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Happy New Year! As the new year begins, I thought it would be good to look back at 2015 and start to think about the year ahead.

One area that was noticeable in 2015 was the continued increase in housing prices throughout Michigan and the growth in the number of new housing permits. The Home Builders Association of Michigan (HBA), HBAofMichigan.com, estimated that there were 13,467 new home building permits for 2015 as of Dec. 21, 2015, an increase over the 2014 total of 12,381. And the HBA is estimating that that building activity will see a 25 percent increase in 2016, so we are headed in the right direction regarding the housing market.

Another thing that stuck out in my mind regarding 2015 was the pent up demand and enthusiasm in the market for home remodeling projects. That demand often caused longer time frames to get projects completed, because good contractors were backlogged with work. You’ll have a great opportunity to start making some of those plans by attending the Novi Home Improvement Show on Jan. 29-31 at the Suburban Collection Showplace. Make it the first thing you put on the new calendar!

Here are my 2016 home improvement resolutions to make sure you aren’t bemoaning the fact that you didn’t accomplish everything on your to-do list.

Don’t procrastinate!

This is always my No. 1. resolution for anyone thinking about a home improvement project, but it is more important this year than ever when you factor in the lack of contractors available in the marketplace. In addition, there are so many product options available for most projects that it will likely take you longer to make your selections.

Complete unfinished projects

As a result of the lack of quality contractors in the market last year, there is a good chance you didn’t get all the projects done you had planned. So as we enter 2016, it is vital to start planning those leftover projects first and get on the contractor’s schedule now. Otherwise you will likely end up at the back of the line and not get your project completed on time, if at all.

Prioritize 2016 projects

Too often people make out a list of projects but don’t really determine which ones are most important. As a result, they often start planning all of their projects and end up completing very few of them. So sit down and determine the one or two projects that are a “must” and make sure you spend your time properly planning those. In my opinion, it is better to accomplish a couple of things well than trying to do everything, which often results in poor projects.

Set realistic completion dates

With the lack of contractors available in our market, it is taking longer to get many projects completed. But things like understaffed building departments at local municipalities, backlogged product orders and even the weather can certainly impact your timelines for project completion. So make sure you set a realistic completion date for your project based on the realities in the market.

Maintain your home

While renovating that old kitchen or gutting and remodeling your master bath may be the most appealing, you should first spend your time and money on basic maintenance (especially if you have an older home) to make sure you don’t end up with bigger problems down the road.

Resolve to save energy

Don’t get fooled by the gas prices that have been under $2 a gallon. It is still vital to do things that will help you save energy in 2016, not only for your pocketbook, but also because it’s good for the environment. So make a commitment to put energy-saving projects at the top of your to-do list in 2016, such as adding insulation to cut your heating and cooling bills, having a more energy efficient furnace installed, or just replacing old light bulbs with more energy efficient LED bulbs.

So resolve to start your proper prior planning now so you don’t end up with a poor project or no project at all. That’s the way you move to the front of the home improvement class in 2016.

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail askglenn@masterhandyman.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations.

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