Westfield, N.J., remodeler Lou Peluso's business relationship with a local loan officer — they refer clients to each other — has taken on an added benefit. The owner of Peluso Construction says that quarterly conversations about a number of metrics help him keep his finger on the pulse of the market.

Peluso says the loan officer gives him information about the number of inquiries into things like construction loans and refinances — obvious indicators of upcoming remodeling activity. “There are people who figure out how they are going to pay before planning their project,” Peluso says.

If activity seems strong, the remodeler can count on increased business in the upcoming months, and can ramp up by adding staff. If the loan market seems less busy, Peluso knows to expect something of a lull, or a movement away from big projects to smaller ones. “People still want to do something,” he says, even if the market isn't favorable for a major remodel.