Archive for December, 2011

House Flippers to Blame for Housing Downturn?

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

As Alex reported 12/17/2011 on Property Source Radio.  – Daily Real Estate News | Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011

House flippers — made up of investors who bought up homes during the housing boom, possibly made a few upgrades to the home, and quickly resold the homes for high-dollar profit — played a larger role in causing the housing bubble than previously thought, according to a new federal report out by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The impact that speculative real estate investors played in driving the housing downturn has mostly been overlooked until now, the researchers note.

The speculative investors used low downpayments and subprime credit in buying up multiple homes at once, the report says. Their actions attributed to home prices in some areas being inflated, researchers say.

“This may have allowed the bubble to inflate further, which caused millions of owner-occupants to pay more if they wanted to buy a home for their family,” researchers note in the report.

House flippers made up a big piece of the real estate market during the housing boom.  According to the report, more than one-third of all home mortgages from 2006 were to people who already owned at least one home. What’s more, “in Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada, where average home prices more than doubled from 2000 to 2006, investors made up nearly half of all mortgage-backed purchases during the housing bubble,” the Associated Press reports. “Buyers owning three or more properties represented the fastest-growing segment of home owners during that time.”

When home values began to fall in 2006, investors defaulted on their loans in large numbers, accounting for more than 25 percent of seriously delinquent mortgage balances, according to the report. In investor hot-spots like Arizona, California, Florida, and Nevada, investors accounted for more than a third of seriously delinquent mortgage balances from 2007 to 2009.

The report urges lenders and regulators to take action to limit speculative borrowing in order to avoid a future housing downturn.

Source: “Flippers’ Housing Bust Role Larger than Thought,” The Associated Press (Dec. 12, 2011)


Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Click on “Pat’s Pick” for each game to hear the audio from the show

Pat Coyne Record (Year to Date)

Pat Coyne is the host of Property Source Radio and has been asked to pick the winners for this upcoming Buffalo Bills season. Pat does not watch football and is not a professional handicapper. We are keeping track of his record here. Follow Pat on Twitter – @PatrickMCoyne

Tune in each week and see how they do. Property Source Radio is Saturday Mornings from 9-10am on Sportsradio 950AM ESPN.

Buffalo Bills Record    0-0
REGULAR SEASON: Regular Season Picks are Against The Spread
Sun, 09/09 at 1:00 PM EDT
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

vs   New York Jets

Buffalo Bills –  @ New York Jets -
Sun, 09/16 at 1:00 PM EDT
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

Kansas City Chiefs vs   

Kansas City Chiefs -  @ Buffalo Bills –
Sun, 09/23 at 1:00 PM EDT
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

vs   Cleveland Browns

Buffalo Bills –  @ Cleveland Browns -
WEEK 04 Sun, 9/30 at 1:00 PM EDT
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

New England Patriots vs  

New England Patriots -  @ Buffalo Bills -

Sun, 10/07 at 4:25 PM EDT
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

vs   San Francisco 49ers

Buffalo Bills –  @ San Francisco 49ers -

Sun, 10/14 at 4:05 PM EDT
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

vs   Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills –  @ Arizona Cardinals –
WEEK 07 Sun, 10/21 at 1:00 PM EDT
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

Tennessee Titans vs   

Tennessee Titans -  @ Buffalo Bills –
WEEK 08 Sun, 10/28

Bye Week
WEEK 09 Sun, 11/04 at 1:00 PM EST
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

vs   Houston Texans

Buffalo Bills –  @ Houston Texans -

Sun, 11/11 at 1:00 PM EST
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

vs   New England Patriots

Buffalo Bills –  @ New England Patriots –

Thu, 11/15 at 8:20 PM EST
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

Miami Dolphins vs  

Miami Dolphins –  @ Buffalo Bills -

Sun, 11/25 at 1:00 PM EST
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

vs   Indianapolis Colts

Buffalo Bills –  @ Indianapolis Colts -

Sun, 12/02 at 1:00 PM EST
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

Jacksonville Jaguars vs   

Jacksonville Jaguars - @ Buffalo Bills -

Sun, 12/09 at 1:00 PM EST

(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

St. Louis Rams vs  

St. Louis Rams -  @ Buffalo Bills -

Sun, 12/16 at 4:05 PM EST
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

Seattle Seahawks vs   

Seattle Seahawks -  @ Buffalo Bills -

Sun, 12/23 at 1:00 PM EST
(Pat’s Pick: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

vs   Miami Dolphins

Buffalo Bills –  @ Miami Dolphins -

Sun, 12/30 at 1:00 PM EST
(Pat’s Pick:: Buffalo:        ATS:        )

