Existing conditions in a house can radically change the budget and scope of a renovation, as sometimes something as seemingly simple as adding an additional outlet to a room can result in the rewiring of an entire home. If you know, for example, that you occasionally blow a fuse when you turn on your hairdryer and have the dryer going on at the same time, that should be a hint that you may need to upgrade your electrical system. 
Before you enter into a home improvement contract, the contractor must inform you of all required building or construction permits. If the contractor is doing general construction work, such as siding, insulation, and roofing, on one or two-family homes and will be obtaining the building permits, the contractor must have a Dwelling Contractor Certification and a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier Certification from the Department of Safety and Professional Services, (608) 266-2112.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter's tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!
Air quality isn't just about the conditions outdoors. If you have older carpets in your home, they might be hiding contaminants and allergens. The first step to determine if these need replacing is to hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality. If the results prove that your carpets should be replaced, choose environmentally friendly natural products like tile or laminate floors. Hard-surface floors are much easier to keep clean, don't hold odors, give your home an updated look and, in general, are more appealing to buyers.
Even if you’re planning a spring or summer remodel, don’t bank on having gorgeous weather to do it. Be sure to check the long and short-term forecasts before beginning a job, and schedule jobs that require outside access, like spray painting or wood cutting on days that have the best outlook. Consider heat and cold on days you may have to cut power to your furnace or air conditioner for comfortable working conditions and be sure to stay alert to unexpected changes in the weather.

Task Lighting: Under-cabinet lighting should be on your must-do list, since cabinets create such dark work areas. And since you’re remodeling, there won’t be a better time to hard-wire your lights. (Here’s more about under-cabinet lights.) Plan for at least two fixtures per task area to eliminate shadows. Pendant lights are good for islands and other counters without low cabinets. Recessed lights and track lights work well over sinks and general prep areas with no cabinets overhead.
Worn, tired carpet will not only turn off homebuyers, but it can make you feel worn and tired too. Replace it with the hottest trend in flooring: renewable, environmentally friendly bamboo. Solid-surface floors are easy to keep clean and give your home an upscale look and feel. Green flooring choices, like bamboo, minimally impact the environment and are a big selling point to today's environmentally conscious homebuyers.
Learning which items to spend your money on goes hand-in-hand with making a realistic budget and determining a sensible scope of work. The earlier you can make this determination, the more likely you will stay on track with costs. Think about which items you will use most frequently, as these are products that might be worth the higher price-tag. If you're on a tight budget, you might want to save on cosmetic finishings, as these items can be easily changed with time.

Don't underestimate the importance of lighting in a bathroom. Sconce lighting at the vanity is the ideal way to get even lighting on your face, and installing it at eye level will help diminish unflattering shadows. Dim lighting is nice for a relaxing bath; bright lights are great for shaving or applying makeup. Adding more overall lighting can make a small bathroom seem larger.
"A remodeling project is going to affect every room in the house," says A. J. Paron-Wildes, general manager of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. "The homeowners need to take down pictures, move vases, and pack away valuables before work begins." While you're at it, take steps to protect your immovable fixtures, including built-in cabinets and chandeliers. Have flooring covered with cardboard sheets if it needs to stay in good condition.
If you were offered $100,000, no strings attached, what home improvements would you do? Chances are, a long laundry list of changes come to mind, from refinishing the hardwood floors to adding a new bathroom. Some home improvements, however, are more likely to increase your home's value than others. Although you shouldn't think of your home as an investment, with limited home improvement funds, it's good to consider whether a project has a decent return on investment.
Although it probably sounds a little intimidating, most people can switch out a light fixture safely and successfully, if they’re careful and follow the instructions. And what a difference fresh lighting makes, especially in the bathroom! This DIY bathroom remodel idea is small and simple, and it can often be done in under an hour, and it really makes such a difference in the brightness and updated feel of the bathroom. Lighting is key in the bathroom, so be sure you’re opting for light that is bright enough, but not too bright, and also designed for high-moisture areas.
Before you enter into a home improvement contract, the contractor must inform you of all required building or construction permits. If the contractor is doing general construction work, such as siding, insulation, and roofing, on one or two-family homes and will be obtaining the building permits, the contractor must have a Dwelling Contractor Certification and a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier Certification from the Department of Safety and Professional Services, (608) 266-2112.

Learning which items to spend your money on goes hand-in-hand with making a realistic budget and determining a sensible scope of work. The earlier you can make this determination, the more likely you will stay on track with costs. Think about which items you will use most frequently, as these are products that might be worth the higher price-tag. If you're on a tight budget, you might want to save on cosmetic finishings, as these items can be easily changed with time.
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