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Archive for the ‘For Sale By Owner (FSBO)’ Category

Not long ago, real estate sales involved hammering a sign in the yard, placing newspaper ad’s and mailing post cards to neighbors.  Today, selling a home requires a huge amount of internet advertising and distribution…which means using great photographs, video’s and social media to boost your properties image and catch a buyer’s eye. 

If you are one of the thousands of  home sellers looking to capitalize on the real estate recovery and pocket maximum profit from your home sale, you have to embrace the internet.  Home buyers use Ipad, tablets, desktop computers and smart phones to shop online and compare hundreds of homes for sale.  Today’s buyers quickly scan through hundreds of listings on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com, looking for that one home that catches their eye. 

To maximize the sales price of your home, consider these 5 tech savvy tools and tips

  1. Use Professional Grade Photography.  A recent study revealed that professional property photo’s increase the perceived value of a home by 13 percent.  Considering that a 13% added value on a $250,000 home equals an increase in value of $32,500, it could well be worth your while to hire a pro.  Buyers are visually oriented, so selling your home has become a bit like a beauty pageant, of sorts.  To increase your sales price, provide the best possible pictures on the internet to grab the buyer’s attention and motivate them to schedule a home showing.
  2. Post a Video Tour on YouTube.  About 20% of buyers search online for home video’s.  Grab their attention by posting a video on InfoTube.net .  We will upload it to YouTube for you, or you can upload toYouTube.com by yourself.
  3. Include a Floor Plan of Your Home.   If possible, include an interactive floor plan that shows how rooms in your house relate to one another.  Interactive floor plans combine the floor plan with professional photo’s and create an exciting shopping experience for home shoppers.
  4. Get Rid of Clutter.  We have all heard this before, but it is amazing at the number of people who do not pay attention to this simple advice.  Buyers are not interested in buying furnishings; they are shopping for a home.  Your house will show much better if it is clean, organized and all personal items are removed.
  5. Advertise on the MLS.   The internet has made it possible for sellers to list property on the MLS and sell it By Owner.  The MLS is the national database of homes that are For Sale.  If your listing is not a part of the MLS, you are missing millions of home shoppers every month, who will never know your house is For Sale.  All MLS listings are distributed to every major search engine for real estate including Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Google, Yahoo and many more.  These websites report buyer traffic in excess of 24 million home shoppers each month.  If you want to maximize your sales price and profit, you have to be on the MLS

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Please search our website for fantastic deals on thousands of homes for sale by owner, investor and builder.    For more great marketing tips and home improvement idea’s…then be sure to LIKE us on Facebook. 

  Home sellers and investors are a happy bunch this spring.  Homes are selling quickly and for very near their asking prices.  If your home is on the market and you haven’t had success…you should consider an MLS listing and here is why.

Washington Post writer and real estate expert, Iilyse Glink weigh about why the MLS is the key to home sales and why it works so well.

Studies indicate that most homes sell with the help of a real estate agent. The No. 1 tool to market those homes is probably the MLS. This listing service in most markets gives real estate agents the ability to see and review all listings in an area. If your home isn’t in the MLS, you’re missing the most effective tool to sell your home.

Twenty or so years ago, an FSBO seller would advertise his home in local newspapers and a lawn sign, with InfoTube or InfoBox, to market his home. Few if any of these FSBO sellers succeeded in selling their homes. More recently, the Internet has started to level the playing field, but many buyers still work with real estate agents to buy their home. Those agents rely on the MLS.

An FSBO service may offer various packages to sellers such as you. The more you want, the more you pay, with the top package giving you access to the MLS for six months. We guess you want to give your home the greatest exposure possible and that you wouldn’t want to exclude a major source of potential buyers.

As you decide whether you want an a FSBO package, you must understand what it will take to sell your home. If you overprice your home for sale, trying to sell it yourself isn’t likely to give you a good result.

You still will need to price your home right, make sure your home shows really well, both from the inside and the outside, take great photos for posting on Web sites, create a beautiful brochure for the home, and make sure the description of your home is succinct, emphasizes the good points of your home and accurately shows off its best qualities.

