Tesla takes next step in solar energy revolution, unveils new solar panels | HousingWire

Tesla, which got into the solar energy business last year with the acquisition of SolarCity, is taking the next step in its plan to revolutionize the acquisition, storage, and use of solar energy with the introduction of its own version of solar panels. What does it mean for the solar energy business? And what does it mean for the mortgage business?

Tesla, which got into the solar energy business last year with the acquisition of SolarCity, is taking the next step in its plan to revolutionize the acquisition, storage, and use of solar energy with the introduction of its own version of solar panels.

Over the weekend, Tesla unveiled its solar panel design. The unveiling came without fanfare, but was noticed by Electrek, a tech website.

In a post on Electrek, Fred Lambert lays out the details of Tesla’s solar panels, which appear on the company’s website under the “Energy” section alongside Tesla’s home battery, the Powerwall, and the company’s solar roof, which is a roof made entirely of solar roof tiles.

Here’s Lambert on the details of Tesla’s solar panels:

The new panels are part of Tesla’s deal with Panasonic at the ‘Gigafactory 2’ in Buffalo. They will be manufactured by Panasonic at Tesla’s factory for Tesla’s exclusive use. They don’t plan to make them available to third-party installers or individuals.

As of now and since before the acquisition by Tesla, SolarCity, like most solar installers, used solar panels from several different suppliers for its residential and commercial projects, but that’s about to change.

Tesla told Electrek that once the new Panasonic module will go into production at Gigafactory 2 this summer, they will be used for all new residential projects going forward.

The idea here is pretty clear: Tesla is trying to upend and reshape the entire solar energy business.

Until now, solar panels came with a hefty price tag, which is often rolled into a lien on the home. In some states, solar panel liens are given super priority status over first mortgage loans – a practice that the mortgage business is not a fan of.

In fact, as HousingWire reported last week, there is currently an effort in Congress to change the rules surrounding loans created by the Property Assessed Clean Energy program.

The loans, also called PACE loans, allow homeowners to obtain financing to make improvements to their homes to increase the home’s energy efficiency. PACE loans are often used to add solar panels to a home.

But Tesla’s solar panels appear to be different than your father’s solar panels.

According to Tesla’s website, the solar panels have a “sleek, low-profile design” and “blend into your roof with integrated front skirts and no visible mounting hardware.”

The result, according to Tesla, is a “clean, streamlined look.”

The panels also boast “seamless integration” into Tesla’s home battery, the Powerwall.

From Tesla’s website:

Powerwall charges with energy produced by solar panels, making that energy available when needed, day or night. Powerwall also enables your solar panels to produce energy during grid outages.

Combine that with Tesla’s solar roof, which is literally a roof made of solar panels, although the panels are much smaller than traditional solar panels and resemble traditional roof tiles, and one can see Tesla’s goal – full energy independence for the homeowner.

Install your Tesla-branded solar roof or solar panels, store the energy in your Tesla home battery, and power your entire home. No more electric bills. Living off the grid, so to speak.

One catch though, and it’s a big one. There are no details on the cost of Tesla’s solar panels, at least as of yet, but the company claims its solar roof, which is scheduled to go into production later this year, will be on par with traditional roofing materials (once you factor in the utility savings).

A few years ago, Nautilus Solar CEO Jim Rice told HousingWire that the demand for solar panels is increasing and soon homeowners may be able to own solar systems.

That seems to be Tesla’s goal here, from a business perspective. Build a solar system that eventually becomes affordable enough for broad adoption.

Surely, the mortgage business would appreciate it if energy improvements could be funded out of pocket rather than through a loan.

Whether or not that’s actually going to happen is an entirely different question. Stay tuned.

Source: Tesla takes next step in solar energy revolution, unveils new solar panels | HousingWire

Buyer May Wish to Reconsider Lengthy BINSR Repair List – Arizona REALTOR® Voice

One of the steps of owning a home is the Inspection.  Here is a number of thoughts on the end of the inspection process when
the Buyer asks the Seller to make repairs. – Tim

By way of the Arizona REALTORS® Residential Buyer’s Inspection Notice and Seller’s Response (BINSR), the buyer can choose to provide the seller with an opportunity to correct identified items of which the buyer disapproves. In considering this verbiage, it should be noted that the term “correct” is akin to “fix” or “repair.”

Determining which items the seller is asked to correct by way of the BINSR lies exclusively with the buyer.

Nonetheless, before the buyer proceeds to convey ill-conceived demands, it may be appropriate for their REALTOR® to provide them with information of the nature set forth below that can assist the buyer in this process.

