Kelly Quigley is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.
Web Reviews: Do-It-Yourself Help
Fixer-uppers: Whether you’re renovating, repairing, or rebuilding, these sites will guide you in the right direction.
November 1, 2004
Home Improvement Web Site Roundup:
Sometimes the best real estate investments are the ones that need a little—or a lot—of work. If you or your clients are brave buyers who see fixer-uppers as exciting challenges to tackle on your own or simply want to try your hand at a remodeling project instead of hiring someone else to do it, here are three Web sites full of home improvement tips, design tools, and articles that will keep you on the right track.
- BobVila.com. Ultimate handyman Bob Vila has found a home on the Web, offering advice on all sorts of home improvement projects. The site has easy-to-use search functions that help you wade through the vast amount of information to zero in on your topic of interest. The Home Improvement Library provides everything you need to tackle a project, including articles, tips, and videos. The library lets you browse by subject, task, or location in the home where your project is based. If you need more guidance on home repairs, check out the step-by-step illustrated Fix-It Club, which explains how to diagnose problems and fix almost everything, from a toilet to a garbage disposal. The site also has a page devoted to online Design Tools to help plan out your new kitchen, patio, or garden. You can register on the site to save your designs and access them later.
- HGTV.com. The Internet home of the Home & Garden Television Network has free resources for decorating, remodeling, and gardening. The strength of this site is its interactive tools and online demos. In the section devoted to Decorating, for example, before-and-after slide shows provide ideas about how to spruce up two of the home’s most important rooms: Kitchens and Bathrooms. Or you can use the Room Planner to create a customized floor plan for any room in your home and experiment with different furniture arrangements before trying it out for real. The Remodeling section of the site provides online How-To Demos that walk you through projects like installing a handrail or decorating with wallpaper. HGTV.com’s Gardening section, meanwhile, teaches gardening enthusiasts about using the right Gardening Tools and provides tips for executing various Landscaping/Design projects.
- HomeTime.com. HomeTime is a long-running, home-improvement television show syndicated on public television networks. The show’s Internet site doesn’t have the depth of information as the other two sites above but still offers good no-frills information for weekend warriors. The Do-It-Yourself Project Help page provides a basic rundown of different project categories, which link to short explanations of how to complete the project and where to find more resources. For example, you can learn about choosing and installing Ceramic Tile or how to design and lay out a Home Theater. And to make sure you stay safe throughout all of your home-improvement projects, take the Safety Quiz.
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