GEM Newsletter Template Head BannerMay 5, 2015

   Water 21st Century Gold 

Drilling Wells vs. Rainwater Harvesting

HandsCuppingWaterClean water and conservation continues to be one of the most significant challenges of the 21st Century.  Without it life cannot exist.  

Texas, California and many south-west regions are experiencing severe drought conditions, with municipalities and homeowners struggling with unanticipated costs of drilling and re-drilling existing wells.  Several municipalities have reported implementing Stage 4 Drought Water Conditions.

Alternative water sources and systems are fast becoming necessary to mitigate risk with health issues, sustainability, reliability and costs. Rainwater harvesting is not new-in fact, cisterns are one of the oldest water-system sources dating back centuries.  Rainwater harvesting is also the solution for groundwater contamination and drought conditions.  

Rain produces superior water quality, it is softer than well water, void of minerals which build up and ruin appliances.    Rainwater harvesting systems typically conserve water and cost less to install and operate than a well.  Technological advancement and conservation mandates and tax credits adopted in many regions have made these systems a better economic choice than drilling a well.  


                                                           Learn More

  Green Builder  
Project Highlights

buildnative-austinhome (copy) (copy)


Green Building Features

Type:  Net-Zero Home 
Rainwater Harvesting-  (Only Water Source) 

Square footage:  2519
HERS Index:  11


Green Financial Features

Yearly energy costs including. water: $427  

Yearly energy savings:  $3412

Builder: Native Inc.

 Austin Custom Built 
Completed March 2015

"The GEM and Weststar Mortgage Teams helped us every step of the way, from the construction loan through to the final mortgage.  They were able to explain to us how the process worked and were very reassuring when we had questions.  No surprises and everything went smoothly. 

Thanks GEM and Weststar!

 Mark and Kristy Sughroue" 

Austin, TX

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FHA announces 2015 loan limits

                fha hud (copy) 

December 5, 2014 2:12PM

WASHINGTON - The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today announced the agency's news schedule of loan limits for 2015. These loan limits are effective for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2015, and will remain in effect through the end of the year. Read FHA's mortgagee letter detailing the agency's new loan limits.  The new loan amounts went into effect on Jan 1, 2015 and will remain in effect until the end of the year.

Ben Lane,

FHA loan limits for high cost areasclick here.

FHA loan limits for lower cost areasclick here.

                                                                                                                                          Learn More           



fannie-mae-logo (copy)

 Fannie Mae Announces 97 Percent LTV Option for

First-Time Homebuyers

Lower down payment enables qualified borrowers to access credit

December 08, 2014  Callie Dosberg

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Fannie Mae (FNMA/OTC) announced an option for qualified first-time homebuyers that will allow for a down payment as low as three percent. Building upon Fannie Mae’s successful lower down payment program offered through state Housing Finance Agencies, the 97 percent loan-to-value ratio (LTV) option will expand access to credit for qualified first-time homebuyers that may not have the resources for a larger down payment.

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 Tip of the Month

Control Window Condensation

Condensation can turn wood windows black and make a mess of window sills.  It's a very common occurrence here in Minnesota.  The typical homeowner goes on-line to read numerous articles about how they must be doing something wrong with their humidity levels to experience so much condensation.

 In some cases, they have condensation forming, freezing, and melting all over the wood. They consider adding air exchangers with humidity control, throwing all plants out of the house, and telling the family to cut down on showering, cooking, and breathing. More

Posted by: Reuben Saltzman under Home Improvement Updated: March 10, 2015 - 5:24 AM | This is a guest blog post by Ryan Carey, of My 3 Quotes.



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