    • The buyer is not purchasing a new home and, consequently, it is unreasonable to expect or demand that the home be in the same condition as a new build.

  • It is the buyer’s obligation to perform all desired inspections. The buyer, by way of the BINSR, should therefore avoid asking the seller to perform further inspections of the property.
  • In completing the BINSR, the buyer should not merely restate the home inspector’s recommendations. For example, it would be pointless for a BINSR to state “Home inspector recommends that dryer vents be cleaned every five years.” By way of such a statement, the buyer has not identified a condition or item of which they disapprove.
  • Requests for upgrades are inappropriate. The BINSR is the buyer’s opportunity to request that disapproved items be corrected, not ask for the home to be remodeled. So if the inspection report were to note that a portion of the carpet is fraying, the BINSR should not be used to request the installation of hardwood floors throughout the home.
  • Although the buyer is free to identify on the BINSR whatever items they choose, in doing so they should be mindful of the condition of the item and the cost the seller will incur in addressing the issue.
    /uploads/2017/03/Repair-3.jpg” alt=”” width=”189″ height=”210″ /> For example, a home inspector may note on the inspection report that the air-conditioning unit is nearing the end of its useful life. Such a remark may tempt the buyer to ask that the air-conditioning unit be replaced. However, the air-conditioning unit is currently in working condition and the cost to install a new unit is substantial. It is therefore possible that the seller will be put off by such a request and deem it unreasonable.
  • The buyer should consider the nature of the market before completing the BINSR. In the event of a “seller’s market,” or when a property is highly sought after and has received numerous offers, it is unlikely that the seller will agree to a lengthy list of repairs.

While the REALTOR® cannot control or dictate the manner in which the BINSR is completed, they can share information with their buyer to help manage the buyer’s expectations.

Since excessive and unrealistic BINSR demands often prove counterproductive, taking the time to educate buyers as to what’s customary throughout the industry is likely time well spent.


Scott Drucker Scott M. Drucker, Esq., a licensed Arizona attorney, is General Counsel for the Arizona REALTORS® and serves as primary legal advisor to the association. This article is of a general nature and reflects only the opinion of the author at the time it was drafted. It is not intended as definitive legal advice, and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.

Source: Buyer May Wish to Reconsider Lengthy BINSR Repair List – Arizona REALTOR® Voice · Arizona REALTOR® Voice

How to Decide If Your Dream Home is a Good Deal | RISMedia’s Housecall

By Jessica Thiefels

It’s an amazing neighborhood, the price is right, but is the house your dream home? That’s the ultimate question and there’s no one correct answer or even a single way to determine that.

Ultimately, a mix of listening to your emotions and turning to the facts will help you paint a clear picture of what life would be like in this new house. Below are a few tips for determining if the home you really like is the one that you’ll love forever.

Listen to Yourself—Literally

The way you react when you see and walk through the home is an important indicator of how you feel about the home. Pat Trainor, a REALTOR® in Blue Ridge, Ga. told Forbes that he knows a house is a good fit when people start talking about furniture as they’re touring the house.

“I believe that most buyers form an impression in the first few seconds after they walk into a house. Is this a happy house? Or does it depress me? Notice how you respond—and trust your reactions,” explains Trainor.

If you’re looking at a number of houses, jot down what you felt as you walked through immediately after you leave. These notes will be helpful as you look back and compare emotions with features, needs-met, etc.

Ask Yourself: How much of my “priority list” is compromised?

You have a list of non-negotiable items going into the house-hunting process. From number of rooms to floor plan, how many items can you check off your list? If you find that you’re compromising on more than half of the items that matter most to you, it may not be your dream home—even if you love the style or location.

Laura Gummerman explains that it’s important to make sure you’re not confusing must-haves with preferences as well. She shares her experience with this “mental negotiation” process:

“Decide which things are preferences vs. needs on your list as well. For example, I loved the vaulted ceilings we had at our last house and really wanted to have them in our next space as well. I kept trying to hold out for tall ceilings, but the house that fit our top priorities was actually a mid-century ranch. No vaulted ceilings anywhere. I had to realize that what was a ‘need’ was actually more of a ‘want’ and just switch my visual expectations a bit to get the things that really mattered most.”

Turn to the Data

Buying a home is emotional—stressful, frustrating, exciting, scary, and more, all at once. When deciding if a potential house is your dream home, it’s important not to get too wrapped up in the emotion and take time to check out the data. You can’t deny the facts and the following tools will help you get them.