As the real estate market has improved in many areas, you likely have a better chance of selling your home today than you had a year or two ago. But home sellers can make the same mistakes in any market. Again, you need to decide whether you want to spend money upfront to sell the home yourself in a FSBO or try again with a real estate agent.

We think that listing your home on the MLS is a good step toward getting your home sold. Unless you find a buyer that is searching for a home on the many sites out there that carry listings, you might miss out of that one buyer truly looking for a home like yours.

InfoTube.net offers low cost MLS and Realtor.com listing packages that will get your home noticed by millions of homebuyers, who wouldn’t otherwise know your home is for sale.  Call 800-858-6000 for more information or visit our website.

6 Reasons 2013 is a Home Sellers Market

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 posted by Tommi Crow

Prices for existing homes rose another 7.7% in the month of December.  For our customers who have been patiently waiting for the market to favor sellers, instead of buyers…the tables have finally turned. 

Why is the housing inventory so low in 2013?

The Wall Street Journal writes a good article on this, pointing to six reasons:

1. Many homeowners are underwater, and thus can’t sell.
2. Homeowners with equity in their home don’t have enough of it to “trade up” to buy a bigger and more expensive  home.
3. Everyone wants to buy at the bottom, but few want to sell when they feel their home will be worth more next year.
4. Investors – from mom and pop and corporate investors have come out and become landlords, taking property that normally would be on the market into the rental realm.
5. With the foreclosure fiasco, banks have been slower at foreclosing homes.
6. There’s been a lot less construction of new homes by home builders.

What does this mean for home sellers?

1.   Advertising your property on the MLS and Realtor.com has never been more crucial to reach qualified home buyers.  Realtors and homebuyers are searching for new listings, daily, because there is nothing on the market that fits their needs.  If your home does not appear in these real estate search engines, chances are that no one will ever know your home is for sale and you will miss your window of opportunity.

2.   Holding an Open House on the weekend is a great way to get people who see your listing online  into your home for an actual showing.

3.  Place a FREE listing on InfoTube.net.  InfoTube is visited by thousands of people daily who are looking for “by owner” property.

4.  The homes that are flying off the market are the properties in the best condition, location and they are priced right, ready to sell.  Homebuyers will not look at a house that is overpriced, hoping to negotiate back and forth.  They are buying homes that are reasonable to purchase and are ready to move into.

5.  Keep your InfoTubes and InfoBoxes full of flyers.  We receive calls from buyers everyday who want more information, but the container is empty.  Be sure to keep a back stock of brochures on hand in time of high traffic.

Home sellers should act quickly to take advantage of the present market conditions because they will not last.   Home inventory levels will increase as home builders react and start more new homes.  Banks will quickly work there way through millions of foreclosures that are still sitting in limbo.    And, home buyers are snapping up houses right now to lock in low interest rates and low home prices.   If you want to sell your home for the most money, in the least amount of time, you should act aggressively.  Time is of the essence.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.   Post a free property listing on our website.  Search for thousands of homes for sale seen no where else.  Buy an InfoTube or InfoBox to market your property..nothing beats providing a brochure about your home, instantly to a prospective buyer.   Put your property information in front of millions of internet home shoppers and real estate agents with our low cost MLS and Realtor.com listing packages.   Whatever you need to sell your home….we have you covered since 1988.

2013 Marks Rebound in Housing Market

Monday, January 14, 2013 posted by Tommi Crow

    InfoTube is bullish on housing in 2013 and here are a few reasons why.

Home prices rose 7.5% last year, largest increase in six years.  Total number of  homes sold increased 6% last year, to 4.2 million, marking the first increase since 2005.  The same forces that helped propel prices last year will be in play this year, including improved housing demand fueled by good affordability, fewer foreclosed homes for sale and a low inventory of unsold homes.

