Is a second home a sensible investment?

Many people dream of a second home abroad. Here you can find out why a second home need not remain a dream, but can be a worthwhile investment:

Many buyers see the purchase of a second home as an immediate source of income in addition to a long-term capital investment. On the one hand, the rental income can be used for refinancing the holiday home as well as for additional income. In addition to the immediate income, personal retirement provision is also one of the most important motivations for buying another property: A holiday home as a capital investment thus represents an additional safeguard for the future in addition to a statutory pension. 

All in all, holiday properties are much more versatile than one might initially expect.

Tellico Village, TN

6 Things to Know About the Housing Market’s Big Shift

As housing continues to shift slightly in buyers’ favor, there are six things buyers and sellers need to know about the market. Anthony Hitt, CEO of Engel & Völkers Americas, discusses an influx of buyers, particularly from Europe, returning as international travel begins to recover. Read more here.

My Big News??

I’m expanding my business! Stay tuned for more exciting details! 

Engel & Völkers launches Live Your Luxury campaign

Engel & Völkers recently launched its Live Your Luxury campaign, a multi-channel initiative that includes print, digital, and social media marketing assets. This campaign capture some of the intangible qualities that make a home, “home”. Read more here.

Engel & Völkers attracts media attention locally, across the Americas, and around the globe through our award-winning public relations and marketing strategies. We position our network members, our leaders, and our exceptional listings in front of millions of consumers every month. Take a look at who’s talking about Engel & Völkers.

AN ODE TO LIFE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

Whether it’s the beauty of nature or the allure of growing your own organic produce, there’s an enduring appeal to life in the countryside. But it’s not just a romantic pipe dream, the reality is packed with tangible benefits for home buyers from all walks of life – both in terms of lifestyle and investment returns.

Farm in Tuscany at dawn

Space

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying in the UK, USA, France or anywhere in the world, the price per square metre is likely to be lower in the countryside than the city. Even better, properties in rural areas tend to be larger on average. This means that you have a much better chance of finding a luxuriously large property with potential for development both indoors and out.

Air quality

The damage diesel fumes are doing to urban air quality is a global concern, as organisations and individuals attempt to get to grips with the growing health crisis in polluted citiesWhile rural communities aren’t immune to these problems, particularly if they’re close to out-of-town industrial or farming developments, life in the countryside can provide a breath of fresh air if you choose the right spot.

Fresh produce

Life in the countryside is more than just the location – it’s the lifestyle too. The growth in green, healthy eating trends like organic farming, local sourcing and foraging have made living in the countryside an ever more appealing prospect. So when you’re investing in a rural property, remember that verdant forests and ethical farmers are the equivalents to supermarkets and restaurants for would-be rural buyers.

Price appreciation

After years of rising prices in urban centres, these benefits to life in the countryside are once again starting to command a premium in the property market. And with big differences in affordability in different rural counties, there are plenty of opportunities to identify an area with potential.

Alternative investment options

Cities may boast investments that are packaged, branded and targeted at people from all walks of life, but the real estate market in the countryside has the potential for a much more personal approach. With plenty of scope to buy a plot of land and develop your own dream home (or investment property), and with incentives available for buying historic properties or joining rural communitiesyou can find a unique path that might be much more lucrative than attempting the same prospect in the city.

Lucrative sidelines

You can use your extra space to host guests who are keen to explore the local area, and even partner up with some of those local foraging and farming experts to offer activities. Alternatively, invest in a mixed use property and harness (or sublet) barns or outhouses for business, or grow fresh organic herbs in your ample acreage.

The business and lifestyle opportunities in the countryside are vast. If you need help identifying the ideal locale, our worldwide network of Engel & Völkers realtors are perfectly equipped to help. And in the meantime, our regularly updated property insights can give you the background information you need to develop your dreams.

Escape the city – the dream of country life

Engel & Völkers AG 
The corona pandemic has increasingly made the home the centre of life and primary hangout for the whole family. As more time is spent at home by all members of the household, there is a growing desire for more space and opportunities for retreat. Accordingly, more and more people wish to live in the countryside. Apart from the prime locations in city centres, suburbs and rural regions surrounding the large metropolises are also currently experiencing significant growth in demand. 

And rightly so, because country life has a lot to offer – both in terms of quality of life and financially. Engel & Völkers expects the suburbanization trend to continue and rural regions in the catchment area of major cities to be revitalised in the long term.

