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Displaying blog entries 171-176 of 176

Sun in the Land of Enchantment

by The Schnoor Team

When first coming to New Mexico, many people (including Jon & myself when we came here years ago) didn't realize the importance of sunscreen.  Full sunlight makes skin protection important, but when you consider that here in New Mexico we're almost 1 mile closer to the sun, it becomes an extremely important factor to consider.

In addition to protecting your skin and helping to keep you looking younger, sunscreen will also reduce the desert’s drying effects on your skin.  Many customers complete a long day of home-hunting, only to realize at the end of the day that they’ve gotten sunburned.

So whether you're surveying the progress of a new-home construction, or whether you're out and about searching for the perfect pre-existing home, be sure wear sunscreen so that at the end of the day you can have the perfect home...as well as perfect skin!

2x4 vs. 2x6 Construction: Does it really matter?

by The Schnoor Team

The debate between construction styles can be a very confusing experience for a first-time homebuyer, and perhaps even more confusing for those building their first home.  The two construction types at play here are 2x4 construction and 2x6 construction.  The most prominent benefit of 2x6 construction is that it leaves you with a wider wall, allowing space for additional insulation.  This added insulation helps reduce your cooling and heating bills throughout the warmest and coolest months of the year. 

Construction using the 2x6 (2x6x8 feet boards) method is more expensive, and this is where the debate begins.  Critics of the 2x6 framing method claim that the added costs to construction outweigh the benefits you’ll receive from improved energy efficiency.  There are some significant costs to 2x6 construction, the window and door jambs must be wider, requiring the purchase of a jamb extender which can increase the cost by $12 to $15 per opening. The cost of 2x4x8' studs is 40% less than a 2x6x8’ studs. On top of that, there are the bottom and the two top plates. Then there is the added cost for the extra insulation, as well as, deeper windowsills.  Critics state that 2x6 construction is no more effective than a 2x4 construction-framed house that is properly treated. 

Jon and I would disagree. Whether purchasing a home, or building your dream house, the benefit of more insulation is long term. It increases energy efficiency, and if combined with 2x6 studs with 24-inch centers, rather than 16 inch, can reduce labor cost, allow for more spacing for insulating around piping, wiring and duct work, and also provide more room for R-19 or R-21 wall insulation. It is far more economical in houses that are in colder/hotter climates, or homes in which windows or doors occupy less than 10% of the total wall area. 

We hope this article helped give you some new things to think about,  Jon and myself would be happy to answer any of your questions.  Please feel free to give us a call today if you are thinking about purchasing or building a new home, so that we can discuss the construction options you have available to you.

"Green" Building in New Mexico

by The Schnoor Team

I recently attended a green-building seminar that was very intriguing.  Already familiar with the green building process, I was interested in furthering my knowledge on the subject so that I could put it to work for my clients.

The green-building process is an environmentally sensitive practice that aims to conserve energy and other resources during construction as well as throughout the life of the home. 

Contrary to popular misconception, the green-building “revolution” is anything but.  The green-building process is founded in prehistoric times, when necessity forced people to make the most out of the natural materials they had available to them.  Living habitats were geographically selected according to location…with the occupants searching for the location that would best utilize the warming and cooling trends given off by sunlight. 

So why is green-building still relevant to homebuyers today?  The cost of energy is predicted to go up dramatically in the near future, simply because the infrastructure currently in place struggles to support people, while at the same time balancing the scarcity of natural resources.  Each year consumption among developed countries increases while more and more developing countries enter the game as well.  And let’s face it; we all want to see our environment stay as clean as possible and not use up all our natural resources if other alternatives are available. 

The instructor showed a home here in Albuquerque that is completely sustainable on solar power alone.  And the family has all the amenities we all have!  The solar power that we have now is really something we should harness here in New Mexico because we have so many days of solid sunlight! 

So is a green-built home something you are interested in?  There are so many levels of “green” to be had.  From more efficient homes that make the most out of the energy we currently use, to homes that are completely sustainable on solar power alone.  Please give Jon or myself a call if you are interested in learning more about what the green-building process in New Mexico has to offer you.

