Real Estate Tips

The Why, What and How of the Entrepreneur’s Business Plan

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Over the past three weeks, with the aid of technology, I had the privilege to kick off the annual United Real Estate business planning workshops with hundreds of real estate agents from across the U.S. in attendance.  It is very satisfying to aid so many entrepreneurial individuals in understanding that freedom in business and in life is having the ability to do what you are supposed to do.  The essence of a successful plan goes beyond spreadsheets and a mission statement.  Everyone is familiar with the celebrated success stories of the start-up entrepreneur’s technology business that quickly made them rich.  We are also aware that most businesses don’t succeed past 5 years and the odds are stacked against the individual start-up. A lot of factors make up the difference between succeeding and failing in business. However, all successful entrepreneurs have a common theme to their planning process. They recognize they are not just building a business, they are creating a lifestyle.

While the projected sales numbers and profits that make up the forecast and budget of a business plan are in everyone’s game plan for success, the individuals who breakout from their competition have more than just a strategy and spreadsheets.  What successful entrepreneurs recognize is that when you open a business, particularly a real estate business, you can’t easily separate the business from you, the individual. The Why, What and How of building a plan is not just about your business, it’s also about your life story and it all starts with answering with definitive knowledge and having very specific answers to these three questions. The answers combine passion with knowledge and precise action plans that justify the hours you work, and put to ease the initial uncertainty that is part of owning your own business.

The Why – To grow a business you have to do things that are at first uncomfortable. To build new success habits you must know what you have to look forward to in the future in order to stay motivated in the present.  You have to ask yourself not only why potential customers should do business with you, but why you are personally in business. If you are like most entrepreneurs you left the certainty of a paycheck for the freedom of being your own boss.  The freedom of working for yourself also brings with it uncertainty. Your Why to take on this risk and then insure your success has to be really big. You are not just looking at what your life is today but what it can be in 5 years and also in 20 years. Done correctly, answering your Why will set the goals for your business.

The What – After you understand your true Why, then, and only then, are you ready to move to the What. Following this path greatly increases the likelihood that you will succeed. You must have a rock solid reason as to why you are going to keep striving and pushing past the setbacks that are inherently part of building a business. Goals tell us what to get, not what to do. The best sales people set goals that are not just about the outcome, but the process to get to the outcome. It is here you answer the universal equation of success for all entrepreneurs. What is the market opportunity for your business?

Total number of potential clients * conversion rate + past customers + referrals = Income

The How – The dream is known, the goal is set. It’s time to lay out your strategy on what methods you are going to deploy to reach your potential clients. The key to executing this part of your plan is knowledge and commitment.  You need to know how to reach your customers, how to communicate with them, how to stay in touch with them, and how to sell to them. To be successful as an entrepreneur you will have to commit to performing these activities for a very long time.  This requires you to continually invest in building your potential client list and also developing your personal skills. The business environment will always be changing and you have to adapt to utilize new technologies and adapt to new trends to modernize your business. Becoming a market expert will not be enough, you will also have to learn how to develop the invisible traits of determination, persistence, grit and personal accountability.

Building a business that will support the lifestyle you desire is a skill to be mastered, not just pursued. A great question to ask yourself is, have you spent more money on Starbucks this year or on your personal development? After all, true freedom is reached when you realize you are empowered to do what you are supposed to do to create your ideal life, not just what you want to do. To learn more about how to implement a plan to raise your income in real estate and improve your lifestyle, join us at the 2017 United Real Estate Convention.

All the best!

Peter

How the Three C’s of Selling Will Boost Your Income

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The sales profession is one of the largest occupational groups in the United States. It is estimated that over 15 million people work in sales related jobs.  In the real estate industry there are currently over 1.2 million Realtors. Across all industries, sales is a very competitive occupation, and one that allows the top performers to be highly compensated.

Being in sales is very similar to running your own business and in commission based sales occupations, such as working as a real estate agent, you are in-fact running your own business.  In any entrepreneurial role you must have daily habits that will ensure you manage your time effectively.  Moving past the general sales training that is made available to all individuals in a selling occupation, there are certain skills that top performers have developed that have made them excel. Here are the three “C’s” that are not taught in sales training courses and make up the intrinsic skills that separate the top 5% of sales performers from their counterparts.

