Zeavola – EcoLiving In Thailand

This Tuesday, let’s travel to the lush rainforest on the Phi Phi Island of Thailand.  There you will find an environmentally friendly luxury zeavola08hotel with suites made of teakwood connected by a tranquil white sandy beach.  Zeavola- Koh Phi Phi has engaged in an energy conservation system, water is sourced from local wells and rainwater collection systems.  Waste water is treated before being used to water the jungle garden, natural waste is composted, and the resort is engaged in beach and coral cleaning programs. Even further, Zeavola participates in first aid and survival assistance for birds.  All of this lead Zeavola to be recognized as the world’s top sustainable boutique hotel.

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The villas are spaced to give some privacy and offer some variety.  Options are beachfront, village garden or on the hillside.  And during your stay you can relax on the beach, scuba dive in the Andaman Sea, take a cooking class, or enjoy the spa.  Zeavola is just the type of EcoLiving adventure we would love, how about you?

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Planting Seeds

At the inception of EcoLiving Property, we aimed to have a positive impact on the properties we touched and the communities surrounding them.  We wanted to inspire others to follow our influence and see how homes can be renovated in a mindful way which reduces harm to the environment.  We knew with every project we would find ways to improve our own system; increase the sustainable ideas and decreasing the waste.  We knew we would face challenges and that others would doubt our ability to accomplish our goals.

What I failed to realize is the positive impact we would have within our own house and with the next generation EcoLiving home rehabber.  My daughter has absorbed so much of the business from how we preview a property and estimate repairs, to what products we use in our projects and how we market.  She can recite many of the things I tell to real estate agents, contractors and fellow investors about our business.  And she is excited about some day being responsible for her own project.  Now if she could differentiate between colors/patterns of her own preference and the preferences of the majority of buyers I would say she is about ready.

This knowledge and experience will give her financial security early in life by recognizing the value of real estate and understanding the business.  Even better, she identifies the desire to protect the environment.  I have no doubt my daughter will continue to improve our processes and share the positive influence until the environment will no longer need protection.  I’m just grateful to be planting the seeds.

What’s happened to Midtown Blue?

This project is about ready to be listed.  We are indescribably proud of the energy and effort we put into this property to maintain the integrity of this 100-year-old shirtwaist home.  It is in a fantastic location just a few blocks South of the coveted Union Hill neighborhood and will have an easy connection to hop onto the Kansas City Streetcar as the expansion continues down Main Street.  This property is ideal for anyone who wants the luxury of their own house with easy access to downtown Kansas City.

The renovation of this house was not an easy project to tackle, however, we wanted to stay true to our mission and make environmentally sound decisions.  This meant we took time to hold an estate sale to sell off then donate remaining belongings in the house rather than send everything to a landfill.  We replaced all the windows to reduce energy loss and ensured all the new appliances carried an energy star rating.  Instead of tearing out the interior down to the studs; we worked to preserve original lathe and plaster, trim and flooring where possible.  This reduced waste and also maintained the character and charm.

The following are some before and after pictures of some of the improvements.  If you would like to know more about this property you can text 1632 to (913)246-5566 

Livingroomb&aOne of the first tasks to this project was reinforcing the main beam in the basement of the house to ensure it will continue to be structurally sound for another century.  The house had a noticeable droop in the middle and walls were cracking and some doors were not level because of this.  Then, throughout the main floor we refinished the wood floors and trim.  We fixed the pocket door between the dining room and office and opened part of the wall between the kitchen and dining room.  We removed the drop ceiling and paneling, updated all of the electrical and added new light fixtures.

kitchenb&aBeyond opening the kitchen to the dining room, we also reduced the full bathroom to a powder room in order to add more cabinet and counter top space into the kitchen.  The new cabinets, counter tops, tile and paint compliment the classic design of the property.  It was important to us to maximize the kitchen design to include the most storage space as possible while not interfering with the back entrance to the house or basement door.  We overcame this challenge while still maintaining the big open feeling everyone desires in a kitchen.

officeb&aThe office is on the main floor with access from three doorways; the front hall, dining room pocket door or the kitchen.  It was also a victim of the drop ceiling and paneling.  We also had some damage to the wood floors in this room which was able to be remedied to blend.mastersuiteb&aOne of the greatest improvements to Midtown Blue is the addition of a master suite.  Fortunately this room already had a grand size walk in closet which we know is not always the case in houses built in this era.  Once the clutter was cleared we were able to construct a plan to open a doorway between two bedrooms to add an en suite bathroom.  The second bedroom (the blue room) also provided a stairway to finish the attic into livable space.  The master suite is stunning and we are slightly jealous of the future homeowner who will get to lay their head down here each night.