Trends that will Boost Home Prices Again in 2013

  • The Fed feeds housing rebound in 2013.  Interest rates for mortgages are at historical lows, making monthly payments affordable than renting for millions of families. 
  • The rate of new foreclosures has fallen to normal, pre-bust levels. 
  • Banks have cleared a lot of bad debt off the books and rising home prices will loosen up their purse strings.  Expect loans to be easier to come by in 2013.
  • Stronger job growth will drive more housing demand as people living with friends and relatives move into their own homes.
  • Increasing rents and lack of desireable rental inventory will push many tenants out the door and into a home of their own.
  • Investors are snapping up distressed property, rehabbing and flipping it.  This means higher average home sales prices and fewer homes vacant or in disrepair.
  • Rising home prices will increase borrower equity in their homes.  This means that few people will be interested in walking away…or requesting a short sale.
  • The Fiscal Cliff settlement left housing tax benefits in tact.  Mortgage interest deduction, property taxes deductions, depreciation schedules and one time tax free home sales were left in tact, making real estate one of the few remaining tax havens for the average working American.
  • Rising home prices will allow more sellers to list their homes and sell near the asking price.
  • The supply of homes for sale fell to 4.8 months in November, the National Association of Realtors says.  That’s the lowest level in more than seven years.  Realtors consider a six-month supply to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers.
  • Market researcher, Corelogic, calculates that home prices will increase 6 percent in 2013.
  • According to a December survey of 105 real estate experts and economists by real estate company Zillow, home prices will rise 3.1% in 2013. 

All the evidence stacks up to make a good year for real estate in 2013, whether buying or selling.  If you have been waiting for the market to improve to sell your home, the time is now.  If you have always wanted to own a home of your own…the odds are stacked in your favor, too.  

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Place a Free Property listing, advertise your home on the MLS or Realtor.com, follow InfoTubes very popular Facebook page for up to the minute news and home improvement idea’s that you won’t see anywhere else.

Proof the Real Estate Market Has Turned Around

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

The cover story for the September 10th weekly magazine Barron’s is on the recent surge in real estate and how the rise in property prices is no fluke.  We agree with the many experts and professionals that believe the recovery is real…and that is will continue in the foreseeable future. 

First take a look at the chart below.  You can see that housing starts (crucial to rebuilding our economy) bottomed in 2009 and have been trading in a healthy base pattern for 2 years.  In February of 2011, we finally started moving up off the bottom and the trend is continuing.

We all know that real estate can not thrive in an environment where lenders will not lend money.  Tracking real estate loans is a good indicator for the future direction of housing.  As you can see in the chart below, there has been a dramatic increase in lending, which has pushed the housing market higher over the past year.  We believe this trend will continue and will improve as lenders work there way past non-performing assets and bad loans liablities.

Finally, we show a chart of home prices since 1991.  The chart shows that home prices are certainly on a sustainable upward trend, since the 2006 crash.

 

In conclusion, we believe conclusive evidence shows that there is immediate long-term opportunities for homebuyers and investors in the housing market.  InfoTube is BULLISH on housing and the stocks of home builders, some REIT’s and home improvement giants like Home Depot and Lowes Hardware.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  We are Made in the USA manufacturers of the InfoTube and InfoBox real estate marketing tools.  If you have a home to sell…you need this product.  Exposure is everything in this market!!!  Show and Sell! 

Thanks to Barrons and Seeking Alpha for giving us facts and charts for this story.

New Rules for Comparable Sales and Apprasial Info

Wednesday, August 29, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

The real estate meltdown has changed many things about the way we think about real estate and property values.  

Recently, we watched 3 home sales close in the same neighborhood.  Typically, the price per square foot and price range for all 3 homes would be similar…given that the ranch style homes were of similar age, size and were located in the same small neighoborhood.    What we learned today was that the 3 homes sold in a range from $200,000-$400,000…or from $100-$200 a square foot.  

The vast difference in the prices tells us a story about why comps (or comparable sales data) is not the indicator of true value that is has been in the past.   Today, we have essentially 3 housing markets, thus 3 price ranges in every neighborhood. 

    First, we have the bank owned home that sold for $200,000.   This is the home that no one cares about.  The lawn is 2 foot tall…the air conditioner has been pilfered through for copper and spare parts, the appliances have been stolen and the home has been abandoned.     This property was purchased by a rehab company, who will put a lot of money into its restoration, then resell it for a profit, at an estimated $400,000.

