You want to change the look and feel of your house, but you also want your remodeling job to look fresh for a number of years and complement the existing features of your home. How do you choose the right project and design for you and your family?
First, take your family’s lifestyle into account when selecting an area of your home to remodel. For example, if you get a lot of traffic through the house, consider hardwood floors. Families who frequently entertain in the kitchen may want to expand the room and add an island or some comfortable chairs. If your bathroom is the place where you escape the world, add a whirlpool tub or a deluxe shower.
After you’ve chosen an area of your home to remodel, the wide array of project options can be both dazzling and intimidating. To get started, consult the resources below, which can give you specific ideas on how to turn your house into the dream home you’ve always wanted.
TV Shows: There are an increasing number of shows and channels focused on decorating and simple home improvement projects to more complex remodels or home makeovers. For example, HGTV features projects that evolve from start to finish on shows like “Buying and Selling” and “Curb Appeal”; check your local television guide for listings.
Magazines: Magazines that cater to home improvement, lifestyle and remodeling can be an excellent source of ideas. Page through publications such as Dwell, Home, House Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Food and Wine, Country Living, Ladies' Home Journal and Good Housekeeping to identify projects and materials that might work in your home. Additionally, you can request a wide range of free or inexpensive literature by completing the mail-in coupons inserted in such publications.
Websites/Blogs: Surfing the Web is a great way to find fresh ideas and to research projects. Many remodelers, manufacturers and magazines host websites that feature project photos, buying guides and product information. Web directories such as the NAHB Remodelers Directory can help you find professional remodelers in your area. Other sites such as Pinterest and Houzz have extensive photo collections for inspiration. And, an increasing number of DIY and design blogs created by homeowners themselves can also provide inspiration for simple projects you can do around the house.
Sketches and Floor Plans: No two remodeling projects are the same, but you can gain some insight into how another homeowner solved a space problem by carefully studying sketches and floor plans. If, like most people, you are easily confused by plans and drawings, imagine yourself in the middle of the room or space on the plan.
Books: Browse a bookstore with a well-stocked home improvement section, but beware of books telling you to be your own remodeling contractor. Most remodeling projects call for a level of skill and work hours beyond those stated in these books. The job of a professional remodeler requires experience and competence in a wide range of disciplines, and unless you are highly skilled and licensed in all the trades, you can quickly get in over your head.
Newspapers: Most newspapers publish regular sections devoted to real estate, home design and remodeling. Also, twice a year — usually in the spring and fall — many papers print special home improvement supplements. Each of these sections contains timely articles and useful advertisements on remodeling, home improvement, repair and maintenance.
Friends, Family and Neighbors: Do you know someone who has recently remodeled their home in a style you admire? He or she may still have product manuals, magazines and other helpful information you can borrow, as well as practical advice drawn from his or her own experience.
Remodeling Professionals: One of the advantages of choosing a remodeler early is gaining access to an extensive library of resources prior to starting a project. Once you’ve chosen a contractor, he or she usually can offer you a wide variety of materials, including product manuals, magazines, brochures and blueprints.
Manufacturers and Suppliers: The most obvious place to find information about new products and how to use them is on manufacturers’ Web sites and in magazine ads. Lumberyards, hardware stores and other suppliers also can be valuable sources of information. Many suppliers now offer home planning centers, where you can browse comfortably among the following:
Find more information on planning your remodeling project or to find a professional remodeler in our Remodeling section.
Homeownership is an important part of the American way of life, and there may never be a better time to buy than today.
With the country still emerging from the recent recession, many people wonder if this is a good time to buy a home.
The answer is easy: Yes. It’s a very good time to purchase a home.
There are many opportunities in today’s market including low mortgage rates and new homes that are built to fit your lifestyle. But market conditions can change, and these opportunities may not be around for long, so home buyers shouldn’t wait.
And despite the housing downturn, home owners still place high value on owning a home, and recommend homeownership to others.
Low Interest Rates
Today’s historically low interest rates are helping home buyers find affordable housing options. But, it's important to keep in mind that interest rates are sensitive to market forces and can change quickly. There’s no indication that rates will suddenly surge upward, but even a slight rate increase can push monthly payments to the point that a buyer might miss out on their first choice for a new home.