New York Jets vs  

New York Jets -  @ Buffalo Bills -

POST SEASON:  You gotta BILLieve

Are the Holidays a Good Time to Sell?

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

As Alex reported 12/10/2011 on Property Source Radio.  – Daily Real Estate News | Monday, Dec 05, 2011

Sixty percent of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because it’s a good time to sell, according to a new survey conducted by

Why are the holidays such a good time to sell? Seventy-nine percent of the agents surveyed said that more serious buyers come out during the holidays, and 61 percent say less competition from other properties make it a great time to sell. Plus, 17 percent of agents say the cold weather is actually a benefit, making homes feel more cozy.

But online listing photos become even more crucial during the holiday season, according to the survey. Slightly more than half of agents say that the photos are more important because sellers tend to offer less open houses around the holidays, and so the online photos help buyers decide the properties to see and which ones to possibly bypass.

The biggest hurdles sellers face during the holidays, however, are keeping a home ready to show (clean and staged) as well as winter weather conditions and buyers’ vacation schedules, the survey found.

Source: “Survey Data Reveals Majority of Real Estate Professionals Recommend Clients List Their Homes During the Holidays,” (Dec. 2, 2011)

Understanding Home Insurance

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By Jeremias Manerio

DEAR JMAN, I am in contract for the purchase of my first home. My attorney called and said I need to purchase insurance for the home prior to closing. What do I need to know about buying the insurance and how can I keep my costs down without sacrificing coverage? It is very important that when comparing insurance that it is not always apples to apples. Don’t just shop by what the cost is. You must also look at the coverage. You would never want to be in a situation where you need to use your insurance and then you find out that you don’t have enough coverage. Will you be able to rebuild your house exactly as it is right now? Is it owner occupied or is it an investment property? Are there high priced items that may NOT be covered if you don’t have a separate rider for them? Is there a finished basement in the home? And would it be covered in case of water damage due to a sump pump or pipe breaking? Is it waterfront property? Contrary to popular demand not all waterfront homes require flood insurance. There are many questions that your insurance provider should be asking in order to be sure that you are protected. You may think you are savig hundreds by going with one provider but if the coverage isn’t right or sufficient then it could cost you thousands!!!I always suggest that you talk to at least 3 different insurance providers and be sure that the coverage that your asking for is right for YOU. I have enclosed two reports. One is 5 things to understand about insurance and the other is 10 ways to lower your insurance costs. Good luck to you in your new home.

5 Things to Understand About Homeowners Insurance

Look for exclusions to coverage. For example, most insurance policies do not cover flood or earthquake damage as a standard item. These coverages must be bought separately.

Look for dollar limitations on claims. Even if you are covered for a risk, there may a limit on how much the insurer will pay. For example, many policies limit the amount paid for stolen jewelry unless items are insured separately.

Understand replacement cost. If your home is destroyed you’ll receive money to replace it only to the maximum of your coverage, so be sure your insurance is sufficient. This means that if your home is insured for $150,000 and it costs $180,000 to replace it, you’ll only receive $150,000.

Understand actual cash value. If you choose not to replace your home when it’s destroyed, you’ll receive replacement cost, less depreciation. This is called actual cash value.

Understand liability. Generally your homeowners insurance covers you for accidents that happen to other people on your property, including medical care, court costs, and awards by the court. However, there is usually an upper limit to the amount of coverage provided. Be sure that it’s sufficient if you have significant assets.

10 Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs

Raise your deductible. If you can afford to pay more toward a loss that occurs, your premiums will be lower.

