Author gives a realistic look at home improvements

ManageyourremodelThese 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, materials and labor costs are down, and many contractors are bidding competitively with discounts they'd never consider when there's plenty of work to be had. If you want to stretch your home improvement dollars even further, you might want to try a part-time gig as your very own construction manager.

Author Victoria Likes did just that for a major renovation on her Seattle home and lived to tell about it. She recounts the experience, and packages the lessons learned, in her book, Manage Your Remodel–And Save Money (Creative Homeowner Press, $16.95)

With the subtitle "… and save money!" the book's purpose is clear. Likes claims that a savings of 20 to 30 percent is typical for those who take on the role of homeowner/general contractor, or HGC.

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