Remodeling
Located in nearby Boulder, the Boulder Green Builder Guild “is an association of building professionals dedicated to promoting healthier, resource-efficient homes and workplaces.” The guild provides resources for consumers and contractors as well as a member directory to find the best green-minded contractor for you and your new home.

Energy Star Builders build to certain specifications set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A new Energy Star–qualified home performs better for the homeowner and the environment thanks to a variety of energy-efficient features. Energy savings are based on heating, cooling and hot water energy use and typically are achieved through a combination of building envelope upgrades, high-performance windows, controlled-air infiltration, upgraded heating and air-conditioning systems, tight duct systems and upgraded water heating equipment. Learn more at www.energystar.gov.

Energy-Efficient Mortgages (EEMs) are available for homebuyers purchasing energy-efficient homes. EEMs allow buyers to qualify for larger home loans based on quantifiably low monthly energy bills. Ask your lender to explain the EEM products provided by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). It is even possible to refinance a home with an EEM to make it more energy efficient. Visit www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/eem/energy-r.cfm to learn more.

DEVELOPING A REALISTIC REMODELING BUDGET
Review the following simple tips from NARI about developing a budget.

— Determine What You Can Afford
It may seem obvious, but often homeowners may expect a remodeling contractor to create the budget for them. This is not a good idea. Following are some better ways to begin the process:
  • Keep a reserve. Once you determine how much you can afford to spend on a remodeling job, decrease that amount by 10–20 percent. This reserve should be put away to cover any change orders or incidental charges accrued along the way. This will prevent a frantic scramble for additional funds at the end of the project.
  • Keep “change orders” to a minimum. It is easy for a homeowner to say, “A little more on this fixture doesn’t matter. It’s very little money.” Unfortunately, having that attitude also makes it easy to overextend a prepared budget. While it’s rare that any remodeling project proceeds without a single change order, homeowners can keep them to a minimum by sticking to their original plans. A change order is a written document detailing any requests to alter, change or remove any items in the contract or project. There are four key origins of a change order:
  1. The homeowner initiates one because they have changed their mind about the design or a specific product.
  2. Unexpected damage was found (e.g., termites).
  3. A code violation is uncovered that affects the project.
  4. The proverbial “while you’re at it…” phrase can annihilate a budget. While it’s tempting for a homeowner to have his remodeling contractor complete handiwork, it’s good to remember that any work not specified in the original contract will have an additional cost attached to it.

FINANCING
If the job requires financing, shop around for the best terms on the financing, including the interest rate, terms of the payout and finance charges. As with any financing agreement, you should calculate the entire cost of interest and charges for the term of the loan.

A home-improvement company may offer financing, but this is not necessarily the best option even though it may seem easy to arrange the financing and the work contract at the same time. Be aware that some contractors will have you sign a credit contract to pay a certain price for the work plus a finance charge then immediately sell the right to collect on the contract for 20–50 percent less than the contract price. That usually means you could have gotten the work done for 20–50 percent less by paying cash or arranging financing yourself.

Check with your bank and credit union to learn about loan programs and interest rates. Ask your real estate agent and insurance agent for mortgage broker referrals and check the business pages in local publications for any advertised promotions from lending institutions.

   
1
2
3
4
5
 
Chapters
Thanks to a stable economy, Denver continues to ...
Now that you’re relocating to the Denver area, ...
The 10-county Denver-Aurora-Lakewood Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), more ...
QUALITY OF LIFE Called the Mile-High City, Queen City ...
The quality of education your child receives is ...
Although a newcomer to the Denver region, you ...
Staying healthy is the key to enjoying life. ...
In this chapter, you’ll find information on different ...
It’s been a hectic week as you learned ...
Denver is the largest city in Colorado and ...
You’ve just received exciting news. Along with your ...
While house hunting in Denver, you and your ...
Purchasing a house is a big decision to ...
Denver’s mild climate and beautiful location makes it ...
Many people relocate to Denver each year for ...
If you want the best view of the ...