How will the home appreciate? Use this home appreciation tool to see how much it will appreciate based on the listing price.

Is the home accessible? What’s the Walk Score of the home? If you want to be close to stores, retailers, restaurants and parks, look for a Walk Score of 70 or above.

Is the house over-priced? Use this Home Value Estimator tool to get five value estimates from leading sources, like Zillow. Is the house priced appropriately?

Is the area loud? Get the Soundscore of your potential dream home—the heat mapping technology will allow you to see how loud or quiet the area is.

Learn More About The Community

Whether you’re a single homeowner or a family of four, the community surrounding your home will be a big part of your life. As such, you need to know as much about it as possible. Start to learn by doing research. Look up everything that’s most important to you, including:

  • Crime rates
  • School quality and availability
  • Public transportation—school buses too; Do they come to the neighborhood to pick up the kids?
  • Commute to work—Is there a lot of traffic in the morning or at night?

Finding your dream home isn’t easy, but when you tune into your emotions, check out facts and stay true to your list of needs, the process is easier. Use these tips to make the best decision and find the home you’ll love forever.

Source: How to Decide If Your Dream Home is a Good Deal | RISMedia’s Housecall

10 Easy Improvements to Make on Your Fixer Upper

By Cary Teller – RIS Media

There is something awesome about buying a fixer upper and doing the renovations yourself. Some people fix them up a bit at a time, using cash as they have it available. If you want to make a big impact by doing small things, here are 10 things you need to include.

1. Change Out the Lighting

Nothing says outdated like an old-fashioned gold chandelier. Lighting is something that can be updated easily and won’t cost a bunch of money. It is one of the smallest things you can do that will have the biggest impact.

2. Paint

There is an old saying that states “if a barn needs to be painted, slap some paint on it.” You will be amazed at what some paint can do to your home. A new hue can cover imperfections and give the room the blast of color it needs. Forget drab, white walls that are lackluster. Give your home a color makeover.

3. New Fixtures

Just like the lighting, the fixtures in the home become outdated quickly. Start with the kitchen faucet and then move on to the bathroom. You can update and upgrade a fixer upper by just adding these small touches.

4. Paint Cabinets/Add New Hardware

If you have new cabinets in the budget, then you should go for it. However, if your budget is limited, then you may want to try to paint them. Painting old cabinets and installing new hardware will give the kitchen a facelift. If the cabinets are old but sturdy, then you can bring them back to life. Painting is inexpensive and has a huge impact.

5. Rip Out Old Carpeting

Carpet is great when it is new; however, when it is old and dingy, it can really have a negative impact on a space. Hardwoods are the best option, followed by laminate floors. However, if you are stretched for money, you may try a bag floor or a penny style one. There are creative options online that allow you to do great things with your floors for less.

6. Add Curb Appeal

The curb appeal of the home is everything. It does not matter how great the inside looks if the outside is in shambles. Clean up any dead plants and add some new. Be sure to pick flowers and shrubs that bloom at different times. This will allow you to have color year-round. Add some shutters and a fresh coat of paint to the porch. Use decorative numbers to display the address. Finally, replace the mailbox if necessary.

7. Repaint Ceilings

Ceilings are often overlooked. They are usually white and the color is reserved for the walls. However, people do not realize how dirty these ceilings can be. A fresh coat of paint on the ceiling can really enhance the whole room. The walls are not the only thing that needs to be painted.

8. Upgrade the Exterior Façade

The biggest impact you can have on the outside of a home is to replace or paint siding. If you have it in the budget, you can add brick and stone accents. Most fixer upper homes have chipping paint and worn out siding. Splurge for some nice siding or paint a great color to update the home’s look.

9. Replace the Windows

New windows are expensive, but they are important. If you have old windows in your home, you need to spend the money to upgrade them. Windows are great for keeping the elements at bay. You will save yourself money in the long run by sealing off old-drafty openings.

10. Update the Heating and Cooling Unit

To help the process of heating and cooling a home, you need to make sure the home has an updated HVAC unit. The air filters are just as important as the unit. Filters with a rating of Merv 11, have “astro pleating” to help ensure no dirt or dust gets into your system. Extend the livelihood of your unit by selecting quality air filters.

The Truth about the FED and Mortgage Rates! – TheREsource.tv

3 1/2 fantastic minutes that tell you how Mortgage Rates are affected by the FED decisions.

Source: The Truth about the FED and Mortgage Rates! – TheREsource.tv

Latest MLS Statistics for the Phoenix Market

The Phoenix Area Selling Season is in Full Swing!

