While many of us have been busy designing our homes over the holidays and spreading holiday cheer, we were mostly cooped up inside either because of the chilly weather or too much snow. Since the last part of last year until early this month, the weather has been mostly cold and dreadful. But as Spring is fast approaching and the weather improves, the outdoors seems like a great place to be in.

San Diego dwellers can hit the beaches once more and frolic under the sun. While Spring is the best time to show off more skin and enjoy the beauty of nature, it is also the perfect time to assess the condition of your home and do some much-needed Spring cleaning. Our homes go through a lot because of the changing of the seasons and winter is especially hard for it too. Our homes’ exterior especially our roof and walls have to battle the elements and keep everyone stay safe and warm inside.

While your heater was in full-mode last Winter, your AC will likely be working all day long to keep the entire family cool and comfy as the temperature soars. And as such can drive electricity bills through the roof. So, what can an ordinary citizen do to save money without sacrificing comfort?

The HERO program — Home Energy Renovation Opportunity — has been touted statewide with direct-mail pieces and on radio and TV. Now approved in 48 California counties, the program is expanding to Missouri and Florida, with the state and federal governments’ blessings.

A homeowner can qualify for upgrades in heating, air conditioning, energy-saving windows, roofs, drip irrigation systems, artificial turf, drought-tolerant landscaping, and solar installations — 50 types of projects.

“I know people that have received a whole kitchen and bathroom remodel in the name of water conservation,” said the business owner.

Homeowners with a little equity can get 100 percent financing with no money down, quick approvals, and no credit check. (I received a direct-mail piece offering me up to $49,500 in home improvements.) The program provides HERO-approved contractors to perform the services.

(Via: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2016/nov/14/ticker-solar-power-financing-could-spell-trouble/)

But it has a major glitch. Many homeowners who availed this loan ended up losing their homes because they can’t afford it, to begin with, and the accumulated taxes prove to be too much as well. So, think about it many times if ever you want to avail of this project.

Now, while other homeowners are busy sprucing up their homes, poor renters in the San Diego area may also suffer from the hard blow of Trump’s proposed budget cuts.

San Diego’s poorest renters could be hit hardest under a $6.2 billion cut proposed by the Trump administration for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Right now, HUD provides yearly rental assistance to roughly 25,000 San Diego County families with more than $242 million in Section 8 funds. There are about 100,000 families on the waiting list for assistance across the county.

Many of the cuts were identified in budget documents as not demonstrating results and part of an overall effort by the Trump administration to reduce federal spending. All cuts need to be approved by Congress.

The proposed budget keeps rental assistance at the same levels but doesn’t take into account increased housing costs. It also cuts programs to build more subsidized housing units and eliminates down payment assistance projects for first-time buyers.

(Via: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/real-estate/sd-fi-hud-sandiego-20170321-story.html)

Wherever you are in the U.S., seasonal changes always entail a lot of work. Any home improvement project requires money too. While you need to buy the materials, you may be able to save on labor if you roll up your sleeves and do the actual work yourself. Before attempting to do any DIY home projects, make sure you are skilled enough to pull it off or risk doing more damage to your home than good.

If an extensive home renovation is necessary, think twice before making any hefty loans to help you realize your project. Always think of the long-term and your capacity to pay for it over time as well as the urgency of the renovation that needs to be done.

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