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The Homeowner's Guide to Contracting, Building, and Remodeling: Save a Fortune by Learning What Contractor's Don't Want you to Know

#1 New Release in Amazon's Home Design and Construction Category for April 2021

"Exceptionally well written, organized and presented... a comprehensive and thoroughly 'user friendly' instructional guide and manual that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, and community library Home Design, Remodeling & Construction collections. Midwest Book Review

Click here to read an article that appeared in The Villager

Building or remodeling a home can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it can also be a stressful and daunting challenge. Organized to cover all the major phases of construction and renovation, this book is complete with over one hundred actual construction and renovation photographs, checklists, financing options, builder insights, industry secrets, design ideas, and other valuable information to help homeowners save a fortune while completing their project on time, within budget, and with less stress.

Whether building a new home or renovating an old home, with this book you will learn: how to avoid builder markups; how to control costs and avoid costly setbacks; how to finance your project; how to find and hire contractors; how to obtain estimates for materials and labor; how to work with an architect; how to apply for permits and work with inspectors; learn the practical uses and installation methods of many home improvement products; and most importantly, you will learn how to save money without sacrificing quality. This is not a book about how to be a professional contractor but how homeowners can learn more about the building process and how to save money by controlling their costs.

Please Note: The Kindle version of this book contains full color images of all the photographs in this book as well as active hyperlinks to videos and articles for further reading from the bibliography

  •     Learn how to avoid builder markups

·                Learn to control costs and avoid costly setbacks

·                Learn how to finance your project

·                Learn how to find and hire contractors

·                Learn how to obtain estimates for materials and labor

·                Learn how to work with an architect

·                Learn how to apply for permits and work with inspectors

·                Learn what many homeowners do not know and many contractors do not want homeowners to know about the construction industry

“A valuable guide to contracting, building, and renovating, homeowners will surely benefit from Joe Oswald’s knowledge and experience.” Joe Carroll, Architect. 

“Written from the perspective of a homeowner, Joe Oswald shares his knowledge and attention to detail in a straightforward and user-friendly style.” Alan Boerner, Electrical Contractor  

Click the play button below to view a video preview of the book or click here to view video on YouTube

Click on a thumbnail photo to see the full-size image

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Click on the thumbnails to see some of the construction and renovation photos featured in the book

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The Homeowner's Guide to Contracting, Building, and Remodeling: Save a Fortune by Learning What Contractor's Don't Want you to Know

Click Here to Preview or Purchase on Amazon.  Available in Paperback and Kindle Formats
#1 New Release on Amazon in Home Design and Construction for April 2021

Also Available at Barnes & Noble and Your Local Bookstore
Available for Bookstores and Libraries from Ingram Book Company

ISBN # 978-0-9709734-4-3
Copyright 2021, by Joe Oswald












Chicago's Beverly/Morgan Park Neighborhood

A glacier from the last ice age, Potawatomi Indians, fur traders, railroads, prominent architects, large historic homes, a real Irish castle, bitter annexation battles and the challenges of racial integration are all part of the history of this Southwest Side neighborhood known as "The Village in the City."  After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park community developed as a "country retreat" for Chicago's social and economic elite. Since then, the Ridge Historic District has become one the largest urban historic districts in the nation with over 120 historically and architecturally significant structures.  Located just 20 minutes from downtown and boasting of tree-lined streets, mansions sitting atop rolling hills, and the largest average home and lot sizes in the city, this community remains one of the highest socio-economic neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area. In fact, Beverly was recently ranked the third wealthiest neighborhood in Chicago in terms of median income. Despite the neighborhood's beautiful mansions and unique history, the community remains quietly tucked away in an area of the city many people are not familiar with, making it one of Chicago's best kept secrets.     

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Click on a photo to see the full-size cover

Chicago's Beverly/Morgan Park
ISBN # 0-7385-3153-7
Copyright 2003, by Joe Oswald

Published by Arcadia Publishing as part of their Images of America series, this book is currently available at major bookstores throughout Chicago as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. 

