Posts Tagged ‘home remodel’

Low Cost Ways to Spruce Up Your Home Exterior

front door curb appeal
Make your home more appealing for yourself and potential buyers with these quick and easy tips:

1. Trim bushes so they don’t block windows or architectural details.

Mow your lawn, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before the showing to make the lawn sparkle.

Put a pot of bright flowers (or a small evergreen in winter) on your porch.

4. Install new doorknobs on your front door.

Repair any cracks in the driveway.

Edge the grass around walkways and trees.

Keep your garden tools and hoses out of sight.

8. Clear toys from the lawn.

Buy a new mailbox.

Upgrade your outside lighting.

11. Buy a new doormat for the outside of your front door.

Clean your windows, inside and outside.

Polish or replace your house numbers.

Place a seasonal wreath on your door.

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When It’s Smart to Do It Yourself

home repair improvement

DIY (Do It Yourself) projects can be a smart way to save money, but choose the right project or you’ll end up paying dearly.

In a recent Time magazine poll, nearly a quarter of people said they were taking on more home-improvement projects themselves—understandably so, when you consider that it usually means a 50% to 75% discount, since all you pay for is materials. But sometimes doing it yourself costs more than it saves, like when you decide to replace the toilet, end up flooding the basement, and have to pay a pro to fix your mistakes. Or, worse, if you become one of the more than 100,000 people injured each year doing home-improvement jobs.

Here are some guidelines for deciding when DIY can save you money and when it could cost you:

Stick to routine maintenance for savings and safety

Seasonal home maintenance is ideal work for the DIY weekend warrior, since you can plan tasks in advance and get to them when your schedule allows. Just by mowing your own lawn, for example, you can save $55 to $65 a week for a half-acre lawn during the growing season. The bigger the lot, the bigger the savings: with two acres, you’ll pocket around $150 per week.

When It Pays: Look for maintenance jobs that are relatively easy and need to be done regularly, so you can hone your skills over time. In addition to mowing, other good ones are snow removal, pruning shrubs, washing windows, sealing the deck, painting fences, fertilizing the lawn, and replacing air conditioner filters.

When It Doesn’t: Unless you have skill and experience on your side, stay off of any ladder taller than six feet; according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 164,000 people end up in emergency rooms every year because of ladder injuries. The same goes for operating power saws or attempting any major electrical work—it’s simply too risky if you don’t have the experience.

Act as your own GC on small jobs

If you’re more comfortable operating an iPhone than a circular saw, you may be able to act as your own general contractor on a home-improvement project and hire the carpenters, plumbers, and other tradesmen yourself. You’ll save 10% to 20% of the job cost, which is the contractor’s typical fee.

When it Pays: If it’s a small job that requires only two or three different tradesmen, and you have good existing relationships with top-quality professionals in those fields, consider DIY contracting.

When It Doesn’t: Unless you have an established network of contacts who will show up as promised, the time to spend on oversight, enough construction experience to spot potential problems, and the skill to negotiate disputes between the various subcontractors, trying to manage your own project can quickly send the schedule and budget off the rails.

Pitch in with sweat equity on big jobs

Contributing your own labor on a big job being handled by a professional crew can cut hundreds or even thousands of dollars off the contractor’s bill. Tear the cabinets and appliances out of your old kitchen before the contractor gets started, say, and you might knock $800 off the cost of your remodel, says Dean Bennett, a design/build contractor in Castle Rock, Colorado.

When it Pays: Grunt work—jobs that are labor intensive but require relatively little skill—makes the best homeowner contribution. Offer to do minor interior demolition like removing cabinets and pulling up old flooring, daily jobsite cleanup, product assembly, and simple landscaping like planting foundation shrubs and grass seed around your new addition.

When It Doesn’t: If you get in the crew’s way, you may slow them down far more than you help. Make your contributions when the workers aren’t around, such as in the morning before they arrive, or on nights and weekends after they’ve left.

Put on some of the finishing touches

Unlike the early phases of a construction job, which require skilled labor to frame walls, install plumbing pipes, and run wiring, many of the finishing touches on a project are comparatively simple and DIY-friendly. If you do the painting yourself for a new basement rec room, for instance, you can easily save $1,800, Bennett says.

When it Pays: If you have the skill—or a patient temperament and an experienced friend to teach you—finish work like setting tile, laying flooring, painting walls, and installing trim are all good DIY jobs.

When It Doesn’t: The downside to attempting your own finish work is that the results are very visible. Hammer dents in woodwork, for example, or sander ruts in your hardwood floors may cause you aggravation every time you see them. So unless you have a sure eye and a steady hand, it may not pay to embark on these tasks.

Source:  Oliver Marks ( former carpenter and newspaper reporter who has been writing about home improvements for 16 years. He’s currently restoring his second fixer-upper with a mix of big hired projects and small do-it-himself jobs.

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Home Remodeling Increasing: How to Get the Best Value

Homeowners who have either decided to stay in their homes or are considering selling may be helping to build momentum in the remodeling market.


According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the organization’s Chairman, Greg Miedema, said in a recent media statement that, “With more calls from homeowners and more projects under way, remodelers are seeing better activity in their businesses.”

Remodeling is, however, a big step for many homeowners. Getting the best value for your remodel shouldn’t come from guesswork; instead, knowing how to find a remodeling company with a solid reputation for delivering quality work throughout the entire remodeling process requires research.

Choosing the best remodeler for your project can often be a tedious process and if you don’t take the time to explore all your options it can result in frustration and too much money spent.

Making sure the company that is doing the remodel asks the right questions, does its homework, and offers full-service design and remodeling under one roof. This will help ensure a quality remodel that meets all your needs.

The full-service home-design remodel company offers homeowners one-stop shopping for their remodeling needs. “I develop a written program based on what my clients’ needs and goals are for their remodel,” says Walton. He adds, “Throughout this I am digging deep and finding out what’s important to my clients. A lot of companies don’t ask these questions but this is how Marrokal Design and Remodeling starts to develop a preliminary budget for our clients.”

While not all remodelers offer full service (from design to construction), this type of company is often popular with homeowners. A full-service company keeps your remodeling project running smoothly by coordinating all of the necessary design, construction developments, and communication with trade companies through one primary source (removing the unnecessary hassle of trying to get numerous trade companies to work together).

Another approach to remodeling that sets quality remodelers apart from the rest is the use of value engineering to design the remodel. “Value engineering” means refining and sometimes redesigning aspects of the remodel to make it more cost-effective which ultimately saves money for the homeowner.

If you’re considering a remodel, understanding some of the most popular remodeling trends can help you decide which projects may have the greatest appeal for comfort and sale-ability.

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Original article by Phoebe chongchua.

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