Archive for October, 2014

Vital Questions Prior To Hiring A Contractor

Monday, October 27th, 2014

cabinets

When you are looking to remodel or renovate your home, you will have many important decisions to make. For example, you will need to decide whether you want to renovate you entire house, or just work on a specific room like your kitchen or bathroom. Do you want to update your home while keeping the same style, or do you want to change the look and feel of it completely? How about adding a patio or a swimming pool? While all of these decisions are very important, no choice you have to make is more vital than picking out which Los Angles home remodeling contractor you will use for the job.

When it comes to contractors, one thing that you must always remember is that they are not all equal when it comes to skill set. Some are unreliable. Some are uncreative. Some are unscrupulous. That is why when you are choosing a contractor for your home remodeling job, you should ask them some questions that will give you a better window into their business. Then, you will be much more comfortable making a final decision about which contractor you should choose for your job.

Here are 3 vital questions that you should ask any contractor before hiring them:

 

1) Are You licensed and insured?

Asking a contractor whether they are licensed and insured can be done before you even invite them out to your home to discuss your project. And simply put, if the answer to this question is anything other than a straightforward “yes,” then you can cross them off the list. Depending on where you live, find out what licenses a contractor in your area needs before asking. As far as insurance is concerned, make sure they have both liability and workman’s compensation. Once they tell you they are both licensed and insured, ask them to see documentation. This needs to be done for two reasons. One, unscrupulous contractors may lie and tell you they are licensed and insured, even though they are not. And two, contractors have been known to use a license that belongs to someone else. Check the name to make sure it matches the contractor you’re speaking to.

2) Who will be at the job site, and who will be supervising?

It is always important to know just who will be setting foot on your property, and if there will be adequate supervision. One of the main reasons this is so important has to do with question one. More specifically, any subcontractor who works on your job should also be insured. If they aren’t, you might be at risk as the homeowner. It is also nice to meet the supervisor and have their contact information. In many cases, the supervisor doesn’t have to be on site at all times. But if something goes wrong, it’s extremely important that you know who to contact first. Additionally, you should also have the phone number and email address of the contractor him or herself.

3) Have you done similar work, and can you show me examples?

Just because a contractor can install wood floors, doesn’t mean they are great at redoing kitchen cabinets. Just because they are great painters, doesn’t mean you want them tiling your bathroom floor. Not all contractors are great in all areas. That’s why it’s vital that you ask them if they have experience doing work similar to what you need done. If they say no, it’s probably time to move on. If they say yes, ask them to see pictures. You also may want to get a reference from a homeowner who had a similar job done just to be sure.

If you would like to speak to a reputable Los Angeles home remodeling contractor who is very happy to answer these, and any other questions you may have, please give us a call at (213) 232-4783 or contact us here. We can also have one of our team members come out to your home to give you a free estimate on your project.

Money-Losing Home Fixes

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

deck

As a contractor and a homeowner myself, I love performing little upgrades around my house to make it more livable and attractive. Extra hanging shelves in the garage for my tools? Sure. Putting in ceiling fans before the hot summer months arrive? Absolutely. Adding a deck in the back? Well… maybe.

When the projects (and budgets!) start to get bigger, I want to look at more than just making the house more comfortable for me – I want to ensure I’m going to see at least a decent return on my dollar when I sell the place.

I know a lot of you out there are like me, so I wanted to pass on some important information for anybody considering a home renovation. The following is a list of remodels, repairs, and renovations that all have one thing in common: they give you a horrible return on your investment.

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t move ahead with the job if you really want to do it. But you should go into it knowing the improvements are for your own enjoyment since you definitely aren’t going to get much of that money back when you put it on the market.

Dream garage. From time to time, everyone has probably gotten frustrated with their garage because there’s just not enough space and it’s hard to find ways to organize everything efficiently – I know I have. Well, now there are companies selling “dream garages” with all of the organizational built-ins you can imagine as well as windows for great natural lighting. Oh, and you can even fit a couple of cars in there. The problem is it costs around $90,000, and the return on investment is only about 53.6 percent.

Adding a bathroom. Surprised to see this one here? Everyone says that bedrooms and bathrooms sell houses, so more should always be better, right? The problem is that actually adding on space for a new bathroom is fairly expensive – just under $22,000 on average – for an addition that’s using materials of only moderate quality. You can do it, but you’re only going to get about 53 cents back for every dollar you spend. If you really want another bathroom, the better option is to see if there’s any way to get it by reconfiguring existing space.

The perfect master. Do you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Boy, I sure wish that I could head over to my attached kitchenette for a snack and then spend the morning in my spa-style bathroom without leaving my master suite”? If so, you’re probably not all that concerned with spending more than $200,000 on one of these so-called “Dream Master Suites” and only recouping 52.7 percent of your cost, but better you know now than discover it later.

Backup power. If you’ve lived in Los Angeles for any length of time, you know how taxed our power grid is. Because of this, it would seem like a no-brainer to add value to your house by investing in a backup generator. Sadly, that’s just not the case. If your goal is safety and security, then maybe spending the relatively reasonable amount of $15,000 on one is worth it. Just don’t look at it as a monetary investment, because on average, people are getting back only 48.5 percent of what they spend.

A real home office. These days, more and more people are working from home as good-paying traditional jobs become harder and harder to get. Unfortunately, finding a space to work in at home isn’t always easy. Even if you’re lucky enough to have an actual room that you can call an office, chances are good that it bears little resemblance to a real office. Because of this, people want to remodel to add in things like built-in shelves, drawers, desks, and so on. Unfortunately, the average price of a big remodel like that runs almost $29,000, and you’ll only get a paltry 45.8 percent of that back when you sell.

Final Thoughts. Don’t despair, though. There are plenty of renovations and remodels out there that will help you to realize a much better return – you just have to look a bit before you leap.

A Call to Action.

Visit my site (DCKeeton.com) to learn more about my company.

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Have a great Fall!