Saturday, December 25, 2010

Remodeling New Year’s Resolution

As January approaches, you may be deciding on your New Year's remodeling resolutions. This is a great opportunity to make some additions to your home and save money on your energy bill. Consider purchasing home appliances with the Energy Star label. Products with the Energy Star label are more efficient and will help cut your spending.

The Energy Star label was established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy. The label makes it easier for consumers to identify and purchase more energy efficient products. The products labeled with the Energy Star offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance or features.

Products only earn the Energy Star label by meeting six specific guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The guidelines are:
  • Product categories must contribute significant energy savings nationwide
  • Qualified products must deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency
  • If the qualified product costs more than a conventional, less-efficient counterpart, purchasers will recover their investment in increased energy efficiency through utility bill savings, within a reasonable period of time
  • Energy efficiency can be achieved through broadly available, non-proprietary technologies offered by more than one manufacturer
  • Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing
  • Labeling would effectively differentiate products and be visible for purchasers

To find a list of all products with the Energy Star label check out the Energy Star website.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Home Remodeling Tax Cuts

As the year is coming to an end, you are may be looking for ways to lower your energy bills. There are many solutions for you; the U.S. offers many tax credits for energy-saving home improvements. Unfortunately, you will need to act fast, some expire on December 31st.

What improvements are covered by the expiring credits?
Homeowners can get a tax credit for installing:

• Specific wood or pellet stoves
• Energy-efficient furnaces
• Water heaters and air-conditioning systems
• Insulated roofs, windows and doors
• Wall and ceiling insulation.

The tax credit covers 30% of the purchase costs, up to $1,500. For a complete list, check the Energy Star website at
Is the installation cost covered?
The cost of putting in heating and air-conditioning systems, water heaters and biomass stoves is covered. Unfortunately, installing new windows, doors, roofs and insulation is not covered.

Can I use the tax credits for improvements in a vacation home?
The improvements qualify for an existing home that is your primary residence, even if it is a houseboat or mobile home. But rentals, vacation homes and new construction are not eligible.

With time short, what improvements make the most sense?
Upgrading your heating and cooling can save as much as 50% of the average home's energy bill. If your furnace or boiler is more than 10 years old, this may be the ideal time to replace it.

What improvements can be done relatively cheaply?
Adding insulation is the cheapest choice for home renovation. The most low cost choice is to just insulate the area where your family spends most of their waking hours. The cost will be low and your family will be much more comfortable. Also insulation is a do-it-yourself project, meaning you can save on labor costs.

Am I going to have trouble finding a contractor on short notice?
In the current recession, many contractors will be available. You can find qualified contractors at the website of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry at, Many of the contractors have knowledge of the tax cuts and have the equipment and materials ready.

Will a new dishwasher get me some tax credits?
Unfortunately, appliances do not qualify, but appliances carrying the Energy Star seal will help reduce your energy bill. Many states and local utilities are offering direct rebates on some appliances. To check if programs are available in your state go to

Might the program be reinstated for future tax years?
Legislation has been introduced to extend the tax credits, but experts have said it is unlikely that Congress will pass it before the end of the year.
Will I be able to handle this on my tax return without having to call on an expert?
The form is simple. You will need to save the manufacturer's certificate that states the equipment or service is eligible under the program. If not available with the product, the certificates can also be found on the websites of the manufacturers.

Are there any tax incentives for rooftop solar-power systems?
Federal tax credits for solar-energy, small residential wind turbines and geothermal pump systems cover 30% of all costs, installation included, with no cost limit. Also, these apply to primary homes, vacation homes and new construction. The best part is that these do not expire until 2016.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Curb Appeal

First impressions are important in every situation. Researchers have declared that it only takes seven seconds for a first impression to be formed, and several hours for that to be overturned. This is important to remember when selling your house. The first impression a potential buyer will have of your house will be when they arrive in front of it, meaning your "curb appeal". The maintenance of the front of your home has the possibility to make or break a potential sale. The video below can help you make smart decisions towards creating attractive curb appeal.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Easy, Economical Bathroom Remodeling Tips

After years of use, the bathtub and shower area can start to show its age. Making some inexpensive fixes to the tub and shower surround can remove mildew buildup or dirty grout, and update tiles and fixtures.

This is important because, next to kitchens, a bathroom is the second most used room in a home, meaning the monetary return on the investment is high. Luckily for homeowners, there are plenty of economical ways to "revamp" their bathroom showers and tubs.

Replacing the old grout in between the shower tiles can brighten up the room. The new grout will enhance your existing tile and in many cases look new. According to All Decks and Improvement this will approximately cost $750.

Another option is to replace your tub and shower surround. The cost depends on whether your bathtub has water or mold issues. Problems such as these do not have an easy fix. If these issues arise, many contractors suggest that the bathroom be completely gutted. Although if your shower is free of these issues then it will approximately cost, from $200 to $500.

Reglazing your tub and shower area is the third economical option. According to Master Kitchens and Baths, reglazing can save a customer up to 90 percent on the remodeling costs. This process is also known as refinishing or resurfacing. The process includes acid washing the existing surface to make the area porous, then adhering a new enamel.

Reglazing can be completed in the home, without disturbing the existing tile, fixtures or plumbing. It takes three to four hours and the bathroom is ready to use after 24 hours.

If the bathroom does contain a mold problem, it is important to call a mold specialist immediately. Mold can infiltrate past the surface, through the wallboards and into the framework of the house.

Any of these easy, inexpensive fixes will freshen and breath new life into your bathroom.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Home Renovation Paint Colors of 2011

For many home owners, large scale home renovations are not an option. According to the Quarterly Paint Institute there are three color trends will drive 2011. Paint provides home renovators with the means to revamp their houses inexpensively. By incorporating a few new paint colors, either as accent walls or throughout a room, home owners will be able to enhance their living spaces economically with paint.

This color set provides versatility and allows homeowners to quickly change the look of a room just by adding a few new accessories, without spending time and money to remodel or repaint again. Neutrals are the most practical remodeling choice. These colors include warm whites, tawny tans, light corals and greens.

Blues are predicted to grow in popularity as not just a wall color but also as a ceiling choice. Blues from across the spectrum, from dark denim to light blue-greys will find their ways into homes. The color blue is calming and will help to relieve stress. Good secondary colors include yellow or yellow-green and will add energy in open, family spaces.

Shimmers and Shines:
Higher paint sheens and metallic finishes are also predicted to be popular for 2011. Spaces such as hallways and living areas can be painted in a very glossy hue. The more gloss in a paint color will mean more reflectivity which means more light. Gloss will create a brighter, more upbeat mood in a home, while adding style.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Easy Kitchen Remodeling Tips

Remodeling your home can exponentially increase the value of your home. It is important to remember when renovating your home to begin with the less expensive endeavors. This will create a greater gain when the time comes for re-sale. Simple fixes include fresh paint, new appliance coverings and a new sink. The video below gives tips and ideas on easy kitchen renovations.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

How to Protect Your Home Remodel from Con Artists

Con artists are in full swing! Steven Paley, a con artist in Palm Beach, has been arrested 47 times. One of the counts was for stealing money from a "customer" who he promised to remodel their house. In recessions, con artists are more common. Below are some crucial questions you should ask a possible contractor. They will help you to determine the legitimacy of the contractor. For more tips on how to avoid remodeling scams check out the free Remodeling Hell Salvation Guide.

How long have you been in the business?
Can you provide me with a list of references of jobs you've completed similar to mine?
What percentage of your business is repeat business?
Have you done work in my area before?
How many other jobs will you be working on simultaneously with mine?

To find out other important tips to protect yourself against scam artists check out the free Remodeling Hell Salvation Guide.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Home Renovations Gone Wrong

Home remodeling can be used to improve the value of your home, but it is important to research how the renovations will effect the value. Valuable home renovations include revamping a bathroom or upgrading a kitchen. These will increase the amount you see in return when you sell you house. Then there are the renovations that will destroy the possibility of an increase.

Possible home remodelers need to research the possibilities and the advantage to remodeling a space. In some occurrences it will cause home owners to fall into foreclosures. Remodeling Hell has current and "money back" remodeling suggestions.

Bad home renovations include a three bedroom house being converted into a one bedroom house in Los Angeles. One of the three bedrooms was made into a recording studio, a common habit in the Los Angeles area. Unfortunately, the second bedroom was made into a closet. This left the house with one bedroom intact, while this may have been perfect for the previous owner, there is not a large desire for one bedroom houses.

The second, a more extravagant remodeling faux pas, involves a moat and drawbridge being added to the house. The house eventually for fell into foreclosure and was then bought by a bank. The moat, gargoyles and drawbridge decreased the value of the home exponentially. These renovations caused the house to be uneven.

Another terrifying renovation happened in Nashville. A husband left both his wife and unfinished wall renovations. He left his wife with a plastic wall.

Again research how the renovations will affect the value of your home to decide whether your remodel project is a good idea.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

5 Tips on How to Avoid Home Repair Scams

Monsoon season has officially hit many parts of the country! Rain falls in buckets, rivers swell and in some extreme cases buildings are flooded. Water damage to homes and businesses will call for costly repairs. It is in the time of small disasters like this that the con artists come crawling out.

In Chicago, many homes were flooded last month and to the despair of the residents many of them were duped into home repair scams. The Better Business Bureau of Illinois caught on and release a few tips on how to avoid being enticed into a scam. Residents all over the country should take these tips into consideration during these months of heavy rain.

  1. Do not hire people who show up at your door offering discounted prices for agreements made that day
  2. Get quotes from multiple contractors to ensure you are getting a reasonable price
  3. Demand a written contract stating the price of the work and exactly what is to be done
  4. Be wary of contractors that demand full compensation up front
  5. Never pay in cash. Paying by credit card will protect you more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How To "Green" Your Home

As trends come in and out of homes, a rising trend has been to "go green". From the easier fixes of replacing single pane windows with double or to upgrade to solar power. The video below walks you though simple tasks such as replacing your floors with cork to finding ways to reduce the toxins in your house. From painting your walls to "green carpet" this video will turn your home renovations into green ones.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Remodeling Project Unearths Mummy

A Los Angeles, California resident had his nightmares come to life last week when a mummified body was found under his floorboards! The owner of the LA residence was performing some remodeling when a construction worker found a dead man in a small crawl space beneath the floor.

Law enforcement officials believe the body belongs to the past owner of the house, a man who was reported missing over 5 years ago. The coroner declared that no foul play happened in his death and believes the man died of old age.

Friends and family of the previous owner say that it was common for the elderly man to intentionally hide in small places, such as closets or crawl spaces under the floor.

Unfortunately, my book, Remodeling Hell, doesn't have any recommendations for what to do when you discover a body under your floor; but it can help you with any other remodeling problems.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Top 5 Do's and Don'ts of Home Remodeling

Are you considering remodeling your house? Before you do, you should make sure your plans are still "in style". Just like parachute pants, certain home fashions should be left in 70s. Below are the top five of the "Do's and Don'ts" of home remodeling styles. Be sure to download the free Remodeling Hell Salvation Guide for a complete list and the Remodeling Hell book for tips on how to remodel your house.

1. Paneling
2. Ceiling Tiles
3. Suspended Ceilings
4. "Solid Surface" Counter Tops
5. Wall to Wall Carpet

1. Skylights
2. Double Sinks
3. Stucco, Stone or Brick Exterior
4. Wood Floors
5. Granite Counter Tops

Friday, June 25, 2010

5 Tips for Remodeling Your Kitchen

Have you heard the one about the kitchen remodel in New Jersey that went nightmarishly wrong? A couple hired and prepaid a "contractor" to help renovate their kitchen. The couple had grand plans of transforming their outdated into something from the pages of Home and Garden Magazine. Only problem, the "contractor" had different plans.

After the couple lost contact with the "contractor", they discovered he was not who said he was. According to the New Jersey district attorney, the man the couple hired not only did not plan to accomplish the job he was hired to perform, he also lied about being a certified contractor.

This is just one of the horror stories that happens every day. In order to keep yourself from falling victim to these scams you need to be prepared when picking which contractor to hire. In my free Remodeling Hell Salvation Guide I list 25 important questions to ask when choosing a contractor.

All are important, but the first five are:

1. How long have you been in the business?
2. Can you provide me with a list of references of jobs you've completed similar to mine?
3. What percentage of your business is repeat business?
4. Have you done work in my area before?
5. How many other jobs will you be working on simultaneously with mine?

To find out the other 20 important questions and other ways to avoid Remodeling Hell check out my free Remodeling Hell Salvation Guide (link to site).

Sunday, January 31, 2010

plumbing---never get your plumber mad

leaky pipes---there could be 100's of reasons but some you might not think of include that those leaks are there on purpose!
remember that plumber you insulted, did'nt pay fully, the one you thumbed your nose up at--well he could have revenge after all.
that pipe he replaced---it looks fine and works fine when you tried it but he intentionally left off the glue that would hold that new pipe together with the old pipe. It didn't fail for 2 months but when it did the damage was enormus.
new pipes needed, new drywall,new carpets,new paint etc.
you must know who you hire and treat them with respect if not you could havethose leaky pipes! will save you $1,000's potentially!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

review from a reader 1-10

I have been buying, remodeling and selling homes for the better part of thirty years. A friend of mine told me to read "Remodeling Hell" by Charles Irion. I have thanked that friend on numerous occassions and I thank Irion for writing the book. I wish he would have written it a long time ago. I'd have had a lot fewer headaches that came from dealing with contractors and sub-contractors. Irion writes from his own remodeling experiences and couldn't have told this story and the truth any better. It was informative and yet entertaining. If you, or anyone you know has plans to remodel, whether it's one room or an entire house, has to read "Remodeling Hell" first. You'll be glad and then you'll thank me for telling you about it ...oh, and you'll thank Charles Irion for writing it too. GREAT READ! Sincerely, Raymond (avid Irion fan) Cardi