Reasons To Go With A Custom Home Builder

Building A New Home On Your Own Lot: What You Need To Know

Before deciding to build a home on your own lot, take our advice on how to choose a homebuilder to help ensure you don’t overlook anything critical.

Building a home on your own land can be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life — as long as you’re prepared. There are a lot of variables to consider, and you’ll need the help of professionals to ensure you don’t overlook the important details before breaking ground.

HIRE A HOMEBUILDER EARLY IN THE PROCESS

Our biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to build on their own lot is to consult a builder before buying land. Choosing to involve your builder early on in your decision-making has the potential to save you time, and a lot of money in the long-run.

Your home builder will not only help you determine the best placement of the home, but also whether or not you should build on a particular lot at all. You see, it’s easy to get swept up in the vision of your future home on an attractive piece of land, but there’s always a chance there are problems you don’t see right away – more on that a little later.

CHOOSING A BUILD-ON-YOUR-LOT HOMEBUILDER

There’s a lot of work that goes into choosing a trustworthy homebuilder, especially when you want to build on your own lot.

You need to look for a local team with visible experience in build-on-your-lot projects. These teams are more likely to keep your build on budget as well as bring a critical understanding of zoning laws, restrictions, and easements. Hiring locally is especially important if you’re planning to build in a rural area, where the rules are more than likely different than in-city.

What to look for in a builder:

  • Experience – Do they do a lot of build-on-your-own-lot projects? Take time to ask for a reference or two and talk to them about their experiences.
  • Floorplans – If you’re going to purchase your own lot first, it might be in your best interest, financially, to work with your builder to choose a floorplan they’ve done before, or customize any of their existing designs. The important thing to look for is options – do they have them, and are they flexible in delivering what you want?
  • Purchasing-Power – A homebuilder with good connections is more likely to get you a competitive price on building materials, especially if you’re using one of their floorplans.

Starting with the initial inspection of your lot, your builder should be transparent and up-front about all the things that’ll have to happen BEFORE construction on your home begins. Things like removing earth, bringing dirt in, building a driveway or special foundation work should be discussed and factored into your project’s overall budget.

 

Tender documents and contracts

Tender documents must clearly identify any sustainability practices or materials certification requirements that are different from business as usual. Attach schedules to the tender documents that tenderers are required to sign.

Allaying builder concerns about the unfamiliar aspects of sustainable practice can reduce the amount they allow for unknown contingencies.

Contingency sums

Areas of unknown risk can be accommodated through contingency sums or allowances that can be called on to cover unexpected costs. They are often used to cover unexpected subsoil and foundation related costs; increasingly they are being used to provide flexibility in choosing innovative sustainable technologies and practices.

Prime cost schedules

Another way to overcome risk aversion on the part of the builder is to ‘nominate’ subcontractors to supply and install innovative technologies and provide the builder with a ‘schedule of allowances’ (or ‘prime cost schedule’) to include in the tender.

Many designers choose and specify the exact make and model of important or high cost items such as windows and doors, solar hot water systems, smart metering and energy control systems, and on-site renewable energy generation. You or your designer can have these items quoted by preferred suppliers and nominated in the contract as prime cost schedule items to avoid substitution of inappropriate or substandard products by competitive tenderers.

 

SCHEDULE THE FIRST MEETING

Now that you’ve chosen a home builder you want to work with, it’s time to meet with them. The goal of your first meeting should be to establish exactly what styles & customizations you want.

If you already know what floorplans you’re interested in, you can arrive at the meeting ready to discuss these details:

  • Foundation Types: With Reinbrecht, you have three options for your foundation: a slab, basement, or crawlspace. This decision can weigh on your budget and speed of the build.
  • Interior Finishes: Floorcovering, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, plumbing fixtures, fireplaces, and trim packages are all interior finishes that will need to be specified by your preferences.
  • Exterior Finishes: Doors, windows, roofing, brick/vinyl/stone, and decks/porches/patios are exterior factors that you’ll need selections for.
  • Extras & Upgrades: Are you interested in upgrades like fireplaces, smart home technology, and crown molding?

If you don’t have your house plans, don’t worry. Refer back to your list of home necessities to help answer your home builder’s questions on your size, design, and budget needs. Your home builder will help you choose and customize a design that fits those needs from their library of available plans.

 

Discover How Long it Takes to Build on Your Lot

Building a new home takes four to six months if your home builder has already built your floor plan, but it can take significantly longer if you’re having a completely new design built or if you’re asking for extensive customization. So, if you have a specific time frame for moving, you’re likely to be better off with a semi-custom design rather than a completely custom-designed home.

“If you’re adding space to the house, we can usually turn that around quickly, but something more complicated could take a week or two to price out,” says Schumacher. “We average 122 days from putting in the foundation to finishing our houses, but bigger homes take a little longer.”

Homes builds modular homes, which can be faster to build, as well as less costly than other new homes. The parts are built off-site while the foundation for the home is under construction. Once the parts are delivered, says Rutherford, construction takes 45 to 60 days.

 

Experts and Professionals You Need for Home Building

Every one of us has that desire to own a house. But not all of us are able to attain such desire because of the lack of resources and money to spend for it. That is why, once we are able to save money for house construction, we would make sure that not a single cent will be wasted. You will be assured that all your savings will grow into a beautiful and cozy house if you pick the right people to work on your home’s building.

