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Philip Friedman
Radio hosts have written book for homeowners.

Before you run to grab the hammer or hacksaw — stop.

Sit and think for a minute.

Do you really know ALL the details of the home repair project you're attempting to start?

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is to jump into a project without a plan, according to Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete, authors of the newly released book, "My Home, My Money Pit" (Knack, $19.95). The result can be unnecessary emotional stress and the loss of time and money, among other things.

"People tend to bite off more than they can chew," said Kraeutler, who hosts a weekly radio show with Segrete titled "The Money Pit." "It's important to assess what you can accomplish yourself."

The duo designed their book to be a resource for homeowners to use before and during work on a home repair project. It's simple and straightforward and covers a comprehensive range of topics from design and remodeling basics to how to make your home "green."

The book also offers general information on various issues that arise with being a homeowner, including mold and animal control. There are colorful diagrams scattered throughout the text, and Segrete and Kraeutler weave personal stories and experiences into the book.

Segrete, who was the on-air designer and carpenter for TLC's "While You Were Out" and "Trading Spaces," said she believes "My Home, My Money Pit" will allow homeowners to "look before they leap" into the money pit of home ownership. On her radio show, she said she has received countless calls from people seeking help because of a project that's gone bad.

"We made this book so as a homeowner you can read and understand before you tackle a project ... the inner workings of it," Segrete said.

In general, both Segrete and Kraeutler believe one of the best projects a person can do to increase their home value is to spruce up the exterior. Research shows buyers are putting more focus on how the exterior of a home looks.

It's called curb appeal.

"So many more people are doing their research and looking online for houses before going in person," Segrete said. "It's important you make your home look buttoned up and fantastic."

Other fixes that will bring a return on investment include updates to the kitchen and bathroom, according to Kraeutler. While it's generally cheaper to fix the yard versus an interior room, he believes a person could add small touches such as new lights, faucets and hardware to quickly update a kitchen or bath.

He encourages people to search his book and look online for decorating and improvement ideas.

"We tried to put everything (in the book) into perspective and make it as universal as possible," he said, later adding that "research is key to figuring out what you want to do."

For more information about Kraeutler and Segrete, log on to www.themoneypit.com

E-mail: [email protected]