Helpful Links

Resnet - This is a great source for all things energy efficiency.  Tips for ratings, energy audits, and Home Energy Rating Services (HERS), and energy installation contractors.  Remember, nearly every home in the U.S. can benefit from some kind of retrofit to the envelope of the structure, and those retrofits will SAVE YOU MONEY!, as well as help the environment.

Richmond Regional Energy Alliance
RREA is a local non-profit in Central Virginia whose mission is to assist homeowners and businesses with implementing energy retrofits.  Similar to RESNET, rather than providing information, RREA provides assistance and guidance when it comes to retrofitting homes to save you money, make the home more comfortable and valuable, and improve the environment.

JCHS - Improving Americas Housing

JCHS - Leading Indicator Remodeling Activity - LIRA
The Joint Center for Housing Studies - Like taking a sip of water from a fire hydrant, absorbing all the information on this site would likely fry your brain.  But the information is amazing, and if you can even get a few good droplets, you will feel satisfied.  Great for real estate agents to study housing trends and get content for customer communications; but also for homeowners and buyers to study up on contractor data, or renovation trends.  This site is a great read for almost anyone...because we all live in a house of some kind.  There are two of what I consider the most useful reports for what I do for you, but you can always go to the Home tab and search for other stuff.

NARI Central Virginia
NARI (The National Association of the Remodeling Industry) - The premier trade association for contractor's, an often unwieldy industry, or a better way to say that would be a few rotten apples ruin it for the really good contractors, which is where NARI will lead you.  A standards organization, NARI members must adhere to their mission statement standards, which include things like: completing jobs on time and within budget; doing quality work; being good communicators; and so on.  If you are on the hunt for a quality and reputable contractor, this is a great place to start.

Department of Historic Resources
DHR (The Department of Historic Resources for Virginia) (there are similar agencies in most states) - If you are buying or refinancing a home that is eligible for historic tax credits, check a source like this early on in your discovery process.  If you don't, and you find out too late, you may have just left thousands of dollars on the table.  Many large renovation projects completed by developers are often done solely on the basis that the profit in the deal will be obtained through securitization of historic tax credits. However, even a single homeowner doing a renovation project for say, $75,000, can earn as much as $33,750 in tax credits (includes state and federal).  Bottom line...don't leave money on the table.

Richmond City Tax Abatement
If you are planning to do renovation work to a home, and that work may increase the homes value by at least 20%, you should consider applying for tax abatement.  This city program reduces the amount of real estate taxes you owe based on the improvements made to the property.  After opening this page, click on "Application for Exemption", and follow the links below "Rehabilitation Application" and so on, to learn more.