The recent news that U.S. home construction rose in May is welcome news for the entire construction industry. It seems the worst of the Great Recession is finally behind us, which allows contractors everywhere to breathe a sigh of relief. However, we can never let this happen again.

Too many good construction workers were laid off or terminated as the housing market contracted. Too many lost their homes to foreclosure and were victims of predatory lending. As a result, the entire U.S. economy was left in peril, and taxpayers had to help out many companies by lending them taxpayer dollars.

There are many lessons to be learned from what occurred in those lean years. The most important lesson is maybe that we need to be careful with what we sign. Too many mortgage companies offered what appeared to good loans, but home buyers never knew about, or never understood, the downside to these loans. And once the realities of these mortgages came to light, for many, it was already too late to save their home.

Another lesson is that we need to be more careful about living within our means. As a contractor, I stress to clients that they need to make the right decisions regarding their budgets. They might want the most luxurious decor and furnishings, but there's no need for luxury if it's going to drain your entire budget and savings. All that glitters isn't always gold.

Scott Rajavuori, Savage