Enjoy browsing our property highlights, all of which are distinguished by their secluded, tranquil locations.

Property highlights

Italy, Sardinia, Porto Cervo countryside

Seclusion and relaxation in Costa Smeralda

  Seclusion and relaxation in Costa Smeralda House, Italy, Sardinia, Porto Cervo countryside    This newly built house offers complete tranquillity and privacy thanks to its unique location in the hills of Sardinia. It is situated out in the countryside, yet only a few kilometres from the most beautiful beaches of the Costa Smeralda and vibrant Porto Cervo. Its interior is characterized by an appealing mix of modern and traditional elements.

The house is spread over three floors: The ground floor features three double bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, as well as an open-plan living area that blends harmoniously with the fully equipped American kitchen and offers direct access to the terrace and pool. The upper floor is exclusively reserved for the master bedroom with en suite bathroom and private terrace. Two extra bedrooms – ideal for domestic staff – a living area with kitchen and a practical laundry room are located on the lower floor. The outdoor area features a beautiful pool with sun terrace, as well as various lounge areas from which to enjoy the views of the rural surroundings. The house also has air conditioning, Wi-Fi and three covered parking spaces.  E&V ID W-029IJT

View exposé 

Housing Market Forecast 2021: Will It Crash or Boom?

So, you’re hoping to buy or sell a home in 2021 and want to know how the housing market forecast looks—especially after such an unpredictable year. Well, keep in mind that no one can predict what’s going to happen with 100% accuracy. But we can check out what real estate trends are happening and make some guesses about the future from there. (Hint: It’s still looking strong!)

Remember, housing market predictions can only give you an idea of what to expect if you buy or sell a house this year. But never let them control your housing decisions—only your personal situation and finances should do that.

With that said, let’s take a closer look at how the market is doing.

Your Housing Market Forecast for 2021

The housing market in 2021 is continuing to explode like fireworks. Experts are seeing a post-pandemic rebound—we’re talking steady mortgage rates, job recoveries, and the law of supply and demand all working together to make home sales go kaboom!1

That’s right, forget the slow start to 2020 where all the unknowns of the pandemic outbreak had home buyers and sellers feeling a bit shy about pulling the trigger. Now there’s high demand with super low inventory, and pent-up buyers are scratching and clawing to enter the market.

Toward the end of 2020, real estate gurus projected that low mortgage rates and the rise of remote workers with flexible schedules would keep home sales booming. Comparing those predictions with the numbers from the first quarter of 2021, it looks like reality is beating out expectations. Take a look:

Housing Market Predictions2021
Existing home salesUp 9%
Newly built home salesUp 21%
Home pricesUp 8%
Mortgage rates (30-year fixed)At 3%2,3
Housing Market DataJan – Mar 2021
Existing home salesUp 12% YOY
Newly built home salesUp 37% YOY
Home pricesUp 16% YOY
Mortgage rates (30-year fixed)At 3%4,5,

Okay, so if you’re looking to buy a house right now, those first-quarter numbers may seem a bit scary—especially with the national median home price soaring in a record high increase since 1989!7 Putting that into dollar signs, the average home cost rose to $319,200. That’s nearly a $45,000 jump in price compared to the first quarter of 2020!

But, buyers, take a deep breath. Don’t let the data squash your dream of buying a home just yet! Remember that these numbers are only based on the first three months of 2021. Plus, those percentage changes are compared to what was happening in the beginning of 2020, and we all know there was some weird stuff going on back then. So it’s not totally crazy to see big changes.

Also, keep in mind, these numbers will probably change here and there as experts crunch new data. But the bottom line will mostly stay the same: Home sales and prices are likely to stay higher in 2021 compared to last year.

Plenty of Home Buyers Continue to Enter the Market

Real estate agents across the country were asked to describe their market based on how many buyers were looking and how many sellers were selling. Check out the map to see how hot the buyer traffic looks in your neck of the woods:

Realtors say that sales went from hot in February 2021 to even hotter in March. Each home that sold had an average of more than four offers!8 And it looks like buyer traffic is remaining strong throughout most of the country, which is a great sign for sellers.

Not Enough Homes Will Be Listed for Sale

On the other hand, the number of homes actively listed for sale was down 52% in March 2021 compared to last year.9 The next map shows how the majority of markets are looking somewhat slow when it comes to seller traffic—so buyers will have to work harder to find their dream home.

