Colleen Griffin - RE/MAX Vision



Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/21/2020

Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash

There’s little doubt that we all want to do our part to protect the environment and solar energy gives us an opportunity to get off fossil fuels. In a perfect world, we would all promptly discard our furnaces and adorn our roofs with solar panels. But if we lift up our eyes for just a moment, only a small percentage of homes have taken the initiative.

That’s largely because we do not live in a perfect world and converting to solar must be cost-effective for the average homeowner. There are a variety of factors that everyday people can weigh to determine if solar panels are worth the investment in 2020.

Calculate Your Annual Electricity Usage & Cost

Understanding energy costs tends to be complicated in the U.S. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average monthly electric bill was $117.65 in 2018 with the average price per kWh coming in at 12.87 cents. But costs around the country can differ dramatically. The EIA’s 2018 regional calculations highlight precisely those differences.

  • New England: $129.49 at 20.60 cents per kWh
  • Middle Atlantic: $113.39 at 15.97 cents per kWh
  • East North Central: $106.03 at 13.25 cents per kWh
  • West North Central: $115.68 at 12 cents per kWh
  • South Atlantic: $130.51 at 11.70 cents per kWh
  • East South Central: $137.80 at 11.14 cents per kWh
  • West South Central: $127.42 at 10.77 cents per kWh
  • Mountain: $101.55 at 11.94 cents per kWh
  • Pacific Contiguous: $100.93 at 15.56 cents per kWh
  • Pacific Noncontiguous: $151.22 at 28.03 cents per kWh
  • As you can see, energy costs around the nation complicate decision-making. Places such as New England have far fewer sunny days to power systems yet struggle with the second-highest utility bills. In the Noncontiguous Pacific category, Hawaii leads the nation in high energy bills at $168.13 per month. Given the high number of sunny days the islands enjoy, solar panels would seem to be a viable option in terms of savings and environmental protection.

    Solar Panel Tax Credits are Available

    Although much of the conversation revolves around the “average” cost of a system and the range of kWh savings, it’s safe to say that all solar is local. Deciding on a system in your state will be a matter of calculating how much energy it can generate based on sunlight and how many panels you will need.

    The good news is that the federal government continues to offer the investment tax credit (ITC), which allows homeowners to deduct up to 26 percent of installation costs. Some states and local municipalities may offer additional benefits. But based on the ITC, the average 2 kW system is expected to be discounted from $5,920 to $4,381. Higher producing solar systems such as a 10 kW system enjoy reductions from $29,600 to $21,904. Still, all this data doesn’t answer the question of whether solar panels are cost-effective in 2020.

    How to Know if Solar Panels Fit into Your Budget

    Doing “solar math” involves figuring out your average monthly electricity cost. Take into consideration how much that utility bill has increased during the previous 10-20 years. Now calculate the size of the system needed to power your home. If you live in low-sun northern states, you will likely need a large system. The next step is to look at your investment.

    Most homeowners finance solar systems with a common goal of the monthly payment being equal or less than your current utility bill. If you can power the home and get even close to current grid costs, it’s entirely likely this is a prudent move. As you can see from the past decade or two of electric bills, they keep increasing. The sun doesn’t charge extra year-over-year.




    Categories: Home improvement  


    Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/14/2020

    Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

    The methods for getting started in real estate investing range from strategies that are active to others that are more passive. Many methods fall in between those extremes but all have their own level of associated risk. Here we'll touch on some of the lower risk ways to get started with property investment. 

    1. BRRR

    Buy, Remodel, Rent, Refinance, Repeat is a method that is also known as BRRR. With careful planning and execution, it can be an effective way to start building a portfolio of rental properties without using all your cash. 

    The BRRR method basically involves purchasing a property that needs improvements and is being sold for under its potential value. First, use short-term financing or cash to buy the property. 

    Once you've remodeled, rented it out and otherwise stabilized it as an income generator, you refinance the property using a more conventional mortgage. Doing so could free up most of the original capital for your next purchase. 

    2. Own Then Rent

    This strategy involves choosing a house that works as your home and as an investment rental property in the future. There are numerous advantages to adopting this method. 

    You can improve and remodel the home while it accrues equity. Choosing projects that will return the most return on your investment is crucial. 

    Once you've done so, you can level up to another home. After doing this a few times, you can build up a small real estate portfolio. 

    3. Own and Rent Out

    A home such as a duplex, triplex or fourplex has built-in investment and profit potential. You live in one of the units while renting out the others. This strategy also works if you purchase a home with a guest house, mother-in-law apartment or a basement with a separate entrance. 

    Using this strategy provides you with valuable time to build experience as a landlord or property manager. In this scenario, you'll live in close proximity to your renters which could be an adjustment if you're moving from a single-family residence. 

    4. Live in Then Flip

    This strategy is a variation on the others already listed. Once you purchase a house, move in and start making improvements. Wait a minimum of two years and then sell it for a profit. 

