Refinance for a Better Home Loan

It is estimated that 30-40% of home loan applications are people interested in refinancing their mortgage.

More than two-thirds of people in Australia who refinanced their home loans recently were able to secure a lower interest rate, a mortgage broker’s survey shows.

The survey also found that 54% who refinanced changed their loan product and lender when refinancing, while 46% stuck with the same lender but changed their loan product.

68% of consumers who refinanced in recent months were able to reduce the amount of interest paid. Of that 68%, 23% are now saving more than $300 a month, while 88% are saving more than $50 a month.

Of those surveyed, 24% said they were refinancing to switch to a cheaper loan, through a combination of lower interest rates, fees and charges; 11% said they were consolidating debts and 10% said they were funding renovations. Other motivations to refinance included buying an investment property (9%) and accessing additional funds for other reasons such as paying for a wedding or holiday.

The increase in those looking to refinance can largely be accredited to the trend of interest rates in the last year. From October 2009 to November 2010, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) raised its official cash rate seven times, taking the rate from 3.25% to 4.75%. While economists say the RBA won’t hike interest rates in the next month, many economists are predicting a rate rise by early 2011.

Whether you are looking at refinancing to lock in a better interest rate on your mortgage, to reduce your monthly mortgage repayments or to make use of your home equity for debt consolidation or to cover expenses such as home renovations, investments or a wedding, using a mortgage specialist who can provide a free home loan assessment can help you quickly identify a home loan that better matches your lifestyle.

If you are living in Australia and looking to refinance to find a home loan that better suits your circumstances, you can save hours of mortgage research by using a company such as the Australian Lending Centre. Just let them know what you’re looking for in a home loan and they’ll help you find the most competitive refinancing options.

Things to Consider in Reducing the Carbon Footprint in Your Home

As more individuals and organizations take part in improving the condition of the environment, do your share in this cause and take the green revolution into your home. Reducing your carbon footprint is one way to do it and there are many ways to convert your lifestyle and home ways into eco-friendly measures.

First of all, a carbon footprint can be a measure of the impact of your activities to the environment in terms of the amount of Greenhouse gases produced. This is calculated basing on the units of carbon dioxide emitted. From personal activities to house chores, these all contribute to carbon emissions trailing up into the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels, usage of electricity, airplane travel, processing and cooking of food are only a few of the everyday tasks that go with your footprint.

According to the United Nations, there are studies that report an average American’s annual carbon footprint is about twenty tons while the global average is only less than four tons each year. Given this depressing data, you have to enact how you can fight against the climate crisis and other adverse effects brought about environmental degradation. Below are some tips on how you can lessen your carbon footprint at home by at least ten tons in a year. Some of these suggestions do not even cost a thing.

Modify electric consumption

There are numerous ways to go about this measure. Most homes these days are equipped with electrical appliances and systems. Here are some suggestions in minimizing energy consumption:
1. Start by simply turning off every electricity consuming fixture and appliance in your home after every use. Try designating your own “Earth Hour” at least twice a week.
2. Give your appliances a break. Wash your laundry and dishes using your own hands. Dry your clothes through a clothesline, and pat dry dishes with a dish cloth.
3. Avoid redundant opening and closing the refrigerator door because the cool air would easily escape. The motor would then take double time in working. It should also be cleaned and defrosted at least once a month. Include its coil in cleaning it.
4. Using compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs is more advantageous. The former type can last longer. A study once revealed that if every U.S. household used CFLs, greenhouse gases amounting to emissions of almost ten million cars would be prevented.
5. Learn to enjoy natural lighting by simply re-arranging furniture pieces. Ensure that there are no items blocking off the windows and other sunlight entry points.
6. Regularly cleaning the air filters, ducts or air vents of your heating and cooling equipment will make these systems work more efficiently. Thus, you need not turn them up higher.
7. If you have fiberglass insulation, you may want to use cotton instead. The latter material produces increased acoustic advantages and better indoor climate.

If you have extra budget, getting new energy efficient appliances would be a wiser and cost effective move. The Energy Star label program of the U.S. government has enumerated several home products that guarantee to lessen at least fifty percent wattage and power consumption. And if you are ready for dramatic changes, make time to shift into utilizing eco-friendly power sources such as the wind and the sun. You can either buy these green power generators or research on how to make them. Either way, you can definitely gain from a cleaner energy supply. Some states even award incentives to home owners who use such systems.

Help from vegetation

Aside from getting a fresh source of oxygen for your whole house, there are other benefits from plants. For one, creating your own edible garden that would include trees, vines, herbs, mushrooms and other organic vegetables would reduce your to travel and purchase possibly chemically fertilized produce. You can easily enjoy a farmer’s market at home. In addition, there are some flowers and aromatic herbs that not only provide medicinal properties but also help in warding off pests and insects. You can then diminish the use of pesticides and insecticides. Marigold, Malvorosa, Bachelor’s Button, Cleome, Black-eyed Susan and Purple Coneflower are a few of ornamental plants that fend off insects and attract beneficial bugs (for your plants).

With regards to fertilizing your plants, using recycled wood chips, grass clippings, animal manure, fallen foliage, compost and peat moss would be advantageous as well. These natural elements would return the nutrients to the soil once they decompose. Plus they also have the capacity to keep the weeds down, preserve moisture for the roots and prevent ground erosion.

At the same time you are trying to help the Earth by reducing your carbon footprint at home, you also get to benefit in many ways. Lowered utilities bills and healthier home environment are only two of the most favorable results once you pursue these eco-friendly simple steps. But why stop in your home? Spread the word among your relatives and words so as the results can be more noticeable.

Maintaining a Home

When it comes to making a home for yourself and your family, there are many things, big and small, to take care of it. For instance, interior design is somewhat of a luxury, but a vital goal for any homeowner, as to truly be at home, your home should be a reflection of yourself, and this can take time, money, and hard work. That’s just literally the icing on the cake, or the cherry on top, or whatever metaphor you like. There are more important things to take care of, many of which can be regular purchases or tasks. Here are just a few things to maintain.

First and foremost, there’s raising children. Children can be a huge drain on resources. They are extra mouths to feed, but we love them and want nothing more than to protect them, not even money. However, it can still be a struggle to take care of two adults (usually) and kids on top of that. You’re going to need to buy the, new clothes frequently, not as they wear out, but as your kids grow out of them. So, you’ll be spending a lot at The Children’s Place. Therefore, you will also, ideally, be selling these items at a yard sale or on eBay to make up for some of the losses.

Another factor at play in maintaining a home is literal maintenance. For example, Spring cleaning should become a priority, as it generally should be, with or without a family, in an apartment, trailer, house, etc. However, it’s never been more important to try and mitigate the amount of cleaning and maintenance you’ll be doing by taking proper care of your home to begin with. For example, in Winter, it’s prudent to leave your faucets running, ever so slightly, to prevent pipes from freezing and then bursting. This small act prevents so much damage that would have to be fixed.