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Step 1 - Planning

Step 2 - Financing

Step 3 - Selecting

Step 4 - Buying

Step 5 - Owning


Step #5: Owning

Welcome Home! Step #4 was a steep one, wasn�t it? Whew! But now you have finally made it into the ranks of the 67 million U.S. homeowners. Congrats! Pat yourself on the back.

In this final phase of the First Real Home course we introduce you to the sometimes humbling, sometimes exciting, but always-in-your-face Real Business of learning to be a successful homeowner-slash-money-manager. You�ll learn about cost-effective remodeling options and the smartest ways of working with home improvement Contractors. Regular home maintenance � or fees for building upkeep � will be a permanent part of your life now. The purpose of this course segment is to get your newest life adventure safely off the ground and on the right footing.

Here's an outline of what's in store for you in this section:

Rule 2:
Think & Do Reminder
Developing a Realistic Budget
Do You Qualify for Do-It-Yourself-ing?
Cost-Effective Cosmetic Changes
Hunting the Elusive 'Reputable Remodeler'
Consumer Protection Tip
Ways to Trim Remodeling Costs
Graduation Day!

Plan Now For the Inevitable

Feeling Couch Potato Urges?

No Way, Jose!

So, you�ve finally gotten moved into your new home. If you think the hard part�s over and all you have to do now is flop back, relax and watch the tube � think again. Any minute now the new homeowner "nesting instinct" is going to kick-in. Like clockwork. It�s a statistical fact. The vast majority of new homeowners remodel within 18 months from the date of purchase, almost as if they�d been given a post-hypnotic suggestion. They can�t help themselves.

Answering Nature's Call

Studies strongly suggest that the desire to personalize our territory, den, nest or castle may be anciently and indelibly ingrained or built into our biological homebody patterning. Don�t imagine you�ll be able to easily side-step your new homeowner instincts, because those urges quite possibly may be locked into your DNA;-) If you can accept the fact that sooner or later you WILL feel the irresistible urge to remodel and, if you prepare yourself properly for it, answering Nature�s Nesting Call can be one of the most satisfying pleasures of homeownership.

The Rational Rules of Remodeling

There IS a rational, sane and sensible way to explore, research and balance the inevitable wishes, wants and needs of home improvement. If you methodically follow these practical rules, you won�t accidentally break the bank or succumb to an impulsive or over-the-top home improvement that you can�t afford, or whose cost can�t be recouped at re-sale.

The Rational Rules of Remodeling consist of four straight-forward sets of logical questions and answers. We�ll raise the right questions and issues you should consider. The unique-to-your-situation answers you arrive at will provide the perimeter, parameters and financial structure of all of your home improvement objectives and needs, while you own this home.

Rule 1:

How Long Do You Plan to Stick Around?

We know. That sounds like a dumb question. You just GOT here, right? But knowing how long you expect to live in your home will affect how much money you should invest in it. If you�re going to stay in the house for more than ten years, you can and should spend as much as you can afford to create the home of your dreams. However, if you expect or plan to move in the near future, you should take care not to overbuild for your neighborhood.

Just Keep Up with the Joneses!

Check out the real estate comparisons in your neighborhood and keep your investment in line with the average home sales price, if selling is on your mind. You don�t want to invest thousands of dollars you won�t be able to recoup at closing. Some remodeling projects and home improvements are worth more than others. You may really want to add a custom library in your home, but it may not raise your home�s value. Renovating a kitchen and bath are almost always good investments, provided you don�t go overboard. How much return you get on your home improvement dollar will vary depending on your home, your neighborhood and the types of changes you make.

Rule Two...



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