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Category: Uncategorized

Good Planning Makes For a Great Home Improvement Project

Posted on July 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

If you’ve been dreaming of a home improvement or remodeling project, it’s time to make it a reality. As with any project, good planning is the key to saving you stress and money and achieving the rewards that can come from a newly designed space.

Begin fulfilling your dream by clarifying why you want to do this. The majority of remodeling projects begin as a result of the need to make changes because the house no longer meets the needs and desires of the family. For example, having a baby or growing children can result in a need to expand your space. Or perhaps you have lived in your home for more than 10 years and you are getting an itch to update and modernize. Whatever the reason, it is best to make clear what you hope to accomplish from this home improvement project.

Brainstorm about everything you would like to have included in your remodel and then categorize each item as a “necessity or must have”, “amenity or nice to have” or “definitely not”. In order to organize your thoughts and ideas, create a notebook. This will allow you to keep pictures, color samples, fabric swatches, material specifications, reference phone numbers, budget information and project records in one concise area.

Now that you have answered the why and the what, it is time to take a look at the numbers. Spending time on the budget early on in the project plan, as well as reviewing it at every step of the process, is essential to its success and your sanity. Don’t forget to take into consideration the payback you hope to achieve from this home improvement. Typically a kitchen or bathroom improvement offers the highest payback when it comes to resale. Talk to a trusted real estate agent if this is a major consideration.

Being realistic with what you can afford and when you can afford it will allow you to put together a realistic timetable for the project as a whole. The schedule should be created with the help of your “construction team”, which may include an architect, interior designer, loan officer, and general contractor, to name a few. Areas that typically can cause a ripple in your timetable are the design phase, getting permits and the actual time for construction. Make sure that you have “padded” your schedule to account for these factors.

Identifying reliable competent contractors to work on your project can be as stressful as the project itself. This can also take the most time, so be sure to account for it on your project schedule. The simple answer to getting the best person for your project – research! Begin your search by asking friends and neighbors who have completed their own home improvements who they used. The county building department and Yellow Pages are also places to look. Then do your own homework by verifying their license and insurance, check references and reputation, and view previous and current jobs. Plan interviews that will allow you to assess their personality, approach to problem solving and their understanding of your dream. They may be the best at what they do, but if they don’t “see” your vision of the completed project, then helping you make it reality is going to be difficult. Plan to evaluate up to three bids before you make your final selection.

Through careful planning, the ground work should be completed which leads you to the exciting and nail biting phase of the project – construction. Pay attention to the work as it progresses without micromanaging of your construction team. Walking this fine line can make the difference between a good remodeling experience and a nightmare. Having pre-arranged work review meetings in your project plan can help. Use these to go over any issues that have come up, re-evaluate expectations, monitor progress and maintain positive communication with your contractor.

Post construction, before the celebration party, make sure that the punch list (final “to do” list) has been completed to your satisfaction and that your home owners insurance is updated to reflect your remodel.

It can’t be said enough – good planning will make for a great home improvement project.

Identifying Potential To Enhance Home Improvement

Posted on July 22, 2017 in Uncategorized

There are many home improvement possibilities a person can reap the benefits of when attempting to enhance the appearance of their home and increase the price of their property. While appointing a specialist may offer a pleasant possibility with regard to convenience, the incredible expense associated with these services can usually persuade individuals to look for alternatives. When considering the possibilities that exist with alternatives for your housing improvement projects, make the most of the do-it-yourself opportunities which exist with landscaping, painting, flooring, and bathroom remodeling.

Landscaping

The appearance of a house is often directly associated with the common real estate expression of curb appeal. When you have a property that has vegetation, that is out of control or provides very little character, it can facilitate in deteriorating an individual’s opinion of your house, before they have even viewed the interior. When seeking to enhance your home’s curb appeal, the do-it-yourself landscaping home improvement solution can offer a great number of advantages, as you look to spruce up your existing environment and enhance appeal through cost-efficient projects which can complement the look and feel of your home.

When seeking to considerably change the interior or exterior of your house, one of the most effective methods you can take advantage of is found with do-it-yourself painting. This home improvement possibility can enable you to totally change the feel of your home. Simply by altering your color scheme you can give your rooms new, unique ‘personalities’. Whether you’re painting a room for a child or trying to create a welcoming living room environment, the resources of painting can provide you with several unbelievable opportunities.