This house will hit the market very soon so if you or someone you know is interested in a fantastic midtown location with a house you can be confident is redeveloped with integrity reach out to EcoLiving Property.   If you would like to know more about this property you can text 1632 to (913)246-5566. 

#Travel Tuesday: EcoLiving In Japan

Today we are highlighting an environmentally genius home in Kitasaku District, Japan.  This structure was conceived by Kotaro Ide / ARTechnic architects and constructed in 2008.  This house is not only a unique architectural marvel, it also is intended to coexist with nature as a weekend retreat to escape busy weekday life in Tokyo.

What Makes it Energy Efficient:

  • Due to the humid climate it is constructed mainly of steel to reduce deterioration.
  • Custom made floor heating improves the energy efficiency and prevents the growth of mold.  By dividing the oval section with a flat floor, a bow-shaped space  serves as a heat chamber.  Warm air blows from locations of frequent use will efficiently heat the flooring.
  • Since the house is not utilized full-time, other measures were added to automatically kick in to run an antifreeze procedure, dehumidification and ventilation as needed.

 

Take a Ride on an Earthship

Imagine a home that produces energy to use and produce to eat, yet you can still build in all the modern conveniences you could want in a home.  Sound like somewhere you would want to live?  You may want to check out earthships.  Earthships are an eco-friendly dwelling made from recycled materials.

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The exterior walls are typically formed out of old tires while interior walls can be made from bottles or cans.  These homes are built half way into the earth so the ground helps to moderate the temperature inside the home; warming it in the winter and cooling it during the summer.  Earthships are constructed with a wall of windows on the front where occupants have a built in green house and solar panels collect energy.  Rain water is also collected and filtered through the plumbing of the homes.  In some cases, water gets recycled several times so it can be used in the faucets, then gardening, then toilets.  Earthship residents can use either a composting toilet or have it connected to a septic system.

This Canadian couple built their own earthship with less than $70,000.  Even in the cold Canadian winters he reports the home stays around 70 degrees, he’s even grown bananas in his house during the winter.  

Would you reside in an earthship?

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Consistent Distractions

We take our job very seriously.  We have invested a lot of time and energy into learning our trade and understanding the business.  Naturally we love the design aspect, shopping, checking out properties, educating about creating a healthier earth and watching  home transform.  And it’s critical we understand the systems to doing things the right way and avoid unnecessary risk.  When it boils down to it, it’s crazy fun.

Life as a real estate investor means we live on the fly, how we spend our days often gets made up as we go.  The best scheduled plans can quickly get detoured when a potential deal needs to be accessed because offers are made quickly.  Part of the excitement of the business is the unpredictability and it can also be a source of frustration.  At times we have found ourselves distracted by the excitement and wasting time on the wrong tasks.

Because of the tendency to chase shiny things, we have begun to emphasize improving our systems to implement tasks and routines with flexibility.  This allows us to keep focused on structure while still allowing for unplanned events.  We time block when to work on marketing, communications, renovation tasks, analyzing deals, education and networking meetings.  We keep each other accountable for sticking to assigned tasks and staying focused.  Our business is more productive because of this method.

Keeping in mind the necessity of avoiding distractions, I stood in our construction zone making a mental note of all of the duties which would need to be worked on over the next few days.  Tile on the kitchen floor to be repaired, trim around the windows, installing appliances, paint etc.  I placed a phone call to the contractor to go over what I was seeing when outside the window I spotted a flash of white.  Grateful to have the major part of my conversation completed, my focus wavered from his words to narrow in on the bright spot across the street.  I darted to the window like a labrador retriever and there it was, a small furry ghost on the tree, the neighborhood albino squirrel.  Okay, so we are not perfect.  We can’t time block everything and may still chase ‘shiny things’ on occasion.

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Not the actual squirrel, you would stop to look too wouldn’t you?

