’s another version of point 1.  The builder’s rep can ONLY sell you homes from their builder. Even if a builder a 1/4 mile away actually has the PERFECT home for you.

4.  Get a home inspection.  Always get a home inspection.  Please get a home inspection.  Get the point??

5.  Be prepared for a fight, if you’re working with a FSBO seller.  We’ve seen people act like they’re your best friend as long as things are smooth. Then turn into a junkyard dog when things go the least bit sideways.

6.  Choose wisely.  The further from the mainstream you get, the more likely it will be a challenge to sell.

7.  Get pre-approved, always.  Having your financial ducks in a row before you start is critical.

8.  Understand the paperwork. Whatever contract you use, KNOW it, because it is legally binding and the other side isn’t interested in any phrase that starts with “I thought…”.  Hiring a real estate attorney if you refuse to hire an agent just might save your bacon and your checkbook.

9.  Know the neighborhood and understand the factors of pricing.  A change from one side of the street to another might literally mean tens of thousands of dollars in price difference.

10.  Be wary of online information.  Whether it’s an article written by some NYC journalist that’s never bought a home in suburbia, or a website providing estimates of value, info. on the InterNet can be totally whacked!  That syndication site might grab the nearest school, but NOT the school that actually serves the home.  This is where expertise can REALLY pay off.  And bonus tip?  “Reality” TV about home buying and selling is so far from the truth it might as well be in orbit around Jupiter.

11.  We’re not telling you EVERYTHING we know about buying real estate or we’d be here for days.  If you go solo, know it comes with risks.  Contact me if you need help, I will take care of items 1 through 10 and a whole lot more.

There is more here.

6 Facts About Caregiving That Will Make You Cringe

6 Facts About Caregiving That Will Make You Cringe

Boomer Consumer

There are 34 million family caregivers in the U.S. and more joining their ranks daily as the population ages. Caring.com has released findings from its annual study on the state of caregiving. Using that and a few other sources, here’s what we found to be the most cringe-worthy facts.

 

Caregivers who get to go home to their own home each night are much luckier than those for whom this option does not exist. Housing arrangements kind of divide the world of caregivers into the haves and have-nots ― the have-nots being the group that cannot escape their responsibilities for even a minute because they live under the same roof with them. Some lucky caregivers get to go home to their own space after care giving. They can lock the door behind them, shut out what they want to shut out.

 

But most family caregivers don’t get to do this. Almost 60 percent of the family caregivers surveyed by Caring.com live with the person for whom they are caring. More than half of them (56 percent) are their spouses ― which is a whole other ballgame (see next item). A quarter (25 percent) said their loved one ― a parent or in-law ― moved in with them.

Read more…

Tips For Buying Your First Home

Tips For Buying Your First Home

Home Buyer

Buying Guide

  1. Is this a home you can grow into?

Do all the rooms fit your furniture? Do you have an extra bedroom for the future if you need it? Do you have an extra bathroom if another family member decides to live with you? Or that teenager decides they need their privacy? Is the yard big enough for your needs? For a playground, picnic area or pool in the future?

  1. Are you going to be happy in the neighborhood long term?

Does the neighborhood have the amenities you are looking for. Are you as close to the grocery store, major roads and restaurants as you want to be? Does the neighborhood fall in a good school district and low crime area? These are going to be your concerns as you are living in the house for the next 5 – 10 years. Get you answer now to save you a move in the future.

  1. What are the carrying cost of the home?

Is the house newer and won’t need maintenance and repair for a while? Or is it an older home that might need roof repair, windows, hvac repair and new appliances in a couple years? Are you willing to accept the future cost of an older home?

We do want to state that not all old homes need work.

Some of the most solid homes for sale are well maintained older homes. The quality of craftsmanship and material found in some of these homes are not seen today. So you should consider older homes if you are looking for:

  • a more mature neighborhood
  • larger yards
  • charm
  1. Will you be needing a bigger garage in the future?

Do you have a child that will be of driving age soon. Does the house have a garage that will accommodate everyone’s car? If not are you willing to leave a car in the driveway? And if so will the HOA allow it?