Do you know who these people are? We will be giving you a list of those people who can aid you with the construction. Do not just pick anyone who appears to know everything because that person might only need your money. So, before you hire people, know what kind of experts and professionals are really needed for house construction. Tap these people when you are ready to build your dream house:

  1. Architects.

Prior to the construction of your home, you would need an Architect to help you with the design. It would be hard to construct without a guide. That is why Architects are important for they are the ones who will design your house. Aside from the exterior design, they will also help you make good use of your existing space ensuring that there will be good traffic, function and accessibility to the entire home. You can also let the Architects know what you want for a home so that they can design something that would suit your taste. The Architects will provide you the blueprints of your home’s design.

  1. Civil Engineers.

While the Architects are dealing with the design, the Civil Engineers look into the structure of your house. They review the plans if it meets local building codes and check if it is structurally sound. Civil Engineers make sure that your house won’t collapse by checking on the foundation and the materials that you will be using. Engineers will be visiting your construction site from time to time to check if they follow the provisions in attaining a durable and stable house.

  1. Electrical Engineers.

Of course, you will be using electricity in your house. You cannot just let anyone do this because the arrangement and distribution of wires and other electrical items are crucial. You do not want to have a fire in your home due to faulty wirings. You will be seeing Electricians a lot of times during the construction. In the framing stage, they would be preparing the wires and boxes. After the drywall is done, they will now place the cover plates and other items to these boxes. Once that is done, they will be testing the electrical system to make sure it works well.

  1. Master Plumber.

Plumbers deal with water lines, sinks, faucets, drain lines and even gas lines for your cooking equipment. They would help you to have a good water and sewerage system in your house. Plumbers work on your kitchen and bathroom and other area where you need water and drainage.

  1. Contractors.

Contractors are those people who are in charge of building the house. They are the ones who deal with other persons to work on the building. Most of the time, contractors have many crews that are knowledgeable of the construction process. Contractors are the ones who spend a majority of time taking care of the construction, watches laborers and workers on the site and supervise the work. So, make sure to choose a good contractor.

Time For Kitchen Remodelling

Things to Think About When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Remodeling kitchen designed to complement you and your family’s needs. If you plan on staying in your home, a kitchen remodel can improve your quality of life

Choosing Quality Cabinets

You know that old saying, “Quality over quantity”? When shopping for kitchen cabinets, always choose quality over the cheaper price. Cheap, low-quality cabinets don’t hold up well over time. As a result, you may have to replace them sooner rather than later

Defining Your Goals

Even a small kitchen remodel can give you a good return on investment. Yet, it’s important to think about what you want to get out of your kitchen remodel. Do you plan on selling your house soon? Or do you plan on staying in the same neighborhood for years to come? The answer will determine what type of value you’re looking to get from a kitchen remodel

Exploring Your Options

There are tons of choices that will affect the appearance and function of your kitchen. This is why it’s important to take advantage of our interior design services. One of our kitchen designers will walk you through all the details so you can stay within budget. Working with one of our interior designers can also help you get a good return on investment

Creating an Environment

A thoughtful design means creating an environment both you and your family will love. While anyone can sell you new kitchen cabinets, our designers see the whole picture. They think about how you’ll use your kitchen on a daily basis and what features would offer the most value. For example, our innovative cabinetry designs can help you free up kitchen countertops.

 

What It Costs To Remodel A Kitchen In 2017

The kitchen is the most popular room of the home to renovate, according to Houzz research, and those who choose to remodel the heart of their home have some definite preferences. After all, the No. 1 reason they choose to renovate this area is no longer being able to stand the old kitchen — can anyone out there relate?

The 2017 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, from a research team led by Nino Sitchinava, Houzz’s principal economist, reveals that homeowners updating their kitchens prioritize changing out countertops, backsplashes and sinks. A majority of kitchen renovators are also choosing a more open feel for this room.

How much does it cost? The most common budget — as well as actual spend — on a kitchen renovation remains $25,001 to $50,000, according to the survey. Only 9 percent of kitchen renovators spend more than $100,000; just 4 percent spend less than $5,000. We hope the numbers help give your own project some dollars-and-cents context.

If I see that backsplash one more time … The top motivator for renovating a kitchen continues to be that owners can no longer stand the old kitchen. An increasingly popular reason is finally having the financial means, the triggering factor for 40 percent of renovators, compared with 37 percent the year before.

Countertops before electronics. Countertops are the most popular feature to upgrade, followed closely by backsplashes and kitchen sinks. Notably, a majority of kitchen renovations (51 percent) open the space more to a nearby room, reflecting the ongoing popularity of the great-room concept

 

Why Choose Kitchen Remodeling?

With a new kitchen space, your family will be happy to spend more bonding time here. Besides, there are endless possibilities of beautifying this area. Most of all, remodeling your kitchen gives a very high return on investment. You can choose to do a complete kitchen renovation or just focus on repairing some of its parts. Whichever you choose, kitchen cabinets are a good starting point since they make up the basic structure of a kitchen.

Readymade or custom built kitchen cabinets

You can choose between customized or readymade kitchen cabinets, depending on your specific needs. If your kitchen has a standard size of kitchen cabinets and you want to replace them, buying new ones will not be a problem. Besides being more affordable, these kitchen cabinets are readily available in home improvement and hardware stores.

If you are planning to change your entire kitchen and you want something more unique, you can go for custom built kitchen cabinets. Though they tend to be more expensive and take longer to make, these kitchen cabinets can offer a unique look and can be designed according to your given specifications. An expert contractor will involve you in every part of the process so everything you want will be followed, from the material of the kitchen cabinets to where they will be positioned.

Base or wall kitchen cabinets

In general, there are two categories of kitchen cabinets. There are base and wall cabinets. Base or floor cabinets are installed on the kitchen floor. Usually, these cabinets come with a tabletop above them. These kitchen cabinets are used in preparing food and to store small appliances like a mixer, blender, oven toaster, and microwave oven. They are usually built around the plumbing to hide their unsightliness. There are some base cabinets that are built under the kitchen sink to keep household cleansers and cleaning supplies. Other base cabinets have drawers built into their top half to house kitchen utensils. This makes it more convenient to get them whenever needed.