Buy your homeowners and auto policies from the same company. You’ll usually qualify for a discount. But make sure that the savings really yields the lowest price.

Make your home less susceptible to damage. Keep roofs and drains in good repair. Retrofit your house to protect against natural disasters common to your area.

Keep your home safer. Install smoke detectors, burglar alarms, and dead-bolt locks. All of these will usually qualify for a discount.

Be sure you insure your house for the correct amount. Remember, you’re covering replacement cost, not market value.

Ask about other discounts. For example, retirees who are home more than working people may qualify for a discount on theft insurance.

Stay with the same insurer. Especially in today’s tight insurance market, your current vendor is more likely to give you a good price.

See if you belong to any groups—associations, alumni groups—that offer lower insurance rates.

Review your policy limits and the value of your home and possessions annually. Some items depreciate and may not need as much coverage.

See if there’s a government-backed insurance plan. In some high-risk areas, such as the coasts, federal or state governments may back plans to lower rates. Ask your agent.

Please email all of your Real Estate questions to

Roof Surfaces

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By Doug Bragasser

One of the most commonly asked questions that we receive from buyers regarding their home purchase concerns the condition and life expectancy of the roof. The following discussion is intended to help answer general questions regarding residential roof surfaces in Rochester.

Asphalt Shingles

The great majority of roofing on residential structures in the Rochester area is Asphalt Shingle.  The roofing actually consists of an asphalt based material that often contains fiberglass.  The surface of the shingles is coated with granular stones that give the roof color and texture, while protecting the base material.  For many years the general anticipated life expectancy of an asphalt shingle roof was approximately 20 years.  Depending on wear factors, this meant that roof surfaces were typically replaced anywhere from 15 to 25 years after installation.  In more recent years, higher grade roofs (some of which are commonly referred to as “architectural grade”) have become more the norm.  These roofs are advertised as having 25, 30 and sometimes 40 year life expectancies.  Again, depending on wear factors, this does not necessarily mean that they will last that long.

I have often explained to buyers and homeowners that as shingles age they do the same types of things that a leaf does in the fall, at a slower rate.  Specifically, the roofing slowly dries, shrinks, curls, cracks, etc.  The following four photographs clearly show the progression of roof wear.  As you can see, the shingles in the first photo are laying flat, the surface is not deteriorated and the spaces between the shingles are narrow.  In the next photo, the roofing is older.  The spacing is wider, and the shingles have begun to curl.  The third photo shows a roof that is clearly old and worn.  The shingles are quite curled, the surface is very worn and shrinkage has resulted in wide gaps between the shingles.  Lastly, the final photograph shows a roof that is extremely worn and poor.

Another question that we often hear is “when should I replace my roof”?  Surprisingly, this is mostly a matter of judgment and personal preference (and availability of money) on the part of the homeowner.  Obviously, an old roof that has begun to leak should be replaced in most cases.  However, some homeowners choose to try to obtain as much life as possible from a roof.  They will make spot repairs as needed, and will allow the roof to wear very significantly before they finally replace it.  This allows for maximum life, but it necessitates periodic repair, and it can result in damage from leakage.  On the other hand, some homeowners will replace a roof simply because it is old and it is approaching the end of its expected life.  This approach helps to prevent problems before they arise, but it necessitates the cost of replacement sooner than later.  Most roofing contractors will recommend replacement rather than repair if a roof is showing advanced stages of wear (certainly can’t fault them for that).

There are many factors that affect the life of a roof.  They can include the pitch (or slope) of the roof, the direction that it faces, surrounding trees, sunlight, lack of attic ventilation, multiple layers of roofing (thermal mass), and even the color of the roof.  As an example, steeply pitched roofs that face towards the east will tend to provide more life than a low pitched roof that is exposed to hours of mid-day sun from the south/west.  One reason that we as inspectors/engineers pay so much attention to proper ventilation of attic spaces is that proper ventilation can help to prevent premature wear of the roof surface.

