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Solar Shingle Roofs - Options and Costs

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

PV Solar Shingles Roof from Tesla: Evolution of Solar Roofing: Current Options & Costs



In 2011, Dow Chemical has disrupted the solar power industry when they unveiled their innovative PV solar shingles, an elegant, roof-integrated alternative to the “old-school” bulky crystalline solar panels for residential roofs. Dow’s PowerHouse BIPV (building integrated photovoltaics) solar shingles were quite appealing and easier to install than traditional PV solar panels. However, after just five short years Dow is getting out of the solar shingles business. They have decided to no longer manufacture and cease selling their break-through PowerHouse solar shingles

Until Dow discontinued its PowerHouse solar shingle line this past June, it was a fairly popular option for homeowners who wanted a BIPV solar shingles roof. PowerHouse shingles were wireless and easy to install, snapping together seamlessly. The shingles collected 12 watts of electricity per square foot, and were “grid-tied,” meaning they could send excess electricity into the local power grid through an inverter box system. Although the inverter box had to be set up by an electrician, the shingles were as easy to install as conventional asphalt shingles.

BIPV Solar Shingles Roof you can Buy Today and How much it will cost:



CertainTeed’s Apollo line of grid-tied BIPV solar shingles are still on the market, and they collect about as much energy per square foot. Apollo shingles are designed for versatility, thin enough to lie on top of, integrate with, or replace an existing roof. Their silicon structure is designed to withstand winds of up to 110 mph. Although CertainTeed estimates that a 350-square-foot solar-shingle layer can cost as much as $20,000 to purchase and install, they also claim that it can cut a residential electricity bill by 40 to 70 percent.

A fully-integrated Solar Shingles Roof you can Buy Soon from Tesla:


Tesla’s recent merger with SolarCity has left everyone imagining great things for solar technology. Tesla is known for creative solutions to sustainability problems, as well as an “integrated clean energy” vision that incorporates an array of clean-energy ideas. They unveiled their newest innovation at the end of October, and it turns out to be an inspired riff on solar shingles!

How Do Tesla PV Solar Shingles Work?


Tesla solar shingles are designed to work in the same way as Certainteed Apollo and Dow Powerhouse technology, but Tesla went the extra mile to make sure their new solar shingles would appeal to consumers. As with Tesla’s electric cars, innovative function is never an excuse to neglect form. Although the tiles are made out of tempered glass, they’re available in four distinct patterns: smooth, distressed wood, rugged slate, and terra cotta. When they’re installed, they look just like a conventional roof.


The tempered glass has a similar molecular structure to quartz, and according to Tesla it has a “quasi-infinite” life-span. The tiles will even be fitted with heating elements to melt snow in colder climates. Since conventional roofing shingles only last 15-20 years, and are vulnerable to ice and water damage, this innovation could represent enormous savings.

Tesla hopes that its premium design – especially the idea of having an indestructible roof, whether you live in Maine or Michigan – will give them a market advantage. Tesla does score extremely high with customer satisfaction and brand commitment, so their bet may pay off in the long run.
So, how do Tesla’s “invisible” solar shingles work, and how do these glass tiles fit into a solar-power system? The basic mechanism is the same as the one used in conventional solar panels. Solar shingle and solar panel systems are both photovoltaic, meaning that they generate electricity from light. As we explained above, Tesla solar shingles are made out of textured glass designed to look like different types of roofing material. Light passes through this glass into a standard flat solar cell.

Tesla’s solar shingles operate at only a two-percent power transfer loss compared to solar panels, and Tesla’s engineering team hopes to increase energy efficiency over time. Their textured solar tiles contain microscopic louvers, or curves in the glass surface that reflect light. These are used to create opacity for textured solar tiles, so that they look like a piece of slate instead of a shard of mirror. Tesla engineers believe that these small reflective surfaces can eventually be used to boost the photovoltaic power of the solar tiles. There’s precedent for this idea – some solar panel designs already include mirrors or reflective surfaces designed to increase photovoltaic power in a similar way.

Tesla’s system stores accumulated power in lithium ion Powerwall batteries, so that solar power can be used to provide night-time electricity to the whole house. This battery addition is designed to ensure that residents can take full advantage of power generated during the day, when solar panel collection often outpaces energy use. Battery options are also a response to uncertainty about solar subsidies, which has damaged consumer confidence in the savings promised by solar power.

Lithium ion batteries haven’t yet caught on as a standard part of a solar package, but prices on this newer technology have been falling for the past several years, so look for lithium ion batteries to become more and more popular among Tesla and other manufacturers. Tesla’s betting that they will appeal to consumers, and that manufacturing costs may drop by as much as fifty percent over the next decade. Right now, unfortunately, Tesla’s solar batteries cost $5,500 – and depending on electricity use, a homeowner may need to purchase two or more!