 

Kitchen Remodeling in Chicagoland

Whether you want to update a few key details to modernize your kitchen or need a total remodel to increase your kitchen’s functionality, our team has your back—and more than 100 years of experience. Add the storage and counter space you need to improve organization, create more accessibility to your appliances, or transform your space into an open concept that works for your lifestyle.

Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets can drastically change the aesthetics of your kitchen and provide needed functionality. You’ll want to consider the material, finish, storage solutions, and surface styles to find the cabinets that best fit your style and needs. Whether you’re going for a sleek, modern look or want to showcase your china,

Kitchen Countertops

Quality surfaces don’t only transform the mood of your kitchen—they can increase the value of your home, too. The kitchen is one of a home’s biggest selling points and countertops can improve functionality, giving you a more durable space for prepping meals or added style for hosting family and friends.

Kitchen Backsplashes

It’s the details that add practicality and style to any room. Backsplashes bring texture and color to your kitchen. Our backsplashes come in a range of designs and materials to fit your space and style. Or you can work with our designers to create a one-of-a-kind custom backsplash.

Finishing Touches

Details like cabinet hardware, lighting, and plumbing fixtures can subtly transform your space from country to contemporary to coastal. These elements also offer improved functionality. For example, replacing an ancient faucet may reveal installation issues that you can solve at the same time as your remodel, ensuring proper functionality moving forward.

 

What is the average cost to remodel a kitchen?

The average kitchen remodel cost can range from $18,000 to $58,000, depending on the size of the renovated space and where you live. It also varies according to the cost of materials, the scope of the project and labor charges.

Keep in mind that an extensive kitchen renovation is an expensive task as you’re dealing with components such as kitchen cabinets (one of the most expensive elements of any kitchen remodel) and countertops. You will probably also want to replace an array of kitchen appliances — all of which cost big bucks.

How do average kitchen remodel costs vary?

Your complete cost takes a number of factors into consideration, such as the total square footage of the space, the scope of renovation, your zip code, local labor costs and the finishing details – just to name a few.

How much does it cost to remodel a kitchen?

Your kitchen improvement project can be broken down into several components that the total price will take into account.

Should you opt for hiring professionals vs DIY?

Your average kitchen remodel cost also depends on whether you’ve decided to go ahead with a DIY project or want to hire certified contractors for the kitchen upgrades. Although the former will help you save money, it’s best to have kitchen experts working on your kitchen project. They will definitely make your kitchen renovation easier, quicker, and hassle-free.

What You Need To Understand About Your Custom Home Builder

HOW TO CHOOSE A HOME-BUILDING CONTRACTOR

How to find a certified Green Builder?

It’s not common to find a reliable ‘green home listing’ or ‘green pages’ in specific regions, so choosing a quality general contractor with experience building efficient homes can be tricky. Here are some tips of where to look, what to look for, and what to avoid

There are no certified ‘builders’, only certified buildings;

Any builder who has successfully navigated a performance-rating system would be knowledgeable in the area of green home building, so is a good bet when searching for a contractor who knows how to correctly weather seal & air seal windows and doors, for example, which is an essential part of building a more efficient home.

What questions to ask when choosing a Green builder?

Below are a few good questions to start with, and many of the answers you should hear from candidates are hyper-linked.

The answers you receive will quickly indicate the type of builder you are speaking with; either they will redirect, dismiss or dodge the question, or they will answer with confidence. If you are told any of the following – ‘you want your walls to breath’, ‘you don’t want a house to be too airtight’ or ‘building code is all you need‘, then you will know you are dealing with a base-level builder who wants to stay the course, not a player in the higher league of performance building.

Architects, designers and technologists:

Another avenue is to begin with a home designer who has a experience with performance homes, since they may have local builders they can recommend. The same goes the other way; if you find a builder you really connect with, ask if they have preferred designers they can recommend

 

How to Pick the Right Custom Home Builder for You

Setting out to find a new home has its challenges, especially if there’s no new homes on the market that totally satisfy what you’re looking for in a new home. If this is the case, then finding a custom home builder to create your perfect home is a great approach for you

So how do you find the custom homebuilder that will bring your dream home to life? It’s imperative to find the right custom builder as this person or group will be charged with creating the home you’ve always wanted in precise detail. With that in mind, it’s best to have a detailed list of things to consider while selecting a custom home builder.

Determine what you want in a custom home

The first part of the process is to jot down exactly what you want in your custom home. It can range from having a different layout for one or two rooms in the home or having a more intricate home plan

Make list of potential builders

Once you’ve outlined the home that you want built, it’s time to put together a list of potential builders that you want to contact. Reach out to the homebuilders association that is local to you – or in the location you’d like your custom home built in — for a list to choose from. There is also the Homeowners for Better Building (HOBB), which is another resource for finding custom home builders. NewHomeSource.com also has landing pages for each custom homebuilder it works with to make your custom home building process a breeze

Contact custom homebuilders

At the outset when you begin to make contact with custom builders, note how accessible they are. It’s important that the builder needs to be available whenever you have questions or concerns before and during the process of construction. While they’re not supposed to be at your beck and call, returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner is important. If your builder seems to take too long to get back to you even on minor things or doesn’t respond at all, that’s something that should be a disqualifier.

 

How to choose the right builder for you

When you decide to build your next home, rather than buy it, there’s one thing you simply have to get right: choosing the builder.

