Green upgrades can help sell a house | Detroit Free Press |

The Earth Advantage Institute determined that existing homes with third-party environmental certifications sell for 30% more than comparable homes without such ratings. In another study, the National Bureau of Economic Research found a 97% return on investment for solar panels. Moreover, they can boost a home sale price by 3%-4%

via Green upgrades can help sell a house | Detroit Free Press |

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New home construction in Western Pennsylvania increases 12 percent – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

New housing construction in the Pittsburgh region increased 12 percent during the first nine months of the year, according to a report released Thursday.

Total of new housing units in a six-county region rose to 2,155 compared with 1,923 last year, according to the report from Tall Timber Group, a Ross-based research and consulting firm for businesses in the residential and commercial construction industry.

Single-family housing construction permits issued during the January to September period rose to 1,264 from 1,232 for the same period last year, said Jeff Burd, president of Tall Timber. Permits for multifamily units reached 891 units compared with 691 during 2010.

via New home construction in Western Pennsylvania increases 12 percent – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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HGTV’s Mike Holmes renovation tips

HGTV's Mike Holmesvia HGTV star gives tips for overseeing a smooth renovation. |

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Future Home Design

As the nation is becoming more green and frugal, people expect more than just a well designed home and appliances.

“Over the last five years, design has been elevated,” says Michelle Lamb, editorial director of The Trend Curve, a trade newsletter that forecasts trends in color, pattern and design for manufacturers, interior designers and retailers. “Good design is an expectation, so we can go below the surface. There’s an option to a lot of things that we weren’t looking to in the past.”

Function over Design expectations

  1. Better and more accessible Storage
  2. Green / Water Saving Features
  3. Energy Efficient Kitchen Appliances
  4. Organization Systems
  5. Electronic Sensing Integrated Systems
  6. Smart Home Systems
  7. Baby Boomer Ease Products & Appliances

via A peek into the future of home design –

You dont have to buy a new home to get some of these cool new home design features.  If its time for a kitchen remodel or a home improvement project and you are in the Pittsburgh / Allegheny Country metro areas, please give Commonwealth Remodeling and Heating a call at 412-243-4200.  We’ve been in business over 70 years and are experts in home improvement projects and heating.


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Tips to avoid traveling contractor scams

Your decision to do a home improvement project or make a home repair should not be a quick choice like grabbing a candy bar while you are in line at the grocery store.  So when a home repair contractor knocks on your door, make sure you do your homework.  Check with the BBB and here are a few more tips….

Tips to avoid traveling contractor scams

  1. Be wary of contractors who approach you with unsolicited offers or stories of “just being in the neighborhood.”
  2. Do not feel pressured by “special offers” or deals on “left over” materials.
  3. Be cautious of contractors with out-of-state license plates.
  4. Get multiple estimates for home improvement projects.
  5. Get references for recent work and check those references (ask other consumers if they were happy with the work that was performed, if there were any problems and if they would hire that contractor again.)
  6. Research businesses carefully before signing any contract.
  7. Do not conduct business with an unlicensed/unregistered contractor.
  8. Never pay in cash. Cash only contractors should raise a red flag to consumers.
  9. Pay in full only when the job is complete and you are satisfied.
  10. For larger projects, costing $5,000 or more, state law requires that contractors not charge more than 1/3 the cost of the project as a down payment.

via Attorney General warns homeowners on improvement scams – CBS 21 News – Breaking news, sports and weather for the Harrisburg -York -Lancaster -Lebanon Pennsylvania area.

Commonwealth Remodeling has been in business in the Pittsburgh metro area over 70 years and we are A+ BBB rated.  If you have a home repair, home improvement project, kitchen remodel or bathroom renovation, please call us today at 412-243-4200 or email us using the form on the right.

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Pittsburgh Home Prices Appreciated in 2011

Any good news is welcome in this financial market.  It looks like our housing market in Pittsburgh is fairing much better than many markets around the nation.

Pittsburgh is among 25 metro markets where home values appreciated this year — by 1.2 percent in the first quarter and 2.8 percent in the second, Gudell said.