Caring – All successful sales people have come to understand that they should listen to their potential clients more and speak less when they are meeting with them.  This becomes the formula for any successful sales person in both Business to Business sales and Business to Consumer sales. It is the basis for being a highly paid advisor as opposed to a sales rep. Not only do the top sales people ask more questions of their potential clients, they listen better.  Their listening skills are superior to others who just hear but don’t really understand the needs of their buyers. The top sales people have empathy for their potential clients and are able to understand the buyer’s problems or their unmet goals.  They relate to their feelings in a way that allows them to become trusted with helping the buyer reach a new level of satisfaction by guiding them to solve their problems with the solutions they have to offer.

Candor – A top sales person will focus initially on the buyers needs and not on the services they are offering. When the buyer realizes the seller cares about their problems and why those problems matter, the sales person becomes a trusted advisor.  A trusted advisor, in comparison to someone who is just selling a product, earns the right to be straight forward and honest with the potential buyer. Top sales professionals not only ask more questions than their counterparts, they also ask better questions. More developed questions stimulate thought by the buyer of what their unmet needs or desires truly are. The top sales pros do not worry about losing rapport with a buyer, as they have established trust. When you care about your profession and develop a trusted relationship with your buyer, the ability to ask them difficult questions about why they are doing things in a certain way is earned. This honest dialogue is respected by the buyer.  The odds that the buyer will choose your services or product over a competitors greatly favors the sales person who has the ability to have candid conversations with potential buyers.

Competence – Most sales professionals know how their products or services function and how they can fit a buyer’s needs.  The difference between top sales people and others is the top performers know how their services or products solve the specific problems of the buyer they are working with today. Top sales people are not generalists, they are experts in their field. This means they know more about the future of an individual buyer’s business or investments than their client does. In order to gain this expertise, the top sales professionals spend the time necessary to study their industry and work on developing their own personal skills. This gives them more experience, which allows the top sales person to express that knowledge using a question based methodology, therefore putting the buyer’s needs at the forefront.

To boost your income and separate yourself from your competition, it is not enough to commit to only completing your company’s standard sales training or your industries continuing education requirements. The key to long lasting sales success is mastering the three C’s of selling. Be certain to commit yourself to continued learning opportunities. To learn more about boosting your income in real estate to a new level, join us at the 2017 Unitedpalooza.

All the best!

Peter

Are Your Home Buyers Looking For You On Video?

 

Vlog to gain access to a younger generation of home buyers that grew up researching and learning through videos on the internet. If you don’t have a presence on the internet, are buyers finding you?

Win three FREE nights in Austin, Texas! Share your prior experience at past conventions and your excitement for this years Unitedpalooza through a short video! Use your phone and start recording, what do you have to lose? The winner of the drawing will recieve three nights paid at The Westin Austin Downtown.

See you online,

Peter

How the Happiness Advantage Can Break the 80/20 Rule and Lead You to Success

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Across the United States, entrepreneurs are planning for the New Year.  2017 will be upon us in less than 60 days, and we know there will be changes in elected officials with different agendas on the national and local level. The economy may get better, it may not. We can take the predictions from the experts with a grain of salt and arrive at the safe conclusion that they are all right, and they are all wrong. Large nations and large corporations are complicated. The people who run these institutions were created as complex beings, but ones who were designed to succeed.

What everyone should have learned over the past twenty years is that industries will change, careers will change, technology will change, and to have success in life and business, you will have to make changes along the way to grow. Very few predicted the extent of the Internet boom in the late 1990’s and subsequent crash in 2001, which was then followed by the attacks on 9/11.  The steady housing growth post the dot.com crash, followed by the housing boom that defied historical growth patterns ended up turning into a severe recession by year end 2007. Regardless of the changes, there will be companies and individuals who will thrive.

As individuals, we have control over how our lives and careers will turn out. Accepting these truths is good progress. Having a process to follow for success will turn progress into a great life. Having success in your personal and professional life in 2017, just like past economic times, will be a matter of choice. You decide that it is important to have a dream and take the right action to achieve the dream. This requires performing the tasks of proper goal setting, planning, and developing certain personal traits including faith and determination. You also must decide to have personal accountability be a part of your daily life.

