Category Archives: News

Coming Down to the Wire to Save on Green Home Upgrades

Tax credits for green upgrades expire soonWe are down to the last few days to save on taxes by purchasing energy-efficient upgrades, so don’t delay. The tax experts at the Equifax Finance Blog point out just what it takes to earn the

federal tax credits and offer more great tips, as well!

On December 31, the legislation that gives homeowners a federal tax credit expires so be sure to go out and purchase any energy efficient windows, water heaters, air conditioners, heat pumps and insulation before then. Many cities and states also offer tax credits to homeowners who make energy-efficient home improvements, such as dual-paned windows, solar-powered systems and tankless water heaters. Just like the federal tax credit, you don’t need have everything installed, but you do need to make the purchase before the year ends and let Uncle Sam finance your future energy savings.

These upgrades can make your home both look and feel better, but also save you on month–to-month upkeep and, if you are considering upgrades for putting your home on the market in 2014, can add to your curb appeal. After all, homebuyers love saving money and will value your investment to help them decrease energy costs. Best of all, upgrading now rather than waiting means you get to enjoy the savings, too!

The full article, “

Five Real Estate Tax Tips You Should Know Before 2014” has many more ways you can save on your 2014 taxes, but you better act fast! The Equifax Finance Blog has more information about how to go green and save green, as well as key information on credit scores, retirement planning, budget balancing and much more.

Atlanta Home Builder Caters To Growing Energy-Efficient Buyer Segment

homes for sale in Gwinnett CountyAccording to the latest Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors, homebuyers are thinking green when it comes to their new home purchase decision. This year’s top priorities for those purchasing a new home included heating and cooling costs, energy-efficient appliances and energy-efficient lighting.

Atlanta home builder Smith Douglas Communities has developed building practices that maximize energy performance for all of its homes. Green features of the builder’s metro Atlanta homes include two-zoned HVAC systems with thermostats for each floor (in two-story homes), low E windows, house wrap, steel insulated high efficiency front and rear doors, 50 gallon electric water heaters and high efficiency insulation.

In addition to building green, Smith Douglas also offers award-winning floor plans designed to meet the needs of today’s buyer. Each home is loaded with features and finishes such as granite countertops and vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms, while also offering buyers the opportunity to customize the plan to include additional layout options. Plus, each Smith Douglas home comes with a 2-10 Home Buyer’s Warranty for added peace of mind.

With more than five communities of Canton and Woodstock GA homes in Cherokee County and another 13 communities of metro Atlanta homes in Forsyth, Gwinnett, Henry and Paulding Counties, homebuyers are sure to find a location convenient to where they live, work and play, an additional key factor among buying decisions.

To learn more about Smith Douglas’ new homes and communities, call 770-485-7086.

Energy Efficient Homes Almost Sold Out in East Cobb

Energy Efficient Homes in AtlantaAshton Woods Homes’ Lassiter Ridge and Mabry Manor communities are almost sold out. Located in East Cobb, find a home convenient to everything!

Only three energy efficient homes in Atlanta remain at Lassiter Ridge. Priced from $599,900, one home features the Cambridge floor plan with 3,606 square feet, six bedrooms, five baths and a full finished basement. Additional features include wide plank hardwoods, guest retreat on the main and a gourmet kitchen. The kitchen boasts a large island, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, tile backsplash and a butler’s pantry. Also, the owner’s suite on the second level has a sitting room and his and her walk-in closets. Children residing in Lassiter Ridge will attend top ranked schools, such as Lassiter High. Continue reading

Year End Savings at Alderwood

Alderwood family roomAshton Woods Homes is happy to announce year end savings at Alderwood! Located at Roswell and Abernathy Road, purchase an energy-efficient home from this great community and receive $10,000 in FREE design options, a FREE move-in package and $3,500 in closing costs.*

One home, 433 Alderwood Street NW, features the Lenwood floor plan and is priced at $398,514. Interior appointments include a modern fireplace with stone surround, built-in bookshelves, cable railing, maple cabinets, custom island and stainless steel appliances. Upstairs, the master suite has rustic ceiling beams and a mega shower with dual showerheads in the master bath. Continue reading

Buy at Brookleigh Before It’s Too Late

Atlanta home at The Reserve at BrookleighAshton Woods Homes is proud to announce the opening of their Manchester model home at The Reserve at Brookleigh. With their townhomes priced from the mid $300,000s and single-family homes from the mid $500,000s, this community is expected to sell out soon.

The Manchester model home is sure to impress with its 3,084 square feet floor plan and spacious flowing layout. With a gourmet kitchen, formal dining room, built-in bookcases and access to the screened in deck, it’s no wonder people are falling in love with the homes at Brookleigh, but wait there’s more! The master is located on the main floor with a private bath and oversized walk-in closets. Upstairs, visitors will find three large bedrooms and a loft with endless possibilities. Downstairs is a finished basement with a media room and guest retreat. Impress your guests by buying at Brookleigh. Continue reading

Go Green and Get Help from Uncle Sam

Green upgrades on ranch homeWith winter fall and winter around the corner, much of the country will be looking at rougher weather as cold approaches and a real test of their home’s energy efficiency. Generally, costs of living rise and new problems are discovered, with everything from weight of leaves exposing roof leaks to frigid winds exposing airflow issues. This is why it’s an important time to look into efficiency upgrades, and as the new article on the

Equifax Finance Blog points out, you can enjoy savings on taxes and monthly utilities by choosing the right upgrades.