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com.

Also Available at Barnes & Noble and Your Local Bookstore























Vocabulary for Champions: Over 2,000 Words and Activities to Improve Your Reading, Writing, Speaking, Test-taking, and Resume-building Skills


A good vocabulary is the key to success in school and the professional world, especially in today’s competitive, fast-paced, global society. With study after study showing the correlation between an extensive vocabulary and higher socio-economic status, the need for a strong vocabulary has never been more important. With core subject-area vocabulary and advanced reading vocabulary, this book is perfect to prepare for school-based exams as well as the SAT,® ACT,® and GRE.® In addition, this book contains economics and personal finance vocabulary, resume-building vocabulary, Greek and Latin Roots, common Latin expressions, and commonly misused words. Written by a teacher with over twenty years of experience in teaching history, reading, writing, and standardized test prep, this book contains over 2,000 words and activities to help students, adults, and English language learners master important vocabulary. Whether it’s getting into a good college, landing that dream job, getting a promotion, or just being a more-informed person, Vocabulary for Champions can help you unlock your potential, give you an edge over the competition, and be a champion in whatever you set your sights upon.


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  • Click on a photo to see the full-size cover

"Expertly organized and presented... making it ideal for use with middle school students, high schoolers, and adults." Midwest Book Review

Here are quotes from BookLife's review of Vocabulary for Champions:

"Longtime teacher Oswald assembles a genuinely useful and enjoyable vocabulary-building guide."

"Teens and adults at all stages of life can benefit from this well-constructed workbook for learning mid-level English vocabulary."

"This breezy, fast-moving, guide can help anyone looking to build their word power."

"To avoid overwhelming the reader with heaps of words, Oswald builds in short quizzes at regular intervals, ensuring the lessons are absorbed and the reader can recognize words in context." 

"Oswald keeps the guide fresh with fun techniques such as crosswords puzzles and word searches."

"By the time the reader reaches the general vocabulary section, the rhythm created by Oswald's method makes it simple to approach new words..." 

"The finance section is especially useful, as Oswald digs into terms related to mortgages, assets, and savings plans, educating readers on basic financial literacy as well as vocabulary." 

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Publishing. LLC (October 6, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970973438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970973436
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Paperback Price: $19.95 

Available on Amazon.com and through Follett and IngramSpark distributors for schools, retailers, and other institutions 

Also Available at Barnes & Noble and Your Local Bookstore
Available for Bookstores and Libraries from Ingram Book Company

Click here to preview and purchase this book on Amazon.com

Click here to purchase on Barnes & Noble 

Click here to read a review of the book that appeared March 9, 2020 in Publishers Weekly's BookLife.com

Click here to read the full review from Midwest Book Review

Click here to watch a video tour of the book

Click here to read the March 23, 2020 press release

Click here to view the November 2019 press release for Vocabulary for Champions









A Teacher's Guide to United States History, Volume I: Reproducible Activities and Lesson for Teaching the Age of Exploration to the Progressive Movement


This book is intended for teachers of United States history and contains dozens of ready-to-use reproducible activities and lesson plans for teaching the Age of Exploration through the Progressive Movement. Written by a teacher, for teachers, the student-centered activities in this book are creative yet challenging, are classroom-tested, and represent years of teaching students of diverse ability levels. Teachers will find graphic organizers, quizzes, tests, writing assignments, cooperative learning activities, lecture notes, map activities, and project-based lessons. The lesson plans are detailed yet adaptable and are sure to save teachers countless hours developing lessons from scratch. Additionally, the activities in this book are aligned to the new Common Core Standards and Indicators for Literacy in the Social Sciences as well as the ACT-created College Readiness Standards.


Product details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Threshold Publishing (4 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097097342X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970973429
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.1 x 27.9 cm

Click here to purchase in paperback form Amazon.com.


Click here to download a digital copy for $18.95 from the Teachers Pay Teachers website.