Items to overlook when home shopping:

  1. Easy Cosmetic Fixes

Don’t like the wall color? Don’t worry. Painting the walls is one of the easiest fixes you can do. That is because you can do it yourself if you want.

  • Your dream home has shag carpet. Still not a big deal. Change the flooring. Save up if you have to. But this is still an easy fix.
  • What is that popcorn on the ceiling? Not a problem either. You can have that removed.

FYI: Just so you know a not easy fix would be like adding a bathroom or a room.

  1. Ugly Kitchen Appliances

Again this is something you can change out. Unfortunately, it might not be cheap. But you can save up and make the change.

  1. Lack of Curb Appeal

That is ok. I sure you have seen one of the real estate property flipping shows on HGTV. It can be fixed with:

  • some landscaping
  • new exterior fixtures
  • a new door color
  • exterior architectural shutters
  • pavers

Home Buying Checklist | What to Look for

How You Find the Best Home-4 Tips for Home Shopping

How You Find the Best Home-4 Tips for Home Shopping

Home Buyer

Buying a home can be one of the most exciting and terrifying experiences of a lifetime. It can be thrilling trying to find your dream home but stressful when all you can afford are wrecks.

Purchasing a home you hate isn’t the solution. Neither is buying beyond your means and living in debt. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to find a supply of homes in your price range.

  1. Write Down Your Housing Wants and Needs

The key to finding an affordable home is to re-prioritize your list of demands. Write down everything that you can visualize in your dream home, from a finished basement to a gourmet kitchen. Then go through the list and separate the wants from the needs.

Your needs are those features which are essential to your daily life. You might need a minimum of two washrooms to accommodate you and your teenage daughter, or you might need a four-bedroom home with space for a large family. Your search requirements for a home should be your list of needs, since you cannot compromise on these essential features.

Your wants are those bonus features that you have always wished for in a home. Wants can vary from a pool to a spa like bathroom to an enormous walk-in closet. These things may make life more enjoyable, but they are not essential to your everyday life.

Overspending on a house just to attain a few of your wants can lead to years of financial difficulties. An affordable mortgage is more important than any want on your list. Before you reject a house because it doesn’t meet some of your criteria, ask yourself if it meets all of your needs. You might find dozens of homes out there that do.

  1. Consider Up and Coming Areas for Better Home Value

Expanding your search area and compromising on location may lead to a choice of affordable homes. Areas that are close to highways, transportation and amenities are in high demand, and homes here will always be overpriced. The further a home is from these conveniences, the lower the price. By expanding your search area outside the high demand areas, you will find a home that suits your budget.

Also, consider searching in transition neighborhoods. These developing areas lack the infrastructure and amenities of established areas, so prices are often much more affordable.

New construction often signals a neighborhood where house prices will start to rise – look for new schools, shopping centers and offices. Buying a home in these areas before house prices start to rise is a wise investment; once purchased, your home value will increase with each new service built in your neighborhood.

  1. Still Can’t Find What You Are Looking For In A Home?

If every house on the market is beyond your budget, it may be best to put your home search on hold. Well-priced homes are among the first houses to sell, so you need to allow time for more deals to come onto the market. Meanwhile, continue to do your research.

Search MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and the real estate listings in the local paper, and consult with your real estate agent. You should be looking for trends. If, on average, house prices are decreasing, then waiting a few months may bring a majority of homes into your ideal price range. If prices are increasing, you need to start searching aggressively. That means viewing every property within your budget.

While you wait, continue to save money for the down payment. The larger your down payment, the higher your budget and the more homes you can afford.

But remember when you see that home that works, snatch it up! Chances are if you like it today, someone might of looked it at it yesterday and just submitted that offer. Good homes still move no matter the market.

  1. This Isn’t Your Final Home. Be Willing to Start Small.

It is easy to get discouraged when searching for a home on a budget. Visions of dream homes are soon replaced by the reality of small and dated houses. But you are buying not just a home, but an investment. When money becomes available, you can upgrade your home and turn it into your very own dream home, all the while increasing the potential return on your investment. View these small and dated homes as a stepping stone to your very own dream home, and you will find a property you can both love and afford.

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