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Midland's T Bar Ranch Will Provide Water Relief!

by The Underwood Team

Midland's T Bar Ranch has promised resources by May 2013. Residents will have water for decades after, but we are likely to see tighter restrictions on water until the pipelines are completed. Mayer Wes Perry and staff have said that without any increase in rain, even stricter watering schedules will follow. The total irrigation amounts will depend on how much the Colorado River Municipal Water District can provide. The board will meet February 8th to decided the level. There is a possibility that soon Midlanders will only be allowed one day of watering each week. Perry said the goal would be to keep shrubs and trees alive, but lawns will not be a priority. Furthermore, the top-tier water users could see their bill increase if the city enters into parts of the drought contingency plan. 

A finalized contract with the Midland County Freshwater Supply District #1 is still in the works. The pipeline from Midland's T Bar Ranch in Winkler and Loving counties to Midland will be constructed by May 2013. It will be funded through the water district's revenue bonds. Midland does own the water that will be pumped, but we will pay a fee for it coming through the pipelines.

The city will still be purchasing water from the CRMWD through its contract into 2029. The second resource from T Bar will lessen the reliance on CRMWD and allow other cities to use resources.  Even though T Bar should take care of the next 40 years for Midland, the city will continue looking into options for its 100-year water supply plan. We are still to be aware of the drought and conservation should remain a key!

 

Midland, TX unemployment rate

by The Underwood Team

Midland, TX unemployment rate keeps decreasing as the demand for available homes increases. In November 2011 the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. In December the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent. Lots of businesses in Midland are in extreme need of employment. There are jobs available anywhere from IHOP to oil field sales. 

​According to the Midland Reporter Telegram, Willie Taylor is an executive Officer of Commissions Workforce Solutions within the Permian Basin. He stated, " he continue's to see positive growth and he oversees 17 West Texas counties and they are continuing to report a declining unemployment rate." Midland, TX is the place to be!!

If you are looking for a home, or a house to rent please contact RE/MAX 1st Choice- The Underwood Team at (432) 687-3629. We would be more than happy to assist you. 

 

​Information provided by Midland-Reporter Telegram

HILTON HOTEL

by The Underwood Team

 

Another hotel is in the future for the Midland area. The Hilton Garden Hill will be here in the near future. This location will be very close to the Scharbauer/Loop 250 area. According to Eric West, Engineer with Parkhill, Smith and Cooper stated, "The Hilton Garden Inn would be a 157-unit hotel and space just more than 36,000 Square feet. Also, in addition to the rooms the building will include a convention center area that would have meeting/ball-rooms."

This area also includes the Rockhounds baseball field and much more. Midland, Texas is booming and will continue to "boom" for a while. People are moving into and out of the area so fast. It is defiantly the place to be, and I do not think you will be disappointed. 

If you need help buying or selling a home please do not hesitate to contact RE/MAX 1st Choice - The Underwood Team. (432) 687-3629

Home Owner Insurance Check Up?

by The Underwood Team

Is it TIME for a homeowners insurance checkup? 

Have you thought about your homeowners insurance lately? If not, maybe you should.

Chances are the subject hasn't crossed your mind since you purchased your policy. And while buy and hold may work for some investments, it may not be the best strategy when it comes to homeowner insurance.

A policy that was adequate when you first purchased it may need to be revised because of changes you've made to your home or increased construction costs. You should consult with your insurance agent or broker to evaluate your policy and make sure it still meets your needs.

" You really should look at it every year," says Debbie Marmitt, a client advisor with Signature Select, a regional insurance broker based in Denver and a subsidiary of IMC, inc.

In evaluating your policy, these should be your major considerations:

 

DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH COVERAGE?

If your property suffers serious damage- or the unthinkable happens and your home is destroyed-will insurance cover the cost of replacement?

You should have enough coverage to rebuild your house if it becomes necessary. With inflation in labor and materials, the construction sots will probably be considerably higher than when you purchased the home. If you don't have enough coverage, you may have to absorb a larger hit out of your pocket.

