Financing is an indispensable sales tool for most exterior replacement contractors, but ask full-service remodelers about it and you'll get an indifferent shrug. That, or an earful from small-company owners about how there's enough to do marketing, selling, designing, building, and following up their work without becoming a banker in the bargain. And high-end remodelers will tell you that their clients don't need financing.

Both positions are wrong-headed. Selling financing has no more to do with becoming a banker than selling a bath remodel has to do with being a plumber. And according to a 2003 Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University report, 42% of expenditures on remodeling projects of $35,000 or more was made with borrowed money. The point: For people who are confident that their property is going to appreciate in value, the smart thing to do when investing in a remodeling project is to spend other people's money.

Remodelers might not be so resistant to offering financing if they knew more about it, which is why we've designed this special financing section. There's something for everyone; whether you've been selling financing for years or have never given it a thought, you'll find answers to your questions.

Editorial Director

Editor's note: This bound-in special section is unusual because advertisements for finance companies appear adjacent to editorial. All of the articles, however, were independently conceived, researched, and written by our editors.