More Remodeling Tips: Cost Vs. Value

In our last post we discussed tips for remodeling that won’t break the bank. Another great tip that we want to share is the “Cost Vs. Value” report that is published annually by Remodeling Magazine and featured in the National Association of Realtors publication titled: REALTOR. This report offers a break down of average costs for common residential remodels (Cost) and then it also charts the average recoup on the investment (Value). While this report is only a tool, you can consider it a great resource as you contemplate remodeling your home. You can review the actual 2009-2010 report by clicking here. Be sure to click on your region (and your exact city when possible) to see information relevant to your geographic area.

If you have any questions, email!

Don’t Let Remodeling Break Your Bank – Five Ways to Save on Home Improvements

With a stymied economy and a slow housing market, many people are electing to stay put in their existing homes – with a little help from home improvement.  Spending on remodeling is expected to rise this year and we have a few tips to hold down expenses and still get the updates you want.

  1. Create a budget and plan and stick with it. Do a some research on the types of improvements you want and get a feel for both labor and materials costs. Use those numbers to create a basic budget that you know you can comfortably afford and then design a simple plan for making that happen. It will help your contractor understand your vision better and should keep you on track to stay within your spending limits.
  2. Choose contractors wisely. Get at least three bids and check references. There are also online resources, like Angie’s List, that can be used to screen potential contractors. The low bid may not necessarily be the best bid – get your estimates in writing and line them up against your preliminary plan.
  3. Do the demo and prep work yourself. If you have the ability to do some basic demo, such as removing old appliances or fixtures, wallpaper, or popcorn ceilings, you can save money and focus your contractor on specialized skills like carpentry and electrical. Disposing of used materials and trash yourself will also help keep your costs down.
  4. Use recycled materials. It may make sense to use recycled lumber and other materials – even recycled hardware can add a unique touch and may be much less expensive (and greener) than new.
  5. Make selections quickly and stay with them. Time is money to your contractor and any delays you insert into the process by delaying or changing your selections can layer cost on without you even realizing it. Look for the types of materials and the color selections you prefer during your planning phase and don’t change your mind mid-stream.

Updating your home can be a relatively simple and affordable process that can make your home more livable for you and more desirable for resale down the road. If you follow some basic strategies, you are sure to be pleased with the improvements and save money in the process.

If you would like to discuss what home improvements may be best for your property, send us an email at!


Diggers Hotline

Spring has Sprung and outdoor project planning has begun. Be Safe!

Before you dig – don’t forget to call Diggers Hotline “at least three working days before doing any excavation work.” It’s free and it’s required.

You will receive a confirmation number that provides legal proof that Diggers Hotline has been called prior to the onset of your project.

CALL 811 or (800) 242-8511

Madison Lighting and so much more…

Anytime I visit a locally owned store that stands out, I like to share it with my friends. I recently had a fantastic experience at Madison Lighting while picking out a bathroom sconce.

Lighting Consultant, Kathy Meyer, worked to find options that would fit my 1964 home – while adding my own style.  I was very surprised at the selection and even more, the array of lamps, large original oil paintings and mirrors for sale.  Kathy at Madison Lighting has earned a spot on my preferred vendors list – in just one visit! Contact Kathy at to see how a few new lighting selections can change the mood in your home!

Working with Small Spaces

When you are working with small spaces, creativity is needed to accommodate storage, while keeping it clutter free

In a very tiny space, door consume a large amount of room.  One idea is to swap your swinging door for one that slides. Apartment Therapy has some interesting ideas for sliding doors. Visit your local Restore or Deconstruction Inc, both in Madison, for door options.

Don’t be afraid to try something new!