Travel Tuesday: Maggie Island

Once upon a time; five planes, one shuttle and a ferry ride from where I am today, I found myself on a rocky tropical island off the Queensland coast of Australia.  If I were being honest, the mystery of Maggie Island was one of the reasons I chose to attend a semester in Australia as opposed to Europe where I had always planned to go.  I can recall my travel advisor reporting:

maggieisaldnkoala.jpgStudents who go to James Cook University in Townsville have the ability to go an hour inland to the rain forest or an hour out the the Great Barrier Reef.  They also can take a 20 minute ferry ride out to an island to spend the weekend.  Maggie Island was named Magnet Island because it interfered with the compass of the ship when it was discovered.

With the promise of endless natural adventures ahead, I headed for Australia and Maggie Island did not disappoint.  Over half of it’s 20 square miles is reserved as a national park.  I learned to scuba dive in the bays, spent hours hiking the rocky trails and soaking up sun on the beach, rode horse back into the ocean, and spotted koalas in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe eucalyptus trees.  With so much the island has to offer with natural beauty and abundant wildlife, it is no wonder the 2,100 island’s residents recognized the need to move towards sustainable living.  The island embraced the opportunity to go solar and installed panels on many homes and businesses,  the majority of homes received smart meters to monitor energy usage and the island has cut energy during peak houses down by 16%.

Maggie Island has plenty to offer eco-minded travelers as well.  There is a wide range of Eco Accredited accommodations to stay and even more eco-tourism activities to enjoy.  In order to keep the island healthy, they limit where motorized vehicles can go and provide walking tours of the forts.  Hostels and hotels adhere to recycling and minimize waste.  They work to build environmental awareness and strive to minimize their impact.  There are dozens of ways to appreciate the island and with so much devotion to conserving it, Maggie Island will be able to be appreciated unchanged for a long time.

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Have you considered real estate?

With so many HGTV and DIY shows making flipping look easy, many people have the idea real estate investing is simple and fun.  Choosing design plans, shopping for features and creating something beautiful out of what once was ugly – yes some parts are pretty cool.

In general, the thought doesn’t actually motivate most individuals into action to buy a house and begin construction.  This, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.  Real estate is not as simple as it looks when trimmed into a 30 minute episode.  Unfortunately not all construction goes as planned, surprises can be hidden behind walls, permits can be stalled, and any number of things can go very, very wrong.  Experts who have invested in essential education, have systems for staying on time and on budget, and utilize a network of other seasoned investors can overcome these home nightmare obstacles without faltering.  For the beginner without knowledge about the process, these same obstacles can drive them to bankruptcy.

Okay I know this post started out scary, I promise there is an upside.

If you are a person who has an interest in real estate and realize you lack the time, energy or education necessary to take on a project there is still a way you can be involved and make money.  Redevelopment companies like, EcoLiving Property, grow business by building relationships with lenders who can fund the purchase and construction of a project.  The lender is given a first or second mortgage position to secure their legal interest, meaning the lender acts as the bank owning the property and collecting the interest.  Except you can earn double or more what a bank charges for interest on their mortgages.  The best part is, unlike your money in the bank or in the stock market, your investment is secured with the property and insured – no matter what could go wrong, you can’t lose money.

You may be wondering why wouldn’t we just get a mortgage loan from a bank, especially since the interest is cheaper.  The way our business works, we need to be able to purchase houses quickly and banks – to put it kindly – operate at their own pace.  Additionally, since the houses we purchase are distressed properties well below market value, banks cannot loan on properties without functioning kitchens and bathrooms.  Besides, we figure in the cost of paying our investor to our flips and we value their part in our business.

To review how the process works:

  1. EcoLiving Property finds an extremely undervalued property and presents you with the project.
  2. We borrow the funds from you to purchase and renovate the property.
  3. EcoLiving Property utilizes systems to complete an eco-friendly renovation staying on time and on budget.
  4. We list and sell the property.
  5. At the closing you’ll receive your principle plus interest payment.
  6. You can continue to invest in future projects and continue earning.

If this sounds like a more foolproof way to get involved in real estate investing, you’re correct!  However, we will not make money for just anyone.  We want to build investor relationships with those who have the same passion for our mission.  Our homes aren’t your typical flips, we aim to create green, energy efficient and clean home environments and hope you share this vision as well.   If you’re interested in hearing more, I’d love an opportunity to answer your questions.  Please give us a call.