Low Pitched Roofs

Speaking of pitch, Asphalt shingle roofs rely on pitch or slope to drain.  Roof surfaces that have a lower pitch are more likely to experience leakage.  Roofs with a slope of less than 3/12 (3 feet of rise for every 12 feet of horizontal run) can be especially prone to leakage with asphalt shingles.  For this reason, alternate roofing materials are encouraged, or even necessary.  Roofs that have a pitch of less than 2/12 should not be covered with shingles.  Rolled asphalt is an alternative, but it is not the material of choice for low pitched or flat roofs.  Instead, good quality membrane roofing is strongly encouraged.  Such roofs should be installed by qualified specialists who are familiar with this type of roof.  The following picture shows a rubber membrane roof.

Roof Warranties

One must be mindful that roof warranties tend to be limited.  It is our experience that they oftentimes only apply to the homeowner who purchased the roof (they may not transfer to a future owner). Also, they tend to lose their value quickly.  In other words, a “30 year roof” that fails after 15 years does not necessarily result in a 50% refund on the cost of materials.  Also, most homeowners don’t realize that if their roof has been installed as a third layer or if the attic is not properly ventilated, the warrantee from the shingle manufacturer may be void.

Number of layers

For years the general practice in this area “allowed” for as many as three layers of roofing at a given time.  Four layers were not unusual.  The building code did not specify a maximum number of layers.  That has changed.  8 years ago the New York State code was revised.  It is no longer permissible to apply a third layer of roofing on a house.  There can be no more than two layers.  Also, it is not permissible to install a layer of asphalt shingles over wood shingles.

Many houses in the Rochester area that were constructed prior to around 1940 still have the original layer of wood shingle roofing.  Whether wood shingles are still present in an older house can be easily determined by looking at the bottom of the roof from the attic.  If there are wood shigles when a new roof is needed, it becomes necessary to remove all existing roofing and re-sheath (install plywood sheathing) the roof prior to the installation of the new roof.  This can be costly.  It is not unusual for roofing contractors to charge $300 – $400 per square for these jobs.  A “square” is 100 square feet of material.  An average house might have 20 – 30 squares on its roof.  As you can see, these roof jobs cost many thousands of dollars.

Ice Dams

Mother Nature can sometimes be cruel to us in the winter.  Ice dams can result when we experience long periods of sub freezing temperatures along with frequent snow falls.  The absence of a few periods of thawing temperatures during the winter months allows for ice and snow to collect on roofs, mostly on the roof eaves.  The winter of 2003-2004 was especially troublesome.   Low pitched roofs (and especially valleys) are more prone to ice build-up.  This ice eventually creates a “dam”, preventing the roof from draining.  Water will then back up under the roof, causing leakage.  Even a roof in very good condition can experience leakage from ice damming if the conditions are right, OR WRONG!  Providing proper insulation and ventilation in the roof can greatly minimize the possibility of ice damming.  For this reason, homeowners should not “skimp” when roof replacement is undertaken.  The proper steps should also be taken to provide good ventilation.  Also, “ice and water” shield should be utilized under the roofing in potentially troublesome areas.  This is a continuous barrier of rolled material that is placed on the roof, beneath the roofing.

Alternate Roofing Materials

Slate, Mission Tile, cement tile, Wood Shake and Metal roofs are also scattered around the Rochester area.  These are specialized roofing materials which can provide decades of dependable life.  Slate and Tile roofs can last for many generations if maintained properly.  They require periodic repair and regular maintenance and they are expensive to install.  Having an experienced roofing contractor regularly (annually) perform inspection and repairs can prolong the useful life of these roofing surfaces.  These specialized types of roofing are often the material of choice for Rochester’s more architecturally significant houses from years past.

I trust that this relatively brief summary of roofing provides some beneficial information for you to use in your day-to-day business.  As is always the case, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can answer any questions for you or be of any assistance.  We stand ready and willing to provide you and your clients with the best home inspection and consulting service in Rochester.  Also, please feel free to suggest future topics for our Newsletter.

