HOME REMODELING – Do-it-Yourself or Not?

READY, SET, DO-IT-YOURSELF – OR NOT

Do It Yourself Remodeling

Have you ever watched a home improvement show and decided “I can do it myself.” The shows make it look so easy – and the whole house is renovated in just 30 minutes!

It’s time for a reality check to see if you should really tackle a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) created a simple yes-or-no quiz that you should take before you tackle a DIY project.

Take this quiz to find out!

Answer yes or no:

1.  Do you enjoy physical work?

Most home remodeling projects are labor intensive.  You may discover muscles that you didn’t even know exist!

2.  Are you persistent and patient?

This reminds me of the a homeowner who decided to tackle removing the old flooring in his home. To his dismay, there were multiple levels of old flooring that had to be removed, he needed to rent special equipment to remove the flooring, and it delayed the completion of his renovation/addition by more than a month.

3.  Do you have reliable work habits—meaning that once the project is started, will it get finished?

How many times have you started a project and then life takes over?  This happens to the best of us.  How much time do you truly have to devote to a project?

4.  Do you have all the tools needed and, more importantly, the skills required to do the job?

Not only do you need to have the tools and the skills, you also need to know the building codes.  Additionally, if the project required a permit, and you do not get one, you can be fined, receive a stop work order, and worse yet – be told to remove all changes you made to your home.

5.  What quality level do you need for this project? Are your skills at that level?

Even painting is not just about getting a paint brush,  a can of paint, and painting the walls.  You need the right type of brush, the right type of paint, and the knowledge of how to prepare the painting surfaces.

6.  Do you have the time that will be required to complete the project?

Time… if only there was more of it. Just because the DIY shows make it look like a project takes no time at all doesn’t mean that is true! Always double or triple the time estimated for a DIY project, unless you are highly skilled and familiar with that particular project.

7. Will it matter if the project remains unfinished for a period of time?

People with the best intentions sometimes don’t realize how long a project may take.  If you are only working weekends and nights to finish a project that may take 8 weeks, your project may take 20 weeks or more.  How long do you want to live with your house in disarray?

8. Are you prepared to handle the kind of stress this project will create in your family relationships?

A renovation project becomes your life. How will you handle questions like:

            “Why is it taking so long?”

            “What did you do to the wall?”

            “When will it be done?”

            “How much money will that cost?”

             9.  Do you know all of the steps involved in the project?

Another true story – a homeowner hired Leading Edge Homes, Inc. to do an addition.  As the project continued, the homeowner decided to add the new flooring to the rest of the house. Unbeknownst to us, the homeowner decided he wanted to save money and paint the rest of his home. He made that decision after the new flooring was installed. 

The homeowner should have taken this quiz before starting some DIY projects.  He is only painting on the weekends – all of the furniture is sitting in the middle of the room. He didn’t think through the steps.  He should have painted before having us install the new flooring! Now there are drips of paint on the new floor. 

10. Is this a job you can do completely by yourself or will you need assistance?

If you do need assistance, what skill level is involved for your assistant? If you need a professional subcontractor, do you have access to a skilled labor pool?

11. Are you familiar with your local building codes and permit requirements?

(Some jurisdictions require that the work be completed by a licensed and bonded professional in order to meet code.) It’s best to check these requirements before beginning work on the project.

Remember, if you fail to pull a permit you will end up paying more for your project than you imagine.  Some municipalities charge you a penalty of triple the permit fee if you failed to pull a permit.  Also, if you go to sell your home and work was done without a permit, you will have difficulty selling your home.

12. What will you do if the project goes awry?

Many contractors are wary about taking on a botched DIY job and you may be forced to remove all of your handy work.  All of the money and time you spent may be thrown away.

13. Is it safe for you to do this project?

(If you are not familiar with roofing or do not have fall protection restraints, you may not want to venture into a roofing job. Similarly, if you know nothing about electricity—leave it to the professional. Some jobs can be fatal if not performed correctly. Your health and safety should be the primary concern. Never enter into a DIY project that would jeopardize either.)

14. Will you be able to obtain the materials you need? Who will be your source of supply? Will they deliver?

The quality of some of the items you purchase at a big box store is often times lower than the same items you can purchase from building suppliers.

15. Are you attempting to do-it-yourself for financial reasons?

If so, have you looked at all of your costs, including the cost of materials, your time, and the tools you need to purchase? If you are new to the DIY game, you may also want to look at the cost to correct any mistakes you may make—i.e., the damage factor. Will it still be a cost-saving venture?

