Home Improvements and Their Return On Investment

Every update done to your home has a return on investment at resale that should be considered before tackling it.  Below you will find the average ROI you can expect when contracting popular home renovations.

  • Minor Bathroom Updates Average ROI 102% – Renovations to a bathroom that do not include redoing electrical or plumbing range around eleven thousand dollars. This includes replacing the tub, tile surround, flooring, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures.   If the tub is going to be too difficult to replace consider updating the tub by re-glazing the surface.  Fresh glaze allows a tub to appear brand new.  A fresh coat of paint and updated shower curtain or doors really add to the any bathroom renovation.
  • Updated, Simplified Landscaping Average ROI 100% – Hiring a landscape designer really pays off when it comes to landscaping. For the most part it is safe plan three quarters of your budget for materials and one quarter on the design and installation.  Check around your neighborhood to determine what is appealing to the exterior of homes that are similar to yours.  A bit of color can really enhance the landscape.  For a grand impact choose one color and vary the heights of the landscape plants.   Don’t allow the landscape to become overgrown.  Keep it charming and simple.  Walkways and water features are other attractive features that add interest and visual appeal.
  • Minor Kitchen Renovations Average ROI 98.5% -Most kitchens can be completely renovated without changing the floor plan of the space. To maximize your renovation dollars re-face cabinets and drawers, change out the sink and fixtures, cabinet hardware, flooring and countertops.  Additional lighting will add substantially to the kitchen.   The overall value of your home before the minor renovation will also determine the materials you should use.  For homes over three hundred thousand dollars can be updated with higher valued materials like granite, glass and stone.  Consider your flooring choice as well depending once again on the value of the home.
  • Exterior Improvements Average ROI 95.5% – The curb appeal of your home really sells itself. Updates to the siding can really change the appearance of your home while helping to lower maintenance.  Wood siding requires real maintenance whereas vinyl siding only really requires a spring power washing every other year.  Another renovation that contractors suggest when updating your home’s exterior is the addition of a new entry door.  Fresh paint to exterior columns can really freshen up the space as well.  Add some seating and lighting to really add to the return on investment of your exterior renovation.

The Home Doctor, based in Livingston County including Brighton and Howell Michigan, offers a variety of home renovations to clients ranging from bathroom remodeling to age in place home modifications.  Contact http://glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/ today all of your home renovating needs.

Handyman Renovations Under $500

There are so many things that can be done to increase the appeal of a home without breaking the bank.  Below are seven of the best home improvements that local handymen can be hired out for less than five hundred dollars.

The first improvement that is always suggested by contractors has to do with increasing the curb appeal of your home.  For less than five hundred dollars homeowners can hire a handyman for the day to do just that.  Increasing curb appeal is going to involve different tasks for every home however the following improvements should be considered when seeking to increase your homes curb appeal:

  • Exterior Pressure Washing
  • Wash Exterior Windows and Screens
  • Repair Broken Concrete Sidewalks and Steps
  • Update The Mailbox
  • Edge The Lawn
  • Trim Bushes
  • Pull Weeds
  • Freshen Up Mulch

Another inexpensive home improvement that makes a big difference comes with the entryway of your home.  For less than five hundred dollars you can replace the front door, add some color to the entry, update light fixtures and add an entry door rug.  Contractors all say that the little enhancements to the home’s exterior appearance do a lot to add to the attraction of your property.  A well kept exterior translates into a home that is taken care of.

If you have five hundred dollars for home renovations another huge renovation that can be done that does a lot to increase the homes overall presences is repairing and painting the interior walls.  Handymen are often called in to freshen up interior paint.  A fresh coat on the walls and trim can really transform a room.  Don’t forget the ceiling!

Just like a new necklace can transform an old outfit lighting can change up a room.  A little pizzazz can be added throughout your home my switching up the style of lighting fixtures that are installed.  For less than five hundred dollars you should be able to budget for lighting upgrades and fresh light bulbs to almost every room in your home.  Larger fixtures such as ones you would find in a kitchen or foyer will take up the majority of the budget.  For these pieces consider looking for ideas outside the normal.  Online sites offer a great deal of large scaled budget lighting options that can be fairly inexpensive to reproduce.

No matter what home renovation that you choose there is a lot that can be done by hiring a professional handyman for the day.  For less than five hundred dollars it is possible to hire a local handyman once a year to add a different perspective to a space that needs some wow factor added.

The Home Doctor, based in Livingston County including Brighton and Howell Michigan, offers a variety of home renovations to clients ranging from bathroom remodeling to age in place home modifications.  Contact http://glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/ today all of your home renovating needs.

Options In Pool Plastering

The options in pool plaster have long moved past the days of white plaster.  Company’s offer pool plastering services today still offer good old fashion white plaster, color additives and colored aggregates that add visual appeal, increased strength and increased client satisfaction. The combination of plaster options is endless; each offering a unique perspective and appeal that is as distinct as the landscape surrounding the pool.

A pools plaster can last for many years meaning that most homeowners will not have to concern themselves with plaster options too frequently.  Eventually the corrosive chemicals and water begin to deteriorate the pools plaster surface.  Thus making the surface rough and staining more difficult to remove.  This is when homeowners know it is time to upgrade the plaster on the pools surface.

The pools plaster is the waterproof coating that is added on top of the gunite shell.  The plaster is intended to slowly wear.  In most cases the plaster is not replaced to retain the pools structural integrity or retain waterproofing but instead to enhance the pools appearance.   Stained, rough, pitted plaster surfacing is the reason most residential and commercial pool owners choose to resurface a pools plaster.

There are many additives that can be used to enhance your pool.  Basic white pool plaster is a combination of cement and marble dust.  This combination is often referred to as marcite.  When mixed together with water and binding additives it is sprayed on a prepped surface and smoothed to perfection.

Color additives can be added to the plaster to produce different results.  Popular color choices are hues of grey and blue.  Colored quartzite chips can be added to plaster to create visual attraction and more durability.  These colored quartzite chips are used to hide imperfections and be more resistant to the deterioration from chemicals.  Pozzolans are added to plaster but go undetected visually.  This additive locks up calcium hydroxide and prevents its reaction to other chemicals.   This allows for the plaster to remain smoother and last longer.  One last additive we will talk about is silicone shielding.  This is used to reduce staining by basically waterproofing the plaster.

Exposed aggregates such as pebbletec and beadcrete are used to create a bumpy texture and slip resistance nature to the surface.  Both products add a visual appeal that cannot be reproduced with regular plaster.  Pool owners looking to enhance the landscape of the pool can do so using either of these products.

There are so many choices beyond white pool plaster.  Be sure to check with your local pool plastering company to find an option that works to enhance your pool environment.

Pound Pool Plastering repairs commercial and residential gunite swimming pools including coping, tile and plaster repairs. For more information or to request a quote, visit us at http://www.pound-pool-plastering.com/.

Painting Verse Plaster In Pool Re-Surfacing

In-ground pool owners hit the jackpot this summer.  Temperatures have been some of the hottest we have had in years along with record high humidity levels and low amounts of rain.  This summer backyard pools have been put to good use.  Have you started to notice that condition of the pools surface starting to look a bit dull and lifeless?  Are you considering a facelift to the interior surface of your pool before the start of the next summer swimming season?

There are a number of options to consider in pool plastering options.  Some consider painting the pool in order to give the surface a fresh appearance.  Back in the day, painting the pools surface was an annual rite of passage in opening the pool.  Then pool plaster was introduced and pool owners came to appreciate the longevity and durability that comes along with this option.  What now?  Do you go old school and paint the interior surface of the pool or do you follow the modern trend of plastering when faced with preparations for the next swimming season?

Paint verse Plaster – Who Wins?

Endurance Factor

Painting a pools interior surface will only keep it looking updated and fresh looking for one season.  Plaster is definitely the better option when looking at the endurance factor.  Pool plaster, when professionally installed can last anywhere between fifteen to twenty years.  Where as a painted finish at best can make it through two full seasons before it needs to be done again.  Professional pool plastering when done properly is a far superior in endurance over painting.

Durability Factor

Paints that are specifically designed for use in spas, pools and outdoor fountains are durable given the beating taken from chemicals and climate changes.  The problem exists in durability when it comes to the thickness of the surface.  Painted surfaces are not nearly as thick as plaster surfaces, making them less durable overall.  A plaster pool is about a half an inch thick and therefore can handle more of the everyday beatings that an in-ground recreational pool takes.  If you are surfacing a fountain that will not be abused daily by cleaning equipment and tiny humans then painting it may be just fine.


Both applications require some degree of preparation to be done before they can be applied.  The pool must be completely dried and prepped for the new surface to be applied.  Painting a pool requires far less prep than plaster however plaster is usually done professionally therefore requiring know amount of prep work to be completed by the homeowner.

Apply and Finish

Once a pool has been prepped for painting the process is fairly simple.  The pool paint is mixed and applied to the surface.  Two coats are required and can be done within four to six hours of one another.  The pool should not be refilled with water until the surface is completely dry which can take anywhere between two to five days depending on the weather.  Pool plaster on the other hand is quite difficult to apply and is best left to the professionals.  A professional plastering company will apply the plaster mixture using a thick hose.  It will then be smoothed out evenly.  This process usually can be done in one day and the water can start to be added to the pool.

It’s fairly easy to see why individuals choose plaster over painting when it comes to resurfacing their pools.  In the end it may cost a bit more but saves a whole lot of time given that plaster has a longer life span and will most likely not need to be done more than once over the time that you own the pool.

Pound Pool Plastering repairs commercial and residential gunite swimming pools including coping, tile and plaster repairs. For more information or to request a quote, visit us at http://www.pound-pool-plastering.com/.

Creating A Grand Entrance To Your Home With An Electronic Driveway Gate

What better way is there to treat yourself then with a grand entrance to your home?  Custom entry gates are just one way in which homeowners can add aesthetic flair to their driveway and landscape.  Each and every time you enter your property the entry gate will greet you with memories of what is most important to you: the safety of your family.  Gates don’t only look terrific they help to keep your family safe by keeping intruders out and your family safe inside.

When discussing what type of entry gate to install there are two main styles to consider: swinging and sliding driveway gates.  The kind that you choose will depend mostly on the level of the landscape surrounding the area in which the gate will be installed.  Narrow, flat driveways work best with swinging style gates where as unlevel, wide driveways are better suited for sliding gates.

There are numerous materials that homeowners can choose from when picking a gate.  Wrought iron is a popular choice because it offers properties that are anti-corrosive thus making the gate practically maintenance free.  Other prevalent materials regularly seen are aluminum and steel.  Wooden gates are an option if homeowners are concerned with keeping costs down.  It is important to note however that wooden driveway gates do require a great deal more maintenance than a metal gate.

When it comes to installing a driveway gate most homeowners leave it up to the professionals.  If you are the DIY type and want to give installing an entry driveway gate on your own there are a few things that you should consider first.

The gate should be installed away from the road far enough that at least two cars can pull into the driveway without blocking the roadway.

If a swing gate is going to be installed make sure that the gate is swinging towards the home and away from incoming traffic.

When measuring the space where the gate is to be installed make sure to leave plenty of room for emergency vehicles and larger delivery trucks.

The tips above can get you started on the path to purchasing an entry driveway gate but make sure to do thorough research into different decorative styles because there may be styles available that you have never seen before.  Get at least three different quotes from gate suppliers and installers before settling on an option.  Custom entry gates are worth every penny especially when viewed as a piece of landscape art.

SAC Fence Michigan offers a variety of electronic driveway gates, access control entry systems and fence options for homeowners to choose from.  You will find a variety of fencing options online at http://www.sacfencemi.com/.

Should You Have An Electronic Swing Gate or Sliding Gate Installed

For homeowners and businesses alike there are advantages and disadvantages to installing an electronic sliding driveway gate over an electronic swinging driveway gate.  In order to find the best option for your property you should consider numerous factors including: the available space, level of security needed and your budget.


Is cost a factor in the installation of a driveway gate?  If you are on a tight budget a swing driveway gate is often less expensive than a sliding gate.  The difference in cost comes from the mounting and operations of the gate.  The size and material of the gates are similar but the added expense is in how the gate actually opens.  Sliding gates require a track and rollers whereas a swinging gate uses only hinges.


When it comes to having a gate installed it is important to remember that the gate itself no matter if swinging or sliding will have less maintenance and expense if it is not electronic.  Electronic swing gates and electronic sliding gates both require a degree of maintenance.  A sliding gate requires that the track stay clean from outdoor elements such as leaves, sand, rocks and other debris.  Owners of electronic gates should invest in a special brush that can be used to sweep the gate track frequently to avoid issues from arising.  Also the gate operator and electronic keypad may require updates and regular maintenance.  This is something to consider when budgeting for an electronic entry gate.

Accessible Land

Both styles of fencing have their own unique requirements for the landscape around them.  If your driveway is short and wide most often a sliding gate is your best option.  This is especially true if the entry has any sort of sloping.  Slide gates require space on either side to slide into but do not require space to open out thus making sliding gates a great option for driveways that are not flat on either side.  On the other hand swing gates work just fine on narrow, flat entry ways.  The gate only requires enough space to swing open and shut and does not require additional room on the sides of the driveway.

No matter what the style of electronic gate is that you choose there will be major benefits for you.  Convenience, increased safety and containment are three of the most prevalent benefits that are given when home and business owners alike are asked why they choose to have an electronic entry gate installed.

SAC Fence Michigan offers a variety of electronic driveway gates, access control entry systems and fence options for homeowners to choose from.  You will find a variety of fencing options online at http://www.sacfencemi.com/.

Everything You Need To Know About Probate

The term probate can be used in a few different ways.  One way to think of probate is as the act of presenting a will to court officers for filing; often this is stated as to probate a will.  The other popular way to think of probate is as the method that an estate is overseen and routed through the courts after your passing.

The basic premise of probate it to transfer the estate that has been left behind in a fashion that is systematic and managed.  The estate must go through an exact procedure when being dispersed.  Before your inheritance can be divided amongst beneficiaries the administrator must see that all debts and taxes are paid on behalf of your estate.  Probate should be seen as a working guideline to transfer the estate on your behalf in accordance to your directions.

Probate applies to the death of any individual with an estate of any size, with or without a will in place.  If a will is in place upon your passing then it will lay down the ground rules for how and to whom your remaining estate is transferred.  Without a will in place the court will point an administrator to determine who in fact will receive the remains of your estate.

The process of probate is pretty basic when broken down.  There are two main steps involved: paying back debts that are owed on your behalf and transferring assets to the appropriate beneficiaries.

A probate court will oversee the process of probate.  Probate courts are state courts not federal and therefore the process may vary a bit from state to state but basically follow these basic four steps.

1)      A personal representative is assigned or appointed and sworn in.

2)      Heirs, creditors and the public are notified of your passing.

3)      The estate is inventoried.

4)      Estate is distributed including the payment of all outstanding debts.

The process is fairly simple.  Complications can arise but in most cases probate is a pretty straightforward procedure.

In probate it is important to understand that there is a difference between probate property and non-probate property.  In general assets that you alone own are probate assets while those owned jointly with others are often considered non-probate assets.  Non-probate assets will automatically pass on to the joint owner upon your death.  Another example of a non-probate asset is one that passes on to a named beneficiary automatically such as life insurance.

The Law Office of Sean J. Nichols is dedicated to assisting clients throughout legal issues that come with aging including: elder law, estate planning, probate law and more.  Check out the Law Office of Sean J. Nichols at http://www.seanjnichols.com to contact an estate attorney today.

The Basics In Estate Planning

No matter who you are it is probable that you have an estate.  Even if you don’t think you do, you most likely do.  An estate is made up of all of the things you own on your own including: your car, home, checking & saving accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture and personal possession.  No matter how large or small you have an estate and all estate has one thing in common, you can’t take it with you when are gone.

We are all going to eventually die that fact is inevitable.  Many people say they don’t care how things are distributed after they are gone but in reality that is most likely untrue as well.  There are certain people that you will want to have certain personal items.  In order to be sure that your wishes are carried out it is crucial that you provide written instructions stating who you want to receive your estate, what you want them to receive and when they should receive it.

This is known as an estate plan.  Creating an estate plan where your estate is distributed in the most efficient manner possible helps avoid additional tax, fees and court expenses.  An estate plan is created in advance of your passing and is used to name who receives your estate after you die.  A good estate plan will also include:

  • Instructions in an estate plan should not only include your property with value but also instructions on your personal values. A written document stating your values on religions, education, hard work, holiday traditions and what matters most to you.
  • Detailed instructions should be included on how you hope to be cared for if you should become disabled before you die. What type of care do you hope to be given during this period of time between when you become disabled and the end of your life?
  • Your estate plan should name a guardian and financial manager for children under the age of eighteen. Who do you want to care for them?  Do you want the guardian of your children to also be in charge of your financial assets?
  • How do you want to distribute money to loved ones that may not be able to manage money or may need financial assets later in life?
  • State the instructions for family members needing special care in order not to disrupt government benefits that are being received.
  • Include details on life insurance and how it is to provide for your family at the time of your death. Written details on disability insurance that replaces your income if you are unable to work due to illness or injury before death. Also, include long term care insurance instructions to ensure you can pay for care in cases of extended sickness and injury.
  • Estate plans need to also contain information on how your business should be transferred upon your retirement, disability or death.
  • An estate plan should establish a transfer of assets that minimizes legal fees, court costs and works to minimize the amount of taxes paid.

Proper estate planning is a continual process.  Continue to update the estate plan as events in your life change.  Set up a regular yearly appointment with your estate planning attorney to review and update the plan to ensure that your family is covered when you inevitably pass away.

The Law Office of Sean J. Nichols is dedicated to assisting clients throughout legal issues that come with aging including: elder law, estate planning, probate law and more.  Check out the Law Office of Sean J. Nichols at http://www.seanjnichols.com to contact an estate attorney today.



Maintaining Equipment While Sticking To A Budget

In the field of radiation oncology there is always a constant battle between bringing the best treatment options to patients while maintaining equilibrium to the budget.  In this latest installment we will continue to look into strategies that can help medical facilities that are struggling to find ways to reduce oncology costs while working to maintain quality.

In our last article we looked into purchasing refurbished linear accelerators and CT scanners to reduce the initial expense of large scaled medical equipment.  Today we will look in to two different cost saving ideas: using existing equipment longer and contracting independent oncology equipment repair specialists to repair and maintain radiology equipment.

When facilities hold off on large purchases, such as buying a linear accelerator, it allows them to allocate their budget into other areas such as patient care, facility upkeep and the medical team itself.  The downside being that the latest technology available may not be in use.  That issue can be addressed in numerous ways such as regularly updating equipment software and performing regular maintenance tasks.  When performing these in conjunction with one another, facilities find that they can keep up with the upgrades found in newer equipment.

It is imperative that all equipment within the facility meets all of the manufacturer requirements for maintenance.  When maintenance is being performed on any large or small oncology equipment it is necessary that it is done by individuals who have been trained to service the model that is in use.  This is an absolute necessity.  Not all radiology equipment is created equally and therefore need to be serviced by professionals knowledgeable of your exact models service maintenance requirements.

Another strategy that can be employed for reducing oncology costs is to hire an ISO to maintain and service equipment rather than locking into an unnecessary contract.  An ISO can offer a substantial savings while ensuring service on demand at a lower cost.  The upsides of hiring an ISO are plentiful.  Not only can it save the facility money but time.  Time is of the essence when maintenance or repairs are performed on large scaled medical equipment.

When hiring an independent service organization take time to ask the following questions to make sure that the priorities of the ISO are similar to those of your medical organization.

  • What is the estimated response time to respond to service needs? Can they provide references to match their response?
  • Are there any guarantees on response time?
  • Is support available 24/7 Are there extra charges for after hour support? What type of training is done to provide technicians with the latest skills necessary in maintenance and repair for newer technology?
  • Can we choose between using new radiology parts or refurbished components when repairs and maintenance are being performed on our linear accelerators, CT scanners and other radiology equipment?
  • Is testing and calibration done in accordance to OEM standards? Will service history be documented and kept on file to ensure compliance with the OEM standards?
  • What are the hourly service charges? Does the facility pay for travel time?
  • How long has the ISO been servicing oncology equipment? Are FDA and state vendor regulations met?

It is important for hospitals, medical facilities and specialized radiation oncology treatment centers to look for ways to decrease expenditures without sacrificing patient care.  Healthcare facilities must ensure that this is done in a manner that is compliant with industry standards while seeking to increase client satisfaction.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  We provide high quality, user friendly, low cost parts support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment.  For more information on low cost parts for repairing Linac equipment find us at http://www.radparts.com.

Curtail Equipment Expenses While Keeping Up With The Latest Technology

Nothing is inexpensive when it comes to purchasing equipment for medical use.  Medical facilities are in a constant battle to decrease expenses while maintaining quality.  This is especially difficult when it comes to radiation oncology where cutting edge equipment, such as linear accelerators and CT scanners can easily cost millions of dollars.  It is essential that facilities search for different ways to reduce expenses and cap costs.

In the following installment we will discuss three different options medical facilities both big and small can provide top notch services to stay competitive without sacrificing the delivery and quality of care.  One way that medical facilities seek to do this is by purchasing refurbished linear accelerators and CT scanners.

Medical facilities can curtail equipment expenditures while keeping up with updates in technology, improving safety, providing more precise treatments and streamline work flow by budgeting for and purchasing refurbished equipment.  This is an extremely attractive alternative to purchasing brand new equipment especially when you can arrange to procure similar models to what is currently being used in your facility.  Using similar model equipment to what is already in use saves money on training.  It also reduces the amount of time that is usually lost when adopting to a new piece of equipment.

Refurbished equipment can offer the same performance and reliability as new equipment at a discount.  Choosing a reputable supplier that specializes in radiology equipment while also offering installation and maintenance services medical facilities save a great deal of money without any sacrifice.

Before seeking to purchase new refurbished medical equipment it is imperative that the decision makers in charge of purchasing get answers to seven very important questions.  These include:

  • Can we purchase refurbished equipment? If so, what is the process of refurbishing that the radiology oncology equipment we are seeking goes through?  Are the parts thoroughly tested?
  • Should we be able to expect that the refurbished medical equipment, either a linear accelerator or CT scanner, perform according to the manufacturer’s original specifications?
  • Will the equipment comes with any warranties or guarantees covering parts and labor?
  • Will the supplier that the refurbished oncology equipment is purchased from also be able to perform the installation? What about future maintenance?
  • What has the overall reaction to this model been? Have facilities that are using this model reported any ongoing issues?
  • Do they have a radiation test cell? Will full beam testing be done prior to installation within the medical facility?
  • What is the company’s reputation in the industry? Are you able to speak with other medical facilities that have been provided refurbished equipment and services from the supplier?

In our next installment we will continue looking into ways that medical organizations can save money when looking into reducing expenses in their medical equipment budgets while keeping up-to date with advances in technology in the field of radiation oncology.

Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment.  We provide high quality, user friendly, low cost parts support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment.  For more information on low cost parts for repairing Linac equipment find us at http://www.radparts.com.