REALTORS® Can Win a $500 Gift Card in Video Contest

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By Carolyn Stiffler

During the 2011 Fall Business Meetings, the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) officially launched its REALTOR® video contest.  NYSAR is asking members to produce a video promoting the value of using a New York State REALTOR®.  The video must be no longer than three minutes in length and should not contain any office or broker branding.  The NYSAR logo and the REALTOR® ‘R’ can be included.  The deadline to submit a video is December 21, 2011.

The videos will be voted on by a panel of judges.  The first price winner will receive a $500 American Express gift card, second place will receive a $300 gift card and third place will receive a $200 gift card.  Winners will be announced during the 2012 Mid-Winter Business Meetings in February.

State of New York Mortgage Agency updates loan programs

The State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) has made some changes to its Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL).  If a buyer chose this loan in the past, with two exceptions, their interest rate would be .5 percent higher than without.  SONYMA has decreased this to .376 percent.  The maximum down payment assistance loan has been increased by $5,000, making the DPAL the greater of $3,000 or 3 percent, not to exceed $15,000 (previously $10,000).  This is especially helpful for homebuyers where the median sales price of homes tends to be higher than other areas.

On July 6, SONYMA increased its household income and purchase price limits for all programs and options.  The increase varies by county.  The purchase price limits for new and existing single family homes increased to $301,920 for targeted areas and $247,030 for non-targeted areas for the nine counties in the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region.  The household income limits also increased in our region to $84,480 (targeted)/$70,400 (non-targeted) for one and two person households and to $98,560 (targeted)/$80,960 (non-targeted) for three or more person households.

For full details on SONYMA’s programs and options, visit

2012 Business Planning Breakdowns and Breakthroughs

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By Rich Levin,

A Harvard Business School study discovered that the 3% of people who had written goals and a plan earned ten times as much as the other 97% together.

Why don’t Real Estate Agents create written goals and the solutions?

The process is too complicated.  Keep it simple.

Planning is done in one long session.  Schedule it in a series of brief sessions.

The plan is unfinished.  Structure to complete a portion at each session.

It gets “put on the shelf.”  Build it to be a simple and enjoyable regular activity.

It ignores important parts of an Agent’s business and/or life.  Include them all.

Four Phases

With this structure your subconscious mind and creativity stimulate ideas normally unavailable to you.

Your Dreams and Vision: Ideally, how you want your business and life to look and feel?  In your business; marketing, prospecting, social media, presentations or other business priorities?  In your personal life; relationships, family, leisure, finances, health or other personal priorities?

Your Annual Goals and Plans:  How much do you plan to sell, list, and earn?  What do you want to achieve with each business category above (marketing…)?  What do you want to accomplish in your personal priorities above (relationships…)?

Your Monthly and Weekly Measurable Goals and Benchmarks:  How much will you sell and list each month?  Benchmarks: within the business categories (marketing etc.) what will you accomplish each month; within your personal priorities (relationships etc.) what visible or measurable progress will you make each month?

Your Action Plans and Habits.  Plan and schedule the actions to accomplish your highest priorities to be done at the same time, on the same day of the week, which turns them into habits that you can depend on for consistency.  (E.g. Monday 9 a.m. one hour prospecting; Tuesday marketing)

Get It Going – Ensuring Success

You don’t have to get it perfect.  Just get it going; then keep improving it.

Start your planning with a thirty minute session.  Use the simple details in the four phases above to prompt your thinking.  Complete each phase in order before moving on to the next.  Schedule thirty to sixty minutes weekly, on the same day at the same time.  Choose completion dates for each phase and honor them.

Also, schedule just five minutes at the beginning of each working weekday to review your plan.

To ensure success, each day as you begin, put your mind and emotions in an empowered state by standing proudly, stomach tightened, shoulders back, chest out.  Take five deep, deep breaths.  Smile.  Walk around a bit, briskly.  Pump your fist.  You will feel happier.  It’s physiological.  You can’t help it.  Immediately sit down and spend your five minutes or longer planning.

Keep this routine up throughout 2012 so that your planning and the strategic thinking that arise out of it become a business habit.  You will rise to the personal records of production, income, personal satisfaction and peace of mind.

