Okay folks, in week two of our look at going green, I can tell you one thing. The wording on this stuff can be dense and you need to read carefully. I'm just going to talk about two items off the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (dsireusa.org) because that's all either of us can handle. Both basically involve electricity, which accounts for a huge part of the expense of running a home -- about 70 percent of the cost, in fact, for heating and cooling. You may ask yourself why this matters to you, the investor because you're not the one paying for the utilities. Simple --Long Term Tenant Base.

First, I want to pitch in the idea that adding a little solar can have some long-term benefits, while also potentially adding a selling…

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For the next two or three posts, I'm going to be exploring the advantages to investors of going green. It's a topic of personal interest to me, and frankly one I'm learning about as well. During the week, I made some notes, but when I sat down to write, I realized this was more than a one-post deal.

We all know that we live in a city that is highly environmentally conscious. In fact, some people are drawn to Austin for that very reason. If that's the case, and we can honestly say we've made green modifications and choices with a property, that immediately becomes a selling point.

And, even if the options available to you don't add up to huge savings, green choices on refurbs and maintenance over multiple properties will add up, just like anything…

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This week I'd like to share a video that's a little longer than others I've asked you to watch. It'll take about 6 minutes of your time, and I'm just going to lift the description from YouTube to introduce it to you:

"Texas Exes Austin Professionals' panelists answer questions about local business resources and challenges, the Austin business scene and its relationship to the 'weird' local culture. These UT alumni were panel speakers at the 'Hooked on Austin Business' event that was held at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center on March 9, 2011. Panelists interviewed in this video include: Colin Pope, Editor, Austin Business Journal; Eve Richter, Emerging Technologies Coordinator for the City of Austin's Economic Growth & Redevelopment Department; John…

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This week I thought you might like to know how things are shaping up with progress on the Formula 1 race track. The developers have been told to have the facility ready to host a race by June 2012. Needless to say, they're not taking any long lunch breaks on the site. Right now they're working 12-hour days and still taking Sundays off, but that may change if they get in crunch mode. Most of the current work is going into clearing ground for a future parking lot.

Frankly, it doesn't look like much if you go out there, so let's turn our intention to what is impressive right now -- The numbers. TexasEconomicImpact.com just finished a study for the promoters and concluded the project will spend $144.9 million in 2011, which will pump $68.4 million in…

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This week I'd like to recommend some "homework" for you. I think your time would be well spent on a careful read of the piece AnnaMaria Andriotis did for SmartMoney, "The New Costs of Renting." First, there's good -- and encouraging -- information there:

- Nationally the average vacancy rate for rentals fell 17 percent last year to just 6.6 percent.

- Rental prices are up with the average monthly on studios and one and two-bedrooms at $986. (Pre-recession was $930.)

Lots of folks are renting for lots of reasons. Some can't qualify for a mortgage. Some don't like the real estate market and are waiting for things to stabilize before buying. Folks who have just come out of a foreclosure really don't have much choice. They're getting their lives…

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