How Fast Are Homes Flying off the Market in 2021?

Before the start of 2021, existing homes were typically on the market for 21 days—meaning houses were plucked off the market two weeks faster than the typical 38 days from a year ago.10 And we’re now seeing homes sell even faster than that, typically selling within 18 days on the market.11 That’s another new record!

Now, this is great news for sellers who are itching to get their homes sold fast. But buyers need to stay focused! You don’t want to drag your feet once you find the best home because it’ll likely be gone if you wait too long to commit.

Of course, every market is a little different. Here’s a state-by-state breakdown so you can see about how many days existing homes stayed on the market in your area:

Will There Be a Lot of Foreclosures in 2021?

Early projections showed that 225,000 to 500,000 homeowners across the country might face foreclosure (eviction for missing mortgage payments) in 2021.12

Though the government put a temporary ban on foreclosures and evictions to provide housing relief during the pandemic, we’re starting to see foreclosures tick back up—but only on vacant and abandoned properties.13

There were 33,699 U.S. properties that had foreclosure filings in the first quarter of 2021—that’s a 9% increase from the last quarter of 2020, but it’s still down 78% compared to the same period last year.14

Why are experts predicting an increase in foreclosures? Well, those projections are mostly based on job losses connected to the pandemic. After all, the government ban on foreclosures won’t last forever. And imagine how hard it’d be for a homeowner to keep up with mortgage payments after losing a stable job and income. If that’s you, hang in there! There’s more you can do to avoid foreclosure, like tightening up your monthly budget and finding multiple jobs.

On the other hand, what do more foreclosures mean for home buyers? You might find a sweet discount! But keep in mind, buying a foreclosed home could come with its own set of potential issues. So make sure you do your homework on the house and know what you’re getting yourself into before you buy.

Is the Housing Market Going to Crash in 2021? What About 2022?

It’s pretty unlikely that the housing market will crash in the next two years. Remember, home prices have already seen a 16.2% increase in 2021, more than doubling original predictions.15,16 That’s a good thing for the economy!

Back in 2020, experts projected that home prices would keep increasing in 2022, growing at a slightly slower rate of 5.5%.17 But after seeing how far off predictions were for 2021. . . well, who knows what’s going to happen.

So, when is the market expected to crash? Here’s the deal. As long as new buyers continue to enter the market and there aren’t enough homes for sale to meet demand, home sales and prices will continue going up, and the market should stay healthy.

On the other hand, if the number of houses for sale was crazy high and the number of buyers willing to buy them suddenly plummeted, home prices would get slashed—and that’s when a crash would be something to worry about.

What Does This Mean for Home Buyers in 2021?

Okay, it looks like you’ll need to bring your A game if you want to buy the home of your dreams this year. With more buyers than sellers, you’ll probably be up against some heavy competition, and you might have to gear up for a bidding war. But don’t worry—there’s a bright side for buyers too.

If you’re getting a mortgage, you might still be able to get a low interest rate in 2021. The annual average interest rate for a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage in 2020 was only 2.61%—the lowest it’s been since Freddie Mac started reporting nearly 30 years ago!18

The way things are looking, rates seem like they’ll stay pretty low through 2021. That means you’ll probably still have a good chance of locking in a lower-than-average one. A low rate means a lower monthly payment and less of your money going toward interest over the life of the loan. Woo-hoo!

Another bright side: Many experts anticipate housing inventory will climb by 43% in the second half of 2021, which means you’ll be fighting less people for your dream home—if you can hold out for it.19

What Does This Mean for Home Sellers in 2021?

Sellers out there can feel pretty good about 2021, but if that’s you, you might want to put your house on the market sooner rather than later while inventory is still low. There are plenty of buyers out there, but experts are predicting more people will sell within the next year, meaning you’ll have more competition.20

If you work with an experienced agent, you’ll be able to set the best home price and find the right buyer. With an expert by your side, you should have no problem selling your house at a great price this year.

Housing Market Predictions for 2022

Right now, the housing market is red hot, with many homes selling above value simply because there are tons of buyers and not enough homes for sale. Is that going to continue through 2022?