We are at a critical time right now where many young people are discouraged about their prospects for long-term success. With all that we have learned about success, most of us need a new map to help us stay on the correct path to succeeding. Take for instance, the tested 80-20 rule that originated in economics after an observation by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto who correctly correlated in 1906 the fact that 20% percent of the population controlled 80% of the wealth. This theory became known as the “Pareto Principle” and was later observed to hold true in other aspects of life, starting in the business world where companies noticed that 20% of their customers accounted for 80% of their profits. It was later taken into further detail with the notion that 20% of sales people accounted for 80% of the sales for any given company. This 80-20 rule in sales has proven to be occurring despite the decades of research and significant investment companies made in time and money for general sales and personal development training to make their sales people productive. When you currently speak to businesses and economic leaders about this basic principle they all overwhelmingly point to the 80-20 rule moving to a 90-10 rule when it comes to the percentage of people who make the majority of the income, have the majority of the wealth, and in breaking it down further the smaller percentage of people who now in their everyday life are succeeding. It has always been difficult to break out of the 80-20 rule, and in the new connected economy, it has gotten even harder. We are at a point in time where half the people working are dissatisfied with their careers, and also at a time where half the businesses which open, end up failing. These statistics don’t include living an abundant and full life.

The question is, how do you find the most relevant information that will help you break out of the patterns that are keeping you from reaching a new level of success? The world is a crowded place with a lot of messaging. However, science and the understanding of the specific human needs we all have to meet to obtain fulfillment have come a long way. You just have to fight through the noise and the distractions to find the correct path.

One breakthrough study demonstrating how work performance can be increased came from a Harvard Psychologist who specializes in Positive Psychology and developing positive mindsets.  In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor changed traditional thinking. We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but he postulated that we are thinking about it backwards.  In a fast-moving and very funny Ted talk, he argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive. Take a few minutes to unwind from the election and enjoy the motivating, empowering truth behind the science that proves we are in control of our future. Click Here! 

To borrow from United Real Estate’s convention keynote speaker Mel Robbins, “What consumes your mind, controls your life.” As you put your plan together for 2017, know that you have within you the ability to create the business, career and life you want.  Starting with the right mindset is a good place to begin. To learn more about how attending the United convention can help you achieve your goals in 2017 please visit our Convention page.

All the best!

Peter

Prepare Your Home for Winter

Now that the weather is only turning colder, it’s undeniable that winter is upon us. And just like you take steps once spring arrives to prepare your home for warmer months ahead, you should do the same now for the cold winter that’s about to set in.

But, what steps should you take as you prepare for cold weather? There are important measures for both your home and lawn to ensure everything is in top condition once warm weather returns, all of which we’re going to reveal below. Let’s get started!

Get Your Home Ready: 5 Important Tips

Curious what steps are most important to take as it begins to get cold outside? These 5 are a great place to get started:

  1. Inspect Your Heating System – Heating systems tend to break down on the coldest days of the year! You should pay a technician to inspect your furnace or heat pump well ahead of the cold weather. This can identify any preexisting issues and ensure your system is in tip-top shape.
  2. Inspect the Roof – Missing or damaged shingles can leak and cause issues as snow accumulates or melts. Be sure to check your roof before it begins to snow to ensure you’re prepared!
  3. Inspect the Chimney – If you live in a home with a fireplace, an inspection is in order! Get the chimney and vents cleaned to prevent fires or carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.
  4. Caulk Around Windows and Doors – If there are any gaps in caulking wider than the width of a nickel, you should reapply caulk. Use silicone caulk for exterior use because it won’t shrink and cause future gaps (or be affected by the elements).
  5. Clean Gutters – Leaves or other debris in your gutters can block water and cause damage to your roof or siding, not to mention cause ice dams. Clean them yourself or pay a professional to clean and inspect them to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Get Your Lawn Ready: 5 Important Tips

Now that you’ve handled preparation inside your home, it’s important to turn your attention to the lawn! Here are 5 additional tips to follow to ensure it’s healthy when the snow melts:

  1. Mulch Leaves Instead of Raking – Drop the rake! Mulching dry leaves in your yard is better than ranking because the small pieces will fall amidst grass blades and nourish your yard over the winter.
  2. Mulch – Mulch protects plants against cold temperatures. Use it around trees and shrubs after the first freeze by piling it between two and four inches deep around important plants in your yard.
  3. Clear Decaying/Dead Branches – Do any of your bushes or trees have decaying or dead branches? It’s important to remove them to keep all of your plants healthy.
  4. Remove Annuals and Mulch Perennials – Annuals will die as temperatures drop but perennials won’t! As such you should remove annuals but mulch perennials after the first freeze as they will often survive and regrow in the spring.
  5. Turn Off Exterior Faucets and Drain Sprinklers – Exterior faucets should be turned off and drained to prevent water in the pipes from freezing and bursting. You should also call a professional to drain your sprinkler system if you have one.

Are You Getting Ready to Sell Your Home?

If you’re currently preparing to sell your home, taking the steps above to winterize your home is a great selling feature for buyers!

If you want to take advantage of a professional team and decades of experience in home selling across the country, the team at United Real Estate can help! Contact a member of our team today to discuss your unique buying or selling needs!

8 Tips for Top Holiday Safety

The holidays are upon us and while the holidays are full of decorating, fun, and cheer, there’s one thing that you must be mindful of: Holiday safety.

After all, it’s important to keep your home free from fire and injury as you deck the halls! So from the family at United Real Estate to your own, here are 8 tips you should be mindful of to keep your home safe (and happy) for the holidays.

  1. Inspect the Lights – The lights you use around your home have likely been in your family for years. But you need to inspect them annually for frayed cords, cracks in lamps, or loose connections. This will help you keep the lights safe and functional for years to come.
  1. Turn Off Lights – It can be tempting to leave decorations plugged in when you leave your home or go to sleep, but you shouldn’t. Always switch them off to prevent fire.
  1. Choose a Fresh Tree (and take care of it properly) – If you buy a fresh tree each year for your home, choose a tree that’s fresh. This will help prevent ignition should a fire occur. Likewise, you should keep the tree watered and away from candles for additional protection.
  1. Check Lighting Certification – When you purchase any lighting fixtures or extension cords, check the certification. It should have the accreditation of an organization like CSA International, UL, or ELT to ensure the products are both safe and efficient.

 

  1. Use Only One Extension Cord – Plugging extension cords into each other can be a hazard. Use only one cord at a time and ensure it has plenty of room to reach the outlet without stretching (this will prevent tripping hazards).

 

  1. Hang Outdoor Lights With Care – Outdoor lights are exposed to the elements so you must use additional precautions. Use insulated tape or plastic clips to hold lights in place and keep electrical connectors away from metal gutters and the ground.

 

  1. Always Use the Correct Ladder – It can be tempting to use a chair or any old ladder if you’re decorating in a hurry, but you shouldn’t! Use a safe, certified ladder for all jobs to prevent injury.

 

  1. Clear Your Clutter – With so many decorations going up, it’s common to accumulate clutter around your home. But you should keep everything out of the way to prevent injury and to keep your home beautiful for the holidays!

 

Wishing You a Joyful Holiday Season

On behalf of the entire team at United Real Estate, we wish you a joyful (and safe) beginning to your holiday season!

 

If you’re planning to purchase or sell a home, the team at United can help! Contact us today to take advantage of decades of expertise and a nationwide network of professionals!

How to Balance Buying and Selling a Home

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Whether you’re downsizing or upgrading, purchasing a new home is exciting. However, selling your current home at the same time can be quite a challenge.

As you can imagine, both selling and buying at the same time (or even within a short time of each other) can get tricky, and fast! But if you’re caught up in this balancing act, there are a few different paths you can choose, all of which we’ll discuss below to help you make the best choice for both you and your family.

What if You Sell First, Then Buy?

This is what’s known as the safe option, primarily because you won’t purchase a new home with the hopes of selling your current home quickly and for the price you want. However, this scenario often puts you and your family in an inconvenient scenario.

For example, if you sell your home quickly, you may have to put your belongings in storage as you search for the home you want. But with the comfort and peace of mind that comes with already selling one home before moving on to the next, many homeowners find this option attractive.

