Identifying Potential To Enhance Home Improvement

There are many home improvement possibilities a person can reap the benefits of when attempting to enhance the appearance of their home and increase the price of their property. While appointing a specialist may offer a pleasant possibility with regard to convenience, the incredible expense associated with these services can usually persuade individuals to look for alternatives. When considering the possibilities that exist with alternatives for your housing improvement projects, make the most of the do-it-yourself opportunities which exist with landscaping, painting, flooring, and bathroom remodeling.

Landscaping

The appearance of a house is often directly associated with the common real estate expression of curb appeal. When you have a property that has vegetation, that is out of control or provides very little character, it can facilitate in deteriorating an individual’s opinion of your house, before they have even viewed the interior. When seeking to enhance your home’s curb appeal, the do-it-yourself landscaping home improvement solution can offer a great number of advantages, as you look to spruce up your existing environment and enhance appeal through cost-efficient projects which can complement the look and feel of your home.

When seeking to considerably change the interior or exterior of your house, one of the most effective methods you can take advantage of is found with do-it-yourself painting. This home improvement possibility can enable you to totally change the feel of your home. Simply by altering your color scheme you can give your rooms new, unique ‘personalities’. Whether you’re painting a room for a child or trying to create a welcoming living room environment, the resources of painting can provide you with several unbelievable opportunities.

Just like the possibilities that exist with painting, flooring indicates one more unique possibility which can help to completely change the environment this flooring exists within. If your home is covered in old carpeting, then a fresh change of wood or stone flooring can prove highly advantageous. If you have outdated linoleum, the do-it-yourself solution of ceramic tiles or stone can assist to accent a kitchen or bathroom.

Bathroom Renovations

Another extraordinary do-it-yourself resource which homeowners can make the most of, when looking to make the most of the objectives of home improvement, can be found with bathroom remodels. Bathrooms are usually environments that are extremely personal, and the difference a clean, bright look gives to the room’s ambiance should not be underestimated. A remodeled bathroom can prove very alluring to prospective investors, as they will get a better return on their investment due to the appeal of new features, instead of worn and obsolete materials.

Each of these do-it-yourself home improvement opportunities helps to provide a homeowner with a unique possibility to save money while increasing total home value.

BuildingChoice is a website created for Australian consumers in particular to free access up to date information and prices on a wide range of building products and appliances. It features a Trades Directory to enable consumers to easily locate and contact the professionals needed to complete a building project – from architects and interior designers to plumbers and plasterers.

Combining Home Improvement Projects

Home improvement projects can be both large and small and both expensive and inexpensive. While making improvements to a home is rewarding for homeowners all projects, be them small or large, can become tedious, expensive, run over budget, and time-consuming. While those who take on large home improvement projects usually only do one at a time due to the cost and commitment required of such projects, homeowners facing a number of smaller improvement projects often benefit greatly from combining those projects into one mid-sized or larger project.

Handling many different smaller projects one at a time can be discouraging after the first one or two have been completed. Homeowners tend to lose their fervor and focus as small projects are started, completed, and then started again. By engaging in a little home improvement project osmosis, homeowners can get a better idea of the total cost, time demands, and completion time of all of their projects. It also helps homeowners stay focused by giving them a streamlined list of things that need to be done and a budget that encompasses everything and one that shouldn’t need to change during a project.

Combining home improvement projects isn’t always advisable but the process does work especially when smaller projects tend to have something in common. Take siding and window replacement for example. Separately these two projects can be daunting tasks that leave homeowners discouraged and/or frustrated at some point. By working closely with a contractor however and combining the two homeowners will save a good deal of time, hassle, and money. As replacing windows and a home usually involves removing parts of siding it makes sense that homeowners who want to do both at the same time by combining the projects. The same goes for kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. More often than not the contractor a homeowner hires to remodel a kitchen or their bathroom will be more than capable of working on the both types of rooms. This can save a homeowner the hassle of having to find two separate contractors at two different times and from paying two different fees as well. Moreover, some contractors are flexible with their pricing and will offer a discount to homeowners who hire them to remodel two separate rooms at once. Other reasons it’s advisable to combine kitchen and bathroom remodel into one larger project is because they both involve plumbing. Buying parts and tools for plumbing is much easier on both homeowners and contractors when it’s all done at once rather than separately and at separate times.

The cohesive nature of combined home improvement projects, both small and large, offers homeowners an opportunity to take advantage of discounts, save time, and utilize one contractor for everything. Having all of their ducks in a row will give most homeowners peace of mind and allow them to be even more excited about completing all their home improvement projects.

They Don’t Build ‘Em Like They Used to! Women Who Project Manage Their Home Construction

It’s well known that project managing the construction of a home will save you money – and give you more decision making control. What is less widely known is that many successful project managers are women – who have no construction experience whatsoever.

My company has been selling cedar homes for 18 years. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with all kinds of home buyers. Their backgrounds and experiences are as varied as the houses they build. However, I’ve noticed that the women who elect to project manage the construction of their homes share similar characteristics that uniquely qualify them for the job.

What women lack in home construction knowledge, they more than make up for in natural curiosity and organizational skills – or as some prefer to say, “multi-tasking abilities.” Anita Legaspi and her husband Ray (neither of whom had construction experience) built a 3,600 sf custom cedar home near Lake Stevens, WA about 5 years ago. At the time, Anita was a stay-at-home mom who enjoyed sewing and Ray was employed at Boeing. They realized early on that “they could get more house for their money if they did it themselves.”