Check out these statistics, and be sure to see the chart in the commentary.


12 Smart Home Gadgets That Make Great Housewarming Gifts | RISMedia’s Housecall

Looking for a housewarming gift for a new homeowner? Consider a smart home gadget that can change their lives for the better. Here are a few options.

By Jonathan Deesing

So your friend, coworker or daughter just purchased their first home and you want to honor the occasion with a housewarming gift—but the options seem limited. If you don’t want to be that person who gives yet another blender or bottle of wine you should give them something a bit more original and, preferably, a lot more functional.

Smart home gadgets fit the bill perfectly. The twelve home automation products below are organized into four demographics, but most of these gifts would surely delight any new homeowner.

The Working Professional or Parent

Belkin WeMo Switch Smart Plug

You won’t spend a lot of money on the Belkin WeMo Switch Smart Plug, but it will deliver a powerful punch. When homeowners plug it into an outlet and connect a coffeepot or other appliance, they can turn the appliance on or off from anywhere at any time. They can also connect the lights to the plug to easily set schedules and synchronizations.

Beddi Smart Alarm Clock

The Beddi Smart Alarm Clock claims almost unbelievable functionality. Its compact design features two Bluetooth speakers with a Spotify Premium integration, a white noise generator to lull a homeowner to sleep, and two charging ports. It also boasts three customizable buttons that homeowners can use to control other devices, such as an overhead light, fan or the aforementioned coffeepot.

ECOVACS Automatic Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

If your homeowner has young kids, you know the floors rarely stay clean for long. Things like Cheerios leave a trail across a room and, if not picked up quickly, are soon crushed into the carpet or pounded into the wood floor. The ECOVACS Automatic Robotic Vacuum Cleaner takes care of cleaning catastrophes by regularly sweeping the home for stray cereal and any other lingering materials. It comes in under $200 on Amazon, so it won’t put you in the red if purchased as a housewarming gift.

Related: 5 Ways to Turn Your Home into a Smart Home

The Eco-Friendly Penny-Pincher

Holmes Smart Wi-Fi-Enabled WeMo Air Purifier

The “WeMo” name gives away the secret, but this gem of an air purifier integrates seamlessly with the Belkin WeMo line. Your homeowner simply opens the app to check or adjust settings from anywhere. Besides providing cleaner air, the Holmes Smart Wi-Fi-Enabled WeMo Air Purifier issues alerts when it needs to be cleaned or requires a new filter.

Nest Thermostat

Nest reigns in the smart thermostat market, although the ecobee3 brings some stiff competition. The Nest Thermostat appears here because it, like the Holmes air purifier, works with the Belkin WeMo Switch Smart Plug. If these products are used together, the home “knows” when the homeowner gets home at night and responds accordingly by automatically turning the lights on or adjusting the temperature.

Philips Hue Starter Kit

Philips Hue offers colored and white smart lightbulbs. You can’t go wrong with either, but you should start with the white bulbs if you’re looking for a basic solution. The Philips Hue White Starter Kit comes with two LED bulbs and a bridge. Keep in mind that without the bridge, the bulbs won’t connect with Amazon Alexa or any other home automation hub.

The Concerned Citizen

August Smart Lock

The August Smart Lock turns smartphones into house keys. It sounds fancy, but it also improves safety and security. With the August Smart Lock, your homeowner won’t worry about losing a key during a run at the park. They also won’t be concerned with who can get inside the home—the smart lock allows users to control who has access and to monitor activity via the mobile app.

Nest Camera

For indoor surveillance, you can’t go wrong with the Nest Camera. The camera allows homeowners to check on anything from kids to a mischievous puppy at any time and from any place. It also sends alerts when it notices strange activity, prompting the homeowner to view the live video and make sure everything is all right.

ADT Pulse

A home is a big purchase, and it deserves to be protected. ADT Pulse provides that protection along with a mobile app so that homeowners can monitor the home on the go. ADT Pulse requires a month-to-month subscription, however, so keep that in mind if you’re considering this item as a gift.

The Entertainer

UE BOOM 2 Phantom Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

If your homeowner wishes for the surround-sound effect, the UE BOOM 2 Phantom Wireless Speaker is a great gift idea. It offers 360-degree sound, along with a decent bass. It can be used indoors and outdoors so it’s “designed for adventure.”

Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker with WeMo

The WeMo integration with this product means your homeowner can check on a pot of chili while at work or sitting in traffic. With the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker, homeowners will serve an always-hearty-and-never-burnt dish to family and guests.