If you have to take vacation time to do the project, what is the value of what is lost? 

16. If you are trying DIY for the satisfaction of a job well done—can you ensure that the job will be “well done”?

If it doesn’t come out right, how will you feel? Will you be able to afford to redo any unsatisfactory work?

Did you answer YES to some of the questions?

Be honest — How many did you really say yes to? If you answered yes to 8 or more of these questions, NARI says you may attempt a DIY project. But, before you run for the nearest hardware store, revisit those questions you marked “No,” and carefully consider the potential problems you will face in those areas if you proceed with the project.

Hiring a professional, like Leading Edge Homes,  might be your best choice. A remodeling project can be  one of the most important investments that you can make in your home.

Work with an experienced roomologist (contractor experienced in room additions and home renovations) to plan and design your home improvement project. The planning phase is equally important to the completion phase. If you can imagine it, we can design it.

For all of your home remodeling , contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

NOT HAVING A PERMIT CAN COST YOU MILLIONS

HOMEOWNERS BEWARE: WORK WITHOUT PERMITS CAN COST YOU MILLIONS

 

Leading Edge Homes - Permits and Inspections Save Money

“Saving money” by not paying for a permit for your home improvement project is really like throwing money away.

$1,000,000 IN FINES

According to an article recently published in the Palm Beach Post,

But it could be worse: They were looking at paying about $1 million in the dispute, which has dragged on for 17 years.

According to a staff memo for Tuesday’s county commission meeting, Matthew and Patricia Beasley had replaced windows and remodeled without obtaining the required building permits, inspections and “certificate of completion” at their home near Forest Hill Boulevard and Congress Avenue.”

IS IT WORTH THE RISK OF GETTING CAUGHT?

The Beasleys threw away $12,000 for a permit that probably cost less than $1,000 dollars 17 years ago.

If you are caught having work done without a permit, you can face additional fines like the Beasleys, pay double for your remodeling project (if the code-enforcement department in your municipality requires you to tear down the completed work), and/or find it impossible to sell your home in the future.

Work that was done without a permit may be discovered at the time of the sale of your home.  A home inspector may check to see what permits have been issued for a property and verify that only those “permitted” changes have been made to a home.  If a home inspector finds work done without a permit, he may advise the buyer not to purchase the home and report it to the local building department. There have been many cases where sales have fallen through – all in the name of saving money.

DO I HAVE TO PULL A PERMIT?

I am often asked, “Do you have to pull a permit?”  My answer is YES if a permit is required for that particular type of job.

YES … I believe that it is for your safety.

YES … It may cost a little more money and time, but the potential problems for doing work without one is not worth any minimal cost savings.

YES … I do pull permits.  A contractor who says it not necessary may have something to hide, and that could be a red flag.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY:

Trying to cheat the system can cost you in the long run!

Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide any legal advice. I recommend that, if you have any questions about the clauses in your contract or the suitability of the home you wish to purchase, you discuss them with a real estate attorney.

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Home Repairs: The Time To Contact A Home Remodeling Contractor is BEFORE You Purchase a Home

PUTTING THINGS OFF NOT WHAT IT IS CRACKED UP TO BE

Home inspectors should have home remodeling and construction experience.

Home inspectors should have home remodeling and construction experience.

“I FOUND MY DREAM HOME AND IT’S IN GREAT CONDITION…”

Those were the words of a potential client. The client contacted me because she and her husband wanted to make some modifications to their dream home before they moved in. But…

I FOUND MOLD AND OTHER PROBLEMS

This morning, I met the couple at their “dream home.”  They were excited because their “inspector” found nothing wrong with the home.

To their surprise, I pointed out the leaks under the windows, the mold growing around the air conditioning vents, and many other things that the inspector never told them about. Without having superman vision, or the ability to remove drywall legally (they couple had not closed on this home yet), I couldn’t tell them whether the leak was from the windows being installed improperly (which the inspector never told them), from the roof, or from how the second story was attached to the first story.

THE COUPLE DID ALMOST EVERYTHING RIGHT

Although the couple did their due diligence and hired a home inspector, not all home inspectors are created equal.

In Florida, home inspectors must be licensed. Anyone who passes a 120 hour course that teaches you how to inspect a home and then passes a National Home Inspector Exam and pays the associated fees can be a home inspector. There are no requirements for field work, construction experience, or remodeling experience.

