Tip of the Week
Home improvement season is in full swing, and homeowners across the country are deciding which projects to tackle. By taking a strategic approach to selecting home improvements, you can add not only value to your property, but boost your comfort and safety as well.
“Many homeowners select stylistic updates when deciding which projects [they want] for their house, but some of the most valuable home improvements aren’t visual,” says Ed Del Grande, home improvement expert, author and television host. “Things that add comfort and safety to a home typically have the best return on investment, as well as the most pull with today’s savvy homebuyers come resale time.”
Del Grande recommends five home improvements to enhance the value, safety and comfort of your home:
1. Standby Home Generator
A standby generator is installed outside your house (like a central air-conditioning unit) and comes on automatically within seconds of an electrical outage, powering critical appliances and systems in a home, including lights, heating/cooling systems, refrigerators/freezers, sump pumps, security systems, office equipment and sophisticated electronics. Standby generators are connected to existing propane or natural gas lines in your home, so there’s no refueling necessary.
Updating lighting can have a dramatic effect on a home’s aesthetic, but beauty is just one benefit of redoing light fixtures inside and out. Lights highlight architectural features plus add a safety element to the property. Properly lit paths, stairs and entranceways make it easy to navigate throughout the home. Use solar light to brighten pathways, stair lights to illuminate steps, wall sconces to light functional areas within the living room or bathroom, and under-cabinet lighting to illuminate kitchen surfaces for safer cooking.
3. Front door
In addition to properly lighting your entrance, there is another simple and affordable update you can make to boost curb appeal and home security: a new steel front door. Doors that feature decorative glass might look nice, but they make it easy for criminals to break into your home.
4. Security system
A security system assures owners their family and property are protected day and night. Whether you hire a company to install it or go the DIY route, there are numerous options. Smart security systems go beyond cameras, fire alarms and motion detectors; they allow homeowners to monitor their homes online so they can see when children come home, packages are delivered, or whether they forgot to shut the garage door. Adjustments to locks, lighting and temperature can all be made remotely. Plus, adding a security system often qualifies for a discount on homeowner’s insurance, so ask your agent.
5. Sump pump
With the recent storms in the Northeast and across the country, flooding has become a major concern. If your home has a basement, it should have a functioning sump pump. Often located under stairways or in basement utility spaces, sump pumps are critical to prevent basement flooding, and they reduce dampness around a home’s foundation.
Give your home’s facade a facelift and added security by replacing your entry door with a steel option. With a 96.6 percent recouped cost, it is the top remodeling project for resale value, according to the Cost vs. Value Report. Plus, steel front doors can be purchased in a variety of colors or easily painted to match your home’s existing color palette.
Did You Know
The average cost of damages done by a flooded basement (a 2-inch flood in a 2,000 square-foot home) is $21,000, according to FloodSmart.gov.
Let the pace of the grass growth, not the calendar, dictate when you mow your lawn. Grasses thicken better when regularly trimmed at the proper height, which is about 2 to 3 inches (not the 1 ½ inches commonly seen). Keeping your grass at this height will also help suppress weed growth.
Tomato and pepper plants can be induced to give more fruit by applying Epsom salts, which contain sulfar and magnesium. Use a solution of 1 tablespoon Epsom salts dissolved in a gallon of water at transplanting, flowering or appearance of first fruits.
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Home Help: Improvements that boost safety, comfort and the value of your home
Tip of the Week