Advantages of Remodeling Now
Rising energy costs and a middling economy have dampened consumer confidence, but for many homeowners, recent adjustments to the market may actually have a silver lining. For homeowners who've been looking to make updates to their property, there are a number of reasons that make this an attractive time to tackle a remodeling project.
While it's unlikely that a contractor will offer to remodel your bathroom or finish your basement for fifty cents on the dollar, many are offering deals to encourage homeowners to invest in their services. Some companies are offering rebates or discounts to attract business. Others are simply more open to negotiating the bottom line. Generally speaking the better deals are for smaller projects, but exceptions can be found.
Shorter Waits, Faster Timelines
With new construction slowing in many areas and fewer homeowners funneling money into their own remodeling projects, many contractors have more time to take on new work. In years past homeowners often had to take a spot at the end of the line with their contractor of choice, as many companies had a backlog of work. In some cases start dates were set weeks or months out, and the total timeline for a project could be extensive if the contractor was working multiple projects at once.
Today, many companies are more able to schedule projects to begin in the short term. Timelines too are becoming more flexible.
Hiring the Best
During periods of construction boom, the average homeowner can have a tough time securing the services of the best local contractors. At those times the consumer has to compete for the contractor's business. While the situation is not completely reversed today, the average homeowner does stand a much greater chance of hiring a top-notch remodeling contractor than would have been possible even a year or two ago. Quality contractors are looking for new avenues of business, even if it means taking on minor jobs that may not have been on their radar in the recent past
Saving Money on Your Summer Road Trip
Americans have loved the open road seemingly from the day that the automobile was invented. This year, the rising cost of gas could threaten one of the season's most cherished traditions: the summer road trip. Here are some fuel-saving (and cost-cutting) tips for summer's road warriors.
- Plan Shorter, Smarter Trips - While you don't have to stay sequestered at home this summer, it might not be the year to plan your cross-country odyssey along Route 66. The simplest way to save money on your money road trip is to shorten the distance traveled. If your family makes an annual trek to the coast, look for lakefront vacations closer to home. If your family has a favorite camping spot, check around for similar outdoor opportunities nearer to you. Less time on the road will help you cut costs (and may help you preserve your sanity).
- Car Choices - If you have more than one vehicle, of course you'll want to choose the most fuel-efficient option whenever only one car is needed. If you need to transport a large group, however, you may save gas by packing everyone into one larger, less fuel efficient vehicle rather than splitting everyone into two smaller, more efficient cars.
- In Tune - Keeping up with car maintenance is a cost effective way to improve the vehicle's fuel efficiency. By scheduling regular tune ups, checking and changing dirty air filters, using the recommend motor oil and keeping tires inflated to factory specifications, you can improve fuel economy by as much as 19% overall.
Equivalent Gas Savings:
-Regular Tune Ups $.15 per gallon
-Clean Air Filters: $.37 per gallon
-Fully Inflated Tires: up to $.11 per gallon
-Using Correct Motor Oil: $.04 to $.07 per gallon
- Fuel Smart - Only use the grade of gas required for your car (as stated in the owners manual). Putting premium fuel into a car that recommends regular won't help your fuel efficiency and will hurt you more at the pump. If Premium is recommended but not required, fueling up with regular should not result in any significant change in engine performance.
- Ideal Speed - Each vehicle reaches optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), but in general mileage decreases rapidly as you pass 60mph.
Equivalent Gas Savings: $.26-.$86 per gallon (for each 5mph over 60mph)
- Avoid Traffic - While no one seeks out traffic, getting stuck in gridlock burns fuel needlessly. Idling gets 0 miles a gallon, and larger engines usually waste more gas idle than smaller models.
- Cruise Control/Overdrive - Cruise control can help you avoid unnecessary acceleration and deceleration (which wastes gas), while using the overdrive gearing lowers your car's engine speed (which both improves gas efficiency and reduces engine wear).
- Packing Light - Every 100lbs added to your vehicle's weight reduces fuel economy by 1-2%. Extra weight affects smaller cars more drastically than larger vehicles.
Equivalent Gas Savings: $.04-$.07/gallon for each 100lbs
- Packing Right - While roof racks and roof-top bins are useful, they increase your car's drag and can sap the fuel economy by as much as 21%. Even empty roof-rack cross bars cut fuel efficiency by around 1%. Pack only what you can fit inside your vehicle and remove empty roof-racks if possible.
- Gas Prices at Your Destination - When trying to budget your transportation costs, don't forget that the gas pumps at your destination may not be as forgiving (or, perhaps, as staggering) as those in your neighborhood. If you're trying to keep costs down, keep an eye on gas prices around the endpoint of your trip and along your route (should you need to refuel along the way).
Patricia " PATTIE" Romano
RE/MAX At Barnegat Bay
31 North Main Street ( RT 9 )
eve: 609-978-5985 - till midnight
Toll free-(888) 860-9177