SAVED BY CONTACTING A HOME REMODELING CONTRACTOR

Fortunately, the couple asked me to come out to discuss their remodeling project and now have a better picture of the condition of their home. As a State Certified Building Contractor I am licensed to also inspect homes.  Having construction and home remodeling experience makes me look at a home with a different eye.

The couple is now contacting mold companies to inspect the home before they complete their purchase. It may not be their dream home after all.

HOME INSPECTIONS FAIL TO DO THEIR JOB ACROSS THE COUNTY

Coincidentally, this article “WHEN A DREAM HOUSE BECOMES A MONEY PIT” came across my news feed today. This New York Times article details the worst nightmare for a couple who purchased their “dream home” and discovered their inspector failed to find and/or tell them about problems with their home.

THE BEST ADVICE

The article’s closing paragraph said to best:

Were the Hickses to offer advice to home buyers, Mr. Hicks said, “you should forge and manage your own relationship with your inspector,” and make clear you want to hear the bad news.  In houses that have undergone extensive renovation, he urges that buyers ensure all the necessary permits were obtained. “I don’t know how I’ll ever buy a house again,” Ms. Hicks said. “I can’t imagine trusting anyone.”

QUESTIONS?

If you have questions about the a home you are purchasing, the design process for building a home, or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. 

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME REMODELING: I MADE A HOMEOWNER CRY

TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A REMODELING CONTRACTOR:  MAKING A HOMEOWNER CRY

Nothing is worse than having to tell a homeowner they have been scammed.

Nothing is worse than having to tell a homeowner they have been scammed.

 

MAKING A HOMEOWNER CRY

This has been one of the toughest month’s for me as a home remodeling contractor.

Two of the potential clients that I visited with were brought to tears and another one was strong enough to hold back the tears but realized they threw away money.

WHAT WENT WRONG

The first of my heart breaking experiences happened in Palm Beach Gardens.  A woman, had a leak, which unfortunately led to mold.

But… the people she hired to “fix it” removed anything and everything that they could, down to the metal studs that were part of her exterior walls.

There is no easy fix to put her home back together, especially because it is part of a quadruplex. The homeowners association won’t let her rip down what is remaining from the exterior walls and now they are in danger of collapsing, her insurance company is denying the claim, and the “friends” that helped her weren’t licensed.

WARNING:  ALWAYS VERIFY THAT THE PEOPLE YOU HIRE TO WORK ON YOUR HOME ARE PROPERLY LICENSED read more 

The only remedy she has is to hire a public adjuster to help her navigate the insurance company process and to hire a construction attorney to help her recoup her costs from the work that was done improperly.  Until she gets the homeowners association to grant her permission to fix the exterior walls, she is in limbo.

The next of my heart breaking experiences happened in Wellington where work was done without a permit and the second contractor is no where to be found.

A homeowner needed work done on his home. The “contractor” who only could work weekends was caught doing work on the home without a permit. The Village of Wellington issued a stop work order, fined the homeowner, and had the electric meter pulled from the house as a safety precaution.

The homeowner, after paying fines, hired another contractor. But, this contractor is now missing in action. I advised the homeowner that I could not do any work on the home unless the permit was closed. Like the previous homeowner, this job will remain in limbo until the legal ramifications are solved.

WARNING: FAILURE TO GET A PERMIT CAN CAUSE YOUR JOB TO BE SHUT DOWN! – read more 

The last my heart breaking experiences this week also happened in Wellington.

A homeowner wanted to remodel their kitchen and have an addition put on their home. They hired a draftsman to draw up the plans. The plans did not reflect what the homeowner wanted! The plans were what the designer wanted to draw.

As a design-build contractor I have seen this time and time again. Some draftsmen or architects don’t understand the big picture and don’t understand how things are tied together. The homeowner, throughout our meeting, kept saying “but that is what I wanted.”

It is very frustrating to me that homeowners waste money on plans that won’t work. It is not that every designer/draftsman does a poor job… but I have seen it way too many times that plans are not usable because they are incomplete, don’t meet the homeowner requirements, or they are drawn incorrectly.