Well, of course, no one can know for sure. In a Zillow research study, more than 69% of real estate gurus surveyed said they expected more houses to go up for sale in the second half of 2021 or the first half of 2022.21 And if more homes go up for sale, home prices should cool down too. Experts are predicting annual home value growth to slow to 4.5% in 2022 and continue a downward trend through 2025.22

How to Buy or Sell With Confidence in Any Housing Market

The housing market isn’t known for being simple to predict. That’s why it pays to have a trusted professional in your corner. To connect with an agent who has weathered the storms of real estate, try our Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program. We only recommend top-notch agents who help you crush your housing goals—no matter what the market is doing.

Ramsey Solutions

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ramsey Solutions

Stylish Shelving for Storage and Display

When designing the spaces in our homes, it is important to consider both the aesthetics and the efficiency of our design choices. Shelving provides both storage space and ample room for creativity making them the perfect addition to any home. Whether you choose built-ins or a removable option, shelves and their contents work together to enhance the design of any room. 

The best part about shelving is the abundance of options available. From free-standing to built-in and wall shelves, the options available to homeowners is staggering. Here are five shelving options that can tie any room together.

Built-in Shelving

Built-in shelving is a great option for creating beautiful, functional storage space in a home. Rising to the ceiling, these shelves provide plenty of storage and allow for maximizing previously unused space for personal knick-knacks, books, or family photographs. The simplistic design and neutral color allow the objects on display to take center stage in the design of the room. Further, many built-ins come with cabinets and drawers underneath, excellent for packing away clutter while maintaining a sleek design.

Free-standing Shelving

While built-in shelving is ideal for storage, free-standing shelving is often easier to work into a home’s decor and more flexible in usage. These shelving units can be moved from room to room, or even house to house, and don’t require the complex dismantling of built-in units. The wide variety of materials, colors, sizes, and design options available ensures that there is a shelf for every room in your home. 

Floating Glass Shelves

Floating glass shelves emphasize the items on display rather than the shelf itself. Floating shelves already appear to hang magically due to their hidden shelf supports. When these shelves are glass, the objects on display begin to take on a more ethereal presence as the shelf floats into the background. These shelves are best suited for display as they highlight the items on the shelves and complement other design elements in the room. 

Corner Shelves

Corner shelves are popular as they take the previously wasted space where two walls meet and add both decor and storage. Corner shelves are often used in kitchen spaces as commonly used utensils and ingredients can be kept close at hand while still being out of the way. When storing items on these shelves, it is essential to be selective to avoid a cluttered look. Color schemes, matching storage jars, and an eye for detail ensure that these shelves are styled to perfection. 

Geometric Shelves

Geometric shelves like this hexagonal design are a great way to include personality and whimsy into any room. The flat bottoms of these shelves make it easy to display or store items while still differentiating themselves from standard shelving options. Modern and unique, these shelves make any room feel one-of-a-kind. 

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Physical offices aren’t going anywhere: Why shop culture is key to business growth

Think office space isn’t that important? Think again. But only when you create this kind of environment.

BY ANTHONY HITT for Engel & Völkers

April 12, 2021

More than a year into the COVID pandemic, the debate of just how important a physical office is to our industry continues with acute focus. After all, 2020 was a record-breaking year. If real estate professionals were able to service their clients and transact business remotely during the most volatile of times, perhaps office spaces aren’t as important as we may have thought.

Not so fast.

Engel & Völkers experienced its best year in 2020, but it wasn’t simply technology that enabled our network to thrive. It was because of our shop locations.

The shop concept

The first Engel & Völkers shop opened more than 40 years ago under the brand’s founder, Christian Völkers. That original boutique location in Hamburg, Germany has served as the blueprint for every shop since, from the brand’s first expansion to the Balearic Islands to our latest shop opening in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

Across states, countries, and continents, every Engel & Völkers location reflects this shop concept, which has been refined over the years to instantly evoke the feelings of our brand values: competence, exclusivity, and passion.

This means that whether you’re looking for real estate expertise along the cliffs of Taormina, Sicily, or Philadelphia’s Main Line, the Engel & Völkers shop is instantly recognizable. Our global architecture and design team ensures that each shop boasts the signature white facade and features purposeful design aspects throughout. Space has function with service at its core. From large windows that showcase our finest listings, to open concept workspaces, down to the espresso machine inviting clients to come inside — the experience has been thoughtfully curated with the purpose of providing a luxury experience to anyone who walks in our doors, anywhere in the world.