Does your policy provide extended or guaranteed  replacement cost for the dwelling and replacement cost for your personal property? Some standard policies will reimburse you on an actual cash value basis, whereas with replacement coverage, you'll be reimbursed for the full value per the policy settlement options. 

ARE YOU PAYING TO MUCH?

One factor affecting premiums is the deductible. Marmitt recommends a minimum of $1,000. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. This will also keep you from filing claims for minor damages.

DO YOU NEED FLOOD OR EARTHQUAKE COVERAGE?

Standard policies don't cover flood or earthquake perils, If you live in an area prone to such occurrence, you should consult with your agent or broker for coverage options. Mortgage companies may require such coverage if your home is located in a high-risk flood or earthquake area.

HOW MUCH LIABILITY COVERAGE SHOULD YOU HAVE?

Marmitt recommends a minimum of $300,000 of personal liability under your home owners policy. " This coverage is the least expensive element that provides great financial benefit," she says, "You should also carry the same liability limit under your auto policy."

As a homeowner, you should give serious thought to an umbrella liability policy, which will cover you if you're hit with a judgment that exceeds your home or auto coverage limits. The minimum umbrella coverage is $1 million. Defense costs are included under the policy, but check with your agent or broker to see if those costs are included in the policy limit.

HOW ABOUT OFF-ROAD VEHICLES? 

As long as you're on your own property, you may have liability and/or physical damage coverage under your homeowners policy for vehicles such as ATVs and golf carts, but once you cross the property line, the coverage ceases unless you've purchased a separate policy.

ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS?

you might consider protection against identity heft or equipment breakdown that may be included- or can be added to- your policy. A yearly review with an independent insurance expert is the best way to stay informed about changed in the marketplace. 

11 Ways To MAke Your Home Greener

by The Underwood Team

"WAYS TO MAKE YOUR HOME ​GREENER"

​1. SWITCH TO COMPACT FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS

​Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs can be a huge energy saver and typically have a much longer life than other bulbs. It would be a great idea to replace some of your incandescent bulbs with fluorescent and enjoy reductions in heat production and energy use. Changing at least  five of the most frequently used bulbs in your home can save you $100 per year on electric bills.

​2. PROGRAM YOUR THERMOSTAT

​When you are at home, keep the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the summer and 62 or lower in the winter. Programmable thermostats allow you to preset the system to reduce output when it's not needed, like when no one is home during the day or when everyone is sleeping at night.

3. PLUG AIR LEAKS

This simple step can go a long way toward keeping your home at the temperature you desire saving money on heating and air conditioning bills, Common leaks occur around windows, doors, and other wall penetrations, Plugging those leaks with weather stripping and caulk is an easy and inexpensive task.

​4. TUNE UP YOUR HEATING AND COOLING (HVAC) SYSTEM

Have a checkup for your HVAC system every two years to make sure it is running efficiently. Be sure to clean the filter monthly during times of peak usage; a dirty filter can significantly reduce the system's efficiently. 

5. CHOOSE ENERGY STAR APPLIANCES

Energy star qualified products meet a high level of energy efficiency, which can translate into savings on electric bills. So when it's time to replace that old refrigerator, microwave, clothes washer, or other appliance, remember that even if an Energy Star appliance costs more, you could reduce your energy bill by 50$ a year for each appliance. Also, check with your electric utility- some offer incentives for replacing old appliances with more efficient ones.  

​6. REDUCE WATER USE

You should be more aware of the water you use daily, and how much you are wasting by keeping the water running or how high the water pressure is. 

​7. PLANT TREES TO PROVIDE SHADE AND WIND PROTECTION FOR YOUR HOUSE

​Planting trees to provide shade for your home can save so much money. This simple step can help you save money on heating and air conditioning bills while providing beautiful views around your home.

8. USE NATIVE PLANTINGS

Native plants have been growing for several years.  These plants have adapted to the local soils and climate. As a result they are more likely to thrive with minimal care unlike exotic plants.

