Home Improvement

Month of Thankfulness :: Don’t Stop at Being Thankful

As you grow older, you will discover you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. -Audrey Hepburn

adult helping senior in hospitalAt Assurance Professional Home Inspection, we love our jobs. We enjoy helping our clients understand any and all issues their homes might have so that they can be fixed, and so that their homes can be at their very best. We're thankful to be a part—however small—of making your homes safer, stronger, and more beautiful.

But today we’re going to break from the norm of finding faults and fixes to instead focus on being thankful for what IS. For a moment, we’re going to forget about inspection lists and home improvements and DIY projects (as much as we love them!), and instead appreciate what we have, flaws and all, and we encourage you to do the same.

We’re thankful for the roofs over our heads–old wallpaper, stubbornly creaky floors, and wiggly door knobs included. We’re thankful for the warmth, comfort, and shelter our homes give us, even on days when radiators are annoyingly loud or pesky faucets refuse to stop drip-drip-dripping. We’re thankful for the family and friends who have shared our homes over the years, and for the memories we’ve made together within their walls. We’re grateful, and we’re lucky.

We’re thoroughly enjoying the spirit of sincere positivity and gratitude that appears to be taking over the Internet this month (what with all the 30 Days of Thankfulness posts), but we’d like to take it a step further. We challenge everyone (ourselves included!) to take all the gratitude and positivity you possess in this Month of Thankfulness and channel it toward helping someone who might not be so lucky; put your hard-earned home improvement skills and proud DIY spirit to use for someone else—an elderly or not-so-handy family member or neighbor, perhaps. The satisfaction of making, fixing, or creating something with your own hands is tough to beat, but we’re willing to bet that making, fixing, or creating something with your own hands for someone else just might do it. This month, try showing your gratitude by giving back. You’ll be thankful you did. Your fireplace and chimney should be inspected annually—twice yearly by fire sprinklers San Diego redtruckfire.com if you regularly burn soft woods like pine or cedar. Not only are neglected fireplaces potential fire hazards, they’re also potentially damaging to yours and your family’s health.

For volunteer ideas in your town, check out volunteermatch.org. Look at VolunteerMatch social media pages which currently have marketing campaign by the Marketing Heaven. All information is there! Also, we connect companies of all sizes with real-time, community-sourced volunteer opportunities. With more volunteers and more volunteer opportunities than any other service, VolunteerMatch is how good people and good causes get connected.

And of course…

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Save Your Time + Money: Worthwhile Home Improvement Projects

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, the overall value added by home renovation projects—especially those focusing on upgrades, replacements, and curb appeal—has improved for the first time in six years.

The study focused on the “cost-value ratio” of 35 common home improvement projects (this ratio expresses the value a project retains once the house sells in relation to the original cost of the project; the greater the percentage of the original cost a seller recoups once the house sells, the greater the cost-value ratio). The continued decline in construction costs (down 6.0%) combined with relatively stable resale values (down only 1.4%) has finally created favorable conditions for homeowners to make those upgrades and remodels they’ve been putting off in recent years. For all 35 projects studied in the survey the cost-value ratio rose, making for an average 60.60 cost-value ratio across the board.

Sixty percent may not sound like much of a return on investment, but keep in mind that the 60.60% figure is merely an average of the cost-value ratios of all 35 projects. The projects at the top of this year’s list boast a cost-value ratio of 90% or higher in many cities. Nationwide, the top 10 lists are dominated by outdoor replacement projects that cost relatively little but have dramatic impact on curb appeal, a very strong factor in raising the perceived value of a home in the eyes of potential buyers.

The most worthwhile home improvement projects in our region were no exception. Below are the five projects with the highest return on investment in western Kentucky:

  1. Replace entry door (steel) – Replacing your existing front door with a steel door is inexpensive and relatively easy for an experienced DIYer. It can be painted an eye-catching color or made to match your home’s existing color scheme, and paired with quality hardware it can make for a simple, but impactful little facelift for the front of your home. The door’s steel outer layer will be susceptible to denting, so swing for a kickplate. Not sure if you want a steel door? Here are more details on the pros and cons of fiberglass and wood doors too. Estimated ROI: 87.60%
  2. Add a deck (wood) – If you’re looking to add living space, a deck is an easy and cost-effective alternative to a full addition, and it provides a great way to enjoy the outdoors when the weather’s nice. If you keep it simple and build the deck yourself with pressure-treated lumber, you can knock off almost 50% of the cost. Clean and seal it annually to keep it in good shape. Here are some tips on how to plan for a deck that suits your home, meets your budget, and offers the best possible return on your investment. Estimated ROI: 86.40%
  3. Replace siding (vinyl) – There’s a good reason why vinyl siding is so popular; it’s reasonably priced, it’s durable (good-quality vinyl siding can last 30 years or more), and its light weight makes it easy to install. Plus, it comes in almost any color you can imagine. Here’s more information on vinyl siding, as well as other siding options such as fiber-cement and wood. Estimated ROI: 79.90%
  4. Garage door replacement – This is a GREAT way to improve your home’s curb appeal. An attractive, mid-range garage door can do wonders for the overall appearance of your home, and a skilled/brave DIYer can install one in a weekend. For smart garage storage ideas and how you can exploit more storage space visit goodgarage.us.
  5. MINOR kitchen remodel. Resist the urge to do a complete kitchen overhaul, and keep your remodel to-scale—installing big, fancy appliances in a small home will rarely ever pay off. Stick with high-quality fixtures, and make smart cosmetic updates to modernize the look of your kitchen. For more tips on remodeling your kitchen without going overboard and over budget, click here. Estimated ROI: 76.60% and also you can keep the house plants san diego in your kitchen for fresh air.

As you tackle your own home improvement projects, keep in mind that your end goal is to increase the value of your home, and work to-scale. For example, if you live in a neighborhood full of mid-sized three bedroom, two-and-a-half bath homes and your home only has one-and-a-half baths, you will likely benefit more from adding a bathroom to bring your home up to the neighborhood standard than by doing a complete kitchen overhaul. Think strategically, shop smartly, and do the work yourself when you can. Here’s to a high cost-value ratio for all your home improvement projects to come!