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New Home Windows Add Value and Decrease Energy Costs

By Alison Markham, Broker-Associate, GRI, Realtor® | February 20, 2008

If high heating bills and mystery drafts are causing a chill in your love affair with your home, it may be time to consider replacing your windows.

The government system for rating energy efficiency of home products, ENERGY STAR, reports that average homeowners spend nearly 50 percent of their yearly energy costs to heat and cool their homes. Windows that are old, worn, faulty or have a low energy-rating do a poor job of keeping warm air inside in the winter and cool air inside in the summer.

Installing new windows can do wonders for your home on many levels, from improving energy efficiency and curb appeal, to boosting resale value. But window installation is a major project, and not within the abilities of your average do-it-yourselfer. When it comes to window replacement, it makes sense to have the work done by a professional.

If you’re thinking about hiring a contractor to install your replacement windows, consider the following:

* Set a budget. Educate yourself thoroughly on what’s available and comparison shop for the best price. This will help ensure your budget can cover the project cost.

* The style and materials you want. You have lots of choices when it comes to new windows, so make sure you have a good idea of what you want before you meet with a contractor. The more specific you are in communicating what you want to a contractor, the more accurate his estimate will be.

* Get at least three quotes. You want to make sure you are choosing the right person to do job for you, so meet with more than one contractor. Give each potential contractor the same specifications. This will help you compare the bids they submit.

* Compare quotes. Compare prices, quality of materials and timeline from each bidder. Don’t hesitate to ask questions on anything that seems unclear. Make sure all your questions are answered from each contractor before you make a final decision.

* Get a contract. Decide on a contractor and get a written contract that describes everything in detail. Once it’s down on paper and signed by both parties there’s no disputing what the original agreement contained.

Where can you go for online contractor referrals? Log on to www.ReliableRemodeler.com and describe you home improvement project. Within 24 business hours, you’ll be contacted to verify receipt of your project and to clarify any further details. Up to four pre-screened professional contractors will contact you within 48 hours to schedule a free estimate on your project.

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