Just like the possibilities that exist with painting, flooring indicates one more unique possibility which can help to completely change the environment this flooring exists within. If your home is covered in old carpeting, then a fresh change of wood or stone flooring can prove highly advantageous. If you have outdated linoleum, the do-it-yourself solution of ceramic tiles or stone can assist to accent a kitchen or bathroom.

Bathroom Renovations

Another extraordinary do-it-yourself resource which homeowners can make the most of, when looking to make the most of the objectives of home improvement, can be found with bathroom remodels. Bathrooms are usually environments that are extremely personal, and the difference a clean, bright look gives to the room’s ambiance should not be underestimated. A remodeled bathroom can prove very alluring to prospective investors, as they will get a better return on their investment due to the appeal of new features, instead of worn and obsolete materials.

Each of these do-it-yourself home improvement opportunities helps to provide a homeowner with a unique possibility to save money while increasing total home value.

BuildingChoice is a website created for Australian consumers in particular to free access up to date information and prices on a wide range of building products and appliances. It features a Trades Directory to enable consumers to easily locate and contact the professionals needed to complete a building project – from architects and interior designers to plumbers and plasterers.

Discount Tile Flooring

Posted on July 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

Making the decision to have tiles on the floors in your home is a good one. Tiles can totally transform a house and they are do not take a lot of maintenance or care. They are easy to clean and will last for many years to come. When deciding on what type of tiles to buy, you will more than likely have a budget. If this is a small budget, then you should consider looking for discounted tiles. Saving money when buying tiles can be done if you follows some hints and tips first.

Discount tile flooring – Hint number 1

Perform an internet search. Simply type “discount tile flooring” into a search engine like Google and it will produce many pages of companies. Now some companies may claim to have discounted prices, however if their prices were high to start with, then you are not saving any money. This is why you should shop around so you can get a general idea of prices and the quality and standard you should expect.

With any company that you come across, their website should list their whole range. Companies that are very busy and successful, are able to offer cheaper prices as they buy the tiles themselves in bulk. They also may have a special offer every month on a different design or brand. Alternatively a company may just be starting out so they will have special offer prices to encourage customers and build up their share in the market.

Also look for clearance sales, these are tiles of which production has stopped on a particular design or color. There is nothing wrong with them. The manufacturer simply wants them out of their warehouse to use the space for something else. If buying clearance sales tiles, then you will find them delivered in the packaging and of 100% quality.

Discount tile flooring – Hint number 2

If you plan on ordering your tiles over the internet, then make a note of which country the company is located in. Finding fabulous discounted tiles is great, however if you have to pay over the odds for shopping costs, then it defeats the object in the first place.

Also try to barter with the company that you are purchasing from. More than likely if you have the cash ready, then you will be able to negotiate a big discount, even if they have already given you 10% off.

Discount tile flooring – Hint number 2

If you can not get discounted prices off the tiles, then ask if installation can be done free of charge, or delivery costs can be wavered. Alternatively you may also consider laying the tiles down yourself. There are many good DIY books or guidance articles on the internet, with step by step instructions on how to lay tile flooring.

The key to saving money when buying floor tiles is simply to shop around. Do not make any impulse purchases if you have not compared designs, brands and colors before hand. Shop around first and then you will know when buying, if you really are getting a bargain. Once you have your bargain, then you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

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Making the Most of the Relationship With Your Construction Manager

Posted on July 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

Congratulations. You have decided to build your new home or major renovation. You have picked out your construction manager and you are finally ready to get started.

Building a new home or doing a major remodel is an exciting time. And the most important relationship you have during this time is with your construction manager and maybe primary contractor. Here in Panama, like most places they are usually the same firm.

If you do it right, your project will be a dream and your friendship will be a long one. But, if this relationship is strained, the venture could turn into a nightmare of never ending expense and bad feelings.

Here are 5 steps to keep a good relationship with your construction manager.

Set a Proper Budget

Your budget should be determined before anything else is done. This includes getting your initial quotes and estimates. Without knowing a budget, it is almost impossible to come up with a proper estimate. It’s possible to do a $5,000 dollar kitchen or a $50,000 dollar kitchen. Without a budget, it is impossible to proceed.

Also, when you are doing your budget, you need to allow for changes and over runs. 80% is a good benchmark. So, if you have $200,000 to allocate to your new home, your budget should be around $160,000. If you have it and don’t need it, you can use your extra 20% for furniture. But, if you need it and don’t have it, everyone’s schedule needs to go on hold while you find the extra funds.

