- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2001

Consumers quickly shift roles in the home-buying process from home shopper to home buyer to home remodeler. Even though a home seller tries to make his house as vanilla as possible to appeal to the widest audience, the eventual new owners will take that canvas and make their own decor statement.

If you are looking at remodeling or redesigning your house this year, here are some helpful Web sites to get you started.

• HomePortfolio.com (www.homeportfolio.com). This site was established to help homeowners explore a large database of home design products, and find information about where to buy these products in stores or on line. The site also has a clearinghouse of interior designers to assist homeowners through its Designer Directory. It also has articles and advice to help the would-be do-it-yourselfer with ideas and inspiration. HomePortfolio helps manufacturers, retailers and design professionals connect with consumers by combining technology and marketing services created especially for the home design industry.

• Remodeling Online (https://remodeling.hw.net/). This site just released its 2000-2001 Cost vs. Value Report and is worth a click or two to see what your remodeling investment will bring back to you once you sell the house. The report reviews 16 projects. Meanwhile, other sections of the site include a Virtual Remodeling Tour, HomeTech, Guide to Building Products and much more.

• Kitchen-Bath.com (www.kitchen-bath.com). The most remodeled rooms in America are kitchens and bathrooms. If that tops your list, then surf by for help with kitchen and bath questions, building "sweat equity," basic design tips, product of the week, a list of manufacturers and more. By the way, the Kitchen-Bath.com sister site is "Build It! Home Plans" (www.buildithomeplans.com), where you can check out info on building a new home, including actual plans for actual homes.

• HomeDoctor.net (www.homedoctor.net). I really like this site, because my neighbors and family have always been the greatest home improvement resources. HomeDoctor.net takes it to the next level. The purpose of the site is to provide a community where do-it-yourselfers can exchange ideas and experiences on home maintenance and improvement through an extensive bulletin board system, as well as provide tips and articles on home maintenance. It is maintained by Digital MediaNetwork Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The Self Help Tips, for instance, cover allergy, health, blinds, electrical, flooring, home safety, insect control and much more. Professionals also are here; they can give you advice on getting the job done right. If you are a die-hard handy person, then you may want to sign up for the site's e-newsletter, HOME-LIST. It is free and provides site updates and the means to submit home improvement questions.

• DoItYourself.com (https://doityourself.com/indexaz.htm). Bypass the very busy home page to get to the brass tacks of this Web site. At the index, you will find do-it-yourself how-to advice under the headings of Repair and Fix It, Building, Decorating, Outdoors, Finance and Lifestyle. In addition, the index provides plenty of resources, such as construction calculators and free publications.

• OldHouseWeb.com (www.oldhouseweb.com). If you've ever thought of buying that old cabin in the mountains or the historic home in Old Town, then you will want to bookmark this site, which has plenty of information on maintaining, decorating and remodeling older homes. It also has house plans available to peruse and buy even in 3-D.

• BuildFind (https://remodel.buildfind.com/) This site is the Yahoo! of building and remodeling sites. It is organized very well and makes it easy to get you where you want to go. Directories start with bathrooms and go through woodworking, all of which include a how-to section.

M. Anthony Carr has covered the real estate industry for 12 years. Send comments or questions to him via e-mail ([email protected]).

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