   Second, is the home that sold for $300,000, but, far short of the loan balance owed against it.  This house was always lived in and had never been vandalized, but all maintenance had been deferred and no updating had taken place in years.  The seller knew they were losing the home and had no money available to properly maintain the residence.    This home was sold to a young couple who didn’t mind doing some cosmetic work in order to save money. 

The third home located right around the corner from the other two closed for $400,000.  This home was meticulously maintained.  The interior and exterior had been upgraded with high end finishes and colors.   The home was move in ready.     The only thing this move up buyer had to do was unpack their personal belongings and enjoy themselves. 

As these 3 properties illustrate, we have 3 different real estate markets developing across the USA.    Typically, homes in the same neighborhood were very similiar to one another, so sales data was easy to compare.  Today, there may be 3 distinct markets in every neighborhood, so beaware that price ranges can vary greatly.  

If you are attempting to value property today, you must look at the category your home is in…ranging from bank owned/abandoned to high end/move in condition to determine the average price per square foot in your neighborhood.   Eventually, all this upheavel will work itself out… and houses in a neighborhood will once again be more similiar than different…but until then, make sure that you compare apples to apples when buying or selling

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Visit our website to place a FREE home listing, view great deals on all types of property, place an MLS listing or feature your property on Realtor.com.

Is Your Property the Pinball Listing??

Thursday, August 23, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

   What is a Pinball Listing?

A pinball listing is a house that is listed for an unrealistic asking price.  It pulls in a lot of showings by agents and home shoppers, but receives no offers.  Real estate agents, including the listing agent for the home, use the overpriced house as a negative example to sell similar homes that are listed for lower prices.

Any pinball listing is basically a set up.  Listing agents show clients these homes to make realistically price homes look like fantastic deals, which is why the traffic for pinballs is high…but no sale will ever take place until the price is drastically reduced. 

What Happens to the Pinball Listed Home?   Unless it is being used by Realtors as a set up…they stop showing it until the seller agrees to reprice it at a realistic number.

Is it Ethical for a Broker to Accept a Pinball Listing?   NO!  It is not ethical to list a property at a price that an agents knows it will not sell.  If they do, they are intentionally misleading the seller.  Do agents list unrealistically priced houses to use as a set up, anyway?  YES, all day long.

How to Protect Yourself?  Interview several real estate agents before signing any listing agreement.  Get as much information as you can about CLOSED sales prices of comparable homes in your neighborhood.   If you are inclined, you can always push a little on the listing price, but if you get greedy, or try to go overboard…you may unknowingly become the set up, pinball, out of touch with the competition listing…that everyone loves to visit, but no one will buy.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Visit our site to place a FREE property listing, search for great deals, MLS and Realtor.com flat fee listing packages, InfoTubes, InfoBoxes and More.

Nearly 1 in 10 Homebuyers are Foreigners

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 posted by Tommi Crow

   The 6 year slide in U.S.  home prices and the dollar weakness against some currency are driving a property buying binge with Asians, Canadians, Europeans & Latin Americans eager to own a piece of America. 

Plowing money into real estate may sound like a risky venture to many Americans.  But to a growing number of foreigners, U.S.  housing has never seen a smarter investment. 

International buyers accounted for $82.5 billion, or 8.9%, of the $928 billion spent on residential real estate in the 12 month period ended in March, according to a survey released Monday by National Association of Realtors.   (Article by the Wall Street Journal)

How does this news impact your potential home sale and your marketing efforts?  

Simply, if you are not on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or Realtor.com, you miss out on 1 of every 10 homebuyers looking for property in your area.   International buyers primarily use these services to locate property and if you’re not listed there…they can’t find you.   

BONUS:   Foreign buyers also pay in CASH .  No Loan Qualifications.  No Apprasials.  No Delays and No Waiting.  CASH NOW!

The cost of listing your home on the MLS or Realtor. com is only a few hundred dollars for a 6 month listing.   The summer selling season is well underway.  Get your house on the MLS and Realtor.com today.  There is no other way to get your property in front of all the homebuyers in the marketplace….and Time is ticking!!!