Rollout and Projected Cost of Tesla Solar Roof:

Tesla envisions a rollout over the next nine months, hoping that solar shingles will account for five percent of all new roofs installed in the United States within two years. As with solar panels and electric cars, the initial expense might be out of reach for many consumers. However, Tesla hopes that over time, their solar shingles will become commonplace. They not only allow homeowners to power their homes via solar, but also to avoid many of the medium- and long-term costs of roof and Home maintenance.

Solar shingles will likely be among the most expensive roofing materials on the market for some time to come. However, roofing a single-family residence can cost between $7,000 and $70,000, depending on size, floor plan, materials, and a number of other factors. So it’s hard to tell just how much you’d have to spend on your own brand-new solar roof. Utility costs are on the rise, which means that potential savings over the next thirty or forty years could be huge.

Generous federal subsidies are still available, which means that now is an ideal time to invest in solar. Twenty-seven states offer additional incentives that can bring the price down even further. Solar remodels may also increase the resale value of your home, which might make it a worthwhile investment.

So, is the forecast sunny for solar shingles? It’s hard to say – and as with so many other new technologies, money is the deciding factor. Like their famous line of electric cars, Tesla solar panels are definitely a high-end home-improvement option. As with solar panels, there’s also the possibility that technological innovation could drastically lower costs in the near future. The promise of eventual savings, as well as the sheer ingenuity of Tesla’s solar shingle design, may make solar shingles an attractive option for homeowners.

Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder marketing homes and properties in the Ann Arbor Michigan area.  Also search for properties, houses, and condos for sale in Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan and the Ypsilanti real estate markets.  Check out the handy Links for realty related information and and MLS inventory access above.  

Holiday Wrapping Ideas

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

5 DIY Wrapping Ideas for the Holidays


Santa Claus is coming to town, so we need to get our wrapping A-game on. The thing is, as cute as snowmen wrapping paper is, we’ve all seen it. A million times. Every Christmas. Aunt Sally could really use a new style. The important thing is that, whether Aunt Sally made it here herself or she’s just “asking for a friend,” we’ve got her covered with these alternative wrapping ideas.

Brown Paper Gift Wrap
What you’ll need: 
Uncoated wrapping paper, white acrylic paint, paint brush

brown paper

I found this simple, yet artsy DIY idea from Go Forth. All you have to do is roll out a generous amount of paper and splatter it with some paint. Think of yourself as a kind of Jackson Pollock and just therapy-splatter the living heck out of your brown wrapping paper. You can add accents like the black string used above or just present it solo.

Kid-Friendly Wrap
What you’ll need: 
Uncoated white wrapping paper, crayons, washi tape

kids wrap

Cute, I know. Craftionary recommends this for kids who have to wait to open their presents. It’s like doodling on a Starbucks cup, except less hipster and with a much shorter lifespan. But, hey - all you have to do is wrap the gift and attach the crayons with some washi tape and voila. For extra fun, psychoanalyze your kids’ drawings before they tear the whole thing up.

Pringles Cookie Can Wrap
What you’ll need: 
Thoroughly cleansed Pringles cans, scrapbook paper, glue, bows for fun


Recycling has never looked so good, am I right? Fun Squared has come up with a Pinterest project that will actually make you feel good about yourself (because it’ll work). You even get to do several delightful things like A) eat all the Pringles, B) bake cookies and eat the leftovers, and C) gift the most stylish cookies ever. All you have to do is assemble these bad boys and ensure your cookies will fit inside the cans. Don’t want to commit to a huge can? Pringles come in smaller sizes, young grasshoppers.

Black Wrapping Paper & Metallic Markers
What you’ll need: 
Black wrapping paper and some metallic Sharpie markers


Ling Yeung B’s amazingly chic gift wrapping idea is awesome for two reasons. One, if you’re really artsy you can accomplish some of the most intricate patterns shown above. And two, if you’re as artistically challenged as I am, just writing “To: Dad” and “From: Favorite Daughter” is still bound to come across as sophisticated. He might even believe that you got him really expensive cufflinks when in reality, it’s just another tie.

Furoshiki Wrap
What you’ll need: 
Um, furoshiki wrap


If you care for the environment, Evermine has just the thing for you. Actually, all of Japan does. Furoshiki is a reusable wrapping cloth that you are invited to think of as origami. There are so many different ways to go about wrapping things with furoshiki, no gift can escape. Don’t worry, the furoshiki page comes with instructions. And evidently, if the cloth is nice, then the wrapping is done.