Picking the right builder has the potential to make or break the entire experience for you, so it’s something you don’t want to rush

Check their folio

You’ve no doubt got some idea about the type and style of home you’re hoping to build, so it’s important to find a builder whose skills best align with your plans. Paxino says this part of the process is usually easy, as most builders will have their projects displayed on their websites, or they will be able to provide you with a catalogue of homes they’ve built previously.

Find or ask for references

Some of the best information to assist you in selecting your builder can be gleaned by speaking to people who’ve dealt with them before. “You might be skeptical about who they’re going suggest – whether it’s their brother or someone they know,” Paxino says.

Go the extra mile

You’re going to be paying your builder hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of dollars to construct your home, so a few hours spent doing some extra reconnaissance will be more than worth your while

Let’s talk costs

There’s no point in gathering building quotes first, Paxino says, because many of the builders may not be appropriate for your project. So do your research first, narrow the field, and only then start asking for prices from the builders who’ve made your cut. And remember: cheapest isn’t always best.

 

Tips for Choosing Your New Home Builder

Choosing the right builder for your new home is a big task. They’re going to be in charge of a major construction project for you – and that’s a big undertaking. The builder you select needs to have all the tools necessary to build you a home that will last.

They Hire the Right Team

When you build a house, you’re bringing together all these different pieces and fitting them together like a puzzle. The right builders finds the right pieces to make that happen. They choose the best electricians, plumbers, welders, and contractors to make your home safe and strong. The sub trades they choose have a direct effect on the quality of the finished product

They Talk, and They Listen

The most important thing you can do in any project, whether it’s a full build, or a small renovation is to communicate with your team. Good builders will keep the lines of communication wide open and transparent. You want to know if there are delays in the project, and why. A good builder will tell you these things – and how they plan to fix them.

They Chase Outside Certification

Each builder has their own set of standards when it comes to construction – but the truly great ones will qualify for third party certifications that let you know that their homes are built right.

Holmes Approved Homes

Not just any builder can join this program – it’s actually Mike and his team that sources us to join the program! With a Holmes Approved Home, you’re buying a home that was built using the best techniques, practices, and technologies. Not only that, all Holmes Approved Homes go through a third party inspection provided by Mike’s own team of home inspectors, that let you know that you’ve got a home that was built right, from the ground up

 

Choosing A Builder

The common mistakes that can cause heartache

Do you plan to build your own home? Perhaps you’re looking to renovate or extend your existing home. Either way, there are many ways to make the right and wrong decisions when choosing a builder.

Get some advice

When choosing a builder, a good place to start is by asking any family and friends that have hired a builder to construct their home or renovate. Chances are you probably would have heard the stories, whether the experience was amazing or a nightmare. Be wary of going through friends of friends because they may not necessarily be builders you can put a lot of faith in. The builder may feel like they’re “doing someone a favour” and, because of that, they may place a lower priority on the job and take longer to start work.

Licences and insurance

Whether you’re going through a home builder or you’re designing your own home or renovation works with help from an architect, it’s important that you choose a builder that is licenced, registered and insured. You should be wary of builders that either refuse or don’t make it clear upfront that they are legally permitted to be involved in building and construction.

Experience and skills

Really question whether they have the skills you need. If they only have experience in renovations and extensions, they’re not the right choice for your home. It’s also important to note that builders who have only built residential properties in the past may not necessarily have a good grasp of the complexities of extensions and renovations.

Portfolio and references

First of all, check out their previous jobs and, if possible, have a physical walk-through of a home they’ve built. Even consulting an engineer to walk through the property may be worth the cost if you’re serious about choosing the right builder. Builders may be quick to offer you the contact details of a handful of selected clients but they may just offer a biased opinion. It’s best to ask to speak with their most current clients, particularly those in the middle of the building stage

Kitchen Remodelling Methode Will Make Your Kitchen Nice

Tips for Remodeling Your Kitchen

Smart Planning & Organization

Before you begin remodeling your kitchen, determine how and where you will use your kitchen items. For instance, store breakfast bowls and food near the breakfast table. Keep plastic containers and wraps in a handy place near your work surface for wrapping leftovers. Locate flatware and dishes near the dishwasher to ease the process of unloading

Design Wide Walkways

Create paths throughout your kitchen that are at least 36 inches wide. Also, walkways in the cooking zone should be 42 inches wide for kitchens with one cook, and 48 inches wide for configuring the area for two cooks. When you are in the design/planning process, adjust peninsulas and kitchen islands accordingly.

Plan the Correct Height for the Microwave

The best location and height for a microwave depends on the primary chef and the degree of kid-friendliness that you desire in your kitchen. For adults, the microwave should be roughly 15 inches above countertop level. For kids, you might consider a below-countertop setup for safety and suitability.

Stay Clear of Corners

For appliance and cabinet doors to be fully functional, make sure you plan enough space for clearance and swing direction in your redesign. Keep appliances away from corners and ensure that doors do not bang into each other when opened at the same time.

Determine the Function of an Island

When you plan a kitchen island, remember that form should follow function. If you want to eat and cook on kitchen islands, make sure you plan enough space to separate the cooktop safely from the dining area.

 

The Ultimate Kitchen Remodeling Guide

Set Your Budget Before You Remodel a Kitchen

As you go about planning the new kitchen, be realistic about the cost. Large renovation projects often end up taking more time and money than you plan for, so it’s a good idea to aim for a conservative budget beneath your max budget to ensure there are extra funds if your project goes over. A good rule of thumb is to add another 10 to 20 percent for unplanned expenses. The more financial cushion you have, the better. You don’t want to be scrambling for an additional loan mid-project, or worse, end up with a half-finished kitchen because you ran out of cash.

