Monthly Archives: June 2013

How to Plan For a Home Remodel – 10 Steps

If you’re in the “we’re only thinking about it” phase of a home remodel, you’ve taken the first step to improving your home to meet your needs. If you’re ready to speak with professionals about your remodeling, find a remodeling company near you now! However, if you’re still planning, here are a few other steps that will help ensure your remodel meets your needs and your budget.

1. Create a design book – Get a notebook, a manila folder, or a 3-ring binder and build your design book. The more you add to it, the better your designer will be able to understand your dreams.

• If you see the perfect cabinetry in a magazine, cut out the picture and add it.
• If a sink, tile choice, or flooring option catches your eye, add notes and pictures.
• Look at design websites and print out pictures of what you like.
• Take photos of friend’s homes.
• Make sketches and pick up countertop color samples.

2. Establish your goals – Think about the goal(s) of your home remodel.

• If the layout of your kitchen works for you, but your design book has a hundred pictures of concrete countertops, then maybe you only need a home facelift.
• If you’ve always wanted a soaking tub and your current bathroom only has a shower, you may need a slightly more ambitious custom remodel.

3. Designate wants and needs – Consider every element of your home remodel and decide if it is a “need” or a “want.”

• Structural problems such as broken tiles or damaged walls are most likely a “need.”
• Outdated colors or styles of tiles may be a “want.”
• Remember that a want today can still be a “have to do someday.”

4. Decide on a budget – Look at your needs list from step 3, look at your finances, and decide how much you can comfortably spend on your remodel.

• If you need to stick to a budget, err on the low side to allow for items such as furniture or decorative items.
• If money is not a primary factor, creating a budget will help you prioritize your wants and needs.

5. Consider the extras – Consider the extras and options.

• If you decide you have to replace your tile, consider not only the style but the price. If you fall in love with a particular style that’s $35/square foot, you may be able to find a similar style at $5/square foot, which can be a $9,000 savings in an average bathroom, leaving more money for other elements.
• A vessel sink may require special installation and fixtures.
• Different countertop materials offer different benefits.

6. Plan for your future – Weigh future plans.

• If you’re planning to sell your home in a few years, you may not want to invest in top quality applicants.
• If you plan to stay in your home through retirement, you may want to consider adding an onsuite bathroom to a ground-floor bedroom instead of a second-floor bedroom.

7. Allow for upcoming events – Make notes of important upcoming dates and events.

• If you have family coming tomorrow, it’s probably not be the best time to pull out the fixtures in the guest bath.
• If you have a wedding or the holidays on the horizon, you need to ensure your remodel is finished well beforehand.

8. Learn from others – Learn from friends and family.

• Your cousin may have worked with the same remodeling company for over a decade, while your brother can tell you the place down the street has a hard time meeting deadlines.
• You may get tips and advice on the things to look out for if you try to do some of the work yourself.

9. Talk with professionals – Gather professional advice.

• Most reputable companies will provide a free consultation. Take them up on it to see if you like the company. Make sure they ask you questions and listen to your answers.
• Don’t feel you have to sign with the remodeling company the first day. A good company will give you the information you need to make a decision without a hard sell.

10. Hire the right company – Work with a professional company that guarantees their work.

• The industry standard is one year. If your remodeling company doesn’t meet or exceed that guarantee, keep looking.
• Even after a guarantee runs out, the best remodeling companies will help to keep you happy with your remodel. They want you to be a client for life.

Five Home Remodeling Problems You Can Solve Easily

There are plenty of people out there today that imagine home remodeling projects to be one of the worst things that they could possibly get involved in. Why would you want to risk hiring a contractor or doing the work yourself, only to find yourself dealing with home remodeling problems that are difficult to solve.

Here’s five of the most common home remodeling problems that you can easily solve on your own.

1. Hire the right contractor. Don’t hire someone to do any work to your home, that you’re not comfortable with or feel they don’t have enough experience to complete the task properly.

2. You control the money. Make sure that you don’t give your remodeling contractor any more money than they truly deserve. Remember, the person who controls the money will control the remodeling project.

3. Make sure that you are happy with your new remodeling project, before you start building. Don’t let anyone tell you what you want your remodeling project looks like. Get as much advice from others as you can, but make the ultimate decision on your own.

4. Don’t attempt any remodeling projects you’re not comfortable with. This is one of the biggest problems with home remodeling do-it-yourselfers. If you’re not comfortable, think twice before attempting to tackle any home remodeling projects.

5. Get material prices before contacting a contractor. Don’t leave it up to your contractor to get prices for your bathtubs, kitchen counters or any other large items that you are going to use in your remodeling project. If you find out how much these items cost before contacting a contractor, you can save yourself quite a bit of money.

Anyone who’s thinking about remodeling their home should read this article. Pass this on to your friends or anyone who is thinking about tackling a remodeling project.

Hiring a Home Remodeler for Home Repair

There is no denying that one of the most important parts of house remodeling is locating and hiring the right home remodeler for the job. Some people may be under the impression that as long as large renovations are not being made, it is not as imperative that a qualified remodeler be employed. This is completely false. It does not matter whether a room is being added on or a simple repair is being made in the kitchen, the knowledge of the remodeling contractor will ultimately decide the quality of the work that is completed.

The ultimate goal of choosing a home remodeler is to find someone that will get the work done in a timely manner while meeting any and all expectations that have been agreed upon. It is also important to find someone that has good communication skills and is very professional because this will influence the homeowners overall home remodeling experience. Because many areas have a large number of remodeling companies, a good deal of research should be performed in order to ensure the most qualified remodeler is hired for the specific project.

