If you're thinking about remodeling, you can save about a third of the costs by doing some of the unglamorous jobs yourself. All you need is a good pair of work gloves, lots of elbow grease and plenty of patience.
The homeowners of this bungalow jack-hammered concrete steps, removed windows, tore siding off the house, insulated each room, helped install new siding and roofing, and primed and painted all the wood trim. Outside, the enterprising couple landscaped the yard, laid a brick patio, and built an arbor and fence. For safety reasons, the professionals' roles included those tasks that needed to meet code, such as electrical wiring, plumbing, and framing.
The homeowners also cleaned up the garbage every night and made countless trips to the dump. But their hard work saved enough money so they could spend it on a few important investments: an architect, a Wolf range and Pella windows. Although architects usually earn a percentage of the price of a remodeling project, these savvy homeowners struck a deal with him, paying a flat fee for the design and plans and saved some money there, too.
Remodeling the house took six years and lots of sore muscles but the result is a home where this industrious couple can finally, really relax.