Do Some Research

Visit kitchen showrooms and home stores to figure out the cost of items, and then figure out what you need and what you can afford. Attending a neighborhood home tour is a great way to connect with other homeowners and observe their kitchen layouts and renovations

Consider “Hidden” Costs

Remember to factor in the cost of labor and materials as well as taxes and any shipping or delivery costs that might come up. These can add up very quickly, so it’s important to take them into account when you’re setting the budget. Also, consider if there are any steps along the way that you would like to perform yourself. Even taking on just a few tasks can save you a significant amount of money.

Aim for Quality

Always buy the best quality materials you can afford. When it comes to kitchen renovations, you want to have high-quality, functional items, both for your own use and for potential resale value. High-quality cabinets, countertops, and appliances will also last much longer so hopefully you will never have to repeat the renovation process again while you are living in the home.

Evaluate Your Needs vs. Wants

Be practical and don’t buy unnecessary items. It can be tempting to buy all sorts of gadgets and fancy appliances, but it’s better to go with the reliable basics that you know you’ll use. Remember, with every new appliance comes a slightly higher utility bill. They also add to your upkeep responsibilities and require time and money to maintain.

 

Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen from Design Pros

Function First

“Think about efficiency. About how you actually use the space,” Gambrel says. “If people have all the room in the world—like when they’re planning a kitchen in a new home—they think more is more. So they make the distance between the island and the countertop broader. But that is not efficient.” This kind of thinking, Gambrel points out, often makes cooking and cleaning more difficult. Yes, you want your kitchen to feel open, airy, and inviting, but you don’t want to have to walk 15 feet from your fridge to your range. But what’s the best way to set it up?

Light Up Your Life

Lighting: one of the most important things to consider when renovating or building a new kitchen. While lots of people go with recessed lighting in their kitchen, Gambrel recommends surface-mount fixtures that are attached to your ceiling on a grid: “The bulb is below the height of the ceiling, so you get a more even light and it’s not as surgical as recessed lighting. It’s also very beautiful.” He also loves hanging bigger light fixtures over islands, another functional decorative opportunity. And don’t forget that cabinets can block light from falling onto your countertops. “Planning for some under-cabinet lighting is important,” Roberts adds. “Make sure you have a switch and some power outlets dedicated to that.”

Your Stove Is Your Statement Piece

“Your stove is the designer handbag of the kitchen,” Roberts eloquently explains—a comparison we majorly dig. “It’s the most visible and the most used appliance.” Both designers believe that if you replace and upgrade only one thing in your kitchen, let your stove be that thing. Stoves come in a myriad of styles and colors, giving you a range (heh, heh) of options. Also consider getting a hood for your range—an addition that’ll help with ventilation and also make a statement. “If you have a big budget, you can have one made in metal like bronze or nickel,” Gambrel says. “If not, you can buy a hood along with your stove, then have your contractor build a frame around it in plaster or stucco. It’d be great for any kitchen.”

Consider Your Countertops

“Countertops need to be 24 or 25 inches, and it’s best to have a little bit of an overhang, so dripping tomato sauce will fall onto your floor instead of onto your cabinets,” Roberts says. Even aside from their function, countertops are a huge part of the kitchen, and they should align with your style. “Solid surfacing like Corian is great,” she says. “They can be repaired and they can be installed in such a way that no leftover food can be stuck in the seams.” But when it comes to natural countertops, Roberts says that nothing compares to marble. “It wears naturally, and there’s something beautiful about that because it’s a natural material. Hundred-year-old marble counters in an old Italian-villa kitchen—there’s nothing like that beauty. You can see, after 100 years, where people have been working on that counter.”

And Your Cabinets

Cabinets are just cabinets, right? Wrong! They’re another opportunity to inject your style and make your cooking process more efficient. For example, you might want to forgo cabinet doors altogether. “Personally, I__’d rather have my dishes and serving pieces on open shelves,__” Gambrel says. “I can see everything, and make it more stylish that way, and I can organize olive oil and spices in a more artful way.” Gambrel also notes that an open cabinet can quickly transform the spirit of your kitchen, making it more airy and interesting.

 

Kitchen Renovation Guide including Tips, Tricks, and Advice

Avoid adding square feet to your kitchen by expanding

Adding a room or even a small bump out to increase the size of your kitchen will be costly and complicated (permits, foundation work, framing, etc.)  Instead, see if you can find additional space in an adjacent closet, hallway, sun room, etc.  Large, open, kitchens are the current fad, but that may not always be the case (especially when you go and sell in twenty years).  Plus, you don’t need a huge kitchen to cook great food and you’ll avoid being a slave to your general contractor for 6-12 months.  Kiplinger Magazine even offers the same advice!

Splurge on cabinets and flooring

If there are two elements of your kitchen that will take the most abuse it’s your floor and cabinets.  Opt for solid wood cabinet faces and full plywood box construction.  Also, look for drawers that have dovetail joinery and bulky mechanical slides (I like the Blum line of mechanisms and hinges, some Ikea cabinets even use Blum hings!).  I’ve found that it doesn’t really matter who the cabinet company is, but very important if they incorporate the above construction and design items into their product.  On the flooring side, avoid hardwood floors (it just doesn’t make sense in a room that will see tons of foot traffic, spills of all sorts, water, etc.)  Instead opt for a Porcelain tile or possibly a natural stone surface (though the latter will require sealing).  Hardwood floors are nice to stand on because they give a little and help with back pain, but it’s no substitute for the resilience of a solid, and indestructible, tile surface.

