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7 Projects that improve your home’s resale value

A good rule of thumb is to focus on aesthetics when it comes to integrating more of your personal tastes, because these can be easily changed with a coat of paint or minor work. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make other, more significant changes to enhance your home.

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Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating

Even if you have no immediate plans for leaving your home, it’s a good idea to approach renovations with resale value in mind. Upgrades that are likely to appeal to future buyers protect your investment while also improving your enjoyment of the home.

One key to a successful renovation is figuring out how to personalize the space without making it so customized that it’s not attractive to other potential owners. For example, eliminating a bedroom to create a giant walk-in closet may help achieve your dreams, but losing that bedroom can be a major hit to your home’s value.

A good rule of thumb is to focus on aesthetics when it comes to integrating more of your personal tastes, because these can be easily changed with a coat of paint or minor work. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make other, more significant changes to enhance your home.

These renovation ideas – which include both cosmetic touch-ups and more labor-intensive suggestions – can help boost your home’s value.

Open space
Older homes were often designed with a boxy, formal layout that is less conducive to most modern families’ needs. Today’s open floor plans offer functionality for everything from keeping an eye on the kids while making dinner to entertaining guests. This type of floor plan can also make small rooms feel larger and invite more light into darker parts of the house.

The most cost-effective way to create an open space is to remove non-load-bearing walls (load bearing walls help support the roof; while they can be removed there’s typically quite a bit more time, labor and expense involved). Removing a wall may not be that complicated unless you encounter plumbing or HVAC ductwork that needs to be relocated. You’ll likely have some electrical outlets to move, and both the floor and ceiling will need attention to remove lingering signs of the former wall.

Color change
Although paint is one of the easiest ways to personalize your home, it’s also one of the least expensive, simplest ways to improve its value and appearance. A fresh coat of paint, inside or out, can create an appealing illusion of newness no matter the age of your home. For maximum resale value, stick to neutral tones so future buyers can focus on envisioning the place as their own, without the distraction of your own vibrant choices. If you don’t like the thought of boring beige, consider adding accent walls for pops of color that can be easily changed down the road.

Climate comfort
Not every aspect of home improvement is visible at first glance like a fresh coat of paint; some value-boosting upgrades are more behind the scenes. One example is climate management. If you renovate a space that needs better climate control, or if you add a new room where extending the existing ductwork is impractical, a split-ductless HVAC system may be the perfect solution. The ductless design saves HVAC contractors time during installation, therefore saving homeowners money.

Adjustable lighting
A room’s ambiance can be completely transformed with lighting. For multi-purpose rooms, an option like dimmer switches lets you customize the lighting to fit the use, which can vary throughout the day. A well-lit living room is essential for a large gathering or a small group gathered for game night. That same space can be equally inviting for an intimate conversation or a casual movie night with the lights turned down low. One of the best parts is minimal experience is needed to swap out standard switches for the more versatile dimmers. Plus, in today’s technology-driven world, there’s an app for seemingly everything – including lighting. Homeowners can control the ambiance from their phones by installing smart lightbulbs and lighting strips.

Grunge-free garage
Even though a garage’s functionality is the top concern for most buyers, a dingy, unkempt space can be a real turn-off. One way to instantly brighten and refresh the space is an epoxy coating on the floor. Applying the coating is relatively easy and once dry it helps prevent unsightly stains and damage in the future. Combine that with a thorough sweeping, wiping down walls and other surfaces, and organizing the clutter to create a more inviting space you can utilize to the fullest.

Understated elegance 
Features like crown molding and other wood accents such as chair rails are elegant upgrades that can elevate a home’s value with a relatively modest investment. An office or dining room is the perfect place to introduce these design elements to add a bit of formality to the space. You can also find crown molding in spaces like the living room, with the molding coordinating with built-in shelving flanking a fireplace. While getting the angles and fit just right is hardly a beginner’s endeavor, it’s a project that can pay dividends in the long run.

Better bathrooms
Many homeowners approach a bathroom upgrade with big projects in mind, like swapping out the vanity, replacing the tub or installing tile flooring. However, it’s possible to make a noticeable impact with much smaller changes. Simply updating bathroom fixtures and fittings such as shower heads, faucets, towel racks and lighting can transform the space with minimal effort and far less work and expense than a large-scale renovation.

Learn more at mitsubishicomfort.com.

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Home Care

Spending time on household chores may improve brain health

Engaging in household chores may be beneficial for brain health in older adults. In a recent Baycrest study, older adults who spent more time on household chores showed greater brain size, which is a strong predictor of cognitive health.

