7 of the Worst Home Improvements to Make

Many homeowners purchase a house with renovations in mind. You may need to put some work into your house before it lives up to its full potential. Before you start knocking down walls, make sure you are aware of the renovation’s return on investment. Every situation is different, but here are 7 renovations that may not pay you back when it’s time to sell:

1. Home office remodel – According to Remodeling magazine, the average cost of a home office remodeling job (including wiring for internet access, multiple phone lines and customized cabinets & desk) is about $10,526. On average, 55% of home office remodeling costs are recouped in the resale value of a home. If you want to spruce up your home office without a large investment, stay away from custom built items.

2. Sunroom addition – Many people believe that sunroom additions will cost less because they don’t require heating & cooling, are smaller and generally don’t have a bathroom. However, little extras and labor costs can easily add up and generally don’t return on the amount invested.

3. Bathroom addition – Sometimes additional bathrooms are needed, especially if your family has outgrown the number of available bathrooms in your home. However, they tend to require a lot of costly work and generally only return a fraction of the investment.

4. Garage addition – Building a garage is basically like building a house for your car. It often requires builders to pour a foundation, construct walls and build a roof along with many other labor intensive efforts. The worst part is that homeowners generally recoup only 62% of the average costs, which are around $58,000.

5. Master bedroom suite – Master bedrooms can also be similar to building a small home, depending on how elaborate you want to get. Adding bedrooms can add value to the house, but the costs are even greater. The average cost per square foot varies, but anyway you look at it – you’re likely to lose money.

6. Fiberglass entry door – If you’re going to upgrade your door, don’t choose the higher-cost fiberglass alternative to a heavy steel door. Steel doors will provide greater security and weather-resistance and tend to return a 29% gain on the investment.

7. Swimming pools – Pools can be fun but they shouldn’t be added to a home in hopes that it will boost the value. Many people see the pool as a burden when they are home shopping and focus on the maintenance costs and even possible hazards they present.

Before you get started on any home improvement be sure to consider its potential return. If you decide to move forward with any addition, you may want to think about refinancing as a way to fund your improvements. Whatever you decide, make sure you are making choices that will increase a home’s value rather than harm it.

Greater Access to Health Insurance in Florida

According to previous Census data, Florida had the second highest percentage of uninsured children in the entire nation, and Florida ranked third in the country for the number of uninsured children. More than one in six children in Florida, or 797,000 children, had no health insurance in Florida.

An estimated 8.6 million children had no health insurance coverage in the U.S. in 2007, and Congress passed two pieces of legislation that could have cut the number of uninsured children by almost half. President Bush vetoed both bills.

Florida Health Insurance For Families

The vast majority of uninsured Florida children came from families where at least one parent worked. More than two-thirds of uninsured children (or 71.4 percent) were living in Florida households where at least one family member worked full-time all year long.

More than half (or 60.7 percent) of these uninsured children were from low-income households with incomes below twice the poverty level. More than half (or 58.6 percent) of uninsured Florida children lived in two-parent households.

Half Of Medicaid Enrollees Are Children

Children make up about half of Medicaid’s 42 million enrollees. Bills were introduced in both the House and Senate in 2008 to boost the Medicaid matching rate, but they were not included in the economic stimulus package that ultimately passed.

The U.S. has the highest Gross National Product (GNP) per capita in the world. It also has a lower life expectancy than nearly all the other rich countries, and even a few poor countries, despite being responsible for half of the world’s health care bill. The U.S. also has the highest poverty levels of any wealthy country with large health disparities, and poor health outcomes.

Massachusetts Leads The Nation In Health Care Reform

National health care reform was modeled on the groundbreaking 2006 legislation of Massachusetts, which required adults to have health coverage. In Massachusetts, most people continue to receive insurance through employers with no changes. Those who were previously uninsured are now covered by subsidized programs such as MassHealth (Medicaid), the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the employer-based Insurance Partnership Program.

More people signed up for coverage at work, or bought coverage through the new exchange (the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority). Those who cannot afford insurance may obtain a waiver, but few have done so. Ninety-seven percent of adults in Massachusetts are covered by insurance now, and that’s the highest number of any state.

The largest increase in enrollment was implemented through the Commonwealth Care program, which allows those with a family income under the 300 percent federal poverty level to receive subsidized health coverage.

Massachusetts also limits insurance companies from excluding people who have pre-existing conditions. That reduces the fear that insurance companies will drop you as soon as you get sick. The move toward universal coverage made it possible to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions.

The Outlook For Health Insurance In Florida

Now that legislation has passed at the national level, the critical implementation is just beginning. The goal is for Florida’s residents to be able to invest in insurance that will be there for them if they need it, even when pre-existing conditions are found. That will make Florida health insurance a more secure investment. Those who can’t afford it will also have greater access via subsidies so families and their children can receive long-overdue health care in Florida.

5 Great Gift Ideas for Any Occasion

Every year there are about a million occasions where giving a gift to someone is required. How do we keep up with all the gift ideas? Finding a unique and special gift for someone is not easy, especially if you have no idea what that person likes. Fortunately for you, here are a few ideas for gifts that will always be sure to surprise.

A gift only has to fall into a few categories to be a good gift. It has to be thoughtful, useful, or wanted. If the give shows you put careful thought into giving a good present, it’ll work as a thoughtful gift. If it is something that helps with someone’s daily life, then it will be a useful one. Lastly, giving someone something they want gives you a wanted gift. Here a few ideas you could work with to meet these conditions.

One of the most popular gifts this past holiday season was televisions. Everyone wanted the newest technology to entertain themselves with. What about giving something everyone wants? It makes a great gift for anyone who loves watching shows or movies at home.

Sometimes a great gift doesn’t come in a box and isn’t even an item. What about a gift for an adventure? This could be anything from an amusement park to bungee diving? Gifts can be more than just something physical, it could be an activity!

Have you ever had anyone say in passing “I’ve always wanted to fly a plane?” Well, maybe not flying a plane, but people will voice themselves more often than not on the gifts they want! All you have to do is listen closely. Everyone needs something; you could figure that out simply through observation.

A popular gift everyone forgets about is sports tickets. Going to the ballpark is always a good time out for everyone. The problem is that many people don’t indulge themselves as often as they should. Figure out their favorite team and send them on a trip to cheer on the home team!

Out of everyone you know you have to give a gift to a fashion expert. What do you do now? The first thing to remember is that you don’t want to offend their style with a gift such as clothes. What about an accessory? A great idea is charm bracelets; they go with just about everything!

Lastly, no matter what kind of gifts you are looking for, you should always put some individuality to it. The gifts that leave the biggest impression are those that are unique and unexpected. Put some thought into your gift and it will surely show.

Plenty of Reasons to Play Stickman Games

If you are one of the many people that enjoy going online and playing games, you should not miss out on the many stickman games that are available to play. There are many different reasons why these games are so popular and why you should consider playing them, but perhaps the best reason of all is that they are free. The world of technology, especially gaming technology has become so advanced today that many of the games available to play have become extremely expensive. If you have found that some games are simply out of your price range, stickman games can be ideal because they cost nothing to get started. You can go online today and within just a few seconds, sign up using a free and secure account.

Stickman games are a type of online flash game. Some of the most popular of these games are shooting and sniper games, but there are also many other types of games you can choose from as well. In the shooting games, the game typically has the user playing the role of a sniper who is sent out on a variety of missions. The goal of the game is to shoot and take out rival stickman figures. You should be aware of the fact that in order to excel at these games you need to have a lot of patience and skill. This is not a problem for most people due to the fact that they more they play the more they are rewarded by improving their skills. Once you begin to really show some skill you even have the opportunity to unlock portions of the game that can only be reached when you are able to perform certain tasks.

Many people consider the Sniper Assassin series games to be among the most rewarding and entertaining of the many stickman games available. There are several different games within the series. This ensures that no matter how much you play, there is always something new and fun to experience. In this series of games, you are able to take on the role of a sniper named Shawn. Shawn is considered to be one of the best in the business. There is some degree of mystery surrounding exactly who it is that Shawn works for, but many people widely assume that he works for the CIA. Regardless, Shawn is assigned a variety of different mini-missions that involve taking out various high priority targets.

As you play the games you will have the chance to continue building your skills. If you are able to pass a mission you can then move on to the next mission and have the chance to take on missions that are even more advanced and complicated. If you are not able to pass a mission on the first try, you can keep on playing until you build the skills necessary to pass. You can even take advantage of walk through videos that can help you in learning how to pass the various missions.

The Urban Sniper series has become very popular as well. Like the other sniper games, this game requires you to be patient. You also need to demonstrate quite a bit of skill in order to take out the right targets and move on to the next phase of the game. Many of these stickman games are deliberately designed to act as a challenge, so you can be sure you will not grow bored with these games.

Whichever stickman games you choose to play, you can be sure that you will be able to take advantage of lots of fun, entertainment and skill-building challenges.