What Affects Your Home’s Resale Value?

Many of us will move home several times throughout our lives. Whether it’s relocating for work, needing a bigger house for children, or a quiet place to retire to, it’s likely that the home you live in now won’t be yours forever.

 As a result, many homeowners wonder what they can do to ensure their home will have a high resale value when the time comes to move on.

 The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do now that will give you a good return on investment when it comes to selling your home later. However, there are a few factors that affect a home’s valuation that are out of your control. We’ll talk about all of those factors below. So, read on for a list of the factors that affect your home’s resale value.

 The age of your home

Your house may not complain about it, but it isn’t getting any younger. Homes tend to slowly decrease in value over time. A home built in the late 1970s, even if it’s well taken care of, most likely won’t sell for the same price as a 15-year-old home.

There is one exception to the rule, however, and that is historical houses. Homes that are a century old can sell for top dollar because of the craftsmanship and history that the house contains.

Admittedly, this is a niche market, as many people just want a safe and efficient home to live in. However, there are some homebuyers who will put in a bit of extra work around the house for the chance to live inside of a piece of history.

Smart renovations

When you’re upgrading your house it’s important to remember how that upgrade will pay off years down the road. Some renovations will almost always give a good return on investment such as a finished basement or attic and improving efficiency via added insulation or replacing windows.

Renovations that match a very specific decorative taste or style could come back to haunt you. This includes bathroom sinks, kitchen cabinets, countertops, and other expensive projects that are subject to the next owner’s taste. While these upgrades can give a good return on your investment, they’re more likely to be successful if they fit the current trends of style and craftsmanship.

Neighborhood and town

One of the factors of home valuation that you have little control over is the town and neighborhood the house is located in. If there are closed down businesses, foreclosed and deteriorating homes then potential buyers might be turned off to the neighborhood.

Similarly, the town you live in has a lot to do with how much people are willing to spend. If you have easy access to interstate highways and large cities, highly rated schools, and good local infrastructure, then buyers are likely to take these into consideration when making an offer, as the average cost of a home in your town is likely higher than some surrounding towns.

All the Ingredients for a Fun Stay-home Date Night

One of the best ways to nurture a relationship with a significant other is to set aside time to spend with each other. For some people, that means working on hobbies together, grabbing a bite together, or just hanging out and watching 5+ episodes of Supernatural on Netflix. If you’re looking for some fun ideas for a date night with your S.O. but don’t want to go through all the trouble of getting dressed up and waiting for a table, we’ve got you covered. Here are some great stay-at-home date nights to share with your significant other.

1. Host a tasting event for two

Wine, whiskey, beer, cheese, chocolate… there are endless items to base a tasting on. Head to the supermarket and liquor store and pick out an array of small-sized treats and beverages. The set-up is half the fun. Spread them out on a table with candle, play some music you both like and give ratings to each item as you taste.

2. Cook a new recipe together

Pick a recipe that looks challenging and involved and buy all the ingredients the day before. Make sure you work together to make the meal; you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something tricky together and it will be worth the reward. And even if you fail miserably at the recipe, there’s always the option of getting pizza delivered.

3. Picnic in your yard

Get a nice blanket, a picnic basket, some flowers, and head into the backyard for a picnic. The benefit of having a picnic in your own yard is that you can bring food that is a bit more intricate than peanut butter sandwiches.

4. Make a playlist and play board games

Hop on Spotify, Pandora, iTunes or whichever music service is your favorite and create a fun playlist for the night. Try to pick some songs you’ll both like. Not only will it make the night more fun but you might find something new to listen to together in the car. Then, break out your favorite board games and play as many games as you can until the music doesn’t keep you awake anymore.

5. Watch awful movies

I stress the “awful” part here because watching movies isn’t really the best way to spend time together unless you don’t feel like talking. Picking cheesy movies, bad movies, or movies you’ve both seen a million times will encourage you to talk during and laugh at the movie together rather than sitting in silence.