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Homes are definitely moving this year.  Don’t miss the season or you may be sitting for a while.  Contact us for help with your MLS listing today.

Curb Appeal is the general attractiveness of a house or other piece of property from the sidewalk. 

Why is Curb Appeal so Important when Selling Your Home?  Curb Appeal is crucial  because it is what motivates a Buyer to look inside.  If the house turns them off at the curb…they won’t get out of the car and come in.  Thus, you have no chance to sell them on the property. 

Take this property for example…nothing about it stands out…nothing about it is welcoming…nothing about it motivates me to want to see more.

There are many things that can increase the curb appeal of a piece of property.   A new paint job, landscaping and siding can go a long way towards accomplishing this.   Though not as easily measured as something like square footage, curb appeal plays an important role in property valuation.  In the case of this home…the seller greatly improved the curb appeal by changing out a boring, unattractive garage door.

In this case…the seller greatly improved the appearance of this home by spraying mold off the roof.

Showings on this home nearly doubled after the seller painted the front door a contrasting color and added seasonal flowers in front flower bed. 
This homeowner did a fantastic job of covering up old ugly brick by adding wood slats..and magically made old dated windows look cool again with some trim paint. 
The real estate market has gotten hot from south Florida to California and all the stops in between.  If you aren’t getting showings, you need to step back and take a close look at the impression your home makes from the street.  Buyers will look inside a home that is slightly overpriced…but they will not consider a home that doesn’t speak to them.
Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  Check out our website for great deals on homes, flat fee MLS, Realtor.com listings and outdoor info dispensers.  
If you are replacing your American Flag this Memorial Day…make sure you buy one Made in the USA or don’t buy one at ALL.  Veterans Flags sells only Made in the USA flags.

    

President Obama just announced a plan to help US families.  And, miraculously, he doesn’t need the approval of Congress to help us.

  • Obama promised relief to homeowners who are trapped in high rate loans by banks.  If a homeowner is current on their current high interest loan payment, they can not be turned down for a lower interest rate loan that reduces their monthly payment.
  • Obama will cut closing costs for loan refinancing on FHA loans to make refinancing affordable.  The average borrower will save at least $1000 a year in fee’s and charges, in addition to saving about half of the closing costs on the new loan.
  • Obama waives appraisal value as a criteria for refinancing a high rate loan.  In other words, your bank can no longer use an appraisal against you…no matter how much you owe on your current loan.
  • Obama promises to compensate all US Servicemen and Veterans who were foreclosed upon during their tour of duty.  All Veterans who attempted to refinance their home to avoid foreclosure, and were turned away by their lender…are entitled to full compensation for all penalites, fee’s and losses.

We applaude this action and feel that it is long overdue.  This is exactly the type of change that Americans, and the housing market, need to avoid further personal and financial losses.  There is no legimate reason for a bank, who received taxpayer handouts, to turn down a borrower who wants to benefit from low Fed bank rates.   If a borrower is able to afford a $1500 house payments at a 10% interest rate, then why would a lender turn them down for a loan payment of a $1000 per month at 4.5%?    The only answer is a unfortunately a common one…GREED.    Banks are closing ranks to protect their 10% rate of return from dropping to 4.5%, even though the Fed’s (ie: taxpayers) are giving them the money for nothing.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.  If you have been turned down for refinancing…reapply today.  

  A recent survey of hundreds of real estate agents uncovers the reasons some homes sell….and others languish on the market. 

Agents say that the majority of home sellers have gotten more “real” about their real estate in 2012.  More than half (51%) of sellers are willing to price their homes more competitively this year vs last.   And, nearly half (45%) are more willing to change the appearance of their homes to appeal to and entice buyers.   

What is the best use of a seller’s time and money?  De-clutter, de-personalize to make their home appeal to the broadest cross-section of potential buyers.

  • 94% of sellers are getting rid of clutter and making cosmetic updates.
  • 78% are willing to “de-personalize” their homes.
  • 59% are bringing in new home decorations or furniture to make their home updated and appealing.