Anova Culinary Bluetooth Precision Cooker

The Anova Culinary Bluetooth Precision Cooker can attach to almost any cooking pot and keeps water at an exact temperature. This smart home gadget uses the sous-vide method, which allows the food to retain its flavor better than it would with frying or grilling methods. This makes it possible for vacuum-sealed bags of meat, fish, poultry, or vegetables to be added to the temperature-controlled water and cooked for several hours. The end results are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Source: 12 Smart Home Gadgets That Make Great Housewarming Gifts | RISMedia’s Housecall

March 2017 Infographic and Commentary

Home flipping hits 10-year high in 2016

More investors are entering the home-flipping market than at any point since 2007, pushing the number of homes flipped to a 10-year high. And why wouldn’t investors jump on board? Profits are now higher than they’ve ever been.

(Don’t believe everything you read, but this is pretty interesting…)

Home flipping just reached a 10-year high, according the 2016 Year-End U.S. Home Flipping Report by ATTOM Data Solutions, a fused property database.

The new report shows 193,009 single family homes and condos were flipped, or sold in an arms-length transfer for the second time in a 12-month period, in 2016. This is an increase of 3.1% from 2015 to the highest level since 2006.

“Home flipping was hot in 2016, fueled by low inventory of homes in sellable or rentable condition along with a flood of capital — both foreign and domestic — searching for the returns and stability available with U.S. real estate,” ATTOM senior vice president Daren Blomquist said. “The combination of more home flips and a greater share of financing for flip purchases resulted in a 19% jump in the estimated dollar volume of financing for home flip purchases, up to $12.2 billion for the flips completed in 2016 — a nine-year high.”

Home flips accounted for 5.7% of all single-family home sales during the year, up from 5.5% last year to a three-year high. However, it is still well below the 2005 peak of 8.2%.

And now, more investors are entering the market as the number of individuals and institutions that flipped homes in 2016 increased 1% from last year to the highest number since 2007.

“Investors in search of flipping returns are increasingly willing to move to secondary and tertiary housing markets and neighborhoods with older, smaller properties that are available at a deeper discount,” Blomquist continued. “Given that many of these markets are more affordable, we are also seeing a higher share of the flipped homes sold to FHA buyers, with that share reaching a four-year high of 19.6% in 2016.”

And it’s no wonder more investors are joining the home flipping market. The average home flipped sells at $189,900, a gross profit of $62,624. This is a 49.2% return on investment, an all new high for the report which dates back to 2000.

Source: Home flipping hits 10-year high in 2016 | 2017-03-09 | HousingWire

The Ideal Time to List a Home for Sale

The ideal time to list a home for sale this year is between May 1-15, according to a recent analysis by Zillow. Homes listed within the two-week window sell for 1 percent more than the average home for sale, and also nine days sooner.



Numerous factors impact the sale of a home—including timing.

The window varies, however. In Baltimore, Md., homes listed at the market’s ideal time—April 1-15—sell 21.5 days sooner, the fastest of the top 25 metro areas; homes in San Francisco, Calif., listed at its ideal time, May 16-31, sell only 5.5 days sooner.

Home sellers in Portland, Ore., Sacramento, Calif., and Seattle, Wash., gain the highest average premiums by percentage when listing at their market’s ideal time, at 2 percent in Portland and Sacramento and 2.5 percent in Seattle. Sellers in the New York-Northern New Jersey metro area, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz., gain the lowest, at 0.7 percent in New York and Northern New Jersey and Miami-Fort Lauderdale and 0.8 percent in Phoenix. The premium, naturally, is relative to the market. A 1.3 percent premium in San Francisco equates to $10,200, while the same premium equates to $2,500 in Chicago, Ill., and $1,800 in St. Louis, Mo.

The analysis also identified ideal days of the week for listing a home based on Zillow data. Homes new to Zillow on Saturdays are viewed 20 percent more in their first week on-market than those new to Zillow earlier in the week.

“With 3 percent fewer homes on the market than last year, 2017 is shaping up to be another competitive buying season,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Many homebuyers who started looking for homes in the early spring will still be searching for their dream home months later. By May, some buyers may be anxious to get settled into a new home—and will be more willing to pay a premium to close the deal.”

Ideal times and premiums for the top 20 metros:

Numerous factors impact the sale of a home. Here, Zillow determines the ideal time to list a home for sale in each of the top 25 metropolitan areas.
Source: The Ideal Time to List a Home for Sale