home improvement

Consumers Feathering Their Connected Home Nests

Among the more unexpected effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over the last half-year or so is the sudden home improvement boom it set off among consumers.  Unexpected, but not entirely surprising, as consumers suddenly spending nearly all of their time in their homes these days have realized that home ought to be as nice and as comfortable as humanly imaginable. And since they’re not eating out, travelling far from home or going to events very much these days, many even have the budget to make some upgrades.

New furniture, new appliances, new floors, swimming pools, gardening supplies, tools boxes, paint and patio furniture are just a short list of things that have seen their sales surge as the homebound have begun feathering their nests and making their homes more comfortable, useful and aesthetically pleasing.

And, as new data released by Security research company Security.org indicates, that upgrade wave among consumers is increasingly extending to making their homes smarter as well.  The overwhelming majority of consumers report already owning at least one smart home device (91 percent), with a very solid majority planning to purchase more in the not-too-distant future.  The survey found 64 percent of respondents said they were planning to buy a new type of smart home technology within the next year.

Now, there are caveats with the data — the first of which is the survey cast a very wide net for what “counted” as a smart home device to get to that 91 percent, including expected stuff like smart speakers, smart lights, thermostats, etc, but also things like smart TVs, which tend to inflate the figures. But the survey does show that smart appliances are gaining ground among consumers, which at least strongly indicates that smartening up their homes is

Don’t Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured

By Ben Moore



a tree in front of a house: Don't Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured


© TheStreet
Don’t Let Home Improvements Leave You Underinsured

As many Americans face months on end stuck at home, some are using their time (and money) to create a change of scenery or upgrade their surroundings. Office equipment purchases are on the rise, and people are tackling more renovation projects than usual.

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But expensive new stuff and significant home improvements can leave you underinsured. If you’re considering making changes to your home — or if you already have — it’s smart to revisit your homeowners or renters policy. Here’s how to ensure it covers the new additions.

Tell Your Insurer About Your Plans

There’s a good chance you’re underinsured before you even make changes, according to Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines at American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Talk to your insurer before making any expensive purchases or changes to your home to inform the company of your plans and clarify your policy’s current coverages and limits. If your home costs more to replace after you’ve improved it, some insurers will pay the new expense to rebuild, but “that’s not every policy, and it may not cover everything you need,” Griffin says. He also recommends once a year reviewing what your home insurance policy covers.

>> Plus, from Robert Powell’s Retirement Daily on TheStreet: The Four Ingredients to Living Well in the New Retirement

In some cases, you may need to change carriers to get the coverage you need. Frank Jones, an independent agent and partner at Mints Insurance Agency in Millville, New Jersey, has seen clients switch insurers because an addition wasn’t covered. “It’s in your best interest to have these conversations now rather than to have a claim denied,” he says.

A new desk and computer for remote learning, plus that monitor

Why the ‘Home Improvement Effect’ May Be Responsible for an Increased Interest in Plastic Surgery

Encino, CA plastic surgeon George Sanders, MD had never done a virtual consultation until March of this year.

But, once COVID hit, it quickly became commonplace at his practice. 

“At first, there were maybe one or two per week, but then there were many—often several each day,” he recalls. “Not only did patients virtually consult, but they scheduled their surgery in anticipation of the end of the surgery shutdown.”

And the calendar concurs: Since his office reopened for elective procedures in mid-May, the surgery schedule has been filled. “Part of this is due to the backlog of patients who were already scheduled for surgery but had to postpone it. Other patients were planning to have surgery anyway, and now seems like the perfect opportunity.”

However, Dr. Sanders says, there’s a third patient group that never considered surgery and are now drawn to it. 

“When I ask these patients seeking plastic surgery why they are doing it, there are a number of reasons that are given. Home improvement has become a big thing during the pandemic. People are spending more time at home and see the need for home improvement. The same reasoning spills over into plastic surgery—patients have more time to spend looking at themselves and are seeing all sorts of needs that can be met by plastic surgery.”

It also comes as no surprise that many patients are not working, or they are able to work from home and recover there while still doing their job. “This gives those who were thinking about surgery before the pandemic, as well as those who began to think of having surgery during the pandemic, a wonderful opportunity because the element of time is often what is missing from the equation when it comes to recovering from surgery,” Dr. Sanders says.   

Remote Recovery

South Florida Fair producing Home Improvement Show for the first time

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The South Florida Fair has announced it will be hosting it’s first-ever Home Improvement & More Show in the Expo Center at the end of October.

The Fair said they created the event because people are spending more time in their homes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Given what we’ve been experiencing since March with this pandemic, there has never been such a high demand for at-home enhancements in kitchens and baths, lawn and landscape, décor and home office ideas,” said Vicki Chouris, president & CEO of the South Florida Fair & Palm Beach County Expositions.

There are more than 60 vendors slated to be at the event that include categories such as windows, kitchen, bath, patios, landscaping, and more.

The in-person show will run daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 through Sunday, Oct. 25. and facemasks will be required inside the Expo Center.

To be an exhibitor call (561) 795-6446 or e-mail [email protected]

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Looking for Escapist TV? Try Home Design Shows

A few minutes into an episode of “Dream Home Makeover,” a home improvement series premiering on Netflix on Oct. 16, an anxious homeowner frets about a minor flaw in the family-room fireplace, an asymmetry that the wife describes as “pretty dramatic.”

If you’ve watched enough home improvement television, you know this scene is meant to cue the eye rolls. But Shea McGee, the show’s perky co-star and the creative force behind the Salt Lake City design firm Studio McGee, cheerfully downplays the issue, promising the couple that the half-inch error will fade into the background once their grand 7,900-square-foot home is complete.

Her down-to-earth approach soothes her clients’ nerves, but also threads a needle for Netflix, which has decided that the salve homebound Americans need right now is an escapist lineup of shows about how to make the homes we can’t escape look prettier. In recent months, the network has rolled out a handful of new home improvement shows to a viewership that is looking for ways to spruce up their spaces, but also ambivalent about celebrating other people’s good fortune.

Over the summer, Netflix aired “Million Dollar Beach House,” a series that followed a team of high-end real estate brokers in the Hamptons as they tried to sell mansions to millionaires. But what was intended to be an East Coast alternative to “Selling Sunset,” the popular, brash series about Los Angeles brokers, was a flop. The show lacked the Botox and catty drama that made “Selling Sunset” a delicious hate watch. Instead, the show was skewered on social media by viewers who were outraged that the only Black broker on the show endured a series of racist microaggressions at a moment when Americans were laser focused on racial justice. Netflix has not announced a second season for the show.