I’D LIKE TO SCREAM FROM THE ROOF TOPS – HIRE A DESIGN-BUILD CONTRACTOR! IT GIVES YOU A CONTRACTOR THAT CAN NOT ONLY DRAW YOUR PLANS BUT ALSO BUILD THEM TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS!  read more

 BEFORE YOU CHOOSE TO DO A REMODEL

Think about how your change will effect the look of your home. Realize that the newer things may alter how the rest of your home looks. That doesn’t mean you don’t make changes.  But… think about how your changes can affect your vision of your home.

If you are changing the floors, do you want to change the doors, their thresholds, the moldings? If you are adding additional cabinets, how are you going to tie the cabinets together?  Will you need to resurface the old cabinets, change out all of the hardware, or replace everything?

Making all the cabinet pulls the same may not be so easy. How the new handles get installed may not cover old holes. The old hardware may not easily be removed.

When you do choose to remodel, look for someone with good listening skills who shares your vision for what your home should look like. Feel free to ask for references. Then, before you sign on the dotted line, check with your state to ensure your architect or custom builder is licensed in his or her field.

FOR ASSISTANCE IN PLANNING YOUR PROJECT

If you have questions about the design process or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME REMODELING: HELP – MY NAME IS TODD AND I’M A REMODEL-IT-AHOLIC

HELP – MY NAME IS TODD AND I’M A REMODEL-IT-AHOLIC

Home remodeling is addictive... sometimes the more you change to more you want to change.

Home remodeling is addictive!

HOME REMODELING – THE HIDDEN DISEASE

I have had many clients that have been afflicted by remodel-it-ism and have become remodel-it-aholics.

By definition, a remodel-it-aholic is

a homeowner with an overwhelming desire to further remodel their home after recently completing a home improvement project when the new work makes other parts of their home look bad by comparison.

SIGNS YOU ARE A REMODEL-IT-AHOLIC

As soon as you or your home remodeling professional complete a project you realize that the rest of the home needs a facelift too.

For example, you build an addition to your home with new flooring, freshly painted walls, and a bathroom with brand new fixtures.  Although from the outside the addition looks like it has always been there, from the inside the rest of your home looks old and tired.  What are you going to do?

If you are a remodel-it-aholic

  • you will begin the process of updating the rest of your home
  • you will change the flooring or repaint
  • you will upgrade your kitchen (this is true– one of our client’s hired us three times because with each remodel they found something else they wanted updated)
  • you will remodel your bathroom

MY PERSONAL DILEMMA

Several weeks ago I told you that I was updating my appliances… including the cooktop, oven, and microwave. As a result, I am now a remodel-it-aholic. Although my refrigerator is in perfect working condition, it just does not fit in with the new appliances.

I can look at it and say, but it holds food, keeps it cold, and functions just fine. But… there is something to be said for how it looks. I will keep you posted if/when we make that change.

BEFORE YOU CHOOSE TO DO A REMODEL

Think about how your change will effect the look of your home. Realize that the newer things may alter how the rest of your home looks. That doesn’t mean you don’t make changes.  But… think about how your changes can affect your vision of your home.

If you are changing the floors, do you want to change the doors, their thresholds, the moldings? If you are adding additional cabinets, how are you going to tie the cabinets together?  Will you need to resurface the old cabinets, change out all of the hardware, or replace everything?

Making all the cabinet pulls the same may not be so easy. How the new handles get installed may not cover old holes. The old hardware may not easily be removed.

When you do choose to remodel, look for someone with good listening skills who shares your vision for what your home should look like. Feel free to ask for references. Then, before you sign on the dotted line, check with your state to ensure your architect or custom builder is licensed in his or her field.

FOR ASSISTANCE IN PLANNING YOUR PROJECT

If you have questions about the design process or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME REMODELING: ARCHITECT OR CUSTOM BUILDER?

PLANNING A HOME REMODEL –  

ARCHITECT or CUSTOM BUILDER?

Using a design-build contractor may save you time and money.

Using a design-build contractor may save you time and money.

One of biggest investments you’ll ever make—and not just in terms of money—is remodeling your home. Whether you are updating your kitchen, remodeling your bathroom, or adding space to improve your family’s lifestyle, you need to invest time up front to make sure you the process goes smoothly.

THE RIGHT PROFESSIONAL HELPS CREATE THE BLUEPRINT FOR YOUR HOME REMODEL

The right professional will help you create the blueprint for a home that shows the world who you really are. But if you’ve never worked with an architect or custom builder before, it can be hard—or nearly impossible even—to know where to start.