 

 

HOW TO MAKE THAT A SPACE APPEAR LARGER

by The Underwood Team

Do you have a small room or rooms that you'd like to seem larger? One solution is to de-clutter the space/ But if you're not prepared to toss out your grandmother's antique furniture, it might be time to try some decorating tips that will help you make the best use of the space.

Here are some solutions to not only maximize the space you have but also to give it a larger feel:

 

GO LIGHTER

Paint the walls light or pale colors. This makes small rooms appear brighter and larger.

BUT DON'T BE BORING

This doesn't mean that everything in the room should be off-white. Adding bold accents with varying patterns, prints, and colors creates visual appeal and can distract the mind from the small space.

GO BRIGHTER

Adding more light can make all the difference- as long as it's without adding objects to a bookshelf, tables or floors. Think recessed lighting, wall sconces or skylights instead of floor or table lamps.

GO VERTICAL

Extend the cabinets, wall units and bookshelves to the ceiling. This applies to kitchen cabinets as well.

UTILIZE WALL SPACE

Place hooks and magnetic strips on walls in the kitchen and elsewhere and use them to get pots, pans, and other objects off tables and counters.

GROUP YOUR KNICK-KNACKS

When displaying items on shelves and tables, group them together to create empty spaces between collections. This neutral space gives your eyes a place to rest and created the illusion of more space.

SIZE MATTERS

It is easy to pick that oversized chair or ouch in a retail store's football-field-sized showroom only to get it home and discover that it's gargantuan. Measure both for space and the furniture before any purchase. Buying couches and chairs can create the illusion of space. Floor cushions are a great way to create seating without adding more furniture, They can be easily stored when not in use.

WATCH YOUR ANGLES

Shelves, tables chairs and couches that stick out at the wrong angle in a small room can draw the eye and make it appear even smaller. Look for furniture with softer angles and remove pieces that don't fit. 

Record snowfall in Midland, TX

by The Underwood Team

 

Midland, TX had some extreme snowfall on Monday of this week. The snowfall hit record totals in the West Texas area.  Sleet began to fall early Monday morning and the sleet eventually turned into snow and continued throughout the day into the late evening hours.

The National Weather Service stated, “ 19.5 inches of snow has fallen in Midland since December 1st, 10.6 inches of the snowfall amount was from Monday.  West Texas snowfall amounts have been higher than several cities throughout the U. S." However, we are really hoping and praying that the snowfall from Monday helped decrease the regions current drought conditions. 

I know a lot of people are hoping for more snow in the near future. The snow that falls might be very messy and dangerous, but isn't it just beautiful to look at and see covered on everything? Snowfall is one of God's beautiful creations. 

 

​Information from: MyWestTexas.com

Housing Goes " Green"

by The Underwood Team

 

Housing Goes "Green"

Wherever you turn these days, it seems that someone is talking about "Green", or "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED") certified buildings, and "Zero Energy Homes." Each of these share a commitment to reduced energy consumption and the "re-use, repurposing and recycling of materials," "improved indoor air quality" and use of "environmentally friendly" and "renewable products." Green or LEED buildings generally generate 20 to 70 percent in energy savings, while a Zero Energy Home (ZEH) by definition must generate enough energy to meet or exceed its own heating, cooling and electrical needs in any given year. 
With all of the recent attention being given to energy conservation, you might not realize that a handful of individuals began vigorously exploring ways to significantly reduce energy consumption in the early 1970's. Since then, energy saving practices have been refined and expanded and have been incorporated into projects ranging from small homes to large commercial buildings, schools and fire stations to government buildings. Recent projects have successfully demonstrated the economic viability and sustainability of incorporating rigorous energy and conservation standards into new construction without increasing budgets or extending schedules. 
Many conservation efforts are most easily incorporated at the time of initial construction, however some are easily adapted either as a stand-alone project or as part of routine equipment replacement. 