Albuquerque Old Town

by Jeanne Schnoor

You might be surprised to see an article about Old Town on a real estate website, but I have found one of the main reasons people love living here in New Mexico is our diverse culture, outdoor activities and awesome weather!  Big blue skies! In fact I visited here over 21years ago and decided we had to move to New Mexico, I was hooked.  So don't be surprised if you come for a visit and decide you want to stay and buy a home.

Jon and I have friends coming for a visit in a few months and we were considering different attractions to take them to when they are here in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area.  One of the first locations that came to mind was Albuquerque’s Old Town. 

Our Old Town here in Albuquerque provides a great understanding of what life may have been like in the 1700’s.  Many of the shops today are historic homes that have been renovated; this vicinity has been a point of community life since 1706.  As you walk the narrow streets and winding brick paths you see the weathered adobe walls, faded doors and that beautiful unmistakable Southwestern architecture. 

Old Town has about 150 shops, boutiques, galleries and artist studios all located within walking distance of the main square.  Included are some great restaurants in the surrounding area that you won’t want to miss.  Here in New Mexico many of the dishes are a combination of Indian and Spanish recipes.  And of course you will be introduced to red or green chile which New Mexico is famous for.  In fact you can’t even go to a fast food restaurant here in Albuquerque without some item on the menu containing green chile.  Red or green chile is a staple here in New Mexico, and once you become accustomed to having it on almost everything you eat you wonder how you ever did without it!

If you are a photography buff as I am, then you must bring your camera!  Old Town offers fantastic opportunities to capture images you simply can’t capture anywhere else.  In fact this summer I will make my annual spring journey down to Old Town and spend the entire day taking pictures and I will share them on our blog once I have some images I am satisfied with.

The town square usually has some type of event going on each weekend, especially as the weather warms up.  You will stroll by one weekend and may witness a wedding, another afternoon you may see a Mariachi Band, or perhaps even Senorita’s dancing!

All around the main square you will discover we have many different local Indian Tribes represented by those who sell their wares outside of the shops.  They sell pottery, jewelry, carved pieces and occasionally small statue pieces.  It is fascinating to learn the difference between each Indian Tribe and the variations in the jewelry & pottery they create.  Soon you will be able to look at a piece of jewelry and recognize the characteristics that make it Zuni, Hopi or perhaps Navajo.

So if you are planning on a visit to Albuquerque, you most definitely should include Old Town on your list as a “must see!”

Landscaping in New Mexico

by Jeanne Schnoor

This past weekend as I was driving down Alameda Boulevard in Albuquerque, I passed some plant nurseries and noticed they were receiving their new southwestern plants for our high desert areas.  Oh spring is in the air!  When many people think of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, oftentimes people visualize a vast, barren desert rather than beautiful flowers and plants.  But here in New Mexico, we have so much more!  We really do have spectacular gardens that burst with color.  If you carefully plan your garden or yard, then your plants will require very little water.  This form of landscaping is referred to as Xeriscaping.

Albuquerque & Santa Fe are located in the high desert regions, with varying elevations from 5,000 to 8,000 feet.  Our higher elevations result in special needs for our plants and gardens.  Whether you are just purchasing your first home and will have a major landscaping project this spring, or simply want to improve your existing landscaping, there is a wonderful book that I would like to recommend to you.  The name of the book is 'New Mexico Gardner’s Guide' by Judith Phillips.  This book is written specifically for New Mexico, and has the author’s top recommendations of plants that thrive in our climate.  It will also prepare you for what to expect from each plant when it reaches maturity, how to select your plants, and also how to coordinate them with other plants to accomodate similar watering needs.  The author also offers great insight into what makes a beautiful arrangement in your garden due to the different colors and textures of each plant.

In my opinion, I don’t know how you could live here and not own this book!  It is a New Mexico gardener's best advocate!  The author provides detailed planting advice as well as listing the benefits each type of plant brings to your landscaping needs.  For instance, does the plant attract butterflies?  Hummingbirds?  Produce edible fruit? Have a frangrance?  Produce food for birds and wildlife? Drought resistant? Long bloom period? Native Plant? And the list goes on and on.

So check out her book and get busy planning that new back yard or courtyard.  Or possibly change up your existing landscaping with a fresh new look for this Spring.

I am often asked by sellers, "What can I do to improve the selling potential of my home?"  I often encourage sellers to improve their landscaping and the home always looks better as a result.  So happy planting!

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Jon Schnoor

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 171-176 of 176

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