9 tips from contractors for rehabbing houses to their original design


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A good home rehab is like good plastic surgery: You shouldn’t notice the work, just the end result.

It doesn’t hurt to have “good bones” — solid framing with quality materials and careful construction.

The process of rehabbing houses isn’t quick or cheap. It’s been known to strain relationships — both professional and personal.

Updating a house while retaining its charm and character is a fine line to walk, says John Rusk, president and founder of Rusk Renovations, and author of “On Time and On Budget: A Home Renovation Survival Guide.”

It takes careful prep work, know-how and a significant amount of research to do it right, he says.

If you think you can take a couple of classes and do pro-level work yourself, think again.

“Know your limitations,” says David Pekel, president and CEO of Pekel Construction and Remodeling, and national treasurer of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

“That’s the most important advice I can give to anyone about anything,” he says. “Do what you can do well. And what you can’t, hire well.”

Here are 9 tips for rehabbing houses to help you survive the process and be happy with the results.

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