Important To Do List

Every one of us is affected in some way by the housing industry. It has been almost five years of declines, gloom, and doom. We are thrilled by the recent real estate trends. Fox5 just reported that metro Atlanta home prices are finally rebounding and in some cases, buyers find themselves competing for homes. A newly-released Case-Shiller Index report finds home prices in our region up by over 19 percent from a year ago.

Darren Price, Managing Director of Morris & Raper Real Estate Consultants explains that there are several factors contributing to the increased housing demand: "Two of these factors are increasing rental rates and rising consumer confidence. This pent up demand will cause the housing market in Atlanta to continue to heat up with home values continuing to appreciate. In addition, as the new home industry continues to gain traction, the overall economy in Metro Atlanta will continue to recover. Housing is what made Atlanta prosper for many decades, and it is going to be housing that gets our economy rolling again."

Great news, right? As small business owners and employees very influenced by the rise and fall of the housing industry, we say yes, yes, yes! Rising home values mean homeowners feel comfortable spending money on their homes, and spending money helps the home improvement companies, which in turn enables these businesses to hire additional staff, which reduces unemployment, and down the line it goes. So dear readers please keep spending money on your home!

Now as much as we would like you to rush right in and spend thousands of dollars with us on new hardwood floors for your home or a bathroom makeover, you should probably first take stock of any home maintenance issues you have neglected over the past few years. Kathy McCleary on writes:

"In the first year my husband and I lived in our house, we spent almost $20,000 on home improvements. When we set that money aside at the beginning of the year, we dreamed about granite counters and steam showers; what we ended up with was a new furnace, new gutters, a drainage system to keep the basement dry, new landscaping and lots of new paint. At the end of that year as I wiped down my tacky Formica countertops and bathed in my 1950s seafoam green tub, I wondered if we had spent that money wisely. If we had put our house up for sale, would potential buyers have really cared about the dry basement and reliable furnace?

After talking to a slew of realtors, contractors and architects, the consensus was yes. "If the roof is leaking, buyers won't get beyond that," says Ron Phipps with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "I don't care how awesome the kitchen is."

"Buyers want to take the basic systems for granted," says Sal Alfano, Remodeling Magazine's editorial director. "They assume the roof doesn't leak and the air conditioning and plumbing work. Maintenance can chew up a lot of cash quickly, and people are afraid of that."

Here's a quick list of items in and around your home that may need attention. Assess and make repairs as needed to your:~~gutters and downspouts~~roof and vents
~~landscaping, pruning
~~caulking, interior and exterior
~~flooring---cleaning, sealing, repairs
~~doors, windows, and screens
~~fireplaces and chimneys
~~staircases and handrails
~~electrical systems and breaker boxes, outlets

~~smoke alarms
~~fans, ceiling fans
~~air conditioning, furnace
~~air filters, ducts
~~plumbing-faucets, toilets
~~caulking---toilet bases, tubs and showers
~~hot water heaters
~~lawn sprinklers

That's not to say that granite counters and steam showers don't pay off; kitchen and bathroom remodels continue to be two of the best investments you can make in your house. "They're always right up there at the top of the list," says Alfano. "They're the big, sexy rooms that new home builders splurge on, so when buyers are shopping around that's what they want in an existing home, too." Next week we will discuss these and other smart home improvement projects that go beyond every day maintenance task.

I Was FLOORED by Enhance
We love it when we receive unsolicited testimonials from our clients. Mary Alice is a long time customer who writes:
"Doesn't get any better!!! This is the third time Enhance Floors has helped me improve my home with tile, laminate and carpet. From Wanda in Sales to Don's great advice & pricing to the installers - I cannot say enough about the quality of the products and the service. This last time I replaced my horrible fiberglass shower with a beautiful new tile one and am thrilled with the quality of the workmanship and appearance (it also works great).

I am a lifetime customer and so grateful I found you."

Thank you for taking the time to send this to us, and we greatly appreciate your business. Mary Alice, you are always so much fun to work with----enjoy your new bathroom and floors!