Creating a community hub

When we enter a market, we start with a shop buildout. Its location is strategically chosen within vibrant areas of the community, so that the shop can be used for more than transactional work. Physically and conceptually, our goal is to be at the center of the communities of which we serve.

Transitioning to remote work

When we were forced to change our working habits overnight, our network transitioned smoothly. While the switch was significant, our advisors stayed connected, continuing to work together efficiently from home, thanks to our global Google Workplace and World IPS platforms. We were used to working as a cohesive unit, but how we did this shifted.

This also translated into a virtual culture of digital happy hours, sales meetings, and best practice sharing events with other shops. This is what our shop concept had been nurturing all along.

A greater competitive advantage

The commitment to the Engel & Völkers shop is stronger than ever, for both the satisfaction of our clients and the success of our advisors. As COVID cases decline, many companies have decided to work remotely for quite some time, if not indefinitely. In this new era, our shop concept will continue to be a competitive differentiator, as it goes beyond the physical storefront.

Agents are certainly capable of selling real estate while working remotely, but our advisors have said they want to be back in the shop. Agents who don’t have this sense of comradery may not feel the same. But for us, this environment facilitates innovation and makes our people better professionals and better equipped to overcome challenges. It’s about having the right combination of the digital and physical shop presence that will continue to differentiate our advisors. To us, a shop is our home.

Learn more about Engel & Völkers.

Private Residences | Spring 2021

Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time for Engel & Völkers’ newest edition of Private Residences. Each season, our real estate network from across the Americas brings together a stunning collection of exceptional properties. Whether you are looking for a private oasis in Scottsdale, Arizona, dreaming of palatial-living just outside of New York City, or seeking paradise in Los Cabos, Mexico, this spring’s selection of luxe properties delivers. Below you can find just a few of the incredible properties featured in the Private Residences Spring 2021 edition. Can’t get enough? View the full spring issue of Private Residences at the end of this post.

Beverly Hills, California

This modern Spanish estate is perched atop an acre of lush, park-like grounds with expansive and stunning views from nearly every room. Located on the famous Mulholland Corridor, the architectural masterpiece includes six beds and nine baths. The formal foyer is highlighted by exquisite details including grand crown molding, sixteen-foot vaulted ceilings, and dramatic high arched walkways. Impressive architectural details continue through the walkways into two large public rooms with marble fireplaces and custom cut stone flooring.

The chef’s kitchen includes Sub-Zero and Miele appliances along with gorgeous built-ins. From there follow the elegant staircase upstairs to four en suite bedrooms, including an impressive owner’s suite with a jetted tub, two walk-in closets, and a minibar. Other notable amenities include a media room, game room, office, and wine cellar. Outside, the manicured gardens feature a pool, spa, waterfall, cabana, and sports court.

Listed by Sandra Miller of Engel & Völkers Santa Monica.

Whistler, British Columbia

Perched high above neighboring properties, this distinguished, post and beam, architectural masterpiece sits on a remarkable, private treed lot. Notable amenities include a media room, gym area, outdoor hot tub, wine cellar, and play loft. Included in this exceptional offering is the undeveloped neighboring lot, which affords an amazing opportunity for the future development of an ideal mountain escape. This unique double lot offers unparalleled privacy, unobstructed views, and proximity to Whistler Mountain, as well as the one-of-a-kind opportunity to create a multigenerational compound.

Listed by Maggi Thornhill of Engel & Völkers Whistler.

Los Cabos, Mexico

As the waterfall flows down the boulders into the meandering creek, the splashes glisten in the sun. The koi fish swim below, while the turtles sun alongside the banks. Welcome to Paradiso Perduto, a Zen-inspired sanctuary. 

Perched 180 feet above sea level with breathtaking views of the Sea of Cortez, this magnificent home is situated on two lots inside a double-gated community within the Puerto Los Cabos development. The contemporary architecture, minimalist yet inviting spaces, calming organic white tones, and Zen inspiration create an aura of sophistication. Experience it all at Paradiso Perduto.

Listed by Vanessa Fukunaga of Engel & Völkers Los Cabos.

