11/27/2012: Mass Save & Home Energy Saving Programs

Most of you have already heard of Mass Save, which is an initiative sponsored by local utility providers to help make your home more energy efficient.  Mass Save offers residents significant rebates when installing or replacing a wide variety of home systems, including: insulation, hot water heaters, heating systems, central air, appliances, thermostats — even lightbulbs.  Annual rebates range from $20 for air cleaners up to $2,000 for insulation.

The proccess starts by contacting Mass Save (800 632-8300 or www.masssave.com) to schedule a home energy audit.  The audit is typically scheduled within 30 days and takes about 2 hours with the technician.  Results are available shortly after the audit, but you will have a good idea of what improvements you’re eligible for after speaking with the technician.  Having gone through 2 audits myself, I can tell you — our old homes qualify for a lot of improvements!

Once you determine the improvments you’d like done, Mass Save will provide you with a list of aprroved contractors.  All pricing is controlled by Mass Save, so you will need to select a contractor based on availability and their experience — not price.  Once you’ve chosen a contractor and they have met with you to review the work, you’ll sign a contract and send a deposit to Mass Save.  Then have the work done and pay the balance.

11/19/2012: Yard Waste Collection

The last day for yard waste pick-up this year is Friday, December 21st.  Usually yard waste is picked up around 7am on Fridays — however, I’ve seen trucks picking up late on Thursdays as well.

FYI: Christmas tree pick-up is the first 2 weeks in January only.  The city will not pick up trees with decorations or trees in bags.  If you miss that, you’ll have to wait until yard waste pick-ups resume in April.  Or toss it into a dumpster like this guy did.

11/15/2012: Financing Home Improvements

If you’ve been considering taking a small mortgage or HELOC (home equity line of credit), now might not be a bad time to do it.  Interest rates are at historic lows and banks are more willing to lend as the housing downturn is over.  With the last 4 home sales on Randlett Park averaging $812,000, home appraisals are likely to have higher values as well.

With an FHA-203k consultant loan, you can borrow up to $523,750 to purchase, refinance or renovate your home in Middlesex County.  For example: if your home on Randlett is worth $600,000 and you owe $425,000 — you could borrow an additional $98,750 for renovations.

I know what most of you are thinking – Dave, if this is so easy, why don’t you do it and renovate your kitchen?  It really needs it!  It’s the worst looking kitchen on the street!  All I can say is I’ll do it when the time is right.  And by the time is right, I mean when my wife tells me to.