What if You Buy First, Then Sell?

If you don’t want to be in a temporary rental between selling your current home and purchasing a new one, buying first may be the answer. After all, doing so means that you can move in to your new home at a pace that works with your lifestyle. However, doing so may also mean you’re responsible for two mortgages for an undetermined period of time.

If you own your current home, this plan is great. But if you’re already paying it off, paying two mortgages may put a financial strain on your family. As such, it’s important to consider whether or not you’re financially able to support this scenario if you end up purchasing your new home before selling your current one.

What if You Buy and Sell at the Same Time?

In an ideal world, you would be able to carefully balance the buying and selling of both homes so you aren’t burdened by two mortgages or forced to find a rental as you search for your new home. However, doing so can be difficult.

The best way to buy and sell at the same time is to turn to bridge financing. Doing so means you’re able to own both homes for some time but requires a short-term bank loan. This basically establishes a Home Equity Line of Credit, allowing you to put a down payment on your new home by borrowing against the loan on your current home. Then, once you sell your home, you can repay the loan.

In this scenario, it’s also best to try and schedule the closing on your home sale after the closing date of your new home. By doing so, you can move in to your new home before closing on your current home, streamlining the entire process.

United Real Estate is Your Resource for Home Sales and Purchases

If you’re currently trying to balance buying a new home and selling your current home, the team at United Real Estate can help.

Our expertise allows us to effectively balance these buying and selling scenarios, creating an ideal experience for you and your family. Contact us to find your dream home, today!

How to Win a Bidding War

Now that the housing market is heating back up, you’re likely going face stronger competition from your fellow buyers. So what do you do when you’ve found the perfect home, and it turns out that someone else thinks it’s perfect too?

Here are some expert tips to help you come out on top in a bidding war:

In a competitive market, you might be facing multiple offers on homes.

In a competitive market, you might be facing multiple offers. Be smart and follow our simple tips for success.

Get Your Finances in Order

Getting pre-approved for a loan will go a long way towards winning a bidding war. It shows you’re committed and helps to eliminate any doubts a seller may have about your financial ability. In a competitive market, your offer might not even be considered if you do not have a pre-approval letter.

Master Your Cover Letter

Your offer should contain a cover letter along with a pre-approval letter or a proof-of funds document. Your cover letter should showcase why you want the home, what you do for a living, your interests, and also how you see your future unfolding in this property. If you truly love the home, don’t be afraid to reveal why you and or your family belong there. Creating an emotional connection can help you stand out among the other bidders and give you an added advantage.

Much like a cover letter for a job, your offer cover letter is a pivotal element to getting noticed by the seller and can make or break your chances of getting the home.

Be Swift

As they say, the early bird gets the worm. Be the first with an offer that matches the asking price or comes in slightly below, to increase your chances of winning a bidding war. It shows you’re a serious buyer and that you value the home you’re bidding on. To give your offer some added urgency, put an expiration date on it as well.

Make a clean offer

The simpler the offer, the more likely the seller is to accept it. While you may be tempted to outline all of your “must-haves” upfront, these are better left until after you’ve made it a few steps further in the buying process. You’ll still have an opportunity to negotiate repairs, closing costs, furniture, and any other wants after the inspection.

Keep Your Emotions in Check

Don’t let your emotions over-rule all of that hard work you put into researching asking prices, looking at schools and scoping out the neighborhood.  These are necessary to make a sound decision and sometimes all logic goes out the window when you fall in love with a home. Don’t let yourself step outside your price range in the heat of the moment. There will always be another home but there isn’t always more money.

If you’ve found yourself in the midst of a bidding war and need some expert advice, contact our knowledgeable and friendly team at 855-441-6288.

http://www.realtor.com/advice/how-to-win-a-bidding-war-on-your-dream-house/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102640371

Four Things to Avoid When House Hunting

  • What neighborhood works best for you?

    What neighborhood works best for you?

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House hunting can be exciting but there’s also plenty to consider when you’re conducting your search. When looking for a house, most people have a good understanding of what features they want.  But what about the things you need to avoid?

To dodge some major house hunting pitfalls, take a look at our quick tips below.