Rich Levin is a Master Coach and Real Estate Productivity Consultant.  He conducts a live 15 minute Webinar daily that teaches and reinforces the details of this planning process.  Register at  For coaching and speaking information you can contact him at 585-244-2700 or

It’s The Holidays, ‘Naturally’!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

By Lana Torre

Is the stress of holiday decorating getting you down? Do you detest styrofoam evergreen trees on your holiday table? Does the thought of pouring over holiday catalogs to find the perfect centerpiece give you indigestion?

Give yourself and your family the gift of a natural holiday. Gather up the kidlets, grab your pruning shears, some tattered old tote bags, and your best pair of gardening gloves. Take a walk around your yard or a friend’s field, or find a wooded area nearby.

Look for bird’s nests, berries, herbs, seed pods, feathers, small branches with leaves, and pine cones of different sizes. If your pine cones have lost their scent, spray with evergreen oil. I have a secret ‘spot’ where I clip rose hips. They are so beautiful and such a deep red. I very carefully clip the hips and remove any thorns. I then put them in a large plastic bag and spray with bug spray. When I am ready to decorate, I will place a large bunch of hips mixed with evergreen branches in an old silver pitcher, add a festive ribbon… simply beautiful!

Slip some florist wire through a bird’s nest and hang from your tree or wreath. Collect your seed pods and give them a spray of gold paint. I also love to dry artichokes, the mini version, and spray them gold too. Place them in a large, clear, glass bowl for a centerpiece on the dining room table.

On a Saturday morning at the public market buy lots of citrus fruit. Lemons, limes and oranges studded with cloves remind me of Christmas’ past, and the aroma is still engrained in my mind. You can also slice the citrus very thinly, lay the slices on a screen and allow them to air dry. Take a needle and fishing line and thread them in a line to make scented garlands for your tree. If you are the old fashioned type, string popcorn and cranberries in long lines to drape across the mantle. Remember stale popcorn always strings best.

If your plan is to prune your evergreens and use the branches to make roping or wreaths, prune late. Evergreens dry out quickly. If you do prune, keep them cut side down in a bucket of water, with a splash of bleach. I cut holly and pachysandra from my garden and make small bunches to hang from the arms of my dining room chandelier. After they are attached with pipe cleaners, I will add ribbon to secure the greens. If you save ribbon from year to year [like I do], grab your curling iron and run the ribbon through it, much easier than the Rowenta! If you make garlands and wreaths from fresh greens, after assembly simply spritz them with clear floor wax and they will look shiny and fresh for weeks. If you wish your tree to look like it was just cut from a snowy forest, sprinkle the branches with baking soda.

This season, give your family the gift of a natural holiday,

Mother Nature approves.

Happiest of holidays to our readers!

‘Green’ Holiday Gift Ideas for Your Clients

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

As Alex reported 12/3/2011 on Property Source Radio.  – Daily Real Estate News | Monday, November 28, 2011

Save your clients money on their utility bills by giving an energy-saving gift this holiday season. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel recently highlighted several Earth-friendly holiday gift ideas, including:

  • Faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads: Help your clients reduce how much water they use and the amount of energy required to heat it. You can find these for under $10 and $25.
  • Pressure cookers: Pressure cookers can use up to 70 percent less energy than a conventional pot and you can cook your food faster, according to Energy Smart.
  • Artistic energy-efficient light bulbs: Give those CFLs an upgraded look. Hugler, a London-based company, makes a CFL called Plumen that can be used without a lamp shade. CFLs can last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • Ecobuttons: You can attach these to your computer so you can instantly put your computer on energy-saving mode with one press of a button. The ecobutton also displays how much energy and money was saved.
  • Solar lawn gadgets and art: Help your home owners decorate their lawns by using energy-efficient products, such as solar-powered water fountains, bird feeders, mosquito zappers, and lanterns.
  • Energy tester: Give your clients an energy tester, like the hand-held Kill A Watt energy meter for about $20, which will reveal what home and office appliances are the biggest energy wasters.

Source: “10 Energy-Efficient Gifts That Give Back in Savings,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Nov. 28, 2011)

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