"Spring" Snakes

(Published on - 2/9/2018 7:52:06 PM)
Unseasonably warm weather is great for outdoor activities but be sure to keep an eye out for snakes!
Rattlesnakes do not truly hibernate. Instead, rattlesnakes enter a period of "brumation", which means that on days with nice weather, they may come out from their winter den and spend time nearby on the surface. What “nice” weather is can change; it doesn’t always mean warm and sunny, as many would expect. In fact, a day in the low 60’s with cloud cover and light rain after a period of several weeks without is a perfect time to observe rattlesnakes sitting out in the open near their dens.
Often when it is unseasonably warm in January, February, or March, many will report that snakes are out early but this is not completely true. More snakes are spotted simply because home owners are also more active. Warmer weather means time spent hiking, golfing, and other spring activities. Rattlesnakes are just starting to spend more time on the surface, and the increase of both their activity and our own makes for many more situations where running into an unexpected rattlesnake is possible.
How to avoid a snake bite: Watch where you put your hands and feet. Try to keep your hands and feet out of crevices in rocks, wood piles and deep grass. Always carry a flashlight and wear shoes or boots when walking after dark.
Snake proof your yard for your safety as well as your pets. For many properties, the best solution is to simply block entrance to vital parts of the yard. Look for gaps in gates, fences, and garage doors. Remove any vegetation that is growing up or over fences and walls. Remove any debris in your yard such as wood piles, leaves, or brush that snakes could hide in or under.
Pet owners should be aware of the symptoms of a snake bite as most often, owners may not be around when the attack happens. Symptoms include: swelling, puncture marks, bruising or discoloration, intense pain at the bite site, collapse, respiratory distress if bite affects airway, vomiting, and muscle tremors. You might consider "snake training" your dog. There are many types of training methods, so check with your vet if you are interested in pursuing this as an option.
If you are bitten by a rattlesnake, the first and most important thing to do is get away from the snake, as they can strike again if they feel threatened.  Don't waste time trying to catch the snake, but try to remember its size and color.  This will may help your medical team identify which species it was that bit you and locate the correct anivenin. Seek medical assistance as soon as possible.  Call for an ambulance if you're able to!


Cryptocurrency: How It Could Affect You

(Published on - 2/9/2018 7:42:32 PM)
"Bitcoin" is a word most have probably heard but may not completely understand.
In simple terms, Bitcoin is a digital currency, no bills or coins to print, and no government or institution that controls it. Without a government or authority controlling it, the value of Bitcoin is open to interpretation.
How can this affect you? In January of 2018, some financial institutions made a change to how they view cryptocurrency assets, as they relate to mortgages. In December, Bitcoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency, had a tremendous run up. This left the world’s financial companies, regulators, and governments unsure of how to handle this new asset class. Until last month, banks disqualified cryptocurrency as an asset class. However, if customers sold their Bitcoin and converted it to US dollars, that was fine. What changed recently is the profits from the sale of Bitcoin have now been disqualified by some major banking institutions. The rationale is that illicit activity (money laundering) is a potential driver of the run up. And even though clients may have invested legitimate assets, the growth realized, may be on the heels of illicit activity. Therefore the profits are being excluded too. Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are a new issue for the world, including banks. They just aren’t sure how to deal with it yet.
If you plan to cash out a cryptocurrency investment for the purchase of your next home, be sure to check well ahead of time to determine whether the financial institution you are working with, disqualifies this asset class.

Springtime Picks!

(Published on - 2/9/2018 7:37:34 PM)
Photo courtesy of Arizona Daily Star

Tucson has some iconic events, and we'd love to share a list of our top spring choices.  We highly recommend you check out any or all in 2018!

First on our list is La Fiesta de las Vaqueros, AKA The Tucson Rodeo, taking place February 17 – 25. Check out Mutton Bustin’, ProRodeo events, and one of the world’s longest non-motorized parades, which will take place Thursday, February 22nd. Click here for more information about the event.

For all you bookworms, the Tucson Festival of Books is a must do! This event takes place on the University of Arizona Campus, March 10 – 11. This event is a community wide celebration of literature and is offered free of charge. Exhibits, author presentations, workshops, and panel discussions give readers of all ages opportunities to meet and learn from authors of all genres. More information can be found here.

Our final favorite spring event is Cyclovia! Taking place April 8th, Cyclovia gives Tucsonans the chance to ride, walk, run, or skate on select City streets that are closed to vehicular traffic during the event. Grab a neighbor and play in the street! Check out more information here.



Going Green!

(Published on - 2/9/2018 7:29:02 PM)

Team Member Sara White recently received her NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) Green designation. What does this exactly mean? Most might think of a building or home that is “green” will have big ticket items such as solar panels and/or a rain harvesting system. While solar and water harvesting help make a home more environmentally friendly, there are many more aspects to a ‘Green” home.

Sara admitted that she went into the class, like many others, thinking “solar and rain harvesting” were the most important items to a home being “green”, but quickly learned that it goes way beyond major items, such as those. Sara was quick to point out that smart home technology is a huge part of whether a home should, or can be considered “green”. Have you heard of a Nest Thermostat? Sara explained that Nest Thermostats keep you comfortable when you’re at home and turn themselves down when you’re away. Add the app to your favorite device and you can control your thermostat remotely. It automatically adapts as your lifestyle and the seasons change. An easy way to save money on your heating and cooling bill!

Some people make green choices without a conscious thought. Motion detector lights? LED bulbs? Low-flow water faucets? Air sealing? Efficient insulation? Triple pane windows? These are all examples of cost efficient ways that homeowners can make their home more environmentally friendly and save money on utilities at the same time.

