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DIY Projects to Increase Property Value

For most home-owners, their house is their single most valuable asset and when they plan to sell, they want to make a profit. Often, that means figuring out how to increase the value of your home. A quick Google search will bring up a whole bunch of suggestions, many of which involve major (and expensive) home renovations such as converting a loft or adding an extension. For many people, this simply isn’t worth the hassle and cost involved for the difference in price when the house is put on sale.

But this isn’t the only way. You don’t have to call in a professional and spend a fortune to add value to your home. There are many smaller house improvements that you can do yourself and reap the rewards later down the line. There’s something for everyone: cheap and easy DIY projects for beginners, as well as more advanced home improvements for the DIY aficionados amongst us.

Get inspired by these 33 DIY projects and home improvement tips that will increase property value and make your home much easier to sell when the time comes.

Quick NavigationKitchen DIY ProjectsPaint Kitchen Cabinets Install New Cabinet HardwareInstall a BacksplashHome Improvement Tips for the BathroomAdd storageReplace the TapsReplace the toilet seatInstall a new shower headRedo the bathroom floorInstall a towel rackInterior Home Improvements that Increase Property ValueDIY Crown MoldingModernise light fixturesRepaint the property in neutral coloursRemove popcorn ceilingsReplace carpetsHang mirrors to open up roomsAdd storage where possibleReplace dated wallpaperKnock down walls to create open plan living spacesAdd insulationFill holes and cracks in the wallsRestore hardwood floorsUpdate worn internal doorsUpdating Exteriors for Added Curb AppealRepaint or replace your front doorBasic landscapingAdvanced landscapingRe-pave drivewaysPaint window framesMaintain guttersRepair the roofWash the exterior of your homePower wash your drivewayRepaint exteriors

Kitchen DIY Projects

The kitchen is now the most valuable room in the house and is one of the biggest selling points for potential buyers. It’s no longer just a place to cook food; instead it’s often the hub for socialising and hosting guests. A full kitchen remodel can add serious selling power and massively increase the value of your home, but even smaller incremental changes in the form of easier kitchen DIY projects can make a difference when it comes to valuation day and attracting buyers.

Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinet often endure a lot of abuse, with grease and grime from cooking often slowly building up over time. Plus, different kitchen styles are always going in and out of fashion, so it’s easy for cupboards you bought several years ago to start looking dated. A repaint can revitalise and modernise your kitchen, whilst saving you the far bigger expense of refitting the entire room with brand new cabinets.  

Quick tip: Use white paint to bring a bright airy feel to the room.

How to paint kitchen cabinets

 

Install New Cabinet Hardware

Your do it yourself cabinets don’t have to end at a new paint job. Unfashionable or worn out cabinet handles and pulls can really age a kitchen, so consider installing new ones to make your kitchen more appealing and up to date. This is also a great opportunity to fix any pressing issues you might be experiencing with cupboard doors – for instance, misaligned doors, scratched doors or damaged varnish. 

Quick tip: Sleek chrome handles are a fantastic way to bring your kitchen on-trend.

‣ How to fix 8 common issues with cupboard doors

‣ How to install cabinet hardware

Install a Backsplash

Installing a kitchen backsplash will instantly boost the value of your home. By adding one behind your hob, you can protect wallpaper and paint from cooking splatter, which can stain and damage walls. On top of that, they act as a barrier against water, blocking the growth of mould.

They’re available in a wide range of styles and materials, from ceramic tile to glass, metal and wood. This means you’re sure to find one that really matches your kitchen and enhances its unique flair. This fantastic mix of functionality and beauty is why it’s a great home improvement and one of the best ways to increase home value.  

How to install a tile backsplash

Home Improvement Tips for the Bathroom

 

Like the kitchen, the bathroom is a crucial room for any buyer. As bathrooms are constantly exposed to water and damp, it’s worth carrying out a few simple DIY jobs to make sure it’s in tip-top condition before you start showing buyers around the place. Although none of these changes are as dramatic as a full-blown bathroom renovation, having new fittings can help when your home is being valued.  

Add storage

Ample storage is one of the most desired attributes in a home nowadays, but it’s quite common for bathrooms to be a bit short in that department. Building your own bathroom cabinet or installing a set of floating shelves can remedy this, as well as providing a cost-effective way to add value to your home.