Of the pair, Anita had more time available to organize the project and research their options. She realized that her experience with soliciting items for school auctions would also be helpful in obtaining subcontractor bids for their home. “I wasn’t afraid to talk to people and ask questions. I had the ability to communicate on the phone,” commented Anita.

With the help of a timeline (outlining tasks and deadlines), Anita obtained bids and contracted out: the foundation, shell construction, electrical, plumbing, roofing and deck installation. Anita, Ray and their son Christian did much of the painting and finish work themselves.

Anita admits that the time spent building the home was difficult for their family. Ray and Anita chose to live onsite by utilizing their small trailer and a camper. She remembers the initial fun of “camping,” complete with bonfires (to burn up the stumps) and hot dog roasts. However, the summer fun dissipated when wet weather set in. Ray and Anita realized that their trailer was becoming more claustrophobic than cozy – and it wasn’t very well insulated..

Looking back on their house building days, Anita offers this advice: 

  • Decide what’s important to you. If you really want that special kitchen – go for it.
  • You can never go wrong with quality.
  • Develop a cost breakdown sheet to help you compare bids and expenses.
  • Big name companies don’t always offer the support you’ll need. You need to be able to communicate with a dealer, subcontractor, etc. You should feel like you can call them any time.

Nancy and Paul Davis knew that they wanted a cedar home for their mountain retreat near Cle Elum, WA. Neither Paul nor Nancy had bought property before and the whole process of developing the property and building a home was new to them.

In an effort to learn more about the process, Paul and Nancy attended a Log Home Seminar and also researched companies and products on the internet. According to Nancy, “The seminar was good for us. It brought up all the things we hadn’t thought about.”

Prior to staying home with their son Cory, Nancy had been a foundry supervisor and had also worked in a human resources department. She knew a few things about interviewing, hiring and managing people. She also knew that if she and Paul were to build the cabin themselves, “it could take years!” Their solution was to put Nancy at the helm and have her manage the construction of the cabin.

Paul and Nancy elected to undertake the finish work themselves, but hired separate subcontractors to handle the foundation, shell construction, electrical, plumbing and roofing. At one point, Nancy put together a work party with three girlfriends. Together they installed the wood flooring in the great room and kitchen. However, Nancy noted that this was done “only after we had dinner out on Friday night to discuss our approach – and of course, a great breakfast with lots of chit chat before we actually began.”

A low point for Nancy came when she was the only person onsite and “the cabinet people dumped all our kitchen cabinets right in the middle of our driveway.” It was up to Nancy to figure out how to get them all inside by herself. Nancy called for back up and said, “I had to be really assertive, which is totally out of my personality.”

Today, the Davis’ are very proud of their 2,300 sf cabin retreat. “We knew we could do it with the support of knowledgeable people in the industry.” Based on her recently acquired construction management skills, Nancy offers the following tips: 

  • Find your own system to stay organized. Nancy used a notebook divided into tasks, i.e. electrical, plumbing, and roofing, etc.
  • Network with other people within the construction community and seek their advice
  • It’s OK to be assertive – especially when you are trying to track down answers and make decisions.

“Everybody is blown away by how beautiful my home is,” says Diane Weibling who project managed the construction of her own 1,200 sf cedar home in North Bend, WA. For ten years, Diane, a family support worker for the Seattle public school system, read “how to build your own home” books at the North Bend library. The librarian finally told her she was going to have to stop reading and start building her own home. And that’s exactly what she did.

In addition to her library research, Diane attended open houses and talked with other homeowners. She says that the idea of project managing the construction her home evolved slowly. “I felt like if I wanted it done right, I’d have to do it myself.”

She obviously did a lot of things right. Her home has a panoramic view of Mt. Si – in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. People drive slowly past her home so that they can appreciate her unique setting and beautiful home.

Diane took time to look for bargains on cabinets and appliances for her new home. She said, “I got all my solid maple kitchen cabinets for $1,200. Someone had ordered these and never picked them up. I went to the Sears Outlet and checked out their scratch & dent models. I bought a fridge with a broken plastic handle that I easily replaced. I bought a demo wood stove at the fair and saved $600.”

Her project managing experience has taught her a few more things, including:

  • Try not to micromanage the subcontractors. It’ll drive you (and them) crazy.
  • Ask the builder how many projects they have under construction. It may mean they won’t have blocks of time to give to your project – and this could extend your timeline.
  • Ask for contractor prices

Each of these women brought unique skills to their home projects – none of which was a background in construction. What motivated them to manage their home construction? Certainly money was a factor. By project managing the construction of their own homes, each woman realized many thousands of dollars in savings. The savings could result in a lower mortgage payment – or it could mean having a larger home for less money – or both! In some cases, project managing is a way for the homeowner to maintain more control over all aspects of the home’s construction. 

Project managing home construction is not an option for everyone. The state of Washington allows homeowners to serve as their own general contractors (or project managers) – but not all states will permit this. Bear in mind also that not all banks will finance owner-built homes. Lastly, remember that when the plumber doesn’t show up on schedule, you’re responsible for keeping the project moving forward and on budget. Some subcontractors are aware that your home is a one-time project for them – whereas a contractor will be calling them for other jobs in the future. This may affect the quality and timeliness of their work which in turn may adversely affect your timeline and budget.

None of the women interviewed for this article had building background and none of them had ever project managed the construction of a home. However, all three women had a natural curiosity about the process and were willing to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. Certainly, the end result for each of these project managers is a beautiful home and many thousands of dollars saved. The most unexpected outcome has been a change within each woman. When asked, “What did you learn about yourself” all three women project managers responded, “I learned I can do anything I set my mind to.”