Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How to take simple steps to green your home!

Below is a link to an articel about how to SIMPLY green your home!

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many different families to help them create more eco-friendly homes. More often than not, their first questions are “How can I install solar panels?” or “What are the best options for green countertops”? Very relevant and laudable questions to be sure, but ones with fairly expensive answers! While we at Low Impact Living help with questions like these, we also try to help people understand that they can make many simpler changes that protect the planet and save money - money that they can use to fund those larger projects.

Typically, we recommend that people make changes in a particular sequence. As an example, everyone wants a tankless or solar hot water heater. But if you install one before you install low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and Energy Star clotheswashers and dishwashers, you’ll likely be buying one that is 50-100% bigger and more expensive than what you truly need. So, we recommend a four-step process for greening a home:

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Fun Facts about Berkeley

Berkeley was started by Englishman Robert Jenkins who received a grant for 1,000 acres in this scenic area near the San Francisco Bay. For many years before it became industrialized Berkeley’s primary industry was farming and dairy. Today Berkeley is a multi-ethnic city that is often thought of as the center of the visual arts scene!

Berkeley was named after Englishman founder Robert Jenkins’ historic estate in the county of Gloucestershire, England.

Founder Robert Jenkins died in 1822 after falling from his horse. He was 45.
Berkeley is very compact and only takes up 18 square miles.

Almost half (40.94 percent) of Berkeley is water.

Berkeley is currently the fourth most populated city in Alameda County following Oakland, Fremont and Hayward.

In 1910 Berkeley was the fifth largest city in California.
Berkeley is home to the prestigious University of Berkeley, one of the first American universities to allow women to study with the men.

Berkeley has one of the highest rates of bicycle and pedestrian commuting in the United States.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dwindling Jumbo Loans

Sales of existing, single-family homes in the nine counties that touch the bay slid 41.3 percent, from 5,761 last year to 3,384 in October, the firm reported Thursday.

Although it was the 33rd month in a row of year-to-year sales declines, the market has been slammed in recent months by a tightening in the mortgage market, which is making home loans harder to come by and more expensive.

Of particular concern in the high-priced Bay Area housing market is that the number of jumbo loans, or those over $417,000, has slowed to a trickle. This summer, after higher defaults in the subprime sector - where mortgages were given to people with iffy credit - investors stopped buying jumbo mortgages, leading buyers to walk away from deals or avoid the market altogether.

"We don't have liquidity in the marketplace, and that's creating a drop in market value because people can't close on a purchase," said San Francisco mortgage broker Leon Huntting.

According to DataQuick's analysis, the number of homes purchased using jumbo loans tumbled 50 percent between July and October.

Price data show a bifurcated market, with decreases in many of the counties outside the region's urban core. For instance, in Solano County, the price for a detached home plunged nearly 18 percent; in Sonoma County, the median dropped nearly 12 percent.

On the flip side, prices in Santa Clara County and San Francisco were up 7.4 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively. Even in those submarkets, however, DataQuick analyst Andrew LePage and others say the picture is mixed. Sales at the higher end of the market are relatively brisk compared with the lower end, helping to draw the overall median higher.

For all existing homes in the Bay Area, the median paid in October was $685,000, up 3.8 percent from $660,000 in October 2006.

to read more go to: