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NOVEMBER 7, 2018 • Volume 13 • Issue 45

RE WEEKLY RESIDENTIAL • ACREAGE • FARM • COMMERCIAL • AREA DEVELOPMENT 515-233-3299 • 317 5th Street, Ames • All REALTOR® ads within are REALTORS® licensed in the State of Iowa

Online at

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Insulation ratings:

What they mean for your home By Laura Firszt More Content Now


ccording to the Insulation Institute, fully 90 percent of today’s American homes are underinsulated. That’s really too bad, because insulating your house is one of the greenest moves you can make. Effective insulation keeps in heated or cooled air — depending on the season — thereby lowering your HVAC energy consumption, your utility bills, and your carbon footprint. Often, though, homeowners simply don’t know enough about insulation: Where to install it and which type is best. That’s why we’re presenting a primer on insulation ratings of common materials, and the best locations to install them in your home.

R-value: Measuring insulation ratings R-value is the standard measurement when you compare the insulation ratings of various materials. The R-value indicates the resistance to heat transfer of a given type of insulation. The more effective the insulation material is, the greater its R-value will be. Optimal R-value when insulating your home will depend on which part of the country you live in — obviously, homes in states with harsh winters require higher insulation ratings to keep out the cold.

Insulation ratings comparison (per inch) There are numerous home insulation materials available. To compare their insulating ability, look at each one’s R-value per inch of thickness. However, note that R-values do not necessarily increase in direct proportion to increases in thickness, due to compaction. Insulation ratings also tend to change over time, with improvements in materials. • Batts and blankets made out of fiberglass or rock wool provide an R-value of 3.1-4.0. • Blown-in loose fill made of cellulose, fiberglass, or rock

wool fibers or pellets has an R-value of 2.4-4.0. • Rigid foam (extruded polystyrene, expanded polystyrene, polyurethane, polyisocyanrate) has an R-value of 3.5-7.5. • Spray foam manufactured from polyurethane or polyicynene offers an R-value of 3.6-7.0. • Radiant barrier of reflective material (generally aluminum foil is used as attic insulation, mainly in warm regions to reduce heat gain and cooling costs. It is not usually rated for R-value.

(R-value figures from Home Energy Guide, August 2018.)

Best home locations to insulate

Effective insulation keeps in heated or cooled air — depending on the season — thereby lowering your HVAC energy consumption, your utility bills, and your carbon footprint. [Wikimedia Commons]

Floor of unfinished attic. In an unfinished attic, insulate the floor to form a barrier which will minimize cold air (or hot, in summer) getting into your living space below. Don’t forget the attic access door. Finished attic walls and ceiling. If you use your attic as a bedroom, home office, etc., apply insulation to the ceiling, between the studs of interior knee walls, and outside between the studs and rafters of the walls and roof. Floors atop cold areas. Similarly, insulate your floor above an unfinished cellar or crawl space. Ditto for any living quarters over your unheated garage. HVAC ducts. Ductwork in unconditioned areas of your home should be sealed and insulated to minimize loss of air heated or cooled by your HVAC system. Insulate the plenum, as well.

DIY home insulation tips • Check your local building code to find out where and how much insulation is required. • If you plan to do the insulation yourself, batts are easiest to work with, as long as your roof joists and wall studs are spaced according to standard measurements. Otherwise you’ll have to cut the batts to fit. For other types of insulation, which are more complicated to install, hiring a professional is your best bet. • To keep out moisture, look for insulation materials equipped with a vapor barrier. • Remember to minimize air leakage by weatherstripping around doors and windows, installing thermal drapes, and plug cracks or gaps with caulk. Consider dry walling over an exceptionally cold wall to add a layer of protection.

Laura Firszt writes for

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A sustainable home can help save money and help protect the environment, according to Clayton Homes. If you are looking to build a sustainable home, consider adding these features:

Transform your backyard into a safe refuge for winter-weary birds with these tips from the experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products.

Before you sell your home, do you have unknown water waste? To fix hidden leaks, use intelligent-water technology that analyzes your home’s water use to detect tiny changes in water pressure, according to Phyn.

• Smart thermostats • Low-emission windows that block UV rays • Drought-tolerant landscapes that use drip irrigation

• Consider a variety of feeder types to increase the diversity of your avian visitors. • Provide fresh water in cold weather with a heated birdbath and place it in a sheltered spot for safe access. • Birds also appreciate warm, dry shelter from wet, snowy conditions. Well-insulated nest boxes will provide them with a cozy place to harbor.

Not only can you target invisible water leaks and make repairs, but you can also shut off the water in an emergency. — Brandpoint

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Critical components for successful real estate investing enterprises outside of real estate; think airplanes or heavy equipment. Real estate investors also pay real estate taxes, income tax, employment tax, capital gain tax and many other taxes. The key components



eader question: I am considering investing in real estate. Can you explain how people avoid taxes just by owning property?

Monty’s answer: Real estate investors do not invest in real estate to avoid taxes. They invest in real estate to build wealth. Appreciation, income, and depreciation create wealth in real estate. Depreciation is also a benefit for a wide variety of

• Location is essential to understand because real estate has a wide variety of property types and vertical markets from which to choose. Tactics one employs in some places will not find success in other markets. For example, an investor seeking high returns in apartment rentals will likely look for property in less desirable neighborhoods because the market rents and property prices in more desirable areas will not allow 15 to 25 percent annual returns. • Market knowledge means understanding what types of property you are competing with and how much investors

or users are paying. Is the market robust? Using apartments as an example, how long does it take to rent an apartment? What is the turnover rate? Are rents in the area rising, declining, or steady? Does the property fit with your plan? • Appreciation can come in a variety of ways. The most common way investors experience appreciation is over a period of years as the economy grows. According to the US Census Bureau, the median value of a new single-family home in America in 1963 was $17,200. Today, that same median is $320,200. Other tactics to create appreciation, which involves more risk, includes adding value to a property. A well-known example is flipping houses. Another tactic is changing the use of property, which often requires rezoning.    • Cash flow is a must in many types

of real estate investments. From parking lots and storage units to large apartment buildings, without cash flow, the investment burns cash. The cash flow has many uses depending on your plan, but commonly it can be accumulated for a downpayment on another venture, reinvested in property improvements, or placed in a rainy day fund. • Property management is another fundamental necessity as your portfolio grows. Richard Montgomery is the author of “House Money - An Insider’s Secrets to Saving Thousands When You Buy or Sell a Home.” He is a real estate industry veteran who advocates industry reform and offers readers unbiased real estate advice. Find him at

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Call Ali Eernisse 515-663-6956


11-7 RE Weekly  
11-7 RE Weekly