These two books offer approaches to deriving maximum value from home ownership through shrewd building and renovation strategies. Lieberman and Hoffman focus on "forced appreciation." This involves finding the right property to renovate, assessing real market potential, estimating costs, managing the work of renovation, and making design and construction decisions that yield the greatest buyer excitement. After creditably outlining these strategic factors, the book bogs down in a series of repetitious chapters that cover room-by-room renovations. (Once is quite enough to point out that mirrors can enlarge a small room.) The occasional line drawings meant to illustrate dramatic floor plan makeovers lack detail and inspiration. As an amateur builder-renovator and former "local tax assessment official," Carlson offers strategies for lowering home ownership costs by reducing or eliminating features that boost property taxes. Elements of construction that keep taxes down coincidentally keep building and upkeep costs down as well; these include choosing a basic structural design, using alternatives to central heating (and incorporating as much tax-free thermal mass as possible), keeping storage areas unfinished, minimizing built-ins, and so on. While sounding gimmicky, Carlson's book offers many practical insights on assessments (a 70-page appendix summarizes the assessment practices in all 50 states) and looks at cost factors overlooked in more conventional sources. Written with some flair--"The advantages of manufactured housing are indentical to the advantages of frozen dinners"--this is the preferred choice for libraries looking for another source on housing and renovation. - Bill Demo, Tompkins Cortland Community Coll . , Dryden, N.Y. Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Pertinent information...strategies that can save you money. Illustrations, glossary, index and enough humor...keep this subject from becoming hard to digest. -- Better Homes and Gardens: Building Ideas, spring issue 1990