De-personalizing and de-cluttering a home makes it easier for a buyer to imagine him or herself living in the property.   In order to sell your home in today’s competitive marketplace, it is crucial for seller’s to realize that the property is no longer their “home”…it is an expensive product that is For Sale.        

Always remove family photo’s and personal artwork.  They do nothing for the appeal of the home.  They simply distract a buyers focus and perhaps give the buyer too much information about the seller’s personal life.  Never good.

Thank you for visiting InfoTube.net.   5 FSBO houses on InfoTube.net SOLD this week.   Things are improving for those seller’s who work smart to attract buyers.   Visit our Facebook page for informative, fun and revealing news.

    

We finally have an avalanche of positive news regarding on the real estate and housing market for 2012.   

  1. Foreclosure activity in 2011 is down more than 50% lower in several states, including New Jersey, Maryland and Florida.  Realty Trac
  2. The much feared “shadow inventory” of foreclosures declined dramatically in 2011.  In December 2012, 2.2 million properties were in some stage of foreclosure.  In September 2011, that number dropped to 1.5 million units…or a whopping 32% in nine months.  Realtytrac
  3. Realtors in some hard hit area’s, such as Michigan and southern California, are reporting a shortage of housing inventory and a return to bidding wars in tight markets.  
  4. Wall Street thinks the worst is over.  Stocks of the nation’s five largest, publicly traded, home builders are at 52 week highs signaling an upswing in home construction in 2012.  In addition, the home builders have been snapping up deals on land and abandoned subdivisions in anticipation of increased buyer demand.  CNBC
  5. Realtors and home builders are getting a boost from rising rents, as Americans realize that owning a home is often less expensive than renting one.   And, while future rent increases have no ceiling on how high they can go, ownership locks in housing expenses and equity is created as the loan balance decreases each month.
  6. Legal issues, property maintenance and other issues complicating the foreclosure process will push banks and lenders to approve more short sales in 2012, further reducing housing inventory.
  7. Interest rates will remain at historical lows in 2012, which allows more people to qualify for a home and cheap money buys more house for the same monthly payment. 
  8. Foreclosure activity was down more than 30 percent in 2011.   Fewer than 2 million properties foreclosure notices were filed in 2011, down from 2.9 million property filings in 2010.  Realty Trac

InfoTube believes that this news spells OPPORTUNITY for home buyers, home builders, investors and real estate agents.  Home prices and affordability are excellent, yet buyers and investors can still find good bargains.   Today’s smart home buyers will feel like geniuses in ten years when the see what inflation has done to home prices. 

If you have a home to sell, we can help.  Visit InfoTube.net to place a FREE home listing about your property or to buy an InfoTube or InfoBox to advertise your property to drive by customers.  Or, supersize your marketing efforts with an MLS listing.  The MLS and Realtor.com reaches millions home buyers each day that otherwise would not know your home is for sale!!!

Profitable 2012 Resolution:  Showcase and show off your home with great photo’s.

Photographs are important and powerful tools in marketing real estate.    Statistics show that home sellers who provide numerous and good quality photographs of their property receive twice the amount of buyer interest than their competition.

When photographing your property, try to follow this advise from Dave Rezendes, #1 real estate photographer in the USA.

• Don’t assume that wider is better.  Sometimes a particular vignette or architectural detail will better convey the feeling of a house and give a stronger effect.

• When staging a photo, keep perspective in mind.  It may be necessary to move furniture slightly to compensate for lens distortion and keep your photo looking realistic, especially in wider shots.

• Mind your verticals.  Shooting at a downward or upward angle can skew the vertical lines of the photo, making them no longer parallel.  Most photo editing software has the capability to correct this in post-processing.

• Keep an eye on your staging.  A crooked pillow or messy bedskirt can take a minute to fix on location but hours to fix in post-processing.

• Avoid any clutter in your shots.  Any exposed power cords, personal items, or even too much staging material can negatively affect the image. Keep your photos neat but not sterile.

• Avoid photographing exterior views in direct, midday sun.  Try to cover that in the morning or early evening for the most complimentary natural light.

