Let’s face it: we all get tired of our living spaces every now and then. But we also have to face the fact that we can’t move just because we don’t like what we see anymore. There’s an easy solution to this: remodeling. Remodeling opens up a world of opportunities to renew your living space.
One of the spaces that we often get tired of looking at is the bathroom. Redecorating it is one thing, but to actually have a bigger bathroom without breaking down any walls is quite impressive. Follow these simple design tips with a local contractor and watch your bathroom grow.
- Bright and light – Choosing bright colors or whites can open up a small space and give the impression of depth, making it appear and feel larger. A can of paint is no huge expenditure, but working with these patterns in the design can have big payoff in the end.
- Use every inch – Space is a premium in a small bathroom, so make sure to use up every inch of it. If you are on a strict budget, then the tub and/or shower will probably have to stay in its home, but a craftsman can easily reposition toilets and sinks in a just a few hours to ensure that every corner is utilized. Avoid positioning anything perpendicular to a corner because you loose the space behind the item. There is nothing wrong with putting something flush against the wall to maximize space.
- Make more room – Additions and renovations to your home should always add storage. Consider a small cabinet, wall mount, or a small shelf to give to you plenty of additional storage and decorating space for a small price. Mirrored cabinet surfaces are especially great for opening up a space visually while also adding a practical storage element. Also avoiding bathroom clutter and hiding it away in cabinets or storage compartments will make any space feel larger.
- Trade big for small – For example, get rid of the bulky vanity sitting on the floor and lift up to a pedestal sink that will give you twice the space! This opens up more floor space; and, if you’re worried about storage underneath, opt for a wall-mounted cabinet off the floor.
- Bye bye bath – A more extreme but equally useful suggestion is to remodel and eliminate the bathtub and replace it with a shower. Studies are showing that baths can often spread and carry bacteria, so why not make your home a little greener and upgrade to a shower. Depending on where the bathroom is, another bathroom with a tub is an easy exchange.
Because many of these improvements suggest the work of someone who is skilled in remodeling and reconstruction, grab your local craftsman and get to work!Posted on Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 9:23 am. Filed under Uncategorized
It has to be one of the toughest questions anyone has to ask themselves: “Do we opt for a home addition, or simply buy a new one?” Either course of action will ensure a sizeable amount of work and disruption to the everyday course of things, not to mention a cost that is not insignificant.
By opting to purchase a new home, the buyer does get the sense of living in something new (to them), something different that might give them a new lease of life. However, they’ll be kissing goodbye to all the special comforts and nuances that they created for themselves – often over a period of years – to get their old property just how they wanted it. So, although they are getting something new, they are also forced to leave a lot behind.
By taking the home addition route, a homeowner gets many of the advantages of a new home without sacrificing the existing home comforts that they have lovingly created over the years. For example, an addition will give a property a ‘new’ feel to it, and create additional living space for a growing family (often the core reason behind the purchase of a new home to begin with). But a home addition will also provide several other benefits.
With a home addition you get to call the shots. No matter how far you search, it’s unlikely you’ll ever find a new home that exactly matches your specifications, but with a home addition you can tell the contractor precisely what you want and they will be able to replicate that and make your dreams come true.
Home additions can also be cost-effective in the mid to long-term. Some investment specialists even say that a home addition can increase the value of a property dollar for dollar, thus recouping the entire cost of the addition when the owner finally decides to sell. But even if the market is such that an addition doesn’t completely increase a property’s value by it’s construction costs, it can pay for itself in several other ways.
An addition will increase the square footage of the property, adding valuable living space that has a worth all of its own. Then there are the aesthetic properties of an addition; adding beauty as well as function to a home. An addition can be just as pleasing from the outside as it is from the inside, and a skilled custom home builder and contractor will design and create an addition that compliments the existing lines of a property so that the finished article looks superb.
If you feel that you’ve outgrown your current home and are thinking of buying something new, perhaps it’s time to think again.
Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2013 at 9:53 am. Filed under Uncategorized
If you thought that building your dream home was only feasible if your last name was Rockefeller or Vanderbilt, then think again. Building your own home is a viable option for many – from first time buyers to those seeking their last ‘retirement’ home, anyone currently looking for a home should consider building a new home because it is more affordable than ever.
Mortgage rates are extremely low at present, particularly in the Maryland, DC and VA region. A 30-year, fixed rate mortgage can be as low as four percent. That is considerably less than was the case this time last year. In addition to the financing, the actual costs of building materials are also at record lows, which has driven down the overall construction costs of new home building. Lumber and drywall – both of which are essential components of a new home construction project – are far cheaper than in past years and represent a large savings on materials in any construction job.
Thanks to the recession, contractors and home builders are proving to be more competitive than in recent years, and some even offer incentives and programs to win business by making new home building an option available to everyone. You can even ask for additional ‘extras’ to be added in for free to make your home building dollars go further. However don’t be blinded by offers of cheap this or free that. You’re making a large investment and you need to ensure your money is in safe hands. Look to see if the home builder or contractor is highly rated at the Better Business Bureau; are they well established and have they been around a ling time? Read recommendations by others who have used these building professionals, and see if they have won any awards for their work within the community.
Another positive reason to build your own home – and one that can save you considerable money in the mid to long-term – is that a new home can be built using green methods and with green materials. A new home will be completely compliant with all the current codes and won’t need to be ‘improved’ for years. It will also be far more energy efficient than a home built 10, 20 or even longer ago, and you can expect utility bill savings of 30% or more every year over those of an older home. New homes built to certain standards can also qualify for reduced insurance premiums and discounts.