High end appliances don’t always perform better

It’s a fact that a $10,000 Viking stove will not boil water faster than a $500 Amana stove, however an industrial will often give you additional burners, beefier construction, and the looks most folks desire in a high end kitchen renovation.  We opted for a duel fuel Wolf stove (6 burner) (click here for my Wolf 36 inch six burner review) and it has worked very well thus far, however the stove is very difficult to clean and the large oven takes a long time to reach temperature.

Gut it

Just like I advocate in my five tips on bathroom renovations, it’s best if you gut your existing kitchen so that you can re-wire, re-plumb, level the floor, look for potential problems, etc.

DIY within reason

Professionals cost money and general contractors cost even more.  I would stay away from hiring a general contractor and opt for a 50/50 job where you outsource to professionals for technical tasks (new gas line, installing cabinets, etc.)

 

The Perfect Time For Your Kitchen Remodel

Your kitchen is a practical, highly-used space that you should truly enjoy living in each and every day. Keeping it updated and to your liking can seem frivolous, but what space could be more important in our daily lives? We’re willing to spend out for a comfortable bed to keep us rested and healthy. Shouldn’t we invest in kitchens that help us live healthier and more comfortable as well?

When you upgrade your kitchen, the efficiency, style, and value of your entire home will improve along with the quality of your own lifestyle. And so we think now is the time to remodel your kitchen. These three primary reasons to consider updating your kitchen, including efficiency, beauty, and investment; all can and will streamline the way you and your family use the kitchen. The industrial kitchen below contrasts with the bright, light-colored kitchen above, but they are both beautiful and customized gathering places at the heart of the home.

Do It For Efficiency

All aesthetics aside, the most practical reason to redo your kitchen is to increase efficiency. This may not be the most glamorous or exciting of reasons to commit to a kitchen remodel, but it is quite possibly one that you will appreciate the most while you live in your home.

Improve Your Quality of Life

Looks aren’t everything, but don’t write them off. A beautiful kitchen has very tangible benefits. A design you love will impact your daily lifestyle — after all, most people spend a large percentage of their time at home in the kitchen, even if they aren’t cooking! The image above is the perfect example of a kitchen remodel that also fosters an environment to gather round during food prep.

See the Rewards

It’s your life: see the difference a kitchen remodel makes on your whole lifestyle, not just the building you call home! This kitchen remodel shown below has a great, personalized touch of teal in the accessories and window treatments that show off the taste of the homeowner in a subtle, professional way.

Tips To Make Home Builder

How to choose the right home builder

Selecting the right home building firm for your needs and for the type of new home you seek is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your home buying process.

Fortunately, there are some proven ways to speed up the research and selection process and to help ensure that you find a quality builder who’s a good match to construct your new home.

10 Ways to Choose the Right Home Builder

Define Your Needs

While some builders construct a broad range of homes, many builders also specialize in a specific type of home, price range, or style. For example, not many firms build starter homes for first-time buyers and also multi-million dollar homes for affluent custom home buyers. The building materials, trade contractors and even the building process itself can differ greatly by type and price of home. Look for a fit here. Then, be ready to make sacrifices, as it isn’t always easy finding a home that meets all the criteria to be your dream home. In fact, a 2016 report from Bank of America found that 95 percent of first-time buyers are already willing to make sacrifices in order to make homeownership a reality.

Experience Counts

Every home building firm (including the most experienced and well-regarded companies today) once built their first home. And many new home building firms were started by experienced veterans of other builders. Don’t overly discount a new firm – especially if their team includes seasoned pros – but do look for strong experience overall and in the type of home you seek.

Are Past Homebuyers Satisfied?

Many builders offer customer references and referrals. If not, ask. And in either case, follow up. A few great questions to ask: Would you buy another home from this builder? Or recommend them to close friends or family? And don’t forget to ask for the key reasons why a past home buyer would or would not recommend a builder.

Is the Builder Licensed and Insured?

Not every state or area requires builders to be licensed, but make sure that you work with a licensed builder in such areas. Ask about the insurance that the builder and his or her trade contractors carry. Make sure that they and you are covered during the building process.

Is There a Design Fit?

A builder whose entire portfolio consists of contemporary homes may not be the best fit for that highly traditional home you seek – and vice-versa. While many builders have expertise in a variety of design styles and architectural details, in general, look for a builder whose work includes at least some examples of the style of home you want.

Warranty and Service

One of the top advantages of new construction is that your home itself and most of the products, systems and components it contains are brand-new and under warranty. The peace of mind that comes with knowing that major repairs or a new roof are likely years away is important. In addition, look for a structural warranty of ten years or longer on the home itself, ideally transferable to a new owner should you sell. Also look for a builder who provides prompt and courteous service under warranty and who takes time to explain the proper maintenance and care that any home needs.

Resale Value

Good reputations follow good builders, among homeowners and Realtors. Look for builders whose homes tend to hold or maintain their value. Look for Realtor ads that specifically mention the name of a builder for a home for sale that’s now five or seven years old. That Realtor clearly sees the builder’s brand name as a big plus.

Industry Involvement

Not every good builder chooses to join their local Home Builder Association, so don’t place too much emphasis on this. However, such membership does tend to show that a builder is committed for the long-term to the area. It’s also a sign of commitment to new home community developers, building product suppliers and trade contractors that work in your city or town.

Tour Model Homes and/or Homes of Past Buyers

Once you’ve narrowed down a list of prospective builders using the criteria above, this is the most important step. Nothing substitutes for touring a home built by a builder on your short list. It can be a furnished and decorated model home that’s open to the public. Or, it can be a home the builder constructed for a past buyer that you visit by appointment. In either case, pay careful attention to the look, feel and quality of the home.

Look for Signs of Quality

Look for signs of quality construction and attention to detail when you visit the homes above. Also consider the building products that a builder uses. Are they brands with well-earned reputations for quality? What about the homes under construction you passed on the way to the completed model home? Were there signs of care and attention there, as well?