Looking outside of your price-range. Find out how much you can borrow from your home lender and stick to it.  While it can be tempting to stretch your budget for a home that appears to be just right, people often forget about hidden costs like taxes, insurance, utilities and fees that will be tacked onto the purchase price or the monthly payment. To avoid temptation, scratch any homes off your list that are clearly out of your price-range.

Buying the first home you see.  There’s a lot to consider when buying a home and without a strong basis of comparison, you could be making the wrong decision. Make sure you’ve done your research and have a good idea of what average prices are in the area you’re looking in and see how each home stacks up. You’ll also need to investigate the neighborhood to make sure it’s on par with your family’s needs. Once you’ve had a chance to look at some options, you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve made an informed decision.

Homes that need major renovations. Unless you have the cash flow and ability to renovate, these homes are best left untouched, especially for first time home buyers. Think about how much time you’re willing to wait while your house is being renovated – are you prepared to wait even longer? Renovation projects tend to go over-time and over-budget, so unless you’re looking to stay put for several years, this home might not be worth the headache.

Not getting inspections. Make sure you arrange an independent inspection to assess the overall state of the home, even if your lender doesn’t require it. Since sellers may not disclose all issues, an inspection is a great chance to discover any potential roadblocks and decide if they will make or break your buying decision.  Knowing the true state of the home can also provide some great bargaining power.

Whether you’re searching for your first home or your thirtieth, our expert team is here to help make your home-buying process as smooth as possible. Contact them for more information today.

Sources:

http://www.trulia.com/pro/buyers/house-hunting-pitfalls-to-help-buyers-avoid/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/03/06/the-7-top-home-buying-mistakes-you-should-avoid/

Increase Your Home’s Value in Five Easy Steps

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When it comes to one of the most important investments you’ll ever make, where you put your money matters. If you’re looking for smarter ways to spend your dollars and increase the value of your home, we’ve got five easy steps to get you started on.

Tip 1: Paint

It’s a tried a true method for a reason – it works! You’ve probably heard this many times over, but that’s because it’s one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to add value to your home. You can update the look of your house in a weekend and gain real value for very low cost – a gallon of paint only costs around $25. on average! Paint can do wonders to the look and feel of your home, making it feel fresh and new — a definite value add– so what are you waiting for?

Tip 2: Kitchen Updates

Most people see dollar signs when they hear the word kitchen, but you don’t have to spend a lot to add real value to your home. Stainless steel items such as a new microwave, kitchen sink, or toaster will instantly update the look of your kitchen for very little. You can even replace kitchen cupboard knobs and drawer handles with stainless steel alternatives in not time at all. If your countertops are looking tired, there are some great faux granite options that you can easily DIY over the weekend.

Tip 3: Carpet 

Dirty carpet can ruin the entire look of your home. Keep it looking fresh by hiring a carpet cleaner. It’s relatively inexpensive and a hard to beat quick fix. If your carpet has done it’s time but you’re not ready to replace it yet, try smart area rugs to give your floors an update.

Tip 4: Landscaping.

Your yard is the first part of your home that people see so it’s important to create a positive first impression.  Simple weeding, lawn mowing, and planting low-maintenance shrubs are all that’s necessary to boost your home’s curb appeal.  Even it you’re not into gardening, a few shrubs will go a long way towards increasing the value of your home.

Tip 5: Bathroom Renovations.

Adding some minor updates to your bathrooms can drive up the value of your home with little effort on your part. To create easy wins in your bathrooms, start by replacing old faucet handles, showerheads and toilet seats. To keep your tub and shower looking fresh, consider re-grouting the tile for an updated look. A pedestal sink is easy to install and can drastically improve the overall appearance of the bathroom.

Increasing the value of your home doesn’t always equal expensive renovations and lost weekends. Try one of these tips and you’ll be well on your way towards increasing your home’s value with time to spare.

If you’re looking for more information on how to increase the value of your home so you can make the most of your upcoming home sale, contact the team today for a confidential discussion.

Sources:

http://www.eceee.org/all-news/columnists/Harry_Verhaar/Bulbs

http://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/30-tips-for-increasing-your-homes-value

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/money-guides/10-cheap-fixes-to-boost-the-value-of-your-home-1.aspx#ixzz3YVaA3LtQ