Renovations That Pay Off

Remodeling is a great way to bring your home up-to-date, adapt it to your changing family needs and improve its value.  If you’re planning on selling, making a few basic home improvements may make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

 

5 Renovation that offer the biggest returns:

1.  A new front door. (Return on investment: 96.6%) Refresh your entryway, and impress potential buyers with a new front door. If your current front door is in good condition, consider painting or staining it to make it look as good as new.

2.  A wooden deck addition.  (Return on investment: 87.4%) Improve the indoor/outdoor versatility of your home by adding a wood deck.

3.  An attic bedroom. (Return on investment: 84.3%) Bedrooms are a versatile addition to a home.  They can serve as a bedroom, a guest room or a home office.  An attic bedroom makes use of this often underutilized space and adds value to the home.

4.  A new garage door. (Return on investment: 83.7%) If your garage doors are old or dated, replacing them will add value to your home.  If they’re still in good shape, paint them to enhance the look of your home.

5.  A minor kitchen remodel. (Return on investment: 82.7%) The kitchen is one of the most popular renovations that homeowners tackle.  A minor remodel can update the space and entice potential buyers.

 

3 Quick tricks to get your home ready to sell

1.  Clean and clear.  Dust the cobwebs from the ceiling and fixtures, deep clean the carpets and shine up your windows.  And while you’re at it, clear away any clutter and store or give away unused items.

2. Paint.  A bit of paint goes a long way to make your home shine like new.  Stick with neutral tones for interior spaces so that potential buyers can see themselves in the home.

3.  Repair and replace.  Walk through your home and look for any creaks and cracks to repair.  Replace any broken or dated fixtures, or any burned out light bulbs, for maximum impact.

And remember, I’m never too busy for your referrals.

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Improve Your Home’s Value This Spring

If you’re like many homeowners, you think of two things:  How much is my home worth, and what can I do to improve its value?  Your home’s value depends on many factors, including its location, age, size and condition.  While you may not be able to do anything about your home’s location or age, there are things that you can do to improve its size and condition and add value.

Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Curb appeal isn’t just the concern of home sellers.  Even homeowners who wish to stay put are putting time and effort into maintaining the curb appeal of their homes.  Since most people will only see your home from the street, how well your property is kept from the outside provides a glimpse into how well it’s maintained on the inside.

 

5 Easy Ways to Boos Your Home’s Curb Appeal

1.  Maintain your lawn.  Mow, pull weeds and make sure your walkways are free of debris.

2.  Keep your hedges in check.  Well-maintained hedges and shrubs improve the look of your property.

3.  Clean your windows and gutters.  This isn’t just for aesthetics; it’s good home maintenance as well.

4.  Maintain your home’s exterior.  Keep your home looking like new with a new coat of paint every few years, replace your roof when necessary and make repairs on time.

5.  Spring for new home accents.  Spice things up with new house numbers, a fresh coat of paint on your shutters or coloful plants and flowers in your window boxes or garden beds.

 

Protect Your Tech

There’s nothing worse than accidentally dropping your expensive smartphone on the ground or in water and damaging it.  However, there are ways to protect your device from damage should it take a spill. Here are a few suggestions to help you keep your smartphone in good shape:

Protective Cases

Many people rave about the design of today’s smartphones.  However, if you want to protect your tech, purchase a silicone or plastic case to absorb the impact of a fall.  Cases come in a variety of colors and patterns to help you express your style.

Protect Your Screen

Screen protectors are a cost-effective way to keep your screen scratch and crack-free.  If your smartphone is newer than fie years old, your glass screen may be tough enough to withstand a fall.  However, sand can still scratch it, so if you’re a beach bum, consider spending a few dollars on a screen protector.

Keep Moisture at Bay

Moisture is an enemy to all types of gadgets.  Wrap your device in a towel overnight if you live in a humid area.  Also, try not to bring your phone with you into the bathroom when you shower or into the kitchen while you’re cooking.  And, if you keep your phone on you while you exercise, use a moisture-proof sports case to prevent your sweat and surrounding humidity from taking their toll.

Remember, I’m never too busy for your referrals.

 

The Benefits of Goal Setting

If the thought of setting goals makes you say, “Meh!  Nope!” you may want to change your tune.  Setting achievable, measurable goals helps you:

Find your focus.  Every day we’re bombarded with opportunities, choices, decisions, etc. Goals help you focus on what you

want so that you can filter out everything else that will throw you off cours.

Take action.  Once you write down your goal and create a plan, you’re more motivated to put it into action.  Reviewing your goals regularly will help you reconnect with your motivation so that you can stay on track to achieve success.

Deal better with setbacks.  When you have a specific goal, you’re more likely to see a setback as a challenge to overcome rather than an unachievable or impossible obstacle.  You’ll keep moving forward and get back on track.

Feel a sense of accomplishment.  The surge of energy that you feel when you complete your goal is unlike anything in th world.  All of the hard work and sacrifices you made along the way will make your success much sweeter.  Achieving your goals boosts confidence in yourself and your abilities and may make you happier.

 

3 Secrets of Goal-Getters

Improve your chances of achieving your goals this year with these helpful tips:

1. Get S.M.A.R.T.  That is, set goals that are Specific and written, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic in time and skill, and Time-based.

2. Find an accountability partner.  An accountability partner is someone who will make sure that you complete the activities required to achieve your goal, whether it’s checking in with you once a day asking about your progress or providing encouragement when you need it the most.

3.  Have a “why”.  Having a reason to achieve your goals will keep you motivated, especially when you’re tempted to give up.

 

Remember, I’m never too busy for your referrals.