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Photo by @deconovo from Unsplash.com

Engaging in household chores may be beneficial for brain health in older adults. In a recent Baycrest study, older adults who spent more time on household chores showed greater brain size, which is a strong predictor of cognitive health.

“Scientists already know that exercise has a positive impact on the brain, but our study is the first to show that the same may be true for household chores,” says Noah Koblinsky, lead author of the study, Exercise Physiologist and Project Coordinator at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI). “Understanding how different forms of physical activity contribute to brain health is crucial for developing strategies to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.”

In this study, published in the journal BMC Geriatrics, the researchers looked at the links between household chores, brain volume and cognition in a group of 66 cognitively healthy older adults living in the community. The participants attended three assessment visits at Baycrest Hospital, including a health evaluation, structural brain imaging and cognitive assessment.

Participants were asked about the time they spent on household chores, such as tidying, dusting, meal preparation and clean up, shopping, heavy housework, yard work, home repairs and caregiving.

The researchers found that older adults who spent more time engaging in such activities had greater brain volume, regardless of how much exercise they did. This was observed in the hippocampus, which plays a major role in memory and learning, and the frontal lobe, which is involved in many aspects of cognition.

Although it is possible that individuals with larger brains are more likely to take up household chores, there could be several explanations for the brain benefits of household physical activity.

First, we know that heart health is closely tied to brain health. It could be that household chores have a similar effect on the heart and blood vessels as low-intensity aerobic exercise.

Second, the planning and organization involved in household chores may promote the formation of new neural connections over time, even as we age.

Third, it could be that the older adults who engaged in more household chores spent less time being sedentary, which has been shown to be associated with negative health outcomes, including poor brain health.

“Besides helping to guide physical activity recommendations for older adults, these findings may also motivate them to be more active, since household chores are a natural and often necessary aspect of many people’s daily lives, and therefore appear more attainable,” says Dr. Nicole Anderson, Senior Scientist at the RRI, Director of the Ben and Hilda Katz Interprofessional Research Program in Geriatric and Dementia Care, and senior author of this study.

This study was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

As a next step, the researchers would like to assess household physical activity more objectively using wearable technology. With additional funding, they could also plan controlled trials with the aim of increasing individuals’ household activity and studying brain changes over time.

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Home Care

Fresh ideas for home upgrades

Spring means it’s time to start sprucing up your home and garden with a little TLC inside and out.

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Photo by Daiga Ellaby from Unsplash.com

Spring means it’s time to start sprucing up your home and garden with a little TLC inside and out.

If you’re unsure where to begin, consider these tips:

Make function a priority.

While aesthetic changes may boost value and please the eye, be sure to consider upgrades that make living easier, like organization units that give you more space or upgrades that create additional living space.

Keep budget in mind.

Make a list of the projects you’d like to complete and estimate how much each will cost. Use the list to determine what you can afford to complete now.

Do your research.

If you’ll be making a significant purchase such as a new vacuum or grill, be sure to explore your options, read reviews and shop around for the best prices for greater confidence in what you choose.

Set yourself up for a more enjoyable spring with more home and garden tips at eLivingtoday.com.

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Home Care

When to update home and garden goods

As you tackle spring cleaning this year, take stock of your common home and garden equipment to determine what may need updating.

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Photo by Tom Byrom from Unsplash.com

Investing in quality products, properly maintaining and storing them all have an impact on how long they’ll stay in good working condition.

As you tackle spring cleaning this year, take stock of your common home and garden equipment to determine what may need updating.

Lawn Mower: If your mower needs a repair that exceeds its value, it’s time for a replacement. However, there may be other signs that an upgrade is warranted. Rough operation, frequent breakdowns or other indications of faulty performance deserve a second look. Before you buy new, remember to check your warranty to determine whether repairs might be covered.

Vacuum: Many homeowners discard their used vacuum when it stops picking up dirt and debris as efficiently as it did originally. Before you move on, be sure to check that performance issues aren’t the result of clogged hoses or a filter than needs cleaning or replacing. A belt may also be worn or need adjusting. Other signs it may be time to replace the vacuum include damaged or frayed cords, motor issues like overheating or making strange noises.

Grill: A grill may last anywhere from 5-15 years, depending on the quality of the materials and how it is maintained. However, it’s common to have to replace parts along the way. Signs you may need a new grill include a firebox (the main enclosure) with cracks, rust or holes and burners that distribute heat unevenly. Damaged grates can affect even grilling if they’re warped or if they’re flaky or rusted, they can contaminate food. If you’re not able to replace the grates, or any other essential part, including hoses and connectors for a gas grill, you’ll be better off replacing the unit.

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