“Life’s too short to live like you’re squatting in your own home.”

I saw this quote from a designer who was advising homeowners, “don’t wait to decorate.” The same advice should apply to remodeling. Too many times we hear of people who’ve lived in their homes for 10, 20 even 30+ years who suddenly want or need to move and are in a mad panic to “put lipstick on the pig.” Look at the real estate listings and you’ll find plenty of very nice, costly homes that have the same finishes as the day they were built.

Upon enlisting the services of a realtor, homeowners are often given a list of improvements that will make their homes more marketable. The list can be long and costly if the homeowner hasn’t made periodic investments in the home. So what’s a homeowner to do? Well, they can spend a lot of money on updates that will make their home more marketable, but that they won’t get to enjoy. They can do small improvements on the cheap (be aware of these when shopping for a home) or they can do nothing and hope for the best.

Why not treat your home like the huge investment it is and keep it updated and enjoy your investments in your home. Resist the urge to “just live with it” because you might move in 10 years. Ten years is a long time to live with something you don’t like! That’s entirely too long to settle. You deserve more! Living with stained flooring, damaged walls, broken fixtutes, etc is like squatting in your home. Yes, these things cost money, but can and should be budgeted into home ownership.

Obviously major remodels require a major budget, but even these are something you can budget for just like a new car or college. People save for big vacations that last a few days. So why not save to improve your home … where you live every single day.

Make a comprehensive list of all the things that you’d like to have done around your home. Include small things like replacing light fixtures along with bigger projects like replacing countertops or whole room remodels. Attach realistic prices to these improvements including materials and labor if it’s something you cannot do yourself. Enlist the advice of professionals when you need it. Most of us are happy to provide ballpark pricing for various improvements. Another great source for remodels is, which is updated annually. While you won’t recoup 100% of your investment, you’ll have the “joy factor” of living in a home you love.

Don’t live like a squatter in your own home. Work towards making the home of your dreams the home you’re living in right now. That might mean fresh paint and flooring or it might mean a major remodel. It might mean a little elbow grease or it might mean hiring someone to do the job for you. Either way, you’re worth it and so is your home. And if you’re ever ready to sell, all you’ll need is the for sale sign out front.

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