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5 Upgrades Every Homeowner Should Do This Year

5 Upgrades Every Homeowner Should Do This Year

As a homeowner, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the many renovations and upgrades you think you should be doing. However, the truth is that some projects are more important than others. Specifically, you should be thinking about the return on investment (ROI) and immediate impact. With that being said, let’s check out a few upgrades every homeowner should consider in 2016.

 1. Freshen Up With New Paint

If your home begins to feel a little outdated and boring, one of the best upgrades you can invest in is fresh paint. A new coat of paint – whether simply refreshing the existing color or going with a new palette entirely – will immediately breathe life into your home.

If you want to repaint your entire home interior, the average cost to hire a professional is somewhere between $3,600 and $6,000. An exterior paint job could run $5,000-plus. The good news is, is that painting is something that you can do on your own – it just takes time. So consider taking a “one room at a time” approach, and slowly knock out a new room each week.

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2. Upgrade the HVAC System

If your HVAC system isn’t in tip-top shape, you’ve certainly noticed this summer. A few things are more frustrating than a faulty heating and air system, and it’s important that you upgrade outdated systems sooner rather than later.

The good news is that the U.S. Government has extended the 25C tax credit for high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment through the end of this year. According to Lennox, the tax credit covers up to 10 percent of the cost (up to $500), or a specific amount from $50 to $300. There are also some solar tax credits available if you’re interested in going that route.

3. Insulate the Attic

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, there’s one project you absolutely must take on: fiberglass attic insulation. According to the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, the average attic insulation job costs $1,268 and increases a home’s resale value by $1,482. That means you’re actually recouping 116.9 percent of the initial investment on the backend. In fact, attic insulation is ranked as the single best project in this year’s report.

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4. Remodel the Basement

Basements – they can be a home’s greatest asset or biggest detractor. If you have a musty, damp basement – or one that’s totally outdated and underutilized – it may finally be time to invest in the remodel you’ve always wanted.

The Cost vs. Value Report says a total basement remodel costs an average of $68,490 and adds right around $48,194 in value. That’s a healthy 70.4 percent ROI – not to mention the extra enjoyment you get out of having a useable basement.

 5. Add an Outdoor Living Space

With the cooler temperatures of fall right around the corner, it’s a good time to start thinking about outdoor living. Adding a deck, screened porch, patio, or other outdoor living features can be a great way to increase the useable area of your property. A wood deck addition brings a 75 percent ROI, while a composite deck addition has a 64.4 percent ROI.

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When considering an outdoor living space, think about seasonal weather patterns and how many months of the year you’ll be able to use it. For cold regions, a built-in fireplace is a nice feature that makes a patio useable well into the winter.

Get to Work!

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Tackle your projects one at a time and seek out help from the appropriate professionals when you need it. Not only will these upgrades make your home look great, but they will also allow you to increase the value of your property.

It’s time to get started!

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Featured photo credit: Kaboom Pics via kaboompics.com

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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