‣ How to put up a shelf in 8 simple steps

‣ How to build a bathroom cabinet

Replace the Taps

Fitting new hardware to your sinks and bath is a straightforward and cheap home improvement that will instantly renew your bathroom’s appearance. Brand new fittings will always go down well with buyers!

‣ How to replace a basin tap

 

Replace the toilet seat

If your toilet seat is starting to look worn, installing a new one is a very easy 10 minute job and only requires a few basic tools. Of course, don’t expect a huge increase in value from this, but it will improve the appearance of your bathroom.

‣ How to install a new toilet seat

Install a new shower head

Shower heads don’t last forever – they’re in a bacteria rich environment, and over time, they can start to develop mould or slime that resists attempts to clean it. Eventually, they need replacing and if you’re looking to sell your home anyway, it’s a very easy DIY project (even for beginners!) that will heighten your home’s appeal.

‣ How to replace a shower head

Redo the bathroom floor

If your bathroom floor is starting to look dated or has been damaged, laying a new floor can bring new life to your bathroom. By saving the new owners a job, you’re also likely to add value to your home.

It does require a bit of skill – particularly if you’re laying tiles – so make sure you’ve done your research, and if in doubt hire a professional.

‣ How to tile a bathroom floor

Install a towel rack

If your bathroom doesn’t have one, installing a towel rack is a really simple upgrade. The difficulty of this will depend on whether or not you need to drill into tile, but with proper preparation this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. Again, don’t expect your house’s market value to skyrocket, but it is a nice additional feature for buyers.  

‣ Towel bar installation guide

 

Interior Home Improvements that Increase Property Value

 

Some improvements aren’t specific to rooms, but can be implemented across your entire property to modernise your home and increase its value. Decor trends change over time, and you might find there are certain features that are ageing your home and making it appear outdated. 

DIY Crown Molding

Crown molding, or cornice, is all the rage right now. It can bring an elegant finish to any room and seriously upgrade your overall decor. That means added appeal for buyers and more money for you! It can be tricky to put up as you’ve got to get the angles right, but if you can manage DIY crown molding you can save yourself a fortune on installation costs and get a better return on investment.

‣ How to install crown molding

 

Modernise light fixtures

Fluorescent lighting used to be popular, but nowadays looks dated and harsh. Instead, opt for recessed lights for a soft and timeless glow in rooms like the kitchen. Other fashionable options include wall sconces and modern chandeliers. 

WARNING:  Always ensure you cut off a room’s electricity before undertaking any electrical work. Make sure you know exactly what you’re doing and if unsure consult an electrician.

‣ Installing Recessed Lighting for Dramatic Effect

‣ How to replace a light fixture

Repaint the property in neutral colours

If you chose to paint your house in garish colours when you last decorated, you might live to regret it. Buyers want neutral colours that go with lots of different things, like greys, whites and creams – a blank slate, essentially. Redecorating in these colours will make your property far more desirable and valuable. After all, who wants to move into a house and immediately start painting over the neon orange paint that the last owner left behind?

Plus, if you skip the decorator and do it yourself, you’ll save yourself a load of money, with the only expense then being materials and paint.

‣ 6 simple steps to painting a room

Remove popcorn ceilings

Removing them can be messy, but don’t be too intimidated. As long as you’ve got a decent level of DIY knowhow, it’s definitely doable. 

Once upon a time, popcorn ceilings (often referred to as Artex ceilings in the UK) were considered the height of fashion. Nowadays they’re widely considered eyesores that can put buyers off a property. That can translate to a big drop in house value for you if you’ve got them. Removing them, on the other hand, will modernise your home and increase its value.

WARNING:  Asbestos wasn’t completely banned in the UK until the year 2000, and many popcorn ceilings and Artex coatings contained this hazardous and carcinogenic material. Before attempting any work, it’s crucial that you get the ceiling professionally tested for asbestos, as you will need a specialist to remove them if they contain it. Removing ceilings containing asbestos can disturb the fibres and allow them to enter your lungs. 

