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If you’re one of the many homeowners who took advantage ofrecord low mortgage rates and the recent first-time homebuyer’scredit, you most likely are looking for plenty of do-it-yourselftips and guidelines to help you turn your new abode into acomfortable and homey place for your family.

The homebuyer’s tax credit is projected to have added 2 millionfirst-time buyers in 2009 and another 900,000 in 2010, according tothe National Association of Realtors. But there are also manylong-time homeowners who, because of the state of the economy, areconsidering doing home improvement projects themselves in order tosave money, according to the National Kitchen and BathroomAssociation.

If you have a home improvement project on your list – frombathroom and hardwood kitchencabinets to painting or putting in new floors, here are someDIY tips to get you started:

* As a DIYer, you can manage the project – no matter how big orsmall – on your time and according to your finances. To get yourproject started on the right foot, make sure you plan ahead.Establish a budget, determine your goals for the project and,depending on cost, figure out if you can do everything right away,or if you have to do the project in pieces.

* Research what you’re going to be doing. For example, if youplan to install new kitchen cabinets, visit Cabinets to Go, whichsells warranty-covered, real-wood cabinets with no particleboard orveneer, and provides shipping nationwide. The site, www.cabinetstogo.com, has avirtual 3D kitchen planner, which allows you to develop a designtailored perfectly to your home. These cabinets are often sold at a50 percent discount from prices offered by traditionalretailers.

Regrets happen – 34 percent of DIYers have at least one regretstemming from a home renovation project, according to a recentConsumer Reports poll. So anticipate the unexpected and researchthe products you’re going to be using.

* Review the blueprints of your home so you can plan around anystructural issues. Check where beams and studs are located, as wellas electrical boxes and water lines. Make sure your plans take intoconsideration the locations of these utilities. Also make sure youunderstand how the water lines work. Seventeen percent of bathroomremodels experience issues with water damage, mostly becausehomeowners start the project without knowing how the pipes work,according to Consumer Reports.

If you’re in a new home, or have decided to refresh your home’slook so you can enjoy it longer, you may determine that replacingcabinets, changing the coloring or installing new appliances isexactly what you need to make your home fit you. Transform thevisual appeal of your house yourself by rolling up your sleeves andputting your personal touch on the project. And save money at thesame time by not contracting it out.

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