Green Living Tag

Electronic Document Signing Makes Life Easier for Home Buyers (and Realtors)

Many many home buyers in Sonoma County live out of the area--they buy second homes here, they are relocating for work, or want to experience life in the wine country first hand. Many home buyers, even if they are local, conduct much or their search on line. Why not have as much of the purchase transaction paperwork be conducted on line too? This struck home this afternoon as I prepared an offer for out of town clients to sign. Their scanner was older and it was not easy to assemble the pages to fax back to me--believe me I had the same problem before I got a new scanner. What a tedious process for them! Or I have had illegible faxes come through as a result of too many generations of faxing and scanning of counter offers and counters to counters, ad infinitum. Every one involved tears their hair out and runs around wasting time on mechanics of the paperwork, when it is the content of the documents that is most important! Pretty silly. Enter the paperless transaction, beginning with the electronic signing of contract documents. It is easier than it might sound! What is an electronic signature? An electronic signature is any legally recognised electronic means that indicates that a person adopts the contents of an electronic message. There is a better way. Our new paperless transaction system at Prudential California Realty will be rolled out company wide in the first quarter. Hallelujah!!!!!! So many trees will be saved and countless hours chasing paperwork with also be saved by realtors and their clients. My client asked me about electronic signing--what does it mean? What does it look like? What are the basic facts? You can click on the link above for a Wikipedia article about the concept of electronic signatures. For more specifics, here is a link to the system we will be using, Docusign by Ziplogix. Here is a brief (2 minute) and not too fancy overview of how you, as a buyer or seller, would use Docusign to sign documents electronically. I'll have more posts about the whole process of greening the real estate transactions and preventing grey hairs for all the parties involved! ...

Fast Food/Slow Food and the Pursuit of Happiness

I enjoyed this photo essay by Maira Kalman in the New York Times today. Sonoma County is home to many adherents of local, sustainably produced food. Worth a browse to see her photos of a journey to Northern California and back to New York-from fast to Slow Food, with tales of locally, sustainably produced food and the Edible Schoolyard movement. Worth a look--enjoy! and Happy Thanksgiving! ...

Add Solar now, Pay Later with your Property Taxes: Innovative Sonoma County program provides property owners with financing for Energy Efficient Improvements

One of the biggest problems with solar and other alternative energy systems and home energy conservation projects in general is that the upfront costs can take months or years to recoup in the form of lower utility bills. Plus, if a property owner is not sure they will be in the structure long enough to realize those benefits, there is even less incentive to make an investment, especially in our current economy. But reduced consumption of energy immediately benefits the planet, leading to less pollution and a reduced carbon footprint.  Unfortunately the environmental benefits don't reconcile immediately with short term financial outlay. One new program designed to address this problem head on. The Sonoma County Energy Independence Program (SCEIP) is billed as "HOT, COOL and GREEN!" An overview of the program was the subject of a story in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Conserve now, pay later A brief overview from the SCEIP web site: Program Specifics: Participation in this Sonoma County program is completely voluntary. Energy efficiency, water conservation and renewable energy generation upgrades must be permanently attached to the property to qualify. Items not permanently attached such as dishwashers and other appliances are not allowed. Improvements like insulation, cool roofing, heating and air conditioning systems, waterless urinals, solar panels and energy efficient windows are acceptable. Improvements must be for existing buildings, new construction does not qualify. Assessments are a lien on the property itself: when the property is sold, the assessment stays with the property. Repayment is made through your property tax bill over time. Participating in the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program is easy. First decide how much makes sense to invest in energy and water efficiency or renewables for your home. Then fill out our application and follow a few simple steps (outlined below.) Before you know it, you’ll be realizing a monthly energy savings on your bill. The lowest interest rate currently offered on the SCEIP website is 6.75%, but there is some talk of additional funds being made available to subsidize lower rates to make the payments more affordable.  There is a calculator at the site so you can see what possible payments might be. For more information on Solar Resources in Sonoma County visit "Solar Sonoma County"