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Our mission at The Gresh Group is to be your best resource for real estate advice. Whether you are a buyer, seller, or investor, our team of professionals can answer any questions you might have about real estate. Subscribe to this blog to get the latest news on local market trends and receive expert tips for buying or selling a home.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

How to Keep Your Home Cool Without Cranking Up the A/C


Want to keep your home cool this summer without having to pay an arm and a leg in utility costs? Here are three alternative ways to cool your home.
Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

Temperatures are rising and so are your utility bills, courtesy of that big power hog: your air conditioner. If you want to cut down your cooling costs without having to crank up the A/C, here are three tricks you can try instead:

1. Fans and ice. You can easily make a DIY air conditioner, with nothing more than a box fan and some ice. Simply put the ice into a bowl and place it in front of the running fan. As the ice melts, it cools the air around it. The fan will then disperse that wonderfully cool air all around your home. 

Fans can do more than that, though. Another cooling trick is to run your ceiling fans counterclockwise—this will pull up the hot air, leaving you sitting in a cooler space. And installing a whole-house fan can literally pull out all the hot air from your home and siphon it up and out at minimal cost. 

2. Green cooling. Plants do a wonderful job absorbing sunshine and reducing the summer heat. If you're planning to stay in your home for a while, it might make sense to plant several deciduous trees on the south side of your home.  

Some of these will actually boost your home’s value.

Another option is several potted sunflowers, which grow quickly but have large leaves. Climbing vines or foliage on a trellis can keep the front of your home cool, while a green roof will both increase your comfort and reduce your energy bills year-round. 

3. A summertime schedule. For this natural trick, simply open up the windows in the early morning and shut them before you go to work. This will allow you to suck in some cool air and to keep out the hot air later in the day. For even better results, draw the shades during the day and consider getting heat-blocking blackout curtains.

These kinds of simple heat-busting tricks can be effective at reducing the heat during the summer months and lowering your energy bills by 30% to 50%.

Plus, small investments like planting a tree or installing a whole-house fan can also boost the value of your home. I bring this up because the summer is also when the real estate market gets hot. 

If you are ever in need of a trustworthy real estate agent, my doors are always open. If you have any questions or you are interested in buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to give me a call at 703-328-3434 or email me at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com. I would be happy to help you.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

3 Real Estate Scams You Need to Know About


There are three real estate scams I’ve become aware of recently that you need to know how to protect yourself against.
Selling your Greater Washington DC area home?
Buying an Greater Washington DC area home?

It can be a scary world out there. While the majority of people are good and honest, a few bad apples always try to take advantage of others.

Unfortunately, the real estate market is no different. Today I wanted to let you know about some real estate scams I've become aware of recently:

1. The mortgage closing scam. This scam is spreading across the country. It has become so prevalent that the FBI estimates it has led to over $1 billion in stolen or diverted funds in 2017 alone. It starts when hackers gain access to a real estate agent's email account. Then, when it's time to close a deal, the hackers, posing as the real estate agent, send instructions to the homebuyer on where to wire the money.

Of course, it is only after the buyer has sent thousands of dollars to an unknown bank account that the truth comes out—the real estate agent wasn't actually the one reaching out, and the buyer has been scammed.

2. Fake real estate lawyers. This scam is similar to the first one, in that the scammers will impersonate somebody legitimately involved with a deal. In this case, the hackers will impersonate a real estate lawyer who is associated with a particular home sale.  

Find a real estate agent you trust to represent your best interests.

3. The bait-and-switch. Unlike the first two scams, this scam targets sellers. It also doesn't require any hacking or impersonation—just a dishonest buyer. Here's how it works: A buyer makes an offer that's well above the listed price, the seller happily agrees, and the contract is signed.

But then, the buyer starts procrastinating, making excuses, and dragging out the process for months or even a year. In the meantime, the seller continues to pay costs for the home, and is getting more and more emotionally worn out. In the end, the unscrupulous buyer flatly says they can only buy the home at a lower price, usually under the listed price. And the seller, desperate by now, frequently agrees.

So, how can you protect yourself against these and other scams?

For one thing, avoid sending account information over email. Confirm everything over a phone call (to a number that you already know to be valid)—or even better, in person. And ultimately, find a real estate agent you trust to represent your best interests. 

If you are ever in need of a trustworthy real estate agent, my doors are always open. If you have any other questions or you are interested in buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to give me a call at 703-328-3434 or email me at Janet@TheGreshGroup.com. I would be happy to help you.