The recent snowstorm over the Thanksgiving Day holiday was a reminder to a lot of people that lost their power of just how important electricity is. There's nothing worse than a cold bird especially when you have a whole house full of people coming. And the fact that you quite possible don't have any heat creates a less than perfect holiday atmosphere. So how do you prevent this and be able to cook the bird, have some heat, and watch the ball game all at the same time? The obvious answer is, of course, a generator. Another possible answer would be to move to Florida, but they have hurricanes, so you still might need a generator.
Having a generator can really be a life saver, but it can also help in the sale of your house. I can't tell you how excited some buyers get when they see that a generator is included in the sale of a home. I don't necessarily think it will make or break a sale, but it sure does come as a valued added bonus.
If you don't have a generator for your house and want to buy one there are two types; portable or stationary. A portable is generally less expensive, is gasoline powered, and has to be wheeled outside to use. They generally have limited fuel capacity so you have to keep fueling them up if the power is out for a long time. You can buy a 4,000 watt generator for as little as $300-400 at any of the home improvement big box stores. These won't power much but the very basics just to get you by. A larger 10,000 watt unit will run you around a grand and a whole house portable unit of 17,500 watts could run you $2,500 or so. The important thing is that you don't wait until the power is out to go buy one. Remember the ice storm of '98? In a very short period of time there weren't any generators anywhere left to be found... and I do mean anywhere.
Obviously, once you have a generator you need to be able to hook it up to the things you want to run. For years I got by running extension cords from my small portable to run the TV and refrigerator. As long as I could watch the ball game and keep the refrigerator going I thought we were pretty good shape. My generator wasn't large enough to run the furnace but our propane fireplace kept the house warm enough. There's also something to be said for having running water but unless you have a bigger generator you won't if you are on a well. Water pumps take a lot of juice when they start. But the real way to get power into your house is through a generator transfer switch and that should be professionally installed to provide power to the circuits that you want to run. One of those will run you anywhere from $200 to $350. I had one of those babies installed and Murphy's Law has held true; I haven't lost the power for more than an hour since I put it in.
The Cadillac plan, of course, is to have a stationary generator that comes on automatically the minute that tree comes down on the wires in the middle of the night. They are really nice when you are away over the Christmas holiday in Barbados and you aren't around to wheel out old Nellie and hook it up. It really saves a lot of worries to for homeowners that are here just seasonally. These units are fueled by propane and will start themselves up periodically to make sure they're running correctly. They can provide service to just few chosen circuits or your entire house if sized correctly. Costs for these units vary depending on the size but you are likely to pay around $5,000 for a 20KW generator plus installation. Like everything else, you'd want to shop around but choose an industry professional that installs these for a living. You should also not put the cart before the horse and buy the generator before you have that professional size it for your exact needs. Hey! Maybe this would make a great Christmas present for yourself??
As of December 1, 2014 there were 952 residential homes on the market in the towns represented in this real estate market report. The median price point came in at $259,900. As of Nov 1, 2014 there were 1137 homes on the market. The somewhat large drop in inventory this month was due to the large number of listings that expired and have not yet returned to the market. The current inventory represents an 11.7 month supply of homes on the market.
Pease feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 12/1/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-677-7012.
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