Last, look for the quality of people who work for the builder: Did the builder’s employees show sincere interest in you and your needs? Did they listen carefully? Did they provide good answers to your questions? Were they courteous, prompt and professional in your interactions with them in the model home, sales center or builder’s office?

With the ten steps above, you’ll be well on your way to selecting a good builder who’s a good fit for you, your needs, and the new home you’ll build together.

 

5 tips to hire a builder for your dream home

Are you ready to build your dream home? Perhaps the idea fills you with excitement intermingled with anxiety.

As you prepare to launch on the biggest investment of your life, it’s vital to move one step at a time. Your relationship with your homebuilder will last months and months, maybe even a year or more. When you build your dream home, you want someone who communicates well, listens and understands your vision, has a stellar reputation and a trail of happy clients with beautiful homes.

1. Ask friends and family to recommend homebuilders

Start by asking around for recommendations. Inquire among friends, family, and co-workers. Get the names of builders from your local home builders association. When you have some names to begin with, check to ensure the builders have a permanent business address and actual business location.

Seek out builders who have been around for at least three years. You want to know the builder sticks around once he completes a project. That’s especially important if you want to put a warranty to use.

2. Do a little research on local homebuilders

Ask to see proof of worker’s compensation and general liability insurance. You want to know that you won’t be held financially responsible should there be any building-related accidents while construction is taking place.

3. Vet homebuilders through references and past work

Delve into their work and interview prior clients. Ask to see a portfolio of the builder’s projects. Go look at finished homes in person. Look closely at the workmanship.

Also, ask for references and call each one. Ask the client what they liked best about the builder, if there’s anything they were unhappy about, and if they would hire the builder again. Inquire whether the builder stayed on schedule and stuck within budget.

Ask the homebuilder to see a project he or she is currently working on.

4. Consider the communication factor when building a home

Because of the scope of building a home, you want to feel comfort in knowing you can communicate effectively with your builder. Is the builder readily available when you call, text, or email? Does he explain the process thoroughly, listen attentively to your thoughts and concerns, and understand the details of your vision?

Another aspect of communication is getting a complete written contract that details the procedure, process and milestones.

5. Look for red flags from the homebuilder

If the builder asks for a large deposit up front, think twice. And if he isn’t able to pay for materials as he goes along, you might want to jump ship.

Extremely low bids should always raise an eyebrow. While rock-bottom prices might be enticing, they’re often too good to be true.

If a bid is riddled with holes and ambiguity, think twice. Any signs of murkiness — whether it’s no proof of insurance, unclear work history, unresolved claims, a lack of references or being unable to contact them — should be reason to consider another builder.

 

6 things successful builders do differently

Below are six things that will help contribute to your success as a builder.

·Stay in control

Mishaps are inevitable (especially with unpredicatable weather) and sometimes really frustrating to someone who runs a business. The way to overcome this is to be in control of the situations you can control. When the wrong supplies arrive on site for example, handle the situation with calm – call the supplier immediately and tell them they sent the wrong stuff. Being in control also means being responsible. When things go wrong, take responsibility and start finding a solution to help alleviate the problem.

·Understand good time management skills

When you run a successful building business, oftentimes you have little to no idle time in between projects. The less time you have for rest, the more stressed you are – and no one wants to hire a stressed-out builder. This is where time management comes in.

The first step to time management is know the difference between what is urgent and what is important – not everything that’s urgent is important and not all things that are important are urgently needed. So how do you categorise your projects? How do you know which ones to prioritise?

Another way you can have a little bit of free time is to learn how to say ‘no’. You don’t have to take up every opportunity that comes in through the door. More projects might mean more money, but think about the quality of your work if you have 8 to 10 projects to finish in a limited span of time. A better reputation will help secure those important jobs in the future.

·Overcome pressures

Successful building businesses usually have more pressure on them as they have more projects to manage. As there are more projects to handle, the pressure comes from finishing them on time while maintaining good quality with the finished project.

If something doesn’t go according to plan, pressure builds up. Overcoming a struggle will define your limits as a business and as a builder. The higher your limits, the easier it is for you to overcome pressure in the future.

·Customers respect you

A successful builder is a respected builder! Customers respect a good builder as they have the proper working etiquette – they are experts in their field, and they are professional about it. But what makes a builder a “professional”?

Professional builders do not chase after customers, rather,customers chase after them as they see how good the builder is in doing their job. If your customers respect you, there is a big chance that they will recommend your services to others as well.

·Your team is your strength

Having the perfect team is one of the keys to a successful building business. But what makes a great team? A great leader.

A strong leader sets a clear goal for the team and the company, and is the person who makes the rules that the team should comply with. The leader has to make sure that each member of the team knows and is clear about the goals that have to be met.

Every company has a set of rules that each team member has to comply with and these rules determine the kind of culture an organization has. When the entire team follows what their leader says wholeheartedly, a perfect team is born.

·Follow systems

When starting a building business (or any kind of business), there has to be a system that outlines the different processes within your company. Systems are made as a guide for each employee so they would know what to do in certain situations.

Your company’s system should be made clear to each member of the staff as this will help them work more effectively and efficiently. Think of it this way, if you don’t follow a system in your company and you just let your team members do as they please, wouldn’t that create disorder in the workplace?

Systems are progressive and for as long as your building business is still running, you will make certain changes to the system in order to correct the flaws that you see in it.

Having the perfect team, a good working environment and, of course, a strong and determined leader are they key to having a successful building business. If you have been following the six steps above, chances are you’re on your way to building the right frameworks for a successful business. If you’re just starting out your own building business, be guided by the steps above and you’re bound to succeed in no time.

