Archive for the 'Money Matters' Category

Remodeling now could save homeowners a bundle

Farewell to 2009. Notice we did not say a "fond" farewell. Frankly, we are glad to see it go. It seems everyone has struggled through, both professionally and personally. Here's hoping for better things in 2010! We know many of your remodeling plans have been placed on the proverbial back burner this past year. Remodeling [...]

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Author gives a realistic look at home improvements

These days, it seems everyone's got a case of the budget blues. Not surprisingly, turbulent economic times also tend to sideline home renovation projects, at least for the short term. But if you have the savings or financing available for your remodeling adventure, the timing for some improvements couldn't be better. Why? Well, for starters, [...]

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10 home-improvement projects for 2010

With a minimal budget and a little sweat equity, your home can go from a "so-so" to a "wow" in no time. Whether you want to update your existing living space or add value to a house you are trying to sell, investing in some basic home renovations can make a huge impact. So what [...]

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Homeowners more cautious on remodeling projects

'Twas only a few years ago, when the housing boom was in full roar, that homeowners didn't have to fret too much over whether the money they invested in remodeling would be paid back at resale time. Indeed, it was practically a no-brainer: Home sale prices were going up so high and so fast that [...]

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RemodelGate: Concerns about $707,000 remodel for Supervisor’s office shows disconnect with public

Taking elected office is often a Cinderella-like experience. Normal people with private lives are thrust into a strange and magical public world where their dreams really do come true. Maybe no singing birds or supernatural pumpkins accompany them, but they are beset with many other surreal experiences: instant celebrity, power, deference and hundreds of new [...]

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Remodeling in 2010? Additions are out, replacements are in

Remodeling is a better investment in some years than others. This year is among the worst if you’re hoping to recoup much money when you sell, says a newly released report. Homeowners are getting back just 64%, on average, of a project’s cost, compared with 87% in 2005, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2009-2010 Cost vs. [...]

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Remodel a home in a shaky market?

The troubled housing market isn’t just hurting homeowners who want to sell, it’s torpedoing incomes for builders and remodelers as well. As a result, contractors have cut bids by 20% in many parts of the country, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal, which adds that many contractors are willing to take on [...]

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Whirlpool smells profit in new washer with anti-odor, smart grid features

It may feel a little creepy to think of your washing machine talking to the power company, but that's among the bells and whistles appliance manufacturers are coming up with to perk up a market that's been smacked down hard by the recession.  For now, Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) wants to get an edge by protecting [...]

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Economy wins, environment loses? Survey finds consumers now would rather make their homes prettier than energy-efficient

A new national survey released today finds Americans once again prefer aesthetic home improvements – a refinished kitchen or bathroom – over money-saving improvements, such as energy-efficient windows or a high-efficiency furnace.   The survey, the fifth annual Energy Pulse survey conducted by Shelton Group, found that consumers are reverting to their old priorities as the [...]

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For the right price, the right fixer-upper – New York Times

Fixer-uppers are not the darlings of the New York City real estate market right now. With so many well-groomed apartments for sale to choose from, why bother? But when there is a lot of inventory on the market, the price gap between the renovated and unrenovated often grows. “What you see now,” said Jonathan J. [...]

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Homeowners find bargains in this year’s remodeling – Wall Street Journal

People who refrained from splurging on big home-improvement projects during the housing boom are reaping the rewards now. Depending on the region and the job, some homeowners are paying as much as 20% less for home-remodeling projects than they would have a few years ago. Many contractors are willing to accept smaller jobs and "handyman" [...]

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White House to push for easier financing for home retrofits

U.S. homes waste a lot of energy, but who has the money to remodel? The White House is pushing for financing mechanisms to ease the burden. Joe Biden wants to remodel your home and help you figure out how to pay for it. The Vice President today unveiled Recovery through Retrofit (full report here), a [...]

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4 steps to avoid a ‘remodel gone wrong’

A recent article on Bankrate.com, nicely written by Margarette Burnette, lists four steps to make sure you don't end up with a nightmare remodeling story to share at dinner parties. Sure, a nightmare remodel makes for some lively minutes of banter. But really, in the end, you want a successful remodel. If you need something [...]

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Q&A: What tax credits can I get for fixing up my home?

Question: How has the new Stimulus bill affected the tax credits for energy efficient home improvements?   Answer from Energy Star:   On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the "Stimulus Bill" (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) that made significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits. These changes apply to products "placed [...]

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Q&A: What tax credits can I get for fixing up my home?

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Do you want your remodel good, quick or cheap?

There’s a common ditty in the remodeling industry that goes like this: “Do you want it done good, quick or cheap? Pick two.” While you may want all three (and maybe you’ve actually done that), there’s a certain amount of truth to the fact that you won’t likely get all three. I’m not saying this [...]

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Save money on a remodel by eliminating bathtub? I doubt it

An article by CNN (see it here) suggests saving money by eliminating your bathtub in favor of a shower only.  I question the numbers here: $2,000 for a tub vs. $1,000 for a shower. The article claims that by eliminating the tub you are saving $1,000. But depending on where you shop and the quality [...]

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It’s official: barter works

So what do you do when your prized market umbrella goes flying off in the wind and breaks two spokes? And what do you do when your avocado trees are putting out so much fruit you fear the boughs will break? In my case, with this very scenario, I put a free ad on Craigslist [...]

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The $12,000 luxury kitchen remodel revisited

Last year, we enjoyed reading about a $12,000 luxury kitchen remodel with granite counters, tile back splashes and nice appliances. Now that the economy is terrible, it's time to revisit the topic of what I like to call "tightwad remodeling." To the right, you see the kitchen being used for Christmastime cooking.  And isn't that [...]

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Where the Money Went: Fitzgerald bathroom

This bathroom remodel is a little different than most because homeowner Cindy Fitzgerald just happened to have a good friend who happened to be an interior designer who happened to have just redone her own upscale bathroom and who happened to have some upscale materials left over, which she offered to Cindy. We won't all [...]

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