Many telecommuters notice their utility bills are dramatically higher. It makes sense if you’re using more lamps, cooking more, and using office equipment at home. You can check your thermostat, plug air leaks, replace worn insulation, and turn off lights when you leave the room, but there are other reasons your energy bills are higher.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab, the typical American home has 40 products constantly drawing power, amounting to almost 10% of residential electricity use. Products such as air conditioners and microwave ovens can’t be switched off unless they’re unplugged, which means they’re drawing power 24/7. This is called standby power turning appliances with external power supplies, remotes, battery chargers and continuous display (LED) into energy-sucking vampires.
It’s impractical to unplug every lamp from every socket you’re not using, but if you’re leaving the charger in the wall, unplug it when you unplug your laptop. Get into the habit of unplugging electronics you’re not using frequently such as guest room televisions or cordless vacuum cleaners. If you need to replace an appliance such as a refrigerator, look for one that’s certified Energy Star, which is manufactured to need less standby power.
EIA.gov explains that electricity consumption varies in predictable patterns. Use is higher during summer and at certain times of the day. Utility companies charge more for “peak time” electricity use, so if you started telecommuting in the summer and working between 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, you’ll notice higher bills.
When searching for a new place to live one thing to consider is the familiarity with which your real estate professional has with the area. That gives long-time Realtors who are natives and long-time residents the edge, particularly for clients who are relocating from outside the area and may be total strangers to these magical Golden Isles. These are the professionals who can give you counsel on most anything from the restaurants to recreation. We recently visited with a few local Realtors, who also happen to be natives of the Golden Isles, just to learn a little more about them and the local real estate market.
George Skarpalezos Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate
The Skarpalezos family moved to Glynn County in the 1920s, beginning with George’s grandfather, who came to the U.S. from Skopelos, Greece, when he was 13 years old.
“My sister, Winnie, and I are super-close, and share the same passion for real estate, just like our dad, George Sr., who was a real estate agent and developer in Glynn County for over 30 years,” he said. “Winnie and I worked for and assisted with the operations at Skarpalezos Realty for 14 years, before joining Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hodnett Cooper Real Estate.”
A native of the Golden Isles, George attended St. Simons Elementary School, Glynn Middle and both Brunswick and Glynn Academy high schools, gradating from Glynn Academy. Continuing his education, George graduated from Georgia Southern University with a political science degree.
He attributes his motivation to his father, George Skarpalezos Sr.
“My father taught me from an early age, that you must create your own activity; you must get out there and work hard for what you want,” he said. Real estate to me was a natural fit, the social aspect encompassed who I am as a person.
George’s business goals include being at the forefront, cultivating new relationships, providing a service for positive and joyful people and being their helping real estate hand.
“With the very active market we have today, you need someone on your team, in your corner,” he said. “My responsibility to protect my clients is my top priority. To be a Realtor is to be a good person and the importance of building those relationships is vital to me.”
George says there are any number of reasons to buy real estate in the Golden Isles, including the diverse business culture and easy-going island lifestyle.
“I love it here,” he said. “A growing small town – we have the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the … ports, beaches and community. We are a vacation and resort destination, but at the same time, a comforting place to grow up and raise your family … This is truly a place to call home.”
Off-the-clock, the rugby pitch is a good place to find George. A lifelong player, he says rugby is his favorite hobby. Next month, he’ll be playing in Anchorage, Alaska. Of course, he enjoys pursuits close to home as well.
“I enjoy relaxing on the beach, hiking, dining at the local restaurants, kayaking,” he said. “Glynn County offers endless opportunities to enjoy nature and be outdoors, which is what I enjoy most about living here.”
Lifelong residents also have a store of childhood memories upon which to reminisce, and George is no exception.
“I would have to say my top, hands down, favorite local memory would be working for Sea Island in the summer for their junior staff program,” he said. “Making the friendships, and working with the kids, was the best part about my summers. Still to this day, we all keep in touch and reminisce on the fun times we had.”
The first two weeks of marketing are crucial. In that time, if your home has received few showings or offers, price is the most likely issue. It’s time to reduce the price, but do it the right way. Don’t panic. You may feel two weeks isn’t enough time, but the market has spoken. There’s a magic number that will re-stimulate other real estate professionals to contact their buyers. Contact your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional. They will give you a fresh comparable market analysis and identify any new trends for you, as well as discuss target pricing. A price reduction of 3% to 5% might encourage other real estate professionals to show your home and for buyers to ask their agents to show them your home. Formulate a strategy. It’s never healthy for a home to undergo multiple price reductions, so strive to hit the magic number once and only once. Make it low enough that your home is near the least expensive homes that are similar to yours. You could go from receiving no activity to fielding multiple offers. Offer an incentive. You’ll pay the buyer’s closing costs, include a year’s home warranty, or offer a $10,000 or $20,000 discount on all offers. Don’t call it a price reduction. It’s a price improvement! Your real estate professional can put into the marketing notes for buyers to please make their highest and best offer the first time, which politely signals others that competition for the home is anticipated.