Looking For Something?

5 Home Improvement Projects That May Have the Biggest Return on Investment

Conventional wisdom has long held that kitchens and baths sell homes. Those are also two of the more expensive areas to tackle for home improvement, but if you make sound design and material decisions, you could end up making your home more appealing to potential buyers — and a more enjoyable place for you to live.

A recent study from the National Association of Realtors confirms that kitchens and baths still top the interior home renovation projects that appeal most to potential buyers. The survey ranked the projects’ likely value to the home for resale. These five home improvement projects can potentially provide the biggest bang for your buck for ROI.

1. Complete Kitchen Renovation

NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate for the project: $60,000
REALTORS® estimated cost recovered: $40,000
Percent of value recovered from the project: 67%

The look and feel of a kitchen can serve as shorthand for how up-to-date the owners have kept a house. Potential buyers have been known to rule out homes based on kitchens alone. Stainless steel appliances and granite countertops continue to be on many buyers’ checklists, especially those who want to move right in and start entertaining.

The top reason for renovating a kitchen, cited by 36% of homeowners, was to upgrade worn out surfaces, finishes and materials. According to the Remodeling Impact Report, 12% of realtors said a completely renovated kitchen most recently helped them cinch a deal, resulting in a closed sale.

2. Kitchen Upgrade

NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate for the project: $30,000
REALTORS® estimated cost recovered: $20,000
Percent of value recovered from the project: 67%

A less expensive alternative to completely gutting a kitchen is an upgrade. Replacing dated appliances, refinishing cabinets and changing out tile backsplashes are some cost-effective updates that can still modernize a kitchen and make it more appealing to buyers.

While only 17% of realtors suggest sellers completely upgrade their kitchens, 57% have suggested a kitchen upgrade. A quarter of realtors have said a kitchen upgrade most recently helped complete a deal. In addition to the resale value, kitchen improvements can also help you enjoy your time in your home, with better functionality and livability cited by 28% of respondents as the most important result of their remodel.

3. Bathroom Renovation

NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate for the project: $26,000
REALTORS® estimated cost recovered: $15,000
Percent of value recovered from the project: 58%

Bathrooms are another place where a home can show its age, and potential buyers may hesitate at the cost and work involved in remodeling an outdated bathroom after buying a home. Still, while 45% of realtors have suggested sellers complete a bathroom renovation before completing a sale, only 6% said the project most recently helped them complete a deal.

4. Add New Bathroom

NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate for the project: $50,000
REALTORS® estimated cost recovered: $26,000
Percent of value recovered from the project: 52%

A remodeling decision often driven by function rather than a desire to modernize, adding a new bathroom is nearly as expensive as completely remodeling a kitchen, but with less of a “wow factor” for potential buyers. With only 8% of realtors suggesting sellers add a bathroom and only 2% saying the project most recently helped cinch a deal for them, this may be one project that makes more sense for homeowners planning to be in their homes for several years.

5. New Master Suite/Owners’ Suite

NARI Remodelers’ cost estimate for the project: $112,500
REALTORS® estimated cost recovered: $60,000
Percent of value recovered from the project: 53%

The costliest project on the list, a new master suite or owners’ suite, is another project that may have greater value increasing your enjoyment while living in the home rather than in making it attractive to future buyers. Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they have a greater desire to be home since completing the project. Only 4% of realtors have suggested sellers complete an owners’ suite before attempting to sell, and only 1% said the project most recently helped cinch a deal for them.

Deciding where to focus your home renovation budget? Make a list of the reasons you’re considering each project. Want to attract future buyers and increase the value of your home? Kitchens and remodels to baths remain a good place to start. If you plan to remain in your home for a number of years, you may want to update a bedroom, add a bathroom, convert a basement to a living area, or any other project that will add to your own appreciation of where you live.

Always be sure to share with your Warren G. Bender Co. agent if you have made improvements. Chances are that a review will be needed to ensure you’re properly covered.


Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:30 pm June 20, 2018

Ticked Off: How to Avoid Lyme Disease

Different types of ticks live in the United States and while some can transmit diseases, others are only a nuisance. In general, infected blacklegged ticks can transmit the bacterium that causes Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Lyme disease typically develop within two weeks of a tick bite and can include fevers, chills, swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, fatigue, headaches, and joint or muscle aches.

To avoid contracting Lyme disease, do the following:

• Wear light-colored clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants when in wooded areas. Tuck pant legs into socks or boots and keep long hair tied back.

• Wash your body and clothing after all outdoor activities.

• Look periodically for ticks if you’ve been outdoors, especially if you’ve been in wooded areas or gardens.

• Remove ticks within 24 hours to greatly reduce the risk of contracting Lyme disease.

• Check your pet’s coat if it’s been in an area known for ticks.