Saddle River, New Jersey

Sitting on a hill just minutes outside of New York City, this strikingly ornate palace is filled with exquisite European craftsmanship and modern amenities. It boasts an impressive grand double staircase entry, a commercial-grade glass elevator, large indoor and outdoor gunite swimming pools and jacuzzis, a regulation-sized indoor racquetball court, an outdoor lit tennis court, billiard room, library, state of the art home theater, wine cellar, sauna, steam room, plunge pool, gym, and much more. Entertainment spaces include a 2,200 square foot ballroom and the adjacent great room with 22-foot high ceilings, an atrium, and a 26-seat dining room. The manicured 6-acre property is surrounded by rolling hills and beautiful trees.  

Listed by Lisa Troyano-Ascolese of Engel & Völkers Hoboken.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Just minutes away from the Clubhouse at Silverleaf, this home is set apart by its unique privacy. The carefully crafted architecture allows for private and intimate indoor/outdoor living. Interior elements were constructed with care and pride. The herringbone wood floors, detailed ironwork, and countless other elegant touches create a home for art collectors and those that wish to feel spoiled. The guest wing includes three oversized bedrooms each with its own bath. An office wing complements the other side. Upstairs, the secluded owner’s enclave upstairs allows for ultimate privacy.  

Listed by Bob Nathan of Engel & Völkers Scottsdale.

View the full version of the winter edition of Private Residences below, or click here.

A WORKSHOP IN YOUR HOME – HOW DO-IT-YOURSELFERS CAN MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE

As a result of the events surrounding corona, the home and its optimal design and utilisation have regained importance. Many a long-cherished dream is suddenly about to become reality. Many people are thinking about setting up a workshop in their home and how this can be realised. In this article you will learn about what you need to consider and what equipment and tools are worth acquiring. Let’s begin!

Ask yourself the following questions before setting up your workshop.

Such a project needs to be well thought out, because it is a decision that costs time, space and money. Once you have clarified the question of the budget, you can move on to the detailed planning.

Ask yourself the following questions before setting up your workshop.

Such a project needs to be well thought out, because it is a decision that costs time, space and money. Once you have clarified the question of the budget, you can move on to the detailed planning.

Hamburg - A workshop in your home: ➤ now is the time to make dreams come true ☛ learn all about design and set-up here

What is the best place for the future workshop in your home?

When choosing a room, you should bear in mind that in a workshop there are some things that could lead to the other occupants protesting:

• dirt, dust

• odours

• noise

Usually the basement or the garage is preferred. It is advisable to install insulation (noise, heat, cold) with optimum ventilation. In addition to artificial lighting, plenty of daylight should be available to optimise light conditions.

Which elements / components are needed in the workshop?

Before you start with the actual set-up, take the opportunity to optimise the “infrastructure” of the room:

• Sockets (220 / 380 volts): these should be installed above table height in sufficient number. Experts recommend at least four per wall.

• Lighting: Ensure good lighting (daylight) and seek advice from a professional. In addition to stationary lighting systems (ceiling, wall), we also recommend the use of portable luminaires.

• Sufficient shelves on the walls with adequate load capacity that are well secured.

• Sturdy tables / workbenches that can take a beating with a hammer.

• Water connections and drains to wash the dirt off your hands after work.

• Heating for the cold season.

Even if you are a skilled do-it-yourselfer, some work requires professional assistance. For safety reasons, you should leave everything to do with electricity and water, possibly gas, in the hands of professionals.

What tools and machines are needed

What tools to get depends above all on the DIY skills of the do-it-yourselfer. If you like working with wood, then a saw and plane will be part of the standard equipment. If you work with metal, you might consider getting a welding machine, a cut-off wheel or even a small lathe. If you mainly repair watches, then the requirements are quite different.

When it comes to tools, you should ask the advice of DIY pros in addition to the salesperson in the specialist store, namely people who have already set up a workshop and work in it.

Overview of the standard equipment needed for a workshop at home

• Drill and cordless screwdriver

• Various screw clamps

• Saws for wood and metal, possibly an electric jigsaw with different blades

• Metal and wood drills in various sizes

• Set of open-end or ring spanners

• Set of allen keys

• Set of screwdrivers (cross-head, slotted and spax), also suitable for the cordless screwdriver

• Several pliers (combination pliers, side cutters, pointed pliers)

• Hot glue gun

• Range of wood and metal screws (different lengths and thickness)

• Toolbox with miscellaneous items: insulation tape, possibly a current tester, screwdriver, 

torch, pencils, selection of different wood and metal screws

Should you buy or rent a workshop: what is recommendable?

