Why Move When You Can Improve? Time to Renovate Is Now

Don't let the slow real estate market keep you from having the home of your dreams. You don't have to move, you just need to improve. And this is the perfect time to do so.

Never before have all the stars been so perfectly aligned to facilitate the remodeling needed to give you your perfect palace. Materials costs have been lowered to increase sales, building contractors have reduced their fees to attract more clients, and interest rates are the lowest they have ever been. If you've ever wanted to tackle a home improvement task, this is the time to do so.

Here are five good places to start:

1. Kitchen Remodel
-- If your kitchen is tired and run down, this is a great time to remodel it. Cabinet manufacturers are pricing more competitively, granite prices have fallen, and contractors are itching to work. The contractors that were busy building homes during the housing boom are now fighting each other to get the kitchen remodeling jobs, and the homeowner is the one who wins. Since it is the kitchen that is said to sell the home, the improvements you make now will benefit you greatly when the market turns around and you put your home on the market.

2. Bathroom Remodel -- No longer just a place to shower and shave, bathrooms have been elevated to spa status. If your bathroom doesn't measure up, this is a fantastic time to bring it up to date. Popular improvements this year include heated flooring, natural materials such as stone and wood, multiple shower heads with massaging jets, higher counters with vessel sinks, and soft colors with mood lighting for that ultimate spa experience.

3. Bedroom Addition -- There is always great value in adding another bedroom to your home. Whether you create an ultimate master retreat, a welcoming guest room, or a home office, the extra room will always increase your profits when you go to sell. The long line of craftsmen needed to implement a room addition are all willing to bargain now to get your job. From the architect to the contractor, to the carpet salesman, they are all offering the best deals in years.

4. Decks -- Outdoor entertaining is a huge trend with homeowners, and adding a deck is a great way to welcome your friends to the great outdoors. From a simple square deck to a multi-level masterpiece featuring an outdoor kitchen, materials and labor costs have come down to make this an ideal time to take on that outdoor living project.

5. Go Green -- The government offers a $1,500 tax credit for energy-efficient home improvements. This credit applies to replacing standard heaters, air conditioners, water heaters, windows, and doors with new Energy Star-rated units. It also applies to home insulation and roofing improvements. While the government doesn't offer a tax credit on low-flow toilets or energy efficient lighting, making these home improvements will save on your utility bills in the long run.

I hope you can see the many advantages to making your home improvements now. You get to enjoy a beautifully improved home, while contracting the services at depressed prices, finance with record-low rates and you will be able to inflate the value of the improvements once the real estate market turns around. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. She creates one of a kind interiors that reflect your taste, lifestyle and budget. Follow on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

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