ARCHITECT…

Some people look at architects as the only way to go. They imagine that they are the only ones who can design projects and bring in the grand design and beauty to a project. An architect is a designer who can help you envision a house that’s completely unique. It is true that architects are also highly-trained. In Florida, an architect must have

  • A minimum five-year Professional Bachelor’s or master’s degree in architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).
  • Proof of passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) or a predecessor examination (exempted portions by means of education and/or experience are not acceptable).
  • Completion of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Intern Development Program (IDP), state intern development program equivalent to Florida’s requirements or complete DBPR AID-4004 Practical Experience Form (IDP Equivalency) certifying two (2) years of licensed practice as an architect.

BUT… AN ARCHITECT DOES NOT NECESSARILY KNOW HOW THINGS WORK IN THE FIELD

Just because architects are trained in design, it does not mean that they understand the building process, especially when it comes to room additions.

TRUE STORY

Last week I went on a first visit to a potential client for a room addition. Like many people, they thought they needed to go to an architect first because they assumed that builders, like Leading Edge Homes, Inc. are just worker bees and know nothing about design.

They paid several thousand dollars for incomplete plans. Worse yet, the architect’s drawing were not usable. Some of the issues included the heights of windows wouldn’t fit in the wall sizes, the means of egress were incorrect, and the architect did not properly address the joining of the new roof to the existing roof. The architect also did not address the issue of needing to upgrade the smoke detectors to meed the current electrical code; nor did he address the fact that the air conditioner was not large enough to cool the additional space.

ADVANTAGES OF A DESIGN-BUILD CONTRACTOR

A design-build contractor is more than someone who knows how to follow blueprints. Although they do not have a degree in architecture, they may use the same same design software as an architect, including AutoCAD.

Because a design-build contractor works out in the field, it is easy  for them to think out of the box and know the limitations and restrictions for completing your home remodel.

Whoever designs your project needs to know the site conditions, how the home is currently built, and how to design your dream around existing conditions.

 

BEFORE YOU CHOOSE YOUR DESIGNER

Take some time to think about your project and what you really want from a design. How much time do you want to spend in the design process before starting to remodel? Determine what your budget will be to complete the entire project.

Once you’ve decided whether you want to work with a design build contractor like Leading Edge Homes, Inc. or an architect, the next thing to do is find the right individual within that field. Ask friends and neighbors for referrals, visit online portfolios and project sites, and set up informational meetings with a few people.

Regardless of whether you choose to work with a custom builder or an architect, make sure you ask enough questions up front to know you’ve found a person you’ll enjoy working with, because you’ll be spending a lot of time together. Look for someone with good listening skills who shares your vision for what your home should look like. Feel free to ask for references. Then, before you sign on the dotted line, check with your state to ensure your architect or custom builder is licensed in his or her field.

FOR ASSISTANCE IN PLANNING YOUR PROJECT

If you have questions about the design process or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

SMALL ROOM ADDITIONS: THE SOMETIMES SHOCKING STICKER PRICE

FACTORS THAT ADD TO THE COST OF YOUR ADDITION

Room Addition Costs

The cost for your addition may surprise you.

Hands down, when you need to more living space to improve your life style, the option to add a room typically beats the cost of selling your existing home and then purchasing a new one.

What you may not realize that even though you are only adding a 100 square foot sitting area, you may have to update other parts of your home.

Budgeting for Your Addition – Changes You Might Have to Make That Are Not Part of the Addition

Depending on the age of your home, you can count on any room addition having to meet the current adopted building codes. This includes, but is not limited to changes in the electrical code including new smoke alarm systems, updated hurricane protection and bracing, and meeting the International Energy Conservation Code with insulation, Window U-Values, and the efficiency rating of your plumbing and mechanical equipment.
Yes, it may surprise you that you have to upgrade your smoke detectors for all of your bedrooms, even though you are adding a family on the opposite end of your home.

Minimum Charges Add to Costs

You may not realize, but there other fixed costs that make the price of the addition seem higher than new construction.
There are structural engineering fees, permitting fees, possible county impact fees, and subcontractor minimums for your addition.  For example, concrete finishing will cost $450 whether the slab is 100 square feet or 1000 square feet because the finishers have a minimum charge. That’s $4.50 a square foot vs. 45 cents a square foot.  Minimums like this exist for most trades.

