Whether it's a bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling or a whole house remodel, it is never cheap. But did you know that the government and your utility companies will give you money to do it? Install new windows, doors, toilets, water heaters, air conditioners and other energy saving appliances and you don't just get a tax deduction, you get a credit for 30% of what it cost you to do the work. In addition, you can get rebates from your energy company and your state. Not only will you get the benefit of a new kitchen or bathroom, you'll be increasing the value of your house, and you'll have the extra benefit of saving on your energy bills. Take advantage of the economic stimulus package free money given to you by Congress before December of 2010 and you can have your house remodeled at a price you can afford.
Decide which areas of your house need remodeling or upgrading. (You get the most value out of kitchen and bath remodeling.) Write down the appliances that you want to replace. Think about windows, doors, insulation, air conditioning, water heaters, roof, weather-stripping and other areas of your home that need work. Does your kitchen need a new refrigerator, oven, dishwasher? How about your bathrooms? Can you use a new toilet or shower head? The government and your utility companies are more than happy to encourage you with money to buy more energy efficient appliances and fixtures in those areas.
Before you buy anything, check the government website to see the details and links to the products that qualify for credits. www.energystar.gov/taxcredits (See link below.) Make sure if you purchase a product on their list, you have the correct model and make. Not all Energy Star products qualify. If you buy the right brand, but the wrong model number number, you will not be getting any free money.
Now check with your local utility company for any rebate programs that might currently be in the works for kitchen appliances and bathroom toilets, shower heads and faucets. To find them online, type in the name of your utility company (the name is on your utility bills) and the word "rebates" to a search engine like Google. (For example: I typed: Southern California Edison Rebates. Look for products that you were hoping to replace and copy down the manufacturer names and model numbers of the ones that qualify for rebates.
Next check your state government website for rebates and credits that will put money back in your pocket. To find them, do an internet search using your state and the words "government" and "rebates." For example, I typed "California government rebates." Such a search brought up California's energy efficient appliance rebate program. Read through your state's rebate programs and write down the appliances and systems that qualify for rebates so when you go to the store, you can look at the products that will earn you money to remodel and upgrade your home.
Sometimes it might seem more cost effective to buy a lower priced appliance than the ones offered for tax credit or rebate. But be sure to factor in the energy savings of running the appliance and the value that you've added to your home before you make a decision. For example, a dishwasher with a rebate may cost $1,000, while a dishwasher with no rebate may cost $500. If the rebate gives you $350 back and you save $50 a year in energy costs, in 3 years you will be saving an extra $50 every year.
If you have a low income, you might be eligible for help from the Federal Weatherization Assistance Program which provides free of charge upgrades like sealing air leaks. You can find out if you qualify by calling the hotline at 800-363-3732.