Archive for December, 2016

Do-it-Yourself Home Improvement Tips – 3 Ways to Save Money on Home Improvements

Home improvements enhance your living space and add style.
Unfortunately, transforming your home into a work of art can be costly. Individuals
with large re-decorating budgets have many options. However, if funds
are limited, you may have to rely on inexpensive, do-it-yourself
techniques. Here are three ways to help you save money on your next home
improvement project.

Forget Hiring a Contractor for Home Improvement Project

The biggest expense incurred from home improvement projects is hiring a
contractor. Homeowners with little handyman skills usually rely on
contractors for home improvement projects. Once a contractor is hired, he
or she will purchase materials and begin completing the job. Thus,
homeowners pay for the contractor’s service and necessary supplies.

Instead of hiring a contractor to complete simple jobs such as painting
or new flooring, you can probably complete these jobs yourself, or at
least buy the materials. The materials for small home improvement
projects are inexpensive. On the other hand, if the contractor supplies the
materials, the prices are inflated to boost their bottom line.

Take Advantage of Home Improvement Classes

Many homeowners have enjoyed huge home improvement savings by taking
classes offered by local home improvement stores. These classes are
beneficial because they teach basic techniques for a variety of home
projects. Hence, you may not need to rely on a contractor.

Typical home improvement classes include flooring, painting, cabinetry,
changing light fixtures, installing carpet, and so forth. These classes
are ideal for homeowners hoping to save money on their next home
project. Classes are held regularly, usually on the weekends.

Purchase Items on Sale or Discontinued

When searching for materials or supplies, begin by browse the selection
of sale, clearance, or discontinued items. This is the best approach
for saving money on home improvement materials. If a home improvement
retail store is overstocked, the manager may be willing to add further
discounts in order to quickly sale merchandise. Furthermore, you can
locate quality discontinued materials dirt cheap. Negotiate with the store
manager. If purchasing discontinued items in bulk, you may receive
additional savings, especially if the manager is eager to have the
merchandise sold.

How Can a General Contractor Help You for Your Home Improvement Project?

Often times, it can be stressful to construct a home or a commercial building. It is a very daunting task. Professional service providers ensure the safety of the entire construction procedure when residential and commercial properties are being built. This is where seeking guidance from a general contractor comes in. A lot of business managers will definitely feel the load go off their shoulders as they seek help from these professional companies that can help them boost the aesthetics of their buildings.

Leading a pool of workers for a big construction job is definitely tough. Supervising and managing the entire thing needs a lot of time and effort. Not to mention, it needs to be run by someone with complete knowledge about the project; someone who can commit and find the perfect subordinates to respond to concerns and problems depending on the style and preferences of their clients.

One of the major responsibilities of a general contractor is to pay attention to the littlest details in connection with the construction whether it is commercial or residential. He needs to supervise every procedure and make sure that everyone’s working their best to attain efficiency and finish the job on time. A general contractor must hire people who are highly skilled, professional and experienced in order to come up with precise structure and magnificent set of designs.

Commercial service providers, though different from the general contractor, provides the manual labor and equipment necessary for the project. Services such as redesigning some aspects of the house employing concrete designs, carpentry and masonry are things that a general contractor should work out, if his client says so. So if you want these things in your home or commercial establishment, you can ask your professional service provider to do it for you.

Aside from these, you will never get stressed due to the project. You will have more time for other factors in your business that needs immediate attention. Just inform them of your desired outcome and they’ll do the rest for you. You can also save time and money by hiring a company to acquire the workers for your building project. As they have access to wholesale materials and products, you will also save a lot of money if you hire their services.

If you happen to hire someone for your construction needs, it will definitely be a worthy undertaking so finding the top quality contractor would be the best challenge for you to slay right now.

Home Improvement – The Top 10 Home Improvement Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Although a major home improvement can prove to be a rewarding project, it can also turn your life upside down if you are not prepared. I’ve heard of some worst case scenarios involving people who have lost their homes because they got in over their heads and others who ended up with incomplete project nightmares that cost them thousands of dollars to correct.