True Story

A potential client wanted to add a 100 square foot sitting room to his home. The calculated cost for the addition was almost $400 a square foot.  Ouch! I told him I wouldn’t recommend doing the addition.  The subcontractor minimums and the cost for upgrading the home to meet current code made the cost prohibitive for little return on his investment.
Adding a small amount of space doesn’t mean less cost!
Before you think about adding onto your home, seek out professional advice from a professional home remodeling contractor like Leading Edge Homes, Inc.
If you, or someone you know, are planning on an addition, please call me at 561-795-2551 and I will be happy to discuss your needs and identify for you the important considerations and requirements that may impact your overall room addition costs.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME IMPROVEMENT: DON’T ASSUME AN “A” RATING MEANS A BUSINESS IS REPUTABLE

ANOTHER “A” … HOME IMPROVEMENT COMPANY NOT FULFILLING IT’S CONTRACTS

Home Improvement - An A Rating Doesn't Mean What You Think

Back in October, I told you about the CNN Money article:

Slammed by the government, A-rated by the Better Business Bureau

It was a warning to all people who believe that an “A” rating from the Better Business Bureau means a company is reputable.

LOCAL WINDOW COMPANY, BASED IN PALM BEACH GARDENS HAS AN “A” RATING BUT…

According to the Palm Beach Post “exclusive,”

Consumers have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, the Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the agency charged with regulating and licensing contractors.

This month, DBPR filed an administrative complaint against Scott Berman, the company’s owner, alleging that he violated a provision of a state statute in a contract for an installation at a house in Jupiter’s Abacoa.

The BBB has given the company an “A” rating.

COMPANY CHANGED NAMES AND SHUT DOWN OLD COMPANY

According to the article: in 2009, the Florida Attorney General’s Office shut down… Florida Window, over allegations the business violated state consumer laws. The company paid $118,000 in consumer restitution and $10,000 to Seniors vs. Crime. That same year, [the owner] established Northfield Holding Corp. doing business as Florida Window & Door.

Now, six years later, that company faces a slew of very similar complaints, some of which are being aired via social media. Customers have created a Facebook page, “Florida-Window-and-Door-is-a-Rip-Off.” The page states, “We are here to shed light on the deceptive practices and shoddy work this company performs.” There is also a You Tube video one customer has posted, which describes his experience.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?

Unfortunately, the Better Business Bureau, which most people see as a watch dog really isn’t.  An “A” rating just means that the Better Business Bureau believes that a company will resolve any problems customers encounter.

Do your due diligence.  Read consumer complaints on the Better Business Bureau website.  Search the company on the internet and on social media. Get and verify references.  Talk to past clients.

Today, you have to almost be a detective and verify that a home improvement company is worthy of your business.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. has created a booklet to help you ask the right questions before hiring a remodeling contractor: 7 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Remodeling Contractor.

Knowledge is power!

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

BUYING A HOME: ALL EXISTING HOMES HAVE PROBLEMS

HOME BUYING: WOULD YOU LET YOUR DAUGHTER BUY THAT HOUSE?

Image result for buying a house meme images

Congratulations!  You found the house of your dreams.  The offer has been accepted… contingent upon your “Houdini” clauses, like a termite inspection, home inspection, mold inspection, lawyer’s approval…

But What Happens When the Inspector Finds a Problem

Over the weekend I did another inspection for a home buyer. Again, I found many things that were wrong – everything from simple repairs to what I would consider major code violations.  None of this should come as a surprise to a home buyer.

Why?  Over time, things break, wear out, and reach the end of their useful life. Previous homeowners make repairs or changes themselves that are unsafe and in violation of the various building codes to save money. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a home is not worth buying.

What to Do if There Are Problems?

If your inspector finds problems, ask him for a “guestimate” of what it would cost to repair the items. You can use that as a negotiating tool to see if the seller would be willing to lower the sale price.

Don’t, however, agree to let the seller “make the repairs.” They will typically not make the repairs per the building codes or they will hide problems instead of correcting them. If for some reason you do let the seller make repairs, get the home re-inspected by the original home inspector.

A True Story

The buyer of a home I inspected (and even wrote about two weeks ago) decided to let the seller “fix” the safety violations and more. I reinspected the property only to find that the seller “corrected” the pool pump wiring problem – but added new electrical code violations, and replaced the front door without a permit. To make matters worse, the door was installed in an unsafe manner.

The buyer loves the house and the seller is holding firm on the sale price. It looks like the sale will go through and the buyer will have to pay to have the issues corrected.

Would You Let Your Daughter Buy the House?