How can a realtor who has NAR Green Certification help you? From the moment Sara looks at a home, whether she is helping you buy or sell, the aspects of “going green” will be on her radar. She will assess items and systems that add value to the home. Rest assured that Sara is current and up to date with all trends and green features that make a home a SMART home! It’s a new way of living that is becoming more standard and expected as time passes!


Solar Adds Value to a Home!

(Published on - 10/2/2017 8:15:53 PM)



Bizzy Tucson Homes recently had the opportunity to speak with Brian Mueller, of Net Zero Solar.  He gave us lots of great information regarding solar and how it affects the value of your home when selling, or buying a home with solar.

Bizzy Tucson Homes:  What are the advantages and disadvantages between leasing and owning solar.

Homeowners need to be really, really careful when looking at a leased solar system for a couple of reasons. First, the company offering the lease will take the tax credits from the individual who is leasing, so there is no tax advantage to leasing a solar system.  Second, a lot of companies that lease solar systems also have escalators built into the cost of energy year after year, so your lease payment will continue to escalate over time. Customers need to carefully review a contract or proposal from a company that is offering a lease to see what that escalator is. The standard cost of energy has escalated at a rate of about 1-2% a year, historically, in the Tucson area, and sometimes we see leases from other companies that have an escalator of 3-6%, you can do the math. Sooner rather than later, you’ll be upside down on your lease, and paying more for the leased solar system than you would for the cost of energy.  So, definitely review any leased contracts thoroughly. As far as disadvantages to purchasing, really, there are none.  There’s a misconception that there is a lot of maintenance with solar, but the truth is, there isn’t any.  All of the leasing companies will try to sell that they are a maintenance free system.  The truth is, any reputable solar company that does a purchase system is going to have robust monitoring systems. The monitoring systems measure in 5 minute increments, exactly what each single solar panel and inverter are producing, and what they should be producing based on the orientation to the sun, as well as the current weather.  So, anything that would require any maintenance would be a warrantable issue, and that would be covered by the manufacturer. Warranties are usually 25 years for every single solar panel out there in the market, and also 25 years for the Enphase micro inverters that we use at Net Zero Solar.

Are there any roof types you DO NOT do installs on?  What makes a home the best candidate for solar?

The only rooftops that Net Zero Solar would not work on would be terra cotta or clay tile.  They’re just much too brittle and fragile for us to be up there walking around on, so we will not, and really any solar company shouldn’t do installation on a home with clay or terra cotta tiles.

As far as the best candidate for solar,  an optimally south facing roof plane without any obstructions from trees, vent stacks, satellite dishes, etc. is ideal.  So south is best, and then we would move to the east because the easterly sun is actually cooler than the westerly setting sun.  Solar is going to be more efficient to the east.  Lastly we would mount solar panels to the west, and never, ever, ever to the north, despite what some companies may say. So as long as you have an unobstructed rooftop that has good southern exposure first, then eastern exposure, and lastly western exposure, we can do an installation on the rooftop.

How can solar affect the value of a home?

If someone has a grandfathered net metering solar system, it goes with the home. Currently TEP is still offering grandfathered net metered solar systems for a period of 20 years from the date of installation. So if you were to sell your home after 5 years, the new homeowners would also have a grandfathered net metered system for the remainder of that 15 years. Basically, the way a solar system is designed is that during the net metering calendar, which runs from October 1st to September 30th, we design a solar system that is going to off set all of your consumption for that time period, leaving you only with the standard connection to the grid. Basically, that would be something the new homeowner would also get. Most new homeowners would only have an electricity bill which would be the standard connection to the grid, which is currently $13 a month plus taxes.  Use an agent who is knowledgeable about solar power, knows that it’s a purchase system, and also that it would be a grid tied, net metered and grandfathered system. Also use a real estate appraiser that understands the value of solar and that a potential homebuyer could be moving in to home that would only be paying the standard connection to the grid, and would not have actual energy usage charges, which depending on the size of the home, can be quite substantial. Here is a great explanation about net metering.

Do you still get rebates from the government?

Technically they’re not rebates, they’re tax credits, they are dollar for dollar tax credits.  The federal tax credit is 30% of the cost of the entire solar system. The Arizona Tax Credit is 25% of the cost of the system, but it maxes out at $1000.  Most people get 30% from the Federal government, and $1000 from the State of Arizona. Please keep in mind these are actual tax credits, not tax deductions, so they are quite valuable when it comes to purchasing a solar system.

What makes Net Zero different than other local solar companies?

Net Zero Solar is the highest rated solar company in the state of Arizona, as rated by Solar Reviews  (Check out reviews here!).   Whether these reviews are on Solar Reviews, Facebook, or Google, they are all 5 stars! We only use top tier equipment from LG Electronics and Enphase Energy.  We keep good people around, have a fun work environment, as well as paying livable wages, healthcare, and paid time off. We live in this community so it’s important for us to get out in front of people. We do that face to face for initial meetings, and we don’t do anything via email. We explain the various nuances of installing a grid tied solar system, what’s currently going on with utility policies and new technologies, and really inform people about solar. This is our community, and we want to do a really good job for the solar industry, the people of Tucson and the greater Tucson area.  I don’t think there’s any other company in town that can match our crew, our experience, our NABCEP certifications (NABCEP), and definitely no one that can match our reviews.

Check out this video about Net Zero Solar Questions about solar? Contact Brian at 520.440.1593 or email him.