• Avoid photographing exterior views in direct, midday sun. Try to cover that in the morning or early evening for the most complimentary natural light.

• Before you take a photo, double-check to see that neither you nor your equipment is visible in mirrors or window reflections.

InfoTube.net Home Ad Service offers Home Sellers 20 photograph Slide Show and Video Tours.   

Make 2012 your year to Show and Sell!!!

Smart Utility Meters Spark Health and Privacy Fears.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 posted by Tommi Crow

Utility companies across the US are spending billions of dollars to install so called “smart” meters to moniter electricity usage.  The premise is that consumers can save energy by knowing when and how much power they use at all times.  Electricity customers pay a reduced rate for electricity used during ”non-peak” useage hours and more for power consumed during high usage periods.   Utility companies say they can save even more.  The Smart Meters will eliminate meter reading jobs and help Americans cut energy costs…

Consumer advocates, state goverments and consumer protection groups don’t alway agree, though.  Many don’t feel the cost outweights the savings and they don’t feel the Smart Meter is very Smart at all.  In fact, many fear the devise can invade your privacy and damage your health.

What you Need to Know About Smart Meters.

1.  YOU ARE PAYING FOR THE SMART METER!!  Each Smart Meter costs between $250-$500.  Utility companies operate by passing along operating costs to consumers, so this cost will be passed directly through to you.  For example,  Texas residents are now being charged an additional $3.24 per month for their new Smart Meter.  It is estimated that $1 Billion will be collected by Texas utility companies over the next 10 years.   WSJ

2.  SHORT NOTICE DISCONNECTS.  Consumer advocates fear the costs of the Smart Meter could be greater than the savings for many households.   They also worry that the meters will make it easier for utilities to terminate service — so easy that they will disconnect power for small unpaid balances that wouldn’t have caused a termination in the past.   WSJ

3.  WHAT ARE THE TRUE COSTS VS SAVINGS?  There is a lot of concern about the lack of information on meter deployments.  Utilities have claimed “trade secret” protections for important financial details about their meter programs, including contract terms with vendors. Such secrecy makes it impossible for consumers to analyze why costs for what appear to be similar services vary so much among utilities.  WSJ

4.  HEALTH CONCERNS.  The “Smart” Radio Frequency Meters do NOT have a UL safety rating and it doesn’t appear that it will have one anytime soon.   There is science to back up the theory that Electromagnetic and Radio Frequency energy contamination from smart meters exceeds allowable safe and healthful limits for domestic environments as determined by the EPA and other scientific programs.

5.  PRIVACY AND BIG BROTHER SURVIELLANCE CONCERNS:  “Smart Meters” are, by definition, surveillance devices which violate Federal and State wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored.

According to the Watch Dog Group StopSmartMeters.org, Smart Meters monitor household activity and occupancy which watch dog groups alledge violate rights and domestic security.   They transmit wireless signals which may be intercepted by unauthorized and unknown parties. Those signals can be used to monitor behavior and occupancy and they can be used by criminals to aid criminal activity against the occupants.

The Data about occupant’s daily habits and activities are collected, recorded and stored in permanent databases which are accessed by parties not authorized or invited to know and share that private data by those whose activities were recorded.   Those with access to the smart meter databases can review a permanent history of household activities complete with calendar and time-of-day metrics to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of the lives of the occupants.   Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of criminals, blackmailers, corrupt law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions, power company employees, and other unidentified parties who may act against the interests of the occupants under metered surveillance.

6.  STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS PLACE MORITORIUM ON SMART METERS.    Until more information is gathered about health, safety, privacy concerns and costs to consumers, 47 local governments in California have banned Smart Meter installation until more is learned about them.  Connecticut and Delaware are also asking for volunteers to test the Smart Meter vs rolling it out to all electricity customers.

Whether you like the Smart Meter or Hate it…there is no denying that “they” will know when you’re cooking dinner and they will know when you’re awake….like it or not.   Even more scary…maybe…I wonder if those Smart Meters are Made in America or China?  

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Housing Market 2012

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