6. Tour a new country

Not literally. But you can be adventurous right at home. Make a tempura and miso soup dinner while listening to Japanese pop music. Then head into the living room and watch some highly respected Japanese cinema (Akira Kurosawa for serious films, Hayao Miyazaki for feel-good animated movies). Or if you’re more into Europe, make French-inspired cuisine while listening to cabaret and watch some high-brow French cinema afterward.

7. Camp in your yard

Camping out isn’t just fun with the kids. It’s a great way to spend quality time with your significant other by staying away from technology (i.e., Facebook and email). Pitch a tent and fill it with blankets and pillows, a lantern, games, snacks, and whatever else will keep you busy.

How to Understand Your Pet’s Body Language

If you’re anything like me, your household pet is like a member of the family. Most of us have a soft spot for our pets. When they’re hurt we feel their pain. When they’re sick we get worried sick about what might be wrong. A difficult part of owning a pet is that since we can’t verbally communicate (aside from some commands and accolades) we aren’t able to always read how they’re feeling.

Fortunately, much work has been done when it comes to understanding the nonverbal languages that our animal companions speak. Reading body language and understand your dog’s bark and cat’s meow can help you be a better pet owner and a better companion to your dog or cat. In this article, we’ll let you in on some little known facts about what the body language of your pet means.

Do you speak dog?

Our canine companions tend to let us know how they’re feeling. When they’re scared they lower their tail and cower. When they’re happy they attach us while licks. However, there are many misconceptions about the body language of dogs. Here are some important ones every dog owner should know:

  • Yawning. As humans, we yawn when we’re tired. Dogs also share this trait. But if you own one you’ve probably noticed them yawning much more frequently than we do. This is because they also yawn when they’re unsure of a situation, if they’re around someone new, and if they’re trying to diffuse tension.
  • Whale eye. This is phenomenon occurs when your dog tilts her head and stares out of the corner of her eye, exposing the whites of her eyes. This can be mistaken for a “cute puppy” look, but it normally means they are afraid.
  • Face-licking. As humans we tend to see face-licking as a sign of affection. In dogs, however, it is more likely a friendly sign of appeasement. It is usually seen in puppies and if it carries on into adulthood it can be problematic if your dog frequently licks other dogs’ faces who might not appreciate the gesture.
  • Tail position. Horizontal can mean the dog is alert. Facing upwards can mean dominance and aggression. Tail down can mean the dog isn’t feeling well or is sad. Tail tucked can mean fear and aggression.

What’s your cat thinking?

Cats tend to be a bit more subtle in their communication than dogs (with the exception of when they’re hungry and meowing incessantly). However, if you pay attention you can still get a glimpse into how your cat is feeling. There are three main indicators you should notice when trying to read your cat: the tail, eyes, and ears.

  • Tail. A cat’s tail will tell you a lot about their mood. A tail standing up and wagging means a cat is happy. However, a straight up, rigid tail can mean a cat who is aggressive. Similarly, a cat who is thumping their tail or waiving it with force can also be trying to show dominance and aggression.
  • Eyes. Cat’s eyes are very intense and expressive. Dilated pupils and a focused look can mean the cat is surprised or scared, but can also mean it is hunting something. Relaxed pupils, blinking eyes, or closed eyes, however all mean that the cat feels comfortable and not threatened.
  • Ears. Ears pointing up are somewhat ambiguous; it can mean playfulness or attentiveness. Ears pointing back, however, are a sign of fear and aggression.

House Training Basics for New Dog Owners

Getting a new dog is every child’s dream. But dogs aren’t just great for the kids, they can be a great companion for an individual or a couple in their new home, or as a way to cope with empty nest syndrome when the kids leave.

Whether you buy a puppy or adopt a dog in need of a good home, you’ll need to do a lot of training. One of the first mistakes dog owners make is to think that training is something you only need to do until your dog learns the rules. However, training is an ongoing process that will help build your relationship with your dog and keep you both happy.

If you’re thinking about bringing home a new dog, follow these home training tips to make sure your dog understands the rules of the house and can stay out of trouble.

