Folks often ask me about making improvements to their homes. Some even ask me about making improvements to their lives. The first is easy while the second is a little more challenging. Here are some little-known facts.
You or I could drill a well in the backyard to obtain water. It is not unusual for the depth to be several hundred or even a thousand feet. Costs for drilling the well, casings, pumps, and piping can be over $30,000. Since it takes electricity to pump the water, you have to figure in this cost, too. Perhaps 400 months of payments would cover it. It would take about thirty-three years to break even. This assumes that you actually found water. You may not.
Household improvements are a little easier to figure out. The cost is measured in materials, labor, increased property taxes, and how much sawdust can you put up with on your breakfast plate. Sometimes the latter is the hardest with which to cope. Surprisingly, only a small number of improvements add value to a house on sale. They are a new, steel front door, an additional bathroom, and in some cases more square footage. So why make other improvements? The answer is simple; do it for your own pleasure and live in the home for a long time.
Here are some exceptions. If the carpet or tile is trashed, if the walls are scuffed and scarred, if it would take a nuclear weapon to clean the microwave, if there is pet odor, if the garden is overgrown, something must be done before you sell. Almost 100% of the buyers I work with, who say they want a “fixer,” change their minds when they see how much has to be done. We are busy with careers, kid’s sports, church, recreation, and life missions. Our lives are often too busy to take on a big project, especially one that is going on in the midst of the place where we live.
Life improvements are not as simple; however, they will submit to analysis if you use logic. Sometimes logic is not possible when stacked against emotions. A simple test is to ask if the relationship you are questioning is worth the effort. Are you getting something positive out of it, or giving something positive to the other person? Friendship is a time-consuming proposition. It can be emotionally draining, too. The only normal people I know are people I don’t know very well. The others take work.
One of the biggest improvements is to tune up your gratitude. In my experience, God wants us to be happy. When we despise something, it is not unusual to see God remove it from our lives. If you don’t like your car, your job, your house, or your boss it is best to have a replacement lined up before you lose the one you have. OR you could ignore the 10% bad part and be grateful for the 90% good part. It is easy to spend more than half your time whining about the bad part instead of improving the good part. When asked how he is doing, my friend Michael says, “I’m Blessed.” His attitude has seen him through some tough times.
Praying is helpful before deciding on a new oven or a new friend. Nothing we pray over is too bothersome for God. He wants to hear from us, and oddly, the more things we pray about, the more our relationship with Him improves. God especially wants to hear how thrilled you are with what He has given you.
By Bob Bekins
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