And that, Aunt Sally, is how you wrap up the holidays.


Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder marketing homes and properties in the Ann Arbor Michigan area.  Also search for properties, houses, and condos for sale in Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan and the Ypsilanti real estate markets.  Check out the handy Links for realty related information and and MLS inventory access above.  

Real Estate Interest Rates Likely to Rise Post Election Period

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Rates have risen about a half percentage point right after the election as I have noticed from some of Ann Arbors local lenders.  A rise in the key interest rate could come “relatively soon,” Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated on Thursday, heightening the probability the Fed will forge ahead with a hike in December, despite initial doubts in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory. Mortgage rates, which generally follow the key rate, shot up this week, with the 30-year fixed rate mortgage topping out at an average 3.94 percent from 3.57 percent the week prior.

“This week, the verdict is in—over the last two weeks, the 30-year mortgage rate jumped 40 basis points to 3.94 percent, almost identical to the 39 basis point increase in the 10-year Treasury yield,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “If rates stick at these levels, expect a final burst of Home sales and refinances as ‘fence sitters’ try to beat further increases, then a marked slowdown in housing activity.”

Yellen’s position—which comes as the dust settles after one of the most contentious elections in history—reinforces the sentiments of Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker and Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, who both voiced support for future hikes this week.  

Looking to get a recommendation for low rates while working with a good mortgage lender?  Get a list of the areas best lender by going to for info on numerous firms and the manager or VP to contact for superior service.  All have been in business for at least 15 years.  

Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder marketing homes and properties in the Ann Arbor Michigan area.  Also search for properties, houses, and condos for sale in Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan and the Ypsilanti real estate markets.  Check out the handy Links for realty related information and and MLS inventory access above. 

Is Home Equity Still a Retirement Failsafe?

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Homeownership is one of the more viable paths to a secure retirement—but many older homeowners missed the prime opportunity to leverage that equity before the recession. How much usable equity can older homeowners now expect in retirement, given the rebound in home values?

A recent study by the Urban Institute explored the answer to this question, analyzing the equity patterns among older households before, during and after the recession.

“Not only does a house meet the basic need of shelter, but it’s an asset that typically can be used to build wealth as homeowners pay down their mortgages,” the study’s authors state. “In fact, many retirement security experts argue that the conventional three-legged stool of retirement resources—Social Security, pensions and savings—is incomplete because it ignores the home.”

The swings not only parallel the movement of the market—according to the study’s findings, equity patterns follow mortgage debt trends, as well. From 1990 to 2006, national mortgage debt grew to $11.3 trillion from $2.5 trillion, then fell to $9.9 trillion by 2015; for the average older homeowner, debt grew from $44,000 to $82,000 between 1998 and 2012.Homeowners aged 65 or older, according to the study’s findings, could have used their home’s equity to grow their retirement income by over 50 percent (up to $60,000) pre-recession, either by borrowing a home equity line of credit, selling their home at a profit, or taking a cash-out refinance or second mortgage. That percentage dropped to 40 percent (up to $49,000) by 2012, despite accumulating an average 10 percent more equity then than in 1998. Home values, still, grew 3 percent by 2014. Monetarily, the average older homeowner’s equity stake increased from $117,000 to $166,000 between 2000 and 2006, then decreased to $129,000 by 2012.

Mortgage loan-to-value (LTV) ratios also moved in tandem; in fact, the proportion of older homeowners with LTV ratios at 80 percent or more doubled from 1998 to 2012, according to the study. The proportion of underwater homeowners tripled over the same period.

Older homeowners overall, however, have more of an opportunity now to unlock the wealth potential of their homes in retirement, even with the recession in the rearview. Their prospects, as the study demonstrates, lean on home value, as well as mortgage debt. State the study’s authors, “The majority of older adults, regardless of income, race and ethnicity, and education, own homes that they could use to help finance their retirement.”Older homeowners today have more favorable retirement conditions, but not without contingencies. Low-income and minority homeowners tend to have most of their wealth tied up in their homes, but accumulate the least equity overall, according to the study—with loan approval related to income, these segments could become challenged, even though they have the potential to increase their retirement incomes considerably more so than other higher-income or majority groups. Low-income and minority homeowners, the study’s authors postulate, will likely rely on Social Security as their primary source of income in retirement.

Tom Stachler is a licensed Broker and Builder marketing homes and properties in the Ann Arbor Michigan area.  Also search for properties, houses, and condos for sale in Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan and the Ypsilanti real estate markets.  Check out the handy Links for realty related information and and MLS inventory access above.  

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4