If the house meets all of your requirements and you can hire a reputable contractor to make the house safe, then yes.  When you are thinking of the cost of the house, you need to add the cost of the repairs.

And yes, this happened to my daughter and son-in-law. The house they fell in love with was fully remodeled… but the seller did the electric work himself, had a staircase built that was not to code, and even installed some plumbing incorrectly. But, the house was exactly what they were looking for, in the price range they could afford, and in a neighborhood they liked.

I explained to them, the cost for repairs is just another cost of the home.

Very few pre-owned houses are perfect – the key is to find a house you like and that is in good enough condition that, after a reputable contractor corrects the few flaws found, it is safe.

 

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

HOME REMODELING: PRICING IS MORE THAN MATERIALS AND LABOR

HOME REMODELING BUDGETING

Leading Edge Homes - Home Remodeling Budget Reality

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT REMODELING COSTS

Like I have said many times, being an educated consumer is very important before beginning a home remodeling or improvement project. There are many posts on this blog about Hiring a Home Remodeling Professional.

People are sometimes confused by the pricing they see for remodeling projects on the reality television shows or on the websites to find remodeling companies online.

There is more to the cost of hiring a remodeling professional than materials and labor. Determining the cost of your job is much more complex than you think.

Last week I received a call from a potential client about remodeling his bathroom. He thought the job should cost no more than $7,000, when in reality it would cost about $20,000. Were we over-charging or was the potential client living in the 1960s?

THINGS INCLUDED IN THE COST OF YOUR HOME REMODELING PROJECT

LABOR COSTS

Assuming the average worker makes $20 an hour, if you have three employees working 50 hours a week for two weeks on a bathroom—which is typical—you’ll have 240 hours of regular pay (3 employees x 40 hours per week x 2 weeks) for $4,800, plus 60 hours of overtime (3 employees x 10 overtime hours per week x 2 weeks) at 1.5 times the regular wage, which adds an extra $1,800. Add it all up, and the cost of labor alone is $6,600.

But, there is more to the labor charge than just the worker’s hourly wage. There is general liability insurance, workman’s compensation insurance, and the cost of the employee’s health and other benefits.

MATERIAL COSTS

Costs for materials can vary, and in most cases, the home remodeling contractor adds a mark-up to the costs of materials. Why? It covers the time to order the materials, pick up the materials, deliver the materials, and replace materials if there are problems with them.

Now, I know what you are thinking. I can save money if I purchase the materials myself. I strongly recommend that you DO NOT do this.

For example, if the faucet you purchase doesn’t work properly, it is the plumber who is responsible to replace or repair it. If you supply the faucet, you will have to pay for the plumber to disconnect the faucet you supplied and then come back and install the replacement faucet.

MOVING FIXTURES

Home remodeling shows make it look like there is nothing involved to change where the toilet, shower or sink are located in a bathroom.  It is not as simple as you think to relocate fixtures.

Floors need to be cut up, walls have to be opened, and in some cases, sewer lines need to be moved. Once the relocation is completed, floors and walls need to be patched.  This is very labor intensive and adds significant cost to a bathroom remodel.

MISC. COSTS

Besides materials and labor, the following items may go into the price of a bathroom remodeling job: bringing the rest of the house up to the current National Electric Code for smoke detectors, trash removal/disposal, floor and dust protection, final cleaning, portable toilet rental, fuel surcharge based on distance to a job site, permit fees, builder’s risk insurance, and advertising costs.

OVERHEAD COSTS

Remodeling contractors also have to pay for other things to keep their companies in business such as secretaries, legal services, truck maintenance, office supplies, and similar expenses. Most people don’t think about that when they see the final price of the bathroom remodeling project, but it adds up quickly.

OTHER THOUGHTS

Understanding the true costs of hiring a professional home remodeling contractor to complete your home improvement project will help you weed out low-quality contractors. In the case of the potential client who believed he could remodel his bathroom for $7,000, if he finds a contractor that will do it for that price:

  • he is in danger of getting an unprofessional job
  • he probably will end up with added costs later or
  • a bathroom with which he is not really happy

If you get a “great low price” you should ask questions to determine why the price is so low. Compare quotes… make sure “everything” is included.

Speak to a home remodeling contractor to get an idea of what your project might cost. Ask questions and understand what is included. If you have two quotes, compare them line-by-line to make sure that you are getting the same materials and level of service.

If you want a professional remodeling experience, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

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