    Be sure to follow the IRS rules regarding profits from home sales. By doing so, you won't be subject to the taxes on that money up to $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for couples who file jointly. 

    This list is by no means an inclusive one. It does, however, provide you with actionable steps you can take to get started as a real estate investor. 





    Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/9/2020


    16 Spring Valley Rd, Worcester, MA 01609

    West Side

    Single-Family

    $529,900
    Price

    10
    Rooms
    5
    Beds
    3
    Baths
    **Worcester Wests Side 5 Bedroom, 3 Bath Home is Located Is the Upper Salisbury st Area! Open Concept Kitchen & Family Rm~the Custom Kitchen features Granite Counter Tops & Back Splash Updated Appliances, Fireplace Family Rm with Built in Custom Cabinetry/Bookcase which flows to the Amazing 3 Season Rm Overlooking the Incredible Flat Rear Yard ready for all of Your Back yard Activities! Bright neutral Living Rm & dining Rm with 2nd Fireplace, First Floor Home office or 6th Bedroom with Built-ins! Center Hall and Rear Staircases leading to the Second Fl which offers 5 Full Bedrooms, Generous Size Closets and Additional Unfinished Walk-In Storage ~ Just a few of the Updates are the Roof, Siding, Gutters, Garage Doors, Electric, All 3 Bathrooms and some Interior Painting**Central Air, Hardwood Floors throughout, Intercom, Surround Sound and More! Situated Minutes to all Major Routes and the Commuter Rail!
    Open House
    Sunday
    September 13 at 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
    ***Open House***Sunday, September 13th, 11:30-1pm***
    Cannot make the Open Houses?
    Location: 16 Spring Valley Rd, Worcester, MA 01609    Get Directions

    Similar Properties





    Categories: Open House  


    Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/9/2020


    16 Spring Valley Rd, Worcester, MA 01609

    West Side

    Single-Family

    $529,900
    Price

    10
    Rooms
    5
    Beds
    3
    Baths
    **Worcester Wests Side 5 Bedroom, 3 Bath Home is Located Is the Upper Salisbury st Area! Open Concept Kitchen & Family Rm~the Custom Kitchen features Granite Counter Tops & Back Splash Updated Appliances, Fireplace Family Rm with Built in Custom Cabinetry/Bookcase which flows to the Amazing 3 Season Rm Overlooking the Incredible Flat Rear Yard ready for all of Your Back yard Activities! Bright neutral Living Rm & dining Rm with 2nd Fireplace, First Floor Home office or 6th Bedroom with Built-ins! Center Hall and Rear Staircases leading to the Second Fl which offers 5 Full Bedrooms, Generous Size Closets and Additional Unfinished Walk-In Storage ~ Just a few of the Updates are the Roof, Siding, Gutters, Garage Doors, Electric, All 3 Bathrooms and some Interior Painting**Central Air, Hardwood Floors throughout, Intercom, Surround Sound and More! Situated Minutes to all Major Routes and the Commuter Rail!
    Open House
    No scheduled Open Houses

    Similar Properties





    Categories: New Homes  


    Posted by Colleen Griffin on 9/7/2020


     Photo by Andy via Pixabay

    A potting bench can provide you with a place to work on your garden, from starting seeds to grafting and transplanting. Ideally, your bench should be at a comfortable height for you to work at, be sturdy enough to support plants and tools and enhance the look of your yard. You have several options when it comes to creating a potting bench; choose the one that works best for you: 

    Reinvent an existing piece: Think outside the box and update an existing piece to make it into a potting bench. A fresh coat of exterior paint, some hooks for tools and a few other extras are all you need to convert a piece of furniture to meet your needs. Sideboards, dressers, desks and other pieces of furniture that are sturdy but that have gone out of style are ideal candidates. 

    Build it yourself: A potting bench is an ideal beginner's building project; a drill, wood screws, hammer and nails are usually enough to make your own potting bench. You do not need to have a saw-- most big box stores will cut lumber to your specifications when asked. A potting bench made from construction 2x4's is sturdy and affordable to make and free plans can be found online from a wide range of sources. If you have some tools, want to develop your skills and make something that is uniquely yours, then this approach will do. 

    Use a kit: Love DIY, but not sure where to start? You can purchase a kit to make your own potting bench from a variety of sources. Kits come with pre-cut lumber, fasteners and other items to create your own piece; you'll need to decide what finish to use when you are done. A kit combines the ease of repurposing another piece with the customization of a true DIY build. 

    Before you begin, list out how you'll use the potting bench and what you want it to do. You should also measure the space you want the bench to go and determine the right height for you -- the height will vary depending on your own physical stature and how you like to work. Once you have these details, you can look for peices to repurpose or plans to build from. Give yourself a weekend to complete this project, then expect to enjoy it for years to come. 




    Categories: DIY  




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