There's no reason horses or remodeling should be scary - Stebnitz Builders, Delavan

A long-time friend of mine, Bridget McCarthy, writes a regular blog offering insight in to her life and the many interesting things she encounters as she is "stumbling toward perfect". The blog is very funny and worth the read if you have a chance.

This is not just a plug for my friend's blog, although if you stop by, mention I sent you. I'm hoping if enough of you check in, I just might get my own free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation. But, I'll work on that later.

Bridget wrote in her latest blog about how she REALLY needs her one-bathroom home renovated so it would fit the lifestyle of two adults and three growing children. In other words, she was tired of not being able to take time for herself and shower in peace. But she is nervous. In fact, the words she used was "scared to remodel" - as scared as she was of horses, which might be just this side of strange, but admittedly, so is Bridget.

There's certainly reason for caution in choosing your contractor, which we've talked about before (how to choose the right contractor). But I know people like Bridget are also saying, "Why on earth should I remodel now?"

My good friend David Merrill from Merrill Contracting & Remodeling in the D.C. area answers it perfectly in his post,  "5 reasons why now is the BEST time to remodel". Bridget, I hope you're listening.

Have you been putting off a home remodeling project? Many homeowners have, thanks to uncertainty about the economy and home values. But things are changing in 2011! In fact, now might be the ideal time to remodel, according to experts at remodeling industry sources ranging from Angie’s List and Qualified Remodeler to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Here’s why:

1. Remodeling today may cost a lot less than waiting. Analysts predict that an upswing in energy costs will soon begin to inflate the cost to produce and ship building materials. When the prices of supplies rise, home remodelers have to raise their own prices just to stay even. If you move quickly, you can take advantage of today’s lower costs.

2. Home remodelers are starting to get busy. After several “flat” years, home remodelers’ schedules are starting to fill up again. With demand expected to keep increasing throughout the year, it could be months before a remodeler can get started on your project. That means you’ll have to wait longer to enjoy your freshly remodeled living spaces and you could wind up paying more, too, as demand and the cost of materials both continue to rise.

3. Interest rates are still favorable. True, rates for mortgages and home equity loans are higher than in 2009 and 2010, but they’re still at historically low levels. The longer you wait, however, the higher those rates could go. In fact, Freddie Mac has warned that rates can be expected to climb throughout 2011. By acting now, you can achieve your home remodel before those interest rates start to rise – and get more for your remodeling dollar, to boot.

4. Home energy costs are on the rise. Home remodeling projects such as installing replacement windows can make a huge difference in how much it costs to heat and cool your home. You don’t have to focus exclusively on energy-specific projects, however, to see savings. For example, if you’re planning a home addition or whole-house remodel, it’s the ideal time to think about ways to incorporate “green” materials and construction techniques such as adding extra insulation in walls, choosing eco-friendly siding and making sure vents, doors and windows are properly installed and sealed. Making smart choices now can pay you back with lower energy and maintenance costs for years to come.

5. A higher “daily dividend". Many people put off remodeling until they’re thinking about putting their home on the market. But if you do it sooner rather than later, it also adds to the “daily dividend” of pleasure you get from that remodeling project. For example, if you’re thinking of selling your home in the next five to eight years, doing a kitchen remodel now lets you enjoy a beautiful design and better livability for all those years, compared to putting it off and suffering with a small, non-functional kitchen until just a year or two before you put your house on the market. Some homeowners put off the remodel because they don’t want the space to look dated for resale. The fact is, a good remodeling job will always add to the value of your home and with smart choices about design, appliances and fixtures, even a kitchen remodel can still look fresh when it’s time to think about selling.

Whether you live in Whitewater, Delavan, Lake Geneva, Williams Bay, Fontana or even in IL as far south as Lake In The Hills, the reasons to remodel now are the same. If you're considering a change to your home to better fit your lifestyle, call Stebnitz Builders at (800) 410-8027. We're ready to listen.

For fears on horses - try peanut butter. It worked for Wilbur.

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