Pre-Plan

The most important stage of any construction project is the pre-planning you do with your construction managers. A good plan will eliminate or reduce changes and problems along the way. But, not having a good plan is sure to result in cost overruns and bad feelings.

You should know everything in advance. The makes and model numbers of supplies, how they will be installed, everything. This planning will help keep everything on schedule and as expected.

Keep to the Plan

Wherever possible, try and keep with the plan. When you change anything along the way, schedules are interrupted and it is going to cost you. Probably more than the upgrade or change would have cost originally. So, if you change from a $20 door knob to a $40 door knob, it may end up costing you more than the $20 dollar difference, due to extra trips to the store, schedule changes etc.

This is a small example, but any change at this point causes a disruption, and any disruption takes time from the schedule. If possible, nothing should be changed at this point. If a change needs to be done, use a proper change order. This way all parties know exactly what is expected and what it is going to cost. It will save misunderstandings later.

Follow Up During the Process

Sometimes, no matter how well things are planned, there are misunderstandings during the construction process. Maybe you thought one thing, while the construction manager’s understanding is something different.

Regular follow ups through the construction process will ensure costs are kept to a minimum. If you wait until the project is done before telling the contractor that you wanted a different finish, it might mean ripping out some other finishing work later. And disrupting your entire schedule.

Do a Walk Through / Punch List

Finally, after the construction is completed, do a walk through with your construction manager. Waiting for 3 months to inform the construction manager that there is a problem isn’t going to help you resolve the issue. Get everything out in the open right away, so it can be dealt with.

Working with a construction manager is a process starting before your construction begins, and ending after it is complete. If things go well, the relationship could last for years.

The most important parts of the entire relationship are in the preplanning stages. So make sure that ample groundwork is done.

Make your next construction project a dream come true, and make your construction manager your best friend.

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5 Easy Home Improvement Projects That Make Your Home Feel Like New

Posted on July 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

Would you like to live in a new home? A home improvement project can be an easy way to change the look and increase the appeal of your home, make it feel like new. Below are five very easy ways to improve your home and increase the value at the same time. Home improvement projects do not have to take a lot of time or money to make your home look better.

Easy Home Improvement Project – Kitchen

Paint the kitchen cabinets. An easy kitchen home improvement project that most anyone can do is to repaint the cabinets. A dull, lifeless kitchen can easily be brought back to life by a new coat of paint on the cabinets. Select a bright, crisp color and a new coat of paint on the cabinets will change the look of the kitchen. It will look clean and fresh. With the sharpness of the new paint, the kitchen will appear and feel larger. A light, bright color seems to expand the feel of the room.

For a finishing touch that will complete the cabinets in your kitchen home improvement project change the hardware. Cabinet hardware can become dull and worn over a long life of use. Changing the knobs and handles will drastically change the appearance of the cabinets and give the kitchen a newly remodeled look.

Easy Home Improvement Project – Flooring

Replace carpet flooring. Old, worn carpet is thin, hard and makes a home look dirty and dungy. Replace old carpet with new in your next home improvement project. New carpet adds a soft touch. It looks good and insulates to some extent. If you have a limited budget, purchase good carpet padding and an inexpensive carpet. The result will be a thick expensive feel.

Easy Home Improvement Project – New Faucets

Change the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Old faucets dull and wear with age. Replacing faucets will give the sink a fresh new appearance.

This home improvement project is much simpler that it may sound. You can hire a plumber to install new faucets or you can do it yourself. Nice faucets can be purchased at your local hardware store, along with proper plumbing supplies that are quite easy to install.

Easy Home Improvement Project – Painting

Paint the exterior and the interior of your home. A fresh coat of paint is a simple home improvement project that will give your home a new clean look. The exterior appeal will look inviting to visitors and the fresh new interior will make them glad they entered. This is a relatively inexpensive, simple home improvement project that you can hire done or you can do it yourself.

Easy Home Improvement Project – Driveway

A very easy home improvement project that will add a new look to the exterior of your home is to pressure wash the concrete driveway. Over the course of a short season, a concrete driveway will get dirty and grungy. Simply rent a pressure washer and wash the driveway. The process is not hard but it is a slow process. The result will be worth the time. The concrete will look like it has been recently placed.

So there it is – five easy home improvement projects that will make your home feel like new. If you want to improve the appeal and add value to your home, try one or more of these home improvement projects.

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