Achieve Your Goals in 2015

Make 2015 the year that your dreams come true!  Setting realistic, measurable goals will help you achieve what you’ve always wanted.  Not sure how to start?  Here are some tips to set achievable goals.

Think Big.
What is one thing that would improve your life dramatically?  Whether it pertains to getting healthy, ridding yourself of debt or getting a promotion at work, think of one thing that would give you the biggest boost and turn it into your goal.

Analyze Your Habits and Behaviors.
Don’t let bad habits and behaviors sabotage your hard work.  Once you’ve thought of a goal, ask yourself these questions:


  • What current habits or behaviors will help me reach my goal?
  • What current habits or behaviors will impede my efforts?

For example, if your goal is to run a marathon and you’re already running or working out a few times a week, your current fitness habits will help you reach your goal.  However, if the last time you ran was during an elementary school field day, you’ll have to make running a habit so that you can achieve your goal.

Write It Down.
Studies show that writing down your goal will improve your chances of achieving it.

Approach your goal as if you’ve already achieved it.  This will put you in the right mindset.

Be specific.  The more specific your goal is the better.  Instead of saying, “I have lost weight” say, “I have lost 20 pounds and dropped two pants sizes.”

Divide it up.  Large goals are easier to reach if you break them into smaller pieces.  Divide your big goal into smaller short-term and mid-term goals.  If your goal is to run a marathon, a short-term goal would be to run a 5k within the next month, and a mid-term goal would be to run a half marathon by June.

Give yourself a time limit.  Setting a deadline will help you maintain the focus and drive you need to achieve your goal.

Track your progress.  Tracking allows you to see how far you’ve come and may give you the extra motivation you need when you’re feeling discouraged.

The Benefits of Generosity

Do you want to improve your well-being and live longer?  Practice generosity.  Generous people tend to be happier and healthier than their less generous peers.  Here are five benefits of being generous:

You’ll make someone’s day.  You’ll improve someone’s mood and may even prompt them to pay it forward.

You’ll contribute to the greater good of your community.  Good deeds help you build relationships with other people in your local area, making you feel more connected to your neighbors and community.

You’ll feel more grateful.  A kind gesture will make you thankful that you are able to help, and may make you feel more satisfied with your life.

You’ll stress less.  Being generous releases feel-good chemicals in your brain, which can help you reduce stress.

You’ll improve your work performance.  Altruism on the job can help you boost work satisfaction, improve relationships with your co-worers and make you more committed to your job.

 

How Generous Are Americans?
The top five states with the highest percentage of people who reported giving time and money to charity

1. Utah
2. Minnesota
3. Hawaii
4. South Dakota
5. New Hampshire

Utah ranks #1 for donating money to charitable causes as well, with 71% of people reporting donating money to charity.  New Hampshire and Illinois tied for second place in monetary giving at 70%

 

 

 

source: Gallup, May 2014

Photo: By stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

How to Sell Your Home This Winter

Regardless of the time of year, there are always buyers on the hunt for a home of their own.  Take advantage of the drop in temperature to improve your home’s marketability by enhancing its warm and cozy ambiance.

Set the stage to sell your home this winter:

Maintain your walkways:  Shovel and sand/salt your walkway and driveway to prevent potential buyers from slipping on their way to view your home.

Clean the clutter:  Move boots, shoes, coats and any unnecessary items from the entryway and into a closet.  Place paper booties near the door for guests to slip over their shoes to prevent them from tracking mud and slush through your home.

Make it cozy:  The holidays are a great time to showcase the warm and inviting qualities of your home.  Hang an evergreen wreath on the door, and fold a thick throw over the back of a an armchair or couch.

Turn the focus to the fireplace:  You don’t have to keep a fire burning; just arrange a few logs to make the space look ready to light.

Turn on the lights:  It gets dark earlier in the winter, so make sure that the inside of your home is well lit.  Turn on every light in the house, and be sure that your blinds and drapes are clean and open.

…and turn up the heat:  It’s cold outside, so adjust the thermostat to a warmer temperature.  However, keep in mind that many people will keep their coats on , so try not to sweat them out.

Do You Have Different Home Buying Habits than Your Parents or Children?


2013 Brings Higher Postage Rates

Postage rates are going up a penny on January 27, 2013. The Postal Service increased postage prices last year at the same time. The self-supporting government agency is looking to increase revenue and stabilize its finances in an age where more people are relying on the Internet to communicate and pay their bills.

Postage Rate Increases:
• Letters, additional ounces: 20 cents (unchanged) Go to USPS.com for more information
• Letters (1 ounce): $0.46 (increased 1 cent) • Postcards: 33 cents (increased 1 cent)
• Letters to all international destinations (1 ounce): $1.10
Save time and money by printing your postage labels from your computer.
Go to USPS.com for more information and to order your shipping supplies.

 

 

 

Save money and buy ForeverTM stamps before the increase takes effect. These stamps are always valued at the current letter rate.

Take the Guesswork out of Shipping Costs:

Go to postcalc.usps.gov to estimate your shipping costs, both domestically and internationally.

Send letters to family and friends around the world for one set price!
The Postal Service will begin issuing the Global Forever Stamp, which will allow people to send standard First-Class Mail letters to people all over the world for only $1.10.
Priority Mail Flat Rate Shipping Prices Are on the Rise
It’ll cost a bit more to ship Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes to destinations within the United States. However, tracking will be available free of charge.
• Small box: $5.80 (an increase of $0.45)
• Medium box: $12.35 (an increase of $1.00)
• Large box: $16.85 (an increase of $1.40)
• Large APO/FPO box: $14.85 (an increase of $1.40)
• Regular envelope: $5.60 (an increase of $0.45)
• Legal envelope: $5.75 (an increase of $0.45)
• Padded envelope: $5.95 (an increase of $0.65)

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