 

Questions to ask your new home builder

Asking builders the 15 questions below will help you choose the right builder to create your new home and give you confidence in your choice.

Because building your home will be one of the largest investments that you make, it’s natural that you want to find the right fit for your project. When panelists of the New Home Source Insights Panel were asked about some of the questions they asked their builders before, during and after shopping for their new home, most replied that they wanted to learn more about the building process.

  1. How many years have you been in business? How many homes have you built?
  2. Are you licensed (where required) and insured?
  3. How do you compare yourself to other builders? What are the most important benefits of the homes you build?
  4. What type of new home warranty do you offer?
  5. Can you give me references from prior home buyers? Do you build model homes I can tour? If not, can you help me make an appointment to see a home you built for another customer?
  6. What are the major energy-saving features of homes you build?
  7. Do you build only from home plans you supply? Or can I provide my own set of plans?
  8. What standard features do your homes include? What options and upgrades can I select?
  9. Who will oversee the construction of my home? Who should I contact with any questions I may have?
  10. How and when can I make changes or upgrades before and during construction?
  11. How and when will the final price for my home be determined?
  12. How often (and when) will I have access to the home during the building process?
  13. How long will it take to build me new home?
  14. Does the community have a homeowners association (HOA) and/or an Architectural Review Committee? If so, may I get a copy of their rules and the amount of any fees?
  15. What’s your inspection process at key points of construction, at final walk-through, and to address any matters that need to be corrected or finalized?

There may be other important questions you’d ask a home builder, so feel free to add them in the comments below. However, experts agree the list above is a great starting point to select the firm to build your new home.

 

Before meeting a custom builder, do these 5 things

After weeks of research, you’ve finally narrowed your list of potential home builders. The next step? Meet with the candidates you’ve chosen. The builder you choose will become your partner for the next year, so it is important to pick someone you trust who has the right qualifications.

Here are five things to accomplish in/before your first meeting:

1. Research local builders.

Refine your builder list. Before you meet with a builder, be sure to view their online portfolio and drive by some of their houses. See what you like and what you don’t like about their work. Have they built homes that are similar in size and style to what you want? How do their homes look after 10+ years? Ask the builder details about a specific project (e.g., time, costs, challenges, things they do differently) and be prepared to point out features you want incorporated in your home.

2. Ask questions.

Meeting with a builder for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Bring a list of questions such as:

After weeks of research, you’ve finally narrowed your list of potential home builders. The next step? Meet with the candidates you’ve chosen. The builder you choose will become your partner for the next year, so it is important to pick someone you trust who has the right qualifications.

Here are five things to accomplish in/before your first meeting:

1. Research local builders.

Refine your builder list. Before you meet with a builder, be sure to view their online portfolio and drive by some of their houses. See what you like and what you don’t like about their work. Have they built homes that are similar in size and style to what you want? How do their homes look after 10+ years? Ask the builder details about a specific project (e.g., time, costs, challenges, things they do differently) and be prepared to point out features you want incorporated in your home.

2. Ask questions.

Meeting with a builder for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Bring a list of questions such as:

·How long does it take to prepare an estimate?

·Who will be in charge of our project, and how often will we meet?

·Do you strive to build energy efficient homes?

·Do you use sustainable, long-lasting building materials?

View other questions to ask and prepare for your meetings by downloading this builder interview checklist.

3. Show and tell.

If you’ve been surfing Houzz for inspiration, this is a great time to show the builder what you’ve found. Bringing actual visuals of what you want in your home will help your builder and designer get a sense of what details you want early in the process. The process of sharing visuals will also help determine if the builder is capable of sharing your vision.

4. Ask for references.

Every established builder will be able to provide references from past clients. Several weeks before the meeting, ask for at least three references — aim for one old and two new — and be sure to check them. Ask these customers about the home’s durability as well as the builder’s communication methods, response times, and ability to provide realistic estimates and stay within budget.

5. Ask to take a tour (or three).

Though beautiful photos in portfolios may be appealing, it is essential to see the builder’s craftsmanship in person before moving forward. Ask to see both a recently constructed home as well as one that has been standing for a few years. Pay attention to the details and look for any obvious moisture damage such as water stains on ceilings and cracked paint or flooring. Ask the owners what they learned through the experience and what the builder could have done differently.

Building a custom home is an exciting process. Like any big decision in life, it’s helpful to consider options. Meet with several builders before you make your final decision. This will help you determine both what you want and need in a builder.View other questions to ask and prepare for your meetings by downloading this builder interview checklist.

3. Show and tell.

If you’ve been surfing Houzz for inspiration, this is a great time to show the builder what you’ve found. Bringing actual visuals of what you want in your home will help your builder and designer get a sense of what details you want early in the process. The process of sharing visuals will also help determine if the builder is capable of sharing your vision.

4. Ask for references.

Every established builder will be able to provide references from past clients. Several weeks before the meeting, ask for at least three references — aim for one old and two new — and be sure to check them. Ask these customers about the home’s durability as well as the builder’s communication methods, response times, and ability to provide realistic estimates and stay within budget.

5. Ask to take a tour (or three).

Though beautiful photos in portfolios may be appealing, it is essential to see the builder’s craftsmanship in person before moving forward. Ask to see both a recently constructed home as well as one that has been standing for a few years. Pay attention to the details and look for any obvious moisture damage such as water stains on ceilings and cracked paint or flooring. Ask the owners what they learned through the experience and what the builder could have done differently.

Building a custom home is an exciting process. Like any big decision in life, it’s helpful to consider options. Meet with several builders before you make your final decision. This will help you determine both what you want and need in a builder.