If there is no space or capacity for a workshop in your home, think about whether it would be an option to buy or rent. Currently, the market is in flux and many people want to sell their property. Due to the effect that corona has had on property prices, buying real estate and sustainable living has again moved into the realm of possibility. Maybe this is the perfect time to fulfil your dream of having your own workshop.

SAVE ELECTRICITY AND HEATING COSTS IN WINTER

Winter temperatures mean rising electricity and heating costs. That is an uncomfortable fact. Unfortunately, the solution is not as simple as simply heating less and putting on a thicker woollen jumper. After all: One of the decisive factors for whether or not we feel comfortable in our own four walls is the surrounding temperature.

Hamburg - Save energy and still be comfortable within your own four walls. Read our new blog post to find out how!

The warmer the better does not always apply

There are guideline values for a healthy indoor climate, whereby what is “healthy” also depends on the physical characteristics of the property. If the indoor and outdoor temperatures vary too much and the humidity is too high, the walls and brickwork may become mouldy, especially in rooms with a high humidity such as bathrooms or utility rooms and cooler rooms.

The recommended temperature for living rooms is between 68 and 72 °F, and for bedrooms it is between 61 and 66 °F, which promotes a restful sleep. If the bathroom is also being used as a wellness oasis, the feel-good temperature here starts at 73.5 °F. In the kitchen, bear in mind that the cooktop and oven are additional heat sources whose energy can also be used to raise the room temperature in order to reach the recommended 60 – 64°F.

Using energy sensibly and smartly

You can often save on heating costs by simply heating more efficiently. Thermometers help you check the actual temperatures in your home. Often these are significantly higher than the guideline values. Reducing the temperature by 37.4° can already achieve a total energy saving of 18 %.

During the day, when the occupants are out, the temperature in all rooms can be lowered to between 61 and  63°F. The temperature should not drop below this, otherwise there is again a risk of mould and heating up the house in the evening takes too long, which would also be an inefficient use of energy.

A possible alternative for bridging the uncomfortable half-hour warm-up period is infrared heating. It provides instant heat at close range, making it ideal for bathrooms or a home office during sedentary work. In principle, all heat sources should be free-standing and not prevented from radiating their heat into the room by curtains or sofas.

The consistent use of energy-saving lamps and the monitoring of appliances have a significant impact on the annual energy consumption. Switchable socket strips with save-energy switches are very useful here, because many electrical appliances in a household consume electricity even when they are not in use. This applies especially to older models. Timers can switch them off, as can modern smart home systems that can be controlled via an app while you are out and about.

Seal up gaps and draughts

Checking for possible leaks that allow built-up heat to escape unnoticed is another simple yet very effective way to save energy. In winter, warm air flows out of cracks in a home while cold air sneaks in. Therefore, check that windows and doors are properly sealed. You can easily carry out a candle test for this purpose. Professionals conduct a blower door test or use thermal imaging cameras to identify problem areas. If the windows are leak-tight, shutters, blinds or thick curtains can provide an additional layer of insulation at night.

All of the measures described are suitable for anyone who wants to save money, including tenants of apartment buildings, as they can be implemented easily and without altering the existing building structure.

New buildings and refurbishment – an opportunity to achieve energy efficiency

Whether you are planning a new building or renovating an old one, every building project geared towards the future should aim to achieve the highest possible standard of living and well-being with the lowest possible energy consumption to ensure a good ecological balance. Property owners or builders face different questions than tenants, which are more far-reaching in terms of the scope of the investment and always focus on the long term. It is advisable to seek professional energy advice and an expert opinion on the actual condition of your building. Then you can decide which changes make sense.

Is it enough to install new windows, or should the heating system be completely modernised or renewed? And what about insulation? If you want to sell a property, then at the latest you will also have to comply with the Energy Saving Ordinance. It stipulates that all the energy values of the building must be made transparent to the buyer in the form of an energy certificate.

If you are planning to build a new house or buy a property, you can opt for a low-energy house or passive house. In this case, you can expect the best possible energy values. Passive houses use heat exchangers and solar thermal systems. This is not only possible for new buildings, but also for old buildings that have been retrofitted with extensive insulation to achieve this standard.

A sensible addition for future-oriented heating systems such as heat exchangers and heat pumps is a photovoltaic system with energy storage and smart control, which takes over the entire energy management in the house.