Following is a list of the top ten mistakes homeowners make when undertaking home improvement projects and tips on how to avoid them:

1. References. Do enough research and background checking to satisfy you. Walk away if the contractor is not willing to provide references from former clients. Do an online search of the contractor’s business and personal name. Check with local courts for judgments filed against them and with the Better Business Bureau for any consumer complaints. Look at previous work completed (in person). Check with material suppliers since a good contractor will have a long-standing relationship with suppliers. Contact other contractors who have worked with them before. Check their credit standing – contractors with bad credit are often disorganized and don’t manage their business well. Inquire about insurance, workers compensation and licensing.

2. Project management. You need one person to help you manage your project. Most issues occur when inexperienced homeowners try to manage their own project. A project manager is a single point of contact between the homeowner and other contractors and is responsible for scheduling and workflow.

3. Contracts. Make sure your contract is solid. As obvious as this may sound, failure to get a contract or signing an incomplete contract is one of the most common mistakes. Put all the details in writing – never take someone’s word for it. Following are items that should be included in the contract: (1) the full name of the company and the person you are doing business with and their contact information, (2) an addendum consisting of the complete set of plans, (3) an addendum consisting of the materials to be used, (4) the price of the goods or services, (5) the manner and terms of payment, (6) a description of the work to be performed, (7) a start date and an estimated completion date, (8) a default clause in the event either party defaults that specifies how damages will be calculated, (9) warranties and (10) signatures.

4. Warranties. Make sure you receive a warranty with detailed terms and conditions. Don’t accept a contract that simply states that all work is guaranteed. There is often confusion as to who is responsible for the warranty. Get the following in writing: (1) Who is backing the warranty? (2) What is covered and what is not covered? (3) How long is the warranty valid for? (4) What can void the warranty? (5) What is the process for placing a warranty claim?

5. Changes. During the project, you may change your mind on certain design aspects which may require more or less work from contractors. It is critical to document every change order and note the exact cost or savings. Changes should be signed and dated by all parties.

6. Plans. Get a clear description on what will be done, how it will be done and the materials to be used. For smaller projects, contractors can draw up plans. For larger and more complicated projects, find a qualified designer or architect. And, for example, if load-bearing walls will be altered, find an engineer to review the structural side of the plans.

7. Costs. Estimating costs tends to be a big problem because people do not make realistic comparisons. Homeowners may hire the contractor with the lowest price but that price may turn out to be much higher in the end. “Allowance items” tend to be the main culprit in estimating costs. For example, contractors may give you allowances for flooring, lighting or hardware that are artificially low. The bid looks enticing until you examine it closely. Request a line item for straight costs on materials and labor since some contractors mark up materials and labor so they can make a profit on it. Ask the contractor to pass along costs to you and to add a line item for their fee. This creates a more clear and honest assessment of the job.

8. Financing and payments. Before signing the contract, figure out how you are going to pay for your home improvement project. Make sure you maintain control of the money – don’t let your project manager or contractor control the money. This sounds obvious but many homeowners allow contractors to make draws on construction accounts only to realize that the draws were not used for the intended purpose. What does this mean? It means your contractor scored a new truck, you’re out of money and the project is incomplete. Tips: (1) don’t pay a lot of money up front, (2) pay when materials are delivered, (3) pay when work begins and (4) pay as work progresses. Pay only after work and materials are inspected and approved.

9. Inspections. Don’t wait until your home improvement project is almost complete to do the inspection. Plan phased inspections along the way so work doesn’t need to be re-done. Don’t rely on city and county building inspectors to protect you since the codes they enforce don’t guarantee quality (and they often miss things too!). Before paying for work, hire an independent inspector to do periodic phase inspections.

10. Materials. Stick with products that are tried and true. This rule especially holds true when it comes to windows, doors, framing materials, roofing products, concrete coverings, epoxy floors, plumbing, light fixtures and electronics. You don’t want to be the guinea pig that test runs the supposed latest and greatest new products or materials only to find out that these items don’t last or turn out to be fire hazards!