If you are looking for strictly efficiency upgrades, you can save up to $500 before the end of this year on replacing insulation, roofing and doors, or adding double-paned windows that meet specific energy standards and be accompanied by the manufacturer’s credit certification statement. You can receive a credit for 10 percent of the cost of the upgrades, up to the $500 limit. In other words, if you spend $5,000 on improvements, you can get $500 back with the Non-Business Energy Property Credit.

If you have bigger projects in mind, you can save more – up to 30 percent – on power systems that are environmentally-friendly. So if you are looking at installing a solar water heater, solar electric harvesters, wind turbines, geothermal equipment or similar modifications to your home, the Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit is for you. This one ends in 2016, so you have a little more time to take advantage of it and plan accordingly.

For more ways to save on taxes, take advantage of ways to improve with green building and avoid

identity theft, check the Equifax Finance Blog!

Live in Serenity: Provence in South Forsyth

ProvenceAshton Woods Homes’ latest community in South Forsyth is all about serenity. Starting with a setting of rolling hills and beautiful trees to amenities perfect for relaxing, Provence is all you want and more.

Each Atlanta new home at Provence is quality built and energy efficient. One home site will be move-in ready this December. Priced at $404,635, the home features the Brunswick floor plan with 3,007 square feet, five bedrooms and three baths. Interior appointments include a guest suite on the main floor, gourmet kitchen with island, family room with sunroom and two-sided fireplace and a master suite with his and her closets.

After a busy day, chill out by the pool or take a swing on the tennis courts. Don’t worry about your children either, they will attend the highly ranked schools of Shiloh Point Elementary, Piney Grove Middle and South Forsyth High. Continue reading

Infographic: Green Renovations That Pay for Themselves

Don’t want to go green because of the up-front costs? This insightful infographic from Digney York, interior renovation specialists for hotels and resorts, shows how the energy-efficient improvements in your home will pay for themselves and then some over time.
Green Renovations That Pay for Themselves (Infographic) - An Infographic from Digney York Associates, LLC

Outdoor Improvement Ideas from Equifax

Go green and enjoy the outdoors!You can embrace the outdoors and upgrade your home with lots of improvements to boost your home’s outdoors. We often forget about our home’s exterior when we think about home décor, but outdoor upgrades can bring years of enjoyment or improve your home’s attractiveness to buyers while still keeping in harmony with nature. A recent

Equifax Finance Blog article discusses popular outdoor upgrades.

  • Fire pits – enjoy the glow of an evening fire with a fire pit spring through fall; these can either be built-in and permanent or you can purchase a portable fire pit at a department or home improvement store

  • Outdoor kitchen – these can get upscale with a grill, sink, stove/oven, bar, refrigerator and more. An outdoor kitchen makes entertaining outdoors easier

  • Patio – kick your basic patio up a notch with a concrete pavers, which come in all kinds of sizes, shapes and colors and add a focal point with a paved walkway or fountain

  • Landscaping – planting trees or flowers is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to add beauty to your home; a colorful planter filled with seasonal flowers will add to your home’s curb appeal

  • Paint – touching up or repainting your home’s exterior will not only freshen up your home’s exteriors but it will also help protect your home from the elements

Get more home improvement tips at the Equifax Finance blog, including tons more helpful tips on real estate, as well as other personal finance topics, like retirement, taxes, insurance, credit and
identity theft protection.

Make Recycling a Part of Your Household’s Routine

recycling tipsWhen it comes to recycling, many people underestimate how much benefit the act of simply recycling everyday products on a regular basis could have. Here are my top five favorite facts when it comes to recycling and how you can help reduce our planet’s waste:

  1. Recycled Metal: The most important resources that should be recycled are the earth’s metals. One company devoted to this task is Brilliant Earth, a conflict-free diamond company specializing in diamond and engagement rings that works to reuse silver, gold and platinum. The recycling process includes refining the metal back to its pure elements before molding it into different objects. Not only do recycled metals put less of a demand on the earth’s resources, but they are also less harmful on the planet, making Brilliant Earth a valuable company in relationship with the earth’s environment.
  2. Recycled Shoes: Nike, one of the largest athletic brands in the world, offers a recycled shoe program that accepts donated shoes. They use the rubber from each pair to make playground turf, which ultimately eliminates waste and saves thousands of dollars. Nike also uses all organic materials for its items, making it a leading brand in society.
  3. Cell Phones: Cell phones last an average of two to three years, which means the used ones have the potential to accumulate quickly worldwide. Fortunately, they can be recycled by disassembling the phone and removing the battery; both parts can then be donated by dropping them off at computer or electronic recycler units.
  4. Plastic Bags: Plastic bags can be seen everywhere, from packaging to grocery store bags. For the average household, the material often accumulates rapidly, and adds thousands of pounds of extra waste at landfills. Instead of throwing your plastic bags away, consider donating them to local grocery stores, so that they can be reused and remade.
  5. 25 Million Trees Can Be Saved Each Year: Saving a total of 25 million trees a year is much easier than most people think. If every household recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, it would equate to this seemingly impossible number.

These few simple recycling habits are some of the easiest for households to acquire, and can largely contribute to solutions that will ultimately preserve the earth’s resources, making it a more habitable place to live for many generations to come.

Guest post written by Sophia Evans