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Money Savers

cut costs

How can you cut costs without compromising quality?

Whether you’re building a home from scratch or planning a remodel, doing home improvement or construction work can get costly very quickly. It’s unsurprising, then, that homeowners are always looking for ways to save money and cut down on their budget. However, there are many aspects of a construction budget that should never be compromised, and too often homeowners settle for shoddy work because of a savings opportunity. How can you cut back on your cost without compromising quality or, more importantly, safety? Our home experts have some suggestions for where you can save money. Get Professional Advice It may …

refuse project3

When should you refuse a project?

When you work in a service industry, you often find yourself at the mercy of your clients’ whims. Many homeowners do research into what trends are popular and what options are available to them beforehand, and sometimes they have bad information and want something that is either impractical or unsafe. Dealing with a situation where a customer wants you to circumvent the rules for a project can be a tricky, delicate process, and it’s a tough situation for both the homeowner who isn’t getting what he or she wanted, and for the professional who might even have to walk away …

winterize article

How do you winterize a home?

Last week, we asked our panel of home improvement experts about the best projects to prepare your home for the coming winter. We got a fantastic response that highlights winterization projects for the coldest regions of the country, but also for more temperate regions that may not get frozen but can definitely benefit from some cold season preparation. We’ve compiled as short list of our favorite tips below. Because we got such a good response, we’ve decided to make a winterization project infographic due for release late next week, so stay tuned! Protecting Pipes Freezing pipes are a nightmare for …

energy efficient cash

How can homeowners save on energy-efficient upgrades?

Last year, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $258 million in rebates were doled out to consumers who purchased Energy Star rated appliances. As a federally funded program, these rebates are no longer available. However, financial incentives are still available all across the country. State, county and city initiatives are encouraging citizens–with rebates, cash-back programs and steep discounts–to reduce their energy usage by upgrading to more efficient appliances. For consumers who are already thinking about making the green switch, these offers only sweeten the deal. Types of Equipment By far, the most common items for which rebates …

stay cool

What are your favorite creative cooling solutions?

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, residential air conditioning is responsible for nearly 5% of electricity consumption in the United States. That comes out to an annual cost of $15 billion. That level of usage also has a significant toll on the environment when you consider how much coal is burned to produce that much electricity. But rising annual temperatures make it hard to keep your hand off that chilly dial. For homeowners who want to stay comfortable when the mercury rises, we’ve compiled a handy guide with the help of our home improvement experts. Behavior One …

home estimates

Understanding Home Improvement Estimates

Even the simplest home improvement project requires advance planning. Homeowners need to choose a design and connect with a professional to make that design a reality, while staying on budget. Estimates help the planning process by creating a basic outline of work to be completed. Estimates include the cost of the project, how long it will take, what warranties are included and what materials will be used. Having a clear understanding of your estimate will go a long way to make your home improvement project run smoothly. The Basics Contractors are quick to point out that homeowners should understand what …

historic home

The Pros and Cons of Older Homes

One of the most important decisions that prospective homeowners need to make is whether to buy new or pre-owned. Just like used cars, older homes can represent a better value for homebuyers when small repair needs and outdated designs help drive down overall cost. Older homes may also have unique benefits, including superior build quality and distinctive style. The question is, what can you do to ensure that an old home still represents a good value? Inspection Our experts unanimously agreed that a thorough inspection is a necessity when considering an older home purchase. When getting an inspection, look for …

save money

The Best Ways to Save on Bills

We all get into a routine around our homes, and don’t stop to think about the little things we do automatically. But when it comes to saving on bills, it’s the small changes that can make a big difference. With that in mind, we’ve compiled the best tips from our experts for ways to increase your home’s efficiency.

buy home

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Home

Your new home will probably be the biggest purchase of your life, so it’s important to get it right. But with so many things to consider, sometimes buyers can get overwhelmed, and overlook important things. But eLocal is here to help! We polled our panel of experts for the most important (and least-remembered) things to do during the buying process, and were impressed by the wealth of information! We present the ultimate guide to what home buyers need to do to make the best decision: 1. Equip yourself with a dream team of professionals. • Home buying is not a …

home estimates

How To Compare Project Quotes

If you have ever solicited quotes for a home improvement project, you were probably more confused about what you were paying for than when you started. The more quotes you received the larger the variance between proposals. Pricing is in the details. Regardless of the type of project; siding replacement, window replacement, or any other home improvement; the price on the quote really doesn’t mean anything without knowing the specifications of ALL the work to be performed. For example, “replace all siding on the home” is not a specification. Describing the process of replacing the siding on your home would …