‣ How to remove a popcorn ceiling

 

Replace carpets

Over time, carpets can become threadbare, flattened and stained. If this is the case in your house, it’s wise to replace battered old carpet with new flooring. Laminate flooring can be a good choice, as it’s cost-effective, durable and it’s a DIY project you can work on yourself, saving the need for a handyman. 

‣ How to lay laminate flooring in one day

‣ Laying a carpet – how to get a fitted carpet laid yourself

Hang mirrors to open up rooms

A well-placed mirror can do wonders for the appearance of small or narrow rooms, as they add depth and make them appear larger. In fact, this is a classic home staging technique used by estate agents to entice buyers. Remember, it’s not just about what your estate agent thinks – you’ve got to convince buyers that your house is worth spending money on, and little touches like this can make all the difference.

‣ How to hang a mirror 

 

Add storage where possible

Many older and smaller homes are lacking in storage. Adding additional cupboards and shelves where possible will make your home more practical and easier to live in, making it stand out from other properties. There are many cheap DIY options available, so it’s a simple way to improve the appraised value of homes. 

‣ 16 ways to add more storage to any home

Replace dated wallpaper

What was popular 20 years ago often looks hopelessly outdated today. This includes busy and overly patterned wallpaper, with neutral walls a far more fashionable option today. Replacing dated wallpaper with neutral paint will make your home easier to sell.

‣ How to remove tough or old wallpaper

Knock down walls to create open plan living spaces

Of course, this isn’t a job for the faint of heart and is most suitable for experienced DIYers. You’ve also got to avoid any load-bearing walls (unless you want your house to collapse), so it’s worth bringing in a surveyor before you carry out the work. 

Open-plan living spaces are very popular nowadays, with many favouring light, spacious and multi-purpose rooms over smaller rooms. If you can, knocking down a wall between two rooms (such as the kitchen and living room) will allow you to capitalise on this trend and increase home value. 

‣ A beginner’s guide to removing internal walls

 

Add insulation

Eco-friendly and energy efficient homes will always do better on the market than their counterparts. Solid wall insulation can really improve a house’s EPC rating and you can actually receive grants to help you with the cost. Without insulation your property will lose between 30-45% of its heat and who wants to live in a cold house? 

It’s not easy to install yourself, and again it’s more of a job for those experienced at DIY. However, if you’re confident you can manage it, you can save yourself the installation costs and improve the return on investment. 

‣ Can I DIY wall insulation? 

‣ Step-by-step guide to insulating your house

Fill holes and cracks in the walls

Over time, holes, chips and cracks can appear in plaster walls. This is often a result of general wear and tear, but they’re worth repairing before you put the house on the market. This is an easy DIY project that will improve the appearance of your home and the extra bit of effort can boost its value. 

‣ How to fill cracks and chips in walls

Restore hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are a really desired feature nowadays, but in the past they were often covered up by other types of flooring like carpet. If you discover original wooden floors under your existing flooring, restoring them is a fantastic way to increase the value of houses. With the right sanding tools and a touch of wood stain, you can refinish hardwood floors to their original glory. 

‣ Refinishing old wood floors 

 

Update worn internal doors

Internal doors are constantly in use, and so can deteriorate over time. Think scuffs, scratches and even falling out of place all together! Replacing them with fresh new doors can really enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal. 

Similarly, you can refresh your doors with new handles. This is a minor aesthetic improvement, but one that’s very simple to implement. Door handles can become damaged with repeat use (or they can just start to look outdated) and replacing them can help when staging your home for viewers. 



 

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Florida Drives Toward Repeal of Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law

 

By Amy O'Connor | April 20, 2021

 

click here for article

 

After many years of trying, Florida is closer than ever to repealing its 50-year-old motor vehicle no-fault law.

However, many industry stakeholders have expressed opposition to the legislation passed by the Florida Senate last week and its companion bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee Monday, saying the proposals will actually raise rates for many Florida drivers and be ineffective at weeding out fraud.

Florida’s current no fault law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection coverage of $10,000. If passed, the new law would instead require that drivers carry bodily injury liability coverage with limits starting at $25,000 per person.

Senate Bill 54 and House Bill 719 would also create a new framework to govern motor vehicle claims handling and third-party bad faith failure to settle actions against motor vehicle insurance carriers. The bills also require policies include a medical payments option of $5,000, though under the House version insureds can opt out of purchasing the coverage.

SB 54’s minimum liability requirements for motor vehicle ownership or operation include:

  • For bodily injury (BI) or death of one person in any one crash, $25,000, and, subject to that limit for one person, $50,000 for BI or death of two or more people in any one crash.

  • Retaining the existing $10,000 financial responsibility requirement for property damage.

  • Eliminating the limitations on recovering pain and suffering damages from PIP insurers, which currently require bodily injury that causes death or significant and permanent injury.

Insurers may also offer medical payments coverage with limits of $10,000, without a deductible, to cover medical expenses of the insured. Insurers can offer other policy limits that exceed $5,000 and may offer deductibles of up to $500. SB 54 requires that insurers must reserve the first $5,000 of MedPay benefits for 30 days to pay providers of emergency services or hospital inpatient care.

The exclusion of a specifically named individual from specified insurance coverages under a private passenger motor vehicle policy, with the written consent of the policyholder, is also authorized under the bill.

“Florida is one of only two states in the country that does not currently require drivers to carry liability coverage that would immediately kick in if they cause harm to another person while operating a motor vehicle,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson in a statement. “For everyone’s protection, drivers must be insured at sufficient levels. PIP coverage levels are clearly insufficient. It’s the right time for Florida to move to mandatory coverage for bodily injury liability.”

Included in the Senate version of the bill and added Monday to the House version is the creation of a new framework for motor vehicle insurance bad faith actions. The bill requires insurers to follow claims handling best practices standards based on “long-established good faith duties related to claims handling, claim investigations, defense of the insured and settlement negotiations,” a Senate statement said.

But industry groups say the proposed bad faith reforms will not reduce lawsuits, which is a primary driver of costs for the state’s insurers.

“Meaningful reforms to Florida’s deeply unfair bad faith system should be included to help reduce lawsuits,” said Michael Carlson, president and CEO of the Personal Insurance Federation of Florida. “While the Senate bill includes an attempt at bad faith reform, it has been weakened by the trial bar to the point that it may not help reduce lawsuits.”

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association’s (APCIA) Assistant Vice President of State Government Relations Logan McFaddin said the proposals lack “any meaningful reforms to Florida’s bad faith laws, which will only serve to fuel the current cycle of lawsuit abuse, worsen Florida’s legal environment, and could lead to even higher costs for consumers.”

Specifically, McFaddin said HB 719 is a “considerable step backward and [will] do nothing to alleviate the current abuses of Florida’s bad faith laws.”

PIFF and APCIA said the passage of the proposed PIP repeals would likely raise costs for Florida drivers, particularly those who buy the minimum required insurance or who currently buy bodily injury coverage at amounts below what the proposed law requires.

Florida’s uninsured motorist rate would likely increase from its current 20%, the groups said, as more low-income and underinsured drivers will be unable to purchase higher amounts of coverage. Florida drivers currently pay the highest premiums in the nation, according to MarketWatch data.

“In Florida, approximately 40% of drivers carry minimum limits that are below what would be required under SB 54. Under the current proposal, these drivers could see their auto insurance costs rise by $165 to as much as $876 a year,” said McFaddin.

“Florida cannot afford the higher insurance rates generated by HB 719 and SB 54,” Carlson said.

Senator Jeff Brandes was the lone vote in the Senate against SB 54. Brandes supported a previous version that did not include a mandatory MedPay option, and said there was insufficient time to gather data on if the amended bill would lower rates for Florida drivers. Brandes voiced concern the new version would increase the number of uninsured drivers in the state and harm low-income policyholders.

“We have no basis for making claims that rates will go down,” he said. “Twenty percent of Floridians are driving around without auto insurance and if we raise prices, more Floridians will drive around without insurance – that is a huge problem for me.”

APCIA’s McFaddin said lawmakers are attempting to eliminate the major public policy “through a rushed process without an objective study on the cost impact to consumers.”

However, Senator Danny Burgess, SB 54 sponsor, asserted his bill would eliminate fraud in the system that would lower costs and would offer an overall reduction in rates. The bill, he said, is trying to right a “very broken system.”

“The goal of this legislation is to lower the number of uninsured and underinsured drivers and provide a greater safety net in the event of an accident. Replacing our current no-fault system with a bodily injury liability system more appropriately places liability where it should be – with the party that caused the accident,” said Burgess.

He added the new framework for handling bad faith litigation, “will lead to better outcomes for both insured Floridians and their insurance companies.”

A report from the Office of Insurance Regulation in February noted that overall loss trends for automobile insurance losses in Florida are continuing to increase for the most significant coverages such as BI liability, PIP, and comprehensive coverage. The increases are a result of cost drivers such as a higher rate of fatal crashes in Florida than the rest of the country, higher loss trends for BI and PIP, and the costs of services associated with auto insurance such as medical care, hospital care and motor vehicle body work.

“These trends in auto insurance rates will likely continue, regardless of whether PIP remains or is replaced by BI,” the report stated. “If PIP is repealed and replaced with mandatory BI and MedPay, without addressing bad faith and litigation trends, increased litigation and claims costs associated with the new mandatory coverages could increase premiums dramatically.”

HB 719 now goes to the full House for a vote. If passed and signed by the governor, the new system would take effect Jan. 1, 2022.



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What are living benefits of life insurance?

 

While life insurance generally benefits your loved ones after you pass away, it can also benefit them (and you) before that time comes through something known as living benefits. 

 

Term Life Living Benefits

Click here for original article

 

Term life insurance covers you for a set amount of time, or term. It provides funds to your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) if you pass away during that time.

Living benefit options for term life include:

  • Accelerated death benefits. This living benefit pays out a portion of your term life policy if you ever face a terminal illness. This gives you needed cash to cover medical expenses, debt and more. Many people also use the funds to take a dream vacation or make other memories with their loved ones. Here are four things in mind when it comes to this living benefit:

    • Different insurers have different life expectancy timelines for when you can access the cash.

    • The policy may need to be in force for a certain amount of time before you can access the living benefit.

    • You may be charged interest on the portion of the accelerated death benefit that you use.

    • The advanced amount is typically subtracted from the total amount your beneficiaries receive after you pass away.

  • A variation on this option is called a “critical illness rider” that lets you access your death benefit if you’re afflicted by a specific ailment or disease.

  • Return of premium. With this living benefit, all the premiums you paid during the term are returned to you so long as you don’t pass away during the term. You typically pay more for this kind of policy than you would for a traditional term life policy.

  • Disability waiver of premium. This living benefit lets you skip your premium payments in the event you suffer from a long-term disability for six months or more. While not a true cash benefit, it nonetheless is a valuable option to have since there’s a three in 10 chance you’ll face a disability that keeps you out of work for 90 days or longer at some point during your working career.

Permanent Life Living Benefits

Permanent life insurance has a death benefit like term life insurance, along with the ability to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis, which a term policy does not.

Some permanent life insurance policies give you the option of accelerated death benefits like term life insurance does.

Permanent life insurance lets you tap into needed funds throughout your lifetime in four other important ways as well:

 

  • Cash value withdrawal. A withdrawal lets you access a portion of the cash value of your permanent life policy. You won’t owe any taxes on this withdrawal if the amount you withdraw is less than or equal to your premium payments. However, you will owe taxes if any portion of the amount you withdraw is from interest, dividends or capital gains. Also be aware that the amount you withdraw will be subtracted from the policy’s death benefit if it’s not repaid.

  • Policy loan. You’ll be charged interest if you take out a loan against your permanent life policy, but it’s usually lower than the interest charged by other lenders. You also won’t have to undergo a credit check or abide by a long list of restrictions.

  • Policy surrender. A policy surrender is when you cancel your permanent life policy to access the cash value portion as a one-time lump sum. The insurer will give you that amount, less any outstanding loans and/or unpaid premiums.

  • Long-term care benefits. Adding a long-term care benefit to your permanent life policy lets you tap into the death benefit to cover long-term care expenses that your health insurance doesn’t cover. The death benefit is typically reduced by the amount of the long-term benefit that you use. It’s a valuable living benefit to have when you consider that 70 percent of people turning 65 today will need some form of long-term care in their lives.

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