“You can get a decent house around here for $100,000 or $120,000,” Brown said. “Amortized over a 30-year period, you’re looking at a monthly payment that would be $700 or $800, which is as much as some would pay to rent.”

The National Association of Realtors on Wednesday said the median price for existing single-family homes is $171,900, down 2.8 percent from $176,800 the second quarter of 2010.

via ‘Rentership society’ to continue into 2012 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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BBB Tips for Hiring Home Repair Contractors

BBB Checklist: 10 Tips for Hiring a Home Repair Contractors:

• Track record: Hire a reputable, local company. Check out a company’s BBB rating and complaint history at It’s fast, easy and free. You can also call the BBB at 877-317-7236, toll-free.

• Cost comparisons: Get at least three bids in writing and be sure you compare the bids based on the same warranty, specifications, labor and time.

• Licensing: Check to see if the company you plan to hire has the proper licensing. Contractors must be licensed if the total job exceeds $30,000.

• Insurance: Verify the company’s liability insurance to protect you against damage. You can also check with the department of insurance in your state.

• References: Ask for references from the company’s last three jobs and check them out before you sign a contract.

• Written contract: Do not permit work to start without a signed, written contract that includes start and completion dates, exact costs, specific work to be done, and warranty information. Be sure to read the fine print carefully.

• Deposit required and payment: Do not pay more than 25 to 33 percent of the total job cost as a deposit. Final payment should not be due until the job is completed. Do not pay in cash; pay by check or credit card.

• Warranty: Get warranty information in writing on products and installation. Be sure to read the fine print carefully.

• Bonding: Be sure all workers are bonded to protect you against theft or additional damage.

• Criminal history: Check out anyone you allow into your home to see if they have a criminal history online offender directory search.

For more information, visit www.

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Vinyl Evolution: Pella Debuts New Energy-Saving Vinyl Line — PELLA, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –

PELLA, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Today’s vinyl windows from Pella Windows and Doors have transformed into beautiful, durable and energy-efficient windows that offer premium features and options.

The new Pella 350 Series window line completes Pella’s latest vinyl offering that includes vinyl sliding patio doors introduced in 2010. Both the windows and patio doors offer the energy-efficient options that will meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® guidelines in all 50 states and Canada.

“We designed Pella 350 Series vinyl products for homeowners who want it all,” said Jodi Solomon, Product Marketing Specialist at Pella. “Now you can have top-of-the-line energy performance, low-maintenance vinyl windows and patio doors that are as beautiful as they are durable.”

via Vinyl Evolution: Pella Debuts New Energy-Saving Vinyl Line — PELLA, Iowa, Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –.

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Walls of the Future – Temperature-Regulating

Wow, walls of the future that can help with heating and cooling. If they are able to bring to market this will be another boom product for green technology.

Now Chinese researchers have come up with another tool in the energy-saving arsenal: a building material that can release and retain heat on command.

via Temperature-Regulating Building Material Sucks Up Excess Heat | Fast Company.

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Pittsburgh Ranks #2 City for Good Jobs And Cheap Housing

We already knew Pittsburgh was a great place to live.  And according to a recent report by Investopedia, Pittsburgh ranks number two in their listing.  See the full article below.

2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This city surprises many people, as Pittsburgh is in the heart of the “rust belt,” and known for its steel mills. Genuine hard work by the local government, businesses and the community has kept this vibrant city alive and thriving. Over the last ten years, nearly 1,600 technology companies have located here, including a Google campus. Neighborhood revitalization projects offer incentives to homebuyers, and old industrial neighborhoods are now filled with small businesses. It is also the headquarters to several financial institutions.

Ranked #1 as America’s Most Livable City by Rand McNally in 2007, Forbes in 2010 and The Economist in 2011, Pittsburgh, is one of the best places in the United States for good jobs, a great community and very affordable housing.

Read more via 5 Places With Good Jobs And Cheap Housing.

Now that you know you should stay in Pittsburgh or maybe you are moving to Pittsburgh and you need a home improvement contractor to help you with a remodeling project, call Commonwealth Heating and Remodeling at 412-243-4200 or email us using the form on the right.  We’ve been in business for 75+ years serving all of Allegheny County and surrounding neighborhoods.

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