Heating, Cooling and Electricity

High efficiency furnaces and/or heat pumps - replacing old furnaces with higher efficiency models or possibly converting from an older type of heating and/or cooling device to one utilizing newer technology can lead to significant energy savings. Many furnaces built just 15 years ago are quite inefficient when compared to models available today. 


Insulation - adding additional insulation in attics, crawl spaces and exterior walls are all potential areas for reducing energy costs. Also, by sealing cracks in the attic around areas where ceiling lights and fans are installed or wires are strung can also cut energy costs substantially. When all these small openings are added together, they can have the same effect as having a window left open. 


Horizontal Loop Ground Source Heat Pump System - this relatively unheard of heat pump system runs coils 4 to 6 feet underground to tap into the constant temperature of the earth's soil to provide either heating or cooling depending upon the season. 
Windows - installation of wood or vinyl encased triple pane windows significantly reduces heat loss and eliminates drafts. 


Building Site Orientation - for new construction, orienting a building to utilize the southern exposure along with window placement allows for the exploitation of both natural lighting and solar heat. 


Light bulbs - the days of the incandescent light bulbs may be numbered as legislators across the nation discuss legislation to ban their use in favor of the more efficient LED and CFL lighting technology as a measure to reduce energy usage. 


Higher efficiency appliances - installation of high efficiency appliances will significantly reduce energy consumption, particularly for appliances that run all the time, are energy consumers or are used with high frequency. 


Water

Consumption

Water heaters - there are several energy saving strategies available when it comes to water heaters. When opting to use a traditional storage tank, the location of the tank can have a significant impact on the amount of water consumed and the cost of heating the water. The most economical placement is to have the tank as close as possible to where the water is used most so there is less water wasted waiting for the hot water to arrive. Adding insulation to the first foot of the pipe coming out of the hot water tank will reduce heat leakage. An alternative to the traditional hot water heater is the tankless water heater that only heats the water as needed by running the water through heated coils. This method eliminates the need to keep water hot all the time and the energy required to do so. 
Landscaping -by designing and implementing a landscape centered on plants native to your locale that are also drought tolerant will reduce landscape watering requirements. 
Rainwater cisterns with filtration systems - also gaining popularity are rainwater cisterns that store water from rooftop collection systems to be later used for irrigation. Sizes vary and can be selected based up on rainfall averages, collection area size, and available storage locations. 
Impervious Paving Systems - porous surfaces reduce the impact on surrounding areas by allowing rain water to penetrate surfaces and be absorbed into the soil. Reducing runoff helps alleviate premature expansion of storm water treatment facilities. 


Indoor Air

Quality

Flooring - several options exist when making flooring selections that will increase air quality. For those willing to either reduce the quantity of carpeting or forego it all together, selecting sustainably harvested wood or bamboo is a good alternative. However, for those set on having carpeting, selecting carpets made using natural fibers with a low-pile can reduce the collection of allergens. Also, air quality will remain stable when carpeting is installed using tacks rather than fume emitting glue. 
Paint - better air quality is achieved by using low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) and low-toxic interior paints and finishes instead of other paints and finishes that release higher levels of chemicals and toxins. 


Additional Energy Sources


Solar - once thought of as an "alternative" source of energy, solar panels are gaining popularity. Solar panels remain an expensive option; however, their cost has dropped significantly over the last number of years, making them less cost prohibitive. Although solar panels will work in any climate, sunnier locations will result in higher productivity. To encourage the installation of solar panels, governmental agencies as well as some utilities have created different incentive and rebate programs to lower the cost. 

Wind - although not practical for the average home owner due to its high installation costs ($40,000 or more), it does remain an option for those located in areas with sufficient wind and land resources. Generally, a home tower will produce between 8,000 - 18,000 kWh per year given sufficient air movement and requires being located on at least an acre of land. 


 

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Midland 1st Choice -
The Underwood Group, LLC
3319 Caldera Blvd
Midland TX 79707
Direct: (432) 413-8855
Toll Free: (432) 698-0411
Fax: Fax: (432) 897-0344