Unless you travel all the time for work and have racked up thousands of airline miles and hotel points, when you’re off work, your probably are headed home. On a typical evening, we’re in and around the kitchen taking care of dinner, packing for the next day, take care of a few things, and if you got kids, then after they’re asleep watch an episode (or two…..or three) on Netflix and then go to bed. But the point is we are at home. Our home is our sanctuary, our safe-zone from all the hustle and bustle during the day. And since it provides this type of psychological value (apart from long-term appreciation) it’s an asset too. So, why not enhance this asset to make your time more comfortable, enjoyable, and rewarding.
You’re Home A LOT
Per the Wall Street Journal, we spend almost 9 hours per day sleeping and about 5 hours leisure time (let’s say that 4 hours of this is leisure time at home). So that’s 58% of a 24 hour period. Of course this doesn’t apply to all types of jobs where people have to work overtime and weekends and so forth. Also, from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (chart below), I’ve calculated time spent at home could be up to 12 hours as well (in conservatively adding Sleeping, Leisure and Sports, Household Activities, Eating and Drinking and Other):
I feel compelled to mention that from this chart, we can agree the number 1 time-consuming activity we have at home is sleeping. To this end, in terms of investment or improvement, naturally we should have a peaceful room and a good mattress that helps us sleep better. If your mattress is giving you sleeping problems, my main advice is to FIRST invest in a quality mattress and this article from U.S. News can help get you there with logical and useful tips: a mattress is definitely an investment that pays dividends in rest and good health. We have a pillow-top mattress and contour foam pillows. Our mattress has served us well for over 10 years and is still in great condition!
Ways to Invest in Your Home – Style & Comfort
Over the past few years, my wife and I have made simple changes in our home to enhance it which include the following:
- Built a 10X10 balcony off of my master bedroom – contractor
- Installed kitchen backsplash – DIY, saved approximately $150 in labor
- Hung stacked stone style wallpaper – DIY, saved approximately $200 in labor
- Painted the entire house including basement various colors – ALL myself. As a result, saved thousands in labor while also learning how to pant edges more cleanly without using painter’s tape that consumes more time.
In terms of comfort or enhancement of living experience, this is where the rationale if we live in a cozy home, should maximize the living space as much as possible. For example, I have a mud room that wasn’t really being used for a couple of years. I had a utility sink in there (which I still do and use), and a big upright freezer. But it wasn’t the intent of that room and thus wasn’t really a functional space for us. So I decided to move the freezer into my garage and bought a bench and a coat rack for the mud room. Now it’s a nice area to store our shoes and jackets before we go out or come back home thru the garage. Check it out:
Ways to Increase Value
You may want to live in your current home forever. You may want to move in the next 3-5 years. Whatever the case may be, there are enhancements (big and small) you can make to increase the value of your home. One and maybe the biggest is a kitchen upgrade since we’re in the kitchen so often and at times becomes a gathering place when guests come over. Enhancements in the kitchen can be big or small because things like backsplash come in hundreds of styles and finishes. Also a good idea is to create (or maybe even better optimize) a space from an awkward or seemingly unusable area. For example if you have a bay window, build a bench around it!
If you’re looking to sell in the short-term, Consumer reports says that enhancements to the kitchen can bump up the sales price from 3% to 7%. Apart from looking at home magazines that have great ideas, I actually prefer to visit new home models or open houses. You can get great ideas and are able to visualize how things would look in your home. Something to be cautious about is to not let the sales person in the model home get attached too much J I’m straight up honest and say I already have a home and just enjoy checking out model homes to get ideas. Or you can walk into home and furniture stores like Ikea that have whole room displays to give ideas and inspiration. But just make sure you are going in for a recon mission only, unless there’s a crazy sale.
From a purely financial standpoint, we invest in our home hoping that it may increase in value and we can sell it for a profit. From a comfort standpoint, we invest in our home to make the living experience more enjoyable. No matter which of these two categories you fall into, a investing in your home is a good idea if you can predict the profits or reap the pleasures.
So what kind of improvements have you made in your home? Was your reasoning to sell it or stay in it and enhance your living experience? What home project would you recommend to others?
I use Personal Capital because (1) it’s free, (2) it tracks all of my accounts and overall net worth, (3) my account balances automatically update, (4) it shows how my investments are diversified and allocated in various sectors, and (5) can use built-in tools like “Investment Checkup” to get….wait for it…free personalized advice!