Lastly, a new home will meet your requirements exactly. You get to choose the floor plan, the features, everything. Who wouldn’t want that?
Custom homes have been a rarity in Maryland since the bubble burst in the middle of the last decade. Generally this has been a good thing for purchasers, because the slump in the construction industry means that contractors and builders are more eager for work and if you’re savvy you should be able to drive a good bargain. Shop around some of Maryland’s custom homebuilders and you can probably find some sweet deals to for the taking.
One of the biggest drawbacks with giving the go ahead for a new home construction is the financing. There are various loan options out there and by being shrewd you can work them to your advantage.
Since the market crash the banks – bless them – have been reticent to make risky loans, and new home construction loans are considered among the riskiest. However, with the huge amount of foreclosures since the crash, the banks have found themselves with thousands of REOs (real estate owned properties) on their hands. Many of these are homes that began construction but were never finished. The banks want these off of their hands, so the opportunity is there for the prospective new homebuyer to get a construction perm loan and set in motion once again the new home construction process.
Of course a more traditional method is to obtain a new construction loan, although as already stated, the banks aren’t overly keen to sign these with just anyone. But if you do qualify, then once again you’re in the driving seat thanks to the current state of the construction and new home building industry. A new construction loan or ‘end loan’ will enable you to select from pre-designed layouts but add your own upgrades and custom touches. The financial responsibility for the building work rests with the builder, and you get a highly personalized brand new home, albeit not one completely drawn up from scratch to your specifications.
If you absolutely have to have your dream home designed from a clean sheet of paper, a lot loan will secure you the plot of land on which to design your dreams. Lot loans are relatively cheap today (once again due to the housing/building market crash) and a low interest lot loan is definitely a route to consider.Posted on Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 at 2:47 pm. Filed under Uncategorized
Mar 27, 2013
Majority of U.S. Homeowners Believe Now is a Good Time to Renovate, Houzz Survey Finds
Largest-ever Study of Home Remodeling and Design Reveals Top Drivers, Challenges and Spending for U.S. Renovation Activity
Palo Alto, Calif., March 27, 2013 — Significantly more U.S. homeowners are moving forward with renovation projects compared to this time last year, according to the second annual Houzz & Home survey that garnered more than 100,000 responses from the Houzz community of 14 million monthly unique users. A majority of the homeowners surveyed also believe now is a good time to remodel (53 percent), and 58 percent of those planning projects in the next two years will hire professional help. The study also found that three-quarters of homeowners believe that now is a good time to buy a home. Together with last week’s Commerce Department report showing the rate of single-family home construction at its highest level in four and a half years, the results of this study point to a strengthening economy, housing and renovation market.
The 2013 Houzz & Home survey is the largest survey of remodeling and decorating activity ever conducted, covering historical and planned projects, the motivations behind these projects, and the impact of the economy on home building, renovation and decorating plans among Houzz users across the United States and around the world. The study yielded detailed data at the national, regional and metropolitan area level, which Houzz used to examine regional differences in priorities and spending.
The number of homeowners who say they will delay their projects because of the economy has dropped to 45 percent from 52 percent last year, and homeowners are more likely to cut back in other areas, such as vacations and other big ticket purchases, rather than delay or decrease budgets for their home plans. While improving the look and feel of the space is still the key driver for recently completed projects (83 percent), the number of homeowners who remodeled to increase their home value has increased to 54 percent from 47 percent in 2012.
“We’ve collected an unprecedented volume of data from the community, and we are pleased to share the synthesis and findings with everyone looking to renovate or decorate their home,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “This data will enable us to empower the community with powerful resources they can use to make better decisions around building, remodeling and design projects.”
Bathrooms and kitchens top America’s renovation project list again this year, with 28 percent of respondents planning a bathroom remodel or addition, and 23 percent planning a kitchen remodel or addition in the next two years. In terms of dollars spent, kitchens command the lion’s share. Over the last five years, nearly four in ten home improvement dollars have gone into kitchens and survey data indicates future spend is likely to follow the same trend.
Over the last five years, homeowners on average spent $28,030 to remodel their kitchens, however spending varies widely at different budget levels. Homeowners spent an average of $54,942 nationwide for a high-end kitchen, $22,390 for a mid-range kitchen, and $7,133 for a lower-budget kitchen.
The study also found that homeowners renovating at the higher-end were more likely to go over budget than those doing more modest renovations, though a significant number reported going over budget at all project levels. Fifty-six percent of those doing a high-end renovation, 42 percent of those who did a mid-range renovation, and 31 percent of those whose renovation was lower-budget also spent more than expected on their projects.
Other Key U.S. Findings:
•Spending more time in a room does not necessarily correlate with decorating dollars. Homeowners report spending the most time in their family/TV rooms, but not the most money there. Nobody was willing to admit to spending significant time in their bathroom – but apparently the time we do spend there is worth significant investment. The percentage of money spent on kitchens and bathrooms far exceeds the percentage of time spent in these spaces.
•A majority of the homeowners surveyed who are planning to complete a project in the next two years will hire a general contractor (58 percent), and a third a kitchen/bath (36 percent) or carpet/flooring professional (34 percent). Twenty-three percent plan to hire architects and 22 percent interior designers.
•When it comes to hiring a professional for their project, 67 percent of homeowners surveyed rated a “personality I can work with” as a 5 (very important) on a 5-point scale.
•34 percent of U.S. homeowners cited making their home more energy efficient as a key driver for completing their most recent project.