Have a house meeting

Before bringing your new dog home you’re going to want everyone in your home to be on the same page about rules for the dog. Dogs are very intelligent and malleable creatures, but they will learn best and be less confused if everyone is teaching them the same behavior. That means if there’s a “no dogs on the couch” rule, everyone needs to enforce it.

Similarly, the commands you use for your dog should all be the same within the house. If one member of the family calls the dog by saying “come” and another says “here, boy” they will probably eventually get the idea, but the best approach is for everyone to use the same words, especially when the dog is first learning.

Setting some rules

So you have your new dog… congratulations! Now comes the hard part: not babying them and letting them have their way all the time. You need to teach your dog to respect you and your home.

That does not mean your dog should fear you. In fact, having a dog that is afraid of you can lead to many problems including disobedience and aggression towards you and other people. To build trust and respect with your dog it will talk a lot of work (and treats) on your part. Here are some important training tips for training a dog in your home.

FOOD
As a dog’s most important resource, food and water routines are central to training your dog. Dogs are creatures of habit and should be fed at the same time every day. To build good habits, make your dog sit while to give them their food and ten call them over to eat. This will teach them that you are in control and that you can be trusted with their food source.

When it comes to table food, avoid getting in the habit of letting your dog eat food that was on your plate. It may seem like a waste, but it is in the best interest of you and your dog to stick to just dog food for the pup.

FURNITURE 
You may be tempted to let your dog jump up on the couch or bed with you, but by doing so you’re giving them permission to show dominance. Get a comfy dog bed or crate for your dog where they will feel at home. This will teach them that you’re the boss and help save your furniture from messes.

BED TIME
It’s tempting to let your dog hop up on your bed with you at night to sleep like a cat might. But in doing so, you might be setting yourself up for having a dog who is overprotective of you and pushy when it comes to where he can be. Your dog’s crate or dog bed are both safer places for him to be and will help lessen separation anxiety overnight.

 

Making the Most of Space in a Small Bathroom

A home with a small bathroom is a major turn-off for some potential home buyers. However, the reason they are displeased usually isn’t about the size of the room itself, it’s not being able to fit the features they want inside the room.

Considering how many large objects are usually in bathrooms, you would think they would contain a lot of square footage. That’s not the case, however, with many smaller homes.

In this article we’ll go over some tips for making the most of the space in your small bathroom, allowing you to fit more inside without making the room a claustrophobic nightmare.

Vertical space…

Use it. Most people forget that they’re only using about half the the space around the perimeter of their bathroom. You can install shelving that extends over your toilet or along the top of one of the walls to store things like towels and extra rolls of toilet paper.

Installing a large mirror with storage cabinets is another great way to take advantage of vertical space. You’ll get extra storage, save floor space, and create the illusion of openness by having a large mirror in the room.

Sink space savers

The space around bathroom sinks is seldom used to its fullest potential. If you have a wall mounted sink you can install a rack underneath to hold towels, mouth wash, or other bulky items.

If possible, use a rectangular shaped sink and mount it in the corner of the room. Narrower sinks open up more floor space, as does keeping it off to the corner.

Omit the tub

I’ve had an unopened container epsom salt sitting in my closet for years. I’ve been saying that I’ll use the next time I take a bath, but who knows when that will be. If having a bath tub isn’t necessary for you, go with a bathroom design that utilizes a stand-up shower instead of a bath tub.

Reach deep with sliding drawers

Instead of reaching behind boxes of Q-Tips and bottles of shampoo just to get your mouth wash, install sliding drawers that bring everything within reach.

You can utilize a sliding drawer in any vacant corners or spaces in your room. Are there a few inches between your toilet and the wall? It might be a good place to install an extra storage unit that slides out.

Prepare your battle station

Kitchen design takes advantage of several space-saving and convenient decorating techniques that are often left out of the bathroom. Instead of stuffing your hair dryer and curling iron into a drawer or leaving them on the counter, install a holster rack designed just for those tools.

Many good chefs keep their knives stuck to a magnet over the counter. You can utilize this technique in the bathroom as well. If you don’t want to have your tweezers hanging on your wall for everyone to see, install the magnetic strip behind your mirror to keep them out of sight.