Large Downpayments Not Necessary
While lenders are looking more closely at borrowers today than in recent years, there are options for purchasing your home without a 20% downpayment. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers loans to first-time home buyers with downpayments as low as 3.5%. However, these loans require mortgage insurance.
To ensure that the process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having financing in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.
Built to Fit Your Lifestyle
Designed to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles, new homes – including urban condos and single-family homes – feature open floor plans, flexible spaces, low-maintenance materials and other amenities that make them more appealing than ever before.
With energy costs near the top of consumer concerns, it’s good to know that new homes can be more energy efficient than ever. Innovative materials and construction techniques mean that today’s new homes are built to be much more energy efficient than homes constructed a generation ago. Not only can they be more affordable to operate, new homes also are significantly more resource efficient and environmentally friendly.
And in many areas, prospective home buyers who wish to live in age-qualified communities for those 55 and older will find a large selection of homes tailored to the evolving lifestyles of the baby boom generation.
Benefits for Home Owners
Homeownership also provides important benefits to owners.
Unique tax benefits that apply only to housing help lower the cost of homeownership. Both mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible. Moreover, for married couples, profits of up to $500,000 on the sale of a principal residence ($250,000 for single taxpayers) are excluded from tax on capital gains.
Leveraging is another advantage of homeownership. A buyer can purchase a home and receive the full benefit of homeownership with a cash downpayment that is only a fraction of the total purchase price. This is called leveraging, and it makes the rate of return on a home purchase greater than on other purchases with the same value, such as stocks, where the buyer must put up the entire price.
For most Americans, homeownership is a primary source of net worth and an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term. Although property values have declined in many markets, Americans have more than $10.8 trillion of equity in their homes, and for most families, home equity represents the largest share of net worth.
Although there are many positive financial aspects to homeownership, a home cannot be valued in monetary terms alone. Not only can homeownership be a stepping stone to greater financial well-being, it provides a permanent place to call home and great personal satisfaction.
Academic research also shows that homeownership provides a wide range of social benefits and strengthens the nation’s people and its communities.
Homeownership is truly a cornerstone of the American way of life.
While NAHB has used its best efforts to provide accurate information, NAHB makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or comprehensiveness of this brochure’s contents. NAHB specifically disclaims any implied warranties. The information provided in this document may not be suitable or applicable to your unique circumstances. You should consult with a qualified professional when applying this information to your own situation. NAHB will not be liable for any loss of profits or damages, including incidental, consequential, special or other damages.
The terminology for energy-efficient homes can be very technical and confusing to home owners. Here are some simple definitions to help you understand popular energy-saving options for your home.
A home that uses less energy than a traditional home without compromising service to owners and occupants.
Energy efficiency can be achieved through things such as improved thermal envelopes, solar-oriented construction, low-e windows and efficient appliances. Note that energy efficiency and energy conservation are different in that conservation efforts reduce or eliminate services to save energy.
Learn how efficient your home is now and ways to improve your home's efficiency with ENERGY STAR's Home Energy Yardstick.
Net Zero-Energy Home
A home in which energy production and consumption are equivalent. That means the energy produced by the home must meet the household's needs. Rooftop solar panels are perhaps the most common way for homes to produce energy.
To help achieve net-zero energy, the home should be designed using a holistic, whole-house approach that strives for efficiency and reduces energy consumption without sacrificing service or comfort. To see examples of zero-energy homes, take a look at Kaupuni Village in Hawaii.
Net Zero-Energy-Ready Home
A home that is outfitted with the necessary structural and technological support to install energy-producing technologies.
Net zero energy-ready homes are appropriate for home owners who plan to install energy-producing technology in the future but do not have the means or desire to do so at the current time. When the home owner is ready to install such technology, it will be a much simpler process.
Net Positive-Energy Home A home that produces more energy than the household needs. A home owner could receive credit from their utility company for the excess energy returned to the grid that is produced by the energy technologies and saved by energy-efficiency measures.