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I know of only two ways to make sure you're making all the right decisions when it comes to rebuilding or remodeling your home. 

The first is to read this legitimately insane home renovation tale from the Toronto Star and simply do the opposite of what its writer and her family did. If you're pressed for time, that means:

  • Don't buy a house sight-unseen.
  • Don't close on a house currently occupied by vagrants who smoke crack in front of you.
  • Don't start a renovation if you are short $140,000 of what it will cost according to every reputable contractor you interview.
  • Don't hire a contractor just because he happens to bicycle past you and says he'll do the work for cheap.
  • Immediately fire a contractor who rips off your perfectly good porch without asking.
  • Don't act so surprised when the toothless contractor you hired off a bike loses control of the Bobcat and causes your foundation to cave in.

Then again, all of these tips should be fairly obvious, right? (Right?) In which case you might be interested in the advice put together by the Texas Association of Builders for those who have had their homes damaged by the recent (or maybe current) flooding.

In addition to these sensible tips, the local Greater Houston Builders Association has also compiled a series of helpful disaster resources, from how to apply for FEMA assistance to a flood damage checklist prepared by the City of Houston Public Works. 

With an estimated 200,000 homes in Houston damaged, resources—especially labor—are going to be in high demand for the foreseeable future. Remember: as the Canadians above learned the hard way, when it comes to your house, getting it done right is more important that getting it done quickly or cheaply.

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