Advice for Home Remodelers

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Advice for Home Remodelers

If you're among the millions of Americans tackling renovations this year, follow these tips to ensure your project goes smoothly and your money is well spent.

My husband and I are getting ready to make some repairs around our home. Some are minor that we can tackle ourselves, such as painting a couple of rooms. But others require hiring professionals.

To be clear, we're not embarking on any major remodeling projects. But millions of homeowners across the nation are. According to the BuildFax Remodeling Index, residential remodeling activity has increased steadily over 22 consecutive months and hit a record high in August. More than 3.3 million permits are expected to be issued for remodeling projects in 2011, a 9.5% increase over 2010.

One reason for the surge in remodeling activity is that Americans who have refinanced mortgages at record-low rates are reinvesting the extra cash into their homes, says Joe Emison, vice president of research and development at BuildFax. There's also a group of homeowners making improvements to their property in hopes of making their houses more appealing to buyers.

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Whatever your reason for remodeling is, you should take certain steps to ensure that your money is well spent. That includes hiring the right contractor and focusing on projects that add value to your home (and pay off when you sell your house). Below are tips for people embarking on projects of all sizes -- from major remodeling to do-it-yourself renovations.


Hire a Contractor Who Measures Up
You might be lured by low-cost labor with a quick turnaround. But it's no deal if the contractor isn't licensed, bonded and insured.

What You Need to Know About Hiring a Contractor
Get more tips on finding the perfect person for your remodeling job.

SLIDE SHOW: 8 Remodeling Projects That Pay Back
These small to mid-range projects could pay for themselves if you sell your home when the housing market improves.

Everything You Need to Know About Replacement Windows
Find out how to calculate your payback, choose the right window and select a dealer.


When embarking on a remodeling project, don't settle for the first estimate a contractor quotes you. Try your hand at haggling to negotiate a better deal. See Master the Modern Art of Haggling for tried-and-true techniques. You can use these techniques, too, if you're tackling any of the projects listed below on your own and want to get the best available deal on supplies.

SLIDE SHOW: 8 Easy Projects to Add Value to Your Home
These easy home improvements cost less than $500 each and should require less than a day’s work.

9 Projects to Spruce up Your House
These fixes for $1,000 or less will help maximize the space you have.

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