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Text-only newsletter stories for June 2017


Feel free to use these stories in your own newsletter designs. If you want to use a completed newsletter template, check out the latest issues of Hometalk and Real Estate Advisor. If you want to use a completely editable newsletter template, please see the News & Views template.


Headline: How to decide if it’s time to replace your windows—and where to get started

Before you dive into replacing your windows, the first step is to carefully evaluate the pros and cons. Replacing your windows is no small investment. The average cost to replace the windows in a home is in the five-figure range. Even if replacing your windows results in huge energy savings, it can take years and years for the investment to pay off.

If you’re truly ready to replace them—whether it’s for energy and comfort, an aesthetic upgrade, or your current windows are simply beyond repair—here are a few things to keep in mind.

Pick the right materials
Window materials include vinyl, fiberglass, composite, wood, and aluminum. There are several factors that should go into deciding on the best material for your home, such as durability, energy efficiency, maintenance requirements, and even the style of your home. Some materials look great on one architectural style, but totally clash with others.

Carefully consider add-on features
Beyond choosing a window material and style, you’ll face another series of choices for add-on features. There are impact-resistant windows, extra panes, gas-filled windows, climate control coatings, and more. Most add-ons will significantly increase the price for each window, and in many instances, the long-term savings don’t justify the extra cost. Do the math and consider how long it will take for the extra features to pay for themselves.


Headline: Five criteria for pricing a home

 When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. There’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

 1. Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better.

 2. Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available.

 3. Home build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.

 4. Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles.

 5. Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.


Headline: How to lower your cable bill

More and more people are cutting the cord and going without television service, but for many—especially those who watch a lot of live programming— cable is still a necessity. Cable and satellite companies love to sign customers to a two-year contract, but will dramatically raise your bill when a promotional period ends after one year. Suddenly, you’re paying $50 or more per month for the same services.

Here’s how to get (and keep) the best deals on television service.

Know what’s in store: Cable and satellite companies seemingly make it impossible to go online to downgrade your services, cancel service, or choose a new bundle. Even online chat support gives the cable company the upper hand. Picking up the phone and negotiating remains the best way to get the lowest price for your television service.

Knowledge is power: Before you call, do some research. Understand the terms of your current contract, see which bundles your cable provider is currently offering to new customers, and price out similar service offerings from other companies. You’ll be in a better bargaining position if you have the freedom to cancel on your current provider.

Make the call: Make it clear to the support representative that you are calling because your rates have increased and you’re considering cancelling if they cannot lower your bill. The support representative will initially try to offer higher-priced bundles or short-term freebies, but don’t give up on the negotiation—remember, you already know you can switch to another provider. If the sales representative won’t budge, you can even end the call, and try again with a different representative. In most cases, they would rather find a package that works than lose a customer.


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