Ask People You Know for Home Remodeler References

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to get some possible home remodeler candidates is to speak to people that have recently gotten some house remodeling work completed. Make sure to talk to friends or family that will provide feedback regarding their experiences. Another way to get some good referrals is by speaking to independent trade contractors in the area. These people often work with larger remodeling companies and may be able to direct a homeowner to a reliable remodeling contractor.

After a solid list of possible home remodelers has been created, it is time to do some digging. Look for certifications that can serve as proof that the person is a qualified remodeler. There are also websites that give homeowners access to databases of all registered remodeling contractors. It is important to check all references that have been provided by the home remodelers. Be wary of any home remodelers that do not have any references that can be contacted.

The chosen remodeling company should have up to date insurance along with a permanent contact method. A working phone number and physical business address will help to prevent possible remodeling contractor fraud situations. Any qualified remodelers should also possess the required knowledge for the creation of accurate quotes. Being able to provide estimates is an ability that comes from experience and structural knowledge.

Choose a Remodeling Contractor You Are Comfortable With

Keep in mind that any home remodeler chosen may be working in the home for a long period of time depending on the extent of the damages or desired renovations. Homeowners should feel comfortable working with the chosen remodeling contractor and there should be easy, open communication. Money can be a very strong determining factor when it comes to choosing someone home repairs. There is nothing wrong with comparing estimates but decisions should be based on more than just price in order to ensure good craftsmanship.

Just as there is fraud present in every other business industry, there are people that claim to be qualified remodelers but give shoddy work. Do not trust very low bids because if something sounds too good to be true than it probably is. A reliable remodeling contractor will quote realistic prices based on labor and materials. Avoid any remodeling companies that require full payment up front and those that only accept cash. Taking time to pick the right home remodeler will ensure a smooth home repair process.

Tips on a Thorough Home Inspection and Home Testing

A thorough home inspection is one of the most important steps before purchasing a home, and many buyers try to skip this step only to end up regretting it later when problems become apparent. Your home is the place you go to get away from the world, and to relax and put your feet up, or spend time with your family and friends. You want to be reassured that the home you buy is safe and in good condition. A home inspection can give you this peace of mind, using a visual inspection of every aspect of the home both inside and out. This should be done by a professional home inspector who has the education, knowledge, and experience needed to identify problems which may not be readily apparent.

There are some questions you should ask any prospective home inspection company, and things to consider, to guarantee you get a thorough and complete inspection. How long has the inspector been doing these inspections? How many home inspections does the inspector do in a year? How much experience does the home inspector have inspecting homes identical to the one you are buying? These questions are important, because without adequate experience the inspector may miss signs of a hidden problem. Choose a home inspection company that exclusively does only home inspections, and does not just practice this as a sideline to their day job. Ask about the reports that will be given, will you get a written report, an oral report, or both? Does the home inspection company have certification? Do they have insurance?

Set up an appointment for the home inspection with both the seller and the home inspector. Make the appointment during the daytime, when there is plenty of daylight so that flaws and problems will be noticeable instead of hidden in shadows. Allow for at least two to three hours for the home inspection, and make sure you are present. Ask questions of the home inspector, and listen to the answers closely. Make sure that you contact the seller, and that they agree to the visit by the home inspector at the specified time and day. Give the home inspector the name, address, and phone number of the buyer, and the address and directions to the home being inspected, as well as any codes needed to access any lock box that may be installed.

If you need to reschedule the home inspection appointment, make sure to give the inspection company at least twenty four to forty eight hour notice before the appointment time, to avoid being charged. Make sure that all utilities are on at the home, including the electric and gas, and make sure that all appliances like the furnace and hot water heater are on and running. Arrange with the seller for the home inspector to have access to everything, including any attics, basements, garages, outbuildings, closets, and other areas. This will ensure a complete and thorough professional home inspection. Also make arrangements with the seller to make sure any furniture or stored belongings which may block access to electrical panels, access panels, and appliances are moved before the inspector arrives. Payment is expected after the home inspection is done, before the inspector leaves the home, so make sure to have a check or money order ready when the inspection is finished.

When looking at homes, do a personal inspection of each home to narrow down the list of possibilities. A professional home inspection should be done on the home you finally decide to purchase, but doing a personal inspection on each potential purchase will help you weed out the obvious bad choices and save you time and energy. Look for things like apparent cracks or shifts in the foundation, obvious electrical malfunctions, sockets that have scorch marks, signs of severe water damage or mold growth, evidence of leaks, both inside and outside the home, the overall condition and age of the roof, dampness or signs of flooding in the basement or crawlspace, and other signs of repairs that may be needed.

There are some things that a home inspection may not cover, depending on where you live and what company you use for the inspection. Most of the time these are referred to as third party testing services, and they can include water quality testing, radon testing, mold testing, air quality testing, and inspection for wood boring and eating insects like termites. All of these tests may be considered important, depending on what the home inspection shows and any problems that may have been detected by the home inspector. If there is visible mold then mold testing may be suggested, to ensure it is not a toxic strain of mold that can cause human disease and illness. If the water quality is suspect, water testing may be suggested to guarantee that there are no bacteria or other organisms that can sicken you. Radon testing should always be done to make sure this cancer causing gas is not present in the home, and the home inspection report may suggest this as well. A termite inspection could be ordered if the inspector finds evidence that these pests may be present, and posing a danger to the structure of the home by eating the wood. Air quality testing may be done if there is any reason to suspect that the air in the home may be harmful to occupants, and this can be due to mold, radon, or other harmful airborne irritants and pathogens.

Knowing what to expect during a thorough professional home inspection, and the tips to make this process more effective and efficient, can help you get a good idea on any flaws in the home before you make the purchase, without any doubt or confusion involved. This step should never be omitted, even though it may seem costly, because it can save you significantly if there are hidden defects and unseen flaws.