Friday, January 31, 2014

Tips on How to Negotiate to Save Money on Remodeling

If you are trying to remodel your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, deck/ patio, or whatever space around the house you might soon realize the prices can add up! I'll give you some pro tips as a professional contractor using a great article I found on yahoo homes.

1. The first thing they mention is to think like a contractor. This is solid negotiating advice period, if you can understand where the person across the table is coming from then making a deal is that much easier. Some costs are fixed, you can't negotiate the price of lumber, paint, cement, etc. You have to realize where there is leeway and where there isn't.

2. Knowledge is power, the more you know the better you can negotiate.

3. Ask for multiple bids and itemized pricing. You can compare costs and see where the money is going.

4. If you feel like you can buy certain materials cheaper than do that.

5. Ask if there is a cheaper way to handle the project. An experienced and reputable contractor will work with you if your budget is in line with reasonable market value of your requested project.
There's more tips if you read on here.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ohio's Jobless Rate Bouncing Back, Thanks to Construction

In good news for the State of Ohio more people are getting jobs reported by the Columbus Dispatch. 4,000 Construction hires in December shifted the 7.4% Unemployment rate to 7.2%. That spells relief for a lot of families as people are returning back to work.
“There is general optimism through all the sectors of construction,” said Chris Runyan, president of the Ohio Contractors Association.
 -The Columbus Dispatch
The growth has been dramatic enough to put pressure on the highway construction industry to find highly skilled operators of heavy machinery. The trend of optimism is expected to expand this year as economic indicators point to a continued economic recovery. Read more here.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

5 Home Repairs You Should Never DIY

If you're strapped for cash and need a home repair for the smallest cost doing it yourself is sometimes a viable option. I've done some posts recently that have given you some cost cutting tips. I want customers to be well informed and not take it overboard. Some fixes are just too risky or important to risk doing yourself and you should hire a licensed contractor. I'll list my 5 (weird number I know) top projects to not DIY:

1. Removing Asbestos

First of all, do you see how those guys are dressed? That is a smoking gun that removing asbestos is not something you should do yourself. It's dangerous to your health and what dollar value is worth living a health life? To quote the United States Department of Labor
"Breathing asbestos fibers can cause a buildup of scar-like tissue in the lungs called asbestosis and result in loss of lung function that often progresses to disability and death. Asbestos also causes cancer of the lung and other diseases such as mesothelioma of the pleura which is a fatal malignant tumor of the membrane lining the cavity of the lung or stomach. "
Hire a professional, please.

2. DIY Tree Removal

 This is such a dangerous task to perform. There's sharp power tools, a large and heavy tree, and possibly houses and innocent people to consider. The cost of you, someone's property, or someone in general being injured by a mistake is much more expensive then just hiring an arborist to handle it.

3. Major Home Structural Changes

Before you go all hulk on your house, take a second and think "there might be something really important that I don't know." Demolition is really dangerous in and of itself but it can create far reaching problems you didn't anticipate like weakening the structural integrity of your home. Also think before doing major bathroom jobs, building a deck, and any other large scale home improvements. There is probably permits and licensing laws that unqualify your handy man (or handy woman) status for certain things. An experienced residential contractor can get the job done professionally and safely.

4. DIY Home Electrical Work

If you get shocked by electricity it wont be this cute. Plus there are permits and other requirements you probably don't meet to be able to pull off electrical work. You could even create a fire or cause some potentially dangerous event weeks or months down the road. You don't want your house to be a ticking time bomb, call an electrician!

5. Home Plumbing

Some plumbing projects are easy to do and by all means you can fix your shower head and plunge your toilet. When it comes to serious or more critical repairs it makes sense to pay someone who makes a living handling your problem. If their are issues with your bathtub or pipes call a plumber. A small mistake on your behalf could mean leaky spouts, damaged pipes, and a water logged house.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Kitchen Design Trends for 2014

So I ran into this article on Kitchen Design trends for this year and thought it might be a good share. If you're thinking about remodeling or doing a little here a little there then it helps to know what's in. Whether you're touching up the kitchen for your personal liking or preparing for a sale these are some good starting points for ideas. The highlights are:
  • Black countertops
  • Open shelves or glass-front cabinets 
  • Darker paint tones
For a more in depth read please click to the original article here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

How to Get a Home Repair Done When You Can't Afford One

We all have those times when money is tight and certain things have to wait until finances can get back in order. If you know you have repairs around the house that have been neglected because the money isn't there, all hope is not lost. US News recently reported about some ways you can get those repairs done when you aren't flush with cash. Here are some highlights:
1. "Apply for a loan. You may scoff at first, especially if your credit is shaky or you've already been turned down for a loan by your bank, but there are nonprofits out there that are designed to help low-income and middle-class homeowners"
 2. "Refinance. Specifically, with a Federal Housing Administration 203k refinance loan. These are loans in which the homeowner consolidates their existing mortgage and the cost of a home renovation project."
3. "See if you're eligible for a grant. Yes, free money. And, yes, good luck with that. But grants, even if they aren't plentiful, are out there."
 You can read more about these strategies here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Target Reaching for Young Consumers with Downsized "Express" Option

The New York Times reports Target is taking a bet on smaller is better for attracting younger shoppers in urban areas. City life is marked by a fast paced tempo and it is understandable that maybe no other segment wants things as quickly as the young adults. I can relate because sometimes you need one or two things from a super store but navigating the store and waiting in line just seems more of an inconvenience than the relief the products would provide.
"The store will be about a fifth the size of Target’s smallest format stores to date, and would allow the company to open more locations in dense urban markets, like New York, where 100,000 square feet is hard to come by."
What do you think, is Target right to conform to the changing marketplace or are the young just lazy?
Read more about the story here.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Love's Is Planning 30 New Locations in 2014

Loves plans to build 30 new locations to celebrate their 50th anniversary. The Oklahoma based company is known for their Heart Logo and yellow laden gas stations. The company began with the Love couple leasing an abandoned filling station and has since ballooned to over 312 locations. Congrats on their success and read more about the story on The Oklahoman's Website.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Man Buys House in Detroit for $500 and Writes Wonderful Post About the Experience

A man from Detroit went against the market and invested $500 for a house in his hometown. He was making a bet on the future of his city and trying to rebuild it's reputation. His goal seems to be to show love and respect for his community by making it more livable and deserted even if by one home. Read the inspiring story on Buzzfeed here.