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Investing in Your Home

When it comes to investing in your home as the new year unfolds, I wanted to talk about the house you have and the home you make as reflections of you. These reflections happen in three main areas – your indoor space, your outdoor space, and your neighborhood. 

It’s easy to understand why Sherwin Williams, Home Depot and Lowe’s have seen record sales over the last 18 months as many of us have spent extra hours in our domestic spaces. Without much to do outside the home, home décor and renovations became top of mind. Some people decorate based on what they find on celebrity boards on Pinterest, while others decorate based on their personality. (This may or may not be a good thing…)

My neighbors for example have decorated their house in shades of grey, tan and black, which reflects their calm personalities. For me, every time I walk by their house I crave a black & tan, and even I can’t drink that much beer! Yes, our house is black & white on the outside, but inside it’s bright blues and golds, like reading rainbow. I’m married to a creative woman who sees the world not in shades of gray, but technicolor, and I’m thankful for that as I pull energy from all the color in our home. Now I’m sure you’re thinking “Dave, you don’t need any more energy!” But the space truly makes life feel joyful. 

Your indoor space is a reflection of you, and what brings you peace and joy. If you find yourself wishing for a different feel from your living space, pick up a paintbrush and learn a new skill! Paint is an easy way to change up a room. Or, it’s simple to recover a chair, find new throw pillow covers or a new rug. My challenge to you this winter is, just do it! Watch a YouTube video or, if you’re like me, call a handyman and find the perfect rug that’s just 48 hours away. 

When we built our house, we knew we probably wouldn’t get back all the money we put into it at such point as we sell. However, we plan to be in this house for at least 15-20 years, so why sit with something that doesn’t feel like ours? If spending a little more will make you feel more comfortable in your space, not just aesthetically but mentally in terms of being able to relax and find peace, then I’m for it. 

Now, as far as outdoor spaces go, there are no rules! Porches and decks can be simple or multi-tier. You can build pergolas, gazebos and fire pits. Let your creativity shine! But don’t forget to consider the maintenance. Are you the type who loves to mow no matter the hour? Or do you prefer a smaller yard with less gardening involved? Personally, you’ll never find me on a tractor – I’ve been plotting ways to replace our entire lawn with bricks. The key is to make your outdoor space a place you truly enjoy. 

As the son of a gardener, I also understand the other side of things where flowers, baskets and landscaping are truly a reflection of a person’s soul. As a parent of 5 boys (four of them teenagers), I can tell you right now, they don’t care about grass. They want fire pits and pizza ovens and outdoor movie areas where they can hang with their friends on summer nights. Someday, that will change, but for now, this is us.  

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the neighborhood you live in, and the people who surround you. How can you invest in them? As a kid, we didn’t have neighbors across the street, but I knew all of the doors that would be open within a seven-block radius. This was because of my mom, who always welcomed anyone in the neighborhood into our home. She would have women over for tea, and she had Bible study, gardening and walking buddies. This was all before social media of course. She’s a people person, and to this day, she has the gift of loving unconditionally, and welcoming people into her home. That’s something I look back on fondly, and I’m attempting to create that atmosphere for my kids. It’s harder today not just because of Covid, but because of smart phones, video games and other things that pull us away from each other, but I’m making the effort. 

I encourage you to take some time this weekend to ponder and consider what you want from the spaces around you, and how you can invest in a home that will make a long-term positive impact on you and yours. I’d love to hear your ideas – drop me a line anytime

Article by David Smyth, Senior Partner at Family Financial Partners — a financial services firm in Lexington, Kentucky.

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