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Green Buyers Guide – Big Picture Thinking

1. Begin with a well thought out purchase price for your new home that works for your family. This number should be part of a complete financial plan inclusive of savings for debt elimination and emergencies; saving for children’s college education, if applicable, and for retirement. This number is NOT the highest number a lender will allow!

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2. Consider the cost of home ownership within the context of your location aka commuting to work, shopping etc. vs. the availability of public transportation; the necessity of paying for private schools vs. the availability of good public schools. Although it may be tempting to move to a more suburban location for less expensive housing and better schools resulting in a long commute to work, The Center for Housing Policy’s study demonstrated that, on average, every $1 saved on housing resulted in $0.77 spent on transportation.

Also, during the housing downturn the highest rates of foreclosures occurred in areas dependent on auto transportation while the areas offering transportation options held their value.

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3. Purchasing a home is more than buying a building it is choosing a lifestyle. What nurtures you and your family? Is it walkable neighborhoods with access to a variety of cultural opportunities in an urban environment? Or are you a nature lover who prefers seeing stars at night unencumbered by city lights, drinking in the silence occasionally punctuated by a bird’s call, working in your garden and being nurtured by a sense of quiet and simplicity?

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4. Future-proof your home ownership budget against inevitable rising costs of energy through purchasing an energy efficient home or include energy efficiency goals in your remodeling budget. Also, preventing illness in your family requires healthy indoor air quality. Many highly energy efficient homes are very toxic since they are tight, meaning there is little air infiltration; the finish out is full of toxic off gassing which is inevitable unless special care was taken to avoid it and there is rarely a fresh air intake system incorporated into the HVAC system.

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