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Best Ways to Increase Home Value

Home improvements are generally pursued as solutions to the changing needs of the household.  Often, these changes do not enhance New York home value.  With the economic turmoil that hit not only the United States but the entire world as well, it is high time to be spending money wisely.  Opt for remodeling projects that not only satisfies charm factor and functional requirements but also brings back a good amount of your investment at resale time.  To get the best price for your home with all the fringe benefits, it pays to look into the best ways to increase home value ideal whether you are on Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island or Queens.

Bringing in more value to your home does not have to cost you an arm and a leg.  If you are taking on home improvements for the sole purpose of staging and selling, there are lots of options for you to consider without forcing you to take out home improvement loans and jack up property tax bill.  Some of the best and least expensive ways to boost home value and make quality of living notches better include:

. Replacing old lighting fixtures

. Having the walls repainted whether in the exterior or interior

. More storage space with better organizational features for a tidier home

. Refinish cabinets

. Hire a qualified contractor to make sure plumbing pipes and electrical wires are working well and are located in the right places

. Search home for areas needing repairs and fix as needed

. Have chipped tiles replaced and re-grout if necessary

Going green in home remodeling is another surefire way to not only increase home value but also make indoor living healthier and cutback on energy bills.  Probably the greatest thing about giving ample attention to your home’s energy efficiency is that you can earn some even without having to sell the house yet.  How?  Through Federal Tax Credits granted to homeowners who undertake energy efficient home improvements.  Going green when it comes to your windows and doors, roofs, appliances, heating and cooling systems, water heaters and insulation qualifies homeowners for the tax incentives.

If you are thinking on going all-out on your remodeling efforts, focus on the key selling points of your home that result to the highest ROI and these are the bathroom and kitchen.  Being the most essential areas of the house, it pays to invest in them.  The heart of every home, the purposes of the kitchen has evolved from merely a dirty area to prepare and cook food to a multifunctional place where guests are entertained, the family hangs out, and food are cooked and prepared in style. An updated kitchen that meets the modern needs of the family that also allows for developments would surely afford your home a good boost in value.  Bathrooms nowadays are also evolving into havens of comfort and relaxation where one can lavish in privacy and luxury.  But whether your budget allows for a minor or major renovation, keep in mind that the key to enjoy the functional changes longer is making sure that repairs and maintenance issues are tended to first before adding on the cosmetic accents.

School Lunch Ideas – Creative Ways to Boost Nutritional Value

Do you struggle to find the right balance between packing a nutritious school lunch for your child and one that will actually be eaten?

Packing nutritious foods can be a challenge especially if your child is a picky eater, has a food allergy and/or attends a school with a nut-free policy.

In our house, peanut free and gluten free lunches are daily fare. Solutions have been found in a quality made soy butter product and gluten free baking supplies and products, purchased locally and online.

While picky eating has never been huge issue in our home, I have turned to Missy Chase Lapine a.k.a. The Sneaky Chef on many occasion and have whipped up a batch or two of her Brainy Brownies and Breakfast Cookies among other popular recipes. Would you believe she even has a recipe for Mac & Cheese muffins you can pack in your child’s lunch box? My daughter loves Kraft Dinner but I can’t wrap my head around mixing orange puree and shredded cheese together and serving it cold.

You know, one of the interesting things about kids is that if a food looks appealing, chances are good they will give it a try. I’m guessing, a muffin topped with macaroni and cheese noodles would go over better than a handful of broccoli trees (with or without a dip or cheese sauce).

Also school lunches that can be eaten using their hands instead of utensils is usually a winner. Growing up my kids have always enjoyed a variety of lunch kabobs using fruits, meats, cheese, bread cubes and veggies as well as homemade ‘Lunchables’ consisting of crackers, meat, cheese and a snack size treat.

The above are good options for kids who hate sandwiches. When my son was young, the only kind of sandwich he didn’t seem to tire of was peanut butter. Of course attending a nut-free elementary school, the traditional PB & J sandwich was only permitted as an after school snack.

That was until I discovered a safe alternative to peanut butter than actually tastes good.

While there are a variety of peanut free butters on the market only one kind has the seal of approval from our family and in particular, our peanut butter loving son.

Safe4School WowButter made by Hilton Soy Foods on its Ontario, Canada farm is a healthy protein alternative for those with peanut allergies. The label on each jar of WowButter features a “100% peanut free” label that can be cut out and stuck on your child’s lunch box to indicate that the lunch within is peanut-free.

This soy butter product is also tree nut free, gluten free and dairy free, making it ideal for kids with a variety of food allergies. WowButter contains 7g of complete protein and 1200 mg Omega-3 essential fatty acids per 32g serving.

According to the company’s website, “Safe4School WowButter is actually more nutritious than peanut butter as it is a complete protein food, containing all 9 essential amino acids, just as do eggs and dairy. Peanuts are not considered a complete protein food because they only have 6 of 9 essential amino acids.”

To learn more about this soy-based product visit

Continuing with its commitment to offer a healthy alternative for those with food allergies and children attending schools with a nut free policy, Hilton Soy Foods offers a school fundraising program along with product samples.

The company also recommends following their Safe4Schools procedure when introducing WowButter to your child’s lunch. You can print off a letter from their website that notifies the school of your actions as well as download “100% Peanut and Nut Free” labels.

Boosting Home Value For Resale

There comes a time in a homeowner’s life when he would have to part with one of his greatest investments-his home, and reap the benefits of all the years of love and care. With the real estate industry in an all time down with the general economy sharing the condition, it pays to carefully weigh your options to boost home value before parting with your hard-earned money. To get the best price for your New York home, here are some of the best ways to boost home value for resale, ideal whether you are on Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island or Queens.

Minor and Cost-Effective

Home improvements can definitely help in boosting home value for resale, but keep in mind that not all of them do. The first and smartest tip to take would be to not undertake something major. Yes the kitchen and bathroom are selling points that you should put enough attention on, but a major, all-out renovation would less likely get you your money back. If you are only taking on projects for the sole purpose of selling, there are lots of choices to consider without breaking the bank, forcing you to apply for loans or jacking up property tax bill. Some of these include cleaning the house thoroughly, keeping things tidy and organized, repainting the walls, replacing old lighting fixtures, refinishing hardwood floors and refacing cabinets.

Beautiful as Well as Functional

No matter how physically appealing and well-designed the whole house is, not looking into functionality would surely take its toll and turn off potential buyers. Imagine them going through the bathroom, nodding their heads and smiling their appreciation, then they try the faucets and they are jammed. Before setting the house to be staged, go through the whole property and check on every detail that needs repairing. Make sure that electrical wires and plumbing pipes are located in the right places and are working as they should. Tend to cracks, leaks, damages, condensations and other maintenance issues as needed.

Green Remodeling and Home Improvements

Energy efficiency has now become one of the requirements that many potential buyers look for when searching for a home. Not only will your green remodeling and home improvement efforts bring in maximized comfort and quality of indoor living but also cuts back on future energy bills. This makes going green ideal to increase home value. And it would also be great to know that the US government is willing to grant tax federal incentives to homeowners who undertake such projects.

Great First Impressions and Curb Appeal

You should put in as much effort in achieving curb appeal as sprucing up the interior. The thing about first impressions is, when you have created a bad one, the negative feeling is taken by the buyer inside the house making him see less of the efforts. Thus, curb appeal can greatly affect home value at resale. Make the entire property look superbly cared for by having trees and shrubs trimmed, the lawn mowed, and driveways and pathways free from cracks. Landscaping is also one huge contributor to curb appeal. Have some flowers in bloom planted and laid out beautifully.