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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If your home begins to feel a little outdated and boring, one of the best upgrades you can invest in is fresh paint.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 A few things are more frustrating than a faulty heating and air system, and it’s important that you upgrade outdated systems sooner rather than later.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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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