Affordable Exterior Improvement Projects for the Young Home Owner

white grey and red wooden house
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In the United States, the first major investment a younger adult makes is the purchase of what oftentimes is called a starter home. Throughout life, the primary investment in nearly anyone’s life is the home.


Once a younger adult purchases a home, he or she may have the desire to enhance the exterior of the residence. There are a number of affordable strategies that can be employed to improve the exterior of a residence.


It’s All About the Paint  

A very basic home improvement effort you can undertake to enhance the look of a home’s exterior is a fresh coat of paint. This can be an ideal exterior home improvement project for a younger homeowner for a number of reasons.

First, a new coat of paint on the exterior of a residence is a relatively low cost project. A young homeowner, with a restrictive budget, doesn’t have to expend a proverbial arm and leg to purchase the materials to accomplish the task.

Second, a young homeowner very well may elect to undertake the project on his or her own. This is a do it yourself home improvement project that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of experience or training. Taking the do it yourself approach is also an avenue by which a younger homeowner is able to save money on an exterior home improvement project.


Something as Easy as Shutters

If a young homeowner is seeking an easier and affordable exterior improvement project for his or her residence, the addition of shutters can be a great option. A homeowner is presented with tremendous latitude when it comes to shutters.  

There is a great diversity when it comes to shutter design and materials. In addition, shutters available for installation on a residence come in a broad range of prices. Consider both selection and cost, the statement that “there is something for everyone” is a fair, accurate assessment.  

As is the case with painting, the installation of shutters is a task that many younger homeowners elect to do on their own. This is a fairly straightforward do it yourself home improvement project.


Concrete Repair and Enhancement  

Many residences in the United States, and elsewhere, are fronted by concrete driveways and complimented with concrete sidewalks and other walkways. While concrete drives and walkways are appealing when new, the reality is that over time, they chip, crack, and flake. Although these drives and walkways are likely structurally sound when these types of defects initially exhibit themselves, these damages render drives and walkways unattractive and unappealing. They truly detract from a residence and even lower the market value of a home.  

Replacing concrete drives and walkways can be an expensive proposition. However, undertaken repair on chips, cracks, and flecking can be an affordable proposition. There exists an array of products that can be utilized to address the problems and serve to prevent further damage to concrete.


Consider Gutter Replacement

Gutters on residences are oftentimes overlooked. The reality is that gutters in good repair are a must when it comes to maintain the overall structural integrity of a home. When gutters are not in good condition, water ends up draining downward along the walls of a residence. This negatively impacts not only the walls of a residence, but the foundation and basement as well (if a home has a basement). Repairing this type of structural damage can be costly.  

As with the other exterior home improvement projects suggested in this article, there are gutter options available to a younger property owner in a fairly broad range of prices. Thus, a homeowner is able to find new gutters for a residence that fit within an established budget.


Install Solar Panels

Another home exterior improvement to consider is one that enhances the overall functionality and value of a residence. Solar panels can be a valuable addition to a residence, and can be accomplished in a financially reasonable manner.  

A young homeowner who elects to install solar panels is able to access financial incentives in the form of tax credits and other benefits. These incentives and benefits work to reduce the cost associated with installing solar panels on the exterior of a residence.  

In this day and age, the presence of solar panels also increases the market value of a residence. In addition, a good percentage of people on the market to buy a home respond favorably to solar panels on a residence. Finally, solar panels on a residence lower home energy costs and result in a smaller carbon footprint.




Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.




Preparing for an Excellent Retirement

Retirement 4When I first heard the Beatles’ “When I’m 64” it seemed like it would be forever before I got there. But here I am. Eligible for Medicare and Social Security. Where did the years go?


Now that we’re nearing retirement, it’s time to make sure that we’re properly prepared. That’s important. Retiring when you’re not prepared can be costly. And, unfortunately some financial mistakes cannot be easily corrected.


Estimate Your Retirement Income


Your plans call for a comfortable lifestyle. An occasional meal out and a visit to see the grands at least once a year. And that costs money. Have you estimated your expected income and expenses after retirement?


Begin with your income. For most of us that could include a pension, Social Security, income from savings and retirement accounts (401k, IRA) and perhaps some part-time income. It’s easiest if you figure everything in annual/yearly amounts.


Start with your Social Security income. Their website has an has an estimator <> that’s helpful. You’ll want to have your prior year’s earning amount handy when you visit their site.


Add to that any pensions you may have earned. Some may pay you in a monthly check from the pension fund. Others will purchase an annuity for you which will pay a regular income. The pension administrator will be able to tell you how much to expect.


Ask your financial advisor how much you can expect to get from your savings and retirement accounts. Traditionally it was assumed that you could expect to earn/spend 4% on your investments without depleting the principal. But some advisors have begun to question that assumption and use different calculations.


You may choose to work part-time. Either because you need the income or because you’d be bored without work. Do a rough estimate on how many hours you’ll work each week and how much you’ll earn per hour. Then multiply by 52 to get an annual estimate.


Estimate Your Retirement Expenses


Traditionally it was assumed that you’d spend less in retirement than you did while you were working. The rule-of-thumb estimate was that you’d spend between 70 and 80% of your pre-retirement expenses. Many planners still use that as a fair estimate.


But some suggest that with more time to spend on hobbies and travel that retirees could actually spend as much or even more than they did when working. You’re in the best position to know what lifestyle you expect after retirement. And that puts you in the best place to estimate your post-retirement expenses.


Start with your present expenses for a year. Then make the appropriate adjustments.


Review Your Estate Plans


Much as we’d like to think that we’ll live forever it’s time to recognize that’s simply not true. And that we need to make provisions for the end of our life or a time when we cannot care for ourselves.


If your affairs are simple it’s tempting to attempt to do-it-yourself. But this has some serious downsides that might not become apparent until it’s too late. It’s not as simple as writing “I leave everything to _____” on a napkin and signing it. There are laws to follow. And they’re not the same everywhere. Some inheritance rules are different in each state.


You may think that “everyone knows” that you want your car to go to Junior, but that might not hold water with the department of motor vehicles when he tries to reregister it. And banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions can be sticklers for following the rules.


Incapacitation is another issue. The laws saying who can make decisions for you if you become incapacitated are complex. Failure to follow them could leave you dependent on a state appointed guardian to make decisions for you. I prefer to have someone I trust make those decisions for me.


As a general rule you’ll need the following documents:

– a will providing instructions as to how your assets are to be distributed.

– a durable power of attorney listing on can act on your behalf

– health care power of attorney authorizes someone to make medical decisions for you

– living will states your wishes for life-sustaining measures if your prognosis is terminal.


In some cases, if you have a need for privacy or your affairs are complicated you may want to explore a Revocable Living Trust.


Spend a Little Time Learning About Retirement Finances


Retirement is a big change in your life. And a big change in your finances. In most cases the biggest change since you entered the workforce.


Not only will your income and expenses change, but Some financial issues will take on a new urgency while others fade in importance. This is not a time to put your finances on autopilot and assume that everything will work out for the best.


There is one big difference in retirement finances that can affect every decision you make. Unlike when you’re younger and working you do not have time on your side. Some decisions cannot be undone and a mistake could seriously affect your retirement lifestyle or your estate.


It’s wise to seek wise professional counsel and read quality information sources. Both will serve you well in this stage of your life.

Also, check out How to Use Your Emergency Fund In Retirement


author’s bio: Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and has shared sound personal finance advice since 1982. He founded <a href=”“>The Dollar website href=” Howard“>After 50 Finance newsletter</a>. Also by Gary Foreman: <a href=”“>How to Use Your Emergency Fund In Retirement</a>