While kitchens are still high on the interest list for buyers and homeowners, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is reporting that remodeler survey respondents say that a bathroom remodel was one of their most common projects during the first six months of 2010--as much as 61 percent of their remodels were done on bathrooms.

"In previous years, kitchen remodeling was reported as the most common activity by more than 70 percent of remodeler respondents," according to the NAHB news release.

NAHB reported that its Remodeling Market Index sunk to 40.7 from 47.9 in the first quarter. The survey also showed a decline in larger remodeling projects "such as room additions, whole house remodeling, bathroom additions, and second story additions. But NAHB is forecasting encouraging news. "While remodelers are continuing to struggle, we expect the rest of 2010 to be a period of stabilization for remodeling, with the first stages of recovery emerging by the end of the year, followed by a robust recovery beginning early next year," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

However, these market conditions are making now the right time to take on remodeling projects that can not only increase comfort and functionality but also add value to your home.

No matter which room you're going to remodel, doing your homework and knowing exactly what you want will save you not only money but also potential headaches. Things like checking references and visiting some of the recently remodeled projects are a great way to determine if the company you plant to hire will be suitable for your needs. Neglecting to do this could mean that you bring in the wrong company and, worst case scenario, a simple job turns into months of work and extra expenses.

Here are a few things to consider when remodeling. Some experts say, if you're planning to stay in the home for five years, remodel it how you like. In other words, put in the countertops that make you happy--even if they're not the most popular. Use the color paint that expresses your inner feelings. However, I always say, remember there's a balance. If you remodel and create something that is so unusual, you may run the risk of it not appealing to the masses and therefore you will have to find the few that are searching for that particular look. That doesn't mean you shouldn't design and decorate based on your likes, it's just a matter of considering how the remodel will impact you when it comes time to sell the home and then choosing the best option for you for both short and long term.

1. Write it down. Just like your goals in life are more likely to come to fruition when first penciled out on paper, your ideas for your remodeling project also need to be clearly spelled out. When you do this you are able to clearly see which projects you want to tackle first, how much money you can afford/want to spend on the remodeling projects, and if your goals conflict with your ultimate objectives. You will find clarity by writing down what you hope to accomplish. This step alone can turn the project into a success from the start.

2. Slow down. Don't rush into a project. If you just purchased a home, some experts recommend living in it a year before you start to knock out walls. Your taste and needs might change. Get to know your surroundings and then thoughtfully consult with design-build companies to help ensure the project's success. Visit other people's homes and see how they increased storage and used space-saving techniques in their design. I am frequently visiting remodeled homes and am amazed at the creative ideas that add functionality for the homeowner and aesthetic beauty.

3. Let there be light. Light and bright is a commonly used term when listing a home. It's popular because it's appealing to buyers. If you're in the design phase of your remodel, especially for a bathroom--but other areas too, be sure to make sure that you will end up with enough light. The folks over at HouseLogic.com concur. Making lighting a priority. "When it comes to adding creature comforts, your first thoughts might be multiple shower heads and radiant-heat floors. But few items make a bathroom more satisfying than lighting designed for everyday grooming," writes author and residential builder, John Rhia.

4. Keep it clean. One of my pet peeves is yucky bathroom air. Poor ventilation creates enormous problems in the future. Homes that were designed without bathroom windows that open can quickly develop mold, mildew, and stale air if there isn't a very good ventilation system installed. High-quality bathroom fans help. These are often not thought of because they're not obvious "fun toys" like heated floors, but bathroom ventilation systems that exhaust to the outside are vital. Consult with your remodeling expert for the best choice for your room.

Before beginning any remodel, talk to lots of experts, get all your ideas out on paper, and prioritize wants and needs. Taking the time and steps to create a plan with your hired experts will ensure your needs and desires are met in a timely fashion.

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