Here are a few small as well as large projects you can do this Fall

Philip A Raices

The temperature dropped 20 degrees on Sunday, Sept. 2 from the previous day; I guess fall season was trying to inch its way in. However, the forecast is for warmer weather; but all this rain, uh!

However, have you checked out your heating system? Have you tested your smoke/heat detectors to make sure they are functioning?

Change that battery now!

If you did use your fireplace last winter, when is the last time you had a chimney sweep in to brush and clean it thoroughly; also have you added a chimney cap to prevent squirrels, raccoons or birds or other animals inside?

Over development for whatever land is left in our surrounding towns and the cutting down of trees, has further minimized and eliminated the natural habitat for those animals. Although this is a sad commentary on where they can live; you surely do not want them in your home, clogging up your chimney.

The fall is an excellent time to trim trees as the leaves begin to fall as well as cutting back shrubbery (if you haven’t already completed this task) to allow as much sunlight into your home as possible. Speaking of sunlight and solar; this could be an excellent time to consider whether solar panels would be a solid investment.

One must determine how long would it take to get back your money even with state and federal credits, to reap worthwhile savings on your electric bill.

There was an excellent article in Newsday on Sunday, Sept 2, exposing the difficulties that homeowners were having who leased their solar panels. The lure was how inexpensive it was to get involved, but the actual long-term cost was very prohibitive.

It is actually much more cost effective to purchase than it is to lease (just like comparing renting vs. owning your home!) There is an excellent added value benefit to your home; assuming you have enough sunlight (and not a lot of trees on your property).

Over 85 percent or more sun is needed on your roof area to provide you the optimum return. What you have to figure out is how long will you be in your home.

If you are a new homeowner, it should pay for itself in a 3-5 year period of time.

If you have been in your home 20+ years, if may not be as good an investment; it all depends how many more years you will be living there to get back your money as well as begin saving on your electric bill.

That is something you must contemplate in advance and know for sure, so you don’t invest your money without calculating the return you are expecting to receive in the future. I am selling a home in New Hyde Park (Great Neck Schools) that had solar panels (he also put in a generator too) installed 10 years ago.

The owner told me it was one of the best investments he ever made in his home. After installation, his electric bills averaged $74 per month, even include running his cental air; whereby it used to be over $200,000.

However, you really have to be extremely careful who you will be hiring.

Get at least three estimates and check with your county consumer affairs office for any complaints or violations. Also, ask for at least three homeowners names and numbers who had installed their systems 5-10 years ago, to see if they were satisfied and saving money. There have been some serious failures within the industry.

Suniva, Solar World and some others have declared bankruptcy in 2017. The reduced manufacturing costs of solar panels has decreased the profitability within the industry, because the original upfront costs of building a manufacturing facility runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

So it will be very prudent to make sure that you have adequate information on the companies, to make sure they will hopefully be around to service you, if need be, years from now.
Had any thoughts of adding a gas generator in the event your electric goes out? (seems to be a common occurrence over the last few years, right?).

My opinion is that is another excellent investment, assuming you will be in your home for at least 15-20 years. The convenience of having a generator, will add value to your home, while preventing the loss of heat, food and conveniences over the years, and would be a worthwhile investment and will make your home that much more saleable in the long run. Consumer Reports states that in some cases, your home value can increase by 3-5 percent.

A 2014 report by Remodeling Magazine indicated that installing a standby generator can provide up to a 150 percent return on your investment. Meaning, if you spent $12,000 on installing a generator, your home value may increase up to $18,000.
If you are looking for a passive way to get more sunshine and warmth into your home, while gaining more living space, you might want to consider a sunroom.

However, the most beneficial direction for the construction would be south or south west (again without trees covering that location).

Most important, if you plan to use the room year round, would be the installation of some type of heating system for the winter months. The 2013 Hanley Wood Remodeling Cost vs. Value report suggests nationally homeowners recoup an average of 47 percent on a sunroom addition to their homes with an average cost of $73,000 or less, returning a value of $34,000 upon resale.

Deciding which projects to consider, if any, will be determined by your available budget and how you may want to add value to your home.
I want to wish everyone celebrating, a healthy and enjoyable holiday and happy new year, Shana Tova, with family and friends.

Philp A. Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 3 Grace Ave. Suite 180 in Great Neck. He has earned designations as a Graduate of the Realtor Institute and a Certified International Property Specialist. Receive regular free updates of sold homes in your area and what your home would sell for in today’s market. He can be reached by email, at: Phil@TurnKeyRealEstate.Com, or by cell: (516) 647-4289.

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