Most homeowners would like to make some improvements on their abode. Inconveniences of the home become so “normal” that they are hardly noticed – consciously. However, they may be creating subconscious irritations that impact your life – and the enjoyment of your relationships – every day. Let’s look at 3 types of improvements that can make a difference in the harmony of your home.
The little irritants can often be eliminated with improvements to maintenance issues. Do you enjoy standing in water while showering due to a slow drain? When it does drain, you have soap scum on your feet and either wipe it on the towel or rinse your feet when it’s drained. This can waste a valuable few minutes and start the day with an unnecessary irritant. Slow drains at any fixture can usually be remedied without significant investment. Liquid drain cleaners work well as a short-term solution. However, you may need to really clean the drain or in more difficult circumstances, rework some plumbing. One way of cleaning out the clogs is to use a plumbing snake. Personally, I think you come up with a very dirty snake that is a mess to clean. You may not need to invest in the snake, just grab a bucket, put it under the trap, and remove it. Then you can clean them out easily or just replace them with a new one. They should be hand tightened if they are PVC but a pair of channel lock pliers will do the trick with most any trap. Note: shower drains are sometime hard piped and may not be removable so you might need that snake.
An outside irritant is a clogged gutter that put the water where you don’t want it. That may cause dampness and a soggy yard or wash away that mulch your spouse spent a weekend putting in place. If you are comfortable working on a ladder, clean them yourself – usually twice a year. If you try to stay off ladders, or have a two-story house, hire someone for that work. The cost may be less than your emergency room insurance deductible. Ask your neighbors and friends for recommendations or check Craigslist.
There are almost limitless opportunities to eliminate maintenance irritants – light bulbs (replace with LEDs that last longer), carpet (replace the builder grade with something more serviceable), landscaping (check with your local nursery for plants that need less maintenance), etc. If you don’t see problems, ask your spouse and be willing to listen without becoming defensive.
When you bought your home, you probably did not get everything on your wish list. Even the things you liked may have become obsolete and have better solutions. Upgrading some of those things can provide more enjoyment of your home and happiness in it. Maybe you have laminate countertops and your friends have granite, marble, or quartz. When you entertain, you feel self conscious about it. Upgrading the counters are not too expensive but be aware that it may cause other aspects of your kitchen to look shabby. Cabinets, in particular, may look worse next to that shiny new granite. If you don’t have the money for new ones, consider reworking the existing cabinets at a fraction of the cost. It is likely they are built better than most new ones.
Other upgrade improvements to consider are replacing problematic carpet with hardwood, laminate, or tile. These will hold up and look good longer while taking less work to maintain. This leaves more time for family and fun!
Renovations are the big-ticket items that you undertake occasionally – or never. They can be hard on relationships if you don’t plan carefully. We renovated our kitchen once including removing walls, new cabinets, lighting, windows, and floors. Our kitchen was out of service for almost 3 months but the results were amazing! Good renovations can make the difference between loving your home and leaving it.
As realtors, we advise clients to consider two questions when purchasing a new home. What is it that you cannot live with? and What can you not live without? The things people cannot live with often involve location – distance from work, near major road, etc. Those things cannot be changed without moving. When you purchased your home, you may have settled for something you couldn’t live with because of limitations. Perhaps it is something you can change like only one bathroom, no utility room, no garage, cramped kitchen, etc.
It is more likely that you bought a home without something you see as a deep need or desire. If you love to cook, that may be a gourmet kitchen. If you are a weekend mechanic/classic car lover, that may mean a garage. Adding a master bath would help a lot too!
Savoring Family Relationships
These improvements make your home much more of what you want it to be by meeting the needs and desires of you and your family. Some of them are easy so begin with them. Identify the importance and feasibility of the renovations, research them rigorously, and plan for them carefully. If you find that your desired renovation is not feasible at your current home, call us to find the home that will fit you and your family for the years ahead and be a place where your relationships flourish!
Patrick Whitaker, PhD, Realtor