The media brings us a flood of new information daily on home building trends, market analysis, and new technological innovations. We've pared down the list to a few of our favorites... take a look, then we encourage you to keep exploring on your own. The links at the bottom of the page are some of the most helpful (and reputable) industry sites.
Remodeling Cost vs. Value Study 2011 shows that
garage door replacement ranks in the top 5 exterior home improvement projects, netting a 71% cost return at resale, on average, nationwide. Read more...
An uptick in remodeling is being driven by the inability to sell one's home.
However, the projects aren't flashy, but more focused on fixing existing problems and increasing comfort, according to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. Read more...
HOME STAR, a.k.a, "Cash for Caulkers"
- from the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board
: HOME STAR is designed to encourage homeowners to weatherize their homes in order to create more than 500,000 new jobs. This program has potential to live beyond only a government incentive as homeowners come to better understand the deep energy savings potential of one-time home energy improvements. Read the PERAB memo... and watch a video of Obama declare "Insulation is sexy"
"Get the biggest bang for your energy bucks" - The Washington Post, 12/5/09: An Austin architect offers his view on the most cost-effective and practical ways to reduce energy use in the home. What may be somewhat surprising to potential homeowners is tha tthe most cost-effective strategies "come into play at the beginning of a new-home project". Read the article here.
"Deep Energy Cuts for a Fresh Start"
- Home Energy Magazine:
Asdal Builders achieved an 80% reduction in energy use in an existing home without sacrificing the comfort of the occupants. Read more..
"A Little Knowledge"
- Wall Street Journal
: If consumers know exactly how much energy they are consuming, they tend to use less. This is the premise behind power companies' new strategy to reduce energy use during peak times. PSE&G recently began installing advanced meters that give consumers greater ability to see their power use, then upped rates during peak times. Energy use fell drastically among the test group. Read more...
"Shedding Light on Solar"
- Wall Street Journal
: This helpful question and answer-format article addresses typical concerns with solar panel installation, why it costs what it costs, federal tax rebates, and many other topics that someone who is considering solar panels might need to know. Read more...
"Builders Zero In on New Goal of Energy-Neutral Housing"
- Wall Street Journal, 12/24/09
: A new shift in the green building movement is leading us towards net-zero construction, that is, projects that are "designed to use only about as much power from the public grid as they can save or produce on their own". Read more...
"Will Upgrading Your Home Help You Sell It?
- Wall Street Journal: As the housing market continues its downturn, many banks are rethinking construction loans and overall remodeling numbers are down. This doesn't mean all remodeling is a waste of money. Home improvements that help a property stand out in a glut of newly built houses and foreclosed properties are most likely to pay off now, as are those that make a house lower-maintenance or more energy-efficient. Read more...
"Remodelers In Limbo"
- Wall Street Journal
: As the credit crunch gets tighter, home-equity lines of credit are drying up, crippling homeowners' plans for improvements. Here's what to do if your bank pulls the plug. Read more...
Move vs. Improve - A homeowner analysis tool (an Excel file) developed by Bill Asdal. Following the instructions in the file, compile a list of important considerations in your home, rank them. This simple formula helps to quantify the difficult decision of "move vs. improve."
Mortgages - A Wells Fargo mortgage tools site: try their mortgage calculator, rent vs. buy calculator, and other finance-related resources.
Trade Organizations/ Manufacturers
National Assoc. of Home Builders - This links to their "For Consumers" page: NAHB is a professional organization of home builders and remodelers. Its page for consumers guides you through every stage of homeownership, from building, to financing, to buying, and remodeling. It also has a very helpful FAQ page.
Professional Builder Magazine - An industry leader in building information, this website provides current building news, new products and current research in the building field.
Andersen Windows & Doors - A doors and windows manufacturer. Use their website for design ideas, to learn about the different types of windows and doors, and for service issues.
Kohler Kitchen & Baths - This plumbing fixtures manufacturer has a website that allows you to explore new trends, see idea homes, and helps you select the fixtures, designs and colors that you want installed in your own home.