Are you Happy in Aberdeen?

If not, I think you should be. You’re surrounded by three of the happiest places in the United States according to Prevention Magazine Online.Best_Places_to_Live

Sioux Falls, SD was awarded the honor of being the “All-around healthiest” city. “Why it won: Highest levels of self-reported health,” according to the article.

Fargo North Dakota was another winner. Why it won: very high scores in regular church attendance

“Sure, the winters are long, snowy, and cold. But Fargo’s fans say the city’s strong sense of community, which shows up in high scores for regularly attending religious services, makes up for it. It’s also a big clue to the town’s warmth, says Stephanie Tollefson, 35, a pastor at Hope Lutheran Church, which welcomes some 5,000 worshippers weekly. ‘People say a generous heart is a happy heart, and I see that here. The more you connect with other people, the more joy you get back,’ she says. ‘And the more joy you have, the more you want to give back.’ In Fargo, she says, ‘people genuinely seem to want to belong to something that’s bigger than just themselves.'”

Reminds me of Aberdeen! The sense of community is very strong here, as I’ve blogged about before.

Minneapolis, MN ranked #3 with top scores for heart health. And to the Southwest, Lincoln, NE boasts “the country’s lowest unemployment rate; healthy hearts.”

And a postscript to my friends around here from Boise: Prevention praises Boise for the “lowest rate of traffic fatalities; lots of regular exercisers.”

Cost vs Value: Are You Remodeling Wisely?

We’ve talked about Remodeling Magazine’s awesome Cost versus Value report that they issue every year, but this year deserves some attention because for the first time in half a dozen years years, “the overall average cost-value ratio has improved, reaching 60.6%. This is 2.9 points better than the 2011–12 number, which hit a low of 57.7% (the lowest point since at least 2001), and is more than a half-point better than the 60.0% ratio from two years ago.

One of the great things the report does is break down the data by region. The closest we can get here in Aberdeen is Fargo, ND or Sioux Falls.

It’s not surprising but you still have to chuckle that those projects where the most money is recouped revolve around insulating homeowners against bad weather or allowing them to enjoy the GOOD weather. These include upgrading your front door, replacing your windows and adding a wood deck.

Aberdeen remodelers take note! Adding a master suite, a family room, even a garage, have a low cost versus value rating. Spend your precious remodeling dollars wisely.

Adding a sunroom, a bathroom or remodeling an office rank among the lowest.

Here’s the link directly to the Fargo, ND data.

I’ve been in construction full or part time for most of my adult life. I’m always available as a sounding board if you’re considering a remodeling project, especially if you have selling your home in view.