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Home Remodeling: 10 Reasons To Do It Now

Home Remodeling: 10 Reasons To Do It Now

Want to spice up the conversation at the next house party? Bring up your latest home renovation project. Despite a down-turned economy, people are still doing it. They are renovating and spending on the home improvement front at an above average clip. An article from Calculated Risk concludes that investments in home improvement are exceeding investments in single-family home sales.

For better or for worse, here at the ol’ EcoNest, we are chronic (and sometimes cranky) remodelers. Why go through all the hassle? First, moving is not desired. Second, if we don’t keep up with all the improvements, we’d have to tear the house down and start all over again. For us, it is all about problems that tip our comfort balance.

We are DIYers, and most home improvement and decorating projects my husband and I tackle ourselves. Many folks look to contractors and home improvement loans for answers to their problems. Either way, we keep our fingers crossed in hopes that our grandiose plans won’t end up in a money pit.

Our current bathroom remodel is a great example of balancing a problem. We were noticing more and more mold building up on the walls. To eradicate the mold, we started by replacing the fan. Then put mold-resistant, eco-friendly American Clay. We found an energy-efficient toilet at Green Demolitions. A hemp shower curtain that is naturally mildew and bacteria resistant, and a $9.00 mirror from IKEA were bought. We are just about to take our first mold-free shower without breaking the bank.

Maybe we started with our heads in the clouds thinking we could indulge in a simple remodel, but clouds and pits have silver linings. As with other remodels for our EcoNest, I am convinced the lining is no longer silver, it is green.

So, why remodel now? This Old House’s Josh Garskof, gives us some insight with these 10 reasons to remodel:

1. Money is cheap. After years of overzealous lending to high-risk borrowers, banks have closed the proverbial barn door and tightened up their standards. But for anyone with three thing; a good credit rating, at least 20 percent equity left in his or her home, and proof of income, lenders are as eager as ever to extend fat lines of credit.
2. Contractors are taking small jobs. A few years ago, contractors could afford to choose only big-budget projects, but now they need smaller jobs to keep their crews busy.
3. You can get it done fast. “Two or three years ago, when you called a contractor, it could be six months before he even returned your call,” says Bernard Markstein, the director of forecasting and analysis for the National Association of Homebuilders. “Today, all you have to do is think about a project you want to do, and three contractors will call you.”
4. Materials prices have fallen. With the falloff in demand, construction materials are readily available, and many have come down in price.
5. You can cut a deal on labor costs. To fill their calendars, some contractors have begun discounting their services. “We’re offering a number of 10 and 15 percent off programs,” says Brian Hutto, a vice president of Home Depot’s Home Services, the company’s installation services unit.
6. Some of the bad apples are gone. When the home-improvement business was going gangbusters, anyone with a pickup truck and a metal clipboard could call themselves a general contractor. They didn’t need experience, skill, or good working relationships with subcontractors to find business. Times are tougher, and it’s the marginal guys who have gone under. Of course, you still need to do your due diligence and check references so you don’t wind up being a failing contractor’s unfortunate last client. Also, be wary of new-home builders trying to drum up renovation business; they may not have experience with older houses or working directly with homeowners.
7. You can enjoy the results. Given the state of real estate, you’re probably not going to be selling for a few years. And that means you can truly enjoy the improvements you make.
8. You won’t take a big tax hit. Just as a home improvement won’t drastically increase the sales price of your house, it won’t drive up your property taxes, either.
9. You can slash your energy bills. Had you done your project a few years ago, you probably wouldn’t have thought much about energy efficiency. But heating fuel and electricity costs have doubled over the last two years, says Paul Scheckel, senior energy analyst at the Vermont Energy Investment Corp. That means the additional cost of choosing a high-efficiency furnace, say, which might have taken 10 years of lower utility bills to recoup, could now be recovered in 5. And you’ll probably be in the house long enough to earn back that entire outlay. “Plus, energy efficiency will make your house more comfortable,” Scheckel says, “and it will reduce your carbon footprint.”
10. When the market picks up, you’ll be ready. If and when you do put your house on the market, shoppers will appreciate the upgrades you’ve made.

Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.

17 comments

+ add your own
4:32AM PST on Nov 27, 2014

I even have been getting a lot of helpful and informative material in your web site. sewer line repair

5:39AM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Thanks for the article.

12:52PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Thanks for the article.

11:30AM PDT on Aug 25, 2010

As a remodeling contractor here in Las Vegas my business is increasing, especially in the area of room additions. Because of the downturn in the housing market here, many people are opting to stay put and expand their homes as their lifestyle changes or their family grows.
When contemplating remodeling your bath you should consider beginning in the shower, because it is constantly getting wet, it endures the most wear and tear. Always replace your shower with a "water proof" underlayment for the pan and substrate for the walls. You might want to consider replacing the old shower valve as well.

http://www.dimensionbuildlv.com

7:16AM PDT on Aug 25, 2010

Why aren't all new homes being built with a windmill and solar panels? It would be much cheaper and simpler than overhauling our entire power grid also our power supply (as a whole) would not be as susceptible to natural disasters and terrorist attacks.
Increase Your Sales

7:05AM PDT on Aug 25, 2010

home age aside, people are adding on, upgrading and remodeling their homes in greater numbers than ever before. Every year, over 25 million homeowners in the U.S. make some kind of improvement to their homes and Chicago remodeling projects are no exception.Increase Your Sales

5:52AM PDT on Jun 17, 2010

If I mentioned "home renovation" to my friends at a party, the first thing that would come out of their mouths would be "Oh I am sorry, we are busy that weekend!" Hee Hee. Good article though

1:48AM PDT on Sep 14, 2009

Hi ,

Thanks for writing such an interesting article. It’s really good to know about the real estate and home decoration and renovation in detail. Home remodeling is definitely a hot topic these days. While the housing market may be experiencing a temporary downturn, Chicago remodeling projects continue to hold steady simply because many Chicago home owners have decided to stay put in their current homes, opting to upgrade rather than move.

The average home is about 33 years old and with the nation's aging housing stock, Chicago remodeling projects such as replacing windows and roofs are an ongoing necessity. But home age aside, people are adding on, upgrading and remodeling their homes in greater numbers than ever before. Every year, over 25 million homeowners in the U.S. make some kind of improvement to their homes and Chicago remodeling projects are no exception. Large remodeling projects from complete kitchen remodeling to the addition of several rooms, make up a major part of the home improvement dollar invested by homeowners.

Thanks,
- Sibley

11:32PM PDT on Jun 18, 2009

thanks...
Kabin
Konteyner,Prefabrik
mega kabin
Konteyner

1:45PM PDT on May 7, 2009

Hi Caz,
Tierrafino clay plaster-paint looks like a product that is similar to American Clay. The company is based in the UK. http://www.tierrafino.co.uk/earth_plaster
Hope this helps!
Ronnie

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