You have the resources to turn your house into the dream home you’ve always wanted. Now what? Here are some tips to help you plan your Home ImprovementHome Improvement
 Compile your wish list. Prioritize your list by identifying what projects and features are important to you and your lifestyle. Use your home improvement list to determine the scope and  budget of your remodel. Consider breaking your project into phases to make it more manageable if you have a big list. 
  • Select your contractor—carefully. Personal and professional referrals can help you narrow your search for a quality contractor. Find someone you trust professionally, who understands your taste, budget and lifestyle. Make sure your contractor has the bandwidth of employees or subcontractors to complete the work in a timely fashion.

    Set your budget, with contingencies. Renovation projects—especially those involving older homes—often reveal surprises that require you to reevaluate your budget and timeline. For best success, allocate 15 to 20 percent of the project estimate for contingencies. If the project nears completion with your contingency budget still in place, you could upgrade the finishing touches.

    Review the contract before signing. Once you’ve agreed on the scope of work and how contingencies will be handled, your contractor should provide a detailed contract that clearly documents key features or unique aspects of the project. Check that it includes a lien waiver clause, which ensures subcontractors and suppliers will have been paid before you make final payment.

    Understand how you’ll pay. Most contractors require a down payment to get your project rolling. The remaining budget is usually paid in regular installments or as major work is completed (i.e. electrical work, plumbing). The difference between these options can be significant. Review your budget with a financial professional who can help you manage your cash flow.

    Keep home improvement receipts on file. Energy efficiency improvements resulting from your renovation may be eligible for tax credits through 2016. And if you sell your home down the road, your remodeling costs may help reduce your capital gains tax. To be eligible, these expenses must enhance the value of your home and not be for general upkeep.

    This article is brought to you by guest writer:

    Renovation Peter LevyPete Levy, ChFC, a  Financial  Advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Woodstock, GA.  He offers fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 12 years. To contact him, call 770-591-7700 or visit his office at 345 Creekstone Ridge, Woodstock, GA 30188.

    Website is

    Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser.

    Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC

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    P.S. If you would like to get an assessment of your home’s value for any home in the Marietta real estate or Kennesaw real estate markets, call the Jeff Buffo Team today at 678-522-3850 or contact us here: Contact

    P.P.S. For design ideas, see our earlier article about shopping at our neighborhood Lowe’s Home Improvement Center