Remember to consult your health care provider as soon as you experience Lyme disease symptoms. If possible, send any ticks that you’ve removed to a public health laboratory in your area. Click here to learn more.

Filed under: Health,Health & Wellness — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:15 pm

Businesses Aren’t Weeding Out Employees with Marijuana Tests: Find Out Why

As more states continue to legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana, employee impairment may become a significant safety concern for all businesses.

While employers want to keep their workforces productive by deterring the use of drugs and alcohol, new research from employer solutions firm Quest Diagnostics shows that marijuana testing rates are falling. And, as more states continue to legalize the medical and recreational use of marijuana, employee impairment may become a significant safety concern for all businesses.

Quest Diagnostics found that the national marijuana testing rate fell by nearly 1 percent between 2016 and 2017, and nearly 2 percent in states with legalized marijuana use. While these numbers may seem insignificant, employers conduct millions of drug tests every year and businesses that must perform federally mandated marijuana screenings lead to higher-than-normal average rates.

According to Quest Diagnostics and other experts, a number of factors may contribute to falling test rates:

• Increased use— Marijuana is now easier to obtain legally than ever before, with 30 states and the District of Columbia allowing medical use and nine states allowing recreational use.
• Unclear definition of impairment— Screenings for alcohol and other drugs can show levels of intoxication, but a positive marijuana test result can’t specify when or how much of the drug was taken.
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance— Some states prevent employers from hiring or terminating employees based on the valid use of a medical marijuana card. As a result, some employers avoid ADA violations by dropping marijuana screenings altogether.

Although employee marijuana use is a complicated topic, it’s one that your business should address as usage continues to increase. Contact us at (916) 380-5300 today for help with your safety management and workers’ compensation concerns.

Filed under: Property & Casualty,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:02 pm June 13, 2018

4 Reasons Why Businesses Need D&O Insurance

With today’s emphasis on corporate transparency and accountability, an organization’s directors and officers face a countless number of exposures. Regardless of your company’s size or mission, the legal costs associated with a lawsuit can be crippling for both the organization and your directors and officers.

Many wrongly assume that directors and officers (D&O) insurance is only necessary for publicly traded companies. However, privately held organizations can just as easily fall victim to lawsuits that can impact the company, its officers and board, making D&O a must. Specifically, D&O insurance can provide the following benefits to privately held companies:

1. Legal cost reimbursement. In the event of a claim, D&O policies can provide legal cost coverage for a variety of claims. Specifically, D&O insurance can provide reimbursement to leaders of private companies following allegations of wrongful acts, financial mismanagement, errors in judgement and negligence. because D&O lawsuits can occur without warning and easily reach six figures, it’s critical that private company leaders arm themselves with the right policy.

2. Peace of mind. D&O claims can come from a variety of sources, including employees, clients, contractors, and government bodies. For private companies, claims from creditors and competitors are particularly common. D&O insurance ensures that private company leaders are protected regardless of where claims originate, providing timely and effective coverage.

3. An improved ability to attract new directors. Simply put, having a strong D&O policy in place makes board seats more attractive. This is because purchasing insurance shows prospective leaders that you take D&O risks seriously and are prepared to protect them in the event of a claim.

4. Coverage for regulatory exposures. Regulatory agencies are increasing their scrutiny of private companies, making D&O insurance all the more important. Paying the cost of an attorney to defend a director or officer against a government enforcement action is expensive, and private company D&O insurance policies can help with these types of expenses.

Want to Learn More About D&O Insurance for Private Companies?
Many private organizations don’t believe they need D&O insurance. This can be dangerous thinking, as just one D&O claim can drain the personal assets of a company’s leadership team. To learn more about D&O insurance, contact Warren G. Bender Co. today.

Filed under: Directors & Officers,Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 10:26 pm June 6, 2018

Guide for Insurance During Home Improvements

As we head into brighter and clearer weather, spring seems to call out the inspiration in all of us. The cravings to start our home improvements must be satisfied. Remodeling or renovations, unpredictably enough have the potential to drastically affect our homeowners insurance or completely put us in the deficit. Here are our opinions and tips on how to approach home improvements.

Strategizing your home improvement(s) can be cumbersome and often times can leave you unsure on how to properly approach the situation. Deciding who will be doing the work is a very big decision and how this decision is made can make or break the project. Be sure to do your research and see the below table for helpful tips once you have decided.

If a loss does happen you could potentially be in violation of your insurance contract and coverage may be voided. This type of situation can be avoided by simply calling your insurance agent at Warren G. Bender Co. where we will review your insurance contract with you; let you know if additional temporary coverages will be needed and what the options are to protect you.

Dealing with DIY or having a contractor come to do your home improvement(s), are two very separate situations. Below you will find our chart that we trust will help you obtain the proper knowledge to embark on your home improvements